Former FBI director James Comey “has spoken privately of his concerns that the contacts from” President Trump “and his aides were inappropriate, and how he felt compelled to resist them.” Comey told a friend “that despite Mr. Trump’s attempts to build a personal relationship, he did not want to be friendly with the president and thought any conversation with him or personal contact was inappropriate.” (New York Times)
“Trump pressured a ‘reluctant’ Michael Flynn into accepting a job as the White House’s top national security official even after Flynn warned the president that he was under investigation over undisclosed lobbying on behalf of a foreign government, The Daily Beast has learned.” Trump’s affinity for Flynn is so strong that he’s hopeful Flynn could be re-hired once the investigations are resolved, which advisers have advocated against. (Daily Beast)
ANYTHING FOR A BUCK. “After crying ‘sabotage’ in email and text fundraising messages yesterday, the” Trump “campaign cashed in, raising $314,000 between the campaign and Republican National Committee’s joint fundraising committee. According to a release from Trump’s campaign, it’s a ‘one-day record for digital fundraising.’” (NBC News)
WHERE’S PENCE? Vice President Mike Pence has been keeping a low profile in recent weeks as the administration has dealth with setback after self-inflicted setback. The chaos appears to be wearing on him. He did recently set up a new PAC, however. (CNN)
FBI REPLACEMENT. “Trump may be dramatically miscalculating how much support Sen. Joe Lieberman would have among his former Democratic colleagues if nominated to become FBI director. Some Senate Democrats hold a grudge against Lieberman for his rightward turn and opposition to some of President Barack Obama’s agenda late in his Senate career. Others say even though they respect Lieberman, the job of FBI director should not go to a former politician.” (Politico)
CONFLICTS ABROAD. “When President Trump sets off on his first international trip as president on Friday, his itinerary will include two Middle Eastern countries, Israel and Saudi Arabia, where he explored business deals before taking office.” (New York Times)
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."