Donald Trump to Remain an Executive Producer on ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ MGM Rep Says

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  President-elect Donald Trump is set to remain an executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice, a representative for MGM tells ABC News. MGM holds a majority stake in Mark Burnett Productions, which owns The Apprentice.

The news comes as Trump is facing questions about what business ties, if any, he will keep as he assumes the presidency and criticism that he could face conflicts of interest.

Trump has tweeted “I will be leaving my great business” and said he will details his plans later this month.

When asked about the Celebrity Apprentice role, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said: “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett.”

“Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th,” she added.

 News of Trump’s continued role with the show was first reported by Variety. A new season of Celebrity Apprentice is scheduled to begin on NBC in January with Arnold Schwarzenegger as host.

NBC referred questions to MGM.

Norman Eisen, the former “ethics czar” for President Obama said this will be “yet another business conflict for [Trump].”

“He will be tempted, consciously or otherwise, to favor NBC or use the White House to promote this source of revenue. It is one more example of why he must divest all his interests into a blind trust or the equivalent, with these broadcast-related rights monetized and sold to someone else,” Eisen wrote in email to ABC News.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump to Remain an Executive Producer on ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ MGM Rep Says

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  President-elect Donald Trump is set to remain an executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice, a representative for MGM tells ABC News. MGM holds a majority stake in Mark Burnett Productions, which owns The Apprentice.

The news comes as Trump is facing questions about what business ties, if any, he will keep as he assumes the presidency and criticism that he could face conflicts of interest.

Trump has tweeted “I will be leaving my great business” and said he will details his plans later this month.

When asked about the Celebrity Apprentice role, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said: “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett.”

“Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th,” she added.

 News of Trump’s continued role with the show was first reported by Variety. A new season of Celebrity Apprentice is scheduled to begin on NBC in January with Arnold Schwarzenegger as host.

NBC referred questions to MGM.

Norman Eisen, the former “ethics czar” for President Obama said this will be “yet another business conflict for [Trump].”

“He will be tempted, consciously or otherwise, to favor NBC or use the White House to promote this source of revenue. It is one more example of why he must divest all his interests into a blind trust or the equivalent, with these broadcast-related rights monetized and sold to someone else,” Eisen wrote in email to ABC News.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama Says John Glenn ‘Lifted the Hopes of a Nation’

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) —  The death of legendary astronaut John Glenn sparked an outpouring of tributes, including from President Obama, who said the space pioneer “lifted the hopes of a nation.”

“With John’s passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend,” Obama said. “John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.”

Obama called Glenn, who died at 95, the “last of America’s first astronauts.”

“John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond — not just to visit, but to stay.”

The president said the nation has “lost an icon” and that he and Michelle Obama have “lost a friend.”

Tributes to Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth and also served as Ohio senator, began pouring into social media immediately after news of his death broke today.

The U.S. Marine Corps called Glenn a U.S. hero and one “Marine Corps Aviation’s legendary trailblazers.”

“Colonel John Glenn Jr. led a monumental life from his time serving as a fighter pilot in WWII and the Korean War to becoming the first American to orbit the Earth and fifth person in space,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

 Several public figures including Retired Astronaut Scott Kelly, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as well as President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, took to social media to pay tribute to the space pioneer.

NASA tweeted a tribute as well.

We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra. pic.twitter.com/89idi9r1NB

— NASA (@NASA) December 8, 2016

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama Says John Glenn ‘Lifted the Hopes of a Nation’

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) —  The death of legendary astronaut John Glenn sparked an outpouring of tributes, including from President Obama, who said the space pioneer “lifted the hopes of a nation.”

“With John’s passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend,” Obama said. “John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.”

Obama called Glenn, who died at 95, the “last of America’s first astronauts.”

“John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond — not just to visit, but to stay.”

The president said the nation has “lost an icon” and that he and Michelle Obama have “lost a friend.”

Tributes to Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth and also served as Ohio senator, began pouring into social media immediately after news of his death broke today.

The U.S. Marine Corps called Glenn a U.S. hero and one “Marine Corps Aviation’s legendary trailblazers.”

“Colonel John Glenn Jr. led a monumental life from his time serving as a fighter pilot in WWII and the Korean War to becoming the first American to orbit the Earth and fifth person in space,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

 Several public figures including Retired Astronaut Scott Kelly, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as well as President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, took to social media to pay tribute to the space pioneer.

NASA tweeted a tribute as well.

We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra. pic.twitter.com/89idi9r1NB

— NASA (@NASA) December 8, 2016

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump’s EPA Pick Has Repeatedly Challenged the Agency

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) —  The selection of Scott Pruitt as Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has raised concerns among some scientists and people who’ve worked with the EPA.

Pruitt, the Republican attorney general for Oklahoma since 2011, has interacted most directly with the EPA by suing it over what he sees as over-reaching federal regulations. Some scientists have also questioned his fitness to run the environmental agency considering he has publicly stated that he believes the debate over the cause of global warming is “far from settled.”

His nomination to now lead the agency is akin to putting “someone in charge of the Defense Department who doesn’t believe we should have a military, or someone in charge of the Transportation Department who doesn’t like roads,” said Dan Kanninen, a former White House liaison at the EPA.

But Pruitt, 48, appears to pride himself on his work against the EPA, describing himself as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” in his biography on the official Oklahoma state website.

“I am deeply grateful and honored to serve as President-elect Trump’s EPA Administrator,” Pruitt said in in a Trump transition team statement today announcing his selection, which requires Senate approval.

“The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

Here is where he falls on some of the issues:

He Believes the Global Warming Debate Is Unsettled

Pruitt co-authored a May op-ed piece for the National Review, a conservative publication, saying “global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time,” but “that debate is far from settled.”

“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” the article reads.

But the vast majority of scientists in this field disagree, according to multiple studies cited by NASA. It says those studies claim 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

Rob Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, told ABC News that it should come as no surprise that Trump’s EPA pick has “an anti-regulation” stance, but that shouldn’t automatically rule out established science’s conclusion that mankind is contributing to global warming.

“The greatest concern that I have and that a lot of scientists have in response to this is the fact that this individual seems to have an anti-science agenda as well, and one can acknowledge the role that humans are playing in changing the chemistry of our atmosphere and changing the temperature on the planet and still disagree about what you do about it, and that’s a policy discussion,” Young said.

