Friday News Roundup - Domestic

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On Wednesday, President Donald Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he might accept damaging information from foreigners about political opponents. After Stephanopolous pressed him on whether he would hand this information over to the FBI, the president said, “I think maybe you do both.”

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” President Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

While the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded, House Democrats have vowed to continue examining the Trump campaign.

“I think [the remark] gives us a pretty clear idea of how the president related to the offer of dirt when it came to elements of his campaign in 2016,” NPR’s Ron Elving told us earlier this week. “The president welcomes this kind of cooperation, and we are going to have a legal battle because there are many people who feel that this is foreign interference in our elections and it is an extraordinarily serious matter.”

Would it be legal for a campaign to accept dirt from foreign actors?

Meanwhile, the president exerted executive privilege over subpoenaed documents related to the potential addition of a question about citizenship status to the 2020 Census. The House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas related to the census question inquiry.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had this to say about the attempt to defy these subpoenas:

We must protect the integrity of the census and we must stand up for Congress’ authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight. This does not appear to be an effort to engage in good faith negotiations or accommodations. Instead, it appears to be another example of the administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’ constitutionally mandated responsibilities.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who has defended President Trump and his ability to invoke executive privilege on many occasions, will leave her post at the end of June.

We’re also following the latest on the request to extend funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund — a program established in 2011 to aid first responders who were exposed to toxic chemicals in the aftermath of 9/11. After a powerful statement from comedian Jon Stewart, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to extend the compensation fund.

Plus, we’ll cover the Southern Baptist Convention’s national meeting, where faith leaders addressed widespread sexual abuse in the church, as well as the issue of whether women can be ordained as preachers.

“I’m not sure they’re going to get to the root of the problem without dealing with this theological issue,” Professor Jersuha Neal of Duke Divinity School told us about women’s role in the SBC. “When you systematically silence a group of members, you’re going to have problems.”

We wrap up the week’s top domestic stories.

Text by Kathryn Fink.


Reid Wilson, National correspondent, The Hill; author, “Epidemic: Ebola and the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak”; @PoliticsReid

Kimberly Adams, Correspondent, Marketplace; @KA_Marketplace

Naftali Bendavid, A political editor, The Washington Post; @naftalibendavid

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