Mr Trump comes to Washington: Triumphant tour for the victor
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump took a triumphant tour of the nation’s capital Thursday, holding a cordial White House meeting with President Barack Obama, sketching out priorities with Republican congressional leaders and taking in the majestic view from where he’ll be sworn in to office.
Trump’s meeting with Obama spanned 90 minutes, longer than originally scheduled. Obama said he was “encouraged” by Trump’s willingness to work with his team during the transition of power, and the Republican called the president a “very good man.”
“I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including his counsel,” Trump said from the Oval Office. He’ll begin occupying the office on Jan. 20.
While Trump noted that he and Obama had never met before, their political histories will forever be linked. Trump spent years perpetrating the lie that Obama was born outside the United States. The president campaigned aggressively against Trump during the 2016 campaign, warning that his election would put the republic at risk.
But at least publicly, the two men appeared to put aside their animosity. As the meeting concluded and journalists scrambled out of the Oval Office, Obama smiled at his successor and explained the unfolding scene.
Russia eyes better ties with Trump; says contacts underway
MOSCOW (AP) — A top Russian diplomat and Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Thursday that Russian experts were in contact with some members of President-elect Donald Trump’s staff during the presidential campaign, a period in which the United States accused Russia of hacking into Democratic Party emails systems.
A spokeswoman for Trump denied the assertion, but it raised the ongoing suspicions about the president-elect’s relationship with Putin’s government that had dogged his campaign with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Russia is hopeful that a Trump presidency will herald improved relations with the United States. But, in a sign of the cold realism that Putin is known for, Moscow is not betting on an immediate drastic turnaround in the strained relationship.
And while Trump himself has said he wants to be friends with Russia and join forces in the fight against terrorism, he has outlined few specifics as to how he would go about it. President Barack Obama began his presidency with a similar goal, only to see progress unravel over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Associated Press in an interview in New York that Russian experts had contacts with people in both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. He said such contacts are “quite natural, quite normal.”
After off-mark polls, some question value of ‘big data’
For an American public that relies on data for everything from where to find the best taco to the likely victor in a baseball game, Election Day offered a jarring wake-up: The data was wrong.
Donald Trump’s stunning electoral win came despite prognosticators’ overwhelming insistence he would lose. And it has forced many to question not just political polling, but other facets of life that are being informed and directed by data.
“If ‘big data’ is not that useful for predicting an election then how much should we be relying on it for predicting civil uprisings in countries where we have an interest or predicting future terror attacks?” asked Patrick Tucker, the author of “The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?” His book examines predictive analytics that aim to pinpoint answers to questions as varied as when a person will get married to how many kindergartners in a given class will end up with a cold.
Technology has filled people’s lives with crowdsourced, data-driven or otherwise instructive metrics and left many convinced of their validity. We look to Yelp rankings to find a good meal and TripAdvisor to gauge a city’s finest hotel. Netflix tells us which shows are best to watch and Zillow tells us the worth of the home we might buy. Amazon, Google, Facebook — all are ubiquitous presences in everyday life with data at their core.
So many took the predictions of polling aggregators as gospel — and their forecasts of Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency went as high as 99 percent.
What went wrong in this year’s presidential polls?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s victory came as a surprise to many Americans, the nation’s pollsters most of all.
Heading into Election Day, most national surveys overstated what will likely be a narrow popular vote advantage for Hillary Clinton and led many to believe she was a shoo-in to win the Electoral College.
“The polls clearly got it wrong this time,” the American Association for Public Opinion Research said Wednesday in a statement. The association traditionally assesses the state of public polling after each election cycle, and already has a committee in place to do so again this year.
“I think it was an important polling miss. It would really be glossing over it to say that it was a typical year,” said Courtney Kennedy, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center.
For now, it’s impossible to know for certain what exactly went wrong for pollsters this year — and, as votes are still being counted, exactly how far off they were. Some factors pollsters will examine:
Trump bucks protocol on press access
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump is keeping America in the dark about his earliest conversations and decisions about his incoming government, and bucking a long-standing practice intended to ensure the public has a watchful eye on the nation’s new leader.
Trump on Thursday refused to allow journalists to travel with him to Washington for his historic first meeting with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. The Republican’s top advisers rebuffed news organizations’ requests for a small “pool” of journalists to trail Trump as he attended meetings Washington.
The decision was part of an opaque pattern in Trump’s first moves since his victory Tuesday. Trump was entirely out of sight on Wednesday. His aides said he was huddled with advisers at his offices in New York. His team has not put out a daily schedule, or offered any detailed updates on how he has spent his time. They have not acknowledged phone calls or other contact with world leaders.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory telegram to Trump on Wednesday, Moscow spread the word. A phone call with British Prime Minster Theresa May was announced in London. The pattern was repeated for calls with leaders of Israel, Egypt, South Korea and Australia.
The White House typically releases statements on the president’s phone calls with foreign leaders, providing some details about the conversation. Past presidents-elect have had early briefings with journalists, even in confusing first hours after Election Day.
The economy that Trump inherits: Durable but sluggish
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump inherits a much sturdier economy than the one Barack Obama carried into his second term four years ago. Back then, the scars of the Great Recession were still fresh. Joblessness was near 8 percent. Pay was flat. Europe faced a grave debt crisis that threatened to spread across the Atlantic.
Now? The job market, with steady hiring and just 4.9 percent unemployment, has proved durable. Pay is finally accelerating. Auto sales are near a record pace. Housing is stronger. Europe’s financial plight has stabilized.
