Quick Takes: Trump Continues to Feed the Swamp

* I’m beginning to run out of words to describe the hypocrisy of a presidential candidate who pretended to be a champion of working Americans and then does this:

Donald Trump has offered Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn a key economic post, which would add to the administration another veteran of the powerful firm he bashed during his campaign, sources close to Cohn told NBC News.

Cohn, Goldman’s 56-year-old president and chief operating officer, has been offered the directorship of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, the sources said.

* As long as the president-elect is on a roll, why not nominate someone like this to be Secretary of the Interior?

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a climate-change skeptic and an advocate for expanded oil and gas development, to run the Interior Department, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The appointment could mean easier access for industry to more than a quarter of America’s territory, ranging from national parks to tribal lands stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, where energy companies have been eager to drill and mine.

* If you’re wondering why it’s taking so long for Trump to announce a nominee to be Secretary of State, Gabriel Sherman says it’s all about a Game of Thrones battle going on between Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus.

The Priebus–Bannon power struggle is playing out most prominently in Trump’s search for a secretary of State. According to sources, Bannon has advocated for naming Rudy Giuliani, while Priebus has made the case for a more moderate choice. When concerns were raised about Giuliani’s business conflicts hurting his chances to be confirmed by the Senate, Bannon lobbied Trump not to settle for Mitt Romney and to expand the search for new candidates to include ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, and Senator Bob Corker, a source close to Bannon told me.

* There was an important announcement from the Obama administration today.

President Obama has ordered a “full review” of Russian hacking during the November election, as pressure from Congress has grown for greater public understanding of exactly what Moscow did to interfere in the electoral process.

“We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened and to impart some lessons learned,” Obama’s counterterrorism and homeland-security adviser, Lisa Monaco, told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

* You may have heard that Ohio lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban abortion at six weeks, or when a fetus’s heartbeat became audible. Claire Landsbaum highlighted a video from 2012 in which a proponent of the bill was interviewed. If you’ve ever needed an example of why “identity politics” matters…here you have it. Apparently this guy has spent a lot of years on this earth without ever hearing from a woman about why she chose to have an abortion.

* Kevin Drum has my favorite story of the day (and no, it’s not simply because it isn’t about Donald Trump). He predicts that “between 2020 and 2040, the level of terrorism emanating from the Middle East will drop by at least half.” Why? This map tells the story:

…leaded gasoline continued to be used in the Middle East up through the late 90s. Egypt began phasing it out in 1998, and most other countries followed over the next decade or so. Only a few – including Iraq and Afghanistan – still sell significant amounts of leaded gasoline.

Since lead poisoning affects infants, its affects show up about 18-20 years later. What this means is that in the bright red countries, the cohort of kids who reach their late teen years around 2020 should be significantly less aggressive and violent than previous cohorts. Around 2025 the countries in lighter red will join them. Around 2030 the countries in pink will join. By 2040 or so, the process will be complete.

Whether or not you agree with Kevin’s prediction, even contemplating the possibility of what he is suggesting shakes up the cobwebs in our brains and help us imagine a more complex mix of possibilities.

* Finally, let’s close out the week with a performance by Rhiannon Giddens covering The Staple Singers tune “Freedom Highway,” with Bhi Bhiman.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.