Developments Thursday concerning President Donald Trump include his early morning tweets disparaging the naming of a special counsel in the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election; Democrats slamming Trump’s criticisms; and ousted adviser Michael Flynn refuses to honor a Senate subpoena, his lawyer says:
Trump Says He Respects Decision to Appoint Special Counsel — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he respected the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s alleged links to Russian interests in last year’s presidential election. However, Trump, speaking at a White House news conference, said investigations thus far had been nothing but a “witch hunt.”
Democrats Slam Trump’s Criticism of Stepped-up Russia Probe — Trump’s criticism of a stepped-up Russia probe as a “witch hunt” prompted a sharp reaction from Democrats on Capitol Hill. The president took to Twitter to disparage the appointment of a special counsel with enhanced powers to investigate Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election and any collusion by the Trump campaign, writing, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
Comey Testimony Before Lawmakers in Doubt After Special Counsel Named — U.S. senators of both political parties said Thursday that the public’s window into federal probes involving Russia and related matters could be constrained now that a special counsel has been appointed to lead the probe. Senators spoke after meeting Thursday behind closed doors with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to head the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election and any collusion by the Trump campaign.
Ousted Trump National Security Adviser at Center of Russia Probe — Retired Army General Michael Flynn, a staunch political surrogate for Trump’s election as president and for 24 days his first national security adviser, now is certain to be at the center of a new special prosecutor’s investigation of Trump campaign links to Russian interests.
Senate Panel Chairman: Flynn Won’t Honor Subpoena — Ousted National Security Adviser Flynn will not honor a subpoena issued by a Senate committee looking into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the panel’s chairman said Thursday. Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina told reporters that Flynn’s lawyer has informed the panel he will not abide by a subpoena for private documents.
Trump Administration Begins NAFTA Renegotiation Process — Trump’s administration says it has notified Congress it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Mnuchin: Cut Taxes, Regulations to Boost Growth to 3 Percent — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the nation’s economic growth can rise to 3 percent annually if taxes and regulations are cut.
Report: Trump Aides Had at Least 18 Exchanges With Russians — Flynn and other advisers to Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.
Controversy Aside, Republican Party Sticking With Trump — It’s striking how many congressional Republicans are concerned about President Trump’s behavior of late. It’s even more striking how many are not. Despite recent controversies, some Republican lawmakers, especially those in conservative districts, are in full support of the president.
Ryan: Special Counsel Will Not Interfere with US Congress Russia Probes — U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he did not believe the appointment of Mueller as special counsel will interfere with congressional probes of Russia and the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump Interviews 4 Candidates for FBI Director — Four potential candidates to lead the FBI, including former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, met with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday.
Kochs Unveil Campaign to ‘Jolt’ Stalled Tax Debate — The Koch Brothers’ political network is preparing to spend millions of dollars to ensure their vision for tax reform isn’t lost in the increasing chaos consuming President Trump’s administration.
US Treasury Pledges No Special Treatment for Trump in Investment Reviews — U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on Thursday pledged to treat “very seriously” any business dealings Trump or his family might have with foreign companies flagged by officials as national security risks.
Donald Trump Jr., Dubai Business Partner Discuss ‘New Ideas’ — Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Dubai and met a billionaire business partner in the city-state, discussing “new ideas” as the Emirati’s real estate firm still lists possible plans for future joint projects while Trump’s father is in the White House.
Trump Visit Draws Country Singer Toby Keith to Saudi Arabia — American country singer Toby Keith, known for songs such as “Whiskey Girl” and “Beer For My Horses,” is scheduled to perform in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, this weekend in an event that coincides with Trump’s first overseas visit.
Saudi Arabia Working to Dazzle Trump in Busy Overseas Visit — Saudi Arabia is making every effort to dazzle and impress Trump on his first overseas trip, seizing on the visit to cement itself as a major player on the world stage and shove aside rival Iran.