2016: think tanks— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) January 19, 2017
2017: think: "tanks!"
Simple but deep...
2016: think tanks— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) January 19, 2017
2017: think: "tanks!"
Ten days before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, members of his national security team will join Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior foreign policy officials from current and former administrations to discuss immediate and long-term challenges facing the United States. The president-elect’s designated National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, current National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other officials and experts join in a day of on-the- record discussion on January 10.
The meetings will form the third Passing the Baton conference hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace as part of the transfer of power between U.S. presidents since 2001. USIP, an independent and nonpartisan national institution founded by Congress, hosts the event in accordance with its congressional mandate to advance informed, problem-solving on threats to U.S. national interests and to promote international peace without violence. The conference will bring together current, future and former officials as well as hundreds of foreign policy and national security experts to cover topics such as America’s role in the world, and how the country can prepare to deal with unanticipated strategic surprises.
USIP’s partners for the conference include the American Enterprise Institute, the Atlantic Council, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for American Progress and the Heritage Foundation. Politico and SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124 are USIP’s media partners for this event.
They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.
But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae.
Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.
One letter, with 122 names, was published by War on the Rocks, a website devoted to national security commentary, during the primary season in March. The other, with 50 names, including some repeat signatories, was published by the New York Times during the general-election campaign in August.
Now, just days before Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, the letter signers fear they have been added to another document, this one private — a purported blacklist compiled by Trump’s political advisers.
...The purportedly blacklisted figures report to their jobs at Washington law firms and think tanks in a state of indefinite limbo as their colleagues, some working in the same offices, are flirting with potential administration jobs.
For decades, Washington think tanks have been holding pens for senior government officials waiting for their next appointments and avenues of influence for sponsors of their research. Donald Trump’s incoming administration is bent on breaking that model.
Trump’s appointments have so far have been heavy on business executives and former military leaders. Transition sources tell me the next series of nominations — deputy-level officials at top agencies — will also largely come from business rather than the think tank or policy communities. For example, neither the American Enterprise Institute’s John Bolton nor the Council on Foreign Relations’ Richard Haass is likely to be chosen for deputy secretary of state, while hedge fund manager David McCormick is on the shortlist. Philip Bilden, a private equity investment firm executive with no government experience, is expected to be named secretary of the Navy.
The president-elect favors people who have been successful in the private sector and amassed personal wealth over those who have achieved prominence in academic or policy fields. Those close to him, including chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner, see think tanks as part of a Washington culture that has failed to implement good governance, while becoming beholden to donors.
“This is the death of think tanks as we know them in D.C.,” one transition official told me. “The people around Trump view think tanks as for sale for the highest bidder. They have empowered whole other centers of gravity for staffing this administration.”
We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape US policy...Immediately after Election Day, we assess Russian intelligence began a spearphishing campaign targeting US Government employees and individuals associated with US think tanks and NGOs in national security, defense, and foreign policy fields. This campaign could provide material for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration's goals and plans.
OMICS International is a leader in the growing business of academic publication fraud. It has created scores of "journals" that mimic the look and feel of traditional scholarly publications, but without the integrity. OMICS is also in the less well-known business of what might be called conference fraud. Both schemes exploit a fundamental weakness of modern higher education: Academics need to publish in order to advance professionally, get better jobs or secure tenure. Even within the halls of respectable academia, the difference between legitimate and fake publications and conferences is far blurrier than scholars would like to admit."
The job market is about to get even more crowded for Washington Democrats, as thousands of Obama appointees join the hundreds of Clinton campaign staffers looking for employment.
There’s rarely been less demand for their services.
The Trump tornado is tearing up post-election planning around the Beltway. It’s not just that those 4,000 administration jobs are no longer available to Hillary for America alumni, or that failed Senate candidates like Russ Feingold and Katie McGinty won’t be able to hire their staff on the Hill. There are also the lobbying firms, trade associations and corporate government affairs offices that are pitching senior Obama aides’ resumes into the round file while scrambling to hire operatives with Republican connections.
It’s insult to injury for a generation of young operatives who are still managing their shock and grief from Hillary Clinton’s loss. And for those who want to fight to keep President Barack Obama’s legacy from being erased, there aren’t a lot of places ready to pay them to do it.
Incoming White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is backing candidates for ambassadorships that are opposed by other advisers to President-elect Donald Trump and who fall outside the far-right view for which he is known, according to a report Wednesday in The New York Times.
Bannon has spoken favorably of Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah who served as ambassador to China under President Obama, according to the Times. Huntsman has reportedly been suggested for ambassador to Japan.
