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Today is the 53rd anniversary of JFK’s assassination, and yet Rafael Cruz still walks free. Reince Priebus reportedly lied to Donald Trump about his meeting with the New York Times, probably because his strategy of spelling out words he didn’t want the president-elect to hear also backfired. And President Obama awarded a fresh batch of Presidential Medals of Freedom today. We’d liked to offer our early congratulations to Rob Schneider, Dog the Bounty Hunter and the “Double Rainbow” guy on their 2017 Presidential Medals of Freedom. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016:
We’ll be out for the rest of the week. Enjoy eating your feelings and Happy Thanksgiving! Oh, and a turkey that President Obama pardoned is dead.
THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY MAKES A BIGLY RETURN - This is just like when Richard Nixon spent all that time in the White House basement drinking Mountain Dew and day-trading. Paul Blumenthal: “President-elect Donald Trump told The New York Times Tuesday that laws around conflicts of interest don’t apply to him, and he can simply keep running his businesses from the White House. ‘In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly,’ Trump said, according to tweets from New York Times reporters interviewing the president-elect Tuesday. ‘There’s never been a case like this.’ He is technically correct on both counts. Federal conflict of interest laws do not apply to the president of the United States, and the obvious conflicts of interest created from his ownership of a global real estate empire are unprecedented in the nation’s history. Just because the federal laws mandating other federal officials to place their assets into a true blind trust run by an independent trustee do not apply to the president, does not mean that Trump’s conflicts of interest are not real.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP FOUNDATION ADMITS TO SELF-DEALING - David Fahrenthold: “President-elect Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has admitted to the IRS that it violated a legal prohibition against ‘self-dealing,’ which bars nonprofit leaders from using their charity’s money to help themselves, their businesses or their families. The admission was contained in the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s IRS tax filings for 2015, which were recently posted online at the nonprofit-tracking site GuideStar. A GuideStar spokesman said the forms were uploaded by the Trump Foundation’s law firm, Morgan, Lewis and Bockius.... In one section of the form, the IRS asked if the Trump Foundation had transferred ‘income or assets to a disqualified person.’ A disqualified person, in this context, might be Trump — the foundation’s president — or a member of his family or a Trump-owned business. The foundation checked ‘yes.’ Another line on the form asked if the Trump Foundation had engaged in any acts of self-dealing in prior years. The Trump Foundation checked ‘yes’ again.” [WashPost]
PRESIDENT’S COMMUTATIONS PASS 1,000 - Many of these have been for drug-related offenses, which were basically the unsecured email servers of the 1980s. Ryan J. Reilly: “President Barack Obama granted clemency to 79 federal inmates on Tuesday, meaning he has given commutations to more than 1,000 individuals over the course of his presidency. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, said Obama will continue to grant clemency throughout the remainder of his time in office. ‘I think you can anticipate that we will keep going until the end,’ he said. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said it was important to remember that there are stories behind each of those 1,023 names.... While Obama’s numbers are record-setting, his clemency initiative has affected just a small portion of the overall federal prison population. There are now more than 191,000 federal inmates, roughly the same number there were a decade ago in 2006.” [HuffPost]
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OLD AND BUSTED: “LOCK HER UP!” NEW HOTNESS: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - Before assuming this matter is now settled, remember three things: 1) Trump takes back his word all the time; 2) Presidents don’t choose who gets prosecuted; and 3) Breitbart is furious about this. Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear: “President-elect Donald J. Trump repeatedly called Hillary Clinton ‘Crooked Hillary,’ and many of his fans chanted over and over again at his campaign rallies: ‘Lock her up!’ But on Tuesday, Mr. Trump essentially said never mind, signaling that he has no intention of directing investigations into his former rival’s use of a private email server or the financial operations at the Clinton family’s global foundation. ‘I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,’’ Mr. Trump said during a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times. ‘She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.’” [NYT]
DONALD TRUMP AND NEW YORK TIMES HAVE A WEIRD, “FINAL SCENE OF ‘Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN’” KIND OF MOMENT - The important thing is this all ended with Thomas Friedman asking the world’s most powerful person-in waiting a terrible question. Sydney Ember: “The strained relationship between Donald J. Trump and The New York Times took an odd path on Tuesday when a planned meeting between the president-elect and the newspaper was abruptly canceled by Mr. Trump and then quickly rescheduled. After a morning of back-and-forth statements and Twitter posts, Mr. Trump arrived at midday for a meeting with Times representatives at the paper’s Midtown headquarters. Seated next to the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., in the paper’s Churchill Room, he said he had great respect for the paper but thought its treatment of him had been ‘very rough.’” [NYT]
PRIEBUS STRAIGHT UP LYING TO TRUMP - Total cuck move, bro. Ryan Grim: “Reince Priebus had a problem. His boss, President-elect Donald Trump, was scheduled to have an on-the-record meeting with reporters and editors from The New York Times. Priebus thought ― certainly not for the last time ― that Trump wasn’t prepared for the meeting. But it’s not easy to tell Donald Trump he’s not up to a task. So, according to three sources who spoke to the same New York Times, Priebus made up a little lie. The Times, he told Trump, had tried to unilaterally change the terms of the meeting. Priebus reportedly offered up this fib ‘believing it would result in a cancellation, these people said.’ It did. Trump promptly took to Twitter and shut the whole thing down.’” [HuffPost]
