May 23, 2018

Trump rails against James Comey, FBI for "Spygate"

President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters Wednesday that the White House has named the speculation surrounding whether the FBI planted an informant into the Trump campaign in 2016 "Spygate," adding that "there has never been anything like it in the history of our country ... [Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper sort of admitted they had spies in the campaign. I hope it is not true but looks like it is."

Reality check: Clapper told ABC's "The View" Tuesday that the FBI "were not" spying on the Trump campaign. "They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence, which is what they do.”

  • Trump also railed against his former FBI director James Comey, who oversaw the Bureau during the 2016 campaign: "I did a great service to this country by firing James Comey," Trump said.
    • As for Comey's tweets, in which he said Trump's FBI attacks "will do lasting damage to our country," Trump said, "If you look at what he said, all of the lies, all of the fiction, I think he's got a lot of problems."
  • Trump set a timeline on the North Korea, and said that "we should know next week" whether the summit in Singapore is still a go. "If we go, I think it will be a great thing for North Korea," he added.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,383,582 — Total deaths: 344,077 — Total recoveries — 2,158,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,640,972 — Total deaths: 97,679 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.