Transition watch: the players and policy of the incoming administration

With less than 60 days remaining until his inauguration, President-elect Trump and his transition team are rapidly ramping up their operations with an eye toward having all of his Cabinet nominees and many other key senior-level positions selected by the end of this year. The President-elect has chosen Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be his Attorney General, Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas to be his CIA Director, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations and United States Army Lieutenant General and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Gen. Mike Flynn to be the National Security Advisor. (The National Security Advisor position does not require Senate confirmation.)

Agency landing teams are being assembled and announced and the transition process is beginning at the various Federal departments and agencies, all with the goal of enabling the new administration to hit the ground running when President Trump is inaugurated on January 20, 2017. Mr. Trump and Vice President-elect Pence are in the midst of what seems like an endless stream of meetings both to interview potential candidates for the various Cabinet and senior level agency position positions and to seek input from a wide variety of sources about how and where to start in pursuing and implementing the new administration's policy agenda.

To that end, the Trump transition policy teams are reviewing all of President Obama's executive orders and executive actions with an eye toward producing a target list of executive orders that President Trump will rescind with a stroke of his pen within hours, or at most days, after his inauguration. Tremendous changes are likely on the horizon and, with such changes, our firm's clients and prospects will need our insights and our advice on how to navigate a fluid and rapidly changing political landscape that, in many respects, truly will be a new world order.

That said, the President-elect released a brief video on Monday, November 21, in which he described the first steps he plans to take after his inauguration to implement his policy agenda. It is striking, indeed noteworthy, that, in many respects, the steps that Mr. Trump announced are far more modest than many of the proposals on which he successfully campaigned.

While he mentions his intention to take certain immigration-related investigative steps to protect American workers, in the video, President-elect Trump did not mention anything about building a wall on the Mexican border. Moreover, despite campaigning on a promise to repeal Obamacare, the subject is conspicuous by its absence in the video. Similarly, after arguing repeatedly that Secretary Clinton should be in jail for her decision to use a private and unsecure email server while Secretary of State and that he intended to have a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Secretary Clinton, reports are now circulating that Mr. Trump has decided not to proceed with any investigation of Secretary Clinton.  It appears that, like every new President, as he learns about his new responsibilities, Mr. Trump will be receiving a crash course on setting policy priorities and on the differences between campaigning and governing.

Below, snapshots of the various policy teams and initiatives of the next White House as we know them today:

Trump's Defense roster swells

The A-B-C's of Trump's ed. plan

Three vehicles for Trump's enviro policy

Trump's Treasury: restrained, transparent rulemakers

Delivering on Obamacare repeal: can vs. will

Trump's insurance regime taking form

Trump's trade focus: TPP, NAFTA

Labor policy overhaul in store for Day One

Tax implications of ACA repeal

Net neutrality's uncertain future

In infrastructure plan, Trump focuses on transpo

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John R. Russell, IV

About John R. Russell, IV

John Russell is a member of Dentons' Public Policy practice. Focusing on federal advocacy and strategic communications, John worked for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, serving on the leadership staffs of a speaker, a House majority whip and the chairman of the House Campaign Committee. In his career, John has worked both extensively and effectively in the legislative, communications and campaign arenas.

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