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  • Trump’s team plots his departure — even if he won’t

    President Donald Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. But his team is carefully developing plans for that very outcome.

    One of the most organized and functional parts of the Trump White House these days is a surprising place — the West Wing office planning a potential presidential transition.

    As the president rails against mail-in ballots and “Sleepy Joe Biden,” assistant to the president Chris Liddell has spent weeks mapping out a possible handover of power to Democrat Joe Biden.
    Liddell has met the congressionally mandated deadlines to file two different transition reports in May and August. He is working closely with a career government official who is serving as the federal transition coordinator — typically the type of worker Trump would label as part of the “Deep State.” And the Justice Department has already agreed to start pre-processing Biden officials’ security clearances just in case he wins, according topeople familiar with the planning.

    “They are very, very focused on implementing the law and doing it by the book, and they are doing a good job,” said David Marchick, director of the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service.

    Instead of on-the-fly decisions, staff infighting or governing by instinct — all hallmarks of Trump’s leadership style over the last four years — transition planning has happened quietly, efficiently and with little public fanfare.

    The question is whether Liddell can maintain this level of professionalism if and when Trump starts paying more attention to the prospect of leaving office. Trump’s last transition team under Gov. Chris Christie also ran smoothly and made plans for hiring Cabinet officials and rolling out executive orders — until the Trump team fired Christie days after winning and threw his binders of plans in the trash.

    “I suspect the president is totally unaware,” one former Obama transition official said about Trump and the transition plans. “It could go sideways as soon as he knows this is going on.”

    A White House official said the president is aware of the transition work of Liddell, who has been at it for months.
    “The Trump Administration has met and will continue to meet all requirements under the law as it relates to any needed transition between administrations,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere.

    In a political environment already gripped by Trump’s repeated refusal to agree to a peaceful transfer of power, both Democrats and some Republicans feel nervous about the road ahead. Democrats fear Trump could sabotage it by denying Biden aides access to federal agencies, slow-walking security clearances or, more broadly, questioning and undermining the results of the election for several weeks in November and December.

    Friends and allies say Liddell is aware of the delicacy of the situation and is purposefully seeking to work under the radar. Liddell declined to comment.

    Aiding Liddell in both the planning for a potential transition, or a second Trump term, is top White House attorney Pat Cipollone. Liddell and his team have also been working on a policy agenda for Trump if he wins a second term and are coordinating with the head of presidential personnel, John McEntee, on possible senior personnel picks for both the Cabinet and key White House posts.

    National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, for instance, is not expected to stay on for four more years. And top aides have been eyeing Jim Donovan, a former partner from Goldman Sachs, to either replace Kudlow or take a top Treasury post. Neither Kudlow nor Donovan responded to requests for comment.

    The White House handed Liddell the transition portfolio because of his past work on the transition team for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. During that period, Liddell served as the executive director of the roughly 600-person Romney transition team and made sure the operation, which functioned more like a consulting firm, met its deadlines, with timelines and deliverables.

    “He knows how to run the machinery,” said Tim Adams, a former Romney transition official and a former top Treasury official. “Hopefully, they are leaving him alone and letting him do this job.”

    Following the 2012 election, the New Zealand-born Liddell helped to write an entire 138-page book on the Romney team’s methodical and corporate approach. It was an environment well-suited to Liddell’s business background, which includes stints as the chief financial officer for both Microsoft and General Motors.

    In the spring of 2016, Liddell, who had become a close ally of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, Liddell helped to present on the mechanics of transition planning at a retreat for the six presidential campaigns.

    He joined the Trump White House in the early days — first working for Kushner’s Office of American Innovation before becoming a deputy chief of staff in charge of policy coordination. Though Liddell lacked deep policy expertise like some of his colleagues, he oversaw the coordination of contentious areas like immigration and trade. In July 2018, he told POLITICO his newness to policy was an asset, not a weakness.
    “It’s essential that I don’t bring personal bias to the role,” he said at the time.

