“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)
What We're Following See More »
"President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs. The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials. Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies."
"President Trump’s attorneys have provided the special counsel’s office with written descriptions that chronicle key moments under investigation in hopes of curtailing the scope of a presidential interview, according to two people familiar with the situation. Trump’s legal team recently shared the documents in an effort to limit any session between the president and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a few select topics" on order to "minimize his exposure. ... The lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a penchant for making erroneous claims, would be vulnerable in an hours-long interview."