President-elect Donald Trump nominated Gov. Nikki Haley (R) as his ambassador to the United Nations. (release)
Haley: “I will remain as governor until the U.S. Senate acts affirmatively on my nomination.” (release)
WHAT COMES NEXT. “If Haley is confirmed, Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R), a former U.S. attorney and S.C. attorney general, would become governor. McMaster, a 69-year-old Columbia attorney, has craved the governor’s seat since losing the 2010 GOP primary election to Haley. McMaster was the first statewide politician to back Trump’s upstart presidential bid.” (Charleston Post & Courier)
“The 2018 GOP gubernatorial field was expected to be crowded, with at least a half dozen candidates. But if … Haley is confirmed, … McMaster … would run as an incumbent in two years. Incumbents have the benefit of name recognition, and a challenger would face an uphill battle.”
State Sen. Tom Davis (R) “said he is weighing whether he can afford to put in the time necessary to successfully run for governor. He said he will assess next spring.”
“Meanwhile, the first candidate to officially announce a 2018 bid,” state Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope (R), “said he wouldn’t work against McMaster. … Pope added that he would look as things evolve and see where he needs to be in 2018. Another potential 2018 candidate, former Department of Health and Environmental Control chief Catherine Templeton of Charleston, said Wednesday she had planned to make a formal announcement about the governor’s race in January.” (Columbia State)
Pope “will pre-file a bill next month clarifying when a lieutenant governor running mate can be selected, the seat’s fundraising limits and the responsibilities of the office. … The bill … would let gubernatorial candidates choose their running mate after the the primaries, which would allow runner-ups to be named a lieutenant governor candidate. But the bill also wouldn’t prevent candidates from announcing a ticket before the primaries.” (Charleston Post & Courier)
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"A federal judge has found a witness in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell made the ruling Friday after a sealed hearing to discuss Andrew Miller’s refusal to appear before the grand jury. Miller is a former aide to longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone."
Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates said in court today that "he conspired with Manafort to falsify Manafort’s tax returns. Gates said he and Manafort knowingly failed to report foreign bank accounts and had failed to register Manafort as a foreign agent."