    Roughly three weeks ago, Trump nominated Liddell to serve as the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the intergovernmental body meant to encourage economic progress and global trade. A White House official said the nomination would not affect planning for a transition or a second term since the selection process takes place between November and January.

    For now, Liddell is impressing business leaders, good government types and even former Obama aides with the ease of the White House’s transition planning. The former Obama transition official said he was “somewhat flabbergasted that they have maintained regular order for an administration that is not about regular order.”

    Potential pitfalls still remain if Trump loses.

    If the results of the election are unclear or Trump protests a Biden win, that could delay the process of the General Services Administration certifying the winner and giving the Biden team access to millions of government dollars to fund their transition team and salaries.

    The Trump team could also hold off on allowing the Biden teams to go into the federal agencies – or simply not communicate with incoming officials.

    “The truth is if they decide to not cooperate, there is a way around it,” said Chris Lu, the former deputy Labor secretary under President Barack Obama. Lu served as executive director of the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008. “Democrats have only been out of power for three-and-half years and there are ways to adjust to it.”
    ___________

    How ironic that the only competent people in the Trump "Administration" are the ones planning for his exit.

    Maybe if Republican voter suppression and intimidation, to say nothing of Trump's efforts to undermine the election, can be suppressed enough, that exit will actually occur.

    My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

      From what I have seen one side was willing to compromise on a 2nd relief plan. I believe the Dems originally wanted 3.5 billion and came down to 2 billion while the Republicans wouldn't come up from their initial bid not withstanding some of their members against any new relief and scuttling it.

      We are getting to the point where one team doesn't want to play by the rules, or even play, while the other team does. Once the team, that does, has said enough then all governing breaks down until the two teams realize their screwed. You can see that with the SCOTUS appointment. The Republicans aren't playing by the rules set down over time. The Republicans, themselves, have politicized the Supreme Court. Only a matter of time before the Dems say the complete hell with it. If they win 2020 then they may just go out and increase the court size to even things out. The court has been increased and decreased twice in history that I know of (Jefferson-Madison and Lincoln-Johnson). FDR tried to pack but in the end he got what he wanted when one justice retired and allowed him to make an appointment which enabled his New Deal. So it can be done and there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. Actually Congress has quite a bit of oversight of the Supreme Court.
      From the outside it seems the supreme courts influence is exaggerated. It also seems both political parties like in that way. Politicans love passing the buck and pointing in the direction away from the bigger issues, forget about our economic policies, culture and courts is where they love to focus and have the electorate follow. That's easy and gets the base going. Governing is hard and a largely thank less job.

      It doesnt seem the democrats have the nerve. Especially Biden. The republicans can take advantage of that and probably suffer from a minority mentality when you look at the demographics and incentives leading to ever more rule bending and breaking.

      I think the democrats should have compromised even further to get something to millions of americans. American society seems to excel at the quiet suffering of millions. But given its an election year and trump, it was "justifiable" to leave the other side take the heat and trump wallow it his own stupidity for not helping the electorate. It's a political decision to allow the republicans implode. Even now the republicans are slaves to the economic liberalism that has taken over their party even when their base support help and wall street wants it too. Go figure, good ideas eventually turn into unmoving ideologies which infect the mind like a virus.
      Last edited by tantalus; 25 Sep 20,, 08:41.

      Comment


      • tantalus,

        I think the democrats should have compromised even further to get something to millions of americans. American society seems to excel at the quiet suffering of millions. But given its an election year and trump, it was "justifiable" to leave the other side take the heat and trump wallow it his own stupidity for not helping the electorate. It's a political decision to allow the republicans implode. Even now the republicans are slaves to the economic liberalism that has taken over their party even when their base support help and wall street wants it too. Go figure, good ideas eventually turn into unmoving ideologies which infect the mind like a virus.
        this is -precisely- what the Republicans are counting on: the imbalance in responsibility. it is -leverage- for them, because it allows them to shift the political costs and responsibilities as the Senate Majority party somewhere else.

        the Democrats have repeatedly tried to negotiate, with Pelosi whipping her Party over and over to agree to compromise bills EVEN BEFORE the GOP comes up with their own plan!

