In a statement to CNN, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Friday that she was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. “The President urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel,” Sanders wrote in her statement. “I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them.” It is not clear when Sanders spoke with the special counsel or what was discussed. Mueller’s office is investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and has indicted figures like ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump confidant/lawyer Michael Cohen. Sanders served as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign before joining the administration.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday issued a gag order on Roger Stone and his attorneys. Jackson reportedly ordered that Stone refrain from making statements that “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case” around the federal courthouse in D.C. Jackson also reportedly issued a broader gag order that barred Stone's attorneys from making any public statements at any location that could “prejudice the case.“ Roger Stone pleaded not guilty in court last month to charged stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Stone denies allegations that he lied to the House Intelligence Committee and tried to convince radio host and comedian Randy Credico not to testify.
A spokesman for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe issued a statement Friday contradicting recent reports that Justice Department officials had extensive discussions about impeaching President Trump after James Comey was fired. “Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,” the statement said, according to a tweet from NBC News correspondent Geoff Bennett. “To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of such discussions.” The statement acknowledged that McCabe “was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein regarding the 25th Amendment,” but noted that he “merely confirmed a discussion that was already reported elsewhere.”
The statement came a day after CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley told CBS This Morning that McCabe had told 60 Minutes that in the eight days after Comey was fired, “There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment.”
Ryan Adams’ upcoming album has been cancelled after the FBI reportedly started looking into inappropriate communications he may have had with a minor, as reported by The New York Times. Adams had plans to release three new albums this year via Blue Note Records and his own label, Pax-Am. The first of those albums, Big Colors, was slated for release on April 19, but music distributors got word Friday that the album would be indefinitely put on hold.
According to the Times, one music supplier in Maine and New Hampshire received a message stating the album had been “canceled effectively immediately.” Capitol Music Group, which was slated to distribute the albums, declined to comment. Meanwhile, two of Adams’ product collaborators, Benson Amps and JHS Pedals, both said they would either cease development or rebrand Adams' signature models.
The New York Times reported earlier this week that—among other allegations of sexual misconduct—Adams had sexually explicit communications with a young teenager while he was aware she was a minor.
Senators on the intelligence committee are demanding an update from Trump’s spy chief on any foreign meddling in the 2018 midterms. In a letter sent to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Feb. 15 and led by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), the committee’s members asked for the full classified report Coats’ agency prepared about threats to the 2018 midterms. They also asked that Coats provide them an after-action report produced by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security assessing any foreign meddling that occurred and how the government handled it. They called the contents of the reports “an important matter of national security.” —Betsy Woodruff
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid have reached a settlement with the NFL concerning their collusion grievances against the league, it was announced Friday.
“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL,” attorney Mark Geragos and the NFL said in a joint statement issued Friday. “As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.” Kaepernick filed a grievance last fall under the collective-bargaining agreement, alleging that teams colluded to block him from signing him to an NFL contract. Kaepernick alleged that the league and its owners conspired to deprive him of employment in retaliation for his “leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States,” the filing read.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, along with several owners and at least two other NFL executives, were asked to turn over all cellphone records and emails in relation to Kaepernick’s case against the NFL. Kaepernick drew national attention in 2016 when he knelt during the national anthem before games as a protest against police brutality and other social injustice. His kneeling was discouraged by the NFL and publicly vilified by President Trump.
President Trump on Friday insisted that his biggest right-wing media boosters including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter had no impact on his controversial decision to declare a national emergency to fund his Mexico border wall.
“Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do, not of me,” Trump told reporters at the Rose Garden after announcing the national emergency. “If I changed my views he wouldn’t be with me.” And although he lavished praise on Limbaugh, Trump then claimed that neither of the conservative commentators influence his policy decisions. “They don’t decide policy,” he said.
He also took a moment to attack Ann Coulter, who has been a vocal opponent of his decision to accept a funding bill. While he claimed that Coulter “is probably really nice,” Trump also said that “she is off the reservation—anybody that knows her understands that.”
Two persons of interest in the Jan. 29 assault on Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been arrested by Chicago police. “We can confirm that they have been arrested but they have not been charged,” Chicago Police Department Public Information Officer Sally Born confirmed to Deadline on Friday. Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who are brothers, were questioned at length Thursday, and are now in custody but have not been charged. At least one of the brothers, who were picked up returning to Chicago at O’Hare International Airport on Thursday, has appeared as an extra on Empire, which is filmed in Chicago. The brothers did know Smollett prior to the attack, though how well remains unclear. Gloria Schmidt, the attorney representing the brother, said they have been in custody since Wednesday night. “When they first learned about what happened to him they were horrified. This is someone they know. This is someone they’ve worked with, so they don’t want to see somebody go through that,” Schmidt said.
In response to reporting by The Daily Beast and the Project On Government Oversight, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo how he’s addressing security risks at the U.S. embassy in Kenya. Bombings by Al Shabaab, a group with ties to al Qaeda, have killed 21 people in Nairobi in recent weeks. Meanwhile, the embassy's security contractor has allegedly been underpaying its guards, boiling over into a labor strike that was met with mass firings. Senior Democrats on the congressional foreign relations committees wrote that “some 170 replacements who are not fully trained or vetted to U.S. standards are now guarding the Embassy.”