Sam's Top 5 Things to Know for Wednesday

1. Why Comey was fired: DOJ rips handling of Clinton case in ouster

Fox News: President Trump’s seemingly abrupt decision yesterday to fire FBI Director James Comey was made at the recommendation of top Justice Department officials who claimed that his controversial handling of the Hillary Clinton email case last year rendered him unfit for the position.

A senior White House official told Fox News it was purely “coincidental” that the firing occurred on the same day Comey faced scrutiny for giving faulty testimony about emails sent from Clinton aide Huma Abedin to Anthony Weiner.

Rather, Comey had been the subject of a review by the very top of the Trump Justice Department. Newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein penned an extensive memo for Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlining concerns with Comey’s conduct during and after the Clinton email probe.

The memo said “almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes.” Rosenstein wrote that he could not defend Comey’s handling of the end of the investigation, and could not understand “his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”

The first count against Comey, according to Rosenstein, was his July 5, 2016 announcement during which he alleged Clinton and her colleagues were “extremely careless” in handling classified material on her personal email and server but also said the FBI would not recommend charges.

2. Trump set to meet with Russia's top diplomat at White House

 Fox News: President Trump is set to meet today with Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat at the White House, marking the highest level, face-to-face contact with Russia of the American leader's young presidency.

Trump's discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take place at the White House after the Russian meets earlier in the day with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The meetings come a day after Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, dramatically ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of the bureau's investigation into Trump's ties with Russia and Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

It would also signal that the two countries have improved ties that Trump recently described as being at an "all-time low."

3. Trump team marks 6-month election anniversary by vowing to air video of Clinton campaign’s concession call

Yahoo: Yesterday, the White House director of social media celebrated the six-month anniversary of the election by tweeting a screen grab of the late night phone call in which Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called to concede to Republican candidate Donald Trump. He promised to share video of the conversation, which he said came via a Nov. 9 phone call at 2:30 a.m. from longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin to Trump’s then-campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.

The director of social media did not respond to an email asking when he plans to reveal the clip. He posted the message on his personal account rather than his official White House Twitter page.

Conway, who is now a counselor to the president, responded to Scavino on her personal account and suggested there were people who had not yet come to grips with Trump’s victory.

In a message to Yahoo News, Conway said she and Abedin connected before Clinton offered “congratulations AND concession” to Trump. But Conway rejected the notion that Trump’s team believes people need to be reminded of the election results.

4. U.S. officials have told airlines to "be prepared" for an expanded ban on carry-on electronic devices allowed on airplanes

FOXNEWS: The Homeland Security spokesman confirmed to reporters yesterday that the administration is considering expanding the ban on laptops, which currently applies to U.S.-bound flights from eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

An expanded ban on devices larger than cellphones could potentially include "more than a couple" other regions, including flights from Western Europe.

The chief concern is passengers bringing laptops into the cabin -- something high on the law enforcement radar screen, ever since an attack on a Somali airliner where an explosive device built into a laptop detonated in flight and injured two people.

5. Forest Lake students walk out to support police after city moves to disband force

PIONEER PRESS: They came up with the idea at 9 a.m., started spreading the word on social media at 10 a.m. and lead students out of school at 1:15 p.m.

Police estimate about 1,300 students from the high school, Century and Southwest junior high schools and Lakes International Language Academy missed seventh period to protest the Forest Lake City Council’s decision on Monday night to disband the city’s police department and contract with the Washington County sheriff’s office for police services.

The students walked from the high school to the Forest Lake City Center, about a half-mile.


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