As Comey looms, Trump to focus on infrastructure

Turmoil, staff changes stall Trump's agenda
Turmoil, staff changes stall Trump's agenda

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Turmoil, staff changes stall Trump's agenda 02:29

Story highlights

  • Trump's proposal would look to rejuvenate American infrastructure
  • His infrastructure plan relies heavily on tax breaks and public-private partnerships

(CNN)President Donald Trump, faced with potentially damning testimony from his former FBI director, James Comey, will look to push a $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a series of White House events and a trip to Ohio, a White House official said.

Trump's plan looks to make good on a campaign promise but is also a clear attempt to offer a distraction -- albeit a less controversial one -- to what Comey is expected to say when he testifies in an open Senate hearing on Thursday. Senators have already said they want to hear more from Comey about his interactions with Trump and any potential interference Trump exerted on him regarding FBI investigations into his campaign or associates.
Trump, the official said, will start his infrastructure push on Monday with a Rose Garden speech that will propose separating all air traffic control operations from the Federal Aviation Administration. This has long been a priority of the American airline industry.
    On Wednesday, the President will travel to Ohio, the official said, where he will push to improve the efficacy of inland waterways, including revamping dams and lock systems that are key to the agriculture industry.
    And then on Friday -- the day after Comey testifies before Congress -- Trump will visit the Department of Transportation, where he will push for shorter review time in the way the federal government approves road and railways and other regulatory changes.
    "Infrastructure is a priority of his," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said this week. "So the President's legislative agenda is in full swing."
    Taken together, Trump's proposal would look to rejuvenate American infrastructure, something both Democrats and Republicans have advocated for.
    But Trump's infrastructure plan relies heavily on tax breaks and public-private partnerships. Democrats fault the President for not advocating for more direct infrastructure spending and for proposing a budget that cuts money from some Obama-era infrastructure programs.
    A White House official also said Saturday that Trump's plan would also look to put more control in the hands of local governments to privatize their previously built infrastructure, something Democrats will likely oppose.
    Trump's plan would offer $200 billion in infrastructure tax breaks, with the hope that that would, in turn, spur $1 trillion worth of infrastructure construction.
    The Associated Press first reported Trump's planned infrastructure push.