One premise or hope of ACA supporters has been the belief that once new access to health care had been extended it would be politically difficult or even impossible to claw it back. This is the political logic which has guarded Medicare and Social Security for decades.
Last year I told you we were shifting our business model to a greater reliance on subscription revenue and as a core part of that decision redoubling our commitment to investigative reporting, muckraking in the TPM tradition and original reporting of all sorts. You, our readers, have matched our hopes and ambitions. So today I sent this staff announcement to the TPM team, explaining two key staffing moves as we build toward those goals.
As we get the new TPM Investigations Desk off the ground, I have two big staff announcements.
We are closing in on our membership sign up goal for June. Just 178 129 sign ups to go. Really close but we have just three days. Our goal is to have a total of 22,000 Prime subscribers by the end of June. It’s a critical part of building a new, stronger, better, more vital TPM today and in the future. If you’ve been thinking about subscribing, take a moment and make it today. It’s inexpensive, simple to sign up, you get a better version of TPM and it makes a huge difference. Just click here.
We’ve discussed several times in recent days the legislative principle of safety in numbers. No one wants to face the full weight of public pressure alone or be left standing when the music stops. Just as much, no one wants to stick their neck out for an unpopular piece of legislation when it’s not going to pass anyway. Sure enough, when McConnell (at least temporarily) pulled the legislation yesterday, three more senators came forward to say they were also nos all along.
Before discussing the events of today in the Senate, I want to note a subsidiary issue, a matter of press coverage. But this is not a secondary issue in terms of importance. Let me also preface this by saying I’m going to focus on another journalist: CNN’s Dana Bash. I don’t know Dana. But I’ve relied on her reporting on CNN for years. So this isn’t meant as an attack on her. To me it is simply an illustration of a broader failure of coverage.
I’m about to write up some thoughts about the collapse (for now) of the Senate Trumpcare effort. But we still need to make this June goal for membership sign ups. Long day. Good day. But we still need to meet this goal. Thinking about? Make this the day you stop thinking and just join our team. Click here. Thank you.
It’s worth taking a moment and watching this exchange a short time ago with Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at today’s briefing. The amount of whining, pathological lying and entitlement are close to mind-boggling. After the jump.
I wanted to start the morning with a brief update on the latest developments with the Republican Senate’s drive to pass Trumpcare.
For the last several days I’ve been saying that I thought it was much more likely than not that McConnell would succeed in passing the Trumpcare bill this week, even as I said over the weekend that McConnell was running into more turbulence than I’d expected. Yesterday evening the tide turned. The odds of passing the bill this week now seem stacked against McConnell. This is a critical breakthrough for the opponents of the bill and the 22-24 million people who stand to lose their health care coverage. But so far it’s only a limited and temporary victory if it even happens, which is no sure thing.
Significant developments since the devastating CBO report was released just three hours ago: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has reiterated his opposition to what he called a “terrible” bill, and just now Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced that she too opposes the bill. Notably, both senators said they would vote against a motion to proceed to the bill. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) launched a spirited attack on the bill last week, in his home state, at a press conference with his own governor. So at this stage, assuming no wobbliness from one of these three, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lacks the votes to pass the bill. That’s not a small assumption: wobbliness can still happen. But as it stands now, McConnell has a lot of work to do.
We now need just 263 241 new membership sign ups by Friday to reach our goal of 22,000 total subscribers by the end of June. It sounds like just a number. But these goals are critical to building the future TPM we’ve been talking about. If you’ve been considering joining us, make today the day. Just set aside a couple minutes right now and click here.
There’s something emerging in the right-wing media, especially something from prominent voices in the right-wing media who talk regularly to talk to President Trump and his entourage. That is a new line of defense – public, if not legal – in the Russia probe which is basically this: “if Trump colluded with Russia, it wouldn’t be a crime. In fact, it might be awesome.”
We’re getting the toplines out of the CBO score of the Senate Trumpcare bill. They’re bad. A slightly lower number of people losing their coverage over a ten year time horizon (22 million over 10 years). But the carnage comes dramatically faster. 15 million lose their coverage next year.
(We are just reviewing the details now. So this quick read may be subject to some revision. But this seems to be the gist.)
