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Trump Appoints Two More to His Cabinet, Suggests an 'Open Mind' on Climate Change and More You Missed in Politics Today

by Countable | 3.20.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. "Trump nominates two prominent GOP women: DeVos as education secretary, Haley as U.N. ambassador"

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is naming two new women to his Cabinet: "billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos for education secretary" and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for ambassador to the United Nations. Both will need to be confirmed by the Senate. DeVos is “a conservative activist who has forcefully pushed for private school voucher programs. Her nomination is expected to face strong opposition from public school advocates, who oppose her efforts to funnel taxpayer dollars from public to private and religious schools.” Haley, meanwhile, is a two-term governor, “a rising Republican star and daughter of Indian immigrants who has virtually no foreign policy experience.” The Trump administration pointed to her work promoting South Carolina businesses to international partners.

Read more at the Washington Post.

2. "Trump backs away from some of his strident campaign promises"

Trump "abruptly abandoned some of his most tendentious campaign promises Tuesday, saying he does not plan to prosecute Hillary Clinton … has an ‘open mind’ about a climate-change accord from which he vowed to withdraw the United States and is no longer certain that torturing terrorism suspects is a good idea." Trump also said that “he believes there is ‘some connectivity’ between human activity and rising global temperatures” and that he “disavow[s]” the alt-right, as the far-right group’s rhetoric has grown increasingly anti-Semitic.

Read more at the Washington Post.

3. "Days after Trump spoke to Argentina’s president his stalled Buenos Aires tower project picked up steam"

Three days after Trump spoke on the phone with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Trump’s associates announced that a long-stalled project to build a Trump Tower in Buenos Aires would go through. "There’s nothing substantive to confirm that the phone call and construction announcement are linked," but the timing is raising more questions about Trump’s decision to hand his business over to his children rather than putting his assets into a blind trust.

Read more at Quartz.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would force Trump (and all presidents and vice presidents) to put his assets into a blind trust or report all potential conflicts of interest to the Office of Government Ethics. Learn more and tell your reps what you think.

4. "Tesla Shock Means Global Gasoline Demand Has All But Peaked"

"The International Energy Agency forecasts that global gasoline consumption has all but peaked as more efficient cars and the advent of electric vehicles from new players such as Tesla Motors Inc. halt demand growth in the next 25 years. That shift will have profound consequences for the oil-refining industry because gasoline accounts for one in four barrels consumed worldwide. … The cresting of gasoline demand shows how rapidly the oil landscape is changing, casting a shadow over an industry that commonly forecasts decades of growth ahead."

Read more at Bloomberg.

5. "Donald Trump Jr. Held Talks on Syria With Russia Supporters"

Donald Trump Jr., "emerging as a potential envoy for the president-elect, held private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris last month that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, according to people who took part in the meetings. Thirty people, including Donald Trump Jr., attended the Oct. 11 event at the Ritz Paris, which was hosted by a French think tank," which has “worked closely with Russia to try to end the conflict.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

6. "Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool to Get Back Into China"

Facebook "has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas" in order to help the social network “get into China,” a market where it’s “been blocked.” The tool is “confidential” but anonymous sources told the Times that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “has supported and defended the effort.”

Read more at the New York Times.

— Sarah Mimms
Photo by Camlin Moore/South Carolina Governor’s Office

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