Last week, the Trump administration’s infrastructure reboot got buried by controversy. And President Donald Trump isn’t going to have much luck refocusing the nation’s attention on his White House agenda this week. Continuing chatter about what Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony means for the administration, global terror and rapidly declining Middle Eastern stability are becoming massive distractions. Here’s the latest.
Guests on Sunday’s political news programs focused largely on whether Comey’s testimony provided “vindication” for Trump, as the White House said, or provided reason to intensify inquiries into the president’s actions.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that he and fellow Democrats hope to next have Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought in to testify.
“There are some questions about Sessions that have to be asked,” Schumer said.
The Democrat also said he’d like to see the president brought to Capitol Hill for testimony on allegations of collusion.
The president said Friday he was “100 percent” willing to provide testimony.
Other conversations centered on Comey’s admission that he was the source of leaked memos that created questions about Trump’s motivation for firing him.
Texas Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert said any questions Comey may have brought up about Trump’s actions should be overshadowed by his admission that former AG Loretta Lynch asked him to downplay the seriousness of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails ahead of the election.
“Credibility is always relevant, it’s always material, and when Comey said he … took a memo of what the president said because he was afraid of what he might do in the future, whereas you have the attorney general herself basically telling him to lie,” he told Fox News.
Gohmert added: “She knew it was a criminal investigation — the FBI is not allowed to look into matters, it’s got to be an investigation.”
The lawmaker said Comey’s lack of a memo on the Lynch request that made him uncomfortable suggests that his motivation for writing “memos” on Trump is questionable at best.
New York Republican Rep. Steve King agreed, saying lawmakers should “figure out why [Comey] didn’t take memos, prepared memos, in his dealings” with Lynch.
Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, meanwhile, told ABC’s “This Week” that he had no reason to believe Comey lied during his testimony.
“Nonetheless, I’m not wild about the fact that he had these memos leaked, leaked specifically with the intent of prompting the appointment of a special counsel. That doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of thing we want out of an FBI director,” he said.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Sunday she agrees with GOP lawmakers uneasy about Lynch’s request.
“I would have a queasy feeling too … to be candid with you,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think we need to know more about that, and there’s only one way to know about it, and that’s to have the Judiciary Committee take a look at that.”
The lawmaker said that a Judiciary investigation focused on Lynch should take place separately from any Trump/Russia inquiries.
That wasn’t the only slight political surprise over the weekend.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, in an interview published by The Guardian Sunday, took a swipe at the Trump administration. According to the senator, the world is losing confidence in the U.S. at a time when his party controls both Congress and the White House.
Asked whether the country was in better shape under President Obama’s leadership, McCain replied, “yes.”
“As far as American leadership is concerned, yes,” McCain said.
The senator told the newspaper Trump is sending the world a message that America “doesn’t want to lead” with recent actions and remarks.
“They are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica,” he said.