Top Trump Advisor: UK Trade Deal Within First Six Months

According to Anthony Scaramucci, who will serve as President-elect Trump’s Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, Trump expects to be in a position to offer the United Kingdom a free trade deal within “six months or first year” of his administration, Breitbart reports.

Speaking to ITV News, the SkyBridge Capital founder confirmed that the current plan is to “get in the White House and get the president inaugurated and then take the steps necessary to make sure the UK is at the front of the line, as opposed to at the back the line, on trade deals”.

The “back of the line” reference was a call back to President Obama’s promise that the British would be at the bottom of the list for trade deals if they voted to leave the EU, which they did in in June.

Scaramucci’s comments followed those of Trump himself, who pledged to gate a trade deal done “quickly and properly”.

“We see the unique, special relationship bond and love that these countries and people have for each other,” Scaramucci told ITN, echoing sentiments expressed by Trump.

Brexit: May Says NO to EU

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave a highly anticipated speech on Brexit on Tuesday, January 17th. In it she outlined her vision for Britain’s “hard” exit from the European Union. The main takeaway was “Brexit mean Brexit” and Prime Minister May hammered home her commitment to fully removing the U.K. from the European Union, including the “single market” where all EU member states can trade with each other with fewer economic obstacles.

“I want Britain to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements … But I also want tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be as frictionless as possible,” she said. From the Wall Street Journal:

“At times conciliatory and other times tough, the British leader described an independent U.K. that nonetheless maintains a close and friendly trading relationship with the EU. “We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends,” she said.

“What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market,” in which goods and services are traded freely, Mrs. May said. “Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free-trade agreement.”

It is unclear what sort of preferential trade access EU leaders and officials would agree to give the U.K. Eager to discourage anti-EU movements across Europe, they have said there is no appetite for giving the U.K. a better deal than existing membership.”

The value of Britain’s Pound Sterling rose against the U.S. Dollar to $1.228 during her speech and investors’ uncertainty was lessened.

Read the full story here.

Cabinet Update: Trump looks to exceed Obama on confirmations

President-elect Donald Trump is planning on at least matching, and maybe exceeding, outgoing President Obama’s number of cabinet officers confirmed on his first day in office.

On Obama’s first day in 2007, seven cabinet secretaries were confirmed by the Senate. Trump transition team officials say they expect that number to be at least matched come Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

As the team opens this final week of transition, seven cabinet-level officials are scheduled to testify before members of the United States Senate. This includes the nominees for the Departments of the Interior, Education, and Energy.

The Trump transition team is at this point over 500 people, and they have been working around the clock to prepare the President-elect’s designees, Breitbart reports. Each nominee has had to endure over 100 hours of preparation, and the team held over 40 practice hearing, with each nominee fielding an average of 123 questions per session.

In total, almost a dozen cabinet officials could reasonably be confirmed by Trump’s swearing in on Friday afternoon or the days immediately following.

New Poll: 58% Trump Won Regardless Of “Russian Hack”

A new CNN/ORC poll shows 58% of Americans think that President-elect Donald Trump would’ve won the election with or without the alleged Russian hacking. The study also showed that 40% of Americans supported Trump’s handling of the transition into office.

“If the allegations by the U.S. intelligence community are proven true, about 65 percent of Americans said the interference would be a crisis or major problem for the United States. About 56 percent of Americans said the United States should work to improve relations with Russia instead of taking a hard-line stance through economic and diplomatic means.

The CNN/ORC telephone survey was conducted from Thursday to Sunday on a random national sample of 1,000 adults and has a margin of sampling error of 3 percent.”

Rest the rest of the story at Breitbart

Reports: GM To Invest $1 Billion In US Factories

American Automaker General Motors will be announcing a huge $1,000,000,000 investment into their factories. This will secure about 1,000 jobs for American workers. Not too long ago, Trump called out GM, along with other automakers online for importing some of their cars, tweeting that there would be a heavy tax if this continued.

“The Detroit automaker will make the announcement Tuesday morning. The investment is part of the normal process of equipping factories to build new models, and it’s been planned for months, the person told The Associated Press. The person didn’t want to be identified because the announcement hasn’t been made yet.

