Trump adds two to staff

Jill Stein calls for re­counts in close Mid­west elec­tions

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Steve Peo­ple and Todd Rich­mond

MADI­SON, WIS. — Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump pressed forward Fri­day with two more ad­min­is­tra­tion picks, as failed Green Party can­di­date Jill Stein took new steps to force re­counts across key Mid­west­ern bat­tle­grounds that could com­pli­cate Trump’s push for national unity.

Stein, who earned lit­tle more than 1 per­cent of the national vote, for­mally re­quested a Wis­con­sin re­count Fri­day af­ter­noon, vow­ing to do the same in the com­ing days in Michi­gan and Penn­syl­va­nia. There is no ev­i­dence of elec­tion tam­per­ing in the states where Trump scored ra­zor-thin vic­to­ries, but Green Party spokesman Ge­orge Martin in­sisted that “the Amer­i­can pub­lic needs to have it in­ves­ti­gated to make sure our votes count.”

“We’re do­ing this to en­sure the in­tegrity of our sys­tem,” he said.

Trump’s team ig­nored ques­tions about the loom­ing re­counts. Set to as­sume the pres­i­dency in 55 days, he was fo­cused in­stead on the daunt­ing task of build­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tion from scratch.

Gath­ered with fam­ily at his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach estate for the hol­i­day week­end, the in­com­ing pres­i­dent made two se­nior­level staff ap­point­ments and sched­uled meet­ings with sev­eral more prospec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials.

He chose Fox News an­a­lyst Kathleen Troia “KT” McFar­land to serve as deputy national se­cu­rity ad­viser and cam­paign at­tor­ney Don­ald McGahn as White House coun­sel. In a state­ment, Trump cited McFar­land’s “tremen­dous ex­pe­ri­ence and in­nate tal­ent” and said McGhan “has a McGahn McFar­land

bril­liant legal mind, ex­cel­lent char­ac­ter and a deep un­der­stand­ing of con­sti­tu­tional law.”

Hav­ing faced crit­i­cism about the in­ex­pe­ri­ence of his ini­tial picks, Trump finds in McFar­land some­one who pre­vi­ously worked un­der three pres­i­dents, al­though none since Ron­ald Rea­gan. McGhan, a vet­eran Repub­li­can elec­tion lawyer, served as Trump’s at­tor­ney dur­ing the cam­paign.

Nei­ther position re­quires Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Trump tran­si­tion spokesman Sean Spicer said the pres­i­dent-elect sched­uled Monday meet­ings with eight more prospec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion hires, a group that in­cludes sev­eral busi­ness lead­ers, Penn­syl­va­nia Rep. Lou Bar­letta, and David Clarke, the Wis­con­sin sher­iff who is an ag­gres­sive op­po­nent of the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.

There were also signs of in­ter­nal dis­cord within the pres­i­dent-elect’s small in­ner cir­cle as Trump weighed his choices for sec­re­tary of state.

The op­tions for the na­tion’s chief diplo­mat in­clude for­mer New York City Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani, who lacks for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence but was in­tensely loyal to Trump, and 2012 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney, who ag­gres­sively op­posed Trump’s can­di­dacy but is largely re­garded as more qual­i­fied.

Trump spokes­woman Kellyanne Con­way took the un­usual step of shin­ing light on the con­tro­versy over the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, tweet­ing that she had been “re­ceiv­ing a del­uge of so­cial me­dia & pri­vate con­cerns re: Rom­ney Some Trump loy­al­ists warn against Rom­ney as sec of state.”

Mean­while, Stein an­nounced on her web­site she has raised enough money to fund re­counts in Wis­con­sin and Penn­syl­va­nia and was pur­su­ing ad­di­tional fund­ing to do the same in Michi­gan.

Trump’s Nov. 8 vic­tory was un­ex­pected and his­toric, by some mea­sures.

Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton leads the national pop­u­lar vote by close to 2 mil­lion votes.

Trump scored nar­row vic­to­ries in key bat­tle­ground states, how­ever, giv­ing him the nec­es­sary 270 elec­toral votes to as­sume the pres­i­dency.

He won in Penn­syl­va­nia. He won in Wis­con­sin, break­ing a Demo­cratic win­ning streak dat­ing back 32 years. He holds a slim lead in Michi­gan, where a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date hadn’t won since 1988; the As­so­ci­ated Press still hasn’t of­fi­cially called that race.

Wis­con­sin, where Trump leads by lit­tle more than 22,000 votes, has never con­ducted a pres­i­den­tial re­count. Even be­fore Stein’s Fri­day re­quest, Wis­con­sin elec­tions Com­mis­sion Elec­tions Su­per­vi­sor Ross Hein sent a mem­oto clerks this week telling them to ex­pect one.

In Michi­gan, Trump’s 10,704-vote lead is ex­pected to be cer­ti­fied by the state elec­tions board Monday. The dead­line to ask for a re­count is Wed­nes­day.

A statewide re­count would cost Stein roughly $790,000, said Fred Wood­hams, a spokesman for the Michi­gan sec­re­tary of state.

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