Bannon has also backed Michele Flournoy, who was the third-highest-ranking Pentagon official under Obama, for ambassador to NATO, the newspaper reported.
Flournoy, who was widely believed to be Hillary Clinton’s choice for Defense secretary had she won, has already denied any interest in taking a role in the Trump administration.
Amid speculation that Flournoy was in the running for Trump’s deputy Defense secretary, her think tank, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), put out a statement saying she was staying put.
...the House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee -- two conservative caucuses in the House -- are holding a joint retreat in New York in February. There will be A LOT of opinions at this one, as the two groups represent well more than half of all House Republicans. The weekend is organized by the Heritage Foundation.
As President-elect Donald Trump fills out his national security and foreign policy team, among the names being circulated as the potential No. 2 at the State Department: Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass, according to two senior transition aides.
Haass, a veteran of both Bush administrations, has served as director of policy planning at the State Department and as a senior director on the National Security Council.
Trump has praised Haass, who is a regular presence on one of his favorite television programs, MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I respect Richard Haass, who’s on your show a lot,” Trump told the show’s hosts in May. “And I like him a lot. I have a few people that I really like and respect.”
Haass also met with Trump privately in 2015 in Trump Tower to brief him on global issues. “I've spent an hour with him there. I've seen him a few times on and off golf courses,” Haass told NPR.
In that same NPR appearance, Haass said of Trump, “We obviously have areas of, you know, some disagreement, to say the least, on policy,” citing his support for free trade.
Looking to build itself into a nerve center for the anti-Donald Trump resistance, the liberal Center for American Progress think tank is relaunching its advocacy-focused arm Thursday and bringing on a longtime senior aide to Sen. Harry Reid to help lead the charge.
Adam Jentleson, Reid’s deputy chief of staff, will work to steer the new war room at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which its leaders hope will provide Democrats with a centralized resource to oppose the president-elect’s moves — starting with his Cabinet nominations.
The reorientation comes at a difficult inflection point not only for Democrats, but for the constellation of left-leaning organizations that pepper the Washington landscape and that fully expected to be advising Hillary Clinton’s White House transition team at this point. CAP’s move, landing Thursday to mark the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights, is one of the most significant in a series of pushes into a world where Democrats are once again the opposition.
Now, the group will be hiring researchers as it promotes its Trump transition tracker, which is intended to “empower readers and users to oppose Trump nominees” by informing them about activities that are being organized to stand in the way of appointments, explained Action Fund Deputy Director Igor Volsky.
Its website — separate from CAP's ThinkProgress news blog that has grown 33 percent in circulation since Trump’s win — will also track Trump’s conflicts of interest and will include resources like petitions and tools allowing readers to send messages to relevant elected officials.
AEI President Arthur Brooks and AEI scholars hosted the grand opening of their new HQ, The Daniel A. D’Aniello building, at 1789 Massachusetts Ave. last night. SPOTTED: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), RSC Chairman Bill Flores (R-Texas), RSC Chairman-elect Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Carl Cannon, S.E. Cupp and John Goodwin, Hugo Gurdon, Daniel Halper, John Parkinson, Paul Teller, Chris Isham, Jonathan Karl, Michele Kelemen, Bill Kristol, Libby Liu, Josh and Ali Rogin, Neil Irwin, Chris Bedford, Lauren Zelt, Benny Johnson, Katie Glueck, Rich Lowry, Chris Stirewalt, Niels Lesniewski, Matt Continetti, Jim Geraghty, John Bolton, Jim DeMint, Strobe Talbot [sic], Sue Desmond-Hellman, Jonah Goldberg, Robby George, Ramesh Ponnuru, April Ponnuru, Cornel West, Marc Thiessen, Tim Carney, David French, Danielle Pletka, Michael Strain, Kevin Hassett, Michael Barone, Paul Wolfowitz.
The center-left Brookings Institution hosted an event for former Labor Party members of parliament, and joked that the institution is now a "a sanctuary think tank for liberals." Apparently liberals are getting so outnumbered all over the world that the institution thinks it has to provide a safe space for them.
A British think tank that bills itself as a global authority on military and diplomatic affairs has been accused of jeopardising its independence after leaked documents showed it has secretly received £25m from the Bahraini royal family, which has been criticised for its poor human rights record.
Confidential documents seen by the Guardian show that the country’s repressive rulers donated the sum to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) over the last five years.
The documents also reveal that IISS and the Bahraini royals agreed to “take all necessary steps” to keep most of the donations secret. The Bahrain donations make up more than a quarter of IISS’s income.
