we'll see what happens
July 10, 2020

President Trump recently suggested that Roger Stone's "prayer may be answered," and a new report suggests that's looking increasingly likely.

Stone, the longtime adviser to Trump who last year was convicted on seven felony counts including lying to Congress, is scheduled to report to prison next week. But CNN reports that the president is "widely expected to pardon or commute Stone's sentence."

This is despite the fact that, CNN also reports, some Trump advisers have "voiced concern in recent months about the possible political repercussions" of the move, and Trump has sometimes "seemed reluctant" to do so, even "fuming and bad-mouthing" Stone in private. Trump, however, "sees his former confidant through the lens of himself, several people close to him say, viewing an attack on Stone as an attack on him," CNN writes. Politico similarly reports that even though White House and campaign aides reportedly feel that Trump has "nothing to gain by helping" Stone, the president is expected to "at least split the difference by commuting" his sentence.

Stone has been trying to delay the start of his prison sentence, but on Thursday, the Justice Department backed a judge's decision to deny him a postponement until September. In an interview on Thursday, Trump said that Stone's "prayer" for a pardon "may be answered," and asked on Friday about the possibility of a pardon, Trump told reporters he'll "be looking at it," adding that Stone was "very unfairly treated." Brendan Morrow

November 18, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants President Trump to testify in the impeachment inquiry, and he's not shooting down the idea.

Pelosi on Sunday invited Trump to testify in the ongoing probe focused on whether he abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, with the Democratic leader saying he "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants" and "could do it in writing."

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump at first lashed out at Pelosi, only to actually decide this isn't such a bad idea after all, promising he will "strongly consider" testifying.

Still, many were skeptical that Trump's supposed consideration will actually lead to anything, especially after he said he "wanted" to sit down for an interview with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, only to never do so. Mueller later testified that his team spent more than a year negotiating for an interview with the president but had "little success." Trump, instead, provided written answers to Mueller, but the former special counsel told Congress this was "certainly not as useful as the interview would be."

Regardless of whether this testimony will ultimately happen, though, Politico's Jake Sherman asked "how long Dems will give the president to do this" and wondered "could this delay their probe," also writing that "whether he does or not, there's an argument now they have to give him a reasonable timetable." Brendan Morrow

June 12, 2019

President Trump on Wednesday celebrated the U.S. women's national soccer team's "big win" but dodged a question about whether they should be paid the same as the men.

NBC News' Peter Alexander asked Trump about the team's historic victory against Thailand at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, and the president celebrated it. But in response to a question about whether they should get paid the same as the men, Trump didn't offer a yes or no answer, reportedly responding, "We'll talk about that later."

Tuesday's win came after all 28 members of the women's soccer team in March filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging "institutionalized gender discrimination." After the World Cup win, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted, "Here's an idea: If you win 13-0 — the most goals for a single game in World Cup history — you should be paid at least equally to the men's team." And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) raised the issue on the Senate floor on Tuesday, HuffPost reports, saying, "These women, who inspire our country with their poise, tenacity, skill and excellence every time they take the field deserve to be fairly compensated."

And it's not just Democrats saying as much, as when White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked Wednesday whether the women's team should be paid the same as the men, CNBC's Eamon Javers reports she responded, "I believe as a general principle that equal pay for equal work is the way to go." Whether Trump agrees with his counselor on this is a question that for now remains unanswered. Brendan Morrow

May 16, 2019

President Trump was not especially committal on Thursday when asked if a war with Iran is imminent.

As he welcomed the president of Switzerland to the White House, Trump faced a question from a reporter who asked, "Mr. President, are we going to war with Iran?" Trump responded, "I hope not."

This comes as the Trump administration has reportedly reviewed a plan to potentially send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East as it receives information that military officials characterize as "credible" threats to U.S. interests, although some are skeptical. Trump is reportedly frustrated with his advisers and fearful that they could bring the U.S. to war, as The Washington Post reports. On Wednesday, the president insisted there is no infighting among his administration, adding, "I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon."

Trump had started the week with a similarly non-committal answer on a potential military conflict, saying, "We'll see what happens with Iran" and that "if they do anything, they will suffer greatly." Some Republicans have expressed frustration with the White House for not providing more information, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) telling CNN's Manu Raju on Thursday, "I think they should tell us what the hell is going on." Brendan Morrow

March 21, 2019

While he believes President Trump is "morally unfit" to be the country's leader, former FBI Director James Comey isn't hoping Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report will reveal Trump is "a criminal."

In an op-ed published Thursday night in The New York Times, Comey declares he's just happy Trump hasn't shut down Mueller's investigation, arguing that if it the probe continues unimpeded, "justice will have prevailed and core American values will have been protected at a time when so much of our national leadership has abandoned its commitment to truth and the rule of law."

Comey, who was fired by Trump in 2017, said he doesn't care at all whether Mueller concludes Trump "knowingly conspired with the Russians in connection with the 2016 election or that he obstructed justice with the required corrupt intent." He does have one hope, though: that Trump is not impeached and removed from office before his term is over.

"I don't mean that Congress shouldn't move ahead with the process of impeachment governed by our Constitution, if Congress thinks the provable facts are there," Comey wrote. Rather, his concern is that if Trump is removed from office, "a significant portion of this country would see this as a coup, and it would drive those people farther from the common center of American life, more deeply fracturing our country." Read the entire op-ed at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

September 19, 2018

President Trump is renewing his attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and floating the idea of firing him, an idea he suggests is a popular one.

In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Trump reiterated his disapproval of Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, going as far as to say, "I don't have an attorney general. It's very sad." Trump even mocked Sessions, saying he was "mixed up and confused" during his nomination process. After this assessment, Trump was asked if he might fire the attorney general, to which he responded, "we'll see what happens," adding that "a lot of people have asked me to do that."

Politico reported last week that if the president were to fire Sessions right now, Senate Republicans have no idea who could be confirmed to replace him. After all, senators would need to feel confident that the nominee would not interfere with Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. A spokesperson for Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told Politico that he "finds it difficult to envision a circumstance" where he'd vote to confirm a successor to Sessions assuming Sessions is fired "for faithfully executing his job."

CNN also reported in August that congressional Republicans are continuing to advise Trump not to fire Sessions, at least not until after the midterms. But it's unclear whether Trump will take their advice. He told The Hill that he believes so many people disapprove of Sessions that even his "worst enemies" think the attorney general shouldn't have recused himself. Read the full interview at The Hill. Brendan Morrow

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