In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Vice President Pence on Friday requesting that he declassify more material from one of his aides’ testimony in the House impeachment investigation. The request centered around the testimony of Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and staffer to Pence, who testified that a conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “unusual, and more of a political nature.”
  • Rudy Giuliani departed Kyiv after meeting with a range of Ukrainians who have been feeding him unproven allegations against former vice president Joe Biden and helping construct a counternarrative that is taking hold in the Republican Party. The latter storyline asserts that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, including with the baseless theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
  • The White House announced that Iran would release Xiyue Wang, an American held in that country since 2016, as part of a prisoner exchange. “After more than three years of being held prisoner in Iran, Xiyue Wang is returning to the United States,” President Trump said.
  • President Trump, speaking during a closed-door speech to Republican Party of Florida donors at the state party’s annual Statesman’s Dinner, was in “rare form” Saturday night as he showed off convicted war criminals to help him raise money. The dinner, which raised $3.5 million for the state party, was met with unusual secrecy. The 1,000 attendees were required to check their cell phones into individual locked cases before they entered the unmarked ballroom at the south end of the resort. Reporters were not allowed to attend. 
  • For the second straight year, the Treasury Department will have to borrow $1 trillion to pay for the government’s growing budget deficit, a consequence of juiced government spending and smaller revenues as a result of the late 2017 tax cuts, Bloomberg reports. Treasury borrowing surpassed $1 trillion during President Obama’s first term as government spending soared amid the stimulus to combat the 2008 financial crisis, but it has steadily declined in the years since, settling down to $519 billion in 2017 before nearly doubling last year.
  • Jewish groups rip Trump over “vile” Israeli American Council speech where he said Jews had “no choice” but to vote for him. Trump, speaking to the Israeli American Council: “You’re not nice people at all, but you have to vote for me. You have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that.
  • The Trump administration is heading to court this week in two lawsuits charging that the president is violating the Constitution by profiting off of his hotels and other businesses while in office. The cases revolve around the Constitution’s once-obscure emoluments clause, which critics say President Trump has flouted, giving foreign diplomats an opening to curry favor with him by patronizing his businesses.
  • Attorney General William Barr reportedly told President Trump that he thinks the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is a liability for his administration. Giuliani faces increased scrutiny throughout the course of the House impeachment inquiry for his involvement in Ukraine policy.
  • Senior US officials knowingly concealed evidence showing a lack of progress throughout the 18-year war in Afghanistan and frequently acknowledged the nation was wasting vast amounts of money, according to a cache of documents from the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations obtained by the Washington Post.
  • The Justice Department inspector general released a long-awaited report finding FBI agents were not motivated by political bias in opening investigations into associates of the Trump campaign in 2016. It comes after President Trump accused the FBI of “spying” and suggested bias.
  • Trump on the IG report: “It is incredible. Far worse than I ever would’ve thought possible. It’s an embarrassment to our country, it’s dishonest. It’s everything that a lot of people thought it would be, except far worse.”

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