From The Reporter’s Notebook
The director of the Office of Government Ethics himself was behind some pointed advice the federal agency gave President-elect Donald Trump about his business conflicts by way of its Twitter account in November, TPM’s Esme Cribb reported. According to records obtained by NPR under a Freedom of Information Act request, OGE Director Walter Shaub Jr. sent two emails to chief of staff Shelley Finlayson on November 30. One contained the mysterious tweets in question and the simple instruction to “Post them all at once.”
Agree or Disagree?
Josh Marshall: “An interesting ‘innocent’ explanation of Trump’s behaviors with regards to the Russian hacking is similar. Say you’re Trump. You have nothing to do with this. You know nothing about it. But think about all the crooks and gamers and sleazeballs around your campaign. There’s Manafort, Stone, Page… all their associates, not to mention your business associates with ties to Russian organized crime. (Stone publicly said he had some sort of a backchannel to Wikileaks.) If you’re Trump, how confident are you that a real investigation wouldn’t turn up anything weird?”
“Petty little actions like this don’t mean very much.”
– Trump ally Rudy Giuliani slammed the sanctions President Barack Obama placed against Russia, calling his actions “extraordinary.”
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: “You can’t conclude that until Trump takes office and does something, or not. If Trump unilaterally cancels the sanctions, he commits himself to the ‘it’s not true’ school of the Russians hacking the election debate. He can’t just says something different and make the action disappear. His words will become devalued as his actual actions accumulate.”
Related: In a tweet Friday afternoon, Trump praised Putin for a “great move” regarding an unspecified “delay.”
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What We’re Reading
David Fahrenthold’s year covering Trump. (The Washington Post)
U.S. sanctions mean paying for Cuban food on Venmo can get complicated. (BuzzFeed)