Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration as FBI Director

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, once a leading contender for FBI director, “withdrew himself from consideration for the post in a letter to President Donald Trump, citing the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The former Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate works at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, whom Mr. Trump retained earlier this week to serve on a team of private attorneys representing him in the broad special-counsel probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.”

Trump Condemns ‘Alleged Leaks’ After U.K. Complaints

President Trump condemned “leaks of sensitive information,” responding to a complaint by Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, over disclosures of details from the investigation into Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005, the New York Times reports.

Said Trump: “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and, if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

GOP Senators Urge Trump to Exit Paris Climate Deal

“A group of 22 heavyweight Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are sending a letter to President Trump today urging him to make a clean exit from the Paris Agreement to combat climate change,” Axios reports.

“The letter applauds Trump for beginning the process of unwinding Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations, but says that goal is imperiled if he decides to remain in the Paris climate change deal.”

Tourism In U.S. Has Dropped Since Trump Elected

Business Insider: “America’s share of international tourism has dropped 16% in March, compared to the same month in 2016.”

“The decline began in October 2016, the month before the presidential election. From October to March, tourism-related traffic has fallen an average of 11% in the US, compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, tourism in the rest of the world has increased 6% year-over-year during the same period.”

An Awkward First Meeting

President Trump met newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time. From the pool report:

The two presidents, each wearing dark suits and blue ties (Trump’s was thick and royal blue; Macron’s was skinny and navy) sat in antique cream-upholstered arm chairs, with two American and French flags behind them. They shook hands for an extended period of time. Each president gripped the other’s hand with considerable intensity, their knuckles turning white and their jaws clenching and faces tightening.

Another Sign of Our Broken Politics

After congressional candidate Greg Gianforte (R) assaulted a reporter in Montana last night, his campaign blamed “aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist.”

NBC News reports a GOP strategist basically endorsed this statement as a political strategy: “Can’t apologize now. Rally base is only move.”

First Read: “It’s shameful that anyone considers this good strategy. Also in this current state of politics — where winning is everything — there is notable silence from the Republican Party. A little bit more our democracy was weakened last night. As the saying goes, you get the politicians you deserve.”

U.K. Police No Longer Sharing Information with U.S.

Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the U.S. after leaks to the media, the BBC reports.

“UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times. It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media just hours after the attack, which left 22 dead.”

Trump Preps for Long War Against the ‘Deep State’

Mike Allen: “West Wing officials are prepping for a years-long war with investigators and the bureaucracy, with plans to beef up legal, surrogate, communications and rapid-response teams as part of a ‘new normal’ for President Trump — besieged.”

Said one Trump ally: “The White House is embracing the fight, which is going to last as long as Donald Trump is president. We’re getting street fighters ready to go.”

“Trump aides recognize that besides being in the crosshairs of investigators on Russia, they will be the continuing target of leaks from the bureaucracy. The Trump ally referred to this second enemy as ‘nameless, faceless, deep-state types’ who have been inflamed and are punching back through the media.”

Politico: White House tried to avoid “paralysis” amid investigation.

Gianforte Charged With Assault Day Before Election

Greg Gianforte (R), the Republican candidate in a hotly contested special House election in Montana, “was charged with assaulting a journalist on Wednesday at what was to be a final rally in Bozeman on the eve of the vote,” the New York Times reports.

“Three of the state’s largest newspapers, The Billings Gazette, The Missoulian and The Helena Independent Record, quickly rescinded their endorsements of Mr. Gianforte. But prospects that the altercation could tip the race to the Democrat, Rob Quist, were complicated by Montana’s early-voting tradition: Over half the estimated total ballots in the contest had been returned by Wednesday.”

The eyewitness account by Fox News reporters is really remarkable.

Not Much Good News for Republicans In CBO Report

David Nather: “You have to try pretty hard to find good news for the Republicans in the Congressional Budget Office report on the final House health care bill. Individual insurance premiums would go down in the long term — with some pretty important exceptions — and the House might not have to vote again. And that’s about it.”

New York Times: “The CBO… warned that a last-minute amendment made to win conservative votes would result in deeply dysfunctional markets for about a sixth of the population. In those places, insurance would fail to cover important medical services, and people with pre-existing illnesses could be shut out of coverage, the budget office said.”

For members: We Don’t Need a CBO Score to See Political Suicide