You really don’t have to go any further than this email from a New York real estate player, who’s crossed paths with Trump, and wrote in more than a year ago to explain the predatory attack strategies Donald learned from his dad Fred way back in the day.
Our team is going to be going all out this week to bring you every latest detail on the fight over Trumpcare and Obamacare repeal in the Senate. What’s happening. What it means. What to watch for. But I wanted to to start the week by just giving you my own sense of where things stand, based on years of watching and thinking about high-profile legislative battles.
Willard Sterne Randall is a biographer of Benjamin and William Franklin, of Benedict Arnold, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Ethan Allen, and he has co-authored collections of biographies and e-books with his wife, the biographer and award-winning poet, Nancy Nahra. His newest book is called UNSHACKLING AMERICA: How the War of 1812 Truly Ended the American Revolution.
Monday is the first official day of our new TPM Investigations Desk. So our editors don’t kill me, I want to be clear that no one should expect a flood of exclusives on day or two or three or even in week one. We’re building a new part of the editorial team, a new editorial process within our organization. It will be an incremental build. One new reporter starts Monday. I expect a second member of the Investigations Desk to start in July. And with luck we’ll be able to add a third next month as well, though it may take until August for that.
The Investigations Desk is part of a broad recommitment to TPM’s tradition of muckraking and investigative digging. It’s by means only about the Russia investigation. But in the nature of things that will be a big focus for some time to come. With that in mind, I was spending some time today trying to articulate as concisely as I was able just what we’re looking for, just what we’re trying to find out.
Back on June 19th, almost a week ago, I announced that we were 514 membership sign-ups short of our June goal of hitting the milestone of 22,000 total subscribers. I was highly uncertain we’d be able to get there by June 30th. But we’ve actually made pretty startling progress. We’re now 307 sign-ups short of our goal. So still possible, albeit a stretch. So now I’m even more focused on making sure we hit this milestone. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member, please take a moment and make today the day. Every new member who joins puts TPM on a firmer footing, makes us more able to do what we do every day and up our game. It’s important. On the fence? Waiting for the right moment? Just take the plunge. You will be glad you did. Click here.
The big news this afternoon is that Sen. Heller of Nevada says he opposes the Senate’s current health care repeal bill “in this form.” It is important to understand what this means. It is not opposition to the bill. It’s a bid to negotiate. And beyond that, all but certainly it is an effort to extract some minor concessions that will be the justification for voting for the bill and making it law.
After firing the current White House Chief Usher, the person who oversees the White House residence staff, the Trump Family has now found a replacement. It’s Timothy Harleth, who comes to the Trump White House from the Trump International Hotel down the street. Harleth is currently “director of rooms” at Trump DC.
Here’s the announcement just out from the White House …
People who follow health care policy discussions have known how crazy this is forever. But GOP criticisms of Obamacare for high deductibles and out of pocket costs have always been particularly duplicitous and dishonest since Republicans think out of pocket costs and deductibles should be higher! That’s just because they’re heartless, though on health care policy they are. It’s because the theory is that exposing people to the costs of their care will help reduce overall medical spending. (In limited doses, this is not a crazy theory.) In any case, Tierney Sneed has an update on how Republicans are now officially deciding that high deductibles and limited coverage is in fact awesome.
I suspect that some TPM readers are going to disagree with David Goodhart’s assessment of the youth vote in the British election and with his view of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. I have a somewhat different take myself on the youth vote. But there are two things that I want to point out in this interview that I did with him about British politics. First, he is absolutely right to remind us that Theresa May and the Tories got their highest percentage of the vote since 1983. They failed to live up to expectations. And May made a mistake in calling the election. But the Tories remain Britain’s leading party.
It’s still possible. Over the last three days we’ve signed up an average of 66 new Prime members each day. That leaves us looking for 324 new members by the end of this month to meet our goal for June. Even my once High School D-for-the-semester getting math skills tell me that’s possible over the next eight days (a weekend makes it a little less than eight full days). Thinking about becoming a subscriber? Take a moment right now and become our newest member. Just click right here.
Donald Trump Jr. on Saturday said that his father did speak to fired FBI Director James Comey about his preferred outcome for the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, though President Donald Trump flatly denied doing so.