HILL DEMOCRATS TRYING TO KEEP SPOTLIGHT ON TRUMP’S BUSINESS INTERESTS - Ben Cardin’s long, winding path to the White House certainly began here, yes? Nahal Toosi: “Sen. Ben Cardin... plans to introduce a resolution calling on President-elect Donald Trump to take the necessary financial steps to ensure that he is not violating any constitutional limits on a president’s conflicts of interest...Cardin plans to introduce the resolution next week, although with a Republican-controlled Congress, it’s hard to say how far it will go. According to the announcement, the resolution will ‘note that in the absence of such actions by the President-elect before he assumes office or specific authorization by Congress, Congress will regard dealings by Trump-owned companies with any entity owned by a foreign government as potential violations of the Constitution.’ … On the House side, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Mo)... along with other top Democrats on the committee, asked inspectors general for a handful of federal departments and agencies to closely monitor any problems that might arise from the president-elect’s interests.” [Politico]
TRUMP RE: WHITE SUPREMACISTS: WHO, ME? - Igor Bobic: “President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday renounced the white nationalist movement, which has grown in prominence following his campaign and election. Speaking with New York Times reporters and editorial staff at their office in Manhattan, Trump said he did not feel responsible for energizing white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers.... This is the furthest Trump has ever gone in acknowledging and disavowing the white nationalist movement, also known as the ‘alt-right.’ During the campaign, the real estate mogul was slow to reject former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who celebrated Trump’s candidacy as a boon for white supremacists around the country. Despite his public comments, however, Trump’s campaign often openly courted white supremacist groups.” [HuffPost]
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TARNISHES ELECTORAL PROCESS FOR OWN GAIN - Go figure. Julia Craven: “On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory officially filed for a statewide recount, after hinting that he would do so earlier this month. ‘With many outstanding votes yet to be counted for the first time, legal challenges, ballot protests and voter fraud allegations, we must keep open the ability to allow the established recount process to ensure very legal vote is counted properly,’ said Russell Peck, McCrory’s campaign manager, in a statement. On Nov. 9, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) declared victory over McCrory, the embattled Republican incumbent who signed into law some of the most retrograde legislation in the country since his term began in 2013.... The North Carolina Republican Party has filed a formal complaint challenging the vote count in Durham County and asking that ballots be recounted by hand. The state GOP argues that the results were put in the state’s election system by officials operating with ‘bleary eyes and tired hands.’” [HuffPost]
QOTD: “Killer Mike has never killed anybody. It’s just, he’s a killer rapper.” - Bernie Sanders to GQ.
GOP NO LONGER THAT INTO THEIR OBAMACARE LAWSUIT - Ever get the feeling these legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act were never about concern for the rule of law? Jeffrey Young: “House Republicans want a federal appeals court to let them delay the next phase of their lawsuit against President Barack Obama that would have devastating consequences for the Affordable Care Act…. If the House Republicans eventually prevailed in the case, it would cut off cost-sharing reduction payments made to health insurance companies that are required to reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-payments for low-income people. As The Huffington Post reported Saturday, eliminating these subsidy payments would give Trump and congressional Republicans their first major win in their war against Obamacare. But it also would severely disrupt the health insurance market.” [HuffPost]
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT, BERNIE BROS - Hey, maybe this will get them to to fix that Nevada convention, too! Kyle Cheney: “At least a half-dozen Democratic electors have signed onto an attempt to block Donald Trump from winning an Electoral College majority, an effort designed not only to deny Trump the presidency but also to undermine the legitimacy of the institution. The presidential electors, mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters who hail from Washington state and Colorado, are now lobbying their Republican counterparts in other states to reject their oaths — and in some cases, state law — to vote against Trump when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19.... The Democratic electors are convinced that even in defeat, their efforts would erode confidence in the Electoral College and fuel efforts to eliminate t.” [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a big dog with . . . wait for it . . . a small dog.
DONALD TRUMP HAS A BLACK FRIEND - And he wants him to maybe lead that “urban” agency...he loves the African-Americans! “I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I’ve gotten to know him well―he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!’ the president-elect tweeted today. Here’s the thing, as pointed out by Mediaite’s Justin Baragona: “[I]t was just a week ago when Ben Carson stated that he wasn’t interested in leading a federal agency because he didn’t think he had the qualifications. According to The Hill, Carson ally Armstrong Williams said the retired neurosurgeon was only interested in being an unofficial adviser due to the fact that he lacked the proper experience.” [Mediaite]
- Insane footage from New Zealand of the tectonic shift brought about by a recent earthquake.
- A record-breaking basketball shot.
- How to cook Thanksgiving dinner with drones.
@sissenberg: 2017 MEDAL OF FREEDOM RECIPIENTS
Jimmy the Greek*
* posthumously awarded
@NickBaumann: Trump: “I’m going to blow up the world.”
NYT Headline: In Interview With Times, Trump Details Foreign Policy Plans
@dcbigjohn: David Vitter wearing mom jeans on an airplane dot tumblr dot com