News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
President Donald Trump doubled down Monday on his claim that he would shut down the government this fall if the funding he wants for border security is not approved by Congress.
“As far as the border is concerned, and personally, if we don’t get border security, after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump said during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, adding that the two are “united in our conviction that strong nations must have strong borders.”
Trump’s statement comes a day after he tweeted that he would shut down the government “if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” Currently, government funding is set to run out just 37 days before Nov. 6, the day of the midterm elections.
From The Hill
House Republicans are planning to seek an interview with former FBI Director James Comey in September to discuss his decision making during the 2016 election, The Hill has learned.
GOP members of the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees are expected to request Comey’s testimony after lawmakers return from their four-week August recess, according to three lawmakers familiar with the matter.
The Judiciary and Oversight committees, which are leading a joint investigation into the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State, are eager to press the former FBI chief on a series of decisions he made during the 2016 campaign and after President Trump fired him in May 2017.
From The Hill
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Monday hinted that the location of Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., could explain President Trump‘s “obsession” with renovating the FBI headquarters instead of relocating it.
Van Hollen speculated on Twitter that a new hotel built on the current site of the FBI headquarters would cut into the profits of the Trump property, which is also located on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
“Trump has an obsession with renovating the FBI HQ at its current location—despite recommendations to find a more secure location,” the Maryland Democrat said. “Could it be a new hotel there would eat into the profits of the nearby Trump Hotel? We should put the security of FBI before Trump’s pocketbook!”
The influential conservative Koch network opened up their summer meeting with an emphasis on bipartisanship while also delivering sharp critiques of President Donald Trump and his administration.
“The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage,” said network co-chair Brian Hooks, who also chided elected officials who are “following” his lead.
The Koch network’s influence, even among Republicans, has come into question in the conventional-wisdom-shredding era of Trump. The network has during the past year and a half fruitlessly pushed for comprehensive health care and immigration reform; and like other leading conservative groups, the network has been powerless to persuade the President to rethink his strategy on trade generally and tariffs specifically.
Sen. Rand Paul announced his support for Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, cutting short speculation over whether the Kentucky Republican might actually oppose President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee over his record on privacy.
Paul released a statement citing the Supreme Court’s June ruling in Carpenter v. United States, which broadly limited law enforcement’s ability to monitor individuals using cell phone data without a warrant, as a “new precedent” leaving him hopeful that “Judge Kavanaugh will be more open to a Fourth Amendment that protects digital records and property.”
“Of course, my vote is not a single-issue vote, and much of my reading and conversation has been in trying to figure out exactly how good Judge Kavanaugh will be on other issues before the Court,” Paul added in his statement of support.
From CNN Money
Between March and May, Russia’s holdings of US Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total US debt holdings.
The sudden debt dump may have contributed to a short-term spike in Treasury rates that spooked the market. 10-year Treasury yields topped 3% in April for the first time since 2014.
It also sparked a guessing game about Moscow’s motivations. Maybe Russia just wanted to diversify its portfolio, as the central bank stated. Or perhaps Russia was seeking revenge for Washington’s crippling sanctions on aluminum maker Rusal.
Either way, there’s little debate over the long-term impact. Russia’s selling has not hurt America’s ability to borrow money.
The first time that Donald Trump argued about collusion, it was to claim that his political opponents were doing it. Then, it was to argue that he had not done it. Now his attorney is arguing that it’s not even a crime.
But legal experts say that the entire discussion around collusion has been beside the point.
“It’s not whether it’s the crime of collusion it’s whether they engaged in the act of collusion in furtherance of actual criminal behavior,” said Bradley Moss, an attorney in Washington D.C. who specializes in national security issues.
Peter Zeidenberg, who was deputy special counsel in the Scooter Libby case and worked with Special Counsel Robert Mueller at the Justice Department, explained that while the legal code doesn’t strictly define collusion, that doesn’t mean acts of collusion are not criminal.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Monday rejected Democratic calls for the committee to bring Donald Trump Jr. back to testify again about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting following Michael Cohen’s claims that Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting in advance.
“If he misled the committee, he’s lying to Congress. That’s a crime,” the Iowa Republican told CNN. “And that’d be up to the prosecutors, not me.”
Asked whether he would subpoena Trump Jr. for his phone records — which include calls Trump Jr. placed to a blocked number while setting up the Trump Tower meeting — Grassley said he didn’t think there was much more the committee needed to hear from Trump’s son.
“I think if he didn’t tell us the truth, that that’s an issue for the Justice Department, not us,” Grassley said. “And I’m not suggesting anything, I’m just saying there wouldn’t be much more for us to hear from him.”