Exxon C.E.O. Said to Be Top Contender for Secretary of State; Giuliani Is Out
December 10, 2016, 8:08am

■ Rudolph W. Giuliani, a fiercely loyal Trump ally, is out of the race for secretary of state. Rex W. Tillerson, the head of Exxon Mobil, appears to be the leading contender.

■ President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team is asking a lot of questions at the Energy Department.

■ Mr. Trump will name Gary D. Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, to direct the National Economic Council.

■ He could also name Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, to be interior secretary.

A front-runner, by way of Exxon.

Rex W. Tillerson, the president and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, is the leading candidate to be Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, according to a person with direct knowledge of the search process.

Mr. Tillerson went to Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday to meet with Mr. Trump, who is said to be close to making a decision. Mr. Tillerson has been strongly recommended by a number of business leaders.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has been described by Mr. Trump’s advisers as still in the running. But Mr. Trump has said conflicting things privately about his views of Mr. Romney, advisers said, and has indicated to several people that he is unlikely to be named.

Transition questionnaire alarms Energy Department employees.

President-elect Trump’s transition team has circulated an unusual 74-point questionnaire that requests the names of all employees and contractors who have attended domestic or international climate change policy conferences, as well as emails associated with the conferences.

The questionnaire appears targeted at climate science research and clean energy programs.

Energy Department employees, who shared the questionnaire with The New York Times and spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, described the questionnaire as unprecedented and worrying.

“These questions don’t just indicate an attack on civil servants here in Washington,” said an Energy Department employee. “They amount to a witch hunt in D.O.E.’s 17 national labs, where scientists have the independence to do their work — yet here are questions that are reminiscent of an inquisition rather than actual curiosity about how the labs work.”

The questionnaire asks for lists of employees involved in key climate change programs, including all those who have attended United Nations climate change conferences. It also asks for lists of employees involved in designing a metric known as the Social Cost of Carbon, a figure used by the Obama administration to measure the economic impact of carbon dioxide pollution, and to justify the economic cost of climate regulations.

It specifically asks which Energy Department programs are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s climate change agenda, which Mr. Trump has vowed to roll back.

It includes several questions for the Energy Information Administration, the department’s statistics office, which also measures the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, asking for justification of its numbers.

“In the Annual Energy Outlook 2016, E.I.A. assumed that the Clean Power Plan should be in the reference case despite the fact that the reference case is based on existing laws and regulations,” the questionnaire reads. “Why did the E.I.A. make that assumption, which seems to be atypical of past forecasts?”

And it includes several questions focused on the national scientific laboratories, including queries on highest salaries, and outside evaluation of research.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal allies, is no longer in the running for secretary of state, after removing his name from contention on Nov. 29, according to a statement from the transition.

“Rudy Giuliani is an extraordinarily talented and patriotic American,” Mr. Trump said in the statement. “I will always be appreciative of his 24/7 dedication to our campaign after I won the primaries and for his extremely wise counsel. He is and continues to be a close personal friend, and as appropriate, I will call upon him for advice and can see an important place for him in the administration at a later date.”

Mr. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, will remain on the transition team.

“This is not about me; it is about what is best for the country and the new administration,” Mr. Giuliani said. “Before I joined the campaign I was very involved and fulfilled by my work with my law firm and consulting firm, and I will continue that work with even more enthusiasm. From the vantage point of the private sector, I look forward to helping the president-elect in any way he deems necessary and appropriate.”

The statement came as Mr. Giuliani’s prospects had dimmed for the State Department post, apparently the only one he wanted. He had been offered the job of attorney general and secretary of homeland security, but had no interest, according to a person briefed on the discussions. Some in Mr. Trump’s circle were concerned about the potential for a messy confirmation hearing over Mr. Giuliani’s tangle of foreign business ties and paid speeches.

A bridge for the Dreamers.

Encouraged by the president-elect’s possible about-face on deporting young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, two senators have crafted a bipartisan bill to help protect them.

Known as the Bridge Act, the bill, sponsored by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, is intended to protect roughly 800,000 young illegal immigrants from deportation should Mr. Trump make good on his campaign promise to end the protections issued by President Obama through an executive order.

The Obama program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, granted deportation protection and work permits for two years to immigrants brought to the country as minors who have passed criminal background checks. The Durbin-Graham measure, which also has at least one co-sponsor from each party, would give current recipients a reprieve even if Mr. Trump undoes the order, and allow new applicants to apply.

