* Sari Horwitz and Adam Entous report that, in a shocking development, Michael Flynn may have said some things that weren’t true. Trouble is, he said them to the wrong people:
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn denied to FBI agents in an interview last month that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States before President Trump took office, contradicting the contents of intercepted communications collected by intelligence agencies, current and former U.S. officials said.
The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy, as lying to the FBI is a felony, but any decision to prosecute would ultimately lie with the Justice Department. Some officials said bringing a case could prove difficult in part because Flynn may attempt to parse the definition of sanctions.
You can bet that right now over at the DNC, researchers are looking for quotes of Republicans from 1998 about how lying under oath is the most heinous crime imaginable.
* Ashley Parker and John Wagner report that President Trump held another surreal press conference today:
President Trump on Thursday aired his grievances against the news media, the intelligence community and his detractors generally in a sprawling, stream-of-consciousness news conference that alternated between claims that he had “inherited a mess” and the assertion that his fledgling administration “is running like a fine-tuned machine.”
“To be honest, I inherited a mess,” Trump said, in a news conference that lasted more than an hour and was at times rambling, combative and pointed. “It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country.”
Yet moments later, the president seemed to acknowledge the widespread reports of turbulence and upheaval emanating out of his West Wing, only to claim that his White House — which so far has been marred by staff infighting, a controversial travel ban, false statements and myriad leaks — was operating seamlessly.
“I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos — chaos,” he said. “Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved.”
My favorite part was when he said he had “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” Which is true as long as you don’t count Bush’s win in 1988, Clinton’s in 1992, Clinton’s in 1996, Obama’s in 2008, or Obama’s in 2012.
So his was the sixth-largest electoral college win out of the eight elections since Reagan. Or the largest, depending on how you look at it. When a reporter asked him about it a few minutes later, he said, “I’ve seen that information around.” OK then.
A hearing in El Paso County in Texas went from ordinary to “unprecedented” last week when half a dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at a courthouse where an undocumented woman was seeking a protective order against the boyfriend she accused of abusing her.
The woman, a citizen of Mexico who was living in El Paso had been driven to the courthouse by a victim’s advocate from the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse where she had been living.
She left under arrest.
“This is really unprecedented,” El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal told The Washington Post.
It was the first time in her 23 years at the courthouse, Bernal said, that she can remember ICE agents making their presence known during a protective order hearing. The agents had come to stake out the woman, identified by her initials I.E.G., because, Bernal speculates, they likely received a tip from the only other person who knew the time and place of the hearing — the woman’s alleged abuser.
Remember how Trump talked about what a big heart he has?
* All the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee write a letter to Jeff Sessions urging him to recuse himself from any investigation into the connection between the Trump administration and Russia.
* Irina Reznik, Stepan Kravchenko, and Ilya Arkhipov report that Russian state media has been ordered by the Kremlin to dial back on its fawning Trump coverage.
* Adele Stan suggests that perhaps Michael Flynn knows things about Donald Trump that Trump would rather not see become public.