“When I hear the Flynn comments, you and I know both know my father for a long time. When he tells you to do something, guess what? There’s no ambiguity in it,” Trump Jr. told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro. “There’s no ‘Hey, I’m hoping. You and I are friends. Hey, I hope this happens, but you’ve got to do your job.’ That’s what he told Comey.”
On Friday, however, the President flatly denied making those remarks to Comey or pressuring him to drop the investigation into Flynn, implicitly or otherwise.
“You said you hoped the Flynn investigation he could let go,” ABC News’ Jon Karl asked Trump during a press conference.
“I didn’t say that,” Trump interrupted.
“So he lied about that?” Karl asked, referring to Comey.
“Well, I didn’t say that,” Trump said. “And I mean I will you tell you I didn’t say that.”
But, he added, “There would be nothing wrong if I did say it, according to everybody that I’ve read today, but I did not say that.”
Trump Jr. on Saturday claimed that “everything that went on in the Comey testimony was basically ridiculous.”
“For this guy as a politician to then go back and write a memo, ‘oh, I felt,’ he felt so threatened, he felt that — but he didn’t do anything!” Trump Jr. said.
Comey’s blockbuster testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, however, prompted Trump to offer to do the same.
Off message here for Trump Jr. Says his father did tell Comey he hoped he let the Flynn investigation go. His dad says that's a lie. pic.twitter.com/oOhaFgZY4a
Trump made similar remarks on Friday in another early morning tweet where he labeled Comey a “leaker,” referring to Comey’s decision to share the contents of memos about his conversations with Trump to the press via a friend.
Comey revealed that decision during his testimony on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he painted Trump as a liar and testified that Trump tried to obtain a loyalty pledge from the former FBI head and pushed him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump on Friday said he was “100 percent” willing to match Comey and testify under oath to contradict Comey’s testimony.
A spokesman for Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Thursday pushed back on several aspects of James Comey’s Senate testimony after the former FBI director raised new questions about Sessions’ actions before and after he recused himself from the federal investigation of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.
Comey’s testimony touched on Sessions at several points. He hinted that the FBI was aware of information that led the bureau to believe Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe weeks before he actually did so, and reportedly told senators in a subsequent closed session that Sessions may have met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. on a third occasion that the attorney general had not disclosed.
The morning after former FBI Director James Comey delivered blockbuster testimony in the Senate in which he painted President Donald Trump as a liar and said that the President pressured him to quash a probe into Michael Flynn, Trump published a tweet declaring “vindication.”
Trump published his tweet shortly after 6 a.m. on Friday morning, during the time frame when he typically shares his thoughts on Twitter.
He referenced “false statements and lies,” appearing to accuse Comey of lying under oath.
Trump also labeled Comey a “leaker,” referencing Comey’s decision to get a friend to share the contents of memos about his conversations with Trump to the press, a revelation the former FBI director shared on Thursday during with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
James Comey testified Thursday that he was “stunned” by requests President Donald Trump made to curtail federal investigations related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and thought the President’s remarks were of investigative interest— and it seems other senior FBI officials agree.
Though the ousted FBI director did not go as far as accusing Trump of attempting to obstruct justice, Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee offered the clearest indication yet that the President may already be under scrutiny for exactly that.
Part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s job is to “sort that out,” Comey said, dismissing questions from the assembled senators on whether he personally believed Trump obstructed justice. His testimony made the case for why he felt “sure” that Mueller would look into the multiple one-on-one conversations that Trump requested of his then-FBI director.
Comey says Trump asked him to quash the FBI’s investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn in one Feb. 14 exchange in the Oval Office. In a March 30 phone call, Comey says Trump requested that he lift the “cloud” that the Russia probe was casting over his administration.
“I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the President was an effort to obstruct,” Comey said of the Feb. 14 meeting. “I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that’s an offense.”
Importantly, Comey noted that Trump asked other senior officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to clear the room before initiating the conversation about the Flynn probe. He noted those officials hesitated before complying.
“Why did he kick everybody out of the Oval Office?” Comey said. “That, to me as an investigator, is a very significant fact.”
Senior FBI officials briefed on that conversation said it was “of investigative interest” to determine the intent of Trump’s statements about Flynn, Comey testified.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe made similar remarks in separate testimony before the committee on Wednesday, telling Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) that it was “accurate” to assume that Comey’s private conversations with Trump either already are or are “likely to become part of a criminal investigation.”
