It's February 6, 2018. Don McGahn is back in the Oval Office with President Trump and the new White House chief of staff John Kelly. The New York Times has just published a story reporting that, back in June of 2017, Trump had directed McGahn to have Mueller fired and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The story doesn't look good. Trump says: "You need to correct this. You're the White House counsel." Trump wants McGahn to say it never happened. But McGahn knows that it did happen. The White House Counsel is sticking to his guns. He's not going to lie. The president asks again. Is McGahn going to do a correction? McGahn feels Trump is testing his mettle, seeing how far he can be pushed. And so he answers: No. He's not. [more inside]
It's May 17, 2017. White House Counsel Don McGahn is in the Oval Office with the president. McGahn's job is to represent the office of the presidency, which isn't quite the same as representing the president personally. It's a delicate line to walk, and Trump hasn't made the job any easier. McGahn is supposed to act as the point of contact between the White House and the Department of Justice, to ensure all the rules are being followed. But the president has made clear, he's not interested in following the rules. Trump has already fired his FBI director. That's why McGahn is in the Oval that morning, they need to interview a new nominee for the position. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is there too.Sessions interrupts the meeting. He has an urgent phone call from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, so he steps outside to take it. Sessions returns a moment later and relays the message: Rosenstein has appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. It's the former FBI director, Robert Mueller. Trump slumps back in his chair. He says, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked." [more inside]
It's March 7, 2017. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be the Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein's whole career has been leading up to this moment. He's a non-partisan sort of guy. He's served under both President Bush and Obama. Now he's being elevated to the role of running the day to day at DOJ.But this hearing is about more than just confirming a new deputy attorney general. On March 2, five days earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had announced his recusal from all investigations involving the 2016 election, a recusal which included the Russia investigation. And so, the moment he becomes deputy, Rosenstein will also become the acting attorney general for the purposes of the Russia investigation.Rosenstein is confirmed and he's sworn in on April 26, 2017. But his oath is about to be tested, like never before. Less than two weeks later, President Trump says he wants to fire the FBI Director and Rosenstein decides to help. [more inside]
It's January 26, 2017. Sally Yates is the acting Attorney General; she's leading the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate. Yates has just learned some alarming news. The new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has lied to FBI agents. He's told them that he hadn't discussed sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But he had. And it looks like Flynn has lied to the vice president about it as well. Yates calls White House Counsel Don McGahn. She says they have to meet right away. Yates knows that the FBI has the tape to prove Flynn lied, which is a crime, but right now there's an even bigger problem: the Russians probably have the tape too. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dialysis Clinics Season 4, Ep 12
New events worthy of mention:
- Trump again. The fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the many problematic things about it.
- Congressfolk's continued denial over the situation mentioned above as every functioning adult in the nation gets steadily angrier about their refusal to do anything about it. "When you've got the Presidential equivalent of a five-year-old shitting on the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays, at some point you stop blaming the five-year-old and you start blaming the people who are not stopping him."
- Back to New Zealand's ruling National Party's appropriation of Eminem music. New Zealand PM Bill English heard about Last Week's Last Week Tonight mention of the court case and said, "some of the stuff I've seen he does isn't very funny." LWT, in retaliation, found an actual Facebook post Bill English made, with pictures: "Cooked dinner for the family last night - like if you agree with tinned spaghetti on pizza!"
- And Now: A Series of Terrible Pizzas That New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English Would Probably Enjoy
- Main Story: Kidney dialysis clinics, particularly those operated by DaVita, and the dangerous extents many go through to save costs, like rushing patients through dialysis, and the deeply terrible methods some employ to keep customers using their services and not seek out life-saving transplants. DaVita has had to settle nearly a billion dollars to settle lawsuits over the past five years, while their CEO compares his business (willingly!) to Taco Bell. LWT offers a commercial for Taco Bell stating how it's not a proper business model for dialysis clinics. YouTube (24m)