Day 670: Steadfast.
1/ Trump won’t take action against Saudi Arabia or Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, issuing an exclamation-point laden statement that defended the Kingdom and effectively closed the door on the issue. Trump questioned the CIA’s assessment that Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, saying: “It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Regardless, Trump said, the U.S. “intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia” despite calling the “crime” against Khashoggi “terrible” and “one that our country does not condone.” The statement was subtitled “America First!” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NPR / NBC News)
- READ: Trump’s statement on the Saudi crown prince and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. (White House)
2/ Ivanka Trump repeatedly used a private email account to conduct government business in 2017. A White House review found her personal email use included exchanges with cabinet secretaries and forwards of her schedule to her assistant, with hundreds of messages being in violation of federal records rules. Ivanka claimed she didn’t know the rules about using a personal email account for government business. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)
- Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee plan to investigate Ivanka’s use of a personal email account to determine whether she violated federal law. (The Hill / Washington Post)
3/ A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants crossing the U.S. border illegally. U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar rejected Trump’s Nov. 9 proclamation that said anyone who failed to cross into the U.S. at a designated port of entry would not be granted asylum. “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority,” Judge Tigar wrote, “he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” The ruling will remain in effect for one month barring any further appeals. (Associated Press / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ Trump submitted his written answers to Robert Mueller’s questions “regarding the Russia-related topics of the inquiry,” according to Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow. Mueller has not ruled out trying to compel Trump to sit for an interview after reviewing the written answers. (Bloomberg / CNBC / New York Times / Associated Press)
poll/ 70% of Americans think Trump should allow the Russia investigation to continue. 52% of Americans think Congress should pass legislation to protect Mueller from being fired, while 67% of Republicans disagree. 51% of Americans think the Russia investigation is politically motivated. (CBS News)
Trump wanted to order the Justice Department in April to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey. The White House counsel at the time, Don McGahn, pushed back, saying Trump had no authority to order a prosecution, and that while he could request an investigation, that could prompt accusations of abuse of power. (New York Times)
The acting attorney general received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees. Matthew Whitaker worked for a charity called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust for three years, starting in 2014. (Washington Post)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requested that the Justice Department inspector general investigate communications between Whitaker and the White House beginning in 2017, when Whitaker was appointed chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (ABC News / Politico)
The FBI now classifies the far-right organization known as the Proud Boys as an extremist group. The group has be designated as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” according to documents produced by Washington state law enforcement. The document also warns that the Proud Boys are “actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west” and that they have “contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.” (The Guardian)
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