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POLITICS (National): President Barack Obama, President-elect Donald Trump: Commentary (Ruth Marcus), "Memo to Trump: There can be only one president at a time"; also, report/analysis, "What's really bugging Trump about Obama" ....  

* Washington Post (Op-Ed: Ruth Marcus):  "Memo to Trump: There can be only one president at a time" - From the WP:

One of the hallmarks of our democratic system is its commitment to the peaceful transition of power. This practice comes with two important, linked corollaries that fall under the umbrella that there can be only one president at a time. The first is that the incoming president, especially in the arena of foreign policy, takes care not to trespass on the prerogatives of the incumbent. The second is that the outgoing president, once departed, remains largely mute, giving his successor space to operate unimpeded by post-presidential back-seat carping.

President-elect Donald Trump must have missed this memo. Not bothering to wait for the constitutionally mandated handover, Trump has inserted himself into policymaking, from bullying U.S. manufacturers to barging into foreign affairs, including shaking up U.S.-China policy and intruding into the Obama administration’s dealings with Israel at the United Nations. This public tussling is as disturbing as it is unprecedented .................


* POLITICO (Edward-Isaac Dovere, Josh Dawsey):  "What's really bugging Trump about Obama" - "Trump and his closest advisers are bothereed by Obama's critical comments and what they see as an effort to undermine the president-elect with last-minute policy changes."


POLITICS (National): Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, border agents, bribery schemes: "The Enemy Within: Bribes Bore a Hole in the U.S. Border" ....

* New York Times (Ron Nixon):  "The Enemy Within: Bribes Bore a Hole in the U.S. Border" - From the NYT:

WASHINGTON — In 2012, Joohoon David Lee, a federal Homeland Security agent in Los Angeles, was assigned to investigate the case of a Korean businessman accused of sex trafficking. Instead of carrying out a thorough inquiry, Mr. Lee solicited and received about $13,000 in bribes and other gifts from the businessman and his relatives in return for making the “immigration issue go away,” court records show.

Mr. Lee, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, filed a report saying: “Subject was suspected of human trafficking. No evidence found and victim statement contradicts. Case closed. No further action required.” But after another agent alerted internal investigators about Mr. Lee’s interference in another case, his record was examined and he was charged with bribery. He pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

It was not an isolated case. A review by The New York Times of thousands of court records and internal agency documents showed that over the last 10 years almost 200 employees and contract workers of the Department of Homeland Security have taken nearly $15 million in bribes while being paid to protect the nation’s borders and enforce immigration laws. These employees have looked the other way as tons of drugs and thousands of undocumented immigrants were smuggled into the United States, the records show. They have illegally sold green cards and other immigration documents, have entered law enforcement databases and given sensitive information to drug cartels. In one case, the information was used to arrange the attempted murder of an informant.

The Times’s findings most likely undercount the amount of bribes because in many cases court records do not give a tally. The findings also do not include gifts, trips or money stolen by Homeland Security employees ...................


SACRAMENTO: California Public Utilities Commission, new Jerry Brown appointees: "Jerry Brown appoints two top aides to Public Utilities Commission"; "Jerry Brown picks two new PUC commissioners"; "Gov. Jerry Brown selects two top advisors for spots on the Califfornia Public Utilities Commission" ....

***Governor Jerry Brown, two new appointees to California Public Utilities Commission....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown appoints two top aides to Public Utilities Commission"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Jerry Brown picks two new PUC commissioners"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Gov. Jerry Brown selects two top advisors for spots on the California Public Utilities Commission"


POLITICS (National, State): U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, 2018 elections/retirements?: "Retirement watch: 4 California members of Congress who might bow out by 2018, and one who almost definitely will" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Retirement watch: 4 California members of Congress who might bow out by 2018, and one who almost definitely will" - From the LAT:

So far, none of California’s 55 senators and representatives have announced plans to retire ahead of the 2018 election. But after weeks at home with family during the holidays to talk about the future, such declarations could come soon.

Every two years, a few members announce it’s time to come home because they want more time with family or there is a chance to run for another office. Plus, most of California’s members are Democrats and won’t control any branch of government come Jan. 20. “Life in the minority party is frustrating, especially in the House. It is not just that your proposals are unlikely to prevail, it is that they are unlikely to even get considered,” said UC Irvine political scientist Matthew Beckmann. “For Democratic members who forecast four to eight years of a Republican rule, there are compelling reasons to think the grass is greener outside of Washington.”

Another factor is how long some of them have been in Washington: Twelve of the state’s seats have been held by the same person for 20 years or more. And 18 members are 65 or older, the age when many people begin to consider not working any more. California political observers said they’re watching most of the 10 members in their 70s for retirement in 2018 or 2020, noting the long cross-country commute and a few rumored health problems that have popped up. 

Retiring members in long-held seats often try to give potential candidates as much time as possible to prepare a run. Retiring Democrats Rep. Lois Capps of Santa Barbara and Sen. Barbara Boxer gave more than a year’s notice of their plans to head home. We’ll likely get a good idea of who will stay or go during the next six months. For now, here are the most-watched candidates for retirement .................


POLITICS (National): Follow-up, racist rant vs. Obamas, Carl Saladino, Trump ally, NY campaign co-chair: "Carl Saladino, a Trump Ally, Says Racist Remarks About Obama Were Sent in Error"; "Trump ally posts defiant apology for Obama family comments'; "Trump ally apologizes for racist rant against Obamas" ....