Michael Flynn's sentencing is set for December
- Flynn pleaded guilty to one charge last December as a result of the special counsel probe led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
- Both prosecutors and Flynn's defense team told Sullivan on Monday that he was ready to be sentenced, following several requests for delays.
- Flynn had disclosed that he was cooperating with the Mueller investigation when he pleaded guilty last December to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
- The statements from the legal teams on Monday suggested that cooperation was coming to an end.
- The retired lieutenant general left the White House shortly into Trump's tenure as President amid questions about his contacts with Russia, and the looming sentencing date underscores the legal fallout he and several other Trump associates have faced.
Trump hasn't read the classified Russia documents he wants released to the public
- There's one caveat, according to The Hill: the president has not read the materials he wants released to the public.
- On Monday evening, the White House announced that Trump had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (DOJ) "to provide for the immediate declassification" of parts of the FBI's June 2017 application to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as FBI reports of interviews connected to Page and DOJ official Bruce Ohr. The president also asked the FBI and the DOJ to release, without redaction, all text messages pertaining to the Russia investigation from former FBI director James Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr. The move marks the latest escalation in Trump's broadsides against the FBI and DOJ after Comey confirmed last year that the FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the 2016 race in his favor.
- Trump's decision alarmed national security experts, who cautioned that the declassification of some of the material Trump wants released could endanger the lives of confidential sources and harm the US's relationship with its foreign allies.
Gary Cohn, Trump's former top economic adviser, was reportedly approached by Wells Fargo board members about becoming the bank's CEO
- Gary Cohn, the former top economic adviser to President Donald Trump and Goldman Sachs executive, was approached by Wells Fargo board members about the bank's CEO position, according to a new report.
- The New York Post said Wednesday that Wells Fargo board members met with Cohn about the position soon after his departure from the White House in March.
- According to the Post, Wells Fargo board members are growing tired of Stumpf's successor, Tim Sloan, amid several new scandals, ranging from a computer glitch that led to customers losing homes to employees altering dinner orders to get reimbursed.
- While Wells Fargo is not formally searching for a new CEO, the Post said, some board members are looking around.
- The book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," detailed numerous clashes between Cohn and Trump, even relaying a story about the then-adviser stealing documents from Trump's desk to prevent the president from pulling the US out of important trade deals.
Fewer Than Half of Americans Believe the Trump Administration Is 'Competent'
- In a new Axios survey of 2,173 U.S. adults conducted by SurveyMonkey, 46% of respondents said that the Trump Administration is “competent.” Fifty-five percent of respondents said that they “believe Woodward” and what the famed journalist wrote in his new book on the Trump administration, called Fear.
- Nearly nine in 10 Republicans, for instance, believe the Trump administration is competent, compared to 13% of Democrats.
- African-American women were the least likely to believe the Trump administration is competent and those living in rural areas were most likely to see competence in the White House, according to the report.
- More than eight in 10 Democrats “believe Woodward,” but only 30% of Republicans think the book is accurate.
- African-American women are most likely to believe Fear and people living in rural areas are least likely to see value in it.
Republicans just made a giant gamble on Brett Kavanaugh
- Lost amid the "will she or won't she" questions is the fact that what Grassley -- almost certainly in coordination with the White House -- is doing represents an absolutely massive political gamble: Amid the cultural upheaval of the #MeToo moment and with an election looming in less than seven weeks' time, Republicans are daring a woman alleging sexual assault against a nominee for the country's highest court to either put up or shut up.
- The belief among Republicans is that if Ford won't come forward after they accommodated her desire to speak about her story (and gave her the opportunity to do so in a public or a private setting) then she will be judged to be a less-than-credible source -- allowing them to proceed with confirming Kavanaugh to the court with little negative political fallout.
Top House tax writer Kevin Brady doubts new GOP tax cuts can get through the Senate before midterms
- The Senate is unlikely to pass the GOP's latest tax legislation before the midterms, even if the House votes on the measures this month as planned, the top House tax writer said Wednesday.
- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said "the time is short before the election" to approve bills his party has dubbed its second phase of tax reform.
- He thinks the Senate will start considering the tax proposals after November's elections.
- Brady said the GOP will "fight to hold" congressional majorities "so we have a chance" to push tax legislation.
- Brady's committee already approved the three separate measures making up the second phase of tax reform.
- It is unclear now whether Republicans could get nine Democrats to join them to garner the 60 votes needed to pass tax legislation in the Senate.
US housing starts rose in August, boosted by a jump in multifamily construction
- U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in August, a positive sign for the housing market which has underperformed the broader economy amid rising interest rates for home loans.
- Housing starts rose 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.282 million units in August, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
- Much of August's gain was in the particularly volatile multi-family component, with starts on buildings with two or more units rising 29.3 percent to an annual rate of 406,000 units.
- Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, rose a more modest 1.9 percent to a rate of 876,000 units in August.
- The U.S. housing market has underperformed a robust economy, with economists blaming the slowdown on low inventories and rising mortgage rates, which have combined with higher house prices to make home purchasing unaffordable for some first-time buyers.
Time running out to reach NAFTA deal, senior GOP congressman says in warning to Canada
- The sharply worded statement from Rep. Steve Scalise, the GOP House whip, echoed comments the White House has been making for weeks, as it pressured Canada to join the accord reached with Mexico.
- But coming from Congress — albeit a close ally of President Donald Trump — it marked a significant heating up of talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- While Mexico made significant concessions to reach a deal that even one of its top trade officials admitted recently was less than perfect, Canada has pushed back against U.S. demands on issues like NAFTA’s dispute-resolution rules and access to the Canadian dairy market.
- Scalise’s statement reinforces the view both in the White House and on Capitol Hill that releasing a text by Oct. 1 is a real deadline — and there is no guarantee Congress would block a Mexico-only accord, said Dan Ujczo, a U.S. trade lawyer following the talks closely.
Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying
- The letter comes after a day of uncertainty about whether the hearing scheduled for Monday would even take place, as Republicans continued to emphasize their repeated efforts to reach out to Ford.
- Last week, news surrounding a private letter that had been sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, raised potential questions about Kavanaugh's nomination.
- Ford alleges that while at a party, Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom along with his former classmate Mark Judge, and attempted to remove her clothes.
- But as of Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans had yet to hear from Ford or her lawyer regarding their request for her to testify.
- All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter on Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and White House counsel Don McGahn arguing that the FBI should conduct an investigation prior to a hearing.
'I love it here': Mattis cracked a few jokes about rumors he could soon be out at the Pentagon
- Rumors continue to swirl about Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' looming departure from the Pentagon.
- A recent Politico report said Trump has cooled on the Pentagon chief he once praised, dropping the nickname "Mad Dog" for "Moderate Dog," in what was reported to be a swipe at the defense secretary's purported attempts to moderate or slow-walk White House initiatives.
- Mattis was asked about the rumors outside the Pentagon on Tuesday, and he responded with some jokes and jabs of his own.
- In spite of that, Trump touted Mattis before taking office, praising him as "a true General's General." But Mattis has not been able to remain above the intrigue of the Trump White House.
- The White House reportedly has a shortlist of potential replacements.
- Trump — who often touts his prowess as a deal-maker and is said to promote rivalries and infighting between subordinates as part of his management style— has also denied there is a rift.