Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

The White House

  • President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and later contradicted the official White House explanation for doing so. While voters are split on the issue, many Republicans have come around to support Trump’s decision.
  • Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office, the highest-level meeting between Trump and Russian officials since he was sworn in. Though Russia has been criticized for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, more Americans said Comey’s actions surrounding the Hillary Clinton email investigation influenced the election outcome.
  • For the second time, the White House delayed a meeting to discuss whether or not to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. The meeting has not been rescheduled, and the administration pushed back its self-imposed deadline for a decision.
  • Trump’s top military and foreign policy advisers proposed a plan that would expand U.S. efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The proposal would delegate authority to the Pentagon, rather than the White House, to set troop levels.
  • Trump signed an executive order that seeks to strengthen digital infrastructure to defend the United States from cyberattacks.


  • House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) are working with the Trump administration to draft an immigration and border security bill — the most serious effort yet in the 115th Congress to address the issue.
  • As the House Freedom Caucus worked with senators to draft a health care plan, a Morning Consult/POLITICO survey found that Obamacare is more popular than the House-passed measure.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate is scheduled to convene Monday at 3 p.m. Up first is the nomination of Jeffrey Rosen to serve as deputy secretary of the Transportation Department. 
  • The House is slated to convene at 12 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Rosenstein will make a visit to Capitol Hill for an all-senators’ briefing, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office. No date was announced.
  • As it continues its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to meet behind closed doors three times this week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Calendar Events (All Times Local)

Senate convenes 3 p.m.
CATO Institute event on the Iran deal 10 a.m.
Senate Banking Committee considers several nominations 10 a.m.
House convenes 12 p.m.
U.S. Chamber Global Supply Chain Summit 8:15 a.m.
Sen. Lee, OMB’s Mulvaney speak at Federalist Society conference 9 a.m.
USDA’s Perdue at House Agriculture Committee 10 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers former Sen. Scott Brown for New Zealand ambassador 2 p.m.
Rep. Brady speaks at Politico tax event 5:30 p.m.
Rep. Delaney at Atlantic Council event on infrastructure 6 p.m.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce event with Arizona Gov. Ducey, Kentucky Gov. Bevin on foreign investment in U.S. 8:30 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers William Hagerty for Japan ambassador 9:30 a.m.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at Senate Banking committee 10 a.m.
Bipartisan Policy Center event on infrastructure 10 a.m.
Sen. Murphy speaks at Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy 12:15 p.m.
Hoover Institution Event with EPA’s Pruitt 5 p.m.
No events scheduled


Morning Consult Washington Top Reads

1) Trump to Announce Slate of Conservative Federal Court Nominees
Adam Liptak, The New York Times

2) U.S. poised to expand military effort against Taliban in Afghanistan
Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe, The Washington Post

3) Comey’s removal sparks fears about future of Russia Probe
Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post

4) Days Before Firing, Comey Asked for More Resources for Russia Inquiry
Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times

5) Partisanship a Strong Factor in Voters’ Stances on Comey Firing
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

6) Yes, It Is Definitely Possible For The House And Senate To Agree On Health Care
Matt Fuller, Huffpost

7) Trump Approval Rating Drops Again After Health Care Vote
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

8) James Comey’s Testimony on Huma Abedin Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate
Peter Elkind, ProPublica

9) The Identity Politics Of The Trump Administration
Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight

10) 24 House Republicans Face Attacks Over Health Care Vote
Simone Pathé, Roll Call


Washington Brief: Trump Calls Naming of Special Counsel the ‘Greatest Witch Hunt of a Politician’ in U.S. History

Robert Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, was named special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oversee the FBI’s investigation into Russian connections to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump responded on Twitter by saying the naming of a special counsel is “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Washington Brief: Chaffetz Demands FBI Turn Over All Records of Comey’s Meetings With Trump

A memo written in February by now-former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey says President Donald Trump urged him to abandon an FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) demanded that the FBI turn over all documents related to meetings between Trump and Comey.

Washington Brief: Trump Defends Sharing Intelligence on ISIS With Russian Officials

President Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador during a White House meeting last week, jeopardizing a source of intelligence on the Islamic State and drawing criticism from Republicans such as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker. Trump later said on Twitter that he has an “absolute right” to share “facts” with Russia.

Washington Brief: Senate Intel Panel Subpoenas Flynn in Russia Probe

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey had requested more resources for the FBI’s Russian investigation shortly before President Donald Trump fired him. Congressional probes have been relying, in part, on the FBI’s efforts, and the Senate Intelligence Committee stepped up its pace on Wednesday by issuing its first subpoena, to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

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