Day 663: Grandstanding.
1/ CNN sued Trump and several White House aides asking the court to restore Jim Acosta’s access to the White House. Trump suspended Acosta’s press pass last week after a confrontation during a press conference. The suit alleges that Acosta’s and CNN’s First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the White House’s ban. “This is not a step we have taken lightly. But the White House action is unprecedented,” CNN president Jeff Zucker said. Sanders responded by saying that CNN is “grandstanding” by suing. She added that the administration will “vigorously defend” itself. (CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)
- The White House changed its justification for revoking Acosta’s press pass. Acosta was initially accused of putting his hands on an intern, but now Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggests that the decision to revoke Acosta’s access was because he refused to yield the microphone. (Washington Post)
2/ Maryland asked a federal judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general instead of Matthew Whitaker, arguing that the selection of Jeff Sessions’ former chief of staff violated federal law and exceeded the appointment authority outlined in the Constitution. Trump installed Whitaker as acting attorney general last week after ordering Sessions to resign from the post. (NBC News / Reuters)
- Whitaker will consult with Justice Department ethics officials about possible recusal from overseeing Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Whitaker has faced pressure from Democrats to step aside from overseeing the special counsel investigation, due to critical comments he made about the investigation before joining the Justice Department last year. (CBS News)
3/ Trump is considering replacing John Kelly and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Kelly has had repeated disputes with Melania Trump over staffing issues and travel requests, and clashed with national security adviser John Bolton and his deputy, Mira Ricardel, deputy national security adviser. Nick Ayers, currently Mike Pence’s chief of staff, is among those being considered for the job. Trump has told advisers that he wants to replace Nielsen, who is a close ally of Kelly. Forcing Nielsen out could result in Kelly quitting. Ricardel is also expected to be fired. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
Melania Trump called for Ricardel to be fired. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. Ricardel reportedly clashed with members of Melania’s staff over seating on a plane during her recent trip to Africa.(Washington Post) / The Guardian)
Trump is considering the former ICE director for Homeland Security secretary. Thomas Homan once recommended charging so-called sanctuary city politicians “with crimes” and defended separating children from their parents at the border. (Politico)
4/ A Roger Stone associate expects to be indicted by Robert Mueller soon. Jerome Corsi is one of more than a dozen people associated with Roger Stone who have been questioned by Mueller’s investigators. Corsi said he doesn’t know what he’ll be charged with other than the special counsel indicating that he will be charged in the coming days. Corsi has been cooperating with the Mueller investigation since receiving a subpoena in late August. (Associated Press / ABC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
- Mueller is seeking information about Nigel Farage and whether Russia attempted to influence the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union,, according to Corsi. Farage was behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. (The Guardian)
A federal judge delayed certification of Georgia’s election results, ordering the state to first review all provisional ballots. Unofficial returns show that Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee in the governor’s race, holds a lead of about 58,000 votes. He can afford to lose only 21,000 votes before facing a runoff election against the Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams. About 21,190 provisional ballots were cast in Georgia. (New York Times / NBC News)
Kyrsten Sinema defeated her Republican opponent in the race for a Senate seat in Arizona, giving Democrats their first elected senator in Arizona in 30 years. Sinema, a Democrat, will replace Republican Sen. Jeff Flake and become the first woman to represent Arizona in the Senate. (Axios / USA Today / The Guardian / New York Times / NBC News)
Betsy DeVos was sued for failing to cancel student debt owed to for-profit colleges that have been shut down. The lawsuit comes a month after a federal judge ruled that the regulation should immediately go into effect. The judge called the delays “arbitrary and capricious.” (CNN)
The Trump administration closed an office that kept track of released Guantánamo inmates and has lost track of several of them, including one who has returned to a terrorist-held part of Syria. (McClatchy DC)
Trump mocked the French for needing the U.S. to rescue them from the Germans in both world wars. The tweet comes after Trump joined world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I where French President Emmanuel Macron publicly criticized Trump’s idea of “nationalism.” (Bloomberg)
Trump blamed the Secret Service for his canceled visit to a World War I cemetery in France, claiming that he suggested driving after it was deemed unsafe to take a helicopter. “By the way,” Trump tweeted, “when the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving. Secret Service said NO.” (ABC News / USA Today)
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