Multiple factories will get part of the money, but GM does not plan to state where the new jobs will go, according to the person. The company plans to use the announcement to tout both blue-collar and white-collar U.S. jobs it has created in recent years, the person said.”

Read the full story at Breitbart

Patriotic bikers to attend inauguration in response to liberal protests

Chris Cox, the organizer for an organization known as “Bikers for Trump”, has announced that over 5,000 bikers will be attending President-elect Trump’s inauguration on Friday in order to “stand up to dangerous protesters”.

Cox started the group in 2015, and its ranks have quickly swelled to about 200,000 members. “In the event we are needed”, Cox told Fox & Friends, “we will form a wall of meat. We’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and we’ll be toe-to-toe with anyone who’s going to break through police barriers.” The group has stated it is non-violent, and would only get involved in the event protesters “assault women, spit on people, or begin throwing things.”

Cox’s group also plans to lobby for a bill that would keep national parks and monuments open even in the event of a government shutdown, Brietbart reports.

Obama Goes Out With A Few Last Jabs

The Briefing, Vol. V, Issue 3-

This week:

  • The Trump era begins
  • Obama’s major last-minute policy changes
  • Ohio’s Senate race worth watching

Trump administration

Trump’s first days: Friday is Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day — and it will be a very big day for U.S. policy in general.

Trump promised to undo much of President Obama’s legacy, he won’t have that hard a time, as so much of it was done with a phone and a pen. This is the downside of governing by executive order: Most of what a president does in this way can be easily undone, some of it undone with more difficulty. Trump has decided to attend fewer inaugural balls than his recent predecessors in the interest of getting to work more quickly on undoing it.

Ever since Reagan, the first act of each Republican president has been to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which bans funding of non-governmental organizations abroad to pay for or promote abortion. Of course, it will be important to watch whether Trump does this (he likely will) but not all changes are as easily implemented as that one.

Trump has promised many things, including the immediate proposal of at least one constitutional Amendment and a number of bills whose future in Congress would be uncertain. But his quick seven-point plan, for executive action, billed as actions “to protect American workers,” is likely to attract the most attention.

This includes most consequentially the labeling of China as a “currency manipulator,” an announcement of his intention to renegotiate NAFTA, withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the reopening of oil and gas exploration on federal lands, and immediate approval of energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone Pipeline.

Trump has also sent clear signals that he will attempt to open up talks for a new free trade agreement with the United Kingdom — a means of triangulating himself on that issue. Many mainstream and nearly all conservative economists, who fret over the cans of worms Trump plans to open on trade, will be watching this closely, as it presents a good opportunity to make up for opportunities for both importers and exporters that might be lost elsewhere. In the meantime, Trump will work during the early months of his presidency to prove that indeed a U.S. president intent on negotiating a better deal can in fact do so.

This will be one of the most closely-watched questions in Trump’s early presidency, in particular for those “Trump Democrats” in the Midwest who voted for him in large part based on his unorthodox positions on international trade.

The other important question will probably be answered within just a few days: Whom will Trump nominate to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia? Conservatives will be watching closely and nervously, but all expectations are that he will nominate someone with whom they will be pleased — someone from the list of potential nominees that he put forward during the election season.

Obama’s sabotage: There are some rather flagrant examples where outgoing presidents have tried to sabotage their successors. It’s hard to think of any that go beyond President Obama’s last-minute reorganization of U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S. decision to abstain from a key anti-Israel resolution at the UN — which may have been brought forward with encouragement from Obama’s State Department — seemed well-timed for Obama’s last days. The same could be said of his abrupt, last-second decision to end the wet-foot dry-foot policy, by which refugees from communist Cuba were able to seek asylum in the U.S. by virtue of reaching its shores.

One of the more odious (and more easily reversible) elements of Obama’s change is a new policy of refusing asylum to Cuban doctors who are forced by the Castro regime to travel and provide services abroad as a tool for improving the oppressive Cuban regime’s standing and relations in the Third World.

