Even as the controversy over Russian meddling in U.S. elections engulfs Washington, the Trump administration is considering easing some punishments the Obama administration levied against Moscow for those alleged abuses, officials said Thursday.
Senior State Department officials are in talks with Russian officials over returning two compounds in the U.S. that the Obama administration seized last December after the intelligence community concluded that Moscow had attempted to interfere in the presidential electoral campaign.
"Those discussions are ongoing," State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. "That is one of the issues, the dachas, that remains an irritant and something that they have certainly asked us to address."
Almost as striking as James B. Comey's testimony Thursday was the eagerness of many Republicans to stand with President Trump, dismissing his private behavior as rookie mistakes of a wealthy businessman learning on the job.
The House voted along party lines Thursday to repeal many of the stricter regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, taking the first step in a long-held Republican desire to roll back landmark rules they complain are hurting banks, restricting consumer credit and slowing economic growth.
The legislation, which faces major hurdles in the Senate because of united Democratic opposition, would continue the Republicans’ deregulatory push under President Trump by dismantling key parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
That law, passed with almost no Republican support, was the biggest overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression and one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments.
President Trump's personal lawyer lashed out at former FBI Director James B. Comey on Thursday, accusing Comey of being a "leaker" and suggesting he could be investigated for releasing accounts of his private conversations with Trump.
Trump's Twitter account remained silent during Comey's widely televised Senate testimony, an unusually quiet moment for a president with a track record of hitting back hard against criticism.
But within two hours after Comey finished speaking, Trump's attorney Marc Kasowitz launched into counter-accusations. He took aim at Comey's disclosures and attempted to link him with federal officials who over the last several months have provided reporters with details from inside the FBI and intelligence community's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Sen. John McCain was the last senator to grill former FBI Director James Comey during his public testimony. McCain's questions were expected to be pointed, but instead, his fellow senators, Comey and most of the Internet were left confused, to say the least.
During a hard-to-follow line of questioning, McCain pressed Comey about his investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email use.
"She was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news, as you just described it, 'big deal,' took place. You're going to have to help me out here. In other words, we're complete — the investigation of anything that former Secretary Clinton had to do with a campaign is over and we don't have to worry about it anymore?"
So a dozen comedians walk into a bar to watch James Comey testify…..
It sounds like the opening of a joke, but there is no punch line because few people were laughing as they watched the former FBI director’s congressional testimony on a large-screen television at a bar in Queens, N.Y., that often features stand-up comedy. Most were sipping sobering iced coffees rather than beer, tapping away tweets on their laptops.
"I find it terrifying more than funny,’’ said John Conroy, 35, a stand-up comic who was watching Thursday morning at the Q.E.D. Club, in the same borough where Trump lived as a child. "This is a difficult time for us. Before the election, Trump was great fodder. I was joking about him at clubs, but now I find a pall falls over the room when you mention him.’’