Oklahoma Joined a Challenge to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Pruitt and his office this year helped prepare a lawsuit, which included other states and was led by the West Virginia solicitor general, in which the plaintiffs are fighting the EPA to stop its plan to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions (the Clean Power Plan).

“This administration continues to treat states as mere vessels of federal will, abusing and disrespecting the vertical separation of powers defined by our Constitution,” Pruitt said after a day of hearings in the West Virginia v. EPA case in September.

“That is why attorneys general, senators and congressmen from across the country have joined together today to maintain rule of law and checks and balances in this very process. I am committed to ensuring the ultimate payer in this matter is not overlooked – the consumers.”

This position is in keeping with his overarching commitment as Oklahoma attorney general to eliminate what he calls “unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government,” according to his biography on the state website.

The case, West Virginia v. EPA, is still open and ongoing in the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Oklahoma’s Own Lawsuit Was Dismissed

Pruitt had filed a similar lawsuit pre-emptively last year trying to stop the EPA from enforcing the same Clean Power Plan, saying it exceeded the agency’s authority and was already doing “irreparable harm” to Oklahoma.

“Whether the State of Oklahoma adopts a state plan to meet EPA’s goals or EPA promulgates a federal implementation plan, the EPA Power Plan forces the State of Oklahoma to undertake substantial legislative, regulatory, planning, and other activities,” the suit alleged.

The case was dismissed in July 2015 and the appeal was dismissed in September 2015, according to the court docket.

He Supports the Keystone XL Pipeline

Pruitt released a statement in May saying the controversial pipeline would “continue to create jobs” and slammed President Obama and his administration for “continu[ing] to interfere with the completion of the pipeline.”

“The president’s own State Department has concluded, after years of study, that the pipeline will do little to directly harm the environment or increase greenhouse gas emissions, so his actions to prohibit the pipeline are solely an attempt to place his ‘legacy’ and political ambition above our country’s ability to move closer to energy independence,” Pruitt said in a statement.

He Has Ties to the Oil and Gas Industry

Beyond taking a public stance against the EPA and raising doubts about the scientifically established cause of global warming, Pruitt has financial alliances to the oil and gas industry that trouble some opponents. The connection largely comes from the various oil and natural gas extraction projects that are underway in Oklahoma, which have come under scrutiny amid the rise in fracking and earthquakes in the landlocked state.

While defenders of the projects argue that the increase in earthquakes is unrelated to fracking, Young, of Western Carolina University, says that when water released in the process is forced back into the ground, it frequently plays a major factor in causing earthquakes.

 The New York Times reported on Pruitt’s ties to oil and gas in 2014 when it claimed that a letter from Pruitt to the EPA that was actually written by lawyers for Devon Energy, an oil and gas company based in Oklahoma.

In response to the Times report, Pruitt provided a statement to Oklahoma station KFOR: “The article did not accurately reflect what motivates my service and how we seek to make decisions on advancing these cases,” the statement read. “Our responsibility is to protect Oklahoma’s interest when any federal agency seeks to displace the authority granted to the state under federal law. This administration has given us plenty of opportunity to litigate those matters in regards to energy, the environment, and health care and that is what is driving us, nothing more or nothing less.”

“It should come as no surprise that I am working diligently with Oklahoma energy companies, the people of Oklahoma and the majority of attorneys general to fight the unlawful overreach of the EPA and other federal agencies,” the letter read.

Kanninen, who has worked in several Democratic political positions, including his time at the Obama White House and working as a Wisconsin state director for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election, said Pruitt “is someone who has been in the belly of the oil and gas industry; that’s where he comes from.”

“He’s well known as an antagonist to the environmental community. Someone who’s repeatedly taken the side of the oil and gas industry,” Kanninen said.

Campaign finance records show that Pruitt received $5,000 in contributions from the Koch Industries PAC during his 2010 campaign for attorney general, and BP donated $500.

He also received contributions from the Marathon Oil Company Employee’s PAC for $1,000, the Chevron Employees PAC for $1,000 and the OGE Energy Corp. Employee’s PAC for $3,500, according to Oklahoma state records.

Trump, however, praised Pruitt’s work and said in a statement announcing his pick that Pruitt would “reverse this trend” of how he alleges the EPA spends “taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump’s EPA Pick Has Repeatedly Challenged the Agency

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) —  The selection of Scott Pruitt as Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has raised concerns among some scientists and people who’ve worked with the EPA.

Pruitt, the Republican attorney general for Oklahoma since 2011, has interacted most directly with the EPA by suing it over what he sees as over-reaching federal regulations. Some scientists have also questioned his fitness to run the environmental agency considering he has publicly stated that he believes the debate over the cause of global warming is “far from settled.”

His nomination to now lead the agency is akin to putting “someone in charge of the Defense Department who doesn’t believe we should have a military, or someone in charge of the Transportation Department who doesn’t like roads,” said Dan Kanninen, a former White House liaison at the EPA.

But Pruitt, 48, appears to pride himself on his work against the EPA, describing himself as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” in his biography on the official Oklahoma state website.

“I am deeply grateful and honored to serve as President-elect Trump’s EPA Administrator,” Pruitt said in in a Trump transition team statement today announcing his selection, which requires Senate approval.

“The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

Here is where he falls on some of the issues:

He Believes the Global Warming Debate Is Unsettled

Pruitt co-authored a May op-ed piece for the National Review, a conservative publication, saying “global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time,” but “that debate is far from settled.”

“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” the article reads.

But the vast majority of scientists in this field disagree, according to multiple studies cited by NASA. It says those studies claim 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

Rob Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, told ABC News that it should come as no surprise that Trump’s EPA pick has “an anti-regulation” stance, but that shouldn’t automatically rule out established science’s conclusion that mankind is contributing to global warming.

“The greatest concern that I have and that a lot of scientists have in response to this is the fact that this individual seems to have an anti-science agenda as well, and one can acknowledge the role that humans are playing in changing the chemistry of our atmosphere and changing the temperature on the planet and still disagree about what you do about it, and that’s a policy discussion,” Young said.

Oklahoma Joined a Challenge to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Pruitt and his office this year helped prepare a lawsuit, which included other states and was led by the West Virginia solicitor general, in which the plaintiffs are fighting the EPA to stop its plan to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions (the Clean Power Plan).

“This administration continues to treat states as mere vessels of federal will, abusing and disrespecting the vertical separation of powers defined by our Constitution,” Pruitt said after a day of hearings in the West Virginia v. EPA case in September.

