Trump Fills Void He Created When He Fired James Comey, One Day Before Comey Testifies
I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2017
Wray was a high-level Justice Department official in the George W. Bush Administration. He is one of the least-flashy candidates paraded before Trump for interviews in the last couple of weeks.
Wray has been in private practice for the past 12 years. His most visible recent activity: representing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (and sometimes Trump confidant) during the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal. Christie was never charged; two of his close aides were convicted.
If The White House Is Infested With Hornets, The Only Question Is Who’s Going To Get Stung?
We seldom report on White House infighting. That’s because with a President that encourages a never-ending battle royale among his staff, rumors have very often turned out to be power grabs, intended to discredit political rivals, with little lasting effect (except to prove the White House is the biggest peddler of “fake news” around). But with Thursday’s testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey looming, tensions this week suddenly seem higher, and the sense of peril more real.
Several major news organizations reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign when the President got angry with him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. That paved the way for the appointment of a special counsel. Sessions gave misleading testimony about his contacts with Russians to Congress. He was also one of Trump’s first and most steadfast supporters.
Rule #1: Don’t Get “More Famous” Than Trump
Right before Trump fired James Comey he used these words: “He’s become more famous than me!”
And in the last 24-hours he used almost the exact same words to describe his close personal adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Jared’s actually become much more famous than me. I’m a little bit upset about that.” Trump alluding to the fact Kushner’s landed smack dab in the middle of the Russia investigation.
Kushner also committed the “sin” last week of showing up on the cover of Time Magazine. Shortly after Steve Bannon was on the cover of Time, he lost his post on the National Security Council.
A Couple Of More Stories From The Run-Up To Comey’s Testimony (And It’s Still A Day Away)
• According to the Washington Post, Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coates if he’d ask Comey to back off his investigation of then national security adviser Michael Flynn.
• And Comey asked Attorney General Sessions to act as a buffer and never leave him alone in a room with Trump, that according to The New York Times.
The Hearing Before “The Hearing”
An all-star lineup of law and intelligence officials will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. The only reason this hearing is receiving somewhat muted attention is it’s in the shadow of Comey’s testimony tomorrow, which face it, is kind of the Super Bowl of hearings. And also because today’s hearing is related to a very specific, technical item: the re-authorization of something called Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the NSA to collect digital communications of foreigners if their communications pass through U.S. telephone or Internet providers. Information about Americans is sometimes also gathered up in the process, which makes the law controversial because privacy advocates say it amounts to a warrant-less search. Information gathered this way is credited with foiling a plot to bomb New York City subways.
That doesn’t mean Senators won’t also ask about the Russia probe. Today’s roster: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Will Trump Live Tweet During Comey Testimony?
Of course he will! Why is this even a question being speculated about in the media?
As we’ve said before, Comey will infuriate Trump simply by getting huge ratings. Trump’s only recourse: injecting himself into the proceedings by making sure his live reactions are running across the screen.
Even though the Hill is reporting Trump is scheduled to give a speech to a religious conference at the same time as Comey’s testimony, he’ll figure out a way, believe us…
Rare Terror Attacks This Morning Inside Iran
At least 12 people were killed, 42 wounded. ISIS is claiming responsibility. If true, it would be the first time the group’s carried out attacks inside Iran. They occurred at two very high-profile locations in Tehran: the Parliament building, and the Khomeini tomb. At least some of the attackers were women, or dressed as women. The speaker of Iran’s Parliament tried to play down the attacks as a “minor incident,” while other political influencers pointed at Saudi Arabia, saying it’s an odd coincidence the attacks came now, just after the Saudis bonded with President Trump over mutual hostility toward Iran, and subsequently moved to isolate Qatar, accusing it of getting too cozy with Iranian leadership.
Trump Sides With Saudis In Major Mideast Dispute (Also Takes Credit For Perhaps Solving Terrorism)
In Tweets, Trump came squarely down on the side of Saudi Arabia in its ugly, sudden feud with Qatar. (Trump likes the Saudis after they were nice to him on his Mideast visit and let him touch an orb.)
So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
…extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
Our question is: if fingers were already squarely pointed at Qatar as a sponsor of terrorism, why did the President meet with its leader and suggest Qatar purchase “beautiful military equipment” from the U.S.?
Here’s a photo:
There’s another little problem: America’s largest airbase in the Mideast is in Qatar. And as The Guardian explains, “it will be critical for the assault on the ISIS stronghold Raqqa, which was launched on Tuesday.” Even if Trump doesn’t care about that, there are 11,000 members of the U.S. armed forces living in Qatar, and he is putting them at risk.
(BTW, women are allowed to drive in Qatar. The are not in Saudi Arabia.)
Terror At Center Of Thursday Elections In Britain
One day before British elections, and just four days after a terror attack in central London that left seven people dead, Prime Minister Theresa May says she’s prepared to weaken human rights laws in order to more effectively fight terrorism. The rival Labour Party candidate Jeremy Corbyn said a better move would be to reverse the ruling party’s cuts to police and security services.
British law enforcement had been warned about at least two of the terrorists, and that’s put additional focus on May as well. She was head of counter-terrorism for six years before becoming Prime Minister last year.
Mitch McConnell: Miracle Worker?
A grumpy bunch of Senators walked into a closed-door meeting on healthcare, and two hours later, walked out with smiles on their faces. That’s led some to speculate the Senate leader worked some kind of magic in pushing for a vote on a Senate healthcare bill by the end of July. (Another possibility: he just told them, “I want you to walk out with smiles on your faces.”)
Talking Points Memo has a good story on several Senators considered key to shaping the bill.
Trump Has A Really Good Idea For A Bad Project
In a meeting with members of Congress, the President suggested putting solar panels on “the wall” with Mexico, then using the energy generated to help pay for it. (Of course, that’s only until Mexico, eventually, pays for it.)
Help Spread The Word
If you are enjoying our daily The Chaos Report emails, feel free to forward and share it with your friends. They can sign up to get the daily email here.