Here are a couple photos that will help put crowd size today in context, after the jump.
The New York Times is out with a story tonight which is little short of astonishing on the eve of a presidential inauguration. From the Times article ...
"American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said."
Just to state this clearly, that means that on the eve of Trump's inauguration the nation's top law enforcement and intelligence agencies are pursuing a counter-intelligence probe of contacts and payments between key members of his campaign and Russia. We have not been here before.
If you don't like Donald Trump and don't approve of what he's doing, rejoice. You've got a lot of company. We have another approval number out tonight, this one from Fox News of all places. Donald Trump's approval number is 37%. 54% disapprove.
With Fox added, we now have a poll from each of the major TV networks. What is most notable is the level of unanimity. Fox (37%) ABC (40%), CBS (37%), CNN (40%), NBC (44%). Add in Quinnipiac (37%) and Gallup (44%) and you've got a simple average of about 40% approval, with the most recent polls both coming in at 37%.
We're now learning that President-Elect Trump wanted a full Soviet-style inaugural parade, with tanks, missiles and missile launchers. The Pentagon nixed that idea but agreed to a jet fighter flyover. In an interview published Wednesday morning Trump had spoken about his desire to hold military parades during his presidency. But this is the first sign he had tried to hold a Soviet style military parade for his inauguration.
Over the years one of the great pleasures of running TPM for David Kurtz and me is how many great young journalists have come through the organization, how we've been able to have some role in bringing their talents to the fore and the great careers they've gone on to at a whole slew of great news organizations like The Washington Post, Salon, The New Republic, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Propublica, Politico, Huffington Post, NowThisNews and just a slew of other pubs. What is a particular pleasure is being able to welcome one of our greats home.
Yesterday, I announced we were adding a new editor to our team as part of our expansion. David Taintor first joined TPM just out of college as an intern in the fall of 2010. We hired him as a full time staffer right out of his internship. And he worked his way up to reporter before leaving in 2013. We are now really excited, happy and lucky to be bringing him back as our new News Editor. David rejoins us from NBC News. He'll join Catherine Thompson, David Kurtz and me as our team of editors going into this new phase of the organizations history.
David will be rejoining TPM in early February.
On the last full day of the Obama presidency and on the eve of President-Elect Trump's inauguration, let's look at where the new President starts in the public's estimation. The answer is, Trump is really unpopular and has gotten more unpopular as the transition has gone on.
We have some new numbers.
If you're comfortably ensconced in a health insurance plan through your job and don't think the Obamacare repeal and replace debate will directly affect you, give a close look at the plan that HHS nominee Tom Price has been pushing for years to dismantle the employer-based health insurance system. It would end employer-based insurance as we know it, but it barely came up in Price's first round of Senate hearings yesterday. Super important. Worth a read.
One of the key developments in a new administration comes when people come to understand who the key power players and influencers are in that administration. Who has the President's ear? Who can get things done?
With that in mind, the Palestinian political leadership is making every effort to get President-Elect Trump to reconsider his plan to move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. To achieve this critical goal they have reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence over Trump to rescind the decision.
On Monday I wrote that the answer to attacks on journalism is always more journalism. I want to share some concrete steps in that direction. Today we are announcing our first editorial expansion in more than four years. We are beginning by adding a new editor to our team and a planned three additional reporters to build out our investigative reporting team.