he speaks
August 14, 2019

The president has weighed in on the possibly, but maybe not actually ominous inverted yield curve.

President Trump isn't a fan of the "crazy" inversion, but unlike many of his critics who have placed America's trade war with China front and center when it comes to reasons why a global recession might be looming, he's pointing to a different problem — and it's not one of the items on Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman's smorgasbord of economic issues, either.

No, Trump's mad at the Federal Reserve, like he has been for a while. The president frequently clamored for the Fed to slash interest rates, and even though Fed Chair Jerome Powell did eventually cut rates in July, Trump has deemed the action far too little, too late.

Many economists don't agree with Trump. Krugman, for instance, doesn't place sole responsibility for the global economy's teetering on the trade war, but he does consider it a factor. Meanwhile, The Washington Post also reports that the trade war, often through indirect effects like a decline in business confidence and investment, has played a major role in the slowdown. Considering markets closed with their biggest point declines of the year soon after his tweet, it's clear Trump didn't do much to mollify spooked investors. Tim O'Donnell

May 29, 2019

We finally know what Special Counsel Robert Mueller's voice sounds like.

On Wednesday, more than a month after submitting a report of his two-year investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, Mueller publicly said the "investigation is complete." Mueller took no questions after the conference, but did say he was "formally closing the special counsel's office" and resigning his position "to return to private life."

Wednesday marked Mueller's first public statement regarding the probe, though it largely just summed up previous Department of Justice statements. Mueller's probe had concluded without charging President Trump with obstruction of justice, but also without exonerating him of the charge, and Mueller doubled down Wednesday by saying that if his team "had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so." Still, Mueller clarified that it would "unconstitutional" to charge President Trump with a crime.

Mueller's statement also comes amid continued efforts by House Democrats to get him to testify before Congress in the coming weeks, though Mueller implied he wouldn't agree to that because "the report is my testimony," he said. It also comes just days before CBS is set to air an interview with Attorney General William Barr on Friday. Barr reportedly knew what Mueller planned to say Wednesday ahead of time, and Mueller said no one asked him to make the Wednesday statement. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 29, 2019

Gather round, for Special Counsel Robert Mueller is finally about to speak.

Mueller, who has remained unflinchingly tight-lipped since he began his investigation into 2016 Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling, will make a statement for the first time on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET regarding the investigation. The Justice Department said that Mueller will only be making a statement — no question and answer session will follow.

Mueller's statement comes amid continued efforts by House Democrats to get him to testify before Congress in the coming weeks, as they continue independent investigations into the Trump administration, which largely stem from the report filed by Mueller's team in April. The announcement also comes on the heels of a revelation in journalist Michael Wolff's forthcoming book, Siege: Trump Under Fire, which claims Mueller was ready to indict President Trump on three counts for obstruction of justice. His office has already shot down the report, which is broadly viewed with skepticism. A person familiar with the matter said the statement is not in response to Wolff's book.

The White House said they were not caught off guard by the news of Mueller's coming statement, but it is not clear if the Trump administration knows exactly what he'll say. Tim O'Donnell

February 2, 2018

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page released a statement Friday following the publication of a controversial memo that alleges he was improperly surveilled by the FBI in 2016. "The brave and assiduous oversight by congressional leaders in discovering this unprecedented abuse of process represents a giant, historic leap in the repair of America's democracy," Page wrote.

The memo, authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), claimed the FBI relied on unreliable intelligence to receive permission to surveil Page. The White House released the memo Friday over objections from the FBI and Department of Justice, who have expressed "grave concerns" over its factual accuracy.

Page said the release of the Nunes memo would allow him to prove in court that the FBI's surveillance of him was inappropriate. "Now that a few of the misdeeds against the Trump movement have been partially revealed, I look forward to updating my pending legal action in opposition to DOJ this weekend," he wrote. Read the full statement below. Kelly O'Meara Morales

September 19, 2017

A spokesman for President Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Tuesday that if reports are correct that Manafort was wiretapped by federal investigators as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department's inspector general should launch an "immediate investigation" into the leak.

"It is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged," spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement. Manafort is requesting that the Justice Department "release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there." CNN reported Monday that Manafort was wiretapped before Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to take over the FBI's Russia investigation, and The New York Times reported that Manafort was told by prosecutors they plan to indict him. Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2017

After a closed-door meeting Monday with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, delivered a brief statement outside of the White House. "Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so," Kushner said, echoing the contents of an 11-page statement he submitted to the House and Senate intelligence committees that was released earlier Monday. Kushner added that he has had "no improper contacts" and has "not relied on Russian funds."

Kushner also used the opportunity to insist that his father-in-law did not win the election because of a boost from the Russians. "Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won," Kushner said. "Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him."

Watch Kushner's statement below. Becca Stanek

November 2, 2016

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that President Obama would neither "defend nor criticize" FBI Director James Comey's decision to announce the discovery of new emails potentially related to Hillary Clinton's private server — but in an interview that aired Wednesday, Obama seemed to do the latter.

After relaying that he has made a "very deliberate effort to make sure" he doesn't seem to be "meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes," the president offered a broad-sweeping critique of the situation. "I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don't operate on innuendo, we don't operate on incomplete information, and we don't operate on leaks," Obama said in the interview, which was taped Tuesday. "We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn't anything there that was prosecutable."

In his announcement late last week — which came before the FBI had issued a subpoena to be able to search the messages — Comey admitted that the bureau did not "know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails." He also said he did not "want to create a misleading impression." Watch the president's comments on the situation below. Becca Stanek

February 29, 2016

While a Supreme Court Justice asking a question in court might not typically seem all that notable, in the case of Justice Clarence Thomas, it is. Until Monday, Thomas had not asked a question at oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006 — over 10 years ago. The last time Thomas even spoke from the bench was in 2013 when he made a joke about Yale.

Thomas' question Monday arose in a case about a federal ban on gun ownership for domestic violence offenders. "Can you give me an area [of law] where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?" Thomas reportedly asked the lawyer defending the government. "Everyone leaned in disbelieving," said Slate's Dahlia Lithwick, who was in the courtroom. "The colloquy went back and forth several times with Thomas pressing the Assistant Solicitor General."

Thomas has long defended his silence in the courtroom, saying that he doesn't like to "badger people." "I don't see where that advances anything," Thomas said at a speech in 2012 about asking questions. "Maybe it's the Southerner in me. Maybe it's the introvert in me, I don't know. I think that when somebody's talking, somebody ought to listen." Becca Stanek

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