Reports: FBI's informant talked to multiple Trump campaign aides
- Washington (CNN) - The FBI dispatched an informant to speak with at least two advisers to Donald Trump's presidential campaign after the bureau obtained evidence that the aides had ties to Russia, according to multiple reports Friday.
- The Washington Post reported the source met with Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign's co-chairman, to talk about relations with China, in addition to Page and Papadopoulos.
- CNN has previously reported that a confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the Trump campaign to provide information to investigators, according to US officials, despite the President's suggestion in recent days that an FBI informant was embedded in his campaign.
- Flynn plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI last year and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
- Papadopoulos has also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI.
Warner: It's 'potentially illegal' to identify FBI source in effort to undercut Russia probe
- Washington (CNN) - Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned on Friday it could be illegal for lawmakers to uncover the identity of an intelligence source in an attempt to undercut the federal investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
- The warning comes in the midst of an extended back and forth between Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and the Justice Department as Nunes presses for information related to the Russia investigation.
- On Thursday -- the one-year anniversary of Mueller's appointment as special counsel -- the President referred to the investigation as an "illegal and unwarranted witch hunt" and suggested that an FBI informant had been embedded in his campaign.
Officials Dispute Trump’s Talk of an FBI Spy Planted in His Campaign
- Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have advanced concerns about anti-Trump sentiment among some FBI agents and whether a dossier with unverified allegations was used to justify a surveillance warrant on a former campaign adviser.
- Several Democratic congressional officials have said the House Intelligence Committee has long known there were at least three government informants tied to Trump, and that even Trump associates have long been aware of some of this.
- Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, confirmed to the committee during his closed-door interview with the panel that he knew that Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman and Trump associate, was an FBI informant, one of the congressional officials said.
- Earlier this month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s overseeing Mueller’s investigation, dismissed those he says are trying to intimidate him after a group of House Republicans drafted articles of impeachment unless he turned over internal Justice Department documents on the origin of the Trump probe.
House GOP leaders hit with immigration revolts from two sides
- Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others already oppose a push by centrist GOP lawmakers to force a vote on a plan to shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation.The effort has gained steam over the objection of House leaders, who caution that Republicans should pass an immigration plan President Donald Trump will support.
- McCarthy — who needs to keep all of his caucus happy as he tries to succeed Ryan as House GOP leader — believes such an agreement could hurt Republicans, according to a Politico report.
- When Ryan and McCarthy met with Trump this week to discuss how to proceed on immigration amid the moderates' push, the president appeared uninterested in starting talks again, according to Politico, which cited several sources briefed on the meeting.
Trump allies worry billionaire investor Peter Thiel could be a no-show during the 2018 midterm campaign
- Venture capitalist Peter Thiel hasn't made a significant financial mark during the early stages of the 2018 congressional midterm election cycle, leading some allies of President Donald Trump to believe his absence so far could be related to how he's been treated by senior White House officials.
- Trump allies are worried Thiel might not contribute to GOP candidates during the rest of the midterm race, according to sources who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity.
- Several senior Trump advisors, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, according to sources, have been giving the cold shoulder to Thiel, who was one of Trump's most prominent backers in the 2016 election campaign.
- Kushner, the leader of the White House Office of American Innovation, has, at times, ignored Thiel's phone calls, sources said.
Clean air, water on voters’ agenda, but not Congress‘
- In a hearing meant to focus on technological solutions to climate change (like the hugely popular wind and solar), Republican members of the committee decided to once again raise questions about whether humans were influencing the warming climate, with one Congressman suggesting that the warming-driven rise in our oceans might instead be caused by rocks falling into the seas.
- Perhaps as a result, nearly one-third of the conservative Republicans actually think policies to address climate change do more harm than good for the environment.
- And this week, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology had a hearing scheduled called "Using technology to address climate change"—the perfect place to debate the appropriate policy response, right?
- But the discussion of this uncertainty largely got lost in the inane questions about whether climate change and sea level rise are actually happening.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly thinks an immigration deal is the 'No. 1 way' to discourage GOP midterm voters
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy believes a bipartisan deal to shield young immigrants from deportation could hurt Republicans in November, Politico reported late Thursday.
- Both men have opposed an effort by centrist House Republicans to force a vote on immigration.
- Ryan and McCarthy met with President Donald Trump this week, and Ryan floated the idea of re-opening negotiations on an immigration deal, Politico reported, citing several sources briefed on the meeting.
- Bipartisan negotiations flamed out earlier this year as Trump and conservative Republicans could not find common ground with Democrats and moderate GOP lawmakers on several demands.
- Trump did not appear interested in starting up talks again when he met with Ryan and McCarthy, according to Politico.
- Republican leaders are telling lawmakers who support the effort to force an immigration vote that they will bring immigration bills to the House floor next month, Politico separately reported.
Net neutrality is coming back, no matter what happens next with the Senate resolution
- Tom Wheeler, one of the FCC chairmen under President Obama, initially supported net-neutrality rules that would have allowed internet providers to create so-called fast lanes.
- Regardless of whether people knew the term, there's long been broad support across the political spectrum for having internet providers treat all data equally and widespread opposition to them creating so-called fast lanes for certain sites or services.
- Thomson Reuters When the first two versions of the net-neutrality rules were struck down by courts, neither of the chairmen of the agency at the time — Julius Genachowski and then Tom Wheeler, both Democrats — wanted to fall back on the agency's Title II authority.
- In fact, in 2014, Wheeler initially appeared willing to allow broadband providers to create so-called fast lanes — a move that would undermine net neutrality — just so he wouldn't have to classify internet access as a Title II service.
Running for higher office as a member of Congress? Be forewarned.
- Being a member in the House of Representatives, once a launching pad for hungry politicians eager to vault themselves to gubernatorial offices or across the Capitol to the Senate, has become an anvil on many of these politicians looking to move up, making it easy for opponents in primaries to tie them to dysfunction in Washington and the nationwide sense that DC legislators get nothing done.
- Rep. Evan Jenkins lost his bid to be Republicans pick for Senate in West Virginia earlier this year, falling behind West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
- Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, both Republican members from Indiana, failed to secure their party's Senate nomination earlier this year after businessman Mike Braun launched a successful upstart campaign.
House is expected to vote on farm bill Friday
- Washington (CNN) - The House is scheduled to vote Friday on a controversial farm bill that, if passed, would help set agriculture policy for the next five years.
- Republican leaders mounted a full court press Thursday to quash a sugar policy amendment that could have derailed the farm bill.
- Also complicating matters is a push by conservatives to get a vote on an unrelated issue: immigration.
- Members of the House Freedom Caucus have been threatening to withhold support for the farm bill unless they get their desired outcome on an immigration bill.
- Though they've been in negotiations with Republican leadership for two days over the issue, it was still unclear how their members would vote on the farm bill Friday.
- The Republican-drafted bill has also attracted criticism from Democrats with its overhaul for food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.