“That is why attorneys general, senators and congressmen from across the country have joined together today to maintain rule of law and checks and balances in this very process. I am committed to ensuring the ultimate payer in this matter is not overlooked – the consumers.”

This position is in keeping with his overarching commitment as Oklahoma attorney general to eliminate what he calls “unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government,” according to his biography on the state website.

The case, West Virginia v. EPA, is still open and ongoing in the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Oklahoma’s Own Lawsuit Was Dismissed

Pruitt had filed a similar lawsuit pre-emptively last year trying to stop the EPA from enforcing the same Clean Power Plan, saying it exceeded the agency’s authority and was already doing “irreparable harm” to Oklahoma.

“Whether the State of Oklahoma adopts a state plan to meet EPA’s goals or EPA promulgates a federal implementation plan, the EPA Power Plan forces the State of Oklahoma to undertake substantial legislative, regulatory, planning, and other activities,” the suit alleged.

The case was dismissed in July 2015 and the appeal was dismissed in September 2015, according to the court docket.

He Supports the Keystone XL Pipeline

Pruitt released a statement in May saying the controversial pipeline would “continue to create jobs” and slammed President Obama and his administration for “continu[ing] to interfere with the completion of the pipeline.”

“The president’s own State Department has concluded, after years of study, that the pipeline will do little to directly harm the environment or increase greenhouse gas emissions, so his actions to prohibit the pipeline are solely an attempt to place his ‘legacy’ and political ambition above our country’s ability to move closer to energy independence,” Pruitt said in a statement.

He Has Ties to the Oil and Gas Industry

Beyond taking a public stance against the EPA and raising doubts about the scientifically established cause of global warming, Pruitt has financial alliances to the oil and gas industry that trouble some opponents. The connection largely comes from the various oil and natural gas extraction projects that are underway in Oklahoma, which have come under scrutiny amid the rise in fracking and earthquakes in the landlocked state.

While defenders of the projects argue that the increase in earthquakes is unrelated to fracking, Young, of Western Carolina University, says that when water released in the process is forced back into the ground, it frequently plays a major factor in causing earthquakes.

 The New York Times reported on Pruitt’s ties to oil and gas in 2014 when it claimed that a letter from Pruitt to the EPA that was actually written by lawyers for Devon Energy, an oil and gas company based in Oklahoma.

In response to the Times report, Pruitt provided a statement to Oklahoma station KFOR: “The article did not accurately reflect what motivates my service and how we seek to make decisions on advancing these cases,” the statement read. “Our responsibility is to protect Oklahoma’s interest when any federal agency seeks to displace the authority granted to the state under federal law. This administration has given us plenty of opportunity to litigate those matters in regards to energy, the environment, and health care and that is what is driving us, nothing more or nothing less.”

“It should come as no surprise that I am working diligently with Oklahoma energy companies, the people of Oklahoma and the majority of attorneys general to fight the unlawful overreach of the EPA and other federal agencies,” the letter read.

Kanninen, who has worked in several Democratic political positions, including his time at the Obama White House and working as a Wisconsin state director for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election, said Pruitt “is someone who has been in the belly of the oil and gas industry; that’s where he comes from.”

“He’s well known as an antagonist to the environmental community. Someone who’s repeatedly taken the side of the oil and gas industry,” Kanninen said.

Campaign finance records show that Pruitt received $5,000 in contributions from the Koch Industries PAC during his 2010 campaign for attorney general, and BP donated $500.

He also received contributions from the Marathon Oil Company Employee’s PAC for $1,000, the Chevron Employees PAC for $1,000 and the OGE Energy Corp. Employee’s PAC for $3,500, according to Oklahoma state records.

Trump, however, praised Pruitt’s work and said in a statement announcing his pick that Pruitt would “reverse this trend” of how he alleges the EPA spends “taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fast Food Exec Andrew Puzder Tapped to Be Trump’s Labor Secretary

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  Fast food executive Andrew Puzder has been tapped to head the Department of Labor, the Trump transition team said Thursday.

“Andy Puzder has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans, and his extensive record fighting for workers makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Department of Labor,” Trump said in a statement. “Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages.”

Puzder said he was “honored” to be selected and believes “that the right government policies can result in more jobs and better wages for the American worker,” he said in a statement provided by the Trump team. The position will require Senate confirmation.

Puzder, who has spent his career in the private sector, is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which is the parent company of fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Puzder is a vocal opponent of the Obama administration’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25. He criticized a recent Labor Department rule expanding eligibility for overtime pay.

“This new rule will simply add to the extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers, forcing many to offset increased labor expense by cutting costs elsewhere,” Puzder wrote in Forbes earlier this year. “In practice, this means reduced opportunities, bonuses, benefits, perks and promotions.”

He supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, arguing it could contribute to a “restaurant recession.”

In 2015, Puzder defended Carl’s Jr.’s racy television ads featuring scantily clad women, including a Super Bowl spot which stirred up controversy at the time.

“I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American,” he told Entrepreneur last year.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Everything You Need to Know About Rogue Electors

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s been one month since Election Day, but the real votes for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won’t be cast for another 11 days.

That’s when the 538 actual people who make up the Electoral College will meet in state capitals across the country and cast their votes for president. Three hundred and six electoral votes are pledged to Donald Trump and 232 are pledged to Hillary Clinton.

But what happens if one of the electors actually casting the votes tries to go rogue? It’s happened before and it could happen again this year.

Here’s everything you need to know about the so-called faithless electors:

What Are Presidential Electors and Why Do They Matter?

As states were projected on election night last month, states were called for Trump or Clinton — but voters across the country were really voting for electors who had promised to vote for Trump or Clinton in a process called the Electoral College.

Each state is worth a certain number of “electoral votes” — for example, Michigan is worth 16. The first candidate to reach 270 electoral votes is declared the winner of the presidential election.

What comes next is the technical process of the Electoral College. The 538 electors chosen by voters on Election Day will meet in their respective state capitals on Monday, Dec. 19, to cast their votes for president and vice president. Many of them are technically free to vote for whomever they choose. The electoral votes will be counted in a joint Congress session on Jan. 6.

This process is usually ignored because it has never affected the outcome of the presidential election.

Can Electors Really Vote for Whomever They Want?

Many of them can. Only 29 states and the District of Columbia have state laws on the books that try to force electors to vote for their party’s presidential candidate, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Some laws set civil fines for electors who break their pledge while others appoint new electors to replace electors who go rogue. These laws have remained largely unchallenged in American courts and experts debate whether they are constitutional.

