Israeli Police Name Netanyahu’s Former Aides in New Investigation

Police now targeting prime minister and associates in five graft probes

.. Police said the leader’s former spokesman Nir Hefetz, and Shlomo Filber, the ex-head of the communications ministry under Mr. Netanyahu, were arrested on Sunday on suspicion they had organized positive media coverage for the leader and his wife on a popular news website called Walla.

Trump and Candidates for National Security Adviser Spar Over Staffing

Retired Vice Adm. Bob Harward and retired Gen. David Petraeus have dropped out of consideration

President Donald Trump won’t guarantee that his next national security adviser will have full control over staffing and process, a move that is shortening the list of people willing to take the job at a tumultuous moment for the new administration, people familiar with the matter said.

.. Retired Vice Adm. Bob Harward and retired Gen. David Petraeus have dropped out of consideration for the critical post

.. Both candidates have cited concerns about staffing and independence, the people said.

.. “It is dumb to demand Flynn’s people go. Why are you creating embarrassment?” said the official. “If you make that a precondition, you are not a loyal soldier and you don’t deserve the job.”

.. Mr. Petraeus, the former Central Intelligence Agency director and a retired four-star general, said on Friday that anyone considering the job should have control over personnel and gain a commitment from the White House to have a disciplined process for crafting security policy.

.. The White House was miffed by Mr. Petraeus’s demands to take control of policy. Administration officials want someone who is going to coordinate and limit conflicts with the agencies on the council, not try to take policy-making away from them or the president, said the officials briefed on the search.

.. An official briefed on the search said Mr. Petraeus is no longer being considered because the White House thought his demands were unreasonable.



Mike Pence Finds Himself in Unusual Role in Mike Flynn’s Firing

But Mr. Pence also learned he remains very much a junior partner in the still-forming White House power structure, as a timeline shows President Donald Trump knew about Mr. Flynn’s deceptions for two weeks without informing his No. 2.

.. The warning from the Justice Department about Mr. Flynn’s inconsistencies was delivered to the president’s chief counsel, Donald McGahn, who informed Mr. Trump. It’s unclear who else knew.

.. and a flashy style that cuts against the former Indiana governor’s religious beliefs.

.. is the latest incident to raise doubts about Mr. Trump’s creation of an informal power-sharing arrangement among top advisers. Unlike his predecessors, he has placed himself at the center of a spinning wheel of former campaign advisers, family, confidants and aides

.. “This is something entirely different. The ineptitude, the sloppiness, the incompetence and the chaos are unprecedented.”

.. This is all a part of the way he operates. He keeps his adversaries off balance and he keeps people guessing.”

.. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has influence over everything from foreign policy to job creation and may be the person in the West Wing the president trusts most. Chief strategist Steve Bannon helped craft the president’s populist identity and also has a hand in foreign policy through a new seat on the National Security Council. Mr. Pence is the main point of contact for Republicans on Capitol Hill.

.. Some Republicans have been talking to Mr. Trump’s team and urging them to put in place a system that would impose more order. It isn’t clear that is what Mr. Trump wants. Friends say he likes to “curate” opinions from people he trusts inside and outside of government—sounding people out on what they think he should be doing.

.. A senior White House official said Wednesday that one course correction will be to hold more campaign-style rallies meant to deliver an “unfiltered” message to Americans. One such event is scheduled for Saturday evening in Orlando, Fla., and more will be coming, the official said.

.. Multiple candidates have turned down the position of White House communications director, forcing press secretary Sean Spicer to perform double duty

.. what some Republicans hope is that Mr. Trump will further empower Mr. Pence

.. After a tape surfaced during the campaign showing Mr. Trump making lewd comments toward women, Mr. Trump phoned Mr. Pence’s wife, Karen, to offer reassurance

.. Mr. Trump urged him to go see the Douglas MacArthur statue.

.. pay respects to one of the military leaders Mr. Trump most admires

Donald Trump’s Cabinet Picks Disagree With President-Elect on Some Key Issues

The president-elect’s pick for budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., S.C.), has opposed raising the debt ceiling, but Mr. Trump has proposed steep tax cuts and large increases in defense and infrastructure spending that many economists believe will cause the deficit to grow.

Several of his cabinet selections backed a trade deal negotiated by President Barack Obama with Asian nations, which Mr. Trump opposed and has vowed to abandon.

 ..Thomas Barrack, a longtime Trump friend and chairman of the inaugural committee, said the president-elect manages with an “open door” policy, where aides debate the merits of proposals while Mr. Trump “curates” the information and makes a final decision.
..Monitoring one potentially rogue agency could be challenging for any new administration, and Mr. Trump may need to keep an eye on several of them to ensure they promote policies in line with his promises and not the preferences of his appointees.
.. “This is a great, unanswered question,” said David Axelrod, who was a top adviser to Mr. Obama. “It seems that Trump does not come to this with a well-developed philosophy so much as a well-conceived marketing strategy. Now there will be a behind-the-scenes battle to fill in the void that will mirror the battle between factions of the Republican Party.
.. Wilbur Ross, his selection for commerce secretary; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who’s been tapped to become ambassador to China; and his selection for defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, have all spoken favorably of the Obama administration’s proposed trade deal with Asian countries,
.. His pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has called a federal policy that forces increased use of ethanol and other biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply “unworkable” and backed a 2013 lawsuit challenging the measure.
.. But, before the first caucuses during his early Republican primary fights, Mr. Trump told Iowans supporting the ethanol mandate he was “with you 100%.” isn’t out of the ordinary for presidents to appoint cabinet members with differing viewpoints.What is unusual about the incoming Trump administration, he said, is that his core White House leadership team doesn’t have the administrative background that’s useful in managing policy differences.

“The key here is not the fact that these are smart, successful people who view the world differently,” Mr. Naftali said. “That’s not new. It’s the fact that the center of the operation has absolutely no experience managing policy differences.”

An additional concern, he said, is that Mr. Trump may permit people to approach him through back channels that disrupt an “orderly policy process.”