The Republican candidate for an open House seat in Montana, Greg Gianforte, allegedly assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event Wednesday night. Jacobs described the situation on Twitter:
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson was directly outside the room in question, and she described "angry yelling" and a "giant crash." The Guardian posted audio of the encounter, where Gianforte can be heard shouting angrily, "I'm sick and tired of you guys!"
Gianforte's campaign put out a response accusing Jacobs of having "grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground." This account is rather divergent from the recorded one, not least because it says Gianforte asked Jacobs to lower his recorder and he refused, which cannot be heard in the posted audio.
Jacobs wrote an article detailing Gianforte's ties to sanctioned Russian companies last month. The election is tomorrow. Ryan Cooper
Before President Trump's inauguration, Michael Flynn told Trump's transition team that he was the subject of a federal investigation, two people with knowledge of the case told The New York Times on Wednesday.
Last August, Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, was secretly hired by a Turkish businessman to launch a campaign discrediting Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed for instigating a failed coup last July, but Flynn did not register as a foreign agent, as required by law. On Nov. 30, the Justice Department let him know they were looking into his lobbying work, and he retained a lawyer.
On Jan. 4, Flynn let Don McGahn, the transition team's chief lawyer and current White House counsel, know about the investigation, and two days later, Flynn's attorney alerted transition lawyers. Despite the revelation, Trump still chose Flynn as his national security adviser, giving him access to almost every state secret, the Times said. Flynn was fired after 24 days on the job, when it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of discussions he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The White House would not comment on the report. Before Flynn was fired, acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House that he could be the subject of blackmail due to his conversations with the ambassador. Catherine Garcia
The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Robert Mueller, who led the FBI for 12 years during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, will serve as special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. The announcement comes after the revelation Tuesday night that former FBI Director James Comey kept detailed notes of his conversations with President Trump, including when Trump allegedly asked Comey to drop his Russia-linked investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The FBI has been investigating hacking into emails to hurt Hillary Clinton, a Russian campaign of spreading fake news before the election, and whether associates of Trump colluded with Russia during the campaign. Catherine Garcia
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is calling The Washington Post's report that President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week "very, very troubling" if true.
"To compromise a source is something you just don't do," Corker said. The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says that during a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump "began describing details about an Islamic State terrorist threat" that were given to the U.S. by a partner through a sensitive intelligence-sharing agreement. "The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order. It's got to happen," added Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening."
Other senators are also weighing in, with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) saying if the Post's report is accurate, "this is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources and methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that while Trump has "the right" to leak classified information, he needs to "be careful," and "we certainly don't want any president" to go around sharing such sensitive matters. During the presidential campaign, Trump tweeted that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was "not fit" for the presidency because Clinton and her team "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." Catherine Garcia
On Facebook Live Sunday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill that bans so-called "sanctuary cities," which fail to comply with at least some requests from federal immigration enforcement authorities.
Under the new law, police can now ask anyone they detain about their immigration status, and local officials have to comply with federal requests to hold suspects who might be deported. "We all support legal immigration," Abbott said. "It helped build America and Texas. But legal immigration is different from harboring people who have committed dangerous crimes." The bill was opposed by every major police chief in Texas, Democrats, and immigrant rights activists, who call it unconstitutional and pledged to fight it in court.
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has set a policy for her department that limits how the jail cooperates with requests from federal immigration officials, while honoring petitions for inmates accused of serious offenses. The law bans such policies, with punishment including fines and removing officials from their posts and charging them with a crime. Abbott's office gave little notice of the signing, so protesters could not assemble. Catherine Garcia
On Thursday, Congress will vote on the Republicans' plan to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more than a month after an earlier version of the bill was withdrawn from the House floor because it didn't have enough GOP support.
For the American Health Care Act to pass, it needs 216 votes; 18 Republican lawmakers have announced they oppose the plan, and 24 have declared they are still undecided, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday evening "we have enough votes." Some moderate Republicans have said the revised AHCA does not offer enough help for people with pre-existing conditions, and on Wednesday, President Trump signed off on a proposal adding $8 billion to a fund to assist patients with pre-existing conditions, but many experts and doctors say that's not close to being enough money. Catherine Garcia
On Sunday evening, leaders in Congress reached an agreement to fund the government through the end of September, congressional aides told Politico.
The deal includes $1.5 billion for border security, $2 billion in new spending for the National Institutes of Health, and extends health insurance benefits for coal miners that were set to expire on Friday. The agreement does not include any funding for a border wall with Mexico. Democrats and Republicans were unable to reach a final deal last week, due to a disagreement over funding Medicaid in Puerto Rico through the end of summer 2018. On Friday, Congress passed a stopgap bill to keep the government funded through May 5, avoiding a shutdown. Catherine Garcia
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that there will not be a vote on health-care legislation this week, as Republicans are "still educating members."
The vote is now delayed until next week at the earliest, Politico reports. A vote was slated to be held on the GOP's American Health Care Act last month, but after several members of the conservative Freedom Caucus said they didn't support it, the bill was yanked from the floor by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The bill was amended by Freedom Caucus and centrist Tuesday Group members this week, but more than 15 Republican lawmakers have publicly said they will not vote for this new version of the AHCA. President Trump, nearing his 100th day in office, had said he would immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare once president. Catherine Garcia