Rod Rosenstein full remarks to Congress on Comey memo - Axios
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Rod Rosenstein full remarks to Congress on Comey memo

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

"Good afternoon. I welcome the opportunity to discuss my role in the removal of FBI Director James Comey, although I know you understand that I will not discuss the special counsel's ongoing investigation.
Most importantly, I want to emphasize my unshakeable commitment to protecting the integrity of every federal criminal investigation. There never has been, and never will be, any political interference in any matter under my supervision in the United States Department of Justice.
Before I discuss the events of the past two weeks, I want to provide some background about my previous relationship with former Director Comey. I have known Jim Comey since approximately 2002. In 2005, when Mr. Comey was Deputy Attorney General, he participated in selecting me to serve as a U.S. Attorney. As a federal prosecutor, he was a role model. His speeches about leadership and public service inspired me.
On July 5, 2016, Director Comey held his press conference concerning the federal grand jury investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails. At the start of the press conference, the Director stated that he had "not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice…. They do not know what I am about to say."
Director Comey went on to declare that he would publicly disclose "what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice." He proceeded to disclose details about the evidence; assert that the American people "deserve" to know details; declare that no "reasonable" prosecutor would file charges; and criticize Secretary Clinton.
I thought the July 5 press conference was profoundly wrong and unfair both to the Department of Justice and Secretary Clinton. It explicitly usurped the role of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the entire Department of Justice; it violated deeply engrained rules and traditions; and it guaranteed that some people would accuse the FBI of interfering in the election.There are lawful and appropriate mechanisms to deal with unusual circumstances in which public confidence in the rule of law may be jeopardized. Such mechanisms preserve the traditional balance of power between investigators and prosecutors, and protect the rights of citizens.
Director Comey attended the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office training seminar on October 27, 2016, and gave a detailed explanation of his reasons for making public statements about the conclusion of the Secretary Clinton email investigation. I strongly disagreed with his analysis, but I believe that he made his decisions in good faith.
The next day, October 28, Mr. Comey sent his letter to the Congress announcing that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation. He subsequently has said that he believed he was obligated to send the letter. I completely disagree. He again usurped the authority of the Department of Justice, by sending the letter over the objection of the Department of Justice; flouted rules and deeply engrained traditions; and guaranteed that some people would accuse the FBI of interfering in the election.
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3, 2017, Director Comey testified under oath about his public statements concerning the Secretary Clinton email investigation. I strongly disagreed with his explanations, particularly his assertion that maintaining confidentiality about criminal investigations constitutes concealment. Nonetheless, I respected him personally.
Former Department of Justice officials from both political parties have criticized Director Comey's decisions. It was not just an isolated mistake; the series of public statements about the email investigation, in my opinion, departed from the proper role of the FBI Director and damaged public confidence in the Bureau and the Department.
In one of my first meetings with then-Senator Jeff Sessions last winter, we discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI. Among the concerns that I recall were to restore the credibility of the FBI, respect the established authority of the Department of Justice, limit public statements and eliminate leaks.
On May 8, I learned that President Trump intended to remove Director Comey and sought my advice and input. Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader.
I wrote a brief memorandum to the Attorney General summarizing my longstanding concerns about Director Comey's public statements concerning the Secretary Clinton email investigation. I chose the issues to include in my memorandum. Before finalizing the memorandum on May 9, I asked a senior career attorney on my staff to review it. That attorney is an ethics expert who has worked in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General during multiple administrations. He was familiar with the issues. I informed the senior attorney that the President was going to remove Director Comey, that I was writing a memorandum to the Attorney General summarizing my own concerns, and that I wanted to confirm that everything in my memorandum was accurate. He concurred with the points raised in my memorandum. I also asked several other career Department attorneys to review the memorandum and provide edits.
My memorandum is not a legal brief; these are not issues of law. My memorandum is not a finding of official misconduct; the Inspector General will render his judgment about that issue in due course. My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination. My memorandum is not a survey of FBI morale or performance. My memorandum is not a press release. It is a candid internal memorandum about the FBI Director's public statements concerning a high-profile criminal investigation. I sent my signed memorandum to the Attorney General after noon on Tuesday, May 9.
I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it."
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Uber gets competitive in the food-delivery service

McDonald's ordered through the Postmates service. Photo: Chandice Choi/AP

Along with the development of ride-sharing services came food-delivery services: ordering food through an app and having it delivered to your door. The New York Times cited a study by McKinsey that found food delivery "is a $100 billion-plus market, or about 1 percent of the total food market." And Uber wants a piece of that market.

