News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Senators Talk Skillz, Sessions to Talk About Leaks, and Much, Much More

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., left, and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., confer before the start of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Good Wednesday Morning.

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The President will then make an announcement with Senator Tom Cotton and Senator David Perdue.
  • In the afternoon, the President will meet with Senator Rob Portman.

Cotton, Perdue to talk about skills-based immigration bill

Here’s the deal on President Trump’s meeting with Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue:

President Trump will join Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas at the White House Wednesday to unveil legislation that proposes a skills-based immigration system and seeks an overall lower level of legal immigration, two sources have confirmed to the Washington Examiner.

Officials stopped short of saying Trump would endorse the bill on Wednesday. However, the White House has been pushing for a bill that matches some of the goals that are expected to be in the new bill from Perdue and Cotton.

White House policy director Stephen Miller has reportedly been meeting with Senate Republicans in pursuit of ways to lower legal immigration.

A major change in the proposed system will be to move from a system benefiting families to one that will “weigh the skill sets of potential candidates, and favor those with more skills.”

It’s also a push toward the other controversial goal of reducing legal immigration. The U.S. lets in more than 1 million people each year legally, but some Republicans have said that number hurts American citizens by pushing down their wages, and making it harder for them to find work in their own country, since they face competition from unskilled workers who are willing to work for less.

The new plan is a departure from the immigration policy put forward by Senate Democrats like John McCain, Lindsey Graha, and Marco Rubio. Perdue and Cotton are selling their bill as something that will “raise U.S. workers’ wages, create jobs and make the economy more competitive.”

Sessions, DOJ to hold presser about leak investigations

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will hold a press conference this Friday to discuss the DOJ’s investigation of the leaks coming from inside the administration.

The investigations into various government leaks have “been in the works for some time,” an official familiar with the matter told CBS News’ Paula Reid.

It is expected that leaks related to the Manchester terror attack will be part of the Justice Department’s investigation, as well as other leaks of sensitive information to the media.

Sessions recently faced criticism from President Trump for not being “tougher on the leaks from the intelligence agencies.”

“These leaks cannot be tolerated and we will make every effort to put an end to it,” Sessions’ statement reads, referencing the Manchester terror attack leaks. “We have already initiated appropriate steps to address these rampant leaks that undermine our national security.”

Stay tuned.

FINALLY: Evidence of Trump/RUSSIA collusion

Progressive “think tank” Center for American Progress (CAP) will release a 50-page report detailing the Trump presidential campaign’s collusion with RUSSIA.

“We’re … trying to convey that it’s time to stop beating around the bush on Trump’s collusion with Russia. There is a mountain of evidence that Trump and his associates colluded with RUSSIA and it’s time to start saying so,” Adam Jentleson, a senior strategic adviser for CAP, told BuzzFeed.

“We think it’s time to be a lot more forward-leading because the evidence is overwhelming.”

CAP is planning to present the 50-page report to “key offices” in Congress, the report said.

Key offices, yo.

Ben Rhodes: Person of Interest

Obama’s national security advisor Ben Rhodes is on the radar of the feds investigating the avalanche of “unmasking” during that last administration.

According to a report from Circa News, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) sent a letter to the National Security Agency asking for information in regards to unmasking requests from Rhodes.

Congressional sources told Circa that the committee wants to know how many unmasking requests Rhodes made from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 20, 2017.

The number of requests to reveal the identities of American citizens “drastically” increased between 2015-2016, requests believed to be made for political reasons rather than reasons of national security.

In a letter sent to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week, Nunes said that the committee had “found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”

“Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports,” he added. “However, there was no meaningful explanation offered by these officials as to why they needed or how they would use this U.S. person information.”

FLASHBACK: What ever happened to…

…the Gold King Mine disaster?

Federal investigators are refusing to release details of a criminal probe into a disaster the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) caused two years ago, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has found.

The EPA’s Inspector General (IG) provided the Department of Justice evidence that an employee involved in the August 2015 Gold King Mine disaster violated the Clean Water Act and made false statements. The Justice Department declined to prosecute him, the IG announced in October 2016.

The watchdog wrote a report on its completed investigation but is now keeping it secret.

Photo of the day:

A Mexican army soldier shows a set of hand guns sporting a gold plated grips, part of a lot of weapons slated for destruction by the Mexican army in Mexico City, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. The weapons were confiscated from organized crime and civilians who turned them in. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Other Morsels:

NY Times editor takes on Women’s March organizers: ‘When progressives embrace hate’

Ohio man hid corpse in freezer as new girlfriend moved in: police

Oregon mother says her sons were removed from her home due to her IQ

Gore blames political unrest in Europe on global warming

Outside groups prop up White House’s tax reform efforts

Wife of new Mueller prosecutor just bailed as judge in 2 Trump cases

Bride arrested for pulling gun from wedding dress, pointing at groom

Millennials and Generation-Xers cast more votes than baby boomers in 2016 election: study

Maryland school aide with HIV accused of sex assault, faces 119 counts

Last of 12 inmates who escaped Alabama prison captured, officials say

CBS New execs hammered on race, gender and that ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Debacle

Senate votes to confirm eight Pentagon political appointees

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!