Good Thursday Morning!
Here’s what is on President Trump’s agenda today:
- In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
- In the afternoon, the President will depart the White House for the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
- Later in the afternoon, the President will host the Infrastructure Summit with Governors and Mayors from across the country.
Today is the single most important day in the history of America: the day former director of the FBI James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. I predict two things will be the takeaways from the event:
- Comey nailed Trump dead-to-rights; Trump will be impeached and go to jail
- Comey vindicated Trump and corroborated his story; Trump has been cleared
Here in D.C. and in the political industry, meetings have been cancelled and bars are having special events for the testimony.
“We canceled meetings when we saw what time it was on,” said Karen J. Kessler, president of Evergreen Partners, a strategic communications firm in central New Jersey, who is planning a cheese-and-crackers spread by her office’s 60-inch screen. “It’s must-see TV.”
The New York Times wants to help put the significance of the events in context:
Americans do not agree on much these days. But millions are expected to pause on Thursday to take in a spectacle already being compared to other political-cultural touchstones, like the Army-McCarthy hearings and Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas. This time, Mr. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, will dish to the Senate Intelligence Committee about President Trump, the man who fired him.
The media, which has as much at stake with these hearings as the Democrats who want to impeach Trump, is very invested in the hearing today.
C-Span, this is not. (Although C-Span will be covering it.) Every national broadcast network — along with an alphabet soup of cable stations from CNBC to HLN — plans to carry the 10 a.m. hearing live. Bars in Houston, San Francisco and Washington are opening early. Schoolteachers are remaking lesson plans to discuss the testimony instead.
“They really should declare a national holiday,” said Sally Quinn, the journalist and the doyenne of Washington’s social circuit, “since no work is going to get done.”
Do you have any special plans for the testimony? Let us know in the comments. I’m all stocked up on Diet Pepsi. The RNC has set up a war room to respond to the testimony.
What happened yesterday
Senator Angus King grilled the intelligence officials pretty hard during the pre-show yesterday.
KING: What you feel isn’t relevant, admiral. What you feel is not the answer. The answer is, why are you not answering the questions? Is it an invocation of executive privilege. If there is, let’s hear about it. If there isn’t, answer the questions.
ROGERS: I stand by the comments I’ve made. I’m not interested in repeating myself, sir, and I don’t mean that in a contentious way.
KING: Well I do mean it in a contentious way, I don’t understand why you’re not answering our questions. You can’t — when you were confirmed, before the armed services committee you took an oath: “do you solemnly swear to give the committee the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God.” You answered yes to that.
ROGERS: And I’ve also answered that those conversations are classified and it is not appropriate in an open forum, to discuss those classified conversations.
Let’s play a game I call FUN FLASHBACK.
Follow me back in time to another hearing, a congressional hearing about a little issue we call “Fast and Furious.”
Attorney General Eric Holder frustrated his most fierce Capitol Hill accuser and other GOP lawmakers Thursday when asked about the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious weapons sting and which high-ranking Obama administration officials knew about the botched operation.
Holder sidestepped questions by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa about whether he or other Justice Department officials had even started to pull together Fast and Furious documents requested in an October 2011 subpoena Issa sent the agency.
“Nothing has come from your department, not a shred of paper,” Issa said tersely during a House Judiciary Committee meeting.
Good times. Democrats did not care one bit when Eric Holder refused to cooperate about his department’s and his own involvement in the Fast and Furious scandal that left Border Patrol agent Brian Terry dead in an operation where the Obama admin was selling untraceable weapons to Mexican narco-terrorists.
Holder was held in contempt of Congress as the result of his stonewalling, resulting in very selective outrage about certain congressional oversight duties.
NorKs fire some more missiles
North Korea continues to tests its missiles.
North Korea fired another salvo of missiles Thursday morning, keeping up the relentless pace of testing as it advances toward its goal of producing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.
The latest barrage comes after three launches in May, and means Kim Jong Un has now ordered almost as many missile launches this year alone as his father oversaw — 16 — during 17 years in power.
It was not immediately clear how many missiles were fired Thursday or what type they were, but they appeared to be anti-ship missiles rather than the ballistic missiles North Korea had been testing recently.
“North Korea fired multiple unidentified projectiles, assumed to be surface-to-ship missiles, this morning from the vicinity of Wonsan,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to local media.
The missiles traveled 125 miles, according to reports.
Obama didn’t warn elections official about Russia hacking
The Daily Caller has an exclusive story about how former President Obama warned state election officials that the Russians were tinkering in our election systems. Whoops, I mean didn’t warn them.
Neither former President Barack Obama nor any member of his cabinet warned state election officials of any Russian effort to hack or interfere with the country’s electoral systems, according to the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.
“We did ask,” Denise Merrill, Connecticut secretary of state and the association’s top official, told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group Wednesday.
“And over-and-over again, they did say there was no credible threat that they had found. And they said that right through the election, and the next administration reiterated that. Over and over again when we asked, we were told there was no actual threat that they knew of,” Merrill said.
And here’s some more:
Merrill also claimed the administration failed to take state officials aside about a potential or real Russian threat to election machinery.
“That’s right, because I don’t really think there was one,” she said.
Merrill is a Democrat who previously served as majority leader in the Connecticut House of Representatives. In addition to serving as president of the association representing all of her fellow secretaries of state, she also is co-chairman of the group’s Election Cybersecurity Task Force.
Of course, the Obama admin would say that they thought Hillary was going to win and didn’t want her ascendancy tainted by claims the election wasn’t legitimate.
So how serious was this threat, considering that we now have at least three different formal investigations and the topic is all the media can talk about anymore?
DOJ ends Obama’s payout slush fund program
Terrific news! The Department of Justice ended an Obama program that allowed government prosecutors to make “agreements with big companies directing them to make payouts to outside groups.” Outside groups means lefty interest groups.
In a memo sent to 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices early Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would end the practice that allowed companies to meet settlement burdens by giving money to groups that were neither victims nor parties to the case.
Sessions said the money should, instead, go to the Treasury Department or victims.
In other words, no more government subsidized payoffs to liberal interest groups.
“When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people—not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Sessions said in a statement.
A definite win for the taxpayer.
“This bill is oversight and action. Congress must not tolerate Justice Department political appointees using settlements to funnel money to their liberal friends,” Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who introduced the bill, said in a statement. “This is also an institutional issue. Once direct victims have been compensated, deciding what to do with additional funds recovered from defendants becomes a policy question properly decided by elected representatives in Congress, not agency bureaucrats or prosecutors.”
That’s all I’ve got, now go watch the Comey testimony!