Key numbers: UberEats is available in more than 120 markets around the world. The number of trips for UberEats drivers grew more than 24 times in one year, and by last July it was "profitable in 27 of the 108 cities where it operated," per NYT.

UberEats "sometimes eclipses Uber's main ride-hailing business in markets like Tokyo; Taipei, Taiwan; and Seoul, South Korea," the company told NYT.

But as UberEats continues to thrive, competition looms large:

  • Postmates has raised over $250 million since it started and the company makes 2.5 million deliveries each month. Like UberEats, Postmates is a full delivery service system.
  • Grubhub has "an active base of 8.17 million customers," and Matt Maloney, the company's founder, told the Times their sole focus on take-out ordering sets them apart.
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Price will stop using taxpayer-funded private jets

Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price arrive on Capitol Hill to rally support on health-care reform. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has racked up more than $400,000 after using a private jet to embark on his taxpayer-funded travels, Politico found. Now, Politico reports that Price will stop using a private jet for these travels because "We've heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart," Price told Fox & Friends earlier today.

What's next: His department's inspector general will review his travel and the associated costs, and a decision will be made after that review is complete. A federal contract noted that Price cost taxpayers at least $65,000 in the last week alone, Politico notes.

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Golden State Warriors will not visit the White House

A rally to celebrate the Golden State Warriors' NBA basketball championship. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After Trump called out Stephen Curry in a tweet this morning (rescinding his invitation to the White House), his team stood with him and announced they will not be attending the White House visit at all.

"While we intended to meet as a team at the first opportunity we had this morning to collaboratively discuss a potential visit to the White House," the statement read, "we accept President Trump has made it clear that we are not invited."

"We believe there is nothing more American than our citizens having the right to express themselves freely on matters important to them," the statement continued. "We're disappointed that we did not have an opportunity during this process to share our views or have an open dialogue on issues impacting our communities that we felt would be important to raise.

Big picture, from Axios' Mike Allen: Trump is wading into culturally sensitive territory that could freshen opposition elsewhere, and ignite a debate wholly unrelated to anything he's trying to accomplish.

Go deeper: Trump vs. Curry, LeBron and pro athletes.

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N. Korea: strike on U.S. is "inevitable"

In this unverified image from the North Korean government, Kim Jong-un is said to inspect loading of a hydrogen bomb into an ICBM, at unknown location (Korean Central News Agency / Korea News Service, via AP)

North Korea's foreign minister said today a strike on the U.S. is "inevitable," just after it was revealed that there were American fighter jets flying over the seas of North Korea.

"None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission" and said that Trump's insults against North Korea and its leader make "our rocket's visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more."

Context: Trump called Kim Jong-un "Rocket Man" in a recent tweet, which he restated during his UN speech, saying "Rocket Man" is "on a suicide mission."

North Korea's foreign minister shot back at Trump, saying POTUS has "turned the White House into a noisy marketing place full of crackling sounds of abacus beads and now he has tried to turn the U.N. arena into a gangsters' nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day."

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Mexico hit with massive aftershock from earthquake

A woman attends an outdoor Catholic Mass near the school that collapsed during the earthquake in Mexico City. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

An aftershock of the 8.1-magnitude earthquake earlier this month went through the southern state Oaxaca this morning, measured at a magnitude of 6.1, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Mexico is still recovering from the 7.1 quake on Tuesday that killed over 300 people. This is the third one this month. A resident of one of the cities hit by the earthquake on Sept. 7, Nataniel Hernandez, told the AP that Saturday's tremor is "one of the strongest movements he has felt" since then, but that "it has not stopped shaking."