The rest are free agents. However, most electors are chosen because they are loyalists to the state party, so most are very unlikely to stray from their party’s candidate.

Have Electors Gone Rogue Before?

Yes. More than 150 electors have gone rogue since the first presidential election in 1788, according to data compiled by FairVote, a nonpartisan election reform organization.

Most rogue electors have acted alone. The most recent instance came in 2004, when an elector from Minnesota cast their presidential ballot for Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards.

In early presidential elections, some groups of electors in 1832 and 1836 did vote as a group, according to FairVote. A group of 30 electors in Pennsylvania refused to vote for Martin Van Buren for vice president and a group of 23 electors in Virginia refused to vote for Richard Johnson for vice president.

No faithless electors have voted together in more than 100 years.

Could This Year’s Electors Go Rogue and Elect Clinton Instead of Trump?

It’s virtually impossible. More than three dozen electors would need to defect from Trump in order to deadlock the Electoral College — an extraordinary number that would mark the most rogue electors in American history absent a candidate’s death.

So far, only one Republican elector has committed to stray from his pledge. Christopher Suprun, one of the Republican members of the Electoral College from Texas, says he will not vote for Trump in a New York Times opinion piece out on Monday.

“I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office,” he wrote. “Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander-in-chief,” he writes, suggesting unifying around another Republican, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Another group this year, dubbed “Hamilton Electors,” have tried to rally GOP electors around another candidate. A handful of Democratic electors in that group say they are willing to support a different Republican for president.

They point to Federalist 68, written by Alexander Hamilton, as evidence for their cause. “The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications,” he wrote.

Hypothetically, What Would Happen if Their Plan Worked?

Assuming no candidate reaches 270 electoral votes, the election would get thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives with the top three electoral vote getters — likely Trump, Clinton and another candidate.

Each state delegation in the U.S. House would get one combined vote to cast. Republicans control a majority of the state delegations in the House. The first candidate to earn votes from 26 states would win.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Rogue’ GOP Elector Says Others Will Join in Opposing Trump

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Meet one of the real 538 electors, Christopher Suprun a Republican from Texas. Suprun has decided to vote for someone other than Donald Trump when he casts his electoral college vote later this month. He believes other electors are right there with him.

“At this point there are people who have reached out to me. Again it wouldn’t be my place to name who they are,” he said, though he indicated he was talking about Republican electors.

“I am confident in saying, at this point,” he continued,”I don’t think I will be the only one voting for someone other than Donald Trump who is carrying a Republican elector seat.”

Suprun told Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on the Powerhouse Politics Podcast that he is not sure which former candidate will earn the vote since his choice, Ohio Governor John Kasich, has said he is not interested.

“As electors come forward, and I have had conversations with other Republican electors in particular, I think we will start discussing names specifically and see who meets the test that we could all get behind,” he said.

“The point of this isn’t just to go down and raise a little ruckus it is to vote for the person we think would best be able to hold the position.”

Suprun says he has received both positive and negative reactions. On the positive side are people who say his actions restore their faith in the country. On the other side he has “received several twitter threats directly.”

“I have been told that this type of action leads to insurrection, which I think is unfortunate,” Suprun said. “There has been some backlash. Unfortunately there are some Trump backers who think violence is the answer.”

Suprun had been a Trump supporter but said he “started having very serious doubts two weeks ago when on the Sunday talk shows Mr. Trump started talking about a phantom three million illegal votes, where he was attacking members of the press for exercising their first amendment rights.”

“I think he is the only candidate I am aware of who ever asked a foreign country to hack his political opponent’s e mail account to find out what is in them, which I consider almost an invitation to espionage. We know he has been a demagogue. He has not attempted to unite the country. Even when Time Magazine made him their Person Of The Year they called him ‘President of the Divided States of America.’ And, finally, most objectively, he seems to have financial conflicts of interest which he won’t resolve.”

Suprun said he is in favor of an electoral college, but doesn’t think it should be “a rubber stamp.” As he wrote in his recent New York Times article, he believes his actions fall squarely in the Hamiltonian tradition. He wrote that “the United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Rogue’ GOP Elector Says Others Will Join in Opposing Trump

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Meet one of the real 538 electors, Christopher Suprun a Republican from Texas. Suprun has decided to vote for someone other than Donald Trump when he casts his electoral college vote later this month. He believes other electors are right there with him.

“At this point there are people who have reached out to me. Again it wouldn’t be my place to name who they are,” he said, though he indicated he was talking about Republican electors.

“I am confident in saying, at this point,” he continued,”I don’t think I will be the only one voting for someone other than Donald Trump who is carrying a Republican elector seat.”

Suprun told Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on the Powerhouse Politics Podcast that he is not sure which former candidate will earn the vote since his choice, Ohio Governor John Kasich, has said he is not interested.

“As electors come forward, and I have had conversations with other Republican electors in particular, I think we will start discussing names specifically and see who meets the test that we could all get behind,” he said.

“The point of this isn’t just to go down and raise a little ruckus it is to vote for the person we think would best be able to hold the position.”

Suprun says he has received both positive and negative reactions. On the positive side are people who say his actions restore their faith in the country. On the other side he has “received several twitter threats directly.”

“I have been told that this type of action leads to insurrection, which I think is unfortunate,” Suprun said. “There has been some backlash. Unfortunately there are some Trump backers who think violence is the answer.”

Suprun had been a Trump supporter but said he “started having very serious doubts two weeks ago when on the Sunday talk shows Mr. Trump started talking about a phantom three million illegal votes, where he was attacking members of the press for exercising their first amendment rights.”

“I think he is the only candidate I am aware of who ever asked a foreign country to hack his political opponent’s e mail account to find out what is in them, which I consider almost an invitation to espionage. We know he has been a demagogue. He has not attempted to unite the country. Even when Time Magazine made him their Person Of The Year they called him ‘President of the Divided States of America.’ And, finally, most objectively, he seems to have financial conflicts of interest which he won’t resolve.”

Suprun said he is in favor of an electoral college, but doesn’t think it should be “a rubber stamp.” As he wrote in his recent New York Times article, he believes his actions fall squarely in the Hamiltonian tradition. He wrote that “the United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Jokes at Her Own Expense for Harry Reid’s Retirement

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton didn’t shy away from some dark humor in her opening remarks during a speech at retiring Sen. Harry Reid’s tribute and portrait unveiling Thursday.

