Day 452: Morally unfit.

1/ James Comey called Trump "morally unfit to be president" and likened "the loyalty oaths" to a mob boss at "the dominant center of everything" who is doing "tremendous damage" to institutional and cultural norms. In his Sunday interview with George Stephanopoulos, Comey said that it is "possible, but I don't know" if Russia has compromising information on Trump. (ABC News / Reuters)

  • Annotated excerpts from James Comey's "20/20" interview. (New York Times)

  • Get Comey's book: "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" (Amazon)

2/ Trump tweeted that Comey is a "not smart," "self serving" liar, who deserves jail for being the "WORST FBI Director in history, by far." The tweets came hours before Comey's interview aired. Trump also insisted that Comey's memos are "FAKE!" while doubling down on calling the former FBI director a "Slimeball!" Trump also charged that the only reason Comey reopened the Clinton email investigation in the final days of the 2016 election was because he wanted a job in her administration. Trump added: "I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty." (Washington Post)

3/ Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Comey, accusing the former FBI director of lying to Congress and having "committed many crimes!" Trump did not specify what crimes he believed Comey and others have committed. (New York Times)

  • Obama's ethics lawyer believes Comey could sue Trump for libel and win. (The Hill)

4/ A federal judge rejected an attempt by Trump and Michael Cohen to block prosecutors from reviewing the materials seized in the FBI raids last week on Cohen's office, home, hotel room, and safe deposit box. Trump had asked a federal judge to block the Justice Department from viewing evidence, arguing that some of the evidence seized should first be reviewed by Trump, because it may be covered by attorney-client privilege. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

5/ Michael Cohen also represents Sean Hannity, one of Trump's outspoken advocates on cable TV. The revelation comes as part of a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop federal investigators from reviewing materials seized last week. The judge ordered Cohen to attend and provide information about his clients as she weighs the emergency action. Cohen's attorneys acknowledged that he represented Trump and Elliott Broidy in legal matters, but avoided naming the third client. Under pressure from the judge, Cohen's attorney said that the Fox News host was the third client. (Bloomberg / Politico / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)

  • Sean Hannity responds: "Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees." (Talking Points Memo)

  • Six times Sean Hannity defended Michael Cohen on Fox News. (Politico)

  • How Fox News reacted after Sean Hannity was revealed as Michael Cohen's mystery client. (Slate)

6/ Trump wants the power to hire and fire all "officers of the United States" who "exercise significant authority" under the law. Trump's solicitor general, Noel Francisco, intervened in a minor SEC case to urge the Supreme Court to clarify the president's constitutional "power to oversee executive officers through removal." The move comes as Trump has repeatedly claimed that he has the power to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Francisco could also be in line to oversee the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein is fired. (Los Angeles Times)

7/ Paul Ryan: "I don't think it's necessary" to pass a bill to protect Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump. "I don't think he's going to fire Mueller." Hundreds of former Justice Department employees, meanwhile, are urging Congress to "swiftly and forcefully respond" should Trump fire Mueller. (NBC News / Washington Post)

8/ Michael Cohen used the same Delaware LLC to handle the payoffs to Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who alleged Elliott Broidy impregnated her. Federal prosecutors are examining money flowing in and out of Essential Consultants as part of a broad investigation into Cohen's activities to silence women with allegations against Trump or those near him. Separately, Cohen also killed a 2013 Us Weekly story that would have reported about Donald Trump Jr. having an affair with one of the singers in the group Dumblonde. (Wall Street Journal)

9/ Trump's 2020 reelection campaign has spent about 22% of its funds raised on legal fees related to the ongoing special counsel investigation and a legal challenge by Stormy Daniels. The campaign has also spent about $125,000 at Trump businesses, including Trump International Hotel, Trump restaurants, and Trump Tower. (Washington Post / BuzzFeed News)

poll/ 56% of Americans disapprove of Trump's job performance, versus 40% who approve. Those who strongly disapprove outnumber those who strongly approve by nearly 2-1. (ABC News)

poll/ 47% of voters want a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared to 40% who prefer a GOP-controlled Congress – down from the Democrats' 10-point edge in March. (NBC News)


Notables.

  1. Trump tried to block Pence's national security adviser appointment. After Trump learned that Pence was bringing on Nikki Haley's deputy, Jon Lerner, Trump told Kelly to get rid of Lerner. (Axios)

  2. Jon Lerner stepped down two days after being named Pence's new national security aide. Trump was told – in error – that Lerner was a "Never Trumper," which caused him to boil over. Lerner offered to withdraw "to minimize the amount of conflict and internal drama." (Reuters)

  3. The Pentagon said there has been a "2,000% increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours," following the airstrikes against Syria on Friday night. (Axios)

  4. The Trump administration walked back Nikki Haley's announcement that the U.S. Treasury plans to issue additional sanctions on Russia following the chemical weapons attack in Syria last week. "We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future," Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. (The Hill)

  5. Trump was "furious" that his administration was being portrayed in the media for taking the toughest stance on Russia following the announcement that the U.S. planned to expel 60 Russian diplomats and suspected spies. Trump believed that France and Germany would match the United States' response. Instead, they each expelled four Russian officials. (Washington Post)

  6. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke invited a self-professed "birther" on his radio show in 2013 and raised questions about then-President Obama's college records. (CNN)

  7. Scott Pruitt's $43,000 secure "privacy booth" violated spending laws, the Government Accountability Office said. Pruitt told a congressional committee he needed the booth to make secure calls to the White House and discuss classified information, but he was unable to tell the lawmakers how often he would use it. (ABC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

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