Yet the economy’s long-standing shift toward workers with college degrees left people without them stuck with dimmer job opportunities and stagnant wages — a trend for which Trump blamed trade deals that he said led manufacturers to move overseas. The Americans who elected Trump are longing not just for change but for a reversal of the Obama era — one that will ignite growth, slash taxes, restore lost factory jobs and curb most federal regulations.
Problem is, the economy’s most vexing problems — from an aging workforce to listless productivity to weak corporate spending — defy quick fixes. Trump has pledged an economic renaissance yet has avoided the broad policy prescriptions widely seen as necessary for managing a government.
Well before the election, Trump’s supporters came to distrust government data that pointed to a recovery and to question the interventions by the Federal Reserve to sustain growth. But given his extravagant economic promises, the hotelier, real estate developer and TV celebrity faces an uphill challenge.
Anti-Trump protests continue; Opponents call them hypocrites
NEW YORK (AP) — Demonstrators took to the streets in San Francisco and gathered in a New York City park Thursday to express their outrage over Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential win while Trump supporters took to social media and denounced demonstrators as hypocrites or worse for not accepting defeat in a democratic process.
High-spirited high school students marched through San Francisco’s downtown, chanting “not my president” and holding signs urging a Donald Trump eviction. They waved rainbow banners and Mexican flags, as bystanders in the heavily Democratic city high-fived the marchers from the sidelines.
“As a white, queer person, we need unity with people of color, we need to stand up,” said Claire Bye, a 15-year-old sophomore at Academy High School. “I’m fighting for my rights as an LGBTQ person. I’m fighting for the rights of brown people, black people, Muslim people.”
In New York City, about a hundred protesters gathered at Union Square in Manhattan to protest a Trump presidency. They held signs that read “Divided States of America” and “Not My President” and “Let the New Generation Speak!!”
At a subway station along 14th Street, New Yorkers expressed their thoughts — “Time to Fight Back” and “Keep the Faith! Our work is just beginning!” — along the walls of a walkway using sticky notes.
President-elect Trump means angst for ‘Obamacare’ consumers
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s election ushers in a time of high anxiety for people with health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law, which expanded coverage to millions but has struggled to find widespread public acceptance.
While repeal now seems likely, that may take Congress months. A replacement for the 2010 health care law could take even longer, and may retain some of its features. Republicans are saying they want to protect people who now are covered from losing health care in the shift. While Congress labors, look for the Trump administration to use its regulatory powers to make changes.
Voters “don’t want Washington to fix Obamacare, they want to make health care affordable,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, whose committee oversees much of health care. “I’m confident we will have more truly affordable health care for just as many Americans.”
“It’s our goal to dismantle Obamacare and actually focus on lowering the cost of coverage for people,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a member of the Republican leadership. “It’s a commitment on behalf of Congress and the president-elect to get this done.”
The rhetoric may sound familiar, but the circumstances couldn’t be more different. Up until now, repeated Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have been practice runs. This will be real, and so will the consequences. Trump will have a four-year term in the White House, but Congress faces the voters again in two years.
Trump Train may have left GOP North Carolina governor behind
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Trump train that carried Republicans to victory all over the South may have left one car behind in North Carolina — Gov. Pat McCrory, who trailed by a few thousand votes Thursday in a still too-close-to-call race that played out amid anger over the state’s transgender bathroom law.
The law limiting LGBT rights appeared to have a substantial role in the Election Day contest between McCrory, who signed the measure and vigorously defended it against boycotts and other protests, and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who called for its repeal.
McCrory, who in 2012 won the governorship by 500,000 votes in a blowout the same year President Barack Obama was re-elected, was losing by 5,000 votes out of nearly 4.7 million cast. In 2012, McCrory received 170,000 more votes than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. This time, he trailed Donald Trump by 63,000 votes.
McCrory could still win. There are tens of thousands of provisional ballots that have to be examined to determine whether they are valid and can be added to the vote tallies. Counties don’t have to submit their final results until Nov. 18.
North Carolina debated, passed and signed the bathroom bill in a one-day special session in March. The measure, known as House Bill 2, requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate.
Grand jury indicts Aaron Schock on wire fraud, theft counts
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois congressman who resigned amid scrutiny of lavish spending — including a “Downton Abbey”-style redecorating of his Capitol Hill office — was charged Thursday in a wide-ranging federal indictment that alleges he schemed to profit personally from his government job.
The 52-page indictment accuses the once-rising Republican star of brazen efforts to make money, such as buying World Series tickets with campaign funds and reselling them at a profit. When Schock risked missing a connecting flight for a European vacation, the indictment alleges, he paid a private aircraft company more than $8,000 out of his campaign account to fly him from Peoria to Washington.
Schock spent $40,000 in government funds to redecorate his Washington office, including $5,000 on a chandelier, and asked the House to reimburse him for nearly $30,000 worth of camera equipment, prosecutors allege. The indictment says he ran up a $140,000 mileage tab over six years, reimbursements for 150,000 more miles than his vehicles actually traveled.
The 35-year-old Republican from Peoria is charged in the 24-count indictment with nine counts of wire fraud, five of falsification of election commission filings, six of filing false federal income tax returns, two of making false statements and one each of mail fraud and theft of government funds. A conviction on just one count of wire fraud alone carries a maximum 20 year prison sentence. His arraignment is set for Nov. 21.
“Mr. Schock held public office at the time of the alleged offenses, but public office does not exempt him or anyone else from accountability for alleged intentional misuse of public funds and campaign funds,” the U.S. attorney in Springfield, Jim Lewis, said in a statement announcing the indictment.