Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
The House Intelligence Committee dropped its subpoena of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to appear before it to testify about a meeting he attended last year with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, a source familiar with the situation told Josh Dawsey, Madeline Conway and Kyle Cheney at POLITICO.
Manafort was briefly subpoenaed yesterday to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.
Manafort discussed a June 2016 meeting between Trump’s inner circle and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators yesterday, according to his spokesperson, in a meeting in which he “answered their questions fully” and passed investigators notes he had taken during the 2016 meeting, Eileen Sullivan and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.
“We’ll see what happens.” President Trump continued to attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigations yesterday, giving an ominous response when asked if he would fire Sessions and repeating an earlier assertion that he would have “picked somebody else” for the job if he’d known that “he was going to recuse himself.” Devlin Barrett, Philip Rucker and Sari Horwitz report at the Washington Post.
“I am very disappointed in Jeff Sessions,” Trump reiterated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal yesterday, without confirming whether he would fire the attorney general. Michael C. Bender reports.
“We’ll come to a resolution soon” on whether to fire Sessions, new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said yesterday, adding that “if there’s this level of tension” between President Trump and Sessions “that’s public,” it’s “probably right” to assume that Trump wants Sessions gone, the BBC reports.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee for around three hours yesterday, Morgan Chalfant reports a the Hill.
Kushner’s answers were “forthcoming and complete” and he “satisfied all my questions,” the leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion Rep. Mike Conway (R-Texas) said yesterday after Kushner’s interview, Kyle Cheney reporting at POLITICO.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to make his first public statements about the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General’s little-noticed investigation looking into several key issues in the Russia saga stretching back to before President Trump’s inauguration when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Josh Gerstein reports at POLITICO.
President Trump is harming himself, alienating allies and crossing “dangerous” legal and political lines by continuing to demean Attorney General Jeff Sessions, writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
President Trump has placed the White House in a “virtual state of war” with the Justice Department amid a high-stakes investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion over his denigration of Sessions, write Peter Baker, Jeremy W. Peters and Rebecca R. Ruiz at the New York Times.
The argument for retaining Sessions rests on the perception that firing him would give President Trump a free hand to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but this is wrong and short-sighted: Trump probably has other avenues to get rid of Mueller, he could pardon those under investigation and undercut Mueller’s investigation in that way, and viewing Sessions himself solely through the lens of the Russia investigation “is an insult to the countless Americans who will suffer under Sessions’ extremist reign as attorney general.” Trevor Timm writes at the Guardian.
A wide-ranging package of sanctions against Russia was approved by the House yesterday in a 419-3 vote that brings President Trump a step closer to a choice he has tried to avoid: whether to sign legislation that undermines his efforts to cool tensions with Moscow, or veto it amid the ongoing investigations into his alleged collusion with Russia during his presidential campaign, writes Matt Felegenheimer at the New York Times. Continue Reading »