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Mike Pence purges Donald Trump’s transition team of lobbyists

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Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President-elect Donald Trump has continued to shakeup and shift his transition team around with just 65 days remaining until he assumes the role in the Oval Office.

Trump’s top advisers were seen coming and going from his tower in Midtown Manhattan Tuesday, amid a flurry of changes in his transition team. Vice President-elect Mike Pence — who is now leading the transition team — is revamping almost everything. He got things started by purging the transition entirely of any lobbyists who were members.

The move has left the team temporarily short-staffed, but closer to the campaign’s promise to “drain the swamp.”

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to deny a New York Times story that depicted chaos in the transition process.

His campaign advisers insist the stories of spats in the transition team have been overblown, but do agree there is an amateur look and feel to their first week on the job, according to CBS News’ Major Garrett.

Trump made an attempt to sneak out of his tower Tuesday night for dinner, after his staff told reporters he’d be staying in for the evening. Earlier in the day, Trump met with Pence for more than six hours to get his transition team back on track. The two reportedly discussed cabinet nominations and early legislation of their administration.

Former Goldman Sachs partner and Trump supporter Steven Mnuchin is believed to be the frontrunner for treasury secretary.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is currently believed to be the favorite for Attorney General.

Also spotted at Trump Tower Tuesday night were former campaign nemesis Ted Cruz, as well as retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who served as a national security adviser on Trump’s campaign.

Frank Gaffney Jr. has also joined the national security transition team. Gaffney was labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes,” and who last year defended Trump’s proposed Muslim ban as “common sense.” Questions have also been raised about Trump’s purported candidates for secretary of state — former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has been pegged as the top pick, his private team reportedly held contracts with the government of Qatar.

Giuliani has also given paid speeches to an Iranian opposition group that was once on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

Republicans currently hold a slim majority in the Senate by one seat, meaning any defection — by senators like Rand Paul — could pose a serious roadblock to confirming Trump’s top cabinet picks.

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FTX’s Nishad Singh got $543 million loan

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More fallout from the FTX cryptocurrency platform collapse. Court documents show its affiliate Alameda Research loaned executives like Sam Bankman Fried $1 billion and more than $500 million to Indian American Nishad Singh, FTX’s top engineer. FTX’s interim CEO says never in his career has he seen such complete failure of corporate controls and a complete absence of trustworthy financial information. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it was unable to come up with customer funds.

Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after her conviction in January for defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing start up Theranos.In her trial, Holmes alleged she was in the midst of a decade-long abusive relationship with her then-boyfriend and Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The Indian American was also found guilty for his role in this fraud and will be sentenced later.

Starting next month, India will assume the G20 presidency for a year and chair more than 200 meetings, leading the way for global economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country’s leadership here will be inclusive, ambitious, and decisive.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arvind Venkat & Tarik Khan win Pennsylvania State seats

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – Looking back at the midterm elections, Arvind Venkat and Tarik Khan made history as the first South Asian Americans elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Advocacy group Indian American Impact played a major role on the ground, saying it trained and mobilized 200 volunteers to go door-to-door, to engage voters and provide info they needed to elect new leadership.

After 35 years, the Nancy Pelosi era is officially coming to an end. The speaker from San Francisco announced she’s bowing out of leadership, but will retain her House seat. The midterms cost Pelosi’s Democratic party the House and effectively ended her speakership.

Two former Indian American executives at Meta Platforms will launch a new non fungible token start up for creators. Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi have raised more than $8 million for their new company called Virtualness. But they are facing headwinds as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange collapse is putting pressure on the entire industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Meet FTX insider Nishad Singh

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The controversy around failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to captivate the world. Part of the scrutiny is now on the people involved, including Indian American Nishad Singh. According to new reports, this techie was part of FTX’s inner circle, which lived together and ran the cryptocurrency empire from the Bahamas. The software engineer was also reportedly aware that FTX secretly transferred customer funds worth billions of dollars to its sister firm Alameda Research. Currently, no one is facing any criminal charges. Diya TV featured Singh more than a decade ago for running ultra marathons as a 17 year old getting ready for college. 

Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House. Trump had been hinting at this announcement for months, as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil litigations and as his party is grappling with a worse than expected showing in the midterm elections. 

At the G20 Summit in Bali, world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden are coming together to condemn the rising threat of nuclear weapons as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to raise tension and anxiety around the world.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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