Lest you be confused about how central politics is to life in D.C., bars around town are opening at 9:30 a.m Eastern today for people to gather to watch former FBI Director James Comey testify in open session before Congress. At least one pub apparently wants to go bankrupt because it’s offering a free round of drinks each time the President Trump tweets. The hearings start at 10 a.m. Eastern/9 a.m. Central Time and will be carried on most networks, but just in case you are at work—here’s the link to CSPAN.
Meanwhile, we got a preview of what Comey will say when his written testimony was posted online yesterday. It is very much worth your time if you haven’t read it yet. What is remarkable to me is that the testimony pretty much matches the stories reported in The Washington Post and The New York Times. So much for “fake news.”
President Trump’s attorneys then released a statement saying that the president felt the testimony vindicated him. Of note:
Over on the Lawfare blog, editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes provides his perspective of the testimony. Wittes is friends with Comey so his take is rather interesting.
In other foreign policy news:
CNN reports President Trump has changed course on the situation involving Qatar—apparently offering to help mediate the differences. (I’m guessing someone let him know the U.S. has quite a few troops currently stationed there.) The Washington Post has this interesting analysis calling into question reports that Russia could be involved in the spat due to growing “information warfare” in the region.
The New York Times reports South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has announced he is delaying the deployment of an American missile defense system. This will likely make China very happy.
Along with the Comey hearings, there’s another big thing happening today: The United Kingdom is having its election. My friend, Libby Watson, is British and wrote this explainer laced with her wit for Fusion digital magazine. I think you’ll enjoy learning about this mess through her humor.
North Korea (yes, North Korea) is calling Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement “the height of egotism.”
Over in Congress:
Politico has an interesting story piecing together the secret negotiations by Republicans for a new health care law. It goes without saying it is very concerning that this is not being done with full transparency.
Seventy-eight House Democrats and 25 Senate Democrats reportedly have signed onto a lawsuit against President Trump over his conflicts of interest—or violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
Montana Representative Greg Gianforte has made a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists and written an apology to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for assaulting him on the day before the special election. Jacobs has accepted the apology.
Terribly sad news reported about Hutchinson Representative Patsy Terrell. Keep her family in your prayers.
One of the new astronauts, Loral O’Hara, is a KU grad. Rock Chalk Astronaut! (Credit to my friend, Laurie, who came up with that.)
CNN has an interesting piece wondering if the far-right is abandoning Breitbart.
That’s it for today, folks!