WASHINGTON — Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan, worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president.
Mr. Dole, a lobbyist with the Washington law firm Alston & Bird, coordinated with Mr. Trump’s campaign and the transition team to set up a series of meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and officials in Taiwan, according to disclosure documents filed last week with the Justice Department. Mr. Dole also assisted in successful efforts by Taiwan to include language favorable to it in the Republican Party platform, according to the documents.
Mr. Dole’s firm received $140,000 from May to October for the work, the forms said.
The disclosures suggest that President-elect Trump’s decision to take a call from the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, was less a ham-handed diplomatic gaffe and more the result of a well-orchestrated plan by Taiwan to use the election of a new president to deepen its relationship with the United States — with an assist from a seasoned lobbyist well versed in the machinery of Washington.
“They’re very optimistic,” Mr. Dole said of the Taiwanese in an interview on Tuesday. “They see a new president, a Republican, and they’d like to develop a closer relationship.”
I don't recall seeing anything in the New York Tims about the Podesta consultancy representing Burma/Myanmar in the 12 months ending April 2016, just before Obama lifted sanctions.
The White House issued the announcement during a visit by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, whose victory in democratic elections last year was viewed by the Obama administration as a triumph in the president’s strategy of engaging with countries the United States had long shunned.
“In part because of the progress that we’ve seen over the last several months,” Mr. Obama said in the Oval Office, as he sat beside Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, “the United States is now prepared to lift sanctions that we have imposed on Burma for quite some time.
“It is the right thing to do in order to ensure that the people of Burma see rewards from a new way of doing business and a new government,” the president said.
“Congratulations on the progress that has been made,” he told Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest as a political prisoner when Mr. Obama was elected president. “It is not complete, and I think Daw Suu is the first one to indicate that a lot of work remains to be done, but it’s on the right track.”
But the move was quickly criticized by leaders of some human rights groups, who said they worried that eliminating sanctions was premature given the slow pace of change in Myanmar, also known as Burma, where the military still controls a large portion of parliamentary seats and important government ministries.