It’s been a crazy week, but we’re at the finish line.
1) Trump says he never asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation.
After declaring on Twitter that the hiring of former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special counsel would prolong “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history,” Donald Trump doubled down on his claims that this is fake news.
From The New York Times:
President Trump declared angrily on Thursday that he was the victim of a witch hunt, and all but contradicted his deputy attorney general on the firing of the F.B.I. director, in an extensive denial of any collusion between his campaign and Russia.
Mr. Trump used a chaotic White House news conference with Colombia’s leader to directly confront a weeklong barrage of criticism and questions in a political storm that he said was dividing the nation. He also conspicuously distanced himself from aides like his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in repeating his claim that Moscow and its agents had not secretly assisted his campaign.
“I respect the move,” Mr. Trump said of the Justice Department’s decision on Wednesday to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter. “But the entire thing has been a witch hunt.”
“And there is no collusion between, certainly, myself and my campaign — but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians,” he said. “Zero.”
He also took aim at former FBI director James Comey.
But at his news conference, Mr. Trump reverted to the White House’s original claim that he was primarily responding to Mr. Rosenstein’s recommendation to dismiss Mr. Comey. The president had later claimed that he had moved against Mr. Comey in part because of his frustration over the F.B.I.’s handling of the Russia investigation.
“Director Comey was very unpopular with most people,” Mr. Trump said on Thursday. “When I made that decision, I actually thought that it would be a bipartisan decision. Because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such terrible things about Director Comey.”
2) Comey came to Trump meetings prepared. Very prepared.
Associates of the former FBI director told The Washington Post that Comey prepared “extensively” to ensure no lines were crossed:
FBI Director James B. Comey prepared extensively for his discussions with President Trump, out of concern that the president was unlikely to respect the legal and ethical boundaries governing their respective roles, according to associates of the now-fired FBI chief.
The associates recounted how worried Comey was about meeting with Trump and recalled conversations in which they brainstormed how to handle moments in which the president asked for details of an investigation.
One associate referred to Comey’s preparation as a kind of “murder board” — a phrase used to describe a committee of questioners that hurls tough questions at someone as practice for a difficult oral examination.
“He was pretty insistent that he would have to find a way to politically not answer it,” one associate recalled. “He was confident that he was not going to sacrifice the independence of the investigation, or his own moral compass, but at the same time, he would not try to purposely inflame his commander in chief.”
3) The deportation of Wendy Miranda Fernandez has been delayed.
From the INDY‘s Sarah Willets:
The deportation of a Durham twenty-three-year-old detained by immigration officials nearly two months ago has been delayed another week.
Wendy Miranda Fernandez was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 22 when she appeared before ICE seeking a stay of a previously issueId order of removal from the country. She is being held at LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana. Miranda Fernandez’s advocates say she was taken to an airport early Thursday morning only to be returned to LaSalle.
The news of the delay came this afternoon after North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield again reached out to ICE officials asking that Miranda Fernandez not be removed from the country while she has a pending asylum application before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Butterfield wrote to Sean Gallagher, field director for ICE’s Atlanta office on May 4.
“Moments ago, our office received notice from ICE that Wendy’s removal has been delayed another week in order to allow the BIA more time to consider her motion to reopen,” a spokesperson for Butterfield said in an email just before four p.m. today.
4) NCGOP leader Robin Hayes meets with Trump to talk 2018, 2020 strategy.
He’s apparently assuming Trump will still be around then.
From the N&O:
N.C. Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office Thursday to discuss the party’s efforts in upcoming elections.
The news release says Hayes and Trump “discussed the North Carolina Republican Party’s ongoing efforts to support the Trump policy agenda and the path to victory in North Carolina in 2018 and 2020.” The two also discussed tax policy and regulatory changes under GOP leadership in the state.
“President Trump was a great partner in 2016, and we’re all committed to working hard and supporting his efforts to ‘Make America Great Again,’” Hayes said.
5) Raleigh might finally, FINALLY get this Airbnb thing settled.
The Raleigh task force resident group proposed official Airbnb regulations at a meeting Thursday evening, voting to recommend allowing short-term rentals in Raleigh through sites like Airbnb.
Without Airbnb regulations in the city, technically short-term rentals are not allowed within city limits. But city officials do not enforce that rule.
Under the recommendations passed by the task force, owners would need a permit from the city to rent out property. The recommendations now go on to the city council.
Alright. That’s all for now. Have a great weekend.