“Paul Behrends, a top aide to” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R), “has been ousted from his role as staff director for the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that Rohrabacher chairs, after stories appeared in the press highlighting his relationships with pro-Russia lobbyists.” (The Atlantic)
“Behrends has been the chief Capitol Hill contact for the lawyer Natalia Vetlitskaya and the lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet intelligence officer, whose contacts with [Donald] Trump Jr. … are now at the center of questions about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” (Politico)
THE STORY THAT STARTED IT. “An email reviewed by The Daily Beast shows that before that June 14 hearing, Rohrabacher’s staff received pro-Kremlin briefings against Browder, once Russia’s biggest foreign investor, and his tax attorney Sergei Magnitsky from a lawyer who was working with Veselnitskaya. Although” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R) “had prohibited Rohrabacher from showing the Russian propaganda film in Congress, Rohrabacher’s Capitol Hill office still actively promoted a screening of the movie that was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2016. Veselnitskaya was one of those handling the movie’s worldwide promotion.” (Daily Beast)
HELPING HAND. “Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was once caught remarking that … Rohrabacher might be the one member of Congress paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is now headlining a fundraiser for him.” The event “is slated for Sunday, July 23, and tickets cost $2,700 a person, according to the invitation.” (McClatchy)
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"As Trump signed a joint statement with Kim Jong Un that offered few details on how the North Korean leader would make good on his vow to denuclearize, Republicans on Capitol Hill said Tuesday that they want and expect the White House to submit any final agreement for their approval." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for any agreement to be in the form of a treaty.
President Trump announced that the United States will suspend "war games" with South Korea, which are "inappropriate" given his meeting with North Korean leader Kim-Jong Un. "We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," said Trump, "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should." The military exercises "carried out each year by the US and South Korean militaries have been consistently cited by Pyongyang as a US rehearsal for war, and a reason it needs to build a nuclear arsenal."
President Trump "heaped praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, calling him 'a very worthy, very smart negotiator' and vowing to meet with him 'many times.' Speaking to reporters in Singapore after his landmark summit with Kim, Trump said that he found the North Korean premier to be a 'very talented man' who 'loves his country very much.'"