These loaded comments apparently did not trouble Trump’s legal team or his defenders on Capitol Hill, who insisted that Comey’s testimony actually vindicated the President. They noted that, as Trump previously said, Comey confirmed that he informed Trump on three separate occasions that the President was not the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.
Republican lawmakers, the White House and Trump’s own family members also argued that the President was merely looking out for the interest of Flynn, a longtime adviser, and never explicitly ordered Comey to end any investigation. Those defenders neglected to mention that Comey testified that a senior FBI official cautioned him against telling Trump he was not a part of the federal investigation, because that person believed that “inevitably his behavior, his conduct will fall within the scope.”
Whether Trump requested or ordered that Comey drop the investigation into Flynn is an irrelevant semantic distinction. As Comey testified, Trump asked him to swear “loyalty” and repeatedly brought up the status of his job in their conversations, leaving the former FBI director with the impression that his continued tenure at the bureau was “contingent upon how he felt I conducted myself and whether I demonstrated loyalty.”
He did not comply with Trump’s requests and was fired only four months into Trump’s term. By the President’s own admission, Comey was dismissed because of the “Russia thing.”
“I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” Comey testified. “That is a very big deal.”
The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday that it was “hard to overstate the significance” of fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), whose committee is leading its own investigation into Russian election meddling, wrote in a statement responding to Comey’s testimony that it “constitutes evidence of an intention to interfere or potentially obstruct at least a portion of the Russia investigation, if not more.”
Read Schiff’s full statement below:
“Today, former FBI Director James Comey testified that the President of the United States demanded his loyalty, and directed him to drop a criminal investigation into his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Director Comey further testified that he believes President Trump ultimately fired him in order to alter the course of the FBI’s Russia investigation. It is difficult to overstate the significance of this testimony.
“These discussions and others took place in one-on-one telephone conversions and meetings initiated by the President, or after the President cleared the room of other people. Director Comey wrote memoranda about his conversations with President Trump because he was worried that the President and his Administration would misrepresent them.
“In my view, this testimony constitutes evidence of an intention to interfere or potentially obstruct at least a portion of the Russia investigation, if not more. It will be important for Congress to obtain evidence to corroborate this testimony — the memoranda, certainly, as well as any tapes, if they exist. We should also interview those around Director Comey at the time of these contacts, to get their contemporaneous impressions of his conversations with the President and to supplement his testimony. Finally, we cannot accept the refusal of Directors Rogers and Coats to answer questions about whether they were asked to intervene with Comey on the Flynn case or any related matter. Similarly, we will need to ask Director Pompeo the same questions. These additional steps are vital to determining the ultimate significance of the President’s actions.”
A routine budget hearing in the Senate next week featuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions took on heightened importance following ousted FBI Director James Comey’s explosive Thursday testimony, which raised questions about what Sessions did both before and after he recused himself from the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
At least one member of the Appropriations Committee, Vice Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), plans to use next week’s budget hearing as an opportunity to grill Sessions about Russia, Comey and President Donald Trump. “I have many important questions for him to answer,” he said in a statement.
During his feverishly-anticipated testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, ousted FBI Director James Comey made a host of major revelations about his handling of President Donald Trump and the federal investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election in the months before he was abruptly fired in May.
Importantly, Comey disclosed new information about actions he took when he became concerned about the Trump administration’s attempts to establish a “patronage” relationship with him and persuade him to drop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn. Here’s an overview of some of the most significant moments from the hearing, where Comey revealed exactly what steps he took and why he took them.
Throughout his testimony Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey repeatedly stressed the serious implications of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. He argued that the issue of Russian meddling it not about politics, but about the credibility of the American government.
Toward the beginning of the hearing, Comey said that he has no doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election and that Russian government officials were aware of the meddling.
He later stressed that Russian interference is very real, countering President Donald Trump’s constant dismissals of the Russia probe.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) asked Comey about the way Trump has discussed Russia’s election meddling, noting that the President has described Russian interference “as a hoax and as fake news.” In response, Comey stressed that there’s no doubt that the Russian government tried to interfere in the 2016 election and that the conclusion on Russia’s actions is “about as unfake as you can possibly get.”
