Today in the Trump Administration
Cork Wine Bar sues Trump hotel over unfair competition
How do you compete with a restaurant at President Donald Trump’s hotel down the road from the White House? Two Washington restaurateurs argue you can’t — and have sued him over it.
The plaintiffs are Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross. They allege unfair competition under local law and have filed a lawsuit against Trump personally and the Trump Old Post Office LLC, which operates the Trump International Hotel. The two plaintiffs own Cork Wine Bar, which is in the Logan Circle neighborhood, about a mile and a half away from the hotel. Cork Wine Bar is a well-regarded brick-walled market and wine bar that serves New American small plates.
Comey meets with senators, House members
FBI Director James Comey went to Capitol Hill Thursday to brief the Gang of Eight members of Congress on President Trump’s wiretapping allegations, as well as other national security matters, CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reports.
Comey met with the Gang of Eight in two separate meetings -- one with the senators and one with the House members. The Gang is composed of the leaders from each party in the House and Senate, as well as the chair and ranking member from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
Sean Spicer says White House is “not aware” of any Justice Department investigation into Trump
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday struggled with the question of whether President Donald Trump is under investigation by the Department of Justice, saying in a lengthy exchange with reporters that the White House is “not aware” of any investigation involving the president.
On Wednesday, Spicer was asked about the issue in the wake of Mr. Trump’s allegations about being wiretapped at Trump Tower during the 2016 election. He replied that there’s “obviously a lot of concern” about the issue.
Later in the briefing, however, an aide handed him a note and he was more definitive in his answer.
Mike Pence says Turkey ties are “affirmation” of decision to fire Michael Flynn
Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s work to further the interests of the government of Turkey is “an affirmation” of President Donald Trump’s decision to ask for his resignation.
Pence told Fox News’ Bret Baier in an interview airing Thursday evening that media reports about Flynn’s work were “the first I heard of it and I think it is an affirmation of the President’s decision to ask General Flynn to resign.”
Rex Tillerson recuses himself from Keystone pipeline decision
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recused himself from TransCanada’s application for a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department says.
AP: GOP scores win on health bill with pre-dawn vote
Republicans on a pivotal House committee scored an initial triumph in their effort to scuttle former President Obama’s health care overhaul, using a pre-dawn vote Thursday to abolish the tax penalty his statute imposes on people who don’t purchase insurance and reshaping how millions of Americans buy medical care.
Yet the Ways and Means panel’s approval of health care legislation only masked deeper problems Republican backers face. Hospitals, doctors and consumer groups mounted intensifying opposition to the GOP health care drive, and the White House and Republican leaders labored to rally a divided party behind their high-stakes overhaul crusade.
Trump taps Jon Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to Russia
President Trump is nominating former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Russia, two sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to CBS News’ Major Garrett.
The nomination, like many in the Trump world, has been on the table for weeks and it took some time to complete the paperwork. Before the president nominated Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Huntsman was among the contenders considered for the job.
A Wisconsin Democrat will be introducing congressional legislation Thursday aimed at ensuring that taxpayers won’t be paying for President Trump’s southern border wall, CBS News’ Rebecca Shabad reports.
The “No Taxpayer Funding for the Wall Act,” obtained first by CBS News, is sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, and would prohibit the use of federal funds to build a fence, wall or any other physical barrier along the border with Mexico.
“I am not in favor of the wall, but if there is a wall, then I do not want the United States of America to pay for the wall,” Moore said in an interview with CBS, adding that she doesn’t want American taxpayers and consumers harmed by the cost.
WSJ: Landlord for Trump’s daughter and son-in-law is a billionaire suing the U.S. government
President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law are renting a house from a foreign billionaire who is fighting the U.S. government over a proposed mine in Minnesota.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a $5.5 million house in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood from Andrónico Luksic. One of the Chilean billionaire’s companies is suing the federal government over lost mineral right leases for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.
