Comey Is Fired

Wednesday, May 10, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 9.20.22 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, raising the specter of political interference by a sitting president in an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency, and it immediately ignited Democratic calls for an independent prosecutor to lead the Russia inquiry.
  • Mr. Trump’s decision drew instant comparisons to President Richard M. Nixon’s firing of the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate burglary that would eventually bring him down.
  • Democrats have said for months that an independent prosecutor should look into any links between Trump associates and Russia, but now Republicans are joining in.
  • Read Mr. Trump’s letter to Mr. Comey, and the memos from top Justice Department officials recommending his dismissal.
  • Mr. Comey’s ouster was the culmination of a slowly unfolding and toxic dynamic between him and the president.
  • A memo recommending the dismissal, written by Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, focused on the continuing fallout from Mr. Comey’s handling of an F.B.I. inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
  • Shortly before Mr. Comey was fired, the F.B.I. sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee clarifying testimony he had delivered last week about how classified information ended up on the laptop of the disgraced former congressman Anthony D. Weiner.
 The First Draft Team

After Comey, Here Are the Options for an Independent Russia Inquiry

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein is overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. He was also the face of Mr. Trump’s decision to remove the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein is overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. He was also the face of Mr. Trump’s decision to remove the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

President Trump’s firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, on Tuesdayescalated calls among Democrats to appoint a special counsel to oversee the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, especially given Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing that investigation, was also the face of Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey: The administration released a lengthy memo from Mr. Rosenstein recommending that Mr. Comey be removed, citing the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
Late on Tuesday, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said Mr. Rosenstein “now has no choice but to appoint a special counsel.”
“His integrity, and the integrity of the entire Justice Department, are at stake,” Mr. Leahy continued.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating the Trump-Russia question, called it “deeply troubling” that Mr. Trump had fired Mr. Comey during an active counterintelligence investigation. He said the move had made it “clear to me that a special counsel also must be appointed.”
The developments have heightened interest in several related legal issues.
Read more »
Patty Murray said Democrats “are going to keep pushing Senate Republicans to take a different path than the House did.”

Women Hold G.O.P. Senate Seats, but Little Influence


Republican women in the Senate have struggled to gain as much influence as their Democratic counterparts.

Demonstrators at a climate march in Washington last month.

Trump Administration Delays Decision on Leaving Climate Pact


The announcement encouraged advocates of the landmark accord, who hope that President Trump’s fellow heads of state can pressure him to remain in the pact.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to toughen rules on prosecuting drug crimes.

Sessions to Toughen Rules on Prosecuting Drug Crimes


The policy change, expected soon, would be the attorney general’s most significant rollback of the Obama administration’s push for more flexible sentencing laws.

Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City said on Facebook that he did not support the tax abatement sought for One Journal Square.

Jersey City Mayor Balks at Tax Break for Kushners


In a Facebook posting, Steven Fulop said he was “not supportive”; a rival candidate, Bill Matsikoudis, said the move was “100 percent political.”

Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, speaking during a summit meeting in Washington last week. He has said the country needs to have “a tax rate that’s available for small and medium-sized businesses.”

Trump’s Proposed Tax Cut Could Open a Path to Widespread Avoidance


An across-the-board business tax of 15 percent would give individuals an incentive to characterize themselves as independent contractors, greatly lowering their tax rate.

Elizabeth Warren is one of eight Democratic senators who raised questions about Carl C. Icahn’s dual role as an adviser to President Trump and an investor.

Carl Icahn Scrutinized for Shaping Policy That Helped Him Profit


Eight Democratic senators said Mr. Icahn, a billionaire hedge fund manager, used his influence in the Trump administration to make a $50 million gain.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb at a committee meeting last month in Washington.

Senate Confirms Scott Gottlieb to Head F.D.A.


The new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, whose ties to the drug industry were heavily criticized, was approved largely along party lines.

A cargo ship in an inlet of the Barents Sea close to the Russian port of Murmansk, in January. Russia has announced it will begin shipping natural gas from an Arctic port this fall using special icebreaking tankers.

Arctic Nations to Meet Amid Unsettled U.S. Stance on Climate Change


With the Trump administration still undecided about the Paris climate accord, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is to head to a meeting of the Arctic Council in Alaska.

Documents used by President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China to announce their countries’ formal adoption of the Paris agreement at a ceremony in 2016.

Stay In or Leave the Paris Climate Deal? Lessons From Kyoto


The Paris accord provides its members with more flexibility than the earlier Kyoto Protocol, an argument for those who want the United States to remain in the deal.

Charles E. Grassley, right, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Orrin Hatch during a committee meeting last month.

Senate Custom Could Trip Up G.O.P.’s March to Reshape Courts


The practice of allowing senators to veto judicial nominees for their home state, through what is known as a blue slip, lives on. For now.

Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon, after a town hall meeting in Baker City, Ore. Mr. Walden defended his vote to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Critics at Town Halls Confront Republicans Over Health Care


Few of the 217 Republicans who approved legislation to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act chose to defend their votes at public meetings. Those who did got an earful.

Sally Q. Yates testified on Monday at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in last year’s election.

White House Says It Ignored Yates’s Warnings Because She Was a Partisan


Officials said President Trump had dismissed Sally Q. Yates’s warnings about his national security adviser because she was “a political opponent” of his.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Erick Erickson in The Resurgent:
“Ossification has set in within the conservative movement.”
Erick Erickson is worried about the state of conservatism. A staunch never-Trump-er, he worries that, just as some Republicans justified the Bush administration’s “big government agenda,” too many today are willing to “put the square peg of Trumpism into the round hole of conservatism.” Read more »
From the Left
• Jacob Bacharach in Jacobin:
“The Democratic Party is a ghost — diaphanous, spooky, and utterly unable to interact with the actual world.”
While Erick Erickson diagnoses his side of the ideological divide with ossification, Jacob Bacharach contends that the Democratic Party is already dead. The elites of the party, Mr. Bacharach writes, are devoid of ideals and ideas save one: Be scared of Republicans. Read more »
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