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Vox Sentences: All the hottest, at least possibly accurate, transition rumors

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The Great Mentioner gets working on Trump's Cabinet; both caucuses in the House could be led by men named Ryan; Turkey cracks down on journalists.


Transitions are hard

Jeff Sessions and Kellyanne Conway Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
  • At this point, it appears safe to say we have reached Peak Trump Cabinet Rumors. CNN has a very useful running tracker of who's been Mentioned for various positions and who's taken themselves out of the running. [CNN]
  • The most notable in the later category: New York City politico and charter school operator Eva Moskowitz, who met with Trump on Wednesday before ruling herself out of contention for secretary of education. That's a relief to Democratic education reform supporters, who worried that a prominent ed reformer joining Trump's administration could destroy support for the cause in liberal cities that ed reformers need to win over. [Democrats for Education Reform]
  • Maybe the least bullshit-y way to gauge who's being considered is who's actually meeting with the president-elect in Trump Tower. His visitors today included South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (reportedly being weighed as a possible secretary of state despite literally zero experience in foreign policy) and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, reportedly being weighed as a possible attorney general (or maybe defense secretary. Or secretary of homeland security. Who knows!). [ABC News / Katherine Faulders]
  • Sessions first came to national prominence in 1986, when his federal judgeship nomination failed after it came out that he had called the NAACP "un-American" and "communist-inspired," attacked the Voting Rights Act as a "piece of intrusive legislation," called a black subordinate "boy," and told colleagues he used to think the Ku Klux Klan was okay until he found out they smoked pot. [New Republic / Sarah Wildman]
  • It's definitely … interesting to consider a person with those views succeeding Loretta Lynch, the first black woman to be attorney general and one who has overseen the department's damning investigations into police departments that terrorize black men, like Baltimore's. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, apparently wants a job, and thinks he's figured out a way to get around anti-nepotism laws designed specifically to stop stuff like that from happening. Good times. [NYT / Julie HIrschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman]
  • Trump is also reportedly meeting with Mitt Romney this Sunday, with some outlets specifying that he's under consideration as a possible secretary of state. [NBC News / Antonio José Vielma]
  • But just as soon as that story broke, Politico reported that Romney is NOT being considered for a Cabinet post and the two just wanted to bury the hatchet after trading attacks in the primary. So we might be at the point where Cabinet rumors are adding negative value. [Politico / Brent Griffiths and Alex Isenstadt]

And a 40-something man named Ryan shall lead them

Tim Ryan (not Paul) Michael Chritton/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS via Getty Images
  • Well, the 2016 race that everyone cares about is finally afoot: Eight-term Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is challenging Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democratic caucus. [WSJ / Siobhan Hughes]
  • Ryan, only 43 but already a seasoned House vet (much like another Midwestern dude named Ryan), represents a district centered on Youngstown, which includes a lot of working-class voters both white and black and has been hurt considerably by deindustrialization in recent years. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • He thus jibes well with the Democratic coalition's post-election obsession with winning back Midwestern white working-class voters. His populist, anti-trade shtick could be a compelling counter to Trump in the Rust Belt.
  • But Ryan has some issues specific to him that could weaken his candidacy, despite that built-in appeal. For one thing, he was anti-choice until incredibly recently, while House Democrats have only gotten more united in support of abortion rights. [Akron Beacon-Journal / Tim Ryan]
  • He was also a protégé of and staffer for, and succeeded in Congress, Rep. Jim Traficant (D-OH), one of the most corrupt and genuinely bizarre characters ever to enter American politics. If you have not read David Grann's piece on Traficant and the Youngstown mafia (maybe Dylan's favorite longform piece ever), now is a great time. [New Republic / David Grann]
  • So he's not the best possible anti-Pelosi candidate. That said, there are a lot of reasons why Democrats might want to move on: Pelosi is unpopular with the general public, has been leader for 14 years at this point, is too socially liberal to make a Ryan-style play at the Rust Belt but too establishmentarian to get the enthusiastic support of Progressive Caucus members, and has taken a surprisingly conciliatory stance toward Trump that's pissed off the Congressional Black Caucus, among others. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]

More journalists in jail than anywhere else

Protesters in Turkey Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images
  • Turkey has jailed 120 journalists since the failed coup attempt in the country in July, surpassing China as the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, according to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists. [NYT / Rob Nordland]
  • One of the hardest-hit outlets, with at least 11 journalists and other officials jailed, is Cumhuriyet, an opposition newspaper and one of the few remaining independent news outlets in the country. Its CEO, Akın Atalay, stands accused of being a member of two terrorist groups: the PKK (a Kurdish group that the US considers terrorist but that also has become an invaluable ally in the fight against ISIS) and the Hizmet Movement. [Committee to Protect Journalists]
  • The Hizmet Movement, also known as the Gülen Movement, refers to followers of Fetullah Gülen, a moderate Sunni cleric with millions of followers whom Turkish president/strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blamed for the coup attempt, and who was a close ally of Erdoğan until a falling-out in 2013. [Vox / Dylan Matthews]
  • Gülen actually lives in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Erdoğan has asked the US to extradite him. Gülen is mostly known for his religious leadership (which inspires creepy if not cultlike devotion in his followers) and his network of schools, but has long been accused of running a "shadow state" within Turkey. While it certainly seems possible that Gülenists played a role in the coup attempt, the coup has also become a pretext for a broader crackdown on all opposition to Erdoğan. [New Yorker / Dexter Filkins]
  • At this point, it's probably worth mentioning that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a likely senior Trump appointee, is a paid lobbyist for a company linked to the Turkish government, and has compared Gülen to bin Laden and urged the US to extradite him. [Politico / Isaac Arnsdorf]

Miscellaneous


Verbatim

  • “That's something that got me to commit to Trolls. … I'm like, 'Wait, hold on, we have a female protagonist that has a belly, crazy hair.' … That's so important." [Justin Timberlake to the Hollywood Reporter / Janice Min]
  • "His grandfather asked if he would sign a one-page confidentiality agreement to give Theranos peace of mind. According to Tyler Shultz, when he said yes, his grandfather revealed that two lawyers were waiting upstairs with the agreement." [WSJ / John Carreyrou]
  • "My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist." [Paul Horner to Washington Post / Caitlin Dewey]
  • "Coming from a traditionally closed society where the media operates as an extension of the state, Russian agents tend to prioritize human recruitment and generally discount the huge amount of 'open source' news and information that flows routinely out of the US in government reports, independent news articles, and think tank analyses. 'Whispered conversations always feel sexier,' Ricci says." [Bloomberg / Garrett Graff]
  • "Superheroes are democratic ideals. … Superheroes are fascist ideals. … Both of these things are true, and inextricably bound up with one another — but they weren't always." [NPR / Glen Weldon]

Watch this: How you could get away with murder in Yellowstone’s “Zone of Death”

There's a 50-square-mile section of land in Idaho where a murderer could get away scot-free. [YouTube / Estelle Caswell]