1/ Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe vowed to report any meddling in the Russia probe and said that the firing of James Comey had not affected the Justice Department’s investigation. McCabe also told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Comey had not lost the confidence of rank-and-file FBI agents, contradicting a claim by the White House. Trump then offered a new version of his decision to fire Comey, saying he would have dismissed him regardless of whether the attorney general and his deputy recommended it. He called Comey a “showboat” and “grandstander,” and said that while he never tried to pressure Comey into dropping the FBI probe of the Trump campaign, he did ask Comey whether he was under investigation. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News / Reuters)

  • The man now running the FBI just testified that the Trump White House is lying about Comey. McCabe’s statement directly contradicts what White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters, when she said Comey was fired because Trump, along with Jeff Sessions, had “lost confidence in him.” Sanders added that “most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.” (Quartz)
  • White House’s FBI story unravels as Trump undercuts statements from White House officials about the decision to fire Comey, underlining a growing credibility crisis for the administration. (The Hill)
  • Trump contradicted his three top spokespeople and offered a polar-opposite version the White House’s entire Comey narrative. (Washington Post)

2/ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to resign after the White House cast him as the prime reason to fire Comey and that Trump acted only on his recommendation. The day before, Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey. The next day Trump fired Comey. The White House says it is unaware that the deputy attorney general threatened to quit. (Washington Post / ABC News / BBC News)

UPDATE:

Rosenstein says he’s “not quitting.” Rosenstein expressed frustration with how the White House used his reputation as cover for how they handled Comey’s dismissal. (CNN)

  • Rosenstein pressed the White House to correct the record on the Comey firing, saying he objected to the description of events, and hinted he couldn’t work in an environment where facts weren’t accurately reported. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Rosenstein is expected to brief all senators on Comey firing. The briefing will likely be closed and may be partially classified. (Politico)
  • Rosenstein has requested to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Politico)

3/ The White House was misled about the role of the Russian photographer and were surprised to see photos posted online showing Trump not only with Sergey Lavrov but also smiling and shaking hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Russian officials described the person as Lavrov’s official photographer without disclosing that he also worked for Tass, a Russian state-owned news agency. (Washington Post)

4/ Trump launched a commission to investigate voter fraud. The effort will be spearheaded by Mike Pence and will look into allegations of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration in states and across the nation. Trump is expected to sign the executive order today. (Associated Press / ABC News / CNN)

5/ The Justice Department won’t say whether Jeff Sessions will recuse himself from any part of hiring the next FBI director. In March, Sessions recused himself from investigations concerning the 2016 presidential campaigns. The DOJ declined to comment when asked if that policy would apply at all to the hiring process for the interim FBI director or the future nominee. Sessions has already interviewed candidates for interim FBI director. (BuzzFeed News)

6/ Trump is “very likely” to visit FBI headquarters soon. One intelligence official said that agents are more determined than ever to pursue probes into the alleged Russian interference in the presidential election and that Trump had “essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI. I think there will be a concerted effort to respond over time in kind.” Separately, Trump will meet with Acting Director Andrew McCabe today to discuss the morale at the FBI. (CNN / Washington Post / CNBC News)

UPDATE:

Trump nixes plan to visit FBI after being told he would not be greeted warmly. The FBI told the White House the optics would not be good and made clear that Trump would not draw many smiles and cheers, having just unceremoniously sacked a very popular director. (NBC News)

7/ Comey refused to preview his Senate testimony for Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wanted a heads-up about what he would say regarding his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. (Reuters)

8/ Jason Chaffetz asked the inspector general to expand the Russia probe to include Comey’s firing. The Trump administration has denied Comey’s firing was related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. (HuffPost / Politico / CNN / Reuters)

9/ Trump admits his White House is too combative. He said it could be his fault, but added that “the only way you survive is to be combative.” (Time)

  • Trump thinks he invented the phrase “priming the pump.” (The Economist / CNN)

10/ Trump is considering former congressman Mike Rogers to replace James Comey as FBI director. Rogers is a former Intelligence Committee chair and FBI agent. (Bloomberg)

11/ Trump signed an executive order to bolster the government’s cyber security. The order seeks to improve the network security of US government agencies, from which hackers have pilfered millions of personal records and other forms of sensitive data in recent years. (Reuters)

12/ Trump will nominate a member of DOJ transition team to be DC’s US attorney. The US attorney’s office in Washington has long played a leading role in national security investigations and corruption cases against public officials and federal employees. If confirmed, Jessie Liu is poised to become an important player in both the local and national law enforcement community. (BuzzFeed News)

poll/ 54% think Trump’s abrupt dismissal of Comey was not appropriate, while 46% think that Comey was fired due to the Russia investigation. (NBC News)


Perspective.

A sense of crisis deepens as Trump defends his abrupt dismissal of the FBI director. On Capitol Hill, at least a half-dozen Republicans broke with their leadership to express concern or dismay about the firing of Comey. They stopped short of joining Democrats’ call for a special prosecutor to lead the continuing investigation of Russian contacts with Trump’s aides. (New York Times)

Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey. Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment, and was infuriated by what he viewed as the director’s lack of action in recent weeks on leaks from within the federal government. By last weekend, he had made up his mind: Comey had to go. (Washington Post)

America isn’t having a constitutional crisis, but Trump may have just made one more likely in the future. (The Atlantic)

Trump after hours: From where he eats and sleeps, everything is going just great. Now if only everyone else would see it that way. (Time)

After Comey, justice must be served. Congress needs to get serious about holding the president accountable. (Bloomberg)

“Enough was enough”: How festering anger at Comey ended in his firing. The collision between Trump and the FBI director culminated with Comey’s stunning dismissal. It had been a long time coming. (New York Times)