“This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election,” she said. “But after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to come out. And I’m very grateful to Harry for inviting me to be a part of this celebration.”

The Senate minority leader from Nevada retires from Congress this year and was honored with a portrait in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Jokes at Her Own Expense for Harry Reid’s Retirement

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton didn’t shy away from some dark humor in her opening remarks during a speech at retiring Sen. Harry Reid’s tribute and portrait unveiling Thursday.

“This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election,” she said. “But after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to come out. And I’m very grateful to Harry for inviting me to be a part of this celebration.”

The Senate minority leader from Nevada retires from Congress this year and was honored with a portrait in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump to Meet with OSU Attack Victims, First Responders

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump plans on visiting Ohio State University to privately meet with victims of last week’s attack, as well as first responders, according to the college.

On Nov. 28, an 18-year-old OSU student drove into pedestrians with a car and then began stabbing people, leaving 11 injured. OSU Officer Alan Horujko fatally shot the suspect, putting an end to the rampage.

After the meetings at OSU, Trump is expected to address the media, according to a statement from the school’s public relations team.

Trump will also continue his thank-you tour Thursday with a stop in Des Moines, Iowa — a state that helped him win the White House.

The president-elect’s rally is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at the Hy-Vee Hall in the Iowa Events Center.

Iowa is Trump’s third stop. He held a rally in Ohio last week, where he said he had “a lot of fun fighting Hillary Clinton” and held his second rally on Monday in North Carolina, where he threatened to take action against flag burners and also formally announced retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his defense secretary pick.

On Wednesday, Trump tapped Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to be the next U.S. ambassador to China, and Gov. Branstad will join Trump at the rally Thursday night.

Trump won the Hawkeye State on Election Day with 52 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 42 percent. Trump, however, finished second in the Iowa Republican caucuses back in February.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump to Meet with OSU Attack Victims, First Responders

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump plans on visiting Ohio State University to privately meet with victims of last week’s attack, as well as first responders, according to the college.

On Nov. 28, an 18-year-old OSU student drove into pedestrians with a car and then began stabbing people, leaving 11 injured. OSU Officer Alan Horujko fatally shot the suspect, putting an end to the rampage.

After the meetings at OSU, Trump is expected to address the media, according to a statement from the school’s public relations team.

Trump will also continue his thank-you tour Thursday with a stop in Des Moines, Iowa — a state that helped him win the White House.

The president-elect’s rally is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at the Hy-Vee Hall in the Iowa Events Center.

Iowa is Trump’s third stop. He held a rally in Ohio last week, where he said he had “a lot of fun fighting Hillary Clinton” and held his second rally on Monday in North Carolina, where he threatened to take action against flag burners and also formally announced retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his defense secretary pick.

On Wednesday, Trump tapped Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to be the next U.S. ambassador to China, and Gov. Branstad will join Trump at the rally Thursday night.

Trump won the Hawkeye State on Election Day with 52 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 42 percent. Trump, however, finished second in the Iowa Republican caucuses back in February.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Leonardo DiCaprio Meets with Trump to Discuss Environmental Issues

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Political types aren’t the only ones descending on Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, New York for a meeting with the president-elect and his transition team.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump met with Hollywood heavyweight Leonardo DiCaprio and Terry Tamminen, the chief executive officer of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which “is dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants,” according to the foundation’s mission statement.

“Today, we presented the president-elect and his advisers with a framework — which LDF developed in consultation with leading voices in the fields of economics and environmentalism — that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure,” Tamminen said in a statement.

Tamminen said the meeting “focused on how [to] create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation.”

The meeting — which was not announced ahead of time by the transition team — also included a discussion about the polarizing issue of climate change.

“Climate change is bigger than politics, and the disastrous effects on our planet and our civilization will continue regardless of what party holds majorities in Congress or occupies the White House,” Tamminen said.

And it seems that the trio will continue their dialogue.

“The president-elect expressed his desire for a follow-up meeting in January, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the incoming administration as we work to stop the dangerous march of climate change, while putting millions of people to work at the same time,” Tamminen said.

DiCaprio also met with Ivanka Trump and a couple of other Trump advisers while at Trump Tower, a source with knowledge of the meeting said.

On Wednesday afternoon, former New York Police Department detective and 2017 New York City mayoral candidate Bo Dietl tweeted a photo of DiCaprio and Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital and a member of Donald Trump’s transition team, as well as others, dining together.

Earlier this week, ABC News confirmed DiCaprio recently met with Ivanka Trump and gave her a copy of his documentary Before the Flood.

The meeting occurred on the heels of Donald Trump’s Monday meeting with former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore.

The meeting also comes on the same day a senior Trump adviser said Trump has selected Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a strong critic of the EPA, and his nomination drew swift criticism from some prominent Democrats and environmental groups.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Leonardo DiCaprio Meets with Trump to Discuss Environmental Issues

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Political types aren’t the only ones descending on Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, New York for a meeting with the president-elect and his transition team.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump met with Hollywood heavyweight Leonardo DiCaprio and Terry Tamminen, the chief executive officer of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which “is dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants,” according to the foundation’s mission statement.

“Today, we presented the president-elect and his advisers with a framework — which LDF developed in consultation with leading voices in the fields of economics and environmentalism — that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure,” Tamminen said in a statement.

Tamminen said the meeting “focused on how [to] create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation.”

The meeting — which was not announced ahead of time by the transition team — also included a discussion about the polarizing issue of climate change.

“Climate change is bigger than politics, and the disastrous effects on our planet and our civilization will continue regardless of what party holds majorities in Congress or occupies the White House,” Tamminen said.

And it seems that the trio will continue their dialogue.

“The president-elect expressed his desire for a follow-up meeting in January, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the incoming administration as we work to stop the dangerous march of climate change, while putting millions of people to work at the same time,” Tamminen said.

DiCaprio also met with Ivanka Trump and a couple of other Trump advisers while at Trump Tower, a source with knowledge of the meeting said.

On Wednesday afternoon, former New York Police Department detective and 2017 New York City mayoral candidate Bo Dietl tweeted a photo of DiCaprio and Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital and a member of Donald Trump’s transition team, as well as others, dining together.

Earlier this week, ABC News confirmed DiCaprio recently met with Ivanka Trump and gave her a copy of his documentary Before the Flood.

The meeting occurred on the heels of Donald Trump’s Monday meeting with former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore.

