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Wake Up To Politics - January 9, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

11 Days until Inauguration Day
666 Days until Election Day 2018I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!

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Capitol Hill News

  • Week Ahead: Whole Lot Of Hearings It's shaping up to be a busy week in politics, with highly-anticipated events from both President Obama and President-elect Trump plus the confirmation hearings of eight Trump Cabinet nominees. Here's a look-ahead at the next three days (all times Eastern):
  • TUESDAY 9:30am: Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing, Day 1
  • 3:30pm: Homeland Security Secretary nominee John Kelly confirmation hearing
  • 9pm: President Barack Obama farewell address
  • WEDNESDAY 9am: Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson confirmation hearing
  • 9:30am: Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing, Day 2
  • 10am: Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing
  • 10:15am: Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao confirmation hearing
  • CIA Director nominee Mike Pompeo confirmation hearing
  • President-elect Donald Trump press conference
  • THURSDAY 9:30am: Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis confirmation hearing
  • 10am: Housing and Urban Development Secretary nominee Ben Carson confirmation hearing
  • 10am: Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross confirmation hearing
  • Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder confirmation hearing (tentative)
  • Today in Congress The Senate meets at 2pm today, and resumes consideration of the resolution introduced last week to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act via the budget reconciliation process, whereby the repeal can be fast-tracked and avoid a Democratic filibuster.
  • One amendment vote is scheduled today: at 5:30pm, on a resolution by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to balance the budget by 2024 while repealing Obamacare. Paul was the only Republican to vote against advancing the larger budget resolution last week, due to the $9.7 trillion addition to the debt that he says repeal will cause.
  • Meanwhile, the House convenes for the day at 12pm, and will vote on five lower-profile bills related to health care, to establish a National Clinical Care Commission, improve access to maternity care, provide protections for sports medicine professionals and patient access to emergency medications, and to improve the NOAA weather research.
  • What Republicans will be talking about this week Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is hoping to complete major work towards repealing President Obama's signature health care law, with a "vote-a-rama" on amendments coming in the days ahead.
  • What Democrats will be talking about this week Ethics. The Democrats have a huge challenge in staying focused on attacking Trump's more controversial nominees, such as Sessions and Tillerson, and avoiding getting lost in the hearings overload. After successfully getting the public to go after House Republicans for attempting to gut their in-house ethics office last week, expect a focus on a letter from the director of the Office of Government Ethics, who said it is "of great concern to me” that the Senate was moving forward with hearings before the nominees had completed ethics reviews. Also, Democrats are likely to be hawking a new bill with 30 co-sponsors to end the presidential exemption to conflict-of-interest laws.

Transition Central

  • Team Trump Prepares For Grilling It's a big week for the Trump transition, with everyone from the President-elect on down taking questions. In a break with precedent, Trump has not had a news conference since July, making his scheduled preser on Wednesday all the more anticipated. The press conference does, however, have a chance of being overshadowed by the number of hearings for Trump's nominee scheduled that day (probably not a coincidence).
  • Numerous reports have been published detailing how the transition team is readying Trump's nominees for the grilling they will get from Senate committees. In the debut edition of his Axios AM newsletter, Mike Allen reports this morning: "On the sixth floor of an unmarked federal office building in downtown D.C., the Trump transition team has built a Hollywood-worthy stage set so Cabinet nominees can practice confirmation hearings... Photos of the real senators are tacked beneath the volunteers who play questioners during the 'murder boards' — 30 so far, lasting a total of 70 hours, with an average of 120 questions apiece. Fake 'Code Pink' demonstrators occasionally interrupt a 'hearing.'"
  • @RealDonaldTrump Roundup President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a number of times over the weekend about the intelligence report accusing Russia of hacking the U.S. election process, which he received Friday. Trump was conciliatory in a statement released after the briefing, saying: "I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation." Aides said, after the briefing, he recognized Russia's role in the hacking.
  • But, as we know from the campaign, to really get inside Trump's head - just look at his Twitter feed, where he took to blaming the Democrats for their security failures and calling for an investigation of a leak to NBC News, which reported some of the briefing's details.
  • Friday: "Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place.The Republican National Committee had strong defense!"
  • Saturday: "Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!"
  • Saturday: "Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!"
  • Sunday: "Before I, or anyone, saw the classified and/or highly confidential hacking intelligence report, it was leaked out to @NBCNews. So serious!"
  • Read it for yourself A declassified version of the intelligence report, available here, was also released.

White House Watch

  • The President's Schedule No schedule today: just receiving the Presidential Daily Briefing at 10am.
  • Department of Corrections Last week, I misidentified Sen. Tammy Duckworth as hailing from New York. She, of course, was elected in November to represent Illinois. My apologies, and thanks to Joe Bookman and Stuart Taussig for the catch.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.