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James Comey was abruptly let go, with President Trump not even giving the guy enough time to tweet, “Bit of personal news.” Russian cameras were in the Oval Office today and also Trump invited Russian media into it. And Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is considering running for president, though he might feel chaffed by FEC laws requiring him to disclose what he’s cooking. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday. May 10th, 2017:
SAFE TO SAY THE FBI ISN’T GETTING THOSE RESOURCES - Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo: “Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to four congressional officials, including Senator Richard J. Durbin. Mr. Comey made his appeal to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who also wrote the Justice Department’s memo that was used to justify the firing of Mr. Comey this week, the officials said…. In his briefing with members of Congress, Mr. Comey said he had been frustrated with the amount of resources being dedicated to the Russia investigation, according to two of the officials. Until two weeks ago, when Mr. Rosenstein took over as deputy attorney general, the investigation was being overseen by Dana Boente, who was acting as the deputy and is now the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.” [NYT]
Sean Spicer literally hid in bushes on the White House grounds to avoid discussing this with reporters.
What? That li’l ol’ country lawyer? “Attorney General Jeff Sessions was supposed to be totally out of the picture when it came to the Justice Department’s investigation of what role Russia played in the 2016 election. He recused himself in March, after he admitted that during his confirmation hearings, he did not disclose contacts he’d had with the Russian ambassador last year. But Sessions was reportedly deeply involved in the decision to fire Comey Tuesday night, amid an escalation in the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling…. The New York Times reported that senior White House and Justice Department officials ‘had been working on building a case against Mr. Comey since at least last week, according to administration officials. Mr. Sessions had been charged with coming up with reasons to fire him, the officials said.’” [HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel]
Oh, hey, a reporter got arrested for trying to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question.
When the filibuster is about to be completely undone, you do what you can: “Nearly every member of the Senate Democratic caucus took their seats on the Senate floor Wednesday morning to protest President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, and to demand a special prosecutor be named for the bureau’s ongoing Russian probe. Senators seldom show up for morning remarks by the leaders, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) requested the presence of as many members as possible to show concern over the president firing an FBI director who was investigating his campaign and administration because of ties to Russia.” [HuffPost’s Michael McAuliff]
ACTING FBI DIRECTOR UNDER INVESTIGATION, COMEY REPLACEMENT COULD COME THIS WEEK Sebastian Murdock: “Andrew McCabe was named acting director of the FBI after the sudden firing of Director James Comey by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. He’s also under investigation for his role in Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal. McCabe will be tasked with looking into potential Russian interference in the U.S. election until the White House names an interim director for the agency. That decision could come sometime this week, ABC News reported Wednesday. McCabe has been with the FBI for 20 years, and was promoted last year to deputy director, the FBI’s second highest position. He started with the agency in 1996 focusing on New York’s organized crime, and in 2006 shifted to tackling domestic terrorism, according to NBC News.” [HuffPost]
TFW THE OPTICS CAN GO SCREW THEMSELVES - Michael Calderone: “On the morning after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he met with Russia’s foreign minister in the White House. The Wednesday meeting was especially newsworthy given the timing and circumstances, with Comey having reportedly just asked for more resources to investigate Trump associates’ ties to Russia and the earlier conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Vladimir Putin’s government interfered in the presidential election to boost Trump. The White House declared the meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to be closed press, meaning that reporters couldn’t attend and cover independently. But one outlet did get in: TASS, a Russian state media organization. In addition, Russia’s foreign ministry quickly distributed photos of the Trump meeting with Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And the Russian embassy even tweeted a shot of the president and Kislyak.” [HuffPost]
Trump disappeared all his campaign statements so the Washington Post put up summaries of all the missing speeches, press releases, etc., for posterity. [WaPo’s Avi Selk]
FLYING TO GET EVEN WORSE - “Hmmmm, what can we do to make everyone feel like they’re flying Spirit?” Clive Irving: “The Department of Homeland Security will ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States, European security officials told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday. Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The ban was based on U.S. fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane. It is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.” [Daily Beast]