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American fighter jet flies over North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the central committee of the Workers' Party, Photo: Wong Maye-E/AP

The Pentagon reported B-1B bombers from Guam and F-15 fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, have flown over the waters of east North Korea, the "farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone...any American fighter or bomber has flown this century," the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Dana White, Defense Department spokeswoman, said it was a "demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message" that Trump "has many military options to defeat any threat."

Go deeper: The psychological profile of Kim Jong-un, and how he and his "massive ego...reacts harshly and sometimes lethally to insults and perceived slights."

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Trump: NFL players shouldn't "disrespect" our flag

Photo: AP

After numerous professional athletes tweeted about Trump (who made offensive remarks about the NFL and its players who kneel during the national anthem), he kept the conversation going:

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Iran tested a ballistic missile

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits before addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

Iran unveiled its latest ballistic missile Friday and said it tested it today, Reuters reports. State television carried footage of the test. Iran said it is capable of carrying multiple warheads, of flying 2,000 km is capable of hitting parts of the Middle East, including Israel, a key American ally, per the AP.

The Trump effect: This is a challenge to Trump, since Trump signed a bill imposing penalties on those involved in Tehran's ballistic missile program last month. (The U.S. has said Tehran's tests violate a UN resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal.)

Iran's defense minister said "we will certainly not be the least affected by any threats and we won't ask anyone's permission" about its missile program.

Context:

  • Trump said this week he has "decided" whether to exit the Iran nuclear deal, but wouldn't reveal the decision.
  • Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said earlier this week if Trump follows through on his threats to nix the nuclear deal, America would pay "such a high cost."

The Trump administration re-approved sanctions waivers for Iran as part of the nuclear deal last week. The deadline to re-certify the deal as a whole is coming mid-October.

Go deeper: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran may be honoring technical aspects of the deal

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Scott Pruitt met regularly with industry lobbyists

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has made decisions that benefit certain lobbying groups — soon after meeting with the corporate executives that represent them, according to his schedule obtained by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: While WaPo reports that Pruitt met with three public-health and environmental advocates, the meetings with industry advocates far outweighed them.

Mining, automobile, and fossil fuel executives are some of the big groups Pruitt has met with. Before relaxing Obama-era automobile fuel-efficiency standards, he met with General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and the "industry's lobbying arm" Auto Alliance. He met with the biggest commercial truck "glider" manufacturer in the U.S. before announcing he would "revisit an October 2016 decision to apply greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks to gliders."


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Steve Bannon to headline Roy Moore rally in Alabama

Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Steve Bannon is heading to Alabama Sunday night to rally for Judge Roy Moore on Monday night with Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.

Why it matters: This rally is three days after President Trump, Bannon's former boss, was in Alabama rallying for Moore's opponent — Mitch McConnell's favored candidate Luther Strange. For Bannon to make a rare public appearance in such close proximity to Trump shows how invested he is in this race specifically, and attacking McConnell more generally. Another former White House adviser, Sebastian Gorka, rallied with Sarah Palin for Moore on Thursday.

From a source close to Bannon: "Steve is coming to Alabama to support President Trump against the Washington establishment and Mitch McConnell. Steve views Judge Moore as a fierce advocate of Trump and the values he campaigned on."
Allies of Strange and Republicans close to the White House dispute that premise, and Trump points out Strange offered his support for Obamacare repeal with no strings attached, whereas Roy Moore has said he won't support anything less than full repeal.
Trump last night seemed conflicted about his Strange endorsement, suggesting he'd made a mistake and would support Moore if he wins. Moore leads Strange by 9 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average.
"I'll be honest, I might have made a mistake... If his opponent wins, I'm going to be here campaigning like hell for him." — President Trump on Friday night
Breitbart has gone all in for Moore and is doing its national radio show on Sirius XM from Alabama today through Wednesday.

Multiple senior Breitbart editors are in Alabama, including Washington editor Matthew Boyle, London editor Raheem Kassam, the editor-in-chief of Breitbart London, and Jeff Poor, an Alabama native and the head of Breitbart TV.

"As of now, everyone is working on the Alabama race," Boyle wrote in a Breitbart Slack channel, per CNN's Oliver Darcy. "If anyone has any questions please let me know."