New Zealand ‘should not have’ given aid to Clinton-linked project

The Clinton Foundation attracted controversy during Hillary Clinton’s bid for the US presidency. Photo / File New Zealand should not have given aid money to an agriculture initiative in Africa because of an association with Hillary Clinton, the Taxpayers’ Union says. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mfat), through the NZ Aid Programme, has given $7.7 million to a project run by the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and designed to strengthen agricultural production in Rwanda and Ethiopia and reduce childhood malnutrition. Annual support of $2.5m and $3m is budgeted if results are favourable – and the programme is going well so far, Mfat says. The Clinton Health Access Initiative has been a separate organisation from the Clinton Foundation since 2010. However, Jordan Williams, executive director of the Taxpayers’ Union, said recent controversy over the Clinton Foundation meant the aid money was not a good look and "risks even more damage […]

NZ taxpayers’ money used to fund Clinton Foundation

It’s been revealed the New Zealand Government has paid a foundation owned by Hillary Clinton $7.7 million. Photo / Getty Images It’s been revealed the New Zealand Government has paid a foundation owned by Hillary Clinton $7.7 million. The Tax Payers Union obtained the information through an Official Information Act from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The OIA also revealed the government plans to donate a further $5.5 million over the next two years. The controversial Clinton Foundation came under scrutiny several times last year for the number of political groups that donated to it while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. In November it became apparent New Zealand was implicated, but exactly how much and when it occurred was unknown. Executive director Jordan Williams said if the Government wants to help the world’s poorest, there are plenty of other more politically objective foundations to donate to. […]

GOP to start on ambitious conservative agenda as Congress convenes

WASHINGTON — A new period of Republican-led governance will begin taking shape on Tuesday when the 115th Congress convenes at noon, with GOP leaders eager to wield their majorities to start rapidly advancing an ambitious conservative agenda, as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office in under three weeks. But even with the GOP set to assume control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, there were signs of discord within the party. House Republicans voted behind closed doors Monday night to retrench an independent ethics office – defying party leaders and complicating Trump’s “drain the swamp” campaign mantra. Republicans will be under intense pressure to unify behind common goals in the era of Trump, after being plagued for years by infighting in Congress and on the campaign trail. They have identified a list of legislative priorities beginning with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that they hope will […]

Trump selects former Sen. Coats for top intelligence post

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to lead the Office of the Director of National Intelligence , a role that would thrust him into the center of the intelligence community Trump has publicly challenged, a person with knowledge of the decision said Thursday. Coats served as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee before retiring from Congress last year. If confirmed by the Senate, he would oversee an agency created after 9/11 to improve coordination of U.S. spy and law enforcement agencies. The person with knowledge of Trump’s decision was not authorized to discuss the pick publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Since winning the election, Trump has questioned intelligence officials’ assessments that Russia interfered with the election on his behalf. On Friday, senior intelligence officials will brief Trump on the findings of a full report into the Russian hacking of Democratic […]

Dan Coats Expected to Be Named Intelligence Director

■ Retired Senator Dan Coats of Indiana is expected to be named director of national intelligence. ■ Trump Toyota tweet has Republicans and allies divided over import tariffs. ■ Anti-Trump lawyers have one more Hail Mary to stop a President Donald J. Trump . Retired Senator Dan Coats of Indiana is expected to be named the Trump administration’s director of national intelligence, according to a Trump transition official. Mr. Coats, a mild-mannered conservative who served on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, would be stepping into a position that some in Mr. Trump’s orbit believe is superfluous. Mr. Trump has named a more hard-charging conservative, Representative Mike Pompeo, to be his director of central intelligence. The choice of Mr. Coats choice, expected to be announced as early as Friday, comes as Mr. Trump is taking public swipes at American intelligence agencies. But with intelligence leaders publicly testifying on […]

Democrats plan to put Trump on trial through his nominees

Washington (CNN)Senate Democrats are unveiling their strategy in fighting President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees to his Cabinet, even as they have little hope of blocking any of them: Show us your papers. Democrats are maneuvering to claim the interests of the American people on their side, with a rallying cry of transparency. They’re decrying a combination of quick hearings — several key nominees will testify next week — with what they say is a slow pace of nominees returning standard paperwork for vetting. They want to put Trump on trial through his nominees, using the billionaires he’s nominated to his Cabinet to call attention to conflicts of interest, and using conservative nominees to show how Trump has reversed course from previous campaign promises, according to aides and senators. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats want at least two days to review each nominee, full paperwork, tax returns for many […]

Trump throws weight around Washington

(CNN)Donald Trump isn’t even in Washington yet, but he’s already throwing his weight around. The President-elect prevailed Tuesday in the first exchange of what could turn out to be an awkward, sometimes turbulent relationship with fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill. A full-blown PR disaster threatened to derail the first day of the new Congress as House Republicans prepared to move forward with a measure that would have gutted an independent ethics office. As the scope of the controversy became clear by mid-morning, Trump threw cold water on the plan, calling the ethics watchdog "unfair," but suggesting there were bigger priorities for lawmakers to tackle. "With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority," Trump said in consecutive tweets. "Focus on tax reform, healthcare and […]

NAACP, others attend Trump transition ‘listening’ session led by Omarosa

(2016) Former ‘Apprentice’ star defends Donald Trump 00:50 Washington (CNN)The Trump transition began its outreach to the African-American community Wednesday afternoon with an event billed as a "listening session" in Washington, led by former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault. Manigault, newly tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to work on public engagement in the White House, was joined by other transition officials, including domestic policy chair Ken Blackwell and senior adviser Katrina Pierson. About 100 leaders from a variety of African-American organizations, ranging from the NAACP to fraternities and sororities, were in attendance for the meeting, which lasted more than two hours and was closed to press. Bishop Harry Jackson, a conservative activist and evangelical leader, called the meeting a "starting point" for members of the community to discuss their priorities and state their agenda, praising the Trump transition’s "openness" to listening. "You have an outsider and an outside team. They’re […]

Democratic lawmakers considering challenge to Trump’s Electoral College victory

Rep. Ed Perlmutter is among a group of Democrats eyeing challenges. | AP Photo Several House Democrats are weighing a formal challenge to Donald Trump’s election on Friday, when Congress meets in joint session to certify Trump’s Electoral College victory. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Col.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) are among a group of Democrats eyeing challenges. Members have the right to lodge those protests when Congress officially counts the electoral votes on Friday. But for the protests to have any effect on the proceedings, they’ll need to secure the backing of at least one senator, and it’s unclear if any Senate Democrats are similarly weighing a challenge. Either way, there’s effectively no chance the protests will alter the actual election outcome, particularly given that Congress is controlled by Republicans. Instead, the effort could give Democrats a new venue to protest Trump’s victory. And if the Democrats […]

Trump v. Kasich: A fight for Ohio GOP’s future

COLUMBUS – On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich will face off in their latest battle for the hearts and minds of Ohio Republicans. Only this time, neither is on the ballot. Trump supporter Jane Timken, a Cincinnati native and Walnut Hills High School graduate, will challenge Kasich-backed incumbent Matt Borges for the Ohio Republican Party’s top spot. Kasich and his supporters installed Borges as chairman in 2013 after they deposed former leader Kevin DeWine and replaced much of the party’s governing body with supporters. But some Republicans, including Trump, aren’t thrilled with Borges’ tepid support of the president-elect . On Friday, the Ohio Republican Party’s 66-member governing body will select a new leader and, perhaps, a new direction. Here’s what you need to know: 1. This is mostly a fight between President-elect Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich. Timken has Trump’s support to challenge Borges. "I […]