May 10, 2017

WH: Trump considered axing James Comey since Day 1

Andrew Harnik / AP

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in Wednesday's briefing that President Trump had "been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he got elected." She said there has been an "erosion of confidence... a lot of missteps and mistakes," that ultimately led to his ouster:

  • Did Trump ask the deputy Attorney General for recommendation Comey be fired? "No," said Sanders, but the two met Monday to discuss Comey's performance.
  • Russian investigation: "Any investigation that was going on Monday is still going on today. In fact, we want them to continue the investigation," said Sanders, so everyone can move on once it's over.
  • Democrats reaction: "I think it's startling that Democrats aren't celebrating this," said Sanders. "If Hillary had won, which thank God she didn't... Democrats would have been dancing in the streets."
  • On Trump meeting with Russian officials: "These are meetings that have been on the books for a while."

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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