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News Wrap: Trump transition gets moving while Pence visits Congress

November 17, 2016 at 6:50 PM EST
In our news wrap Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump received a parade of potential cabinet officers, while his running mate, Mike Pence, courted Congress. Also, President Obama had some pointed advice for his successor on dealing with Russia. In Berlin, he expressed hopes that the president-elect would confront the Kremlin when it goes too far.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The Trump transition operated on two fronts today, in New York and Washington. The president-elect received a parade of potential Cabinet officers, while his running mate courted Congress.

John Yang begins our coverage.

JOHN YANG: One after another, they made the pilgrimage to Trump Tower for audiences with the president-elect. Some were familiar faces from the campaign, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

Others have also been mentioned as possible members of the Trump administration, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, FedEx chairman Fred Smith, and governors Rick Scott or Florida and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. Transition officials said there’s no arbitrary timeline for personnel announcements.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, Aide to President-elect Trump: I think, basically, before or right after Thanksgiving is probably more appropriate in terms of — we looked at where past administrations have been also, and we feel like we’re right on target, right on time for all of that.

JOHN YANG: President-elect Trump talked foreign policy with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Today, he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr. Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with a world leader since the election.

The incoming administration has launched its so-called landing teams to work with current administration officials across the federal government. All members of those teams and anyone being vetted for an administration job have to give up lobbying if they’re a registered lobbyist. And they have to agree to a five-year lobbying ban after leaving government service.

Today, vice president-elect Pence was on Capitol Hill, meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and addressing the House Republican Conference Mr. Pence once led.

MIKE PENCE (R), Vice President-Elect: Very humbling to be back among my former colleagues who are excited about moving the Trump agenda forward in the coming Congress, and I’m just so grateful, so grateful for the warm hospitality.

JOHN YANG: Mr. Pence also sat down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and with Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate minority leader.

For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took himself out of the running for a Trump Cabinet post today. He told The Washington Post he wants the freedom to — quote — “network across the whole system.”

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: President Obama had some pointed advice for his successor on dealing with Russia. He spoke in Berlin after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said he hopes Mr. Trump confronts the Kremlin when it goes too far.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My hope is, is that he does not simply take a realpolitik approach and suggest that, if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms, we just do whatever is convenient at the time.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Merkel said she’s keeping an open mind on working with a Trump administration.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Hillary Clinton has reemerged in public, urging supporters to keep fighting. She spoke last night at a Washington gala for the Children’s Defense Fund. Clinton acknowledged she’s had moments when she wanted to curl up and never leave the house again after her stunning loss. But she said this is no time to give in.

HILLARY CLINTON, Former Presidential Candidate: I know that, over the past week, a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never, ever give up.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Clinton didn’t mention president-elect Trump by name.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives called today for a bill to fund the government into March. They said that would give the incoming Trump administration time to weigh in on future spending priorities.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi now faces a challenge to keep her job as House minority leader. Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan announced today that he will run against Pelosi.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. surgeon general is out with a call to action on substance abuse. Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a sweeping report today. Among the findings, 78 Americans die every day from overdosing on opioids. A record 47,000 died from drug overdoses of all kinds in 2014. And more than 27 million people reported using illegal drugs or misusing prescription drugs last year.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In economic news, the head of the Federal Reserve Board says the economic outlook is improving. That’s likely to pave the way for another interest rate hike next month. Janet Yellen gave her semi-annual report to Congress today. She acknowledged the Fed’s view could change, depending on what the Trump administration does.

JANET YELLEN, Chair, Federal Reserve: When there’s greater clarity about the economic policies that might be put into effect, the committee will have to factor those assessments of their impacts on employment and inflation and perhaps adjust our outlook depending on what happens.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Yellen also said she has no intention of stepping down before her term ends in January of 2018.

HARI SREENIVASAN: J.P. Morgan Chase will pay $264 million to settle federal charges that it bribed its way into banking deals with China. The bank was accused of hiring relatives of well-connected Chinese officials, in a bid to secure business. Several other banks are under a similar investigation.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street managed modest gains today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 35 points to close near 18904. The Nasdaq rose 39, and the S&P 500 added 10.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Astronaut Peggy Whitson is now the oldest woman in space at the age of 56. The biochemist was on a Russian rocket that blasted off from Kazakstan today on a mission to the International Space Station. Whitson will celebrate her 57 birthday in space next February. John Glenn remains the oldest human to go into space. He flew on a space shuttle at age 77.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And the man who made Archer Daniels Midland into a food industry giant has died. Dwayne Andreas passed away Wednesday. He took over ADM in 1970 and built a dominant position in everything from ethanol to corn syrup. He stepped down in 1997, after a price-fixing scandal. ADM was also a major underwriter of the “NewsHour” for years.

Dwayne Andreas was 98 years old.

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