U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a media briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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January 19, 2021
President Donald Trump's staff, like many Americans, is counting down the days until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
The outgoing president spent his last weekend in office complaining that he'd been cheated out of re-election -- insisting, "Everybody knows I won" -- and senior administration officials are ready to get off the carousel, reported The Daily Beast.
<p>"He asked me [earlier this month] about how to punish certain Republicans who weren't standing with him and abandoning him after all he had done for them and the Republican Party," one official told the website. "During that moment, I kept thinking about how January 20th couldn't come fast enough."</p><p>The president privately complains that his fellow Republicans let someone as "f*cking stupid" as Biden follow him in office, and evangelical ally Robert Jeffress says Trump will never concede because he doesn't believe he lost.</p><p>"He would never say that because he sincerely doesn't believe it." Jeffress said. "Meanwhile I'm preaching a message this Sunday on what the Bible says how we should respond to the new president. We have blanketed Dallas with these billboards."</p><p>Trump is also angry that he's being blamed for inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, where his supporters violently stormed into the building to overturn his election loss, but he's having a hard time finding lawyers willing to defend him in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial.</p><p>Attorneys Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekulow and Jane Raskin have privately assured others that they won't reprise their roles as Trump's defenders in his unprecedented second impeachment trial in a year, and aides have begged him not to let Rudy Giuliani represent him, because they believe the former New York City mayor is largely to blame for both impeachments.</p><p>Trump has complained that the media was blaming him for the riots, and has privately suggested those reports were defamatory.</p><p>"It wasn't my fault," Trump recently told one person close to him.</p>
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January 19, 2021
While the president has complained that the "deep state" -- in his mind, those people being government employees taking part in a grand conspiracy to ruin his presidency -- he is reportedly has created his own with an eye on undermining Biden so he can run against the incoming president in 2024.
According to the report, "A higher-than-usual number of Trump administration political appointees — some with highly partisan backgrounds — are currently "burrowing" into career positions throughout the federal government, moving from appointed positions into powerful career civil service roles, which come with job protections that will make it difficult for Biden to fire them."
While it's not unusual for the White House to attempt to place highly competent staffers in positions of power to see initiatives through over multiple administrations, the choices Trump has been making have watchdogs concerned.
According to the report, an executive order signed by Trump has allowed some positions to be filled without proper oversight to allow "political appointees circumvent the usual merit-based application process for career civil service jobs, while moving career policymakers into a new job category with far fewer legal protections."
"The Office of Personnel Management is required to report any conversion of political appointees into career positions to Congress on a quarterly basis — meaning lawmakers only know now what has happened through September of last year," Politico reports. "But there are also gaps in terms of which agencies must be included in the reports, which are not required to be made public. The disclosures are also dependent on agencies identifying the employees shifting into career slots and reporting them to OPM."
According to Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, "There's real questions about whether OPM has served as a true guardian to stop bad conversions from happening."
An aide close to Biden stated they are very aware of what Trump has done and they are working on remedies.
"We've identified some people already, but we don't know how many there are in total, or where exactly they're placed," the person said. "The incoming administration will have to evaluate it and think about alternative placements [for the burrowers], and that will take time and create more distractions and burdens for them."
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January 19, 2021
Two days before the infamous riots at the United States Capitol building, President Donald Trump flew down to Georgia to campaign for Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in two races that would determine control of the United States Senate.
However, according to new reporting from Axios's Jonathan Swan, Trump was totally unenthusiastic about campaigning for the two Republican senators and was instead obsessed with overturning the results of the 2020 election.
<p>At one point during his flight down to Georgia, Trump asked Federalist Society co-founder David McIntosh to assess his chances of remaining in power despite the fact that he had definitively lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden.</p><p>"What do you think my odds are?" Trump asked him.</p><p>"It doesn't look great, sir," McIntosh replied.</p><p>"Yeah, you're probably right," replied a sullen Trump.</p><p>Trump apparently didn't remain depressed for long, however, as two days later he would encourage his followers to march to the Capitol building, where they would start a riot that would leave five people dead.</p>
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