- The New York Times claims Donald Trump asked James Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn, and that Comey subsequently wrote a memo detailing that conversation. David French writes:
The analysis here is pretty simple. If the memo exists, then there is compelling evidence that the president committed a potentially impeachable offense. Here is the alleged chain of events: First, Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation of a close former associate and a former senior official in his administration. Second, Comey refused. Third, weeks later Trump fired Comey. Fourth, Trump then misled the American people regarding the reason for the dismissal. Each prong is important, but it’s worth noting that the fourth prong — Trump’s deception regarding the reason for Comey’s termination — is particularly problematic in context. Deception is classic evidence of malign intent.
If true, this is a serious abuse of power, and a Republican Congress would certainly impeach a Democrat if the roles were reversed. But — and this is vitally important to everyone at DEFCON 1 on Twitter — we don’t know yet if the New York Times account is true.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Caffetz sent a letter to the FBI asking for all memos related to Comey’s communications with Trump, and he says he’s willing to upgrade the letter to a subpoena.
The Washington Post claims Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The source of that information was reportedly Israel, and the disclosure may have endangered an Israeli spy. The White House sent H.R. McMaster out to deny the Post report (twice, actually), but there are also reports that Trump staffers are leaking stories like the Post one because their boss is screwing up and they can’t get his attention any other way:
White House staff have ample incentive to leak to the press when they believe the president needs to pay attention or be admonished. This was the case with the source I know. He was not in the Oval Office while the Russians were there, but he was involved with the matter and participated in conversations leading up to and after the conversation with the Russians.
President Trump has a habit, in his insecurity, of bragging about his knowledge, skill and intelligence. With the Russians, he let slip key details about the acquisition of intelligence related to explosives planted in laptops. The information the president shared was not readily shared with our allies and could easily be used to determine from where and from whom we had collected the intelligence.
No crime was committed. The president has a great deal of leeway in declassifying information and sharing information related to national security. The issue is not whether he could do it, but whether he should have done it. Many people inside our national security apparatus do not think he should have. These same people fear it risks our future acquisition of relevant, related intelligence.
Before Lois Lerner was denying tax exempt status to conservative groups, she “cleared the way for the Clinton Foundation’s transformation from building a presidential library to being a $2 billion global political influence peddling machine…”
The University of Missouri-Columbia plans to cut 400 employees as it faces another decline in freshman enrollment. The school expects attrition to account for most of those positions. It’s also trying to raise tuition by 2.1%.