Party of dive
The ex-fed is fed up.
James Comey, the FBI director fired by Donald Trump as he pursued the Russia investigation, unloaded Monday on Republicans as "shameful" for failing to stand up for the bureau and the Justice Department in response to the president's attacks.
Trump has been “lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country,” Comey told reporters after his second day this month of closed-door testimony before House Republicans looking to stoke doubts about how he handled the probes into the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton's email server.
“Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters and the truth matters,” said Comey, who disclosed last spring that he had quit the party. “Where are those Republicans today?”
Comey pointed to Trump's tweet Sunday that used mobster lingo about his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for making a deal with federal prosecutors.
Trump "is calling a witness who is cooperating with his own Justice Department a rat — say that again to yourself at home, and remind yourself where we have ended up," Comey said. He called on Republicans to "have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base."
Republicans argue that FBI and Justice officials conspired against Trump as they started an investigation into his ties to Russia. Democrats have called the GOP committees' allegations agaist the Russia investigation "nonsense." Click here for video of Comey's angry comments.
Studies: Russians are still at it
Russia's sweeping political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media during the 2016 campaign was more far-reaching than originally thought, with troll farms working to discourage black voters and "blur the lines between reality and fiction" to help elect Trump, according to reports released by the Senate intelligence committee.
Two years later, the Russians are still working to stoke racial and political discord, the researchers found, and are expected to target the 2020 election.
"Most troublingly, it shows that these activities have not stopped," said the panel's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican. The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, said, "This should stand as a wake-up call to us all that none of us are immune from this threat, and it is time to get serious in addressing this challenge."
Pelosi: Wait for Mueller
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top allies are turning down the volume on renewed impeachment chatter after last week's damaging revelations from multiple investigations, including Trump's role in paying off women to keep sex scandals from emerging.
“We must wait to see the entire picture and then engage the American people about how we go forward as a nation,” Pelosi told Politico in a statement. “We must protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation, so that the American people can get the full truth.”
Putting the shhh in shutdown
Senate Republicans are waiting for Trump to weigh in before making a move to try to avoid a partial government shutdown on Friday, and Democrats who are refusing to give the president $5 billion for a Mexican border wall say they haven't heard back from him.
As for House Republicans, who have just a few weeks left in the majority, it's unclear how many will even show up midweek for possible votes. A shutdown would affect about one-fourth of the government.
About 420,000 federal employees who are deemed “essential” would continue to work through a shutdown, but they would not receive any compensation until the shutdown ends and Congress passes legislation to pay them retroactively.
Lighten up, SNL snowflake
Anthony Scaramucci, the short-tenured former White House communications director, tweeted that Trump shouldn't be so sensitive when "Saturday Night Live" makes fun of him. "I enjoyed the show particularly the cold open. [People] in power have to be able to take the joke. When they poke fun at me I laugh and I am not even in power," said the Mooch.
Trump's suggestion that SNL's "defame and belittle" ways should get it hauled into court also drew a rebuke from Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), the former Navy SEAL and Afghan War veteran whose eye patch was the subject of a tasteless gag by cast member Peter Davidson. (The wounded warrior accepted Davidson's apology on-air.)
Crenshaw tweeted at Trump: "Yes, the media deliberately misleads and spins. It’s legal, and it needs to remain legal. The 1st Amendment is the backbone of American exceptionalism."
Wrong way to talk Turkey
Two business associates of Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, were charged Monday with illegally lobbying for Turkey as part of a campaign to pressure the United States to expel a Turkish cleric who is a rival of Turkey's president.
Flynn has previously admitted lying about his lobbying work. He is due to be sentenced Tuesday for lying about his Russian contacts, in a separate case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The case sheds further light on how Flynn worked to benefit a foreign country in the months before he became, briefly, one of America's top national security officials, The Associated Press reported.
Trump tweeted "good luck" to Flynn early Tuesday, adding: "Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!"
What else is happening:
- Roger Stone, the Republican operative and longtime Trump adviser, admitted lying on the far-right website Infowars to settle a lawsuit from a Chinese businessman, but blamed an associate, Sam Nunberg.
- The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at ensuring that minority children are not unfairly disciplined, arguing that the efforts have contributed to rising violence in schools, The New York Times reported.
- Trump plans to sign an executive order before the end of the year creating a U.S. Space Command as a major military command, The Associated Press reported. The move is separate from Trump's goal of creating a "Space Force" as an independent armed service branch, but could be a step in that direction.
- Trump-backed legislation that would ease federal sentencing laws for some offenders cleared its first major test vote in the Senate Monday by 82-12, with overwhelming support in both parties.
- Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who called Cohen "pathetic" and a "pathological liar" on Sunday, had more not-nice words about him in a profanity-laced interview with the Daily News on Monday. Using a vulgarity, Giuliani said Cohen did a poor job in trying to push the Trump Tower Moscow plan.
- America's witches wish that Trump would stop calling the Russia investigation a "witch hunt," complaining that it demonizes them, the Daily Beast reports. “To have him compare his situation to the worst period in our history is just infuriating,” said witchcraft author Kitty Randall.
- Trump hates White House Christmas parties, especially the hours of posing for photos with guests, New York magazine reports. At one event last year, he spotted Mike Pence in the crowd and made the vice president stand in for him. Said one source: “If it were about him, he’d love it. Christmas is not about him.”