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Axios Apr 17
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Comey continues his Trump blitz as his book hits shelves

A customer reaches for Comey's book in a store
Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Getty Images

As James Comey's "A Higher Loyalty" goes on sale today, NPR's Steve Inskeep and Carrie Johnson asked him on "Morning Edition" about President Trump's tweets over the weekend suggesting he could face jail for giving up classified information and lying to Congress.

His big picture: “The president of the United States just tweeted that a private citizen should be jailed. And I think the reaction of most of us was: ‘Meh, it’s another one of those things. ... This is not normal. This is not OK. There is a danger that we will become numb to it and we will stop noticing the threats to our norms.”

He was also asked about his criticisms of Trump’s appearance, including his penchant for long neckties:

  • “I’m not making fun of the president. I’m trying to be an author, which I’ve never been before in my life. While I’m typing, I can hear my editor’s voice ringing in my head: 'Bring the reader with you,  show them inside your head.’"
  • "And by the way, not that this matters,  but I found his hands to be above average in size."

Terry Gross of "Fresh Air" asked Comey, who as deputy attorney general appointed special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the Scooter Libby case, if he sees Trump's pardon of Libby as a personal attack:

  • “I don’t ... but that doesn’t mean it’s not an attack on the rule of law. There’s a reason that President George W. Bush, for whom Scooter Libby worked, refused to pardon him."
  • "The Libby case was incredibly important, and justified by overwhelming facts. To pardon now, is an attack on the rule of law.”

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Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip

Mike Pompeo
CIA Director Mike Pompeo testifies on worldwide threats. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

If he is confirmed as Secretary of State tomorrow, Mike Pompeo will embark on his first foreign trip as secretary to Brussels for the NATO Summit, Axios has learned. Bloomberg first reported the contingency planning for the potential trip.

The details: “The acting secretary John Sullivan is ready to go to the NATO summit in Brussels Thursday,” a senior administration official told Axios. “The secretary-designate Mike Pompeo is prepared to travel to the meeting of foreign ministers to reaffirm our commitment to NATO and coordinate the alliance’s response to Russian aggression.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the latest developments.

Haley Britzky 11 hours ago
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Cohen is pleading the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case

Michael Cohen walking next to photographers.
Michael Cohen. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Cohen is excersising his Fifth Amendment rights regarding his role in the payoff of former porn star Stormy Daniels, according to court papers he filed on Wednesday, CNN reports.

What they're saying: Cohen wrote in the filing that "[b]ased upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York." Trump has previously said, "If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"