President Trump “is still looking for a new United Nations ambassador. He has no deputy national security adviser. His attorney general and EPA administrator are serving in an acting capacity, and his constant badmouthing of his chief of staff and Secretary of Homeland Security has undermined their authority.
“The president once openly signaled plans to revamp his cabinet and staff after the midterm elections, calling it a ‘very customary’ act—and his aides acknowledged that big changes might be coming. But while he demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after last month’s midterm elections, the once-breathless anticipation of his next personnel move has stretched into a long and awkward waiting game.
“The result is an administration in a holding pattern. Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of a legislative vision for 2019 beyond approval of a new trade deal and vague references to infrastructure. His only clear priority is enforcing border security. The White House has even sent mixed signals about its desire to fight for a criminal justice reform bill that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, played a key role in shaping.” (Politico)
INVESTIGATIONS. “The Trump White House is about to find out what happens when the opposition party takes control of the House of Representatives.
“Scott Jennings, whom the Senate subpoenaed when he worked for President George W. Bush, wants to help Trump aides understand what they will go through when Democrats take control of the House and have the power to subpoena documents and force administration officials to testify.” (McClatchy)
Meanwhile “subpoenas have been served on the Trump Organization and a dozen linked entities in a lawsuit challenging ... Trump's ongoing business ties while in office.
“The office of District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said Wednesday that it ‘can confirm that all of the Trump Organization entities have been served.’ Additionally, subpoenas are being served to the state of Maine, the attorney general's office said.” (CNN)
RUSSIA. “Mueller disclosed more details ... of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s efforts to cover up the extent of his ties to the government of Turkey while he was a top official on … Trump’s campaign and transition.
“The documents specifically state that a key component of Flynn’s work for Turkey involved the government’s efforts to remove from the U.S. a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of orchestrating a failed coup against him in July 2016. Flynn began working for Turkey about a month later.” (NBC News)
CALIFORNIA. "The California Republican Party—a once dominant power in the nation’s largest state, the party of Earl Warren, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan—is teetering on the brink of irrelevance.
"The Democratic sweep of Orange County congressional seats drew national attention on Election Day. But the Republican losses there were a symptom of the broader collapse of a storied political organization." (New York Times)
MASS. “Outgoing state Republican Party chair Kirsten Hughes … signed a one-year, $75,000 contract to serve as 'special legal counsel' to the Norfolk County sheriff’s office, the taxpayer-funded agency tasked with overseeing the Norfolk County jail in Dedham.” (Boston Globe)
NORTH CAROLINA. “The recent focus on voter impersonation has overshadowed a longer-running political duel over absentee ballots and elections procedures in North Carolina.” (New York Times)
TEXAS. “The Republican Party of Texas found itself playing defense after a committee member from Dallas who helped author the party’s platform declared himself a white nationalist on social media last week.
“Ray Myers, a member of the state party’s permanent platform committee, posted an article on Facebook on Nov. 28 captioned ‘Damn Right, I’m a WHITE NATIONALIST and very Proud of it.’” (Dallas Morning News)