President Trump holds a “listening session” with the National Economic Council, 11 a.m.; he’ll have a legislative affairs lunch at 12:30 p.m. and at 4 p.m., he’ll address the U.S. Senate Youth program.
Vice President Pence addresses The Latino Coalition’s Make Small Business Great Again summit, 12:15 p.m.
What you missed yesterday
Republican plan to replace Obamacare slammed by conservatives
The day after Republicans introduced their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the conservative opposition came swiftly. Throughout the day Tuesday, conservative members from the House and the Senate, as well as conservative advocacy groups voiced their opposition to the bill, deriding it with nicknames like “Ryancare” and “Obamacare 2.0.”
Here’s the calculation for Republican leadership: If it remains the case that no Democrats come forward to support the bill, in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan can’t afford to lose more than 21 votes. In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has only two votes votes to spare -- and if two Republicans defect, he’ll need Mike Pence to break the tie.
Panetta: Trump’s claim “undermines” presidency
Leon Panetta was President Clinton’s chief of staff, the CIA director when Osama bin Laden was killed, and defense secretary under President Obama. That is why Scott Pelley asked Panetta for his perspective on President Trump’s various outbursts in recent weeks, including the unproven charge that Mr. Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election.
AARP opposes health care bill
AARP announced its opposition to the Republican proposal that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), arguing that it would “weaken Medicare” and give special interests a “sweetheart deal.”
But the group’s primary concern is for people who haven’t yet reached retirement age, highlighting one of the biggest problems with the GOP’s plan to use tax credits in lieu of Obamacare subsidies. As proposed, the plan does not offer enough to help older people pay for what would become much more expensive coverage if the subsidies are scrapped and the GOP’s proposals to relax current age-based caps on premiums go through.
A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Tuesday has 47 percent of Americans saying they approve of Mr. Trump’s performance, versus 44 percent who do not. The survey, which was conducted last week in the days around his well-received address to Congress, gives Mr. Trump particularly good reviews when it comes to his leadership abilities.
And today, a majority of voters say Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign, according to a new poll.
The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, indicated that 51 percent of voters think Sessions should step down, versus 42 percent who say he should stay on. The survey came on the heels of news that Sessions did not disclose a fall meeting with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearings.
House Intel chairman says the press is taking Trump’s tweets too literally
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee said he has not seen any evidence to back President Donald Trump’s claim that the Obama administration wiretapped him during the 2016 campaign and suggested the news media were taking the president’s weekend tweets too literally.
“The president is a neophyte to politics — he’s been doing this a little over a year,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told reporters Tuesday. “I think a lot of the things he says, I think you guys sometimes take literally.”
Report: Civil rights leaders call on attorney general to drop voter fraud probe
Civil rights leaders asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday to urge President Trump not to move forward with an investigation into his unverified claim that several million people voted illegally in the election, Politico reports.
The president had been planning for a blue-ribbon panel to launch a probe into the claim.
“I asked him to counsel the president against the creation of such a task force and a commission because that commission will be seen to intimidate our communities,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said, according to Politico.
The Justice Department moved Tuesday to dismiss the 9th Circuit appeal on President Trump’s original travel ban from late January.
On Monday, senior administration officials said that the new travel ban rolled out that day makes all previous litigation over the original travel ban “moot.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer previously suggested that the two bans would be litigated on parallel tracks but that isn’t a legally viable option.
Prescription Drug Prices
President Trump meets with Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings about lower prescription drug prices, 2:30 p.m.
Latest Trump Schedule:
Mr. Trump has a busy schedule, but at this point, his meetings are closed. He’ll meet with Laurene Powell Jobs at 11 a.m., host a lunch on infrastructure at 12:30, meet with Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings at 2:30. He’ll see Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan 4 p.m.; meets with conservative leaders on health care, 5:05 p.m.; has dinner with Ted and Heidi Cruz
Obamacare Replacement Plan
Two House committees -- Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce -- mark up the Obamacare replacement plan, 10:30 a.m.