On the Road Again

Thursday, December 8, 2016Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 8.28.54 PM

Good afternoon.
A long week of meetings at Trump Tower has produced a growing cabinet, a potential arrangement for the family business and a taste of inauguration planning. The reward: The weekend will start a little early for President-elect Donald J. Trump on Friday.
After early morning meetings, he will climb back aboard Trump Force One for a day of rallying, first at an airport hangar in Baton Rouge, La., for the Republican candidate for Senate there, and then in Grand Rapids, Mich., to thank supporters in a state that delivered him a surprise win.
The tone will probably be less buoyant back in Washington, where the Senate is working to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded past Friday. The House has already done so, but Senate Democrats are threatening to hold up the legislation over what they see as insufficient support for retired coal miners.

What We’re Watching

Will there be any bombshells in the postelection Federal Election Commission reports that must be filed by midnight? They’ll offer the first look at the spending decisions the campaigns made in their final days.
Mr. Trump will travel to Grand Rapids on Friday night for another stop on his “thank you” tour. How many more rallies can we expect?
On Saturday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to attend the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore. Keeping with tradition, he’ll watch half of the game from the Army side and the other from the Navy side.
Is the Michigan recount over? Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential nominee, has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene, but a federal judge’s rulingcleared the way to halt the effort late Wednesday.
President Obama continues to keep a low profile.
A coal miner at a rally for Mr. Trump in Charleston, W.Va., in May.
A coal miner at a rally for Mr. Trump in Charleston, W.Va., in May. Ty Wright for The New York Times

A Fight Over Miners’ Pensions

During his campaign, Mr. Trump spoke often of his love of coal miners. But he has been silent — electronically and otherwise —  about a fight over pension and health benefits for tens of thousands of miners that is now threatening to shut down the government over the weekend.
So, what’s this all about?
Roughly 90,000 pensioners and 23,000 health beneficiaries risk losing benefits as a fund, the United Mine Workers of America pension plan, skids toward insolvency.
The health care portion of the plan, which is operated jointly by trustees appointed by the United Mine Workers and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association, is guaranteed by the federal government but was hammered in the 2008 financial crisis. Its condition was made worse by the large growth in the number of retired beneficiaries “orphaned” after their companies collapsed.
A bill sponsored by Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, would secure the future of both the health plans and the pension, and would expand the eligibility of beneficiaries  to new retirees who have been orphaned because of recent coal bankruptcies.
With 16,300 people slated to lose their benefits by Dec. 31, there is pressure for Congress to act quickly on the health care piece.
Pushed in part by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the House has done so in the spending bill it passed, though only with a temporary measure that would keep the fund solvent through the end of April. Many senators believe this is insufficient and are holding out for a permanent fix.
As such, they are refusing to sign off, for now, on a spending bill that would keep the government’s lights on until spring.
Andrew F. Puzder at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Mr. Puzder, chief executive of the company behind Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., also strongly supports repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Robots make welds on metal frames for the Ford Escape sport utility vehicle at an assembly plant in Louisville, Ky. Ford said it would keep production of a Lincoln S.U.V. in the United States. President-elect Donald J. Trump has criticized the company for its investments in Mexico.

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Tariffs on imported vehicles and parts and fewer subsidies for electric cars are among the possible changes that concern domestic automakers.

President-elect Donald J. Trump at Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Hilary Swift for The New York Times

The president-elect is said to be considering turning over his company to his two adult sons, but planning to resist calls to divest.

Edgar M. Welch surrendered to the police in Washington on Sunday.

Sathi Soma, via Associated Press

A soft-spoken Edgar M. Welch described from jail his thoughts leading up to his decision to fire a military-style assault rifle inside the pizzeria.

What We’re Reading

John Glenn was a symbol of the space age as the first American to orbit Earth. He went on to become a national political figure representing Ohio in the Senate. He died at age 95 on Thursday. Read the full New York Times obituary.
Return of the plutocrats? Politico identifies a growing list of Democratic mega-donors who are considering bids for Republican-held governor’s mansions. [Politico]
Earlier this week, a Republican presidential elector from Texas wrote in an Op-Edin The Times that his conscience would not allow him to vote for Mr. Trump when the Electoral College meets Dec. 19. He will join only nine such “faithless electors”in American history, according to a count by The Los Angeles Times. [Los Angeles Times]

How Trump Can Influence Climate Change


A Trump administration could weaken or do away with many of the Obama-era policies focused on greenhouse gas emissions.

Larry Laughlin, a retired business owner from Minnesota, said he felt alienated from conventional news media.

As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth


Fake news has become a partisan tool, but people differ widely on their ability to discern what is real and what is fabrication.

Construction on the presidential reviewing stand, where President-elect Donald J. Trump will view the inaugural parade, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

Grandiose Ideas for Donald Trump Inaugural Give Way to Traditional


A parade up Fifth Avenue? A helicopter ride to Washington from New York? Both are dismissed as unrealistic, especially given security concerns.

Amanda Delekta, 20, the political director for the College Republicans at the University of Michigan, in her bedroom near campus in Ann Arbor, Mich., last week.

On Campus, Trump Fans Say They Need ‘Safe Spaces’


Republican students feel estranged from colleges where the institutional bias leans left, and university officials fear tensions will increase after the inauguration.

Election workers recounted votes in Flint, Mich., on Wednesday.

Federal Judge Clears Way to End Michigan Recount


The judge, who had ordered the new count to begin on Monday, removed his order late Wednesday, but Jill Stein, who called for the recount, is still pressing.

Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, in his office on Wednesday. “Maybe I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t,” he said of his early Senate career.

Harry Reid Leaves the Senate a Different Place, and a Different Man


Mr. Reid, the senate minority leader, arrived as an anti-abortion, anti-immigration centrist but will retire as a progressive voice and an acerbic critic of Republican tactics.

Carter Page in Moscow in July.

Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Mr. Page, who was scrutinized by the F.B.I. on suspicion of private communications with senior Russian officials last summer, said he would meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.”

One of seven books about Islam or the Quran that were recently defaced at a public library in Evanston, Ill.


The president of the American Library Association said there had been “startling increases” in vandalism, including hateful messages, at libraries in 2016.

Donald J. Trump, the president-elect, spoke last Thursday with local officials and company representatives at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis.

A J Mast for The New York Times

Initially aiming to pressure companies like Ford and Carrier to keep factory jobs at home instead of moving them to Mexico, Mr. Trump has increased the stakes.

An AT&T store in Manhattan. The telecom giant and Time Warner have proposed an $85.4 billion merger.

Christian Hansen for The New York Times

The telecom giant and media behemoth defended their proposed $85.4 billion merger in a Senate hearing.