Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- President Trump is taking his efforts to block the release of his tax returns to the Supreme Court, setting up a historic separation-of-powers test.
- Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is being investigated by federal prosecutors for campaign finance violations and possibly breaking laws against bribing foreign officials.
- Turkish media are seizing on President Erdoğan’s comments that President Trump had “no reaction” to his returning the American leader’s notorious letter to him, saying it shows a clear victory over Trump. A headline in Sabah Daily said that international media were reporting that Erdoğan returned the “scandalous” letter to Trump and the American president was “silent.” A headline in Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily quoted the Turkish leader talking about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I told him what he needed, he learned his lesson.”
- The Justice Department inspector general’s office has told witnesses who are set to review draft sections of its long-awaited report on the FBI investigation of President Trump’s 2016 campaign that they will not be allowed to submit written feedback — one in a series of unusual restrictions that some fear could make the final document less accurate. As is the case in most inspector general probes, witnesses are being invited to review draft sections of the report and offer comments and corrections. But, unlike most cases, they are being told those comments must be conveyed only verbally.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a new commission that he said will decide which human rights are more important to U.S. foreign policy. Every member of the commission is an anti-LGBTQ activist.
- Mark Sandy, a longtime career employee at the White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to testify Saturday in the House impeachment inquiry, potentially filling in important details on the holdup of military aid to Ukraine. Sandy would be the first OMB employee to testify in the inquiry, after OMB acting director Russell T. Vought and two other political appointees at the agency defied congressional subpoenas to appear.
- The US has warned Egypt of possible sanctions over Cairo’s decision to proceed with a purchase of Russian warplanes.A letter obtained by WSJ says the buy may “complicate future US defense transactions with and security assistance to Egypt.”
- Trump is demanding that South Korea pay roughly 500% more in 2020 to cover the cost of keeping US troops on the peninsula. The price hike has frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, according to military officials and congressional aides. It has angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning US commitment to their alliance and wondering whether Trump will pull US forces if they don’t pay up.
- President Trump on Thursday moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an aide to former national security adviser John Bolton seeking a ruling on whether he must comply with a congressional subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. In the filing, he sought to have a judge dismiss White House official Dr. Charles Kupperman lawsuit seeking guidance on whether he should comply with the subpoena or the president’s directive not to comply.
- After news surfaced that President Trump’s phone call with U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was overheard by others in a restaurant in Ukraine, top former national security officials say Russian spies almost certainly overheard at least some of the president’s conversation.
- The White House announced Friday that President Trump will attend the NATO leaders meeting in the United Kingdom early next month, where he is set to address shared costs between NATO member countries and attend a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
- President Trump denigrated Marie Yovanovitch on Twitter even as she testified about how she felt threatened by him, leading Democrats to accuse him of trying to intimidate a witness in real time. While Ambassador Yovanovitch was testifying before the House, President Trump live Tweeted: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
- Roger Stone, the right-wing provocateur and longtime associate of President Trump, was convicted of 7 counts of lying to Congress and witness tampering. The verdict is another victory for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose legal team alleged that Stone had tried to conceal from Congress his contacts with the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.
- President Trump complained of a historic “double standard” after his longtime associate Roger Stone was convicted on seven felony counts, including lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to feed the Trump campaign information on WikiLeaks in 2016.
- President Trump claimed the identity of the whistleblower who first raised concerns about his relationship with Ukraine is known to everyone in D.C. Trump told “The Dan Bongino Show,” “Everyone in Washington knows who it is, by the way. The whistleblower is no great secret. Everybody knows who the whistleblower is, and [it] has to be revealed.”
- In a historic move, President Donald Trump announced Friday that hospitals will be required to disclose the rates they privately negotiate with insurers. Part of a larger transparency push aimed at reducing health care costs, the controversial requirement has already raised the ire of the powerful industry. Four hospital groups quickly promised to file a legal challenge, arguing the rule exceeds the administration’s authority.
- Trump said he watched some of Friday’s proceedings and said, “I thought it was a disgrace. When we have great Republican representatives…and they’re not allowed to even ask a question. They’re not allowed to make a statement.”
NOTE: Time to make statements and ask questions are allotted to both Democrats and Republicans equally.
For full coverage of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, visit The Hill http://bit.ly/2Qo4tyc