Call Trey a nay on ‘Spygate’
Barely a day after tweeting that he had to “start focusing” his energy on big issues rather than a “witch hunt,” President Donald Trump resumed his Russia ranting.
The focus early Wednesday was Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Fox News interview.
In that interview, the House Oversight Committee chairman said he’s “more convinced” based on the evidence that the FBI acted appropriately in handling the investigation in 2016.
The president didn’t address that statement from the South Carolina Republican, which suggests “Spygate” claims may be bogus.
Instead, Trump on Twitter quoted part of the interview he liked better, where Gowdy said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should have explained his recusal from the investigation to Trump before accepting the job.
Trump tweeted he wished he had picked someone other than Sessions.
Obstructions and obSessions
Special counsel Robert Mueller is evidently exploring the possibility that Trump’s attempt last March to undo Sessions’ recusal might fit with an obstruction of justice charge.
That makes Sessions a key witness in that part of Mueller’s investigation. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani seemed to confirm a Times story on this when he told the newspaper: “Unrecuse’ doesn’t say, ‘Bury the investigation.’ It says on the face of it: Take responsibility for it and handle it correctly.”
Questions for Trump from Mueller include: “What did you think and do regarding the recusal of Mr. Sessions?” “What efforts did you make to try to get him to change his mind?”
The questions await answers.
Lordy, there ARE tapes
Emerging from Manhattan federal court Tuesday, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, said audio recordings seized in the Michael Cohen case will pose a “host of problems” for both Trump and his ex-lawyer.
But those are still subject to court-assigned inspection — and it’s unknown what they’d reveal. Avenatti made the statement after losing his bid for a formal role in negotiations over files the FBI grabbed from Cohen.
U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood set a June 15 deadline for lawyers for Cohen and Trump to make attorney-client privilege claims over the avalanche of documents seized in the April raids on Cohen’s home and office.
‘Right to try’
Trump on Wednesday signed the “Right to Try” Act, giving terminally ill patients the ability to use experimental drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The president embraced an affectionate Jordan McLinn, 12, of Indianapolis, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Trump hugged McLinn and kissed him on the forehead. “He’s going to be fantastic,” the president told McLinn’s mother.
The FDA for years has annually granted what’s called “expanded access” to thousands of people in such situations. State right-to-try laws exist in Michigan and Arizona. Neither of these measures, nor the federal one, force manufacturers and insurers to supply or pay for experimental therapies.
What else is happening
- Data from ICE suggest Trump is lying or exaggerating when he bellows that his administration is deporting MS-13 members “by the thousands.”
- Trump made Roseanne Barr’s racist implosion into another claim of injustice against himself, saying ABC never called him to apologize after unspecified statements about him on the network.
- Congress now appears to be leading Trump on Chinese trade policy rather than vice versa, Bloomberg News reports.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ complaint about new European digital privacy restrictions seems to be a point of friction with the E.U., The Washington Post reports.
- Looser restrictions for banks are moving up on the federal government agenda.
- Where’s Melania? The first lady hasn’t been seen in public in three weeks.