Tuesday Morning News shot…. May 22, 2018

Image result for coffee cupGood Morning, this Tuesday Morning…. let us get down to it….

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for this one…

President Trump met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Monday amid a high-stakes showdown between the White House and Justice Department (DOJ).

The Memo: Trump flirts with constitutional crisis.

The parties appeared to come to a detente, but how long it will last is anyone’s guess.

The Hill: DOJ, Trump reach deal on expanded Russia review.

The Hill: Pressure rising on GOP after Trump-DOJ fight’s latest turn.

What’s new

  • The Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz will investigate the president’s claims that the FBI spied on his campaign for political purposes. Right now, those claims appear to be an exaggeration, although recent media reports confirm that an FBI informant met with three Trump advisers as part of a counterintelligence investigation during the 2016 campaign.
  • White House chief of staff John Kelly will meet with Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill to review classified material, although it’s unclear what materials they’ll be allowed to review or how the viewing will take place. It’s also unclear why the DOJ and FBI are suddenly willing to make these documents available, as Wray has warned that doing so could endanger the informant’s life.

How did we get here? 

  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has been demanding documents about the FBI informant for weeks.
  • The DOJ refused to comply with Nunes’s subpoena for the documents on the grounds it would imperil national security.
  • Following days of brewing stories about the suspected identity of the informant, Trump blew the lid off the debate, saying that he would “demand” the DOJ investigate the counter-intelligence probe into his campaign. This raised questions about whether the president was improperly using political influence to meddle in an investigation involving his own campaign.
  • The president appears to have gotten his desired result and the Trump campaign is fundraising off the controversy.

What now?

  • The saga is just getting started. Democrats and the intelligence community are enraged that the identity of an informant is making its way around the internet. Trump appears increasingly emboldened to dictate orders to the FBI and DOJ. The story will play out in leaks to the media, over Twitter and through grave warnings from both sides about a constitutional crisis.
  • On Monday night, Fox News reported that a group of Freedom Caucus Republicans plans to introduce a resolution today calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate alleged misconduct at the FBI and DOJ. We’ve been down this road before – Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already tapped U.S. attorney John Huber to independently investigate these matters.

Benjamin Wittes: Trump has created a genuine crisis.

David Harsanyi: Let’s find out if the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign.

Elsewhere on the investigatory front…Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has been going on for a year and we’re still in the dark about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (The Hill)… New inspector general report to fault FBI for delay in Clinton probe (The Associated Press).

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