A Democratic education reformer defends her dance with Trump.
Michelle Rhee, a Democrat who has been willing to ruffle feathers on education, didn’t exactly take herself out of the running to be Mr. Trump’s education secretary, but she did push back at critics who do not approve of her visits to Trump Tower.
Backlash brews as Trump backs away from ‘locking her up.’
Mr. Trump, as it turns out, didn’t care all that much about Mrs. Clinton’s private email server.
But there are consequences. When his senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, announced that the incoming administration would not pursue the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s private email server, the response from the right was swift.
“Broken Promise,” blared Breitbart, the conservative website that promoted Mr. Trump’s candidacy and gave him the mastermind of his campaign, Stephen K. Bannon. The conservative provocateur Ann Coulter was no more subtle.
Judicial Watch, the conservative legal organization that has doggedly pursued Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, also chimed in:
“Donald Trump must commit his administration to a serious, independent investigation of the very serious Clinton national security, email, and pay-to-play scandals. If Mr. Trump’s appointees continue the Obama administration’s politicized spiking of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, it would be a betrayal of his promise to the American people to “drain the swamp” of out-of-control corruption in Washington.”
Ms. Conway said Tuesday that it was now Mr. Trump’s intention to move beyond the issues of the campaign and focus on the task of running the country instead. “If Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing,” Ms. Conway said on the MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Of course, the attorney general is supposed to be independent, but things may not work the usual way with President Trump.
“I think when the president-elect, who’s also the head of your party, tells you before he’s even inaugurated that he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content” to fellow Republicans, Ms. Conway said.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is expected to serve somewhere in the new administration, told the news media at Trump Tower that the president-elect was making a tough call.
“Look, there’s a tradition in American politics that after you win an election, you sort of put things behind you,” Mr. Giuliani said. “And if that’s the decision he reached, that’s perfectly consistent with sort of a historical pattern of things come up, you say a lot of things, even some bad things might happen, and then you can sort of put it behind you in order to unite the nation. So if he made that decision, I would be supportive of it. I’d also be supportive of continuing the investigation.”
That’s a lot of pressure on a son-in-law.
But Mr. Trump has lofty ambitions.
Leading candidate for defense secretary doesn’t like waterboarding.
James Mattis, a former Marine Corps general, is no fan of waterboarding, which could present problems if he becomes secretary of defense. Why? Because the president-elect is a really big fan.
A reversal on climate change?
As recently as Monday night, President-elect Trump said in a video that he would scuttle President Obama’s energy and environmental regulations — put in place to fight climate change — to unleash coal and hydraulic fracturing.
Yet in his meeting Tuesday with Times reporters and editors, he seemed to soften on climate change, which he used to call a hoax.
Democrats plot a comeback.
Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, took to Medium to make the case that Democrats need not panic, but they do need to get back to work.
On the one hand, she noted:
“We must never forget that, for the sixth time in the last seven presidential elections, our nominee won the popular vote. As of this writing, our candidate is ahead in the vote count by nearly 2 million votes. We gained new seats in the US House and Senate, though not enough to win a majority in either chamber of Congress.”
On the other, with Republican gains in state legislatures, the party is working off a structural disadvantage. She explained:
· In Wisconsin, where the presidential vote margin was only 27,000, as many as 300,000 voters didn’t have the photo ID that was now required.
· In North Carolina, there were 158 fewer early voting locations in 40 counties with large African-American populations. It was no accident that black voter participation in early voting declined by 16 percent.
· And Ohio eliminated the week when voter registration used to overlap with early voting.
Surprise: Trump doubled Romney’s Muslim vote.
As a candidate, Mr. Trump proposed ramping up surveillance of mosques and a moratorium on Muslim immigration, compelling to a surge in American Muslims registering to vote.
Surprisingly, a lot of them actually voted for Mr. Trump.
According to an exit poll of 2,000 Muslim voters conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, 13 percent backed Mr. Trump, while 74 percent supported Mrs. Clinton.
That is nearly twice as much support as Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, received from Muslim voters four years ago.
Robert McCaw, a spokesman for CAIR, said Mr. Trump’s strength with Muslims was somewhat surprising, but that about 15 percent of Muslims do identify themselves as Republicans and that Mrs. Clinton did little direct outreach to Muslims.
“There were aspects of Trump’s candidacy that either appealed to them or it was a vote against Hillary Clinton,” Mr. McCaw said. “It might not necessarily have been as much a vote of confidence for Trump as an expression of no confidence in Clinton.”
The votes may have been significant, since Mr. Trump won Michigan — which has one of the largest Arab populations in the country — by barely more than 11,000 votes.
Some Muslims of Syrian descent voted for Mr. Trump, believing he would support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. More broadly, there may have been a Sunni-Shiite split in the rust belt, where Shiites more generally favored Mr. Trump.
Did Trump Foundation admit wrongdoing?
David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post continues his dogged pursuit of the Trump Foundation, reporting Tuesday that the president-elect’s charitable organization has apparently admitted that it violated the legal prohibition against “self-dealing.”
That prohibition prohibits nonprofit leaders from using their charity’s money to help themselves, their businesses, or their families. The news came in a tax filing for 2015 that was posted on the nonprofit tracking service Guidestar on Monday — less than two weeks after Election Day.
A popular decision, taking into account the popular vote?
Mr. Trump famously told the world and Mrs. Clinton during a presidential debate that he would appoint a special prosecutor if elected with the express purpose of putting his political opponent in jail.
There may be a practical reason the new president would pull back. The latest tally shows Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. Trump in the popular vote by 1,754,204 votes. Pursuing her might not prove very popular.
Nancy Pelosi is showing some nervousness.
Her leadership is being challenged. The complaints about an aging slate of commanders are growing louder.
So Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, 76, the House minority leader, has issued a plan.
In a letter to House Democrats on Tuesday night, she promised to create No. 2 posts on each House committee to be filled by a Democrat with four terms or less in the House. When the post of assistant Democratic leader (now filled by Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, who is also 76) is vacant, it will be filled via an election with a member who has served three terms or less.
(The No. 2 House Democrat, Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, is 77.)
Other offers were made along with a vow to fight any effort by the Republican leadership and Mr. Trump to privatize the Veterans Affairs hospitals and add private insurance vouchers to compete with fee-for-service Medicare.