This decision has so many old ideological undertones that it is hard to separate the Obama now leaving office from the Obama who complained about America’s anti-communist interventions in Latin America during the Cold War. His new policy of normalizing relations with Cuba may have already helped Raul Castro’s regime to survive the death of its founder, Fidel Castro, without the difficulty one might have otherwise expected.

A stark reminder of the Cuban state’s continued totalitarian nature came when Raul threw a fit over being asked real questions at a joint press conference with Obama. He is not used to taking questions from a free press, nor is he interested in ever doing so on a regular basis. The Cuban regime, which has run a once-prosperous country into ruin, has also stepped up religious persecution of certain sects, yet another sign that Obama’s policy is only emboldening the regime and making things worse.

But of course, the most egregious fact about this and all the other changes (including a set of last-second auto-emissions rules and a ban on drilling for oil in the Arctic) is not Obama has done this, but the fact that it comes at the 11th hour and 59th minute of a dying presidency.

It’s one thing to jab your predecessor with some unreasonable new rules about arsenic in water, as Bill Clinton did to George W. Bush. It’s another entirely to attempt to destroy international trust and weaken one’s posture toward an enemy like Cuba’s communist regime at the last second. One would think (as with the Israel resolution) that if Obama really thought this was good policy, he would have done it long ago and lived with the consequences himself. Instead, he will push the consequences forward.

It’s a bit worrisome, really, what else Obama might do in his final days. Having lost for his party the trust of the American electorate, he is now like a cornered wild animal, and perhaps therefore at the most dangerous point of his presidency.

‘Deliver us from Trump’: Democrats promised to put up a serious fight against President-elect Trump’s nominees. Instead, the confirmation hearings last week mostly devolved into sessions in which they begged the nominees to be at least a little bit different from Trump.

This offered them an ideal opportunity to express their independence. It also set the tone for confirmations that are quite nearly inevitable.

The best example was Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., Trump’s choice to head the CIA. He said that even if ordered by the president he would not implement any enhanced interrogation technique not in the current Army Field Manual. He also stated flatly — as Trump now finally has — that intelligence clearly suggests the Russians did hack the Democratic Party, and that it was “aggressive action taken by senior leadership inside of Russia.”

A similar dynamic played out in hearings with James Mattis for Secretary of Defense and John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security (who promised there would be no “Muslim registry” or other government effort to track people based on religion or ethnicity).

Lacking any senatorial power to block Trump’s nominees — thanks to their own “nuclear option” — or any way of launching serious investigations from the congressional minority, their best way of affecting policy in the new administration is to keep up constructive relationships with Trump’s executive appointees. To some extent — perhaps greater rather than smaller — this means buttering them up. It’s all they have left.

Senate 2016

Ohio: The Buckeye State, for now, is all alone in our second tier of Senate races. This is a state where Trump won quite convincingly (by eight points), but not in a double-digit landslide.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, as custom demands, has publicly renounced any interest in the 2020 presidential race. That obviously should not be taken seriously, but there’s no question he is running for re-election in 2018.

The early Republican frontrunner for the nomination to face him is state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who won the Club for Growth endorsement in 2012 and (based on their early activity) seems likely to win it again. If Mandel manages to clear the field , he would force a rematch of the 2012 Senate election, where he kept the score reasonably close (just over five points) considering that it was a terrible Republican presidential year and Brown was then considered a fairly popular senator — the kind who has a connection with the average Trump Democrat.

This time, very early polling (albeit from a Republican pollster) shows Mandel begins with a statistically insignificant one-point lead. A race like this one is not a gimmee, but to trail in any poll or fall below 45 percent (Brown clocked in at 39) is really not a good sign for a two-term incumbent like Brown.

Even spotting Brown a few points to make up for the fact that this is a Republican poll, it isn’t hard to imagine any senator in the low 40s getting swept away in a good Republican year. On the other side of the coin, Mandel’s chances would be significantly worse amid a Trump backlash along the lines of the 2010 Obama backlash or a 2006 Bush backlash.

