Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “said in an interview published Thursday that he supports legislation ending the president’s program to defer deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Speaking to Breitbart News during a medical mission in Guatemala, Paul lent his backing to House Republican efforts to address the crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern U.S. border.” (Huffington Post)
Paul “spent two and a half days” in Guatemala “this week as part of a medical mission of roughly 70 surgeons, nurses, technicians and volunteers who shared the goal of conducting nearly 200 cataract surgeries and distributing nearly 8,000 pairs of eyeglasses. It was an unprecedented trip — never before has a U.S. senator and potential future presidential candidate traveled so elaborately to a third world country as part of a medical mission.” (Washington Post) “The doctor and his patients greeted each other beneath the gaze of three television cameras, three photographers, six reporters, a political aide, two press secretaries, conservative activist David Bossie — and Axel,” his bodyguard. (Washington Post)
PERRY: ISIS WARNING. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “left Texas behind on Thursday for a three-day jaunt to Washington and the presidential testing ground of New Hampshire, vowing to beat his abuse-of-power charges. … For Perry, a stop at a friendly think tank where he’s pitched books, policies and his candidacy wasn’t so much about trying to change the subject as to make the most of a legal predicament that — in the worst case — could leave him behind bars for decades.” His talk at the Heritage Foundation “was billed as a discussion of border security. But Perry devoted far more time to foreign policy, especially the rise of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq. He warned it could require a fresh deployment of U.S. ground troops — a step” President Obama “has ruled out.” (Dallas Morning News)
Perry also warned that “ISIS terrorists may already be in the country, … saying that the terrorists’ own version of ‘mission creep’ will draw them from Iraq to the” U.S. (National Review)
PATRICK: STRONG WORDS ON FERGUSON. “Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) weighed in … on the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a police officer. A reporter asked Patrick for his thoughts on the situation in the St. Louis suburb, and the governor responded, ‘I’m sick of it.’” Patrick: “I’m sick of unarmed black men being shot by police. I’m sick of the lawlessness on the streets. I think everybody’s tired of it. When are we gonna get through with this kind of thing?” (Huffington Post)
Patrick “and his wife, Diane,” joined President Obama “and the first lady for dinner on Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday.” (Boston Globe)
BUSH: NEW FRIEND REQUEST. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) “was a featured guest at one of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s dinner receptions for women leaders.” (Tampa Bay Times)
CLINTON: HELPING HAND. Priorities USA Action, a super PAC planning to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) if she runs for president, sent “a $250,000 donation on Thursday to the” DGA. (Politico)
FIORINA: MIND THE GAP. 2010 CA SEN nominee Carly Fiorina (R) “admits that the gap between women voting for Republican candidates and those voting for Democratic candidates remains too large, but she’s hoping her latest political endeavor can help narrow the gap. … Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential Project, or ‘UP’ for short, is focused on six states: Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. While the aim of the group is focused on helping the Republicans get better organized, utilize new technology, and better message to female voters, the group is focused on more than just helping elect female candidates.” (Iowa Republican)
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."