“This guy swung an election.”
— White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, admitting to ABC News that former FBI Director James Comey helped elect Donald Trump.
“President Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015,” McClatchy reports.
“The money went to Trump’s airplanes, hotels, golf courses, even a bottled water company during the presidential campaign and the first 15 months of his presidency… But it was Trump’s campaign itself that spent the biggest chunk by far – about 90 percent, or $13.4 million.”
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Jonathan Swan: “The main game for Trump — and the reason his agitation levels went through the roof the last two weeks — is what happened to Michael Cohen. Trump allies are exponentially more worried about the New York feds’ probe and the prospect of investigators poring over Trump’s business dealings than they are anything Comey is saying.”
“A GOP source close to the administration confirmed that news of Lerner’s hiring by the vice president created some tension within the administration, saying it caused ‘a big damn mess.'”
From former FBI Director James Comey’s interview on ABC News.
STEPHANOPOULOS: “That’s stunning. You can’t say for certain that the president of the United States is not compromised by the Russians?”
COMEY: “It is stunning and I wish I wasn’t saying it, but it’s just — it’s the truth. I cannot say that. It always struck me and still strikes me as unlikely, and I woulda been able to say with high confidence about any other president I dealt with, but I can’t. It’s possible.”
“President Trump asked a federal judge Sunday night to allow him to review documents that FBI agents seized from the office of his longtime lawyer before criminal investigators have a chance to see the material,” the Washington Post reports.
“The request underscores the high stakes in an ongoing legal fight in federal court in New York, where Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, is also fighting to get a chance to review material seized as part of a criminal investigation of his business dealings.”
“Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, used the same Delaware limited-liability company in two secret deals relating to alleged sexual encounters involving his clients,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Federal prosecutors are examining money flowing in and out of Essential Consultants as part of a broad investigation into Mr. Cohen’s activities to silence women with allegations against Mr. Trump or those in his orbit.”
Also interesting: “Mr. Cohen succeeded around 2013 in killing a story Us Weekly was preparing about an alleged affair between Donald Trump Jr., who had been a judge a year earlier on the television show, ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ and one of the contestants, Aubrey O’Day, a member of the singing duo Dumblonde.”
Jonathan Swan: “The White House kept it quiet until now, but on Friday the President nearly blocked the Vice President from getting his chosen national security adviser.”
“It’s a highly unusual event, as Trump typically gives Pence a long leash on personnel appointments. This is the first time the President has tried to block Pence from filling a senior staff position. The scene also highlights — once again — the extraordinary importance Trump places on personal loyalty.”
“Trump was furious when he learned Pence was bringing on Nikki Haley’s deputy Jon Lerner, according to three sources familiar with the events. The President believed Lerner was a card-carrying member of the ‘Never Trump’ movement because Lerner crafted brutal attack ads for Club for Growth’s multimillion-dollar anti-Trump blitz during the Republican primaries.”
According to two sources, Trump asked,”Why would Mike do that?”
“The Supreme Court is set to hear a seemingly minor case later this month on the status of administrative judges at the Securities and Exchange Commission, an issue that normally might only draw the interest of those accused of stock fraud,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“But the dispute turns on the president’s power to hire and fire officials throughout the government. And it comes just as the White House is saying President Trump believes he has the power to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.”
Attorney Michael Avenatti told CNN that his client, Stormy Daniels, will attend Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s court hearing on Monday at 2 p.m. in New York.
Avenatti also claimed that the men Cohen was seen smoking cigars with outside of a courthouse on Friday afternoon had ties to the Russian government.
Former FBI Director James Comey will be interviewed on ABC News tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
Mike Allen: “Sources familiar with the Comey interview say ABC has held back some of his strongest news-making bites. A source present at the taping said Comey’s comments will ‘shock the president and his team’ and ‘add more meat to the charges swirling around Trump.'”
Max Boot: “It is hard to imagine how Trump can do his job — for example, approving military strikes on Syria — while drowning in this rising tide of scandal. There is an old tradition, more honored in theory than fact, that issues of national security are kept separate from domestic politics, but Trump is utterly incapable of making any such distinction. For him, everything is political — and all politics is personal.”
“It’s hard to imagine that Trump, who in the best of times has the attention span of a hyperactive 8-year-old, can focus on strategy for Syria amid the far more pressing threats that he faces from an ever-expanding criminal investigation. If the United States had a parliamentary government, Congress could pass a motion of ‘no confidence,’ thus allowing Trump to devote 100 percent of his attention to fighting the multiplying charges against him without the distractions of running the government. Instead, we must hope that the institutions of the U.S. government are strong enough to function more or less on autopilot while Trump is consumed by the wages of his own sins.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds President Trump remains poorly rated overall as 56% of Americans disapprove of his job performance, versus 40% who approve, and “strong” disapprovers outnumber strong approvers by nearly 2-1.
“Still, it’s numerically Trump’s highest approval rating in a year, coming just as consumer confidence reached its best since February 2001 in the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. And while he’s 16 points underwater in approval overall, Trump gets essentially an even split for his handling of the economy –- 46% to 48%.”
“Among the most prominent elements of public attitudes toward Trump is the vast gender gap in his basic ratings. While men divide evenly on his job performance, 49% to 47%, women disapprove by a 2-1 margin, 32% to 64%.”