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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"The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose any ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists who now work in the White House or federal agencies." The White House sent a letter to OGE head Walter Shaub, which "challenged his legal authority to demand the information. Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers are working in the Trump administration, which has hired them at a much higher rate than the previous administration. Keeping the waivers confidential would make it impossible to know whether any such officials are violating federal ethics rules or have been given a pass to ignore them."
"The Supreme Court ruled Monday that racial considerations pervaded the way North Carolina lawmakers drew congressional maps after the 2010 Census in order to maximize Republicans' advantage. The 5-3 ruling, written by Justice Elena Kagan, was the latest in a series of decisions by the justices against the excessive use of race in redistricting, the decennial process of drawing new district lines for Congress and state legislatures. Justice Clarence Thomas joined the court's four liberal justices in striking down the state's maps."
Writing for an 8-0 Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that patent lawsuits "must be brought in the state where the defendant company is incorporated. ... The ruling likely spells an end to the near-monopoly the federal court in the Eastern District of Texas holds in handling patent cases. Plaintiffs for decades have filed suits in that pro-plaintiff district based on a broader interpretation of venue that made suits possible almost anywhere."