News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: McCabe, Tariffs, Omnibus Hot Mess and Much, Much More

Officials investigate near a vehicle, center, where a suspect in the deadly bombings that terrorized Austin blew himself up as authorities closed in on him, in Round Rock, Texas, Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Good Thursday morning.

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

  • The president signs a presidential memorandum targeting China’s economic aggression
  • President Trump participates in a panel discussion at the Generation Next Summit
  • The president and first lady host the Greek Independence Day Celebration

McCabe authorized criminal investigation of Sessions

This is incredible. “Sources” tell ABC News that fired deputy “Andy’s office” McCabe had opened a secret investigation against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I wonder why this is coming out now?

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

“One source” told ABC News that Sessions was unaware of the investigation when McCabe was fired. But ABC News wants you to doubt this and writes, “but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.” The goal here is to make it look like Sessions fired McCabe as payback.

McCabe opened the investigation into Sessions:

…after a top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wrote a letter in March 2017 to the FBI urging agents to investigate “all contacts” Sessions may have had with Russians, and “whether any laws were broken in the course of those contacts or in any subsequent discussion of whether they occurred.”

Sessions was “cleared” in the investigation.

“The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” attorney Chuck Cooper told ABC News.

Maybe the investigation is part of the “insurance policy” we heard about in Strzok and Page’s text messages.

Here come the tariffs for China

President Trump will levy $50 billion in tariffs on China.

Trump is making the dramatic move in response to China’s theft of technology and trade secrets, which the administration claims has cost the US billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, according to The New York Times.

The penalties will hit Chinese imports ranging from clothing to electronics and will also restrict Chinese investment in the US, the paper said.

The president is not worried about a trade war. “Trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted earlier this month.

The Dumpster fire omnibus

What a nightmare this omnibus is. Here’s a roundup of the latest news:

With $1.2T omnibus bill topping 2,200 pages, Congress needs CliffsNotes

Here Is What Is In The Massive $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

House conservatives to introduce amendments to omnibus

House expected to vote on omnibus Thursday afternoon

Spending bill will stipulate CDC can study gun violence

Trump DO NOT CONGRATULATE leak

Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly is furious over a leak that revealed President Trump “ignored” talking points from his national security team for his phone call with RUSSIAN President Putin. The Washington Post ran a story informed by anonymous sources that revealed Trump was advised DO NOT CONGRATULATE Putin on his recent victory during the call. In case the WaPo forgot, the president can ignore any advice that wants, but the purpose of the leak is to keep this ridiculous RUSSIAN narrative on the front page.

It’s not clear, however, whether Trump read the briefing notes instructing him to not congratulate Putin.

Still, White House aides were reeling about the fact that the briefing materials were leaked, and were left wondering who would provide such sensitive information to reporters, the official said.

This leak is outrageous and the “sources” for the leak must be identified, fired and prosecuted. The Law & Crime website suggests the leak was indeed illegal.

The reason for the congratulation — or whether it was wise — is a matter of politics. As a matter of law, whomever leaked the information to the Washington Post appears to have leaked classified information and, therefore, broken the law.

“Anything memorialized in writing as part of briefing notes, bullet points or guidance for a presidential call with a foreign government leader is almost certainly classified,” Washington, D.C. Attorney Bradley P. Moss told the website.

Texas bomber

Early yesterday morning, the Texas bomber blew himself up after the police had identified and located him outside of Austin. Authorities found a 25-minute long video “confession” on his phone.

Mark Conditt, 23, an unemployed man from the suburb of Pflugerville, detailed how he made all seven bombs that have been accounted for – five that exploded, one that was recovered before it went off and a seventh that he detonated as officers rushed his vehicle early on Wednesday.

But the video failed to reveal a coherent motive for the attacks spread over the past three weeks, police said.

“He does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate, but instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man, talking about challenges in his personal life,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters.

Historical picture of the day:

British Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher (L) smiles as she chats with former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir outside Mrs. Meir’s office in a suburb of Tel Aviv, March 22, 1976. Mrs. Thatcher is on three-day visit to Israel as part of Mideast trip. (AP Photo/Max Nash)

Other morsels:

CNN Cancels Interview With Kyle Kashuv

AWFUL: YouTube restricts gun videos

CBS confirms Stormy Daniels interview to air on ’60 Minutes’ this Sunday

‘Smoking while walking’ could become illegal in NYC if proposed bill passes

White Supremacist Who Falsely Claimed He Trained Parkland Shooter Gets Arrested

Conor Lamb Is Officially The Winner Of Pennsylvania Special Election

House passes right-to-try on second try

Officer, several others shot in San Francisco’s Crocker-Amazon District, authorities say

Zuckerberg: I’m open to Facebook regulations

‘I’m really sorry that this happened’: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Lawmakers call on Facebook to testify on Cambridge Analytica data misuse

The #DeleteFacebook movement has reached a fever pitch, as former Facebook insiders turn on the company

TV personality known for playing Bozo the Clown dies at 89

McSally: You know who we need a border wall with? California

Senate passes controversial online sex trafficking bill

California residents in affluent cities don’t want the homeless housed in their neighborhoods

Dems Borrow Nearly $2 Million Nine Months Before Midterms

Black Lives Matter To Get A Say In Chicago Police Reforms

Rick Perry Stops Uranium Sales After Lawmakers Hold Up DOE Nominee

Trump’s DOI Releases The Results Of The Largest Oil Lease Sale In US History

Stoneman Douglas student allegedly pulled knife during school fight

Obamas sent handwritten note to survivors of Parkland shooting

YouTube Comedian Who Taught Pet Pug Nazi Salute Will Be Sentenced for Hate Crime (VIDEO)

Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for centrist reshaping of GOP

School board fires Pico Rivera, California, teacher who insulted military

Iowa library to separate books after complaints about LGBTQ

Hawaii lawmaker is latest to resign after misconduct probe

Fed raises key rate and foresees 2 more hikes this year

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