presidential-race

Trump Reverses Self on DOJ, FBI Documents He Says Show Bias
President says Justice Department, ‘key allies‘ asked him to reconsider

President Donald Trump departs the White House on Thursday for a campaign rally in Nevada. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump reversed himself on Friday on the release of reams of Justice Department and FBI documents he claims show an internal bias to wreck his 2016 campaign and then his presidency.

Trump earlier this week announced the text messages and other documents would soon be made public, per the request of House Republicans. But he backtracked in a Friday tweet, saying Justice Department officials and “key allies” urged him to avoid a huge document dump.

Former House Counsels Cast Doubt on GOP Subpoena in Justice Bias Probe
Differences in draft subpoena and final version ‘appear to be material,’ former counsels write in letter

House Judiciary ranking member Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has called Republicans’ probe into potential FISA abuse and bias at the FBI and Department of Justice a “distraction” meant to undermine ongoing investigations into President Donald Trump’s associates possible ties to Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees’ investigation into possible bias among top Department of Justice and FBI officials appears to rely on an invalid subpoena, five previous House general counsels wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Judiciary Committee.

That would jeopardize any court proceedings that could arise from it — including charging Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for contempt of Congress, a threat issued in July by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

Trump Skips Usual Fanfare, Privately Signs Election Meddling Order
Obama White House aide on intended message: ‘Please don’t pay attention to this’

President Donald Trump walks from the West Wing to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews Friday July 20, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump’s top national security adviser said the president signed an executive order this week on election meddling to show he has “taken command” of the matter. But this time, the White House broke from its practice of using such directives to make a public splash, instead keeping the event from the public and press.

The president himself has frequently called for reporters and photographers to be allowed into events he thinks will help his media narrative — even when his public schedule did not call for journalists in the room. This time, on the morning of the signing, his public schedule was empty until an 11:30 a.m. intelligence briefing.

Irony Alert: Trump Shares PSA Warning Against Spreading ‘False Information’
President attacks John Kerry Thursday night, starts Friday with string of hurricane warnings

President Trump is briefed earlier this week in the Oval Office as Hurricane Florence was poised to hammer the Carolinas. (White House photo via Flickr)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump, just one day after even Republicans criticized him for claiming nearly 3,000 people did not die last year in Puerto Rico due to two powerful hurricanes, shared a FEMA tweet warning against spreading false information.

Trump ended Thursday evening — as Hurricane Florence began bearing down on the North Carolina coast — by slamming former Secretary of State John Kerry, the longtime senator and failed 2004 Democratic presidential nominee who might be eyeing a 2020 run. He started Friday — with Florence dumping rainfall measured in feet as it made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina — with a series of tweets urging people in the storm’s path to take steps to remain safe.

Trump: Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Have the ‘Smarts’ to Be President, PR Hurricane Death Toll Inflated
President contends Democrats inflated Puerto Rico numbers

President Donald Trump walks from the South Lawn to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews on July 27. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump warned those in Hurricane Florence’s path of the storm’s power, but then returned to attacking his foes and painting himself as the victim of an internal FBI scheme to damage him politically. And he essentially accused Puerto Rican officials and Democrats of lying about how many people died there after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island.

“That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know why he’d say that,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo told reporters when informed of the president’s tweet saying the death toll from Hurricane Maria was a ploy by Democrats.

Trump Signs Election Meddling Order, But No Mention of Russia
White House says they will keep talking to lawmakers as Senate bill lingers

Voting signs at One Judiciary Square in Washington in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at punishing foreign actors that interfere with U.S. elections, senior administration officials said Wednesday.

National security adviser John Bolton said Trump and his team decided to move ahead with the order to show he has “taken control” of efforts to prevent, stop and punish election meddling like that conducted by Russia in 2016. Though there is a bipartisan Senate bill focused on combating meddling, the administration moved the order now to put a “mechanism” in place that marshals all federal efforts under Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

At Rally, Trump Says Democrats Would ‘Destroy’ Social Security
President tells supporters impeachment would be ‘your fault’

President Donald Trump, here at a campaign rally in 2016, was in Montana again on Thursday night. And he made Social Security a midterm election issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than two months from Election Day, President Donald Trump on Thursday night stepped up his rhetoric about Social Security and other federal benefit programs by warning Democrats want to “destroy” them.

The president had not focused on the federal retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits program at previous political rallies. But as the midterm elections near, he debuted some new — and sharp — lines at a rally in Billings, Montana.

3 Takeaways From Brett Kavanaugh’s Testimony
Americans ‘rightly’ will have ‘dimmer view of the Senate,’ Graham says

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies Wednesday before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spent two days jousting with Senate Democrats over his views on executive power and abortion rights. But he appeared mindful that his top job was to keep all 51 Republican senators firmly in his corner.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee rarely flustered the 12-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and by midday Thursday several complimented his knowledge of the law and character. Republican Judiciary members began Thursday in a huddle called by Chairman Charles E. Grassley and spent the second day of questioning refuting Democrats’ criticisms of the nominee and defending him.

When Burt Reynolds Played a Congressman, It Was a Slippery One
The film icon had many memorable roles, but this was not one of them

Burt Reynolds as the slippery, fictional Rep. David Dilbeck in “Striptease.” (Roll Call illustration by Chris Hale)

Among Burt Reynolds’ least known roles is a particularly baroque portrayal of David Dilbeck, a fictional Florida congressman, in “Striptease,” the 1996 film based on the Carl Hiaasen novel of the same name. 

Playing a corrupt creep who is head over heels for Demi Moore’s stripper with a heart of gold Erin Grant, Reynolds went over the top in oozing sleaze in the role. 

Harris Lands First Blow on Kavanaugh — But It Only Grazes Him
Senator accuses nominee of remembering conversation but not wanting 'to tell us'

From left: Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., confer during the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:14 a.m. | ANALYSIS — It took almost 12 hours Wednesday before a Democratic senator, Kamala Harris of California, landed more than a glancing blow on the Teflon chin of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And even then, she wasn’t able to put President Donald Trump’s second high court pick on the canvas.

The late-night exchange lasted nearly 10 minutes, left Kavanaugh with a dumbfounded facial expression several times, and led Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee to break in with a helping hand.