“FBI Director James Comey is set to face probing questions Monday about Russia’s involvement in the presidential election at a highly anticipated public appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.” (Politico) “Comey confirmed Monday the FBI is investigating Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing that the bureau normally does not comment on the existence of counterintelligence investigations, but that he was authorized to do so in this case because of the extraordinary public interest.” (Politico)
OTHER RUSSIA UPDATES. Roger Stone “an informal adviser to President Trump, has been asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee to preserve any records he may have in connection to a broader inquiry into Russian attempts to interfere with United States elections.” (New York Times)
“Ukrainian prosecutors want to question” Trump’s former Campaign Manager “Paul Manafort in connection with a corruption investigation and have made repeated requests for assistance from US authorities” (CNN)
“A Reuters review found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.” (Reuters)
WEEK IN REVIEW. Last week, President Donald Trump’s “agenda was subsumed by problems of his own making, his message undercut by a seemingly endless stream of controversy he cannot seem to stop himself from feeding. The health care measure appears on track for a House vote this week, and the president, who planned a weekend of relaxation at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Fla., club, is likely to receive a large measure of the credit. But it has also become clear that…Trump, an agitator incapable of responding proportionately to any slight, appears hellbent on squandering his honeymoon.” (New York Times)
Trump’s approval rating dropped down to 37% in Gallup’s tracking poll.
STAFF ISSUES. Trump’s New York City friends and advisors are the subject of suspicion and mistrust among more conservative members in the White House and in D.C. (Washington Post) “Seebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been ‘under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany’ during World War II.” (Forward)
TRAVEL BAN. “The Trump administration filed court papers Friday hoping to salvage its second version of a travel ban after two judges in separate cases this week found that it probably violated the Constitution.” (Washington Post) “A federal judge in Hawaii who issued a temporary restraining order against key parts of…Trump’s revised travel ban last week has turned down a Justice Department request to narrow the injunction.” (Politico)
BHARARA WAS PROBING PRICE. “Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.” (ProPublica)
TAX RETURNS. “Facing a jeering crowd of demonstrators and left-leaning voters,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) “said that…Trump should release his tax returns.” (Politico)
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"President Trump delivered an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday night: Vote to approve the measure to overhaul the nation’s health-care system on the House floor Friday, or reject it and the president will move on to his other legislative priorities." Passage remains far from certain, however, even with a 3pm Friday vote scheduled.
Jay Clayton, Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, was grilled today during his hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. In question were his extensive ties to Wall Street and his potential conflicts of interest. During his hearing, Clayton promised he would not show favoritism to anyone. Clayton's financial disclosure revealed that Clayton "raked in $7.6 million in the year leading up to his nomination, buoyed by a client roster that included big banks such as Goldman Sachs. President Donald Trump has picked Goldman alums for several regulatory roles in his administration."
"Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s pick to lead the Agriculture Department, faced pointed questions about the administration’s proposed cuts to rural assistance programs during his otherwise friendly Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. Throughout the hearing, Perdue affirmed his commitment to several programs that could face cuts due to Trump’s budget: the Rural Utilities Service; the Natural Resource Conservation Center; and various agricultural research programs," even as the president's budget would cut his agency by 20 percent.