Mr. Trump, who has included the so-called Dreamers in his broader deportation plan, appeared to back down in an interview published in Time magazine this week when he said, “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud.”

Goldman Sachs president is expected to lead National Economic Council.

Mr. Cohn, president of the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, is expected to be named director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, joining the Treasury secretary pick Steven Mnuchin as Goldman voices on the economic team.

Mr. Trump used Wall Street and “the global elites” as constant foils during the campaign, featuring Goldman’s chief executive and chairman, Lloyd Blankfein, in his dark closing argument.

Since his victory, however, Mr. Trump has tapped Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner, for Treasury secretary; the billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to be his commerce secretary; Todd Ricketts, heir to the Ameritrade fortune, to be deputy commerce secretary; and now Mr. Cohn.

The National Economic Council was created by President Bill Clinton — another frequent foil of Mr. Trump’s — to show that domestic policy would be equal to foreign policy. Like the older National Security Council, the N.E.C. coordinates the policies of the Treasury, labor and commerce departments, as well as other agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Council of Economic Advisers.

And because Mr. Cohn will sit in the White House complex, he is likely to be extremely influential on Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohn is also a big contributor to federal campaigns on both sides of the aisle, including tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats and Democratic campaign committees.

Adding Mr. Cohn to the economic team was a favorite idea of Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And he does not break the streak of wealthy Trump teammates. Mr. Cohn’s most recent total compensation package made public at Goldman exceeded $20.5 million.

Goldman Sachs shares, by the way, are up 33 percent since Election Day.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is likely choice for interior secretary.

Ms. McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking woman in the House Republican leadership, is expected to be announced as Mr. Trump’s secretary of the interior as early as Friday, two people close to the transition efforts said. Ms. McMorris Rodgers comes from Washington, a state with large federal land reserves, and she was also critical of Mr. Trump at various points during the presidential campaign.

Aides to Mr. Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

The Trump campaign outraised Clinton’s at the end.

In the last part of his winning run, Mr. Trump’s campaign amassed more money than Hillary Clinton’s, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission late Thursday. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign took in $70 million from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28, compared with $86 million for the Trump campaign, of which $10 million came from the candidate’s own pocket.

In terms of spending, Mrs. Clinton relied on the war chest she had built up during the course of the campaign to spend almost $131 million, compared with $94 million by Mr. Trump. Mrs. Clinton closed the period with under $1 million dollars in the bank, much less than the $7 million remaining for the Trump campaign.

Give and take a few million.

Mr. Trump may have tossed in a few million in the final weeks of his campaign, but he also took a few, soliciting donations from supporters, then reimbursing himself for rent and his airplane.

From Oct. 20 to Nov. 28, the period covered by a postelection report filed with the F.E.C., the campaign paid nearly $3 million to properties owned by Mr. Trump, including rent to Trump Tower and event fees to other Trump hotels. The largest part went to Tag Air, the company that operates Mr. Trump’s airplane.

The new disclosures bring the total amount that Trump companies earned from his campaign to nearly $12 million. The campaign itself was hardly a moneymaker for Mr. Trump himself, though. The president-elect’s total cash contributions came in at more than $65 million, well short of the $100 million he had originally promised but likely more than his businesses earned off the venture.

Linda McMahon, a pro wrestling impresario, put $1 million into Future45, a pro-Trump “super PAC,” in the final stages of the presidential campaign, taking her total contribution to the organization to $7 million.

This week, Ms. McMahon — who lost twice in recent years as a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Connecticut — was chosen by Mr. Trump to head the Small Business Administration.

Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who took down Gawker, gave $1 million to Make America Number 1, an anti-Clinton “super PAC” run by the Mercer family, hedge fund billionaires. He has not been named to a position by the transition team, but he has been mentioned as a possibility for the Supreme Court.

Inaugural festivities — and a rally, naturally.

The Trump inaugural committee offered details for the multiday party planned for Mr. Trump’s inauguration, which in a departure from the norm will include a welcome rally. (The president-elect does love his rallies.)

The announcement:

“The inaugural ceremonies will span over several days and will include events for the public on the National Mall, a welcome rally with President-elect Trump, a parade, two inaugural balls, as well as a ball saluting our armed services and first responders. A continuation of the President’s commitment to Make America Great Again! is the perfect foundation for President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence as they once again make the government of, by and for the people.”

Not stated: A Million Women March is being organized for the day after with a different message — though organizers did not get formal permits for the mall.