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Some Trump nominees missing crucial ethics paperwork as confirmation hearings begin

PBS NewsHour

JUDY WOODRUFF: The last day has seen a rise in both concern over and defense of President-elect Trump's Cabinet nominees after news that some of them have not completed ethics reviews. LISA DESJARDINS: The president-elect walked out of Trump Tower with a business leader, Jack Ma of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, but his words were about politics and his Cabinet nominees. DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: I think they will all pass. LISA DESJARDINS: That after Trump met with a key ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who dismissed concerns about vetting. MITCH MCCONNELL, Majority Leader: Yes, everybody will be properly vetted, as they have been in the past, and I'm hopeful that we will get up to six or seven picks of the national security team in place on day one.


Kerry snipes at Trump's tweets, picks' lack of accountability, warns of 'authoritarian populism'

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday warned of the dangers of authoritarian populism and offered a thinly veiled critique of Donald Trump's prolific use of Twitter, saying it allowed the president-elect to avoid accountability. In his most pointed public comments about Trump since the Nov. 8 presidential election, Kerry also suggested that the president-elect's Cabinet nominees were getting a free pass from Congress for failing to submit tax returns and other documentation before their Senate confirmation hearings. "Every country in the world better … start worrying about authoritarian populism and the absence of substance in our dialogue," Kerry told a Washington forum. "If policies are going to be made in 140 characters on Twitter, and every reasonable measurement of accountability is being bypassed, and people don't care about it, we have a problem," Kerry said. As an example of the absence of substance in the political debate, he said climate change was given short shrift during the campaign between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.


The great struggle of getting anything done when partisanship reigns

PBS NewsHour

For seven months, congressional Republicans have taken a sharply partisan route on health care. They have made several attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which have failed. But why did Republicans go partisan in the first place? LISA DESJARDINS: Congress these days has an obvious theme. BERNIE SANDERS, I-Vt.: I should think that every Republican should be embarrassed.


Ethics agency has 'great concern' about Trump nominees' schedule, lack of information

PBS NewsHour

President-elect Donald Trump delivered brief remarks to reporters at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida in December. The independent Office of Government Ethics is expressing "great concern" that several of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet nominees have not yet completed the required ethics review process or even filed any financial information but face confirmation hearings in the next week. The concerns came in a Friday letter from Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, who was responding to questions from top Democrats in the Senate. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released the letter Saturday. "The announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me," Shaub wrote.


Gorsuch confirmation hearings set to begin

PBS NewsHour

HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: The Senate confirmation hearings for President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, begin tomorrow. Joining me now to look ahead at what to expect is "NewsHour Weekend" special correspondent Jeff Greenfield from Santa Barbara, California. Jeff, this finally takes the spotlight off of whether or not President Obama illegally wiretapped President Trump, whether or not -- I mean, so many other story lines that had been building up in the Trump administration. This has got to be a very welcome event because he's facing resistance from his left and right on health care. Some Republicans have been tough on him for those unfounded accusations.