The meeting also comes on the same day a senior Trump adviser said Trump has selected Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a strong critic of the EPA, and his nomination drew swift criticism from some prominent Democrats and environmental groups.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

First Lady Brings Staffers to Tears at Emotional Final Staff Holiday Party

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Chandler West for Hillary For America(WASHINGTON) —  First lady Michelle Obama hosted a staff holiday party at the Washington, D.C., restaurant “We the Pizza” on Tuesday night, two people in attendance confirm to ABC News.

“It was a very exclusive, private event for her and her staff,” owner and chef Spike Mendelsohn told ABC News in a phone interview. “It was a celebration of all the work her staff has done over the last eight years.”

A second person who attended the soirée said it was “emotional.”

Mendelsohn says many in the room, including him, were brought to tears by remarks the first lady gave to the staff — telling them “not to harp on the negativity and keep up the good work.”

“Her message struck a cord, it was emotional, especially with everything that’s happening now with the country and the world,” he said.

He described the mood in the room as simultaneously “joyful and celebratory” but also “real.”

“There was an underlying sadness that it’s come to an end,” he noted.

Mendelsohn posted a photo of cookies from the event on his Instagram account.

The first lady’s office has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

The Hill
first reported this story.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

First Lady Brings Staffers to Tears at Emotional Final Staff Holiday Party

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Chandler West for Hillary For America(WASHINGTON) —  First lady Michelle Obama hosted a staff holiday party at the Washington, D.C., restaurant “We the Pizza” on Tuesday night, two people in attendance confirm to ABC News.

“It was a very exclusive, private event for her and her staff,” owner and chef Spike Mendelsohn told ABC News in a phone interview. “It was a celebration of all the work her staff has done over the last eight years.”

A second person who attended the soirée said it was “emotional.”

Mendelsohn says many in the room, including him, were brought to tears by remarks the first lady gave to the staff — telling them “not to harp on the negativity and keep up the good work.”

“Her message struck a cord, it was emotional, especially with everything that’s happening now with the country and the world,” he said.

He described the mood in the room as simultaneously “joyful and celebratory” but also “real.”

“There was an underlying sadness that it’s come to an end,” he noted.

Mendelsohn posted a photo of cookies from the event on his Instagram account.

The first lady’s office has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

The Hill
first reported this story.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Valerie Jarrett: I ‘Encouraged’ Kellyanne Conway to Work in the White House

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) —  Kellyanne Conway, the political pollster who became the first Republican woman to run a presidential campaign, said Wednesday she might not continue to advise President-elect Donald Trump from inside the White House because of her four young children.

“My children are 12, 12, 8 and 7, which is bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea for mom going inside [the White House],” Conway told the audience at Politico’s “Women Rule” event at the Park Hyatt Washington. “They have to come first and those are very fraught ages.”

Conway said while there are opportunities for working mothers in the nation’s capital, “we still have to make choices and there are limits.”

President Barack Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, the event’s keynote speaker, said she imparted some advice to Conway about being a working mom in the White House.

“I encouraged her to give it a try,” Jarrett said. “First of all, because the experience inside the White House, working with somebody who you respect and know as well as she does, the president-elect is unique, and I’ve had the benefit of that and I wouldn’t have traded the last years for anything.”

 President Obama made helping working families a priority during his administration and during the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s daughter Ivanka spearheaded efforts to make childcare support for parents an important part of the Trump agenda.

But despite her personal concerns about juggling motherhood and a formal White House role, Conway dismissed any notions that Trump does not support mothers in the White House.

“Mothers and married women and unmarried women — they’re all welcome in the Trump White House and he’s made that very clear to me,” said Conway. Turning down a job at the White House, “would be my personal choice and not a demand on me.”

Instead, Conway described her potential next job as head of a political “surround sound super-structure” in a Trump administration role similar to President Obama’s advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod.

“This outside superstructure is important too because as you said, David Plouffe, who’s a very close adviser to President Obama, he stayed outside. David Axelrod went inside and then I guess they kind of switched, so it’s probably a matter of sequence,” said Conway.

She said the organization would get the message out on important agenda items for the White House. It would also allow her to spend time at home with her family.

”A friend made a really fascinating suggestion to me that maybe I could go — he’s going to want to see me on the morning shows and then go into the oval and then by 2 o’clock I’ve put in a full day but it’s not a full day, ’cause it’s the White House. But maybe I could go home and see the kids and help them with homework and then go back,” said Conway.

“Maybe I could help America’s women in terms of feeling less guilty about balancing life and career and perhaps Skyping or Facetiming and showing how that’s done. I mean there’s something to that. So we’ll figure all that out.”

During interviews with candidates for cabinet positions, Conway says she challenges the male candidates to think about their families first.

“I do politely mention to them that the question isn’t, ‘Would you take the job?’ — the male sitting across from me who’s about to take a big role in the White House — but ‘Would you want your wife to? And you really see their whole would you want the mother of your children–you really see their entire visage change. It’s like oh no they wouldn’t want their wife to take that job.”

Still, Jarrett thinks Conway’s boss President Elect Trump would understand her concerns.

“I think tone starts at the top and if you have a relationship with your boss such that you can say, ‘look, this is a top priority. There’s nothing more important for me than being a good mom, but I think I can be a good mom and have the flexibility enough to do this job well,’” said Jarrett. “And that’s something I encouraged her to try.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Valerie Jarrett: I ‘Encouraged’ Kellyanne Conway to Work in the White House

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) —  Kellyanne Conway, the political pollster who became the first Republican woman to run a presidential campaign, said Wednesday she might not continue to advise President-elect Donald Trump from inside the White House because of her four young children.

“My children are 12, 12, 8 and 7, which is bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea for mom going inside [the White House],” Conway told the audience at Politico’s “Women Rule” event at the Park Hyatt Washington. “They have to come first and those are very fraught ages.”

Conway said while there are opportunities for working mothers in the nation’s capital, “we still have to make choices and there are limits.”

President Barack Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, the event’s keynote speaker, said she imparted some advice to Conway about being a working mom in the White House.

“I encouraged her to give it a try,” Jarrett said. “First of all, because the experience inside the White House, working with somebody who you respect and know as well as she does, the president-elect is unique, and I’ve had the benefit of that and I wouldn’t have traded the last years for anything.”

 President Obama made helping working families a priority during his administration and during the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s daughter Ivanka spearheaded efforts to make childcare support for parents an important part of the Trump agenda.

