Today: Why Donald Trump's call with Taiwan, tax tweetstorm and HUD secretary pick matter

This is Mic's guide to Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you.

Key Stat:


Today: This was the president-elect's newsiest weekend to date. Get up to speed about Taiwan, the secretary of state, taxes, the consequences of a conspiracy theory in Washington, D.C., and more.

More: Jill Stein will seek intervention from a federal court to force a recount in Pennsylvania.

Even More: Ben Carson will (officially) be Trump's nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 

Where's Trump? Trump Tower in New York City. His "Thank You" tour continues Tuesday in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: 2.6 million votes, 2 percentage points greater than Trump. (Cook Political Report)

A Trumpian weekend

All Donald Trump supporters and detractors can agree on one thing: This weekend saw multiple news stories that only this president-elect would create. Here's what you missed, the latest on each major story and what you actually need to know.

Taiwan: On Friday, Trump spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. She offered him her congratulations and noted the close ties between the U.S. and Taiwan. Tame enough — except the Chinese, the U.S. and most of the world do not recognize Taiwan as an independent country. Trump's call was the first official American presidential communication to the country since President Jimmy Carter formalized the "One China" policy in the late 1970s. (Mic) The agreement grew out of communist revolutionaries dethroning the nationalist government in 1949, with the latter fleeing to Taiwan and both sides claiming sovereignty over China ever since. (New York Times)

What you need to know: Trump defended his actions on Twitter when news reports exploded with explainers on how the call would be seen by China as an antagonization. On Sunday evening, the Washington Post reported the call was "an intentionally provocative move" long planned by Trump's team.

Some viewed the call as a sign Trump is willing to play tough with the Chinese. But others saw the conversation as an unplanned and ill-advised shift in American foreign policy. And Trump's apparent interest in building luxury hotels in Taiwan raises questions about his motive for creating a closer American-Taiwanese relationship. (Shanghaiist) On Saturday, a Trump Organization spokesperson said the company is not exploring investment in Taiwan. (Wall Street Journal)

35% tax: On Sunday morning, Trump unleashed a series of tweets aimed at companies that move jobs in the U.S. to other countries. He said those companies would face a 35% tax on goods imported into the country. To reward companies that stay in America, Trump said he will cut regulations and taxes. (Mic

What you need to know: Trump's plan to use a tariff to deter American companies from manufacturing overseas sticks to his core message: Keep jobs in America. But the tariff could raise the costs of goods for American families, and a tax on only American-based businesses could make it difficult for U.S. companies to compete internationally.

Online conspiracy fuels D.C. gunshot: A false internet conspiracy theory claiming Hillary Clinton was involved in child sex trafficking led a man to fire a gun in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. The Sunday afternoon shooting left no one injured. Metropolitan police said the shooter told them he traveled from North Carolina to Comet Ping Pong restaurant to investigative "PizzaGate." (NBC Washington) The baseless conspiracy theory speculated Clinton and campaign chairman John Podesta used tunnels under the restaurant to hold and sexually abuse children. (Daily Beast)

What you need to know: Fake news and online conspiracy theories have real consequences. And retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a senior member of Trump's administration slated to serve as national security adviser, furthered the "sex crimes w children" narrative on Twitter shortly before the election.

Secretary of state: Whether Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are in shock or saw this coming, Trump is prolonging the search for secretary of state. What was beginning to seem a likely deal between Trump and Romney is now up in the air, as the president-elect "is now considering more than four people" to become America's top diplomat. (CNN)

What you need to know: Trump's toying with prospects — having dinner with Romney, meeting with former Gen. David Petraeus, stringing Giuliani along — demonstrates the president-elect's understanding of how to drive a media narrative. And Trump's overtures toward Romney, who once called the real estate mogul a "phony," could be solely vindictive.

