* Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz and Matt Zapotosky report that, well, it’s on:
The Justice Department has decided to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian officials seeking to meddle in last year’s election, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Robert Mueller, a former prosecutor who served as the FBI director from 2001 to 2013, has agreed to serve in the role, Rosenstein said. The move marks a concession by the Trump administration to Democratic demands for the investigation to be run independently of the Justice Department. Calls for a special counsel have increased since Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey last week.
“In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,’’ Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.’’
We’re officially into the pantheon of major scandals now. Can President Trump create the biggest, grandest, most fantastic scandal anyone has ever seen? I have faith in him.
“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,” Trump said.
Toward the end of a half-hour address, he advised the graduating class to “never stop doing what you know is right,” before ticking off what he characterized as accomplishments from the early stages of his presidency, including a reduction in illegal border crossings and a plan to deliver “the largest tax cut in history.”
So when you face obstacles, you must whine, moan and complain as much as possible. What an inspiring message for these idealistic young people.
* Maria Sacchetti reports that there’s at least one area where Trump is keeping his promises:
Federal immigration agents are arresting more than 400 immigrants a day, including violent offenders, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday. The sharpest increase in arrests is among immigrants who have never been convicted of any crime.
In President Trump’s first 100 days in office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period last year, the agency said. More than three out of four of those arrested have criminal records.
Wait, I thought he said he was just going to round up killers and rapists.
* Elise Viebeck, Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane report that congressional committees are starting to act on the scandals swirling around the White House:
Congressional Republicans had spent much of Wednesday increasing pressure on the administration to produce records related to the latest string of controversies involving Trump, amid flagging confidence in the White House and a growing sense that scandal is overtaking the presidency.
As the White House sought to contain the damage from its scandals, leaders of two key Senate committees asked the FBI for documents related to former director James B. Comey, who was leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election before Trump fired him last week.
At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) broke his silence on the Comey affair to say that lawmakers “need to hear from him as soon as possible.”
Sounds like McConnell hopes we can just get the whole thing behind us. Something tells me it won’t be that easy.
* Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Julia Angwin report that electronic security at the Trump properties where he spends much of his time is absurdly lax.
* Michelle Goldberg argues that this is the beginning of the end for Trump.
* Jonathan Bernstein says that employing the 25th Amendment would be a terrible way to get rid of Trump.
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