But despite her personal concerns about juggling motherhood and a formal White House role, Conway dismissed any notions that Trump does not support mothers in the White House.

“Mothers and married women and unmarried women — they’re all welcome in the Trump White House and he’s made that very clear to me,” said Conway. Turning down a job at the White House, “would be my personal choice and not a demand on me.”

Instead, Conway described her potential next job as head of a political “surround sound super-structure” in a Trump administration role similar to President Obama’s advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod.

“This outside superstructure is important too because as you said, David Plouffe, who’s a very close adviser to President Obama, he stayed outside. David Axelrod went inside and then I guess they kind of switched, so it’s probably a matter of sequence,” said Conway.

She said the organization would get the message out on important agenda items for the White House. It would also allow her to spend time at home with her family.

”A friend made a really fascinating suggestion to me that maybe I could go — he’s going to want to see me on the morning shows and then go into the oval and then by 2 o’clock I’ve put in a full day but it’s not a full day, ’cause it’s the White House. But maybe I could go home and see the kids and help them with homework and then go back,” said Conway.

“Maybe I could help America’s women in terms of feeling less guilty about balancing life and career and perhaps Skyping or Facetiming and showing how that’s done. I mean there’s something to that. So we’ll figure all that out.”

During interviews with candidates for cabinet positions, Conway says she challenges the male candidates to think about their families first.

“I do politely mention to them that the question isn’t, ‘Would you take the job?’ — the male sitting across from me who’s about to take a big role in the White House — but ‘Would you want your wife to? And you really see their whole would you want the mother of your children–you really see their entire visage change. It’s like oh no they wouldn’t want their wife to take that job.”

Still, Jarrett thinks Conway’s boss President Elect Trump would understand her concerns.

“I think tone starts at the top and if you have a relationship with your boss such that you can say, ‘look, this is a top priority. There’s nothing more important for me than being a good mom, but I think I can be a good mom and have the flexibility enough to do this job well,’” said Jarrett. “And that’s something I encouraged her to try.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Selects Oklahoma Attorney General and EPA Critic Scott Pruitt to Head EPA

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  President-elect Donald Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General and Environmental Protection Agency critic Scott Pruitt as his pick to run the EPA, according to Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

“Attorney General Pruitt has great qualifications and a good record as the AG of Oklahoma,” Conway told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower Wednesday night. “There were a number of qualified candidates for that particular position that the president-elect interviewed and he settled on Attorney General Pruitt and we’ll look forward to the confirmation hearings.”

Pruitt’s selection may cause alarm in some circles — his bio on his website touts him as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

 As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt joined with 27 other states in suing the federal government over implementation of regulations directed towards combating climate change. Pruitt has argued those regulations violate citizens’ property rights and serve as a deterrent to the oil and gas industries that largely drive his state’s economy.

Pruitt’s actions largely mirror Trump’s own rhetoric on the campaign trail, framing the EPA as an all-too-powerful agency pursuing an ideological agenda based on what he considers dubious science.

Environmental groups were quick to condemn the decision as “appalling,” with one comparing it to “putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.” The reports come just one day after Trump’s one-on-one meeting with former vice president and climate advocate Al Gore.

Repeated calls to Pruitt’s office by ABC News for comment were not returned.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump’s Favorability Rating at 50 Percent, New Poll Shows

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  A month after the election, the nation remains divided over President-elect Donald Trump, a new poll shows.

Trump’s favorability rating sits at 50 percent, according to a national Bloomberg poll out Wednesday.

Just 37 percent of Americans polled believe the country is heading in the right direction, while 49 percent feel that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The poll, conducted from Dec. 2-5, also shows that 55 percent are more optimistic about a Trump presidency from his actions and statements since Election Day, while 35 percent are more pessimistic about the prospect of Trump in the White House.

And, according to the Bloomberg poll, 51 percent are very or mostly confident that Trump will put America’s interests ahead of his business as he meets with foreign leaders. Last week, Trump tweeted he’ll cut ties to his business “in total” to focus on running the country.

“While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Trump also announced that he will hold a “major news conference” with his children, who are involved with his businesses, on Dec. 15.

In addition, the Bloomberg poll shows that a majority of Americans — 67 percent — believe Trump needs to choose between being president or a businessman, yet 69 percent believe it “goes too far” if Trump sells off his businesses in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

Seventy-nine percent hope Trump drops the combative tone he displayed on the campaign trail once he’s in office come January, the poll shows.

An overwhelming 73 percent are fine with Trump adjusting a few of campaign promises, including appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s private email server, banning Muslims from entering the U.S., and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, according to the poll. Just 20 percent view Trump’s reconsideration of these issues as broken promises.

Sixty-nine percent, however, believe Trump will deliver on his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump has recently said he’d like to keep parts of Obamacare in place, such as protecting patients with pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to remain on their parents’ plans until they’re 26.

But when it comes to two of Trump’s key campaign promises related to immigration, more than half of Americans don’t think he’ll accomplish it, the poll shows. Fifty-seven percent don’t expect millions of undocumented immigrants to be deported and 65 percent don’t expect a wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump’s Favorability Rating at 50 Percent, New Poll Shows

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  A month after the election, the nation remains divided over President-elect Donald Trump, a new poll shows.

Trump’s favorability rating sits at 50 percent, according to a national Bloomberg poll out Wednesday.

Just 37 percent of Americans polled believe the country is heading in the right direction, while 49 percent feel that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The poll, conducted from Dec. 2-5, also shows that 55 percent are more optimistic about a Trump presidency from his actions and statements since Election Day, while 35 percent are more pessimistic about the prospect of Trump in the White House.

And, according to the Bloomberg poll, 51 percent are very or mostly confident that Trump will put America’s interests ahead of his business as he meets with foreign leaders. Last week, Trump tweeted he’ll cut ties to his business “in total” to focus on running the country.

“While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Trump also announced that he will hold a “major news conference” with his children, who are involved with his businesses, on Dec. 15.

In addition, the Bloomberg poll shows that a majority of Americans — 67 percent — believe Trump needs to choose between being president or a businessman, yet 69 percent believe it “goes too far” if Trump sells off his businesses in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

Seventy-nine percent hope Trump drops the combative tone he displayed on the campaign trail once he’s in office come January, the poll shows.

An overwhelming 73 percent are fine with Trump adjusting a few of campaign promises, including appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s private email server, banning Muslims from entering the U.S., and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, according to the poll. Just 20 percent view Trump’s reconsideration of these issues as broken promises.

