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Vox Sentences: A victory for democracy! …In Gambia. With tanks.

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What the Trump administration will actually look like; Gambia's neighbors invade in the name of democracy; Chapo Guzman is on US soil.

This is happening.

Donald and Melania Trump Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images
  • So, um, Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States tomorrow.
  • According to some reports, he's ready to hit the ground running, signing major executive orders in his first day or two in office (though there's a lot of disagreement about when, and what, the orders will actually be). [Reuters / Ayesha Rascoe and Julia Edwards Ainsley]
  • But his government may not be in much of a position to implement his desires. There are 650 positions in the federal government that require Senate confirmation; Trump has named nominees for 30 (and only two are likely to be confirmed tomorrow). [Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service]
  • At least Trump has filled out his Cabinet. On Thursday, his transition team named Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture (making his Cabinet officially the first since 1989 to not have a Latino in it, which press secretary Sean Spicer attributed to Trump's desire to find the "best and brightest"). [Huffington Post / Elise Foley]
  • Below the Cabinet level, it gets real empty real fast. As late as Wednesday, several senior Obama administration national security officials weren't sure whether they were supposed to stay in their jobs temporarily or whether Trump would just leave those positions empty. [Foreign Policy / Dan De Luce and John Hudson]
  • The Trump administration has asked some of them to stay on at the last minute. And they maintain that its "beachhead" staff of senior civil servants are going to come in and do the rest. [The Daily Beast / Kimberly Dozier]
  • But since there's been a lot less communication than usual between the Obama people staying in government and the Trump people coming in (largely because neither side trusts the other not to leak to press), it might take a bit of time to adjust. [Politico / Josh Dawsey and Andrew Restuccia]
  • These aren't just growing pains. They're indications that Trump's plan for running the federal government (giving Cabinet secretaries and departments a lot of latitude while he busies himself Making America Great Again) is not going to work any better than the past several times it's been tried. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]

Democracy at the barrel of a tank

People celebrating in the streets of Gambia Xaume Olleros/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Senegal announced Thursday that it had sent troops into Gambia to force outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to give up the office. [Washington Post / Kevin Sieff]
  • Jammeh has rejected the results of a December election in which he lost to Adama Barrow. Barrow was sworn in as president of Gambia Thursday ... in Senegal. [BBC]
  • Really, Jammeh did this to himself. By setting high hopes for a legitimate election, he called international attention to Barrow's victory — inspiring ECOWAS, the group of West African states that includes Senegal, to step in and defend Barrow's legitimacy. [Washington Post / Jeffrey Smith]
  • This is a big deal. ECOWAS, and African nations generally, tend to intervene in one another's affairs to protect incumbent governments, not to protect democratic elections.
  • Jammeh could put up a fight. 26,000 Gambians have fled (mostly to Senegal) in advance of any clashes between the Gambian military and ECOWAS forces. [NYT / Dionne Searcey and Jaime Yaya Barry]
  • But the head of Gambia's army has said he would not stand in ECOWAS's way. And according to reports, he was celebrating in the streets with Barrow supporters Thursday. [AFP / Malick Ba, Jennifer O'Mahony, and Emil Touray]

Escape to New York

El Chapo in custody Daniel Cardenas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • The government of Mexico announced Thursday that it has extradited "El Chapo" Guzman to the US to face trial for charges including drug trafficking. [Reuters / Jose Luis Gonzalez, Tomas Bravo, and Gabriel Stargardter]
  • El Chapo appears to be headed to stand trial in New York — one of many jurisdictions in which he's under indictment. [AP]
  • Extradition agreements between two countries can be complicated (as explained here in this excellent video). But Mexico agreed to extradite Guzman to the US last summer — it's just been a matter of running out his appeals since then. [Lex Animata via YouTube]
  • Mexican officials predicted months ago that he'd be extradited in "January or February." But the precise timing — on the eve of President Trump's inauguration — still seems significant... [Reuters]
  • ...especially because, shortly after the extradition announcement, Mexican officials announced plans for high-level talks with Trump White House staff next week. [José Díaz-Briseño via Twitter]
  • The Guzman extradition is a short-term political victory for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. But taking Guzman out of the game has created a power vacuum in his Sinaloa cartel that other cartels are rushing to fill — sparking new violence and instability. [InSight Crime / Tristan Clavel]
  • The bigger problem is that after 10 years of aggressively prosecuting a drug war against cartels, Mexico is desperately in need of new ideas for fighting crime. [InSight Crime / Deborah Bonello]


  • Since Trump won, hoarding water and dehydrated food for the apocalypse isn't just for right-wingers anymore. [BuzzFeed / William Alden]
  • Look, who among us didn't steal a $1 million Kandinsky painting to put up in our college dorm room? [DNAInfo / James Fanelli]
  • In the US, fake news might have influenced an election. In South Sudan, it's fomenting a civil conflict that could turn into genocide. [BuzzFeed / Jason Patinkin]
  • Ashish Jha is a physician who researches health policy at Harvard. He decided to put his family on a catastrophic, high-deductible health plan to see how it changed their lives. The results were … not great. [Marketplace / Dan Gorenstein]
  • How a 58-year-old private detective in South Carolina coined Barack Obama's "Fired up! Ready to go!" chant. [The Atlantic / Dan Fipphen and Elyse Kelly]


  • "There were all kinds of wacky ideas about how potentially you could have this massive coin I mean ... it was like some primitive — it was like out of the stone age or something. And I pictured rolling in some coin." [Barack Obama to Pod Save America]
  • "Try to remember the last time you saw what Dolly Parton’s bare arms look like. Not coming up with anything? It’s because she always wears long sleeves to cover up secret tattoos." [Everything Changes / Laura Olin]
  • "The group, which gathered for a 'Queer Dance Party,' convened at the Friendship Heights Metro station around 6pm and, blasting Beyoncé and other up-tempo tunes, danced its way to the house Pence has been renting until he moves into the Naval Observatory after the inauguration. … 'I love this,' said Mary Ann Carmody, 76, who lives in the neighborhood with her husband, John, 80." [Washington Post / Amy Joyce and Victoria St. Martin]
  • "We’ve paid an enormous price for letting our local organizations atrophy to a point of near irrelevance." [Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to Politico / Edward-Isaac Dovere]
  • "This is Maya. She’s from the White House. And she needs us to write a hit song about the water crisis — better than Taylor Swift, okay?" [Aurora Sauceda via New Yorker / Sarah Stillman]

Watch this: What the best inaugural addresses have in common

The best inaugural addresses have all been short. (Hint, hint, Donald.) [YouTube / Mac Schneider and Hosu Lee]

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