The disclosure comes as Theresa May, the prime minister, is on a two-day visit to Bahrain to discuss post-Brexit trade with Gulf leaders. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, is due to give a speech in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on Friday at a conference organised by IISS and paid for by Bahrain’s ruling family. The royals are footing the bill for all delegates to stay in villas at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
While Donald Trump dines on frog legs with Mitt Romney and meets with a parade of lawmakers and governors in his gold-plated Midtown skyscraper, most of his transition staff are hunkered down in Washington, D.C., writing detailed governing plans for his first 100 days.
But so far, Trump and his inner circle have largely ignored those plans as they focus on top appointments and lean on the advice of politicians, CEOs and donors, rather than on their transition staff, say sources close to the transition.
The president-elect, meanwhile, has been more likely to set policy on Twitter than through consultation with his D.C. advisers.
The New York-D.C. transition divide reflects Trump’s tendency to focus on personnel and, especially, personality, over policy. Experts say that bent, combined with his improvisational style and the divisions between the teams will complicate his transition to the White House, making it less likely he’ll have a cohesive roadmap for governing on Day One.
...former transition officials say Trump’s operation is unusual in the way it’s leaving so much of the policy and second-tier personnel appointments to D.C. transition team members, many of whom are volunteers with little power and no connection to Trump’s key advisers.
Trump has few real ties to Washington’s network of Republican policy wonks and is much more likely to take advice from son-in-law Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon, Trump’s incoming chief strategist, than from veterans of Republican presidencies.
The Heritage Foundation has reserved the “presidential ballroom” at President-elect Donald Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel on Tuesday for an event to honor some of the group’s top donors — those who give at least $1,000 annually.
And who keynoting the evening event at Trump’s hotel? None other than Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Trump’s hotel, in the renovated Old Post Office Building only blocks from the White House, has become a symbol of the potential financial conflicts for the incoming president, as two foreign nations have already scheduled events there.
When she [Elaine Chao] served the conservative Heritage Foundation as Asian studies adviser, a military analyst who sounded warnings about Chinese threats to U.S. security was shown the door, WND reported at the time. Chao served at Heritage beginning in 1996 before leaving to become Bush’s labor secretary in 2001. While at Heritage, the think tank opened an office in Hong Kong.
Some reports by the ousted Heritage analyst – 16-year veteran Richard Fisher Jr. – were footnoted in the declassified version of the bipartisan Cox Report, which documented Chinese espionage at U.S. defense labs, while warning of China’s goal of modernizing the People’s Liberation Army to project power past the mainland’s waters, targeting U.S. allies like Taiwan and even the U.S.
“Elaine Chao was part of the deal that got Rick Fisher fired from Heritage,” a congressional aide who worked with him on China matters told WND. “She pushed him out not because of free-trade issues, but because he raised national security concerns over China.” A Heritage insider agreed: “She was not supportive of any of his writings on the Chinese military.”
The 68-year-old North Carolina native [John Allison] met Monday with President-elect Donald Trump. In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Allison said he spent an hour to 90 minutes with Mr. Trump and others, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence and chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
Mr. Allison said they discussed the financial arena and the Federal Reserve. He added that the talks touched on “possibilities” for roles in the new administration, but he emphasized that nothing had been offered and he would have to know more about any potential role before deciding whether he could accept a position.
Until recently the CEO of libertarian think tank Cato Institute, Mr. Allison is a frequent quoter of Aristotle and a devoted fan of author Ayn Rand, who argued for minimal government and self-interest. As chief executive of BB&T Corp., he distributed copies of Ms. Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to senior officers and influenced BB&T’s charitable arm to fund classes about the moral foundations of capitalism at a number of colleges.
Donald Trump’s eldest son, emerging as a potential envoy for the president-elect, held private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris last month that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, according to people who took part in the meetings.
Thirty people, including Donald Trump Jr., attended the Oct. 11 event at the Ritz Paris, which was hosted by a French think tank. The founder of the think tank, Fabien Baussart, and his wife, Randa Kassis, have worked closely with Russia to try to end the conflict. Ms. Kassis, who was born in Syria, is a leader of a Syrian group endorsed by the Kremlin.
Mr. Baussart’s think tank, the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, has hosted a number of current and former government officials and leaders of multilateral organizations, according to its website.
Those meetings have included Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gul; former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and James Rubin, a one-time State Department spokesman who advised Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The Trump transition team has lost nearly half its staff and volunteers in a matter of days since instituting a ban on registered lobbyists at the end of last week, the Daily Mail has learned.
...The sources estimated that the number of staffers and volunteers working on the transition plummeted from around 250 late last week to less than 125 on Tuesday. The sudden purge of lobbyists has allowed conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to take a stronger role in the transition.