“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of the government. There is no fuzz on that,” Comey said.
“It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community — and the members of this committee have seen the intelligence — it’s not a close call,” he continued. “That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get and is very, very serious, which is why it’s so refreshing to see a bipartisan focus on that. Because this is about America, not about any particular party.”
Asked if it was a “hostile act by the Russian government,” Comey replied, “Yes.”
Later in his testimony, Comey emphasized that Russia’s attempt to meddle in the election is a threat to the United States and should rise above politics. He delivered a passionate monologue about just how grave a threat Russia’s meddling is to America.
“The reason this is such a big deal is we have this big, messy, wonderful country where we fight with each other all the time but nobody tells us what to think, what to fight about, what to vote for, except other Americans. And that’s wonderful and often painful,” Comey said. “But we’re talking about a foreign government that — using technical intrusion, lots of other methods — tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act.”
“That is a big deal. And people need to recognize it. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. They’re coming after America, which I hope we all love equally,” he continued. “They want to undermine our credibility in the face of the world. They think that this great experiment of ours is a threat to them. And so they’re going to try to run it down and dirty it up as much as possible. That’s what this is about. And they will be back, because we remain — as difficult as we can be with each other — we remain that shining city on the hill and they don’t like it.”
The former FBI director also noted that Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 election was part of an ongoing effort targeted at the U.S.
“It’s a long-term practice of theirs. It stepped up a notch in a significant way in ’16. They’ll be back,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He stressed that the probe into Russian election meddling is also about prevention of future attacks, saying that Russia is not a threat to any one political party, but to the country as a whole.
Comey also addressed some of the details of the the FBI’s investigation into Russian hacking attempts. He said there was a “massive” effort to target government agencies and non-governmental groups, estimating that hundreds, possibly around 1,000, entities were targeted. He also said that the FBI never examined the hardware that was hacked at the Democratic National Committee’s, but that the FBI got the information they needed from a third party.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Thursday reflected ruefully on his questions to fired FBI Director James Comey during an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads,” McCain said in a statement. “Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games.”
Responding to fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer denied that Trump pressured Comey to drop the federal investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“[T]he President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including — the President never suggested that Mr. Comey quote, let Flynn go, close quote,” Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s lawyer, said at a press briefing Thursday, reading from prepared remarks.
He later addressed Comey’s written recollection that the President had asked for his “loyalty.”
“The President also never told Mr. Comey, quote, I need loyalty, I expect loyalty, close quote. He never said it in form, and he never said it in substance,” Kasowitz said.
But, Kasowitz hedged, “Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving the administration.”
Kasowitz’s focus, it seemed, was on Comey’s admission that he had given his written recollection of a meeting with Trump to a friend of his, and had asked the friend to provide the New York Times with the information.
“[F]rom before this President took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications,” Kasowitz said. “Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.”
He added later: “We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along with all the others that are being investigated.”
Former FBI Director James Comey’s characteristically measured testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee communicated one fact clearly: he doesn’t think much of the current President of the United States.
Over and over during his three-hour-long appearance, Comey painted Donald Trump as a free-wheeling, habitually untruthful commander-in-chief with little respect for the independence of the FBI.
Trump himself has taken gleeful potshots at Comey, tweeting in the days after he removed Comey as FBI director that he had “lost the confidence” of both Republicans and Democratsand denigrated the “spirit and prestige of the FBI.” He also reportedly told senior Russian officials that Comey was “crazy, a real nut job,” who was insistent on pursuing an investigation into their interference in the 2016 election.
Now a private citizen, and knowing the eyes of Americans all over the country were on his testimony, Comey made his own personal views on Trump explicit.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Thursday said President Donald Trump should match fired FBI Director James Comey and testify under oath and in public.
Following Comey’s appearance in an open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Murphy released a statement saying it was “hard to overstate the impact” of Comey’s testimony.
“If the White House’s account differs from what we heard today, the American people deserve to hear the President’s side of the story in a similar forum – under oath and open to the press,” Murphy said.
