President-elect Donald Trump is set to hold his first press conference in nearly six months Wednesday from the atrium in Trump Tower, where he promises to unveil how he’ll try to separate his business interests from his upcoming Administration. It comes as conflicts of interest questions linger over his upcoming presidency, and amid reports that Trump was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials on alleged Russian efforts to compromise him. In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump pushed back on the allegations. “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me,” he said. “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” Trump is aware of the intense media interest in the event, so expect some sort of surprise from him.
Trump’s expected announcements are set to put him far short of the threshold good-governance advocates have said would mark a sufficient break from his financial interests. He will transfer control, but not ownership, of his businesses to his two adult sons, and the businesses will cease to make new agreements. But he’ll continue to profit off his existing agreements—some of which have become more valuable because of his election—and he’ll be free to direct those interested in influencing him to his businesses.
President Obama’s farewell address Tuesday featured a riotous crowd of 18,000 of his hard-core supporters and staffers, but it contrasted with the more somber message the outgoing president delivered. Warning of threats to democracy from increasing inequality and intolerance, Obama offered a thinly veiled critique of his successor. He concluded with praise for his family, and an appeal to his supporters to continue to remain engaged in the political process.
Donald Trump’s many, many business dealings in 1 map. Trump’s Cabinet picks break with him on Russia, foreign policy, and Muslim registry. And Jeff Sessions says he’d recuse himself from investigations into Hillary Clinton.
Here are your must reads:
In His Farewell Speech, President Obama Returns to His Roots as a Community Leader
TIME’s Maya Rhodan on Obama’s warnings for Democracy
Homeland Security Pick John Kelly Splits With Donald Trump Proposals During Senate Hearing
Comes out against Muslim ban or registry [TIME]
Rex Tillerson Faces a Tough Confirmation Hearing. Here’s Why It Won’t Matter.
The Secretary of State’s nomination is a proxy for Democrats’ anger, TIME’s Philip Elliott writes
Democrats Show They’re Ready to Fight Donald Trump at California Hearing
On everything from immigration to legal marijuana, TIME’s Katy Steinmetz reports
Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Praises Foreign Policy Mainstream
Touts alliances amid Trump criticism [TIME]
Intel Chiefs Presented Trump With Claims of Russian Efforts to Compromise Him
Trump denies claims [CNN]
Donald Trump’s Many, Many Business Dealings in 1 Map
An unprecedented ethical quagmire [TIME]
“We must also be clear-eyed about our relationship with Russia. Russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests. It has invaded Ukraine, including the taking of Crimea, and supported Syrian forces that brutally violate the laws of war. Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia.” — Former Exxon CEO and Trump’s designated nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his confirmation hearing Wednesday
“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” — President-elect Donald Trump in a Wednesday morning tweet
Bits and Bites
Jeff Sessions Tells Senators He’d Stand Up to Trump as Attorney General [Associated Press]