From VANITY FAIR:
On Monday, Trump convened his first full Cabinet meeting since taking office, gathering the heads of every major government agency for a press gaggle around the elliptical mahogany table that occupies a prominent place in the West Wing. Traditionally, the media is present only at the beginning of such meetings, during which the president makes a brief statement and a few photos are snapped before a review of the administration’s progress continues behind closed doors. Trump tried something a little different.
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Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump’s consequential meeting with two of Russia’s top foreign operatives earlier this month has cast a pall over his administration, raising questions about the President’s ability to handle classified information when meeting with sometimes adversarial foreign leaders.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April 5-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers for a U.S. visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, U.S. officials said on Monday, a step allies may see as putting Moscow’s concerns ahead of theirs.
The decisions to skip the NATO meeting and to visit Moscow risked feeding a perception that Trump may be putting U.S. dealings with big powers before those of smaller nations that depend on Washington for their security, said two former U.S. officials.
Umm, ya think?
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From The San Diego Union Tribune:
Prior to becoming secretary of state under President Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson used the alias “Wayne Tracker” to exchange emails about climate change while he was CEO of ExxonMobil, a New York prosecutor revealed in a letter filed in court Monday.
The letter by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleges that Tillerson used his middle name, Wayne, in an email address bearing the alias “to send and receive materials regarding important matters, including those concerning to the risk-management issues related to climate change.”
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Sen. Marco Rubio put aside serious reservations about Rex Tillerson and announced Monday he’ll back the former ExxonMobil chief for secretary of state, effectively clinching his confirmation.
The support of the Florida Republican means Tillerson will clear a Monday evening in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee instead of facing an embarrassing “unfavorable” verdict by the panel. Rubio’s decision likely foreshadows unanimous GOP support for Tillerson, who had made some Republicans nervous about his closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reluctance to criticize Putin’s actions during his confirmation hearing.
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From Andrew Schenkel at mother nature network:
Thursday morning in Washington began with what has become a yearly ritual. The executives from the big five oil companies got to answer questions about their government subsidies in the wake of huge quarterly profits.
Senate Finance Committee Chariman Max Baucus wanted to know exactly why the “Big Five” felt they should continue to get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies while enjoying profits of $31 billion during the first quarter of 2011 alone.
While many reports will make note of the hearing’s circus atmosphere that included Sen. Orrin Hatch’s unveiling of a picture of a dog sitting on a pony after saying he didn’t want the hearing to be about cheap political stunts, there was some actual tension in the room that didn’t require any stunts to feel.
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