As the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election moves closer to President Trump’s inner circle, the man reportedly pressured by Trump not to charge ex-national security advisor Michael T. Flynn has been posting online famous quotes about truth and justice.
Former FBI Director James B. Comey posted on Instagram Saturday a photo of sunlight reflecting off the waters of Long Island Sound and paraphrased a saying often attributed to the Buddha: “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun; the moon; and the truth.”
A person familiar with the matter says an FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team after the discovery of an exchange of potential anti-Trump text messages.
The agent, who had also worked on the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, was removed from Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election this summer.
The person who discussed the matter with the Associated Press was not authorized to speak about it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
President Trump told reporters Saturday that he wasn’t worried about what his former national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn, might tell prosecutors after agreeing to cooperate with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador in Washington.
“What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion,” said Trump as he departed the White House for a fundraiser in New York. “There’s been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy.”
As Republicans negotiated revisions to the GOP tax plan Friday to win their votes, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona took another approach.
Flake won a commitment from Republican leaders — and the White House — to work on a permanent fix that would allow young immigrants known as Dreamers to stay in the U.S. as President Trump prepares to end the DACA program next year.
The Arizona Republican, who is retiring at end of his term, had been one of the leading GOP senators warning against rising deficits from the $1.5-trillion tax plan. He said he eliminated one budget “gimmick” as part of the agreement.
Sen. Bob Corker, perhaps the last Republican holdout on the tax plan, announced he would oppose the bill ahead of Friday’s expected vote.
The Tennessee Republican had been among the strongest critics warning the $1.5 trillion plan would add to the deficit, rather than pay for itself through economic growth as his colleagues suggest.
“I wanted to get to yes,” he said in a statement. “But at the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations.”
Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, announced her support Friday for the GOP tax bill, joining two other holdouts ahead of an expected vote to pass the overhaul.
Collins negotiated several provisions, including one to restore a property tax deduction (capped at $10,000 a year) that is important to residents in California and other states with high-cost real estate and was slated for elimination as part of a repeal of other popular write-offs.
GOP leaders said they had secured the votes for passage, expected later Friday. If so, the bill would need to be reconciled with a House-passed version in the days ahead.
Donald Trump tweeted Friday afternoon that he is keeping embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, though he would not say how long.
“The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon - FAKE NEWS!” he tweeted. “He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!”
The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon - FAKE NEWS! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!https://t.co/FrqiPLFJ1E
Rep. Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s plea deal Friday “shocking” but “not unexpected.”
“Given the much broader exposure Michael Flynn had on a range of other issues, if this is the universe that he is pleading to, it says to me that Bob Mueller must be getting fairly substantial cooperation from Gen. Flynn,” Schiff said.
Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to FBI agents about whether he asked the Russian government in December 2016 to hold off on retaliating against sanctions imposed by then-President Obama for trying to interfere with the presidential campaign. During Friday’s proceeding, the prosecutor said Flynn discussed the 2016 meeting with “a very senior member” of Donald Trump’s transition team.
The White House abruptly canceled President Trump’s sole public appearance for Friday, shortly after his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and confirmed that he is cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The White House had no scheduled news briefing on Friday and directed all calls about the investigation to Ty Cobb, the president’s attorney. Cobb issued a statement downplaying the significance of Flynn’s plea deal.
Trump had been planning to briefly allow reporters and photographers into the Oval Office at noon EST at the start of his meeting with Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj of Libya. Trump often responds to shouted questions during such events, but White House aides told waiting journalists that they would not be brought in.