Jun 23, 2017

Trump "tapes" scapegoat: Obama administration

Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump told Fox & Friends' Ainsley Earhardt that his original tweet suggesting there could be tapes of his Oval Office conversations with ex-FBI Director James Comey came from concerns that the Obama administration may have been surveilling the White House:

The quote: "You never know what's happening when you see that the Obama administration, and perhaps longer than that, was doing all of unmasking and surveillance and you read all about it... the horrible situation with surveillance all over the place... But when [Comey] found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed."

  • Should Mueller recuse himself from special counsel? "[H]e's very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome... we'll have to see. I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters... I mean the whole thing is ridiculous."
  • On health care: "I've done in five months what other people haven't done in years... It's a very complicated situation from the standpoint, you do something that's good for one group but bad for another."
  • On rumors Pelosi is being ousted: "I hope she doesn't step down. I think that it would be very, very sad for Republicans if she steps down. I'd be very, very disappointed if she did. I'd like to keep her right where she is, because our record is extraordinary against her."
  • Democrats being obstructionists: "I think they'd do much better, as a party, if they got along with us... I honestly think they'd do better at the polls... boy, would the people love to see two parties getting together and coming up with the perfect health care plan... I don't think that's going to happen, but that is what should happen."

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Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

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 has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health