Anti-Hillary Clinton sentiment inside the FBI is prompting leaks meant to damage her campaign before the election, several current and former bureau employees told The Guardian. Reuters narrows the scope to the FBI's New York field office, reporting that according to "two law enforcement sources" familiar with the New York office, "a faction of investigators based in the office is known to be hostile to Hillary Clinton."
"The FBI is Trumpland," one agent told The Guardian's Spencer Ackerman. Another said the agency is "Trumplandia," and Clinton is the "antichrist personified to a large swatch of FBI personnel. The reason why they're leaking is they're pro-Trump." In July, FBI Director James Comey announced his decision not to recommend indictment over Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state, and this caused outrage among many in the bureau, several officials said. One former agent told Ackerman that while there are "lots of people who don't think Trump is qualified," they "also believe Clinton is corrupt. What you hear a lot is that it's a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician."
Last week, Comey wrote a letter to Congress, stating that the FBI was reviewing newly discovered emails related to the personal server, but they were not sure if they were relevant to the case. He came under fire from many legal experts and lawmakers, including Republicans, who say he inserted himself into the election with his comments, and his move got the ball rolling on more leaks — on Wednesday, Fox News reported the FBI was ramping up an investigation into the Clinton Foundation (Justice Department officials told The Wall Street Journal the claims were "flimsy"), and earlier this week, it was revealed that there is a preliminary inquiry into the Russian business dealings of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager (he denies any wrongdoing). "The continued leadership failures at the FBI are another reminder we can't let intelligence agencies say 'trust us' and then give them a blank check to probe into Americans' lives," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told Ackerman. Read the full report at The Guardian. Catherine Garcia
Andrew McCabe claimed Rod Rosenstein wanted to invoke the 25th Amendment. But that account is in dispute.
Sources told The New York Times on Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed in meetings the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit to serve and remove him from office, and that he proposed wearing a wire to secretly record Trump. But how the conversation really played out is unclear.
These conversations were reportedly documented in memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and other sources told the Times that Rosenstein followed up on the suggestions later. The Washington Post reports that McCabe's memos detailed conversations about a wire and the 25th Amendment that both occurred at the same meeting, shortly after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. But one person who was at the meeting told the Post that the 25th Amendment was not discussed, in addition to confirming that Rosenstein mentioned wearing a wire "sarcastically." The source says a wire was only brought up because of McCabe's needling for further investigation into Trump, not because of Rosenstein's interest in actually doing so. It was "a sarcastic comment along the lines of, 'What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?'" per the Post.
Another source told the Post that McCabe had previously claimed in private that Rosenstein suggested invoking the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein has denied the Times report, calling it "inaccurate and factually incorrect."
McCabe's attorney told ABC News in a statement that the former acting FBI director "drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials ... When he was interviewed by the special counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos — classified and unclassified — to the special counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos." Summer Meza
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) says she is "appalled" by President Trump's Friday tweet attacking Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, by name, Politico reports. Speaking to reporters in her native Maine, Collins says she "thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong."
Trump's tweets early Friday morning questioned the seriousness of the alleged assault because Ford didn't file charges at the time of the incident. Ford has said she didn't tell anyone about the alleged assault when it happened, but that she did discuss it with a therapist in 2012. Kavanaugh has denied Ford's claims.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
Collins is considered to be one of two Republican swing votes, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who may break party lines to vote against confirming Kavanaugh, CNBC reports.
Collins has previously spoken out against the president, penning an op-ed before the November 2016 election detailing why she wouldn't vote for Trump. She also notably voted against his effort to repeal ObamaCare. But since Trump took office, Collins has voted in line with his preferences 79.2 percent of the time — including casting a yes vote to send Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench. Marianne Dodson
The New York Times may not be so fake anymore.
Shortly after the Times reported Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in 2017 floated the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, many conservatives are now calling for Rosenstein to be fired. The Times also reported that Rosenstein suggested he wear a wire to surreptitiously record the president, though a Justice Department spokeswoman said Rosenstein proposed the idea "sarcastically."
But that hasn't stopped Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who tweeted Friday afternoon that "Rod Rosenstein must be fired today." Ingraham is one of the 47 people Trump follows on Twitter, and Politico reporter Alex Guillén notes that former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned earlier this year not long after Ingraham called for his removal.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a Fox News staple, agreed with Ingraham, tweeting that Rosenstein must be fired if the Times' reporting is accurate, because "Rosenstein doesn't seem to have the integrity to resign." Gregg Jarrett, who also appears as a frequent analyst for the network, tweeted that not only must Rosenstein be fired, but that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference must also end. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference and the Trump campaign in March 2017, leaving Rosenstein to oversee the matter. Rosenstein appointed Mueller that May.
