FROM Matthew Miller
Two Oval Office conversations: One big mess for the White House President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates. "You will find things happen to you that you do not deserve and are not warranted, but you have to put your head down and fight! Things will work out just fine. Just look at the way I have been treated lately." But many Republicans say they're concerned about Trump's leak of intelligence to the Russians and his alleged effort to shut down an FBI investigation of his associates. Even White House staff members are reportedly fighting among themselves over unpredictable behavior that leaves them contradicting their boss and each other. For the first time on the House floor, a Democrat today called for impeachment. We update the President's troubles as he prepares for his first trip overseas.
The DOJ investigates the FBI and James Comey In October, just 10 days before the election, FBI Director, James Comey sent a letter to select Congressional leaders, announcing that the criminal investigation into Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email server had been re-opened. That investigation went nowhere. Photo by Rich Girard But yesterday, Comey himself became the target of another investigation — by the Inspector General of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz. He said he's responding "to complaints from members of Congress and the public." Did Comey violate Justice Department rules and set a dangerous precedent by going public about Clinton's emails during the heat of last year's campaign? Matthew Miller, former chief spokesperson for the Department of Justice, says the Trump Administration may not pursue the investigation as rigorously..
An FBI bombshell in the final stretch Last Friday’s October surprise by FBI Director James Comey hasn’t helped Donald Trump or damaged Hillary Clinton… at least so far. Early polls show voters knew about the latest email kerfuffle, but that they’d already made up their minds. Many said they wished this campaign were over. The political world is fully engrossed. Was Comey trying to influence the election? Did he violate the law? Did he have any choice? Democrats are outraged. Former attorneys general--even Republican Senators--are asking questions. But the most important won’t be answered until next Tuesday: will it affect the turnout?
The Drug War, Federal Prisons — and Bipartisanship The US population has risen by one-third since 1980. At the same time, the federal prison population has risen 800% -- and there's little to show for a lot of taxpayer money. That's what Democratic Attorney General Eric Holder told the independent US Sentencing Commission today, proposing that mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes be scaled back. Even Rand Paul and Rick Perry of Texas agree that the War on Drugs has gone too far with long, mandatory sentences for minor crimes. Prison costs are rising, with little to show for the money, and Holder's reform proposals just might be accepted on Capitol Hill. Those concerned about racial disparities among inmates are saying it's about time.
National Security, Government 'Spin' and the First Amendment Last Friday, the Associated Press learned that the Justice Department had obtained records for more than 20 separate telephone lines" for reporters' office phones, home phones and cell phones. Despite regulations that require negotiations to protect First Amendment rights, the records were seized in secret. Politicians of both parties have jumped to defend the free press, and President Obama has renewed talk of a reporters’ shield law . Attorney General Eric Holder justified the seizure because "it put the American people at risk and that is not hyperbole." Was it really a case of national security or "spin" to control a story about the CIA infiltrating al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? Did the Obama administration intrude on a free press? Will the news media be able to protect the next "Deep Throat" in the digital age?
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Trump, the GOP and the rule of law Conservatives — and some Republicans — are criticizing the President for "the mess he made" in firing FBI Director James Comey. We hear about a potential successor, the possibility of "obstruction of justice" and the constitutional separation of powers.