Evan Vucci/AP

News and insight you cannot miss:

Why you should care that the prime minister of Italy resigned: Italians rejected a government-backed plan to reform the country's constitution, leading to the fall of yet another pro-European Union leader. The vote was seen as a victory for populist nationalists who argued Matteo Renzi, the prime minister, would have had too much power. Renzi argued he needed it to fight corruption, stabilize banks and boost the Italian economy. (BBC)

More from Europe: Renzi is only the latest European leader to fall victim to the anti-establishment fervor sweeping Europe. David Cameron resigned in July after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. With abysmal approval ratings, Francois Hollande recently announced he will not seek re-election as president of France. But Austria rejected a far-right presidential candidate, showing anti-establishment populism is not inevitable in Europe. (CNN)

When Ivanka Trump met the Japanese prime minister along with her father, there may have been something else at play. Trump's daughter is on the verge of a licensing deal with a Japanese apparel company that is largely controlled by a Japanese government-owned bank. (New York Times)

Jill Stein says she will ask a federal court to force a recount in Pennsylvania. The move comes after she said her crowdfunded effort could not afford to pay to recount votes as it had in Michigan and Wisconsin. (CNN)

It's official: Ben Carson is Trump's nominee to run Housing and Urban Development. (Mic)

Clinton did the worst among millennials in states she needed to win the most. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, she performed 5 percentage points worse nationally than Barack Obama did in 2012. In Wisconsin, she performed 20 points worse. (Washington Post)

Expect obstructionism to continue in Washington. Democrats plan to use all possible delay tactics to stall Trump's proposals in his first 100 days. Sound familiar, Republicans? (Politico)

A view from Trump country: How snubbing China caters to Trump's base

Now that we have reason to believe the president-elect's phone call with Taiwan was intentionally provocative, Trump's play seems fairly clear: Notch another pro-jobs, anti-globalization win early in his time leading the country. While a trade war with China carries many risks for American consumers, using a breach of international decorum to snub both American elites and the Chinese is Trump-style messaging. 

Throughout the campaign, Trump intertwined foreign and domestic policy when he railed against free trade. China and other countries with cheap labor and lax regulations were complicit in American companies moving jobs from the U.S. overseas, Trump said. And with these tensions inflamed, Trump is likely to find victory with this method. According to Gallup, a majority of Americans have viewed China unfavorably for most of the past quarter-century. And Pew research shows Americans are suspicious of China's military and deeply concerned over "the loss of U.S. jobs to China."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said on Fox News Monday morning, "I think it was a terrific message to [China]: We're no longer going to be pushovers, and there's going to be consequences for their hostile and aggressive actions."

Same subject, two views: Respect Trump, or protest?

Stop protesting democracy, Petula Dvorak in the Washington Post: "Donald Trump is going to be our president. And saying #NotMyPresident is the same as saying #NotMyConstitution or #NotMyCountry or #NotMyAmerica. It is our America. All of us." (Washington Post)

A 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency, Timothy Synder in Quartz: "In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom." (Quartz)

The loyal opposition: A brewing showdown over the Dakota Access Pipeline?

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters saw a major victory on Sunday: The Army Corps of Engineers said it would not approve a permit for the current route of the pipeline through the North Dakota Standing Rock Indian Reservation. (Mic) The move comes as thousands of protesters were at risk of freezing or starving in coming weeks, and shortly after law enforcement blasted protesters with water cannons in subzero temperatures. Mic's Jack Smith was one of the first to report the federal government will now explore alternate routes for the pipeline.

The victory comes only weeks before Trump will be sworn in as president. Only a few days ago, Trump said he supported the pipeline. (Mother Jones) And the president-elect has a well-known disdain for protesters. Once Trump-appointed officials run federal departments that oversee the pipeline's approval process, the situation could change. And the president-elect may find support in Congress: House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that rerouting the pipeline was "big-government decision-making at its worst." (Twitter)

Democratic National Committee news from Friday: Howard Dean has reportedly dropped out of the running to head the DNC. (Gabriel Debenedetti) He was considered the top competition to frontrunner Keith Ellison, who has consolidated progressive and some establishment support around his bid to lead the party. Ellison said he would leave Congress to run the DNC full-time if elected as chairman. (PoliticalWire)



— Mike Pence defends Trump's false claim that millions of people voted illegally, saying it's "his right to express his opinion." (ABC News

The Ku Klux Klan held a parade on Saturday in North Carolina celebrating Trump's victory. (BuzzFeed)

Trump's nominee for secretary of defense really loathes Iran. And some say James "Mad Dog" Mattis is looking to pick a fight in the Middle East. (Politico)

BuzzFeed analyzed the news sources that Trump tweets. The president-elect has a low bar for facts and straight talk, often favoring fake sources or sensationalism. The results are a must-read. (BuzzFeed)

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