One week to Inauguration
On Inauguration Day, the Commander of the DC National Guard (who, Aaron C. Davis pointed out, “serves at pleasure of POTUS”) will be fired effective 12:01 pm on January 20. Peter Hermann just found that out for us in the Washington Post. Samuel Oakford explained, “Commanding general of D.C. National Guard to be removed from post in middle of inauguration day - ordered by Trump.” But what does it mean? Matthew Yglesias wondered the same thing, “Why would you do this?” Kai Ryssdal had this reaction: “Ummm....” Janet Shan elaborated: “Um, something is definitely up.” And Oliver Willis echoed the sentiment: “somethings up.”
Here’s a weird one: Don's what? Portable toilet names covered for inauguration. Matthew Daly at the AP discovered that port-a-potties were for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration from a company called...wait for it..."Don's Johns.” So workers had to tape over the name. BRB laughing forever.
Donald Trump Declines to Issue Inaugural License Plates. Sad! writes Reid Epstein in the Washington Post. Reid explained this is “A deep dive into the world of license plate collectors who are mad at Donald Trump for ending an 84-year tradition.” Matthew Rose called it “Another crushing, norm-busting break with political precedent.”
And yes, Approval of Trump Transition Is Still Low as the Inauguration Nears, Gallup reports. Jacob Kornbluh put some numbers to the headline: “A majority of Americans disapprove (51%) than approve (44%) of Trump's transition.” And Maggie Haberman gave it context: “Trump is at a historically low approval rating as he heads into office.”
Elsewhere in Trumpworld
Mike Pence went on an ice cream run at his local Safeway, as reported by Emily Heil at the Washington Post. The Vice President-Elect himself tweeted: “I can confirm that when Mrs. Pence asks me to pick up ice cream, I pick up ice cream. ? “ Which is honestly strange considering we already have one Veep who loves ice cream.
An AP source told Julie Pace that a Trump aide is in frequent contact with the Russia envoy. Here’s the first graf of that to whet your whistle: “A senior U.S. official says the Obama administration is aware of frequent contacts between President-elect Donald Trump's top national security adviser and Russia's ambassador to the United States.”
And in one of her first pieces for The Atlantic, Rosie Gray writes that Breitbart Alumni Launched 'Populist-Nationalist' Group - a pro-Trump advocacy organization. McKay Coppins pointed out the “...site [is] called Big League Politics.”
According to Washington Post’s Mark Berman, the Justice Dept. will announce the results of their investigation into Chicago police.
And in the New York Times: Chicago Police Routinely Trampled on Civil Rights, Justice Dept. Says. That from Julie Bosman and Mitch Smith.
World news from around the world
At the Wall Street Journal, an Exclusive Peek at SpaceX Data. Apparently it Shows Loss in 2015, Heavy Expectations for Nascent Internet Service. Scott Austin called it a “Huge scoop by WSJ's @RolfeWinkler and Andy Pasztor…” and added, “SpaceX impressively had profits in 2013 and 2014 but a huge loss in 2015 with the rocket explosion.”
And Reuters reporter Anthony Deutsch has the exclusive that Assad’s been linked to Syrian chemical attacks for the first time.
Friday media take-down
Here’s Alexey Kovalev’s message to my doomed colleagues in the American media on Medium - “someone who's been covering Putin's pressers for years.” Joshua Holland tweeted out this quote from the piece: "Congratulations, US media! You’ve just covered your first press conf of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego." Josh Zepps sent out: “Naa, Trump isn't autocratic.” Julia Barton liked this quote from Alexey’s piece: "This man owns you...You’re always playing by his rules — which he can change at any time without any notice." But Rusty Foster doesn’t quite agree: I guess this is a good how-to if you want to be as shitty as the Russian media, but it doesn’t have to be this way.”