Mar 18, 2018

House Intel's Mike Conaway previews Russia recommendations

Conaway before an Intel Committee hearing. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who's leading the House Intelligence Committee through the Russia investigation, tells Axios that President Trump called him twice — and he didn't answer.

Conaway, previewing the Republicans' coming findings and recommendations during an interview in his Capitol Hill office, said he wanted to be able to say he had no contact with the president during the investigation.

  • Conaway, who even resisted a Mar-a-Lago trip, told us: "[T]he team got back to the White House and explained why it was I could not take any calls from the president. And that's hard, because I [took calls] from President Obama."
  • "I have had no conversations, personal, phone, messaging systems with the president this entire time frame because ... I thought the other side would try to make more out of that than I could explain."
  • "[Y]our name pops up on TV, he wants to call you, he's going to call you. ... I have no idea what he wanted to talk about."

Conaway said he was disappointed "that we weren't able to conduct the investigation a little quieter, with less public fanfare."

  • "I'm embarrassed on behalf of our committee that we're such a sieve that we can't keep a secret. It's both sides."

Conaway said the GOP's coming recommendations include:

  • Setting up a notification system that allows the Department of Homeland Security, when a threat to a state election system is detected, "to immediately hit the right person" in the state to communicate the information.
  • "A little more fulsome" reporting to the Federal Election Commission, so that if "you've got your private entity paying a foreign agent to do something, ... making sure that we've got the right kind of disclosures."
  • Additional voter registration security.

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

5 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.