May 15, 2017

The hunt for the next FBI director

Carolyn Kaster, Evan Vucci / AP

An intriguing possibility to replace Comey was discussed by ABC's Jonathan Karl on George Stephanopoulos' "This Week" roundtable:

"[T]he president knows he needs to have somebody that is politically bulletproof. I would not be surprised to see it's somebody who is not [being talked about], somebody like — even like [Comey's predecessor] Robert Mueller, ... who served under Democratic and Republican presidents [Obama and Bush 43], universally respected ... Mike Rogers has some big fans in the West Wing."

"[D]on't rule out Merrick Garland [Obama's failed nominee for Supreme Court], who was floated by Senator Mike Lee [R-Utah]. ... Garland ... could be confirmed 100-0 in the Senate."

But would Garland do it? The WashPost's Dave Weigel says the idea is "like Wile E. Coyote putting down a nest made of dynamite and writing 'NOT A TRAP' on a whiteboard next to it."

Weigel quotes Slate's Dahlia Lithwick: "Garland probably won't want to give up his lifetime tenure as the chief judge of the second-most important court in the land, and surely the most significant bulwark against Trump administration overreach, in exchange for a 12-minute gig on The Apprentice before he uses the wrong color highlighter and gets fired."

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan who was fired by Trump, has a WashPost op-ed, "Are there still public servants who will say no to the president?": "I join in the common-sense call for an independent and uncompromised special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. ... History will judge this moment."

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health