The government in action

Monday, Jan. 29

The House Intelligence Committee on voted to release a GOP-crafted memo alleging what some Republicans said are “shocking” surveillance abuses at the FBI and the Department of Justice. Democrats said the memo is part of an assault by Republicans to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Hill:

Andrew McCabe stepped down as deputy director of the FBI on Monday, in response to intense pressure from President Trump and Republicans in Congress who have been urging his dismissal. McCabe had planned to leave the FBI in 2018, but will go on leave immediately, and then retire in mid-March, when he is eligible to receive full pension benefits. Republican allies of Trump have called for McCabe’s resignation, accusing him of bias in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email case. The Hill:

Tuesday, Jan. 30

House speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defended Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. He said Rosenstein is doing a “fine job” overseeing the Russia investigation, and that President Trump should not fire him. The president has reportedly considered removing Rosenstein, who authorized extending surveillance of a Trump campaign official following Trump’s inauguration. The Hill:

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he wanted Americans to see a secret memo that represents the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation as shocking, he also he cautioned Republican members of the House not to use the memo to attack Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel directing the investigation. “This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller’s investigation, and his investigation should be allowed to take its course,” Mr. Ryan said. NYT:

In his first State of the Union address, President Trump called for bipartisan action on infrastructure development and immigration. He asked a deeply divided Congress nation to work together after an unprecedented first year of confrontation and partisanship. The president highlighted the growing economy and surging stock. “This is our new American moment,” he said. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.” The Hill:

Reporters from The New York Times fact-checked President Trump’s first State of the Union address. They found numerous falsehoods and misleading statements taken out of context. It was consistent with the president’s first year in office, when Trump has been caught telling one lie after another. NYT:

Wednesday, Jan. 31

Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned the day after reports that she traded tobacco stocks while heading the agency. “This morning Secretary Azar accepted Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s resignation as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services. The resignation occurred in the middle of the nation’s worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade The Hill:

Thursday, Feb. 1

In a speech at a Republican retreat in West Virginia, above, Mr. Trump criticized Democrats for not applauding at his State of the Union address. Earlier, he boasted — incorrectly — that the address drew the highest number of viewers in the speech’s history. He was off by millions (and his address ranks ninth). NYT:

Friday, Feb. 2

House Republicans released a previously secret memo written by Republican staff members of the House Intelligence Committee and declassified by President Trump. The highly controversial is disputed by Democrats. It asserts that F.B.I. officials abused their authority and favored Democrats in the early stages of the Russia inquiry. NYT:

On Friday, stocks tumbled by more than 2 percent, propelling the market to its worst week in two years.

The immediate cause appeared to be the jobs report, showing that the strong U.S. economy might finally be translating into rising wages for American workers — a sign that inflation take hold in the not-too-distant future. Investors are concerned that low interest rate may rise sooner and more quickly than they had anticipated. NYT:

The worst flu season in nearly a decade continues apace and has filled emergency rooms and medical centers across the nation. The 2017-18 flu infections have surpassed those of the 2014-15 season, when 710,000 Americans were hospitalized and 56,000 died. The New York Times reported that this year, 53 children have died; by the time the flu season ended in 2015, 148 children had died. NYT:

Saturday, Feb. 3

In the 109 years of the FBI’s existence, it has come under fire for invading the privacy of citizens and abusing their civil rights. From the “Red Scares” of the 1920s to McCarthyism to infiltration of the civil rights movement, to overreach in digital surveillance, the Bureau has often weathered sever criticism. The FBI is again under intense scrutiny, but unlike the past, it is not from the left or centrist politicians. The attacks are coming from conservative Republicans, who have traditionally offered the Bureau their unfailing support. President Trump has led the charge. WP:

President Trump refused to say whether he had confidence in Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller. Rosenstein’s tenure as the top top Justice Department official overseeing the Russia probe was thrown into question. When Trump was asked if he still had confidence in Rosenstein or was more likely to dismiss him following the release of the controversial Republican memo, he responded “You figure that one out.” WP:

Sunday, Feb. 4

Republicans prospects in the midterm elections may be improving, as recent polls that show their numbers improving. An enthusiastic President Trump hyped the shift in public sentiment reflected in recent polls during a Republican retreat in West Virginia. “I just looked at some numbers, you’ve even done better than you thought,” Trump told the Republican retreat.