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May 14, 2020

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) spokesperson has confirmed she answered questions from the FBI over stock trades her husband made before the U.S. markets took a dive due to the coronavirus pandemic — but Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) is refusing to say if she was contacted as well.

Reports emerged earlier this year Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) sold stocks while he was receiving briefings on the coming COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, and federal agents have now seized his cellphone. Numerous other senators also sold stocks around the same time as Burr, including Feinstein, as The New York Times reported she and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in the biotech company Allogene Therapeutics between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18.

Feinstein denied being involved in the sales, with a spokesperson at the time saying, "All of Senator Feinstein's assets are in a blind trust" and "she has no involvement in her husband's financial decisions." On Thursday, Feinstein's spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that she answered questioned from the FBI and provided authorities with documents. Her aides also said this questioning occurred in April and that there have been "no follow up actions on this issue," per The Washington Post.

Loeffler, who is a much closer ally of President Trump's than Burr, and her husband also sold stock around the same time after she was briefed on the coronavirus, although she says the decisions were made by investment advisers. But asked Thursday if she's been contacted by the FBI, Loeffler wouldn't say, and when asked by CNN if she has, a spokesperson didn't directly address the question, instead saying, "No search warrant has been served on Sen Loeffler. She has followed both the letter and spirit of the law and will continue to do so." Brendan Morrow

October 10, 2019

The NBA's Hong Kong debacle is quickly spiraling.

Ever since Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey got himself into hot water with the basketball league for supporting the anti-Beijing protest movement in Hong Kong, the NBA has been at the center of a debate over whether a U.S. company should kowtow to Beijing's politics to protect business interests. Two 76ers fans were reportedly kicked out of a preseason NBA game in Philadelphia for holding "Free Hong Kong" signs, and ESPN executives are reportedly discouraging network staffers from talking politics when covering the story.

The apparent hope to quash the controversy extended on Thursday, when CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane asked Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook whether the situation and fallout had changed their thoughts about speaking freely on political issues. Macfarlane was quickly shut down, and the players did not answer her question, which she insisted was "legitimate" after an event organizer told her it was out of line. Watch the moment below. Summer Meza

May 30, 2018

The White House is hosting a "Sport and Fitness Day" on Wednesday, and Ivanka Trump co-hosted a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to promote the event. As fascinating as the subject at hand was, one reporter took the rare chance to ask Trump questions to inquire about the recent passel of trademarks China and the Philippines have granted to her lifestyle brand. Ninio Fetalvo, a White House official, quickly stepped in to say reporters would have to “refer those questions to the press office,” then moved on.

It wouldn't be hard to make the case that trademarks and potential conflicts of interest and corruption were off-topic, but when another reporter asked Trump later in the call if her father had changed his diet or fitness regimen, as advised by White House physician Ronny Jackson, there was a brief pause before Fetalvo answered: "So Ivanka had to step out for another meeting, but Holli is here to take on the additional questions."

Holli Richmond, the director of the White House Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition, referred the question about Trump's exercise and weight loss to the press office, as well as an inquiry about whether first lady Melania Trump would be at the event, which would be her first public appearance since May 10. President Trump will be there to "make remarks and to uplift this collaboration with Health and Human Services," Richmond offered. Other draws will be former professional baseball and football stars, and actor Lou Ferrigno, most famous for playing the Incredible Hulk. Peter Weber

May 3, 2018

President Trump was "very pleased" with Rudy Giuliani's Wednesday night interview on Hannity, Giuliani told The Washington Post's Robert Costa, adding Trump had discussed with him and approved his revelation that Trump had repaid lawyer Michael Cohen for Cohen's $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump previously told reporters he knew nothing about the payment. It's a good thing Giuliani was able to get a comment from Trump, because Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley had nothing to say on Fox News after Sean Hannity's show ended.

"We had no idea of the topics of the show, obviously," Gidley told anchor Shannon Bream. Giuliani's comments involve ongoing litigation, "we have nothing to say about it, the president has outside counsel, and that's who I would have to refer you to. ... I'm not an attorney, I just work at the White House."

Giuliani, who is Trump's outside legal counsel, albeit for the Robert Mueller investigation not the Stormy Daniels litigation, dropped his news about Trump repaying Cohen as part of an argument that this repayment cleared Trump and Cohen of campaign finance violations. Larry Noble, general counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, disagreed.

"What is surprising is that Trump recently said he knew nothing about the payment. Now, Giuliani is trying to get the stories in sync, but this still leaves several potential violations," Noble told The Washington Post. "The timing of the payment is still strong evidence of it being campaign related. And the fact that Trump paid Cohen back strengthens that argument." Charles Harder, Trump's lawyer in the Daniels litigation, had no comment. Michael Avenatti, Daniels' lawyer, argued that "according to Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen were co-conspirators in a felony." Peter Weber

March 10, 2017

The Justice Department on Thursday declined to confirm a White House claim made a day earlier that President Trump was not the subject of any investigation. Trump indirectly raised the possibility by claiming, with no evidence, that former President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap of then-candidate Trump, something that, if true, could have been the result of an investigation targeting him. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that "there is no reason to believe there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice," or "that the president is the target of any investigation whatsoever." A Justice Department official, asked whether Trump was the focus of an investigation, said, "no comment." Harold Maass

July 1, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) won't say if he agrees with the Supreme Court's ruling that limited ObamaCare's contraceptive mandate, because he believes too strongly in the separation of powers.

"Who knows?" Christie said Tuesday on CNBC when asked if the high court got the decision "right."

"Why should I give an opinion on whether they're right or wrong?" he added. "At the end of the day they did what they did. That's now the law of the land unless people in the elected branches try to change it." --Jon Terbush

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