45 After Dark: Wildest Week Ever (With a Few Exceptions) edition

A Twitter rant. A veiled threat at a fired FBI director. A potentially sweeping revision of drug policy.

Oh, and a massive, worldwide hack — one that possibly utilized leaked hacking tools from the National Security Agency.

The final work day of a frantic week didn’t relent; it poured it on, layering new intrigue, policy intricacies and crises onto a complex week.

It started early: With President Donald Trump tweeting many things, including the possibility that he may have recorded his conversations with now former FBI Director James Comey. Trump also floated the idea of canceling press briefings, said he was too active for his press office to give an accurate read out of his feelings on various issues and, er, beef exports to China.

Amid all of that, President Trump’s lawyers released a carefully worded statement saying that his (still not publically released) tax returns show no income or debt tied to Russia, “with few exceptions.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would reverse one of the Obama administration’s core criminal justice reforms, a Justice Department policy that allowed federal prosecutors to avoid specifying the amount of drugs when charging low-level and nonviolent drug offenders — and thus avoiding mandatory minimum sentences. Sessions effectively canceled a 2013 Justice Department directive.

“Sessions’ move bucks a growing trend in recent years—in Washington and in states across the country—to abandon some of the harshest sentencing policies created in the 1980s-era war on drugs,” POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein reports.

And so another consequential week came to a close.

Elsewhere in Trump’s orbit:

BYE, JIM: Former FBI Director James Comey declined a Tuesday invitation to testify in a closed door Senate hearing, but may do so in the future. ABC News reported that he’s furious at the lack of respect shown to him by the White House and by Trump.

RECORD OF RECORDING: The Washington Post reports that associates of President Trump say he has a long history of recording conversations.

TAPE DELAY: Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking House Democrat on the intelligence panel, demanded that President Trump turn over his (as yet unconfirmed) tapes.

MORE CONSENT THAN ADVISE: Senate Republicans are, by and large, giving President Trump a pass for his decision to fire James Comey.

FOOD FIGHT: Michelle Obama defended her push for better school nutrition and said she would lead a movement to fight any effort to roll back reforms toward healthier meals. The Trump administration has moved to curb some of the requirements.

And there you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. Yes, it really is Friday.


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