FROM Julian Hattem
Down to the Wire on the Patriot Act The Senate meets this week in rare recess negotiations about whether to extend controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, including the NSA's bulk phone records collection program. That program, launched after 9/11, is due to expire June 1 if the Senate doesn't come to a consensus on how much and what kind of surveillance best serves the nation. Earlier this month the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation which would reauthorize the Patriot Act while at the same time ending the NSA's bulk collection of phone records. The House also approved certain reforms intended to make the agency's programs more transparent. Will Congress go the way of a recent federal court ruling that called NSA surveillance overly broad and in violation of American's rights to privacy? If the NSA's broad surveillance programs lapse, will the nation be less secure?
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
Trump's Russia ties intensify with Comey firing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe contradicted the Trump White House today, insisting the Bureau had not lost faith in former Director James Comey. He promised to notify the committee of any interference into investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Vladimir Putin's Russia. What do we know about those contacts… and how they relate to Trump's business interests and those of his family?