The White House says Donald Trump played no role in the early departure of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. And while that may or may not be precisely true, it is no secret that Trump wanted him gone. All you have to do is look at the president’s Twitter feed. And now we all wonder who comes next. (Hint: Rod Rosenstein? Robert Mueller? Anyone who ever knew Hillary Clinton?) Via The Atlantic.
According to The New York Times, it was FBI Director Christopher Wray — appointed by Trump to head the agency after Trump had fired Jim Comey — who gave McCabe the final push out the door.
The Justice Department said the release of a staff-written memo on alleged FBI surveillance abuses would be “extraordinarily reckless.” And yet, not so extraordinarily, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release it anyway — and not to release a Democratic rebuttal. It all begins, of course, with the FBI’s look at alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign. Now it’s up to Trump to decide whether it gets released. You probably know which way to bet. Via The Washington Post.
You may not ever hear this on Fox News, but, as the great Ron Brownstein explains for CNN, one of the great ironies of the Trumpists’ anti-immigrant stance is that Trump voters are the ones who need immigrants to come to America. Or as Fred Hiatt puts it in The Washington Post, without immigration, the American economy will stagnate and will turn into Japan’s.
Walter Shapiro writes in Roll Call that the last thing you can expect from Trump’s State of the Union speech is anything resembling substance. You can expect, though, a close reading from the teleprompter in which Trump sounds as if he’s an English-as-second-language student.
To this point, the real surprise in the run-up to the State of the Union is that, unlike virtually every other White House staff, this one doesn’t seem to think the speech is that big a deal. Via The New Yorker.
From The National Review, the Koch brothers and their little organization are pretty happy with Year One of the Trump era. Now, all they have to do is figure out Year Two and the November midterms.
It’s not the legislation, which, for better or worse, is little different from what any Republican president would have put forward. It’s the rest of the stuff that defines the Trump presidency. And if you think of it that way, laments Ezra Klein in Vox, Trump seems to be winning.
There’s the Nunes Memo and then there’s Mark Warner telling Politico that the Senate Intelligence Committee has new information that will almost certainly expand the committee’s Russia probe.