A Few Things to Read...

Here are a few things I wrote over the weekend, in case you missed them...

1. Trump risks major diplomatic dispute with China over call with Taiwanese president: "The Financial Times reports that President-elect Donald Trump spoke via phone with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, marking what is believed to the first time since 1979 that a United States president—or president-elect—has spoken to 'a leader of Taiwan since diplomatic relations between the two were cut in 1979.' The call, which the New York Times describes as 'a striking break with nearly four decades of diplomatic practice that could precipitate a major rift with China even before Mr. Trump takes office,' was news to the White House, which 'was not told about Mr. Trump's call until after it happened.'"

2. Trump’s Taiwanese call: diplomatic failure and more conflict of interest questions: "These reports once again raise concerns that Trump's business interests, and his plan to turn over his business to his children, will continue to cause major conflicts of interest during his presidency. Unless and until he solves this dilemma by taking the meaningful actions of disclosing his tax returns and business financials, fully divesting himself, and ending brand licensing deals, these serious concerns will not go away. A seemingly less solvable problem is Trump's tendency, as described by former U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, to 'wing it.'"

3. Trump tweets about SNL sketch that is literally about how he can't stop tweeting: "It continues to be worrying that a man soon to be inaugurated as the President of the United States can be piqued by satire. And react so petulantly that he virtually renders it beyond satire."

4. Keep your eyes on Mike Pence, who is emerging as the most powerful veep ever: "Pence's style has always been less aggressive than it is opportunist—which does not make him any less dangerous. To the contrary, his patience in waiting for effective opportunities in which to implement his extremism, and his willingness to brazenly disregard democratic processes to get it done, makes him all the more toxic. His stealth is the perfect complement to Trump's theatrical egotism: Pence will exploit every second of being ignored to enact a radical conservative agenda in the long shadow cast by Trump's attention-grubbing megalomania."

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