Jun 14, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: Elliott Schrage, Facebook’s longtime head of policy and communications, is stepping down after 10 years in the role — and after a series of high-profile public relations controversies. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Juiciest revelations on Comey's FBI

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump got his wish today, with the Justice Department's Inspector General report unveiling areas of new intrigue on the former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the investigation into those emails.

Three findings from the investigation:

  1. Comey was a frequent user of personal email to conduct FBI business.
  2. More texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were unearthed. Page wrote Strzok: "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right!?" Strzok responded, "No. No he won't. We'll stop it."
  3. Comey was accused of insubordination for his handling of the June 2016 press conference on the Clinton emails and was criticized for his timing around other announcements.

Instant reactions:

  • Comey on Twitter: "I respect the DOJ IG office, which is why I urged them to do this review. The conclusions are reasonable, even though I disagree with some."
  • Comey in a NYT op-ed: “The report also resoundingly demonstrates that there was no prosecutable case against Mrs. Clinton, as we had concluded."
  • House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows: "The findings from Inspector General Horowitz are deeply disturbing and raise alarming questions..."
  • Sen. Dick Durbin: Comey and the FBI "failed to follow the rules, and in doing so, hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and helped Donald Trump’s."
  • Sarah Sanders: "It reaffirms the president’s suspicions about Comey’s conduct and the bias among some of the members at the FBI."

The bottom line: The report found that Comey's FBI acted appropriately in its handling of the Clinton emails, but it also showed that Comey's actions damaged the image of the FBI, calling into further question the motivation of agents like Strzok and Page.

2. What you missed

A projector shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sitting next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Vladimir Putin at the opening World Cup match. Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0. Photo: Fayez/Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

  1. New York is suing the Trumps: The state alleges Trump used "charitable assets to pay off the legal obligations of entities he controlled, to promote Trump hotels, to purchase personal items, and to support his presidential election campaign." Go deeper.
  2. Scoop: A classified report from Israel's foreign ministry raises doubts over President Trump's optimistic statements about his summit with Kim Jong-un. Go deeper.
  3. Scott Pruitt is running out of friends: Leaders of the conservative movement who have fiercely defended Pruitt throughout his time running the Environmental Protection Agency, are finally running out of patience. Go deeper.
  4. North Korea released new footage from the Trump-Kim summit: It includes crowds cheering Kim and Trump returning a salute from a North Korean general. Watch the footage.
  5. Russia's news dump: The Kremlin, facing a demographic crisis, is raising the state retirement age and increasing its VAT. Go deeper.
Photo: Economist cover
3. 1 fun thing

"V, A and R have become the three most controversial letters in soccer. It stands for Video Assistant Referee," the WSJ's Andrew Beaton reports.

  • "Americans who aren’t familiar with it surely know its counterpart in MLB, the NBA and NFL: It’s replay review."
  • "And anybody who has followed any of those sports know that replay reviews have been as controversial as they have been confounding to fans."

Let's go to the tape.

Mike Allen