“It’s hard to overstate the impact of Jim Comey’s testimony today. For the first time, under oath and penalty of perjury, the former FBI Director testified that the president repeatedly pressed him for a pledge of loyalty, and asked him to drop the investigation into illegal activity of a White House staffer at the center of the Russia probe. A couple months later, after neither request was fulfilled, Trump fired him,” said Murphy. “That confirms that media reports aren’t ‘fake news’ – they’re very real and very concerning.”
“Every day, it seems like the walls are closing in on this president. What’s most important is that investigators in the Senate and at the Department of Justice get all the facts and find the truth. If the White House’s account differs from what we heard today, the American people deserve to hear the president’s side of the story in a similar forum – under oath and open to the press,” added Murphy.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) explained fired FBI Director James Comey’s claim that President Donald Trump asked him to drop the federal investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn by saying that “The President’s new at this.”
“He’s new to government. And so, he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this,” Ryan said, asked about Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee at his weekly press conference Thursday.
“You said the President is new at this, he’s not steeped in the long-running protocols,” one reporter followed up later in the briefing. “He has a staff. He has a White House counsel. Why is that an acceptable excuse for him?”
“I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse. It’s just my observation,” Ryan said.
“So there’s nothing — is this something that should be corrected?” the reporter asked.
“He’s new at government, and so therefore I think that he — he is learning as he goes,” Ryan responded.
Repeatedly, Ryan said that he now knew why Trump was “frustrated” by stories on Russian meddling.
Still, when pressed, he wouldn’t definitively say whether Trump’s behavior was appropriate.
“I’m not going to comment on these things,” he said, asked for his opinion on the matter. “Because these are all apart of these ongoing investigations and I’m not gonna prejudge this stuff, because what I don’t want to do is — in the middle of a House Intelligence Committee investigation, a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, and now an independent counsel — is to speculate on the day-to-day intrigue of all of these issues.”
Sen. James Risch (R-ID) on Thursday cited a February report by the New York Times that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence officials before the 2016 election.
“That report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?” he asked.
“In the main, it was not true,” Comey replied. “The challenge, and I’m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is that people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on and those of us who actually know what’s going on are not talking about it.”
Later in the hearing, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked Comey, “Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?”
“Yes,” Comey replied.
“Did you have at the time that story was published any indication of any contact between Trump people and Russians, intelligence officers, other government officials or close associates of the Russian government?” Cotton pressed.
“That’s one I can’t answer sitting here,” Comey said.
He did not specify how much of the story was inaccurate, or which allegations were untrue.
President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, is scheduled to respond to fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 1:30 p.m. ET. Watch live via NBC News.
Fired FBI Director James Comey on Thursday speculated that President Donald Trump came up short in April when he sought leverage to persuade Comey to publicly announce that Trump was not under investigation.
In his prepared testimony released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said Trump told him in April: “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.”
Comey said he did not respond or ask Trump to clarify.
Fired FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he thinks he was fired to influence the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired in some way to change or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI): “The President tweeted that ‘James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversation before he starts leaking to the press.’ Was that rather unsubtle attempt to intimidate you from testifying and intimidate anyone else who seriously crosses his path of not doing it?”
Comey: “I’m not going to sit here and try to interpret the President’s tweets. To me its major impact, was as I said, it occurred to me in the middle of the night: Holy cow, there might be tapes. And if there are tapes, it’s not just my word against his on the direction to get rid of the Flynn investigation.”
June 8, 2017, 12:30 pm
Asked if she could find out if there's a taping system at White House, @SHSanders45 quips: "Sure, I'll try to look under the couches."
James Comey on Thursday described how Jeff Sessions reacted when he told him that he cannot be left alone with President Donald Trump.
Comey made the comments to Sessions after a Feb. 14 encounter in which he says Trump pressured him to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn, the ousted national security adviser. Comey wrote in his prepared statement that Sessions did not offer a verbal reply to his plea. On Thursday, Comey described Sessions’ body language after he told the attorney general that he and Trump cannot be alone together.
Fired FBI Director James Comey confirmed that ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was under investigation for potentially misleading investigators.
When Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) first asked about Flynn, Comey noted “I don’t think I can talk about that in an open setting. And again, I’ve been out of government now about a month so I also don’t want to talk about things when it’s now somebody else’s responsibility but maybe in the classified setting we can talk more about that.”