Tampa Bay Times

Trump petitioned for informant’s testimony

- Times wires

President Donald Trump urged the Justice Department to allow an FBI informant to testify before Congress about Russian efforts to enter the U.S. energy market during the Obama administra­tion, a senior White House adviser confirmed Friday. Trump supported the request of Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary

Committee, who last week asked the Justice Department to lift the undercover informant’s gag order. By getting involved, however, the president seems to have ignored long-standing restrictio­ns put in place after the Watergatee­ra abuses of the Nixon years to limit White House involvemen­t in criminal law enforcemen­t matters. The White House was unapologet­ic. “It is not unusual for a president to weigh in,” Trump’s senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, said on CNN on Friday, refuting numerous legal analysts who say otherwise.

WASHINGTON: The Trump administra­tion on Friday distanced itself from the decision to award a $300 million contract to help restore Puerto Rico’s power grid to a tiny Montana company from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown. The White House said federal offi-

cials played no role in the selection of Whitefish Energy Holdings by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. The administra­tion disavowed the contract amid a growing number of investigat­ions and a bipartisan chorus of criticism from Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON: All the women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment are lying, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday when asked for the official White House position on the issue. The question was posed during a White House briefing at a time when numerous men in high-profile positions have been undercut of late by allegation­s of sexual misconduct, including journalist Mark Halperin, who faced accusation­s this week from former colleagues.

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