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Senate Democrats on Thursday aggressively ripped into President Trump’s nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying her involvement as a White House aide in controversial administration policies disqualified her from watching out for average Americans.

In a highly charged confirmation hearing, Democratic senators questioned Kathy Kraninger about her role overseeing the budgets of agencies that developed and implemented the child-separation policy at the border and the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico — and verbally unloaded on her when she evaded direct answers.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) could barely control her rage as she pressed Kraninger about whether she had any role in implementing the “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has separated nearly 3,000 children from their parents crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since April.

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  • Russia

Time magazine unveiled its latest cover on Twitter on Thursday, morphing the faces of U.S. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin into one image. 

The July 30 edition is “meant to represent this particular moment in U.S. foreign policy,” Time said in a statement about the cover

The coverage comes during a week of upheaval for the administration following a meeting between Trump and Putin and a subsequent news conference in Helsinki. After returning to Washington on Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke during the conference and accepts the consensus of American intelligence agencies, which have reported that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. He also said the perpetrators “could be other people also.”

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks during the Western Governors' Assn. meeting at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial on June 26, 2018.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks during the Western Governors' Assn. meeting at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial on June 26, 2018. (Ryan Hermens)

The U.S. Interior Department's internal watchdog has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke's involvement in a land deal with the head of an energy services company that does business with the agency. 

Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall said in a letter Wednesday to congressional Democrats that the investigation started Monday. 

The Associated Press reported last month that Kendall's office was looking into lawmakers' complaints over a charitable foundation created by Zinke and run by his wife, Lola. 

President Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in Washington on Wednesday.
President Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in Washington on Wednesday. (Olivier Douliery / Getty Images)

The White House says President Donald Trump believes Russia would target U.S. elections again, saying the “threat still exists.” That comes hours after Trump appeared to deny Russia was still targeting the United States, a statement at odds with warnings from his top intelligence chief. 

Trump was asked at the end of a Cabinet meeting Wednesday if Russia was still targeting the U.S. He answered “no” without elaborating. 

But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump was saying “no” to answering more questions, although he did go on to answer an additional question. 

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In Helsinki, President Trump said of meddling in the 2016 election:  "I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia; I will say this: I don't say any reason why it would be." Tuesday, the day after, Trump said he meant to say the word "wouldn't."

President Trump, seeking to stanch a national furor, said on Tuesday that he misspoke in Helsinki, Finland, and meant to say that he indeed does see Russia as the culprit that interfered in the 2016 presidential election, just as U.S. intelligence agencies have found.

The president's comments were unlikely to satisfy his critics in both parties. His new version was undercut by his fuller and widely watched remarks on Monday. Also, Trump no longer was speaking alongside Russia's President Vladimir Putin, but addressing reporters from the White House alongside Republican lawmakers.

In his attempt to walk back his Helsinki remarks, Trump said he accepts the consensus of American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election. Yet in a sign that he cannot fully accept those findings — seeing them as a challenge to his legitimacy — he added that it "could be other people also." That assertion is not supported by known intelligence.

The fight over who will lead House Democrats next year got its first public entrance Tuesday as Rep. Linda T. Sanchez made her official bid to lead the House Democratic Caucus.

  • White House
Robert S. Mueller III on Capitol Hill in 2013.
Robert S. Mueller III on Capitol Hill in 2013. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking immunity for five potential witnesses in the upcoming trial of President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Mueller's office told a federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday that it was seeking to compel the witnesses to testify under condition of immunity. 

Prosecutors have not identified the witnesses and say they have not been publicly identified with the case. Prosecutors say the witnesses have indicated they won't testify “on the basis of their privilege against self-incrimination.” Prosecutors say that if they do testify, they are requesting “use immunity.” That means the government couldn't use their statements against them. 

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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after their summit on in Helsinki, Finland.
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after their summit on in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

President Trump says he meant the opposite when he said in Helsinki that he doesn't see why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. 

Back at the White House on Tuesday, the president told reporters that he said he meant he doesn't see why Russia “wouldn't” be responsible. 

He also said he accepts the American intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election, but he denied that his campaign had colluded in the effort. 

  • White House
  • Russia
Russia's President Vladimir Putin offers a ball from the 2018 World Cup to President Trump during a joint news conference in Helsinki.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin offers a ball from the 2018 World Cup to President Trump during a joint news conference in Helsinki. (Yuri Kadobnov / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump will make remarks Tuesday afternoon about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as he faces mounting criticism from allies and foes alike about his failure to publicly condemn Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. 

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump will speak about Monday’s summit with Putin in Helsinki before a scheduled 2 p.m. meeting with Republican members of Congress at the White House. 

The White House says Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas and five other lawmakers are to be in attendance. The meeting had been set to be about tax policy.