Still, in an environment where the midterm narrative is more ambiguous (say, more like 1998 or 2002), with a smaller and slightly more Republican electorate than what turned out in 2012 or 2016, Brown would be fortunate to survive. And the state Democratic Party behind him looks weaker than it has in decades after Trump’s resounding victory. They have now been shut out of all constitutional statewide offices for two consecutive midterm elections, and then they lost the state’s electoral votes by the largest margin since 1988 in what was supposed and forecasted to be a close race.

The Ohio Senate race might not be the best Republican pickup opportunity, but it is definitely a race to watch going forward.

 

Are We Going to Defund the UN?

Thursday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced legislation to the Senate that would defund the UN over its recent resolution that declares Israel’s construction of the West Bank and east Jerusalem “illegal”.

This bill prohibits the United States from giving any money to the UN until it can be confirmed that the UN resolution has been repealed, Breitbart reports.

This UN resolution was passed on December 23rd, due to the Obama administration’s unusual decision not to veto it, which is something the United States Ambassador to the UN has traditionally done.

“President Obama betrayed decades of robust bipartisan American support for Israel at the United Nations by permitting the passage of a biased resolution that condemns our close friend and ally,” Sen. Cruz said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday morning. “The Security Council’s resolution is only the latest example of the UN’s long history of obsessive hostility towards Israel.”

Sen. Graham said, “I begged the UN months before, don’t put me in this box. I think most Americans believe the United Nations has become more anti-Semitic, more anti-Israel.” He added, “I’m a big internationalist, but we’re gonna stop the money until we get this fixed.”

Kellyanne Conway Will Speak at March For Life

Kellyanne Conway made history on November 8th, 2016 when she became the first female campaign manager of a successful presidential campaign. One January 27th, she will take the stage at the 44th annual March for Life.

“As the first female to run a successful presidential campaign and as a steadfast advocate for life and family issues, Kellyanne beautifully embodies the 2017 March for Life’s theme, ‘The Power of One’,” the March for Life President, Jeanne F. Mancini, announced in a press release.

The March for Life is an annual protest of the 1973 Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the United States. The march regularly attracts hundreds of thousands of supporters, with the 2013 event attracting an estimated 650,000 protesters.

Conway will speak along side Baltimore Raven’s Benjamin Watson; a former Planned Parenthood Director, Abby Johnson; radio host Eric Metaxas, author of “Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery;” and Mexican Telenovela star Karyme Lozano, according to the organization’s info page.

Past speakers have included President Ronald Reagan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner, and former presidential candidates Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul and pro-life Democrat Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois.

Washington Preps For Trump Inauguration

We are less than a week out from Donald Trump’s inauguration and it’s a huge event D.C. businesses are preparing for. People from all walks of life will gather in the nation’s capital in support(or protest) of our soon-to-be President. It is expected that many who oppose Trump’s victory will try to have their voices heard.

Politico reports, ““These are unprecedented numbers,” said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said about the protests. “We’re trying to help the groups find suitable alternate locations.”

The park service has credentialed at least 28 groups on the national mall and is expecting more than 350,000, according to an internal agency spreadsheet. That’s compared to the five or six requests from groups that they usually receive for inaugurations. The service has struggled to accommodate all of the protesters, which includes a large demonstration of about 200,000 women protesting Trump and others who will sing and fast, for next weekend, Litterst said.”

Hotels and restaurants are also experiencing abnormally diverse crowds; they are taking all precautionary measures, but are also excited for the business this spectacle will bring. Politco adds, “Stacy Smith, general manager for the Hyatt Place hotel located just four blocks from the National Mall, said revelers and protesters are almost evenly splitting the 214 rooms. Calling the inauguration “a very unique event,” Smith said the hotel’s senior management will roam in the lobby to not only greet guests but to also diffuse tensions.” and that, “A representative for the Trump International Hotel, with its plush blue couches and cocktails starting at $24, said the hotel is sold out. At the St. Regis Hotel, long a favorite of dignitaries where the Master of Ceremonies sabers a bottle of champagne every evening, the rooms are gone, a spokeswoman said. They are mainly filled with people celebrating the inauguration.”

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