Dave Lawler
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Timeline: Devin Nunes and the Trump wiretapping claims

AP

Devin Nunes is facing calls to resign as chairman of House Intelligence and refusing to share, even with his own committee, the sources of his claim that the Obama administration may have surveilled President Trump. Here's how we got to this point:

January 2015: Nunes, a six-term Congressman, becomes chairman of House Intelligence Committee.

November 2016: Nunes begins advising Trump transition team.

January 25, 2017: Nunes and ranking member Adam Schiff announce they're investigating Russian election meddling, including possible communications between Russia and "political campaigns."

March 4: Trump accuses Barack Obama of having Trump Tower "wiretapped".

March 15: After initially defending Trump, Nunes says he does not believe Trump Tower was bugged. But he adds a caveat: Trump campaign communications could have been incidentally collected as part of wider surveillance efforts.

March 20: FBI Director James Comey testifies before Intel Committee, and refutes Trump's claims. Nunes reiterates that there was no "physical" wiretap, but repeats the possibility of incidental collection.

March 21: Nunes travels to White House grounds to review evidence of potential surveillance of Trump associates. The visit is not initially made public.

March 22:

  • Nunes holds unexpected press conference and says an unnamed individual (or individuals) showed him intelligence reports indicating the Obama administration captured communications involving Trump and/or his associates. He said it appeared to be legal, incidental collection but nonetheless seemed "inappropriate" and troubling.
  • Nunes briefs Trump before Schiff, despite Trump being a potential subject of the committee's investigation.
  • Trump says he feels "somewhat" vindicated.

March 23: Nunes expresses regret for failing to brief Intel committee before White House.

March 27:

  • News of Nunes' White House visit emerges.
  • He says he needed to visit WH to access to secure system, an explanation that is immediately challenged.
  • Schiff calls on Nunes to recuse himself from Russia investigation.

March 28:

  • Russia hearings scheduled for this week are abruptly cancelled, including one at which former acting AG Sally Yates was slated to testify.
  • The Washington Post reports (and the WH denies) that the Trump admin tried to block Yates from testifying.
  • Nunes says he will not share his sources for the Trump surveillance claims, even with his own committee.
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White House boycotts correspondents' dinner in "solidarity" with Trump

Alex Brandon / AP

The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) has been informed that the entire White House staff will be skipping next month's White House Correspondents' Dinner in "solidarity" with President Trump.

The WH announced in February that Trump would not attend, with a spokeswoman saying at the time: "There's no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another Saturday night."

Of the full staff boycott, the WHCA said it "regrets this decision very much," adding: "Only the White House can speak to the signal it wants to send with this decision."

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Nunes won't share surveillance source with own committee

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes will not share the sources behind his claim that the Obama administration may have surveilled President Trump and/or his associates - even with his own committee.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, has already called on Nunes to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after it emerged that the chairman was on White House grounds when he reviewed the alleged evidence behind his claims. One House Republican, Walter Jones, echoed that call today.

Nunes is under increasing pressure, but made this defiant statement to a Fox News reporter today:

We will never reveal those sources and methods
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Trump: Freedom Caucus to blame for Obamacare, Russia story a "hoax"

President Trump took to Twitter Monday night to call the Russia scandal surrounding his administration a "hoax" and go after Democrats and Republicans alike:

"Why isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech... money to Bill, the Hillary Russian "reset," praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax," he wrote.

FWIW: The uranium sale Trump is referring to was not a "Bill and Hilary deal," but it was signed off on by Hillary Clinton's State Department along with eight other agencies (check out the WaPo fact-check).

The president then turned on the right-wing holdouts who refused to back his health care plan:

"The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win! ... The Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds - not long. Do not worry, we are in very good shape!"

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Trump to unveil Kushner-led "SWAT team"

Olivier Douliery / Pool via CNP /MediaPunch/IPX

President Trump will unveil a White House "SWAT team" tomorrow, to be led by Jared Kushner and designed to bring ideas and expertise from the business world to government, according to the Washington Post. Here's what you need to know about the White House Office of American Innovation:

Key tasks: Overhaul care for veterans, fight opioid addiction, burnish Trump's legacy, potentially privatize some aspects of government.

Key players: Kushner, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, Ivanka (sort of), Chris Liddell, Reed Cornish, Andrew Brembeg, working with the likes of Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Elon Musk and Marc Benioff of Salesforce.

Trump says: "I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my 'ahead of schedule, under budget' mentality to the government."

Kushner says: "The government should be run like a great American company."

Benioff says (of Kushner): "When I talk to him, he does remind me of a lot of the young, scrappy entrepreneurs that I invest in in their 30s."

Bonus surprise: Kushner has been collaborating with supposed foe Chris Christie on a soon-to-be-announced drug addiction council.

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Iran announces sanctions on 15 US companies

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Iran has announced sanctions on 15 US companies, including Raytheon and RE/MAX, apparently in response to sanctions the Trump administration unveiled last month following an Iranian missile test.

Per AP: "The wide-ranging list... appeared more symbolic than anything else as the firms weren't immediately known to be doing business anywhere in the Islamic Republic."

The context: The Trump administration has taken a combative tone with Iran, with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn putting the county "on notice" following the ballistic missile test.

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Freedom Caucus member resigns over health care collapse

Andrew Harnik / AP

Ted Poe of Texas has resigned from the conservative Freedom Caucus after the group refused to back the GOP health care plan, which he supported.

"Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that's what we were elected to do," he said in a statement. Here's what he said yesterday about his Freedom Caucus colleagues:

Why it matters: The collapse of the health care bill showed that if conservatives hold out, and Trump can't win over Democrats, it will be very difficult to pass anything significant. Trump needs more on his party's right flank to break ranks and support his agenda.

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EPA chief: Paris climate pact is "a bad deal"

Susan Walsh / AP

Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, offered a glimpse into how the Trump administration views the Paris Climate accord on ABC's "This Week."

"What was wrong with Paris was not just that it was, you know, failed to be treated as a treaty, but China and India, the largest producers of CO2 internationally, got away scot-free. They didn't have to take steps until 2030. So we've penalized ourselves through lost jobs while China and India didn't take steps to address the issue internationally. So Paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation."

He said the Paris pact represented the "anti-jobs and anti-growth" Obama-era policies.

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Hundreds arrested at Russia anti-corruption protests

Evgeny Feldman for Navalny campaign via AP

Hundreds were arrested at large anti-corruption protests in Moscow and other Russian cities on Sunday, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The protests came after Navalny leveled accusations of corruption against Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. They appeared to be the largest demonstrations in Russia since 2012.

Also arrested was Alec Luhn, an American correspondent for the Guardian.

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NYT: "Knives are out" for Gary Cohn

Andrew Harnik / AP

The NYT's Maggie Haberman reports that the "knives are out" for Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president who now serves as one of Trump's top advisers. Politico's Ben White names a leading conspirator: Steve Bannon.

The feud between emerging White House factions (Jared, Ivanka, Cohn and Dina Powell on one side, Bannon, Priebus and Stephen Miller on the other) has been bubbling over into media reports.

Cohn has Trump's ear, but he's a registered Democrat who doesn't share Bannon's vision of economic nationalism and the "deconstruction of the administrative state", as well as a competitor for power.