        Pelosi is doing this even when she knows full well that doing the right thing -- supporting the livelihood of millions of Americans -- politically advantages Trump in this election year.

        there is no "both sides" here.

        frankly, the Democrats are far too shy when it comes to responses to constitutional hardball as played by the GOP. even now, in the Washington Post, there are several articles signed out by Democratic senators hand-wringing over court expansion and breaking the legislative filibuster. Mitch McConnell simply does not pay a political price for wrecking norms to accumulate political power -- so he will continue to do so.


        There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

        Comment


        • Originally posted by tantalus View Post

          Asralis covered it
          Thanks

          I am a long student of American Politics....I vividly remember the 1968 Election....hell, I remember Goldwater's infamous add in 1964. The Watergate Hearings were a daily watch for me in 73-74. I have seen a lot of good....and bad.....over the decades. My dislike, contempt and derision for this Administration is well formed by my experience and decades of knowledge. It is no derangement, syndrome or otherwise. When this Administration does something well, I give them credit for it....they have just been few and far between.
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain

          Comment


          • Originally posted by tantalus View Post
            From the outside it seems the supreme courts influence is exaggerated. It also seems both political parties like in that way. Politicans love passing the buck and pointing in the direction away from the bigger issues, forget about our economic policies, culture and courts is where they love to focus and have the electorate follow. That's easy and gets the base going. Governing is hard and a largely thank less job..
            I take it you are unaware or don't recall Bush v Gore...in DEC 2000 the Supreme Court decided the outcome of the of the 2000 Presidential Election by halting the recount in Florida....(and, yes, I realize that is a gross oversimplification but...)

            Many believe a 5th Conservative (I don't see Roberts as a Conservative) guarantees a Trump win if it goes there.
            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
            Mark Twain

            Comment


            • Seems to me that Trumpkin has given up trying to win the election and is more worried about how he may steal or subvert it.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                Thanks

                I am a long student of American Politics....I vividly remember the 1968 Election....hell, I remember Goldwater's infamous add in 1964. The Watergate Hearings were a daily watch for me in 73-74. I have seen a lot of good....and bad.....over the decades. My dislike, contempt and derision for this Administration is well formed by my experience and decades of knowledge. It is no derangement, syndrome or otherwise. When this Administration does something well, I give them credit for it....they have just been few and far between.
                Everything has its limit. It is possible for TDS to be a real thing. Obviously the trump administration is a disgrace. Nobody is deranged for thinking so.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                  I take it you are unaware or don't recall Bush v Gore...in DEC 2000 the Supreme Court decided the outcome of the of the 2000 Presidential Election by halting the recount in Florida....(and, yes, I realize that is a gross oversimplification but...)

                  Many believe a 5th Conservative (I don't see Roberts as a Conservative) guarantees a Trump win if it goes there.
                  No I am. I wasn't specifically referring to the supreme courts influence on elections and trumps latest pinky and the brain sketch (although I admit that is the more pressing issue right now) but more broadly to the power it wields (on other issues). Which seems at its greatest extent to be over the electorates imagination.

                  Clearly the supreme court is very important. But the usa prides itself on its checks and balances. It seems with enough motivationl, the american constitution facilitates politicans taking more power if they are willing. And there isn't much point in suggesting the courts are separate from the political parties.
                  Last edited by tantalus; 25 Sep 20,, 19:17.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                    Many believe a 5th Conservative (I don't see Roberts as a Conservative) guarantees a Trump win if it goes there.
                    I have no idea. It doesn't sound plausible that its guaranteed but I would be very foolish to overestimate my instinct on that. i don't immediately assume that everybody has lost their integrity and its clear many republicans do hate or dislike trump.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                      tantalus,



                      this is -precisely- what the Republicans are counting on: the imbalance in responsibility. it is -leverage- for them, because it allows them to shift the political costs and responsibilities as the Senate Majority party somewhere else.

                      the Democrats have repeatedly tried to negotiate, with Pelosi whipping her Party over and over to agree to compromise bills EVEN BEFORE the GOP comes up with their own plan!

