The Push to Release the Rebuttal

Tuesday, February 6, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 8.42.03 AM

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The House Intelligence Committee voted to release a Democratic rebuttal to a Republican memo on surveillance abuse, putting its fate in President Trump’s hands.
  • As Mr. Trump boasted about the economy during a speech in Ohio on Monday, he left out one of his favorite lines about the skyrocketing stock market. TV viewers at home understood why.
  • Mr. Trump’s lawyers want him to refuse any interview request in the Russia investigation, which could set up a prolonged court fight.
  • In his rambling speech at a factory in Ohio, Mr. Trump accused Democrats who did not clap during his State of the Union address of being treasonous.
  • The Supreme Court refused to stop Pennsylvania’s highest court from requiring lawmakers there to redraw the state’s congressional map, which the state court had found to be marred by partisan gerrymandering.
— The First Draft Team
News Analysis

Trump’s Unparalleled War on a Pillar of Society: Law Enforcement

Under attack by President Trump, the deputy F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, was pushed out last week.

Under attack by President Trump, the deputy F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, was pushed out last week. Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency

In the days before the 2016 election, Donald J. Trump expressed “great respect”for the “courage” of the F.B.I. and Justice Department for reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Sixteen months later, he has changed his mind.
The agencies have been “disgraceful” and “should be ashamed,” President Trump declared Friday. Under attack by the president, the deputy F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, was pushed out in recent days. Mr. Trump has hinted that he may fire the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. And his aides fear that Christopher A. Wray, his F.B.I. director, may resign over the dispute with the bureau, although associates doubt it.
The war between the president and the nation’s law enforcement apparatus is unlike anything America has seen in modern times. With a special counsel investigating whether his campaign collaborated with Russia in 2016 and whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice in 2017, the president has engaged in a scorched-earth assault on the pillars of the criminal justice system in a way that no other occupant of the White House has done.
The president’s focus on a memo drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee and released on Friday reflected years of conspiracy-minded thinking by Mr. Trump. “Something is going on, folks,” he would warn at his campaign rallies. He has long sought to find the hidden hand at work behind the scenes in government, and he has encouraged supporters’ suspicions of a “deep state” organized to resist the policies of an elected president.
Read more >> 

How Our Reporter Uncovered a Lie That Propelled an Alt-Right Extremist’s Rise


After months of investigating, Emma Cott, a video producer, confronted Elliott Kline, a.k.a. Eli Mosley, with her findings.

Wells Fargo’s headquarters in San Francisco. The bank, in a settlement with the Federal Reserve, was banned from getting bigger.

Key to the Wells Fargo-Fed Deal: Holding Directors Accountable


A landmark settlement between Wells Fargo and the Fed shows regulators’ new emphasis on making board members responsible for their institutions’ conduct.

The Justice Department announced last week that it would not retry Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, eliminating for Democrats the embarrassing prospect of having a sitting senator running for re-election while on trial for corruption.

After Years of Investigation, a Sudden Folding of the Case Against Menendez


The long arc of the corruption investigation into Senator Robert Menendez, which began more than five years ago with salacious rumors, collapsed over two weeks in January.

Trump Wants a Border Wall. See What’s in Place Already.


President Trump seeks to build a wall that would cost $18 billion. Here, we have mapped out the current fencing and illegal crossings across the border.

The Tengger Desert in China is growing because of climate change. Around the world, many would-be parents are looking at effects like this and hesitating.

Some People Weigh Forgoing Children Because of Climate Change


With the effects of climate change no longer theoretical, projections more dire and action lagging, some potential parents are hesitating.

A memo written by Republican congressional aides disclosed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved surveillance targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, in October 2016.

Times Asks Court to Unseal Documents on Surveillance of Onetime Trump Aide


The New York Times argues that Mr. Trump lowered the shield of secrecy surrounding documents related to the wiretapping of Carter Page, a onetime campaign adviser.

Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, is best known on Capitol Hill for two things: his ever-shifting hairstyles and for the way he grilled Hillary Clinton while leading the House inquiry into the 2012 attacks on Benghazi, Libya.

Gowdy Emerges as Key Challenger to Trump on G.O.P. Russia Memo


Representative Trey Gowdy’s words matter to Republicans, so when he said the Russia memo did not absolve Mr. Trump, it undercut the White House.

Jerome H. Powell, right, taking the oath of office as chairman of the Federal Reserve on Monday. He was sworn in by the Fed’s vice chairman for supervision, Randal K. Quarles.

Powell Is Sworn In as Federal Reserve Chairman


Jerome Powell faces a growing set of challenges in his new role, including major stock market declines.

Navy Lt. Alaric Piette is the lone member of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s defense team after the other lawyers quit. Even Mr. Piette feels he is not qualified to try the case himself, but believes that leaving his client with no one would be worse.

Many Say He’s the Least Qualified Lawyer Ever to Lead a Guantánamo Case. He Agrees.


Lt. Alaric Piette knows he is unfit to be Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s only lawyer. But leaving his client with no one, he says, would be worse.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, left, in Washington last week with his top leaders, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general.

Sessions Silent as Trump Attacks His Department, Risking Independence and Morale


The silence by Jeff Sessions breaks with a long tradition of attorneys general protecting the Justice Department from political interference.

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
James S. Robbins in USA Today:
“Arguments about protecting sources and methods are irrelevant when we are talking about a potential crisis of this degree.”
Mr. Robbins, a former member of George W. Bush’s Defense Department, lays out the concerns of many on the right — particularly those who believe the Republican memo made public last week revealed serious impropriety by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. Beyond summarizing many of the main points of the memo itself, including that “top Obama administration officials knowingly and willfully used unverified information paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign” to obtain a surveillance warrant for Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, Mr. Robbins also presses for further transparency. “Can the memo not be understood without seeing the classified background material?” His answer: “Declassify it.” Read more »
From the Left
Jeet Heer in New Republic:
“It’s unprecedented for any president to attack the F.B.I. so brazenly, but it’s especially unusual for a Republican president to accuse the F.B.I., one of the most conservative of federal agencies, of being anti-Republican.”
Mr. Heer contends that, historically, the F.B.I. has been a conservative, if not “reactionary,” institution. Which, he writes, makes the attacks on the agency by Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans all the more strange and alarming. He points out that during the presidential campaign, news of the investigation into Mrs. Clinton leaked to the news media while the Trump investigation was kept quiet. “This hardly suggests an F.B.I. bias.” Read more »
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