Day 370: Looking forward to it.
1/ Trump said he was “looking forward” to speaking with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors under oath as they investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as possible obstruction of justice. “I would love to do it, and I would like to do it as soon as possible,” Trump said. “I would do it under oath, absolutely.” He is expected to talk to Mueller’s team in two or three weeks. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post)
2/ Michael Flynn didn’t tell the White House about his 2017 interview with the FBI. Flynn met privately with FBI investigators a year ago today to discuss his communications with Russia’s ambassador. The meeting took place without a lawyer present and without the knowledge of the president or top White House officials. (NBC News)
3/ Robert Mueller’s team has interviewed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency director Mike Rogers, and CIA director Mike Pompeo. The three have been described as “peripheral witnesses” to the James Comey firing. Of note: Pompeo “was allegedly asked by Trump to lean on Comey to drop his investigation.” (NBC News)
4/ Trump asked the acting director of the FBI how he voted in the 2016 election shortly after he fired James Comey in May 2017. Andrew McCabe said he didn’t vote. Trump then “vented his anger at McCabe over the several hundred thousand dollars in donations that his wife, a Democrat, received for her failed 2015 Virginia state Senate bid from a political action committee controlled by a close friend of Hillary Clinton.” (Washington Post)
5/ Steve Bannon will meet with Robert Mueller by the end of the month, where he’ll be asked about the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey. Bannon’s attorney has said that his client will not be able to use the protections of executive privilege, like he did when he refused to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee about his work during the presidential transition and in the West Wing. (CNN)
6/ Sarah Sanders: Trump hasn’t fired Robert Mueller partly because of how the press would react. Sanders told reporters that “I think we all know what everybody in this room would do if the President did that, and I don’t think that is helpful to the process.” (CNN)
7/ Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates added an attorney to his legal team. The move to hire Tom Green suggests there is an ongoing negotiation between Gates and Robert Mueller’s office. Gates pleaded not guilty in October to eight charges of money laundering and failure to register foreign lobbying and businesses. (CNN)
8/ Trump will declassify the Devin Nunes memo that alleges FBI surveillance abuse if the House Intelligence Committee approves the release. The four-page summary of Nunes’ investigation into the FBI and Justice Department’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was written by staffers for Republican members of the House. (CNN)
- Your guide to the anti-FBI conspiracy theories: The memo. The text messages. The dossier. (Washington Post)
poll/ 78% of Americans say Trump should testify if Robert Mueller asks him. 51% say Trump has obstructed justice, while 41% say he has not. (CNN)
poll/ 84% of American voters say the shutdown was “mainly unnecessary.” 32% blame Democrats, while 31% blame Trump, and 18% say Republicans were responsible. (Quinnipiac)
The Justice Department threatened 23 so-called sanctuary cities with subpoenas if they fail to provide documents showing compliance with federal immigration officials. (USA Today)
A group of mayors canceled their meeting with Trump after the administration threatened to withhold funding from local governments they claimed aren’t following immigration laws. (NBC News)
The Justice Department wants to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. Noncitizens are counted for the purposes of distributing federal funding, assigning congressional seats, and drawing district maps for elections. (Washington Post)
Tammy Duckworth will become the first US senator to give birth while in that office when she delivers her second child this spring. (New York Times)
Mick Mulvaney dropped a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lawsuit against four payday lenders charging 900% interest rates without any explanation. The CFPB has also dropped an investigation into a lender that contributed directly to Mulvaney’s campaign. (NPR)
Trump is expected to tell world leaders at Davos that his “America First” doctrine has benefited the US exactly the way he said it would. (Washington Post)
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