Yet another Fox News analyst weighing in is Jeanine Pirro, who tweeted that Rosenstein should have been fired long ago but that now is the time to act. As The Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng points out, Pirro was once considered for Rosenstein's job. Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reports that Bill Shine, the ousted Fox News executive who now helps lead Trump's communications team, is "rolling out [a] media plan to build public support for Trump to fire Rosenstein." Brendan Morrow
As support for elements of the Affordable Care Act has increased, political attacks against the bill have quietly retreated. The Daily Beast reported Friday that Republican lawmakers have slowly scrubbed ACA criticism from their websites in recent years, opting instead to promise constituents extended protections on health care.
Republicans, especially ones who are in danger of losing their seats, have further altered their messaging to support some aspects of the ACA, often called ObamaCare. The Daily Beast found 20 instances of GOP House members eliminating ObamaCare criticism from their websites between 2014 and 2018.
But just because lawmakers like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) have softened their anti-ObamaCare rhetoric, HuffPost notes, it doesn't mean that they're suddenly fans of former President Barack Obama's signature health-care bill. Just three of the 20 lawmakers who changed their websites voted against a 2017 GOP replacement bill that would have unraveled ObamaCare; the repeal bill passed in the House but faltered in the Senate. But their continued opposition to ObamaCare is now obscured as they face close midterm races, their websites show.
Democratic analyst Jesse Ferguson suggested that Republicans were more willing to openly attack the ACA when there was a lower chance of Obama's health-care bill actually being rolled back. Now, GOP lawmakers are going on the defense to assure constituents that they don't want to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions — a provision of the ACA that Americans have increasingly come to value. "If you ask a Republican why they voted for health-care repeal, they'll change the topic faster than you can blink your eyes," Ferguson told The Daily Beast.
A new bombshell report from The New York Times further fuels the narrative that even senior Trump administration officials feel the president is unfit for office.
The Times reported Friday that in 2017, not long into his tenure in the Trump administration, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed in meetings the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit to serve and remove him from office. Further, he reportedly told Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe that he might be able to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on his side in this effort. Earlier this month, a senior administration official said in an anonymous Times op-ed that there had been discussions within the White House of invoking the 25th Amendment.
Additionally, the Times reports that Rosenstein proposed he wear a wire to secretly record Trump, as documentation of a White House in disarray. Officials say this plan did not end up moving forward, and an unnamed Justice Department spokeswoman told the Times that Rosenstein made the suggestion "sarcastically." Rosenstein has already denied the report, telling the Times that their story is "inaccurate and factually incorrect" and that "there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."
This report will no doubt raise Trump's ire, sparking speculation that the story was leaked with the express purpose of ousting Rosenstein, as Bloomberg's Jennifer Epstein observed. Already, the president's son — who has said that the "failing New York Times" lives in an "alternate universe" — has weighed in on the story, suggesting that he is not at all surprised that "these guys would do anything in their power to undermine" his father. Read the full report at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of "all those involved in the management of the ferry," South Africa's The Sunday Times says. The ferry was reportedly holding up to 300 people at the time, despite its maximum capacity being around 100, per The New York Times. Isack Kamwelwe, Tanzania's minister for communication, transport, and infrastructure, said the government is no longer searching for survivors and that the death toll could continue to rise.
The ferry — which is managed by Tanzania's Electrical, Mechanical, and Electronics Services Agency — was traveling on an hour-long journey between two islands when it capsized, The New York Times reports. Marianne Dodson
The world's largest retailer is being accused of discriminating against its pregnant employees, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Reuters reports.
The lawsuit alleges Walmart Inc.'s Wisconsin distribution center has discriminated against its pregnant employees since 2014 by forcing them to take unpaid leave and denying their requests for easier tasks, per Reuters. The lawsuit stems from a complaint filed by formerly pregnant Walmart employee Alyssa Gilliam, who says Walmart would not give her additional breaks or a chair to sit on while working and alleges Walmart denied requests for restrictions on heavy lifting, Reuters says.
The EEOC said Walmart granted these requests for workers with disabilities or injuries but failed to grant them to pregnant workers. Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are required to treat pregnant employees the same as temporarily disabled employees by providing modified tasks.