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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"Rudy Giuliani said Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with President Donald Trump from five topics to two. The former New York City mayor, who is now one of Trump's lawyers in the Russia investigation, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on New Day that Mueller is not considering asking the President about his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who's under investigation in New York over his business dealings."
Michael Cohen's financial records, given to the media last week, were leaked by a law enforcement official who "had grown alarmed after being unable to find two important reports on Cohen’s financial activity in a government database. The official, worried that the information was being withheld from law enforcement, released the remaining documents." He told the New Yorker: "This is a terrifying time to be an American."
"President Donald Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to keep ZTE Corp. in business, throwing an extraordinary lifeline to the Chinese telecommunication giant that has been laid low by U.S. moves to cut off its suppliers. The surprise intervention comes less than a month after ZTE was hit with an order banning U.S. companies from selling components to the Chinese business."