May 17, 2017

Comey's memo hangs over Trump's head

Dave Lawler, author of World

Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump asked then-FBI Director Comey in February to stop investigating ousted national security advisor Michael Flynn, a request that Comey then recorded in a memo, the NY Times reports.

The quote, per Comey's memo: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

What's next: Per the NYT, Comey has memos from all of his interactions with Trump. House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz has requested them from the FBI, and Democrats are claiming obstruction of justice.

Full coverage: Comey's revenge, Trump/Comey timeline , Chaffetz's letter, GOP wants to hear from Comey, Trump on imprisoning reporters.

White House response: "While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation."

Partial list of outlets confirming the NYT report: NBC, WaPo, CNN, CBS, ABC, Politico, FT, AP.

The next shoe…
  • Per the NYT, Comey wrote a memo after every interaction with the president, including some that remain classified. Such notes notes are widely deemed admissible in court proceedings.
  • Comey intends to "go public" about his interactions with Trump, according to NBC's Ken Dilanian.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham has invited Comey to testify publicly.
The reactions...
  • John McCain: Trump scandals have hit "Watergate size and scale."
  • Paul Ryan: "We need to have all the facts, & it is appropriate for Oversight Committee to request this memo."
  • Nancy Pelosi: "At best, President Trump has committed a grave abuse of executive power. At worst, he has obstructed justice."
  • Chris Murphy: "Just leaving Senate floor. Lots of chatter from Ds and Rs about the exact definition of 'obstruction of justice.'"
Insights and observations...
  • Former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller five days BEFORE the news broke: "One thing I learned at DOJ about Comey: he leaves a protective paper trail whenever he deems something inappropriate happened. Stay tuned."
  • A Comey friend to CNN's Jake Tapper: "He was very sensitive to how difficult this was going to be to work with this president; he also thought he could do it."
  • CNN's K-File is keeping a list of Dems who are now talking impeachment.
  • Lawfare blog notes that the legal bar on obstruction of justice in a normal case is high. In this case, it's "does the pattern of conduct that is emerging, in the view of a majority of the House of Representatives and a two-thirds majority of the Senate, constitute an obstruction of justice of a type that is grounds for impeachment and removal?"
When it all happened...
  • Mon, 5pm: Washington Post reports that Trump disclosed classified intel to Russia
  • Tues, 1:30pm: NY Times reports that the intel came from Israel
  • Tues, 5:15pm: NY Times reports on Comey memo.
Trump and the Russians…

In case you missed it: Trump reportedly disclosed classified intelligence in a meeting last week with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister. That intel came from Israel, and was deemed highly sensitive, but the White House insists Trump's actions were "wholly appropriate." The latest headlines:

Campaign flashbacks...
  • NBC: "Feds Subpoena Records for $3.5M Mystery Mortgage on Manafort's Home"
  • CNN's Jim Acosta: "Corey Lewandowski in the house at WH tonight... we hear."
A wish that didn't come true…

Go deeper

19 mins ago - World

Kremlin says Trump discussed inviting Russia to G7 in call with Putin

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Monday about Trump's plans to expand September's G7 meeting in Washington to include Russia, according to the Russian government's readout of the call.

The big picture: The phone call between the two leaders, which the Kremlin says was initiated by Trump, comes amid six consecutive days of mass unrest in the U.S. over police brutality and racial inequality. The White House confirmed the call took place and said a readout was forthcoming.

Facebook employees stage "virtual walkout"

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees are adding to their internal profiles, with or without the hashtag, to protest company policy.

"Dozens" of Facebook employees staged a "virtual walkout" Monday over the company's decision not to take action against President Trump's provocative messages in the face of nationwide protests against police violence, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: While Twitter added fact-check labels and hid the president's most inflammatory tweet — "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — Facebook has said Trump's statements do not violate its policies, and that the platform aims to promote free speech.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump lashes out at governors, urges them to "dominate" protesters

President Trump berated the nation’s governors in a video teleconference call Monday, calling many of them "weak" and demanding tougher crackdowns on the protests that erupted throughout the country following the killing of George Floyd, according to multiple reports.

The big picture: Trump blamed violence on the "the radical left" and told the governors, who were joined by law enforcement and national security officials, that they have to "dominate" protesters and "arrest people" in order to bring an end to the unrest.