DC Roundup: ‘Very Bothersome’ Relationship, VA Workers, Analysis of Russia Threat

Developments in Washington, D.C., on Friday include President Donald Trump who said he thinks the relationship between the special counsel and fired FBI director is ‘very bothersome,’ and signs a bill making it easier to fire underperforming VA workers accused of wrongdoing.

Trump: Friendship Between Leader of Russia Probe, Fired FBI Director ‘Very Bothersome’ — In his first televised face-to-face interview in six weeks, President Donald Trump said it is “very bothersome” that the man leading the probe into possible ties between his campaign and Russia is friends with former FBI Director James Comey. Trump told Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” that special counsel Robert Mueller is “very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome.”

Trump Signs Bill to Facilitate Firing of Federal VA Workers Accused of Wrongdoing — Trump signed into law Friday a bill that will make it easier to fire Department of Veterans Affairs employees, a development that has union officials concerned the measure could be misused for political purposes. The signing is the latest step in an effort by the Trump administration to strengthen an agency that provides health care and other services to millions of military veterans.

Analysts: Russia’s Military Threats Mainly Bluster, but Conflict Risk Rising — A series of close encounters this month over the Baltic Sea and U.S. shoot-downs of Russian allies’ aircraft in Syria have triggered concerns among defense analysts that any direct incident between Russia and the United States, even if accidental, could quickly spiral out of control. Reports say a Russian fighter jet and a U.S. spy plane on Monday came within two meters of each other, a situation deemed “unsafe” by the U.S. military.

US Mayors: Look to Us, Not Washington, for Results — Think Washington, D.C., and your statehouse are irredeemable and unproductive? Look to city hall for answers. That’s the message from the nation’s mayors six months in to Trump’s presidency. “We don’t have time to argue about ideological positions. We have to find real solutions for problems,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who will take over this weekend as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as it convenes in Miami Beach, Florida.

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