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CRANKY OLD MAN STILL HAS TRICKS UP HIS SLEEVE - Timothy Cama and Devin Henry: “Three Republicans joined Senate Democrats on Wednesday to reject an effort to overturn an Obama administration rule limiting methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling. Only 49 senators voted to move forward with debate on legislation to undo the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule, short of the 51 votes needed. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Ariz.) joined all 48 members of the Democratic caucus in rejecting the resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Graham and Collins had previously publicized their plans to vote against the legislation. But McCain’s vote came as a surprise. McCain said that he voted against the resolution because he fears that it would have prevented the BLM from writing an improved regulation in the future.” [The Hill]
Oh: “Kate MacGregor, the acting assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior, said shortly after Wednesday’s vote that as part of President Donald Trump’s America-first energy plan, the agency has flagged the methane rule as one it will ‘suspend, revise or rescind given its significant regulatory burden that encumbers American energy production, economic growth and job creation.’ The rule is one of several the Interior Department is reviewing as part of an executive order signed by Trump in March.” [HuffPost’s Chris D’Angelo]
ICYMI: CENSUS DIRECTOR RESIGNS - Well, the good news, at least, is that when Trump’s militarized FBI comes to get you, they won’t know where you live. Tara Bahrampour: “The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is resigning, leaving the agency leaderless at a time when it faces a crisis over funding for the 2020 decennial count of the U.S. population and beyond. John H. Thompson, who has served as director since 2013 and worked for the bureau for 27 years before that, will leave June 30, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday. The news, which surprised census experts, follows an April congressional budget allocation for the census that critics say is woefully inadequate. And it comes less than a week after a prickly hearing at which Thompson told lawmakers that cost estimates for a new electronic data collection system had ballooned by nearly 50 percent.” [WaPo]
This is fine: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was greeted by rounds of boos on Wednesday as students turned their backs to her during a graduation ceremony where she was the keynote speaker. DeVos was selected to speak at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, a historically black university, despite strong opposition by many students and community members to her presence.” [HuffPost’s Kate Abbey-Lambertz]
CONGRATULATIONS TO VERMONT - Pat Leahy’s Batman movie screening sessions are about to become a lot more fun. Matt Ferner: “State legislators in Vermont on Wednesday passed a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults. Even if the bill does not become law, the state has already made history by becoming the first to send a marijuana legalization bill to the governor’s desk rather than legalize the drug with a referendum. The Vermont House of Representatives approved a version of a marijuana legalization bill that last week passed in the state Senate. If it became law, adults in Vermont could legally possess as much as an ounce of marijuana flower by mid-2018.” [HuffPost]
WHAT VOTERS THINK OF TRUMP - From a new Quinnipiac survey, here are the top words volunteered by respondents when asked about the president (in number of respondents, not percentage):
LOOK WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS DOING TO US - “Aggrieved white business magnate” is the new emo. Dave Jamieson: “Don Blankenship had a full year in prison to ponder any culpability he might have had in the deaths of 29 West Virginia coal miners. It appears he occupied his time in other ways. On Wednesday, the former Massey Energy executive was slated to be released from a halfway house in Phoenix, Arizona, after serving time on a misdemeanor conspiracy conviction stemming from his role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mining disaster. Coinciding with his release, Blankenship’s Twitter account fired off a series of aggrieved tweets about the Upper Big Branch investigations.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dachshund taking a horse for a walk.
CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS PLANNING TO DO TO THE EFFECTIVE TAX RATE??? - And yet Macho Man Randy Savage will never get to fulfill his dream of being solicitor general. RIP, Macho Man. Caity Weaver: “Last June, when The Washington Post published an op-ed suggesting he could be a viable candidate [for president], Johnson posted a screen grab and gave the idea a boost…. Since then, Johnson tells me, he’s given the question more thought. ‘A year ago,’ he says, ‘it started coming up more and more. There was a real sense of earnestness, which made me go home and think, “Let me really rethink my answer and make sure I am giving an answer that is truthful and also respectful.’’’... So, after all that consideration, Johnson doesn’t hesitate when I ask him whether he honestly might one day give up his life as the highest-paid movie star on earth — which is unquestionably easier, more fun, and more lucrative than being president of the United States — in order to run for office. ‘I think that it’s a real possibility,’ he says solemnly.” [GQ]
- Don’t be like this guy and dive onto a trampoline covered in mouse traps.
- A collection of strange doodles in the margins of medieval books.
- Three-year-old changes the oil of her dad’s car.
@jacobsw: Motion to replace “-gate” with “a-lago” as the suffix for all future scandals.
@johnjcook: has breitbart done a story w a bunch of blind quotes from fbi agents who say they hate comey yet
@BenjySarlin: It’s a burn out your phone battery by 11 kinda day at the senate
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