“A trial beginning today in San Antonio to determine the constitutionality of Texas’ 2013 redistricting maps is expected to set the stage for changes to state and congressional districts ahead of the 2018 election.” The judges “will not hear opening arguments but will go straight into hearing evidence from a number of plaintiffs, according to court records.” Evidence about the state House maps is expected first, followed by evidence about the congressional maps.” (San Antonio Express-News)
THE FIELD. Former Housing and Urban Development official Judith Canales (D) is considering a run against Rep. Will Hurd (R) and said possible redistricting won’t affect her decision. She served as a “administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs in the Department of Agriculture” and is “based in Eagle Pass, where she once served as assistant city manager. … Speculation also has focused on Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hulings, who attended Harvard Law School and served nearly two years as the deputy chief counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” (San Antonio Express-News)
THE STAKES. “It’s unclear when the panel will rule after this week’s hearing wraps up. But local election administrators have said they need clarity on district boundaries by October so they have enough time to prepare for the March primaries, send out voter registration cards and meet other electoral deadlines. If the court rules that the 2013 maps must be fixed ahead of the elections, it could set off a scramble to finalize a version of the state maps that are acceptable to the court without delaying the upcoming elections.” (Texas Tribune)
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Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg."
"The Justice Department asked its internal watchdog to examine if there was any impropriety in the counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, after the president demanded Sunday that the department investigate the motives behind the inquiry. Earlier Sunday, in one of a series of tweets targeting the probe into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump wrote: 'I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!'"