Daily Digest: Ellison and the White House

Good morning, and welcome to the day before Thanksgiving. I am thankful to you for reading the Digest and supporting the work of our talented political team online and on the radio. Here's the Digest.

1. Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison is facing new opposition in his effort to head the Democratic National Committee, and it's coming from inside the Obama White House. Some people loyal to President Obama are looking for an alternative to Ellison in part because they think the job requires a full-time chair and in part because they're wary  of handing control to Bernie Sanders and the most liberal faction of the party. (New York Times)

2. Minnesota Senate Republicans are promising changes in state health care policy next session, and their new committee structure reflects that priority. Senate Majority Leader-designate Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said Tuesday that the reorganization for 2017 includes three panels that will deal with health care costs, access and reform issues. Just two weeks after the election, Gazelka said he believes health care is the reason Republicans are now in charge of the Senate. Meanwhile, the Republican senator who heads the elections committee says she still wants a photo ID requirement to vote. (MPR News)

3. Unlike the House the Minnesota Senate doesn't release its roll call votes in a way that can be easily exported and shared online. Will the new Republican majority change that? "I would be very supportive of getting into the 21st century,” Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, said. “I think we should have accountability and transparency … by making sure that legislators’ votes are readily available to the public.”(Pioneer Press)

4. President-elect Donald Trump sat down for an interview with the New York Times Tuesday and said among other things that he will keep an open mind about pulling out of an international climate change agreement, that he does not want to hurt Hillary Clinton by pressing the case against her on her emails and that he has no interest in energizing racists and members of the so-called alt-right movement. Asked about conference over the weekend in Washington where some attendees raised their arms in a Hitler-like salute, he said, “I disavow and condemn them.” Trump also brushed aside questions about conflicts arising from his business dealings, declaring that “the law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”(New York Times)

5. Donald Trump's son-in-law rarely talks to the media. It's one reason why Trump trusted him so much during the campaign. But here's an interview with Jared Kushner where the campaign's "chief operating officer" talks about how he used social media and Facebook in particular to help Trump win. Short version? It was a lot more complicated and organized than it looked.  (Forbes)

I'm going to take a few days off for the holiday. The Digest will resume a week from today. I hope you have a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving and will see you here next week.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.