Dec 15, 2017 - Politics

Top Intel Dem calls out timing of WH letter on spying claims

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said during a Thursday press conference that it is "highly concerning" that the White House letter — inviting ranking members of the committee to review the intelligence materials that chairman Devin Nunes has seen — came out the same day as the N.Y. Times story on Nunes' sources. "That timing is concerning," he added. Other notable takeaways:

  • Schiff said he will go to the White House as soon as they're ready for him, and noted that he will ultimately share what he finds with the rest of the committee.
  • On source of information: "To me this looks nothing like a whistle blower case," said Schiff. Paul Ryan previously suggested the source seems like 'whistle blower-type person.'
  • On Russia probe: "This won't distract us from our Russia investigation... if that's the object here, it will not be successful... this is too important not to go forward... We are going to get to the bottom of just what the Russians did and how they did it, and whether there was any coordination."

What's next

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow11 mins ago - Sports

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Impeachment: Then & now

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We are living in a measurably different political and media landscape than when the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton of impeachment charges in 1999.

The big picture: These dynamics are setting the pace as President Trump’s legal team speeds through arguments to seek a fast acquittal.