DC Daily: Trump says Justice Department report is 'total disaster' for ex-FBI director Comey

Posted at 5:41 AM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 09:44:46-04

Here's what's making headlines in the political world on June 15, 2018:

Trump pounces on Justice Department report findings
-- President Trump on Friday offered his first reaction to a 500-page internal watchdog report issued by the Justice Department, decrying messages exchanged between two FBI employees expressing a desire to "stop" him from becoming president.

"Doesn't get any lower than that!" Trump tweeted, a day after the highly anticipated inspector general's report was released.

The report chastised FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page for exchanging a series of anti-Trump text messages, asserting they "cast a cloud" over the FBI's actions. In one, Strzok wrote Page "we'll stop it," referring to Trump's election.

But the report said there was no evidence "to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed."

Strzok worked briefly for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. But he was removed from that office after other politically charged texts came to light.

Trump has lambasted the investigation, saying it amounts to a "witch hunt." He has questioned the impartiality of the FBI, and raised the specter of a "deep state" out to get him.

Trump also called the report a "total disaster" for former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017. The report called his actions overseeing the Hillary Clinton email investigation "extraordinary and insubordinate" and flouted the department's norms -- but that Comey was not motivated by political bias.

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Trump approves tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods
-- President Trump has given his approval for the United States to put tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese exports, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

An official announcement is expected on Friday. The president's green light came after a meeting Thursday with top economic officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The move represents a serious escalation of trade tensions between the world's two largest economies — just as Trump has also picked fights with allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union over steel and aluminum.

It was first reported by Bloomberg.

Beijing previously said it would respond to American tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports with retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion of US products such as cars, planes and soybeans.

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Trump says Cohen is no longer his attorney
-- Speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Friday morning, President Trump said Michael Cohen is no longer his personal attorney.

Cohen has been under investigation by federal authorities and is accused of giving a $130,000 payment for silence to an adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with Trump.

The payment was made in 2016.

CNN reports compiled by 10News