President Donald Trump will cap one of the most consequential days of his presidency so far by rallying supporters here Monday night, returning to the confidence-infusing campaign trail at a key political moment in his young presidency.
All eyes in the White House were on Capitol Hill Monday, where a pair of hearings — one into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and another that kicked off the process to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — loomed large over Trump’s presidency.
While the Gorsuch hearing went smoothly, FBI Director James Comey said there was no evidence found related to Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, and Democrats used the hours of airtime to slam the President’s relationship with Russia.
Comey, appearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, also confirmed publicly for the first time that the FBI is investigating connections Trump’s campaign advisers may have had with Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign.
The White House, however, tried to distance the Trump campaign from some of the campaign advisers in question and argued that the investigation into 2016 wiretapping and surveillance wasn’t finished.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also stood behind a series of comments from Obama administration officials who said they saw no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
On Monday in Louisville, Trump is expected to make his first comments on the momentous day.
Trump — via his personal Twitter account — slammed any talk of connections between his 2016 campaign and Russia before Monday’s hearing.
“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” Trump wrote, referring to the director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama. He later added, “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”
Trump is also in Kentucky to sell skeptical Republicans on their party’s plan to repeal Obamacare — Obama’s signature health care law — and replace it with their own plan. The bill, which could get a full House vote this week, has been criticized from both the left and the right.
This is the second White House visit in nine days to Kentucky, a state represented by Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a fervent and vocal critic of the Republican bill.
“We’re happy to have him in Kentucky. He’s very popular,” Paul told CNN last week of Trump. “I’m with the President on the repeal part. We’re still apart somewhat on replacement.”
Vice President Mike Pence visited Louisville for an event with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this month.