                      Pelosi is doing this even when she knows full well that doing the right thing -- supporting the livelihood of millions of Americans -- politically advantages Trump in this election year.

                      there is no "both sides" here.


                      I want to keep an open mind here and I want to learn.

                      Not a trick question but if the democrats had just "absurdly" (in a political sense) agreed to the republicans offer that was on the table before it all broke down (1 trillion deal I think) would the american people have been better off than with no deal at all?

                      And for the sake of simplicity don't weigh it would help the republicans and trump come election which is in the long term bad for the american people (which is true).
                      Last edited by tantalus; 25 Sep 20,, 19:27.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                        tantalus,



                        frankly, the Democrats are far too shy when it comes to responses to constitutional hardball as played by the GOP. even now, in the Washington Post, there are several articles signed out by Democratic senators hand-wringing over court expansion and breaking the legislative filibuster. Mitch McConnell simply does not pay a political price for wrecking norms to accumulate political power -- so he will continue to do so.

                        I agree with this.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by snapper View Post
                          Seems to me that Trumpkin has given up trying to win the election and is more worried about how he may steal or subvert it.
                          Oh yeah, big time. It's always the Republicans are so desperate to get RBG's seat on the SCOTUS filled immediately. They're that confident in Trump's ability to win another 4 years.
                          My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

                            Dangerous waters. I fully expect him to protest the election and try to take it to the Supreme Court. Taking things to court has been his MO all his life. He is not about to change.
                            At present, we are Ruthless.
                            You may expect us to act accordingly.
                            Trust me?
                            I'm an economist!

                            Comment


                            • tantalus,

                              [Not a trick question but if the democrats had just "absurdly" (in a political sense) agreed to the republicans offer that was on the table before it all broke down (1 trillion deal I think) would the american people have been better off than with no deal at all?
                              no, the Senate GOP couldn't even agree to $1 trillion.

                              in the end, they came up with a $500 billion package, which would have taken away a significant number of unemployment benefits, and directed money at business instead.

                              in any case, this is a political negotiation, and not just between parties. it's between factions within each party. had Pelosi agreed to this, she would have caused a revolt within her own party, because even half the Senate GOP didn't want a figure that low! as it is, Pelosi had to eat the political costs of forcing her own side down $1 trillion even while the Republicans moved not a single jot.

                              this is what I mean by the imbalance in responsibility. Democrats are forced to sign onto the proposals of conservative Republicans because the other side says "this or nothing". this is called minority rule, which is profoundly (little d) undemocratic and raises all sorts of legitimate questions of why people should bother voting for a Democrat if all we get are conservative GOP policy outcomes.
                              There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                                tantalus,

                                this is what I mean by the imbalance in responsibility. Democrats are forced to sign onto the proposals of conservative Republicans because the other side says "this or nothing". this is called minority rule, which is profoundly (little d) undemocratic and raises all sorts of legitimate questions of why people should bother voting for a Democrat if all we get are conservative GOP policy outcomes.
                                Does bring up the idea of whether or not the Senate needs a make over. Back in the days two Senators per state might have made a lot of sense but not so much today. I see no reason why Wyoming, home to 600,000 people and two Senators, should have essentially more pull (per capita) than 40,000,000 people with two Senators. Maybe instead of thinking about adding more Justices we should be thinking about adding more Senators. The Dems thinking that. Obviously no one back at the Constitutional Convention could have possibly thought there could be such a extreme difference in populations of states. It's great that some were wary of majority rule but now we have minority rule. Just as obvious this would require an amendment which probably has less chance than a snowball in hell.

                                Comment

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