Said Haberman: “We went through a detailed list of what we were planning on reporting. They chose not to engage.”
First Read notes it’s hard to keep up with all of the alleged scandals hitting the Trump administration, including three just yesterday:
- Trump asked his acting attorney general to put a Trump ally, the U.S. attorney in New York, in charge of the Michael Cohen investigation, according to the New York Times.
- Whistleblowers “have told a congressional committee that efforts by former national security adviser Michael Flynn to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may have violated the law, and investigators fear Trump is still considering it,” NBC News reports.
- “House and Senate Democrats say they have obtained evidence that a senior official at the Department of Education tried to oust the department’s independent watchdog after she pushed back on an attempt to interfere in an active investigation of Secretary Betsy DeVos,” per NBC News.
“Any one of these stories would have dominated the news — for days and weeks — in any other administration. But in our current era, it was just Tuesday.”
“President Trump has publicly criticized dozens of people and groups related to federal inquiries into contacts between his campaign and Russia,” according to a New York Times analysis..
“The attacks, which number nearly 1,200, are part of a strategy to beat back the investigations. They have also opened him to possible obstruction of justice charges. They include statements made on Twitter, in official speeches, at rallies and during news media interviews and other press events.”
“While it is highly unusual for anyone — let alone the president of the United States — to comment on continuing criminal investigations, Mr. Trump has done so at least once on 330 days, or more than 43 percent of his time in office as of Feb. 14.”
“White House officials and sources close to President Trump are treating Andrew McCabe’s book as an opportunity,” according to Jonathan Swan.
“These people plan to keep promoting bits from The Threat, which has rocketed past Michelle Obama’s Becoming to #1 on Amazon’s best-sellers list, that support their ‘deep state’ narrative. They also plan to argue that the rest of the former FBI deputy director’s claims are a pack of lies.”
“The part they’ll trumpet as true: McCabe’s comments about discussions, at the highest rungs of the FBI, about removing Trump from office. Trump and his allies view this as vindicating his narrative that there’s a Deep State ‘coup’ afoot.”
Associated Press: “The plan was crafted in the chaotic days after Comey was fired, when the FBI began investigating whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice and whether he might be, wittingly or not, in league with the Russians.”
“The goal was to ensure that the information collected under the investigations, which included probes of Trump associates and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, would survive the firings or reassignments of top law enforcement officials.”
“Top Deutsche Bank executives were so concerned after the 2016 U.S. election that the Trump Organization might default on about $340 million of loans while Donald Trump was in office that they discussed extending repayment dates until after the end of a potential second term in 2025,” Bloomberg reports.
“President Trump has grown increasingly disenchanted with Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, who has served as the nation’s top intelligence official for nearly two years, leading some administration officials to worry he will soon be dismissed,” the Washington Post reports.
“The president has never seen Coats as a close or trusted adviser, the people said, but he has become more frustrated with him in recent weeks over public statements that Trump sees as undercutting his policy goals, particularly with respect to reaching a disarmament agreement with North Korea.”
“It will be a shredding of the Constitution, and the end of the rule of law as we know it, and due process, and equal justice and application of our laws.”
— Sean Hannity, on Fox News, if Attorney General William Barr doesn’t reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton.
A must-read piece from the New York Times:
“Mr. Trump’s public war on the inquiry has gone on long enough that it is no longer shocking. Mr. Trump rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that Mr. Mueller is on a ‘witch hunt’ and has adopted the language of Mafia bosses by calling those who cooperate with the special counsel ‘rats.’ His lawyer talks openly about a strategy to smear and discredit the special counsel investigation. The president’s allies in Congress and the conservative media warn of an insidious plot inside the Justice Department and the F.B. I to subvert a democratically elected president.”
“An examination by The New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Mr. Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement. Interviews with dozens of current and former government officials and others close to Mr. Trump, as well as a review of confidential White House documents, reveal numerous unreported episodes in a two-year drama.”
Washington Post: “The chatterbox in chief has eschewed the traditional way that presidents communicate with members of Congress, calling lawmakers at all hours of the day without warning and sometimes with no real agenda. Congressional Republicans reciprocate in kind, increasingly dialing up the president directly to gauge his thinking after coming to terms with the fact that ultimately, no one speaks for Trump but Trump himself.”
“Longtime senators who have served through multiple administrations say they have never seen a president so easily accessible to lawmakers. The calls are part of what occupies the wide swaths of ‘executive time’ on Trump’s schedule — an unstructured stretch of the day he uses to call allies and hold meetings that are otherwise not publicly announced.”
Former White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short will return to President Trump’s administration as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, CNBC reports.
Short will replace longtime Pence advisor Nick Ayers, who left the administration at the end of 2018. Ayers had turned down an offer to become Trump’s chief of staff after the departure of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly.
From the lawsuit filed by 16 states opposing President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency:
At a press conference announcing the Executive Actions, President Trump acknowledged that Congress provided more than enough funding for homeland security, and that the Administration has “so much money, we don’t know what to do with it.” In explaining his rationale for the Executive Actions, the President candidly admitted that the emergency declaration reflected his personal preference to construct the wall more quickly, rather than an actual urgent need for it to be built immediately: “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.”
Chris Ruddy, the founder of the conservative outlet Newsmax and a confidant of President Trump’s, told CNN that — based on what he’s been told by White House sources — he believes Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats could be fired for attacking the administration’s stance on North Korea.
President Trump is considering four people to be his next U.N. ambassador: Goldman Sachs partner Dina Powell, the current ambassadors to Canada and Germany, Kelly Craft and Richard Grenell, and John James, a former Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Michigan, Bloomberg reports.
Top White House aides have also discussed nominating Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump if no front-runner emerges.
“President Trump seconded the allegation that there had been a coup attempt against him on Monday, before heading out to play golf at his Florida club on Presidents Day,” NBC News reports.
“The president tweeted a quote from Fox News guest Dan Bongino alleging ‘an illegal coup attempt’ against him, adding ‘true!'”
“The message capped off a series of angry tweets Trump wrote on Monday about former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who gave an explosive interview on 60 Minutes alleging that FBI Deputy Director Andrew Rosenstein repeatedly discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. “
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told the Nevada Independent that Trump administration officials have a constitutional duty to invoke the 25th Amendment if they believe the president cannot fulfill his job.
Said Warren: “My point here is that if they believe that Donald Trump cannot fulfill the obligations of his office, then they have a constitutional responsibility to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
She added: “Their loyalty under law is not to him personally. It is to the Constitution of the United States and to the people of United States.”