May 18, 2017

John Yoo: Watergate is the wrong Trump comparison

Greg Gibson / AP

A quick history lesson from John Yoo, a leading thinker on executive power who was a George W. Bush deputy assistant attorney general in the aftermath of 9/11, and is now a Berkeley law professor. In a N.Y. Times Op-Ed, "Forget Watergate. Think Iran-Contra," Yoo writes:

Trump's comments [in the Comey notes] come close to obstruction of justice but don't clearly cross the line. ... While he set out his favorable opinion of Mr. Flynn, he stopped short of ordering Mr. Comey to drop the investigation. Mr. Trump's words carried an implicit recognition that Mr. Comey would make the final call.
Unlike in the Watergate case, there is no evidence that the president ordered witnesses to lie, destroyed evidence or tried to block F.B.I. agents from doing their job. At least, no evidence yet. ... [P]ursuing the president for obstruction of justice is likely to fail ...
Trump should look to the example of ... Ronald Reagan. The Iran-contra scandal nearly destroyed Reagan's presidency and could have led to his impeachment. After the revelations [in 1986] that his national security staff had traded arms for hostages held by Iran and transferred funds to the Nicaraguan contras, Reagan cleaned house and agreed to reforms of government oversight of covert action. After that, his presidency not only survived but also thrived.

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Sanders requests recount of Iowa recanvass after results show shrunken margin

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement Tuesday night he will request a recount of the Iowa Democratic Party's recanvass results.

Where it stands: Both Buttigieg and Sanders requested partial recanvasses in Iowa last week after results were delayed and showed several errors following a software malfunction on caucus night.

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Energy deputy secretary nominee faces heat after contradicting Trump

Mark Menezes speaks at a forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trump administration officials are internally raising concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary, who appeared to openly contradict the president on nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain last week.

Driving the news: While speaking at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Mark Menezes told members of the panel that the Trump administration is still interested in storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and that “what we're trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca."