U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, in Vienna, Austria on Jan. 16, 2016. Credit: AP
President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum Tuesday withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. The deal was negotiated and entered into in July 2015 with the aim of reducing Iran’s ability to develop a mass nuclear weapons program.
Here’s a look at the history of the agreement.
July 14, 2015
Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China — after 17 days of negotiations in Vienna — agree to the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Under the JCPOA, commonly referred to as the Iran deal, Iran agrees to reduce its nuclear facilities; in return, the other nations agree to lift economic sanctions.
March 21, 2016
Russia has more warheads than ever, N Korea is testing nukes, and Iran got a sweetheart deal to keep theirs. Thanks, @HillaryClinton.
Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, in a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, says his “number one priority” is to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” On the campaign trail, Trump frequently criticizes the agreement as “weak,” and the “worst deal ever.”
Jan. 28, 2017
Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!
Days after Trump is sworn into office, Iran tests a medium-range ballistic missile. The administration responds by stating that Iran has been put “on notice,” and will be held accountable for its actions.
At the G-20 summit, Trump urges foreign leaders not to do business with Iran, according to White House officials. Iran takes issue with the move, saying it violates the United States’ end of “the bargain.”
A day after renewing the United States’ role in the agreement, the administration unveils a series of non-nuclear related sanctions against Iran, arguing that Iran’s actions “undermine regional stability.”
Jan. 12, 2018
Trump says he will withdraw unless flaws in the deal are reworked. He says his administration is in talks with European allies on a revised deal that would impose sanctions if Iran tests long-range missiles.
French President Emmanuel Macron, pictured above, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in back-to-back visits to the White House, urge Trump to remain in the deal or risk destabilizing the multinational accord.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a dramatic televised presentation accusing Iran of lying about its nuclear weapons capabilities and urging the United States to withdraw from the deal. Trump, asked about the speech, says it “showed that I’ve been 100 percent right.”
Trump announces that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose economic sanctions.
His office fought for reproductive rights and equality for women in the workplace, and he often spoke about the need to protect sexual assault survivors. Then on Monday evening State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman resigned after four women accused him in The New Yorker magazine of physically assaulting them.
Here’s a look back at what Schneiderman has said about women’s rights and violence against women during his time as attorney general.
April 16, 2018:
Schneiderman applauded The New York Times and New Yorker journalists who won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the #MeToo movement. He noted their work spurred a “national reckoning,” Schneiderman said in a tweet.
Without the reporting of the @nytimes and the @newyorkerâand the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they endured at the hands of powerful menâthere would not be the critical national reckoning underway. A well-deserved honor: https://t.co/h4QMPzEU5c
Schneiderman and 19 other Attorneys General sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rebuking the potential roll back of Title IX guidelines on campus sexual assault investigations. He said in a statement:
“Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration must ensure student safety and send a clear message: sexual assault has no place on our campuses or anywhere.”
April 29, 2015:
“Today, we stand with victims to share 1 clear message: There’s no excuse for committing acts of sexual violence,” Schneiderman tweeted.
He shared the message on Denim Day, an annual event that started after an Italian court overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans during the assault. The justices believed that because the jeans were tight-fitting the victim had to have removed them herself, implying her consent.
Today, we stand with victims to share 1 clear message: There's no excuse for committing acts of sexual violence. #YesMeansYes#DenimDay2015
On the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, Schneiderman said in a statement that safety is a “fundamental right.”
“Basic safety is not a privilege: It is a fundamental right. Protecting all Americans from harm, regardless of their relationship to their abuser or their gender, is and will remain one of the most important aspects of our ongoing pursuit of equal justice under law.”
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo first came into office seven years ago he was viewed as a moderate who ever since has inched further left.
He’s raised the minimum wage and expanded a version of free college tuition for middle-class families. But recent policy moves, including uniting Senate Democrats and a proposed plastic bag ban, are seen by some as a fending off of his progressive challenger.
The governor’s been criticized for lurching further left and moving in on progressive issues that have been taken up by Cynthia Nixon, who announced her candidacy in March.
Here’s a look at some of the issues they’ve sparred over in recent weeks.
On unifying Senate Democrats
March 29, Nixon
Nixon tweeted out a video about the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of senators who broke with mainline Democrats in 2011 and formed a power-sharing agreement with Republicans in 2012 to give the GOP control of the Senate.
Watch Edie Falco (!) explain how the fake Democrats in the IDC are preventing NY from being a real blue state. This September, we can defeat every single one of them â and the Governor who enabled them. h/t @thecreateresistpic.twitter.com/7OHsRsQoQl
Cuomo and legislators announced the dissolution of the IDC at a news conference at his Manhattan gubernatorial office.
“What we’re saying here today is, we have a common enemy, and the common enemy is defeating Trumpâ¦and their agenda,” Cuomo said. “So, we call for Democratic unity for the greater good.”
On empowering black women:
April 4, Nixon:
In the candidate’s first national television interview on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Nixon called black women the “backbone” of the Democratic party and said that “we need to let them lead.”
April 23, Cuomo:
Cuomo announced initiatives to address high maternity-mortality rates among African-American women.
On legalizing marijuana:
April 11, Nixon:
Nixon has strongly supported legalizing marijuana, calling it a social justice issue and a “key front in the racist war on drugs.”
“There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana. But for me it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity,” Nixon said. “If there was more political courage coming out of Albany, we would have done this already.”
April 20, Cuomo:
A Cuomo spokesman said the Governor would support Sen. Chuck Schumer’s federal bill to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use. Cuomo has previously opposed legalizing marijuana and in February 2017 called it a “gateway drug.”
On protecting the environment:
April 21, Nixon:
Nixon said Cuomo has not done enough to increase the state’s use of renewable energy as
“At a time when Donald Trump has pulled out of the Paris accords, we can lead not only for our own state, but we can show the nation how to lead in renewable energy,” Nixon said.
April 21, Cuomo:
As Nixon and about 1,000 environmental activists arrived at the Capitol, Cuomo announced a proposal to ban plastic shopping bags throughout the state. A spokeswoman also pointed to the governor’s strong environmental record, which includes banning hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and moving to shutter the Indian Point nuclear plant.
“The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources, and we need to take action to protect our environment,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo aides said the proposal had been in the works for months, well ahead of Nixon’s entry into the governor’s race. But some noted that in 2017 Cuomo killed a proposal that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City.
Single-use plastic bags are trash that pollute our land and water.
Nixon called on Cuomo to end the use of tests in job evaluations. She said using standardized test scores to judge teacher performance has led to more standardized testing, which has prompted many parents statewide to opt their children out of state tests.
“A few years ago Andrew Cuomo described teacher evaluation based on high stakes testing as one of his greatest legacies,” Nixon tweeted. “Now he’s hoping that parents and teachers have forgotten all about it. Enough of the delays and excuses: it’s time to repeal the [Annual Professional Performance Review] now.”
A few years ago Andrew Cuomo described teacher evaluation based on high stakes testing as one of his greatest legacies. Now heâs hoping that parents and teachers have forgotten all about it. Enough of the delays and excuses: itâs time to repeal the APPR now.
Serves as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County. Includes stint as chief of homicide bureau, where he prosecuted high-profile cases, including the murder of 13-year-old John Pius in Smithtown. That case featured teenage witness and later Spota protégé James Burke, who would go on to work as Spota’s chief investigator before becoming Suffolk police’s chief of department in 2012.
Works in private practice. Gains political prominence representing county law enforcement unions.
Switches party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run for Suffolk district attorney against longtime Republican DA James Catterson. After bruising campaign, Spota wins by a large margin.
Releases grand jury report on sexual abuse by 58 priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre dating back decades. Wins national attention for issuing one of the first such reports in the country.
Wins first re-election, without an opponent and endorsed by all major and minor parties.
Wins conviction of Islip Town Supervisor Peter McGowan, a Republican, on corruption charges stemming from illegal use of $1.2 million campaign fund.
Wins second re-election, again without an opponent and endorsed by all major and minor parties.
Brokers deal with County Executive Steve Levy that results in Levy not seeking a third term and turning over his $4 million campaign war chest to Spota’s office. Spota closes a criminal investigation into Levy’s fundraising. Neither Spota nor Levy has ever provided a detailed explanation of the agreement.
The state’s highest court rules that Suffolk’s 12-year term limit does not apply to the district attorney’s office, allowing Spota to run for a fourth term. He again receives cross-endorsements from all major parties, defeats a GOP primary challenger and wins re-election.
Secures guilty plea of Suffolk information technology commissioner Donald Rodgers on misdemeanor counts related to his failing to disclose business interests on his county financial disclosure form and his work on a multimillion-dollar county software deal.
Begins investigating then-Babylon Democratic chairman Robert Stricoff for alleged irregularities in campaign committee expenses. He later refers the case to the state Board of Elections.
His protégé Burke is charged by federal prosecutors with beating a man who had broken into his SUV and then orchestrating a departmentwide cover-up. Burke pleaded guilty and later is sentenced to 46 months in federal prison.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stands on the steps of Spota’s office and asks for his resignation, saying Spota was heading a “criminal enterprise” that used the prosecutor’s office to punish enemies and protect friends. Spota accuses Bellone of having a “personal vendetta against me for investigating and prosecuting people he is close to.”
Newsday reports that federal prosecutors had opened a criminal investigation into the actions of Spota’s office, including handling of the Levy and Burke cases, those involving Stricoff and Rodgers, and a 2011 shooting of an unarmed cabdriver by an off-duty Nassau police officer who had been drinking heavily and was never charged. Spota has denied wrongdoing.
May 12, 2017
Spota announces he will not seek a fifth term.
Oct. 25, 2017
Spota is indicted on federal charges in a cover-up of Burke’s assault of a suspect in 2012.
Smithtown politician Patrick Vecchio, the longest-serving town supervisor in Long Island history, will leave office at the end of this year, after losing a close vote to a rival from his own party last week.
When he began overseeing Smithtown in 1978, he embarked on a political career that ultimately would span seven U.S. presidents and witness a world of change over four decades.
Below, see milestones from Vecchio’s career on the left, and, on the right, major world events that occurred during the course of his time as Smithtown town supervisor.
Dec. 8, 1977
Vecchio defeats Republican town Supervisor Charles Cacciabaudo by 67 votes.
Jan. 20, 1981
Ronald Reagan becomes president. Iran hostage crisis ends.
Wages unsuccessful campaign to unseat state Sen. James Lack.
Nov. 5, 1985
Wins fifth two-year term as supervisor.
January 28, 1986
Space shuttle Challenger disaster
May 25, 1989
Endorsed by Smithtown Republicans for re-election, the first time he receives bipartisan backing.
Nov. 7, 1989
Wins seventh term – and first four-year term. (Voters in 1988 had approved extending the supervisor’s term.)
Nov. 9, 1989
Berlin Wall falls.
Feb. 13, 1990
Switches parties in bid to unseat Democratic County Executive Patrick Halpin.
Sept. 12, 1991
Loses both Republican and Conservative county executive primaries.
July 17, 1996
TWA Flight 800 crashes off Long Island.
Sept. 11, 2001
World Trade Center attacks.
June 29, 2007
The first iPhone is released.
Nov. 3, 2009
Wins 12th term as supervisor, defeating Democrat Patricia Biancaniello.
Nov. 6, 2012
Barack Obama is elected president for a second term.
Sept. 10, 2013
Defeats Councilman Robert Creighton in Republican primary. Goes on to win November general election.
Jan. 20, 2017
Donald Trump becomes president.
Sept. 25, 2017
Concedes defeat in Republican primary to Councilman Edward Wehrheim.
While the role of a borough president can seem ceremonial at times, these are the only politicians whose sole purpose is to advocate for a whole borough.
“The borough-wide perspective is an important one, and we work with the legislators in order to deliver that perspective,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz says.
The borough presidents use that perspective to advise on issues like land use and the city budget. Their primary role isn’t to pass legislation, Katz notes, although they can sponsor legislation if they partner with a member of City Council. But in order to achieve their agendas, they must work with city agencies.
“In Borough Hall, what you do is interwoven in these agencies, and you need to figure out a way to get the mayor and the administration to work with you,” Staten Island Borough President James Oddo says, noting that it’s different from working in City Council, where there are ways to achieve agendas “not only without the administration’s help, but despite the administration’s help.”
The five borough presidents, who are all up for reelection in November, focus on issues that many city politicians speak on, including securing affordable housing and promoting healthy living.
Their days can include anything from mundane meetings to dancing with seniors at a local center. Here’s a snapshot of the lives of each of the borough presidents.
Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr.
“We’ve been so beaten down psychologically and spiritually.” Credit: Corey Sipkin
Ruben Diaz Jr. “can’t stand” that his son, in his 20s, moved to upper Manhattan when he graduated college, he says with a laugh over lunch at a Bronx pizzeria.
He wants young people, like his son, to stay in the Bronx, but that hasn’t always been the mindset. When the borough president grew up in the Bronx, the mindset was to get an education and get a job so you could “get the hell out.” Now, as the borough sees more and more development, there’s more reason to stay, he says.
In order for that “skilled, young workforce” to remain, however, there needs to be affordability — and not only for the lowest incomes, Diaz, who has been borough president since 2009, says. Affordable housing needs to have a mix of availability for low-income and middle-income.
“If you don’t have that balance, then you’re really not setting our professionals up for a place to stay here.”
Hear more from Diaz by clicking on the video above.
Staten Island BP James Oddo
“Staten Islanders have an elevated expectation of their elected officials.” Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
“I am hyper by nature. I like to bounce around the building,” Borough President James Oddo says as he tosses a rubber ball between his hands at his desk at Staten Island’s Borough Hall in St. George.
That energy also translates to his job, which he said is “to fight for Staten Island every day, all day,” and many days it is a fight – with city agencies.
“I’ve told the mayor in chapter and verse, in Technicolor language, about just how frustrating it is to deal with agencies like DDC [Department of Design and Construction], and at times DOT [Department of Transportation].”
Oddo, who was a council member for 15 years before becoming borough president in 2014, works with city agencies on quality of life issues like getting roads paved, which he says has been a long battle.
“For 15 years, we essentially underinvested in our roads in terms of resurfacing, and four years ago, just about any community in Staten Island, just about every other block was crumbling,” but in the last three years, more roads have been paved than ever before, Oddo says.
Hear more from Oddo by clicking on the video above.
Queens BP Melinda Katz
“People, right now, are trying to figure out all over the world how to bring their kids and their parents to the borough of Queens.” Credit: Raychel Brightman
When Melinda Katz introduced her then-6-year-old son to an assemblyman, young Carter was confused because he wasn’t a woman.
“Men can be elected officials, too,” she recalls telling him, adding that he “learned that on that day.”
“From my son’s perspective, women are very strong,” she says.
Katz, a single mom raising her two sons in her own childhood home in Forest Hills, served in City Council between 2002 and 2009 and became borough president in 2013. She often refers to Queens as the “borough of growth” or the “borough of families.”
“We have folks coming in from all over to bring up their kids here.”
But there are challenges that come with that growth, including a need for more jobs in the borough. “The economy is the key factor in moving forward here,” Katz says. “The creation of jobs as we grow is going to be the pivotal thing.”
Hear more from Katz by clicking on the video above.
Brooklyn BP Eric Adams
“There’s no building off limits.” Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
Eric Adams is incredibly proud of his transformation after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016.
“I want to be a living example of how wellness matters, how you can reverse your condition by living a healthier lifestyle and making smarter choices,” he says in his Downtown Brooklyn office, which features a cooking station, exercise equipment and a standing desk. By becoming vegan and exercising every day, Adams, who took office in 2014, says he was able to reverse his diagnosis.
As borough president, he wants to give residents of Brooklyn – the second unhealthiest borough according to the 2017 County Health Rankings – the tools to “take power over their health.”
One way he does this is by investing in greenhouses, especially at NYCHA properties, “where you have some of the worst eating habits and access to healthy food,” and at schools, where healthy habits can be taught to children who can then teach their parents, he says.
Hear more from Adams by clicking on the video above.
Manhattan BP Gale Brewer
“The biggest challenge in Manhattan is the affordability crisis.” Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
Even Gale Brewer can’t overcome Manhattan’s transit problems. “The traffic is an issue. Sometimes the subway’s faster, but not always,” she said, after deciding she won’t be able to make an event before a 2 p.m. meeting at her office near City Hall. “It’s too bad, I was trying to get to it.”
The borough president craves face-to-face meetings with her constituents, appearing at as many as 12 events, public meetings, rallies or other functions a day.
“You can only do so many things.”
In between events, though, Brewer — a college professor and mom of several foster kids — also tries to mentor younger generations. Her office accepts all intern applicants, who can range from high school students to graduate students, and she’s been known to have as many as 150 interns at one time.
Brewer, who was elected in 2013, said she likes to have as many as possible. “It gives us an excitement of young ideas in the office,” she said. “I love to see them grow.”
Hear more from Brewer by clicking on the video above.
In a highly anticipated congressional hearing, former FBI Director James Comey gave blunt answers to questions about his interactions with President Donald Trump, the circumstances around his own firing and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
And though Comey released his written testimony the day before the hearing, his answers still rang loud across the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere. Here are the most talked-about moments of the testimony.
10:20 a.m. ‘Those were lies, plain and simple.’
Some of Comey’s earliest remarks would end up being those most widespread. In his opening statement, he said while he intended to return to life as a private citizen, he rejoined the conversation because of what Trump has said publicly about his firing: “Those were lies plain and simple.” He went on to say that the White House “chose to defame me and the FBI.”
10:51 a.m. A Trump response – but not the one we were expecting
It was widely expected that Trump would tweet during the hearing, but he never did. Instead, at about an hour in, his son Donald Trump Jr. sent out a string of tweets in response to the testimony about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
1/3 Flynn stuff is BS in context 2 guys talking about a guy they both know well. I hear "I hope nothing happens but you have to do your job"
Comey was trying to defend that, in a conversation with the president about the Flynn investigation, he agreed that Flynn was a “good guy.” Comey explained that he had been trying to choose his words carefully during the conversation, which had made him uncomfortable. He then referred to a tweet by Trump in May, which implied there may be tapes of those conversations.
Comey: "What was playing in my mind was what should be my response" jokes that he hopes there are Oval Office tapes to prove conversation
11:47 a.m. Does ‘hope’ mean order? And was it obstruction?
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Comey shared a moment when the former asked if Comey took Trump’s words on the Flynn investigation as a directive. According to one of Comey’s memos, Trump had said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Angus asked Comey whether he viewed the president’s “hope” as an order. Comey said yes, and proceeded to quote a line attributed to King Henry II in 1170.
#ComeyTestimony (When president says I hope you will drop it did you take it as directive?) Yes/Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome priest
It’s been a month of extraordinary drama since President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, rife with leaked details of private memos detailing interactions with the president and the rare appointment of a special counsel to alleviate concerns of White House interference in an ongoing investigation.
See how today’s congressional hearing — one of the most anticipated in recent memory — played out, moment by moment.
Trump’s lawyer releases a statement:
While the President did not respond directly to Comey’s testimony, his personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, spoke with reporters and released this statement about an hour after the session concluded.
10:20 a.m. Trump administration ‘chose to defame me’
In Comey’s opening, he says he left office intending to return to life as a private citizen. He rejoined the conversation because of what Trump was saying about his firing — he said: “those were lies plain and simple.”
"So it confused me when I saw on television that the president actually fired me because of the Russia investigation": Comey
The testimony, Comey’s first public comments since his May 9 firing, unfolds against the extraordinary backdrop of an FBI investigation that has shadowed the Trump White House from the outset and threatens to cripple its agenda.
At the time he was fired, Comey had been overseeing the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign for months.
The White House’s stated reasons for firing Comey were contradicted by the president himself, raising questions about whether Trump had fired Comey to derail the Russia investigation.
The White House initially said Trump was acting on the recommendation of Justice Department leaders, citing as justification a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that lambasted Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. But Trump gave a different explanation when he said in an NBC News interview that he had already decided to dismiss Comey and was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he did so.
Trump’s actions and justifications presented the possibility that Trump’s intention was to obstruct justice.
The official release of Comey’s remarks on Wednesday afternoon came shortly after the conclusion of testimony from Comey’s former national security peers who refused to answer senators’ questions about their own interactions with Trump. There have been reports that the president tried to pressure NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly push back on the investigation.
The former director’s prepared remarks answered many of the looming questions:
Did the president ask Comey for his loyalty? Yes. “I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey said in his written testimony.
Did the president ask Comey to stop investigating his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn? Yes. “I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December,” Comey said.
How often did Trump and Comey communicate with each other before he was fired? Nine times, Comey said. “Three in person and six on the phone.”
After one of these encounters, did Comey actually tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he did not want to meet with the president alone again? Yes. “I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me,” Comey said.
But Republicans are likely to press Comey on why he did not raise his concerns about Trump publicly or resign. Some may attempt to divert attention from Comey’s remarks about Trump by focusing on two issues they’ve repeatedly seized on: leaks and revealing the names of Americans in intelligence reports.
Will Thursday turn into a Comey-Trump debate about their private conversations? Will GOP senators ask Comey question from Trump's tweets? https://t.co/AY18BbrHDf
The White House said Monday it would not invoke executive privilege over Comey’s upcoming testimony — officials predicted it would look bad otherwise.
Comey, who is used to not answering lawmakers’ questions about ongoing investigations, is not likely to say anything Thursday that could interfere with, or undercut, the ongoing federal investigation into Russia ties. That investigation is being led by Comey’s predecessor, Robert Mueller.
On Tuesday, Trump was asked what his message for Comey would be. He said, “I wish him luck.” (After the release of Comey’s opening remarks Wednesday, Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz said “The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe … [Trump] feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”)
Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!
From the opening statement: Comey’s account of previous Trump meetings
Jan. 6, Trump Tower
Comey stays behind in a conference room to speak privately with Trump after intelligence officials brief the president-elect in his New York headquarters about explosive findings that the Russians tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
It is Comey’s job to warn Trump that a dossier containing salacious and unverified allegations about the president-elect is floating around.
Comey skips over Trump’s exact response, but says that “based on President-elect Trump’s reaction,” he assures Trump that his personal conduct isn’t under investigation.
Comey starts writing up a record of the encounter on a laptop in the car as soon as he gets out of the building.
Jan. 7, White House Green Room
Comey gets a midday phone call from now-President Trump inviting him to dinner at the White House that night. Comey’s not sure who else is invited, but assumes other people are coming.
It turns out it’s just the two of them, at a small oval table.
Trump asks whether Comey wants to keep his job even though the FBI director had twice before told Trump he wanted to stay on.
This makes Comey uncomfortable, because it feels like Trump is creating a “patronage” situation in which Comey will owe Trump for his job.
Things get stranger from there, when Trump tells Comey: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
“I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey writes. “We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on.”
Trump returns to the salacious allegations against him, calling them disgusting and saying he’s considering ordering Comey to investigate and disprove them. Comey warns that such an investigation could “create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t.”
The president circles back to loyalty.
Trump: “I need loyalty.”
Comey: “You will always get honesty from me.”
Trump: “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.”
Comey: “You will get that from me.”
Comey writes up the whole exchange, and concludes: “It is possible we understood the phrase ‘honest loyalty’ differently.”
Trump and Comey in the Blue Room on Jan. 22. Getty Images photo.
Feb. 14, Oval Office
Comey is part of a group giving Trump a counter-terrorism briefing, but the president asks him to stay behind at the end.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions lingers, and Trump shoos him away. Senior adviser Jared Kushner lags behind, too, and Trump sends him on his way.
Alone at last, Trump gets right to the point: “I want to talk about Mike Flynn,” the president’s fired national security adviser. Trump says he fired Flynn for misleading the vice president about his contact with the Russians but nonetheless calls Flynn a “good guy” and urges Comey to “let this go.” To Comey, it’s a not-so-veiled request that the FBI drop any investigation of Flynn regarding false statements about his contact with the Russians.
To Comey, the president’s request was “very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”
At some point, chief of staff Reince Priebus sticks his head in the door by the grandfather clock, a group of people waiting behind him, and Trump waves him off.
Comey offers only that Flynn is a “good guy.”
He adds: “I did not say I would ‘let this go.”’
Comey exits the Oval Office through the door by the grandfather clock, making his way through the crowd of people just outside.
After Comey writes up his latest encounter, he implores Sessions “to prevent any further direct communication between the president and me.”
That turns out to be the last meeting between Trump and Comey, but the two talk by phone at least twice more before Trump fires Comey on May 9.
March 30, phone call
Comey says Trump told him the Russia investigation was creating a “cloud” over his presidency.
And Comey says the president asked him what they could do to “lift the cloud.”
Comey also says Trump told him that he “had nothing to do with Russia” and “had not been involved with hookers in Russia.”
President Donald Trump’s proposal would balance the federal budget within 10 years, achieved through deep spending cuts and rosy predictions for economic growth and revenues.
And it’s getting an icy reception on Capitol Hill.
The proposal was harshly criticized by Democrats, and even some Republican allies rebuked it for politically unrealistic cuts to the social safety net and a broad swath of other domestic programs.
See how every department would be affected and what that would mean for its bottom line:
The proposed budget would limit subsidies to farmers, including a cut in government help for purchasing crop insurance. Crop insurance is overwhelmingly popular program with farm-state senators in both parties, and previous farm bills have only increased spending. The budget would also limit spending on environmentally-friendly conservation programs and some rural development dollars that help small towns build infrastructure.
Trump isn’t the first president to try to limit farm subsidies. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also proposed major reductions, but farm-state lawmakers have always kept them going. The Republican chairmen of the Senate and House agriculture committees both said Tuesday they oppose Trump’s proposed cuts.
The budget would eliminate three economic development agencies and several grant programs aimed at preserving the environment and dealing with climate change. The Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be eliminated.
The budget would also eliminate several grant programs run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: the Sea Grant, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, Coastal Zone Management Grants, the Office of Education and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
The Pentagon’s proposed 2018 budget would fund increases of almost 43,000 in the size of the active duty military and 13,000 in the Reserves. It provides troops a 2.1 percent pay raise, adds F/A-18 fighter jets and seeks a new round of base closures, which Congress routinely rejects.
It also increases the amount of money used for training Afghan forces and conducting counterterror operations in Afghanistan.
Eliminates after-school and teacher training programs, ends subsidized federal student loans and loan forgiveness programs for public servants, funds year-round Pell grants and expands funding for school choice for low-income students.
Trump’s budget would hike spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for maintaining the nuclear stockpile, while cutting other energy spending. The budget seeks $120 million to revive the mothballed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository (pictured below), which is hugely unpopular in Nevada and was largely stopped by the efforts of former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.
The budget also slashes $700 million from an Energy Department office that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy and eliminates the Office of Science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which supports research into new energy technologies.
Environmental Protection Agency 31%
The budget cuts EPA by nearly one-third, eliminating more than 3,800 jobs while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs. Adjusted for inflation, the proposed budget would represent the nation’s lowest funding for environmental protection since the mid-1970s. The Superfund pollution cleanup program would be cut by $330 million, to $762 million.
Health and Human Services 1.3%
The budget initiates deep cuts to health insurance programs for people with modest incomes, including coverage for children. Those cuts would go beyond the House GOP bill that repeals much of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” and limits future federal financing for Medicaid.
Homeland Security 3.2%
The budget asks Congress for $2.6 billion for border security that would include a down payment for Trump’s long-promised wall and increased technology along the U.S.-Mexican border. The budget calls for $314 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It also requests a $1.5 billion increase for ICE to arrest, detain and deport immigrants in the country illegally. The plan also proposes cutting about $667 million in grants administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That includes proposed cuts to the Urban Area Security Initiative and eliminating the Transportation Security Administration’s law enforcement grants.
Housing and Urban Development 22.9%
The budget would eliminate HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion effort that funds local improvement projects, affordable housing construction and other social supports like meals for seniors and enrichment programs for low-income children.
The budget proposal says the program is not well targeted to poor populations and hasn’t showed measurable impact on communities. The administration’s budget also seeks to cut costs to the department’s rental assistance programs — a $2 billion decrease to $35.2 billion. Rental assistance programs comprise about 80 percent of the agency’s total funding.
The budget calls for opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, where it is now prohibited, while eliminating offshore oil revenues used by Gulf Coast states to restore disappearing shorelines.
Arctic drilling, a contentious issue that would require congressional approval, would generate an estimated $400 million a year in tax revenues by 2022, according to the White House. Elimination of revenue-sharing to the four Gulf Coast states — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — would generate $1.6 billion over the next five years, the document says. The proposal also includes money for seismic surveys to provide data for possible offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean where it is now barred.
The budget adds $26 million for 300 new assistant U.S. attorneys to fight gangs, violent crime and illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has identified those areas as his top priorities. The plan calls for 230 of these prosecutors to be stationed in yet-to-be-named cities deemed hot spots for violence.
Another 70 will be assigned to border states, focusing on those who enter and re-enter the country illegally after deportation, as well as document-fraud, human smuggling, drug trafficking and other immigration-related offenses.
Trump is proposing cuts in job training programs including $434 million for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, $238 million by closing Job Corps centers, and $68 million for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. He is proposing $90 million more for apprenticeships that result in jobs and a parental leave program of six weeks.
The budget cancels five planned missions to observe Earth and monitor climate change, saving $191 million. It eliminates an Obama-era mission to send astronauts to an asteroid. It also slashes NASA education spending by two-thirds and makes smaller cuts to exploration and space operations, along with increases in spending to explore other planets.
Eliminates funding for the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, as part of a $780 million cut to international organizations. Also eliminates $1.6 billion in funding for climate change and slashes assistance for refugees and global health. That includes $222 million cut in an international fund for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Proposal also ends $523 million for international family planning programs.
Trump proposes that the government pay $200 billion toward the $1 trillion cost of improving the nation’s infrastructure — rebuilding aging roads, bridges, water systems and more. Private investments would pay the rest, under his plan. He’s also suggesting cutting grants to Amtrak long distance services by $630 million and reducing the Highway Trust Fund by $95 billion over a decade.
Treasury oversees the Internal Revenue Service and the agency responsible for managing the government’s payment systems. The IRS would see a 2.1 percent budget cut, but says it will continue to seek less costly ways of delivering taxpayer services. Trump’s budget would provide increased investment for cybersecurity as well as implementing the sanctions program to combat terrorist financing. The budget would also seek initial funding to replace the aging Washington facility for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that produces the nation’s paper currency.
Veterans affairs 3.7%
The budget proposes a $4.3 billion increase in discretionary spending, mostly to pay for medical care at more than 1,200 VA facilities nationwide serving about 9 million enrolled veterans. That’s a 5.8 percent increase as the Department of Veterans Affairs expands its network to include more private health providers.
The budget also calls for $2.9 billion in mandatory budget authority for 2018 and $3.5 billion in 2019 to pay for expansion of the Veterans Choice private-sector program. To help pay for rising costs from that program, the VA would cap the amount of educational benefits veterans receive under the GI bill to roughly $21,000 a year and halt “individual unemployability” benefit payments to out-of-work disabled veterans once they reach retirement age.
The American Health Care Act that narrowly passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday ends a tax on higher-income earners, eliminates the mandate to buy health insurance or pay tax penalties, cuts Medicaid, allows states to impose work requirements on low-income people in return for Medicaid, and turns insurance subsidies into tax credits.
The measure retains the popular feature that allows parents’ polices to cover their children until age 26. But it also would block federal payments for a year to Planned Parenthood, which Republicans seek to defund because the group includes abortion among its health services.
How LI’s reps voted on healthcare
Long Island’s delegation split, voting along party lines:
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford)
said he hopes the Senate can protect Medicaid expansion. If it doesn’t, he said, “We can always vote ‘no’ when it comes back” to the House.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley)
“If anyone on the Senate side has an idea to make the bill better, I think that’s great and I welcome it.”
Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City)
Republicans rushed the bill “to fulfill a campaign promise, give President Trump a win and dump this disaster off on the Senate.”
Rep. Thomas Suozzi
“I have to believe that the Senate will not act as irresponsibly as the Republicans in the House.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks
His district includes parts of Nassau County. He said “this bill is wrong and I hope it will be dead on arrival in the United States Senate.”
What happens next
Republicans must now try to maneuver the measure through a Senate terrain that is different politically and procedurally from the House.
The House bill was written by Republicans representing districts often drawn to incorporate strong majorities of GOP voters. Senators represent entire states, and many tend to reflect more pragmatic views than their House colleagues.
In the Senate, the 52-member Republican majority hopes to use a budgetary procedure called reconciliation to pass the measure with a simple majority, instead of risking falling short of the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster.
Senate’s Republican makeup
Several Senate Republicans come from northeastern and Midwestern states with large numbers of low-income people receiving Medicaid. Many of the 31 states that accepted Obama’s expansion of that program are led by GOP governors, and senators have no interest in cutting their states’ funds and taking coverage away from voters.
Republican senators also represent states ravaged by deaths caused by opioid abuse. The House measure would let states escape Obama’s requirement that insurers cover anti-drug services.
What New York’s senators say
Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
“This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate.”
“Rather than trying to pass a different version of the same Trumpcare bill that would mean higher costs and less care, Senate Republicans should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject, repeal and work with Democrats to improve our health care system in a bipartisan way.”
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
said in a statement that the bill is “atrocious and must be defeated in the Senate.”
Gillibrand acknowledged that Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, but said her suggestions would be to “subsidize insurance companies further with taxpayer dollars or create a not-for-profit public option that cuts insurance companies and their profits out of the equation to lower premiums, drug prices, and out-of-pocket costs for everyone.”
If the AHCA passes the Senate
If the bill is to pass the Senate, it’s expected to face changes from both Republicans and Democrats. But even if the bill became law in its current state, states would have certain options.
The bill allows states to opt-out of certain protections in the Affordable Care Act. If they do that, it could result in insurers charging older customers higher premiums; insurers not being required to cover services such as hospital and outpatient care, pregnancy and mental health treatment; and insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems. New York state could choose to continue enforcing these protections instead of getting waivers for them.
Tell your senators what you think
Party: Democratic | Committees: Environment and Public Works, Armed Services, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Special Committee on Aging | Phone: Long Island — 631-249-2825, Washington, D.C. — 202-224-4451 | Email:www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact
Democratic | Committees: House Committee on Rules and Administration, Judiciary Committee, Finance Committee, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee | Phone: Long Island — 631-753-0978, Washington, D.C. — 202-224-6542 | Email:www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck