It’s Wednesday, which means a new edition of the INDY is on the streets. Go grab one. In the meantime, let’s review some headlines.
1) Trump hires an attorney as the Russia probe heats up.
From The Washington Post:
President Trump has retained the services of a trusted lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and suspected Russian interference in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the decision.
Kasowitz, who has known Trump for decades, has represented Trump in numerous cases, including on his divorce records, real estate transactions and allegations of fraud at Trump University. He is a partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman in New York.
The White House has yet to respond to requests for comment on the move, but the hiring suggests the president is finally taking this whole thing seriously. And he probably should, considering …
2) Intelligence heavyweights were concerned about Trump’s camp’s contact with Russians.
Former CIA director John Brennan gave the most damning testimony regarding Krelimgate to date, telling the House Intelligence Committee that the agency alerted the FBI to a “troubling pattern” of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. From the Post:
“I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons,” Brennan said, adding that he did not see proof of collusion before he left office on Jan. 20, but “felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues.”
Brennan’s remarks represent the most detailed public accounting to date of his tenure as CIA director during the alleged Russian assault on the U.S. presidential race, and the agency’s role in triggering an FBI probe that Trump has sought to contain.
Former director of intelligence James Clapper didn’t go quite that far, but he told the committee this:
At that same hearing, former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said that Moscow’s leaders “must be congratulating themselves for having exceeded their wildest expectations with a minimal expenditure of resource,” a reference not only to the outcome of the 2016 race but also to the chaos that has characterized the early months of the Trump administration.
3) The president’s budget is likely dead on arrival.
Some Republicans are already balking at the steep cuts. From the Post:
President Trump’s proposal to cut federal spending by more than $3.6 trillion over the next decade — including deep reductions for programs that help the poor — faced harsh criticism in Congress on Tuesday, where even many Republicans said the White House had gone too far.
While some fiscally conservative lawmakers, particularly in the House, found a lot to praise in Trump’s plan to balance the budget within 10 years, most Republicans flatly rejected the White House proposal. The divide sets up a clash between House conservatives and a growing number of Senate Republicans who would rather work with Democrats on a spending deal than entertain Trump’s deep cuts.
“This is kind of the game,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.). “We know that the president’s budget won’t pass as proposed.”
Instead, Cornyn said he believes conversations are already underway about how Republicans can negotiate with Democrats to avoid across-the-board spending cuts that are scheduled to go into effect in October.
4) OWASA says its smelly water is OK to drink.
From the INDY:
Amid complaints about “an earthy or musty taste and odor,” OWASA says its water is safe to drink.
According to a news release from the town of Carrboro, the smelly water, which “several dozen customers” have complained about in the past week, is being caused by algae growing in the Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake.
“Although OWASA’s treatment process removes algae, some organic compounds may remain in the drinking water that can cause earthy or musty taste and odor,” the statement says.
To correct the issue, OWASA has made treatment changes, including using more powdered activated carbon, which is commonly used for this purpose.
5) U.K. on highest terror alert as another attack “imminent.”
In the wake of the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that left at least twenty-two people dead, the U.K. is bracing for more carnage. From The Telegraph:
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme in the wake of the attack at Parliament, Dominic Grieve, Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, said that the security services have foiled 12 attacks in the past 18 months.
He said: “We’ve been extraordinarily fortunate. It’s really been a miracle that it [a terrorist attack] hasn’t happened sooner.”
However, after the attack in Manchester that has so far left 22 dead and many more injured, Theresa May has now raised the terror threat in the UK to its highest possible level.
That’s it for now. Be safe out there, everyone.