1/ Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of “Nixon/Watergate” plot to wiretap Trump Tower in the run-up to the election. Trump offered no citations, but he may have been referring to commentary on Breitbart and conservative talk radio suggesting that Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team. (Washington Post)
- Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phones at the Trump Tower a month before the election. Without offering any evidence, Trump fired off a series of tweets claiming that Obama “had my ‘wires tapped’” and likened the supposed tapping to “Watergate/Nixon” and “McCarthyism.” (New York Times)
- Obama denies Trump’s unsubstantiated accusation that he wiretapped phones in Trump Tower.“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement Saturday. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.” (ABC News)
- Untangling Trump and Russia: What we know – and what we don’t. The last 48 hours have been dominated by a steady stream of new information about previously undisclosed conversations between Trump aides and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, one of Moscow’s foremost operators in the US. (CNN)
2/ Trump went “ballistic” on his senior staff over the latest news reports connecting Russia with the new administration and Jeff Sessions abrupt decision to recuse himself. Trump felt Sessions’ recusal was unnecessary. (ABC News)
3/ The U.S. can’t effectively counter a nuclear threat from North Korea. Trump inherited a secret cyberwar against North Korean missiles designed to “manufacturing errors.” The threats pose such a danger that Obama warned Trump that a nuclear threat would likely be his most urgent problem. (New York Times)
4/ Sessions will submit amended testimony and address Senators’ questions over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador last year. The offer came after all nine Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter asked the committee chairman to bring Sessions back for a follow-up hearing to explain his past testimony and recent decision to recuse himself from any investigation involving the Trump campaign. (NBC News)
5/ A growing list of contacts between Trump associates and Russia is drawing increased scrutiny. Part of the problem underlying the disputed contact is Trump’s pugnacious style that leaves little room for nuance. At a news conference last month, he said that he had “nothing to do with Russia,” and that “to the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.” But in fact, reporting by multiple news organizations turned up multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Putin. (New York Times)
6/ The Trump administration will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas. The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows U.S. companies to employ graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics. (Reuters)
7/ Keystone XL oil pipeline won’t use US steel despite Trump’s pledge. The executive order Trump signed to greenlight the project only applies to new pipelines or those under repair. Last week Trump said the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines must use American steel “or we’re not building one.” (Fox News)
8/ Trump to roll back stringent federal regulations on vehicle pollution that contributes to global warming. The move marks a U-turn in the efforts to force the American auto industry to produce more electric cars. (New York Times)
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