Jun 5, 2017

Trump won't use executive privilege on Comey testimony

AP

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Monday that President Trump "will not assert" his executive privilege to block former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.

Immediately after her announcement, the White House press office released an official statement confirming that although Trump has the power to block Comey's testimony, he has chosen not to in order to "facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought" by the committee.

Other highlights from Sanders' Monday press briefing:

  • Trump's tweet about the mayor of London: Sanders denied that Trump was "picking a fight" and misrepresenting the mayor's statements. "The point is, there is a reason to be alarmed," she said.
  • On the media's obsession with Trump's tweets: Sanders says Trump's tweets are helpful because they let him communicate "without media bias", but stated the "media obsesses over every period and dot."
  • What does "extreme vetting" mean? Sanders said to ask the DOJ for the details, but noted that extreme vetting is currently "taking place."
  • Is the EO a travel ban, as the president insisted on Twitter this morning? "I don't think the president cares what you call it."
  • Are Trump's tweets being vetted by a lawyer? "Not that I'm aware of," says Sanders.

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

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 continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."