Sixty-nine percent, however, believe Trump will deliver on his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump has recently said he’d like to keep parts of Obamacare in place, such as protecting patients with pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to remain on their parents’ plans until they’re 26.

But when it comes to two of Trump’s key campaign promises related to immigration, more than half of Americans don’t think he’ll accomplish it, the poll shows. Fifty-seven percent don’t expect millions of undocumented immigrants to be deported and 65 percent don’t expect a wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Expected to Pick Gen. John Kelly as Nominee for DHS Secretary

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Gen. John Kelly for secretary of Homeland Security, according to two top transition officials familiar with the decision.

Kelly is a retired four-star general and the former commander of U.S. Southern Command. In addition to his experience leading troops overseas, he is known for his strong knowledge of border issues and the drug trade in South and Central America.

Kelly lost his son Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump and Kelly last met at Trump Tower on Nov. 30. His office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Expected to Pick Gen. John Kelly as Nominee for DHS Secretary

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Gen. John Kelly for secretary of Homeland Security, according to two top transition officials familiar with the decision.

Kelly is a retired four-star general and the former commander of U.S. Southern Command. In addition to his experience leading troops overseas, he is known for his strong knowledge of border issues and the drug trade in South and Central America.

Kelly lost his son Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump and Kelly last met at Trump Tower on Nov. 30. His office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bob Dole Helped Trump Team with Taiwan Contacts over Six-Month Period, Document Says

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A new federal disclosure document indicates that former senator and presidential nominee Bob Dole facilitated contact between Taiwanese officials and members of Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams over a six-month period this year.

Trump’s phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last week sparked controversy because it marked a break with decades of U.S. policy on China and Taiwan.

Dole and his law firm Alston & Bird, worked on behalf of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative (TECRO) to arrange for a series of meetings between Trump advisers and Taiwanese officials, according to documents filed last week with the Department of Justice.

The disclosure form — required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act — indicates Dole “arranged a telephone briefing with Trump campaign policy director” and “convened a meeting between embassy staff and Trump transition team.”

In addition to these encounters, Dole helped Taiwan secure favorable language in the Republican Party’s platform and arranged for a meeting between Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was eventually named Trump’s pick for attorney general, and Taiwan’s representative to the U.S., Stanley Kao.

The disclosure does not detail whether Dole set up last week’s telephone call.

The disclosure shows TECRO paid Alston & Bird $140,000 for their services from May to October.

The Wall Street Journal reported a transition official said Dole arranged for the phone call between Trump and Taiwan’s President. Dole told the WSJ in an interview that his firm played a role in arranging the phone call. “It’s fair to say that we may have had some influence,” Dole said.

A spokesman for Dole declined to comment on the Taiwan matter when asked by ABC News. TECRO has also declined to comment on the reports.

Dole’s firm was required to disclose its work for TECRO based on a federal law, which “requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make period public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bob Dole Helped Trump Team with Taiwan Contacts over Six-Month Period, Document Says

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A new federal disclosure document indicates that former senator and presidential nominee Bob Dole facilitated contact between Taiwanese officials and members of Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams over a six-month period this year.

Trump’s phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last week sparked controversy because it marked a break with decades of U.S. policy on China and Taiwan.

Dole and his law firm Alston & Bird, worked on behalf of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative (TECRO) to arrange for a series of meetings between Trump advisers and Taiwanese officials, according to documents filed last week with the Department of Justice.

The disclosure form — required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act — indicates Dole “arranged a telephone briefing with Trump campaign policy director” and “convened a meeting between embassy staff and Trump transition team.”

In addition to these encounters, Dole helped Taiwan secure favorable language in the Republican Party’s platform and arranged for a meeting between Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was eventually named Trump’s pick for attorney general, and Taiwan’s representative to the U.S., Stanley Kao.

The disclosure does not detail whether Dole set up last week’s telephone call.

The disclosure shows TECRO paid Alston & Bird $140,000 for their services from May to October.

The Wall Street Journal reported a transition official said Dole arranged for the phone call between Trump and Taiwan’s President. Dole told the WSJ in an interview that his firm played a role in arranging the phone call. “It’s fair to say that we may have had some influence,” Dole said.

A spokesman for Dole declined to comment on the Taiwan matter when asked by ABC News. TECRO has also declined to comment on the reports.

Dole’s firm was required to disclose its work for TECRO based on a federal law, which “requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make period public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Picks Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad for US Ambassador to China

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Office of the Governor of Iowa(NEW YORK) — President-elect Donald Trump has named Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as his pick for the next U.S. ambassador to China, Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said Wednesday.

Branstad has accepted the offer, Miller said. He also noted that Trump announced the pick in closed-press remarks at a fundraiser in New York City Wednesday morning. A formal paper statement announcing the pick is expected later Wednesday.

The position will require Senate confirmation.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Picks Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad for US Ambassador to China

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Office of the Governor of Iowa(NEW YORK) — President-elect Donald Trump has named Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as his pick for the next U.S. ambassador to China, Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said Wednesday.

Branstad has accepted the offer, Miller said. He also noted that Trump announced the pick in closed-press remarks at a fundraiser in New York City Wednesday morning. A formal paper statement announcing the pick is expected later Wednesday.

The position will require Senate confirmation.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President-Elect Donald Trump Named "Time" Magazine’s ‘Person of The Year’

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday it was “a tremendous honor” to have been chosen as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

“It’s a great honor, it means a lot, especially me growing up reading Time magazine,” Trump said Wednesday morning on the Today show. “But to be on the cover of Time magazine as the ‘Person of the Year’ is a tremendous honor.”

The cover of the magazine features Trump with the headline: “President of the Divided States of America.” Trump called the headline “snarky,” though he agreed the country is divided.

Donald Trump is TIME's Person of the Year 2016 #TIMEPOY https://t.co/5pTGOksevE pic.twitter.com/N8BtqTu9Nl

— TIME (@TIME) December 7, 2016

“I’m not president yet so I didn’t do anything to divide,” Trump said. “I mean there’s a lot of division. And we’re going to put it back together and we’re going to have a country that’s very well healed and we’re going to be a great economic force and we’re going to build up our military and safety and we’re going to do a lot of great things.”

Hillary Clinton earned the No. 2 spot on Time‘s “Person of the Year” list, while “hackers” came in third.

Trump complained last year after German President Angela Merkel was named Time‘s Person of the Year, and said he expected he would never earn the title.

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