FROM Eric Lipton
Is Trump 'reducing the size of government' or dismantling it? On his reality TV show, Donald Trump was famous for saying, "You're fired." As President, he's saying, "We don't need those jobs" in the first place. Republicans aren't the only ones who've complained that government is "bloated," but even after budget cuts, somebody has to be in charge. With high-level vacancies -- from the State Department to FEMA — will the US be prepared for an international crisis, a hurricane or an earthquake? Is it oversight due to inexperience — or top aide Steve Bannon's goal of "deconstructing the administrative state?"
The public interest and personal business at the Trump White House As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp," but his own, global holdings already pose a unique set of ethical conflicts. The transition process has already provided unmistakable evidence of what might be to come. He's met with business partners from India who say his presidency will be a bonanza . Daughter Ivanka is marketing bracelets like the one she wore on 60 Minutes. She and other family members will be in charge of some 500 business investments all over the world. The Wall Street Journal says if Trump doesn't liqudate all those assets and create a blind trust, he'll never escape the appearance that his White House is up for sale.
DHS Developing Software to Monitor Opinions of the US The New York Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security wants computer software to monitor negative opinions of the US or its leaders in the foreign press. The official goal is to "identify common patterns... that might be indicative of potential threats." Can software be developed to evaluate the relative intensity of different statements? That's the challenge posed for researchers at a consortium of universities with a $2.4 million grant from DHS.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.