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President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with the president of Taiwan last week, initially characterized by Trump transition staffers and Taipei officials as just a small courtesy, has emerged as part of a lobbying strategy by a quintessential Washington insider. Former Sen. Bob Dole, a war hero, lion of the Senate and 1996 Republican nominee for president, was an early supporter of Donald Trump, even when other Republican leaders were still wary. Dole explained his reasons on NPR's Morning...

Royal Dutch Shell has signed a provisional agreement to develop oil and gas fields in Iran, a move that could signal energy companies will not be deterred from doing business with the Islamic Republic despite uncertainty whether a Trump administration will scrap a nuclear deal agreed to by world powers. A spokesman for Shell said a memorandum of agreement was signed Wednesday with the National Iranian Oil Co. "to further explore areas of potential cooperation." The agreement is nonbinding and...

President-elect Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that school choice is "the new civil rights issue of our time." But to many Americans, talk of school choice isn't liberating; it's just plain confusing. Exhibit A: Vouchers. Politicians love to use this buzzword in perpetual second reference, assuming vouchers are like Superman: Everyone knows where they came from and what they can do. They're wrong. And, as Trump has tapped an outspoken champion of vouchers, Betsy DeVos, to be his next...

Marking the day in 1941 that thrust the U.S. into World War II, Americans are honoring veterans and remembering those who lost their lives in Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. We're also remembering how the nation responded to what President Franklin Roosevelt called a "date which will live in infamy." "The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association once had 18,000 members," Wayne Yoshioka from Hawaii Public Radio reports for Morning Edition . "It was disbanded in 2011, when membership was down to 2...

This post was updated at 5:12 p.m. ET
Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the pro-wrestling enterprise World Wrestling Entertainment, was selected Wednesday by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Small Business Administration. In a statement released by the Trump transition team, Trump called McMahon "one of the country's top female executives" and said she would help push his "America First" agenda forward. He added: "She helped grow WWE from a modest 13-person operation to a...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Another thing that Branstad will have to address if he's confirmed as ambassador to China is his new boss's approach to Taiwan. The president-elect shocked China and many in Washington when he spoke with the president of Taiwan on the phone last week. At the time, Trump transition staffers and Taiwanese officials described it as a small courtesy. It may also have been part of a lobbying strategy engineered by a...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: If he's confirmed, Terry Branstad will be the go-between for Trump and China, which will be tricky, given Trump's campaign promise to slap Chinese goods with tariffs of up to 45 percent. For more on whether Trump could actually make good on that promise, we've called on Mark Wu. He teaches international trade law at Harvard Law School, and he's a former U.S. trade negotiator. Welcome back to the program. MARK WU:...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: The Senate gathered this afternoon to say goodbye to Vice President Joe Biden. Biden has been a presence there for more than 40 years. And NPR's Scott Detrow says it was a rare bipartisan moment in an increasingly partisan Capitol. SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: By now, Joe Biden's Senate story is pretty well-known. He was elected in 1972. He need to be 30 to serve in the Senate, as minority leader Harry Reid pointed out in...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: As Donald Trump continues his tough talk on trade, he's chosen a pro-trade governor to be the next ambassador to China. Terry Branstad has served six terms as Iowa's governor. He was a steady supporter of Trump throughout the campaign. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) TERRY BRANSTAD: The future of our country is at stake. We've got to have new leadership. We've got to have strong leadership. And we need to make...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Now, if it feels like you've been hearing a lot lately about generals being tapped to join the incoming Trump administration, you are correct. John Kelly is the third in a list that may keep growing, and that's raising questions about the wisdom of packing the highest ranks of government with so much military brass. NPR's national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly is here in the studio. Welcome. MARY...

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