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Billboard in Cairo shows President Abdel Fattah Sisi
Billboard in Cairo shows President Abdel Fattah Sisi (AFP / Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson started a Middle East tour Monday in Cairo, where he declined to publicly criticize Egyptian officials who have arrested or disqualified several opposition candidates for elections scheduled in March.

“We have always advocated for free and fair elections, transparent elections, not just for Egypt but in any country,” Tillerson told reporters after meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

He ignored a second question about whether the United States would consider withholding military aid if the presidential elections do not meet standards for fairness and transparency.

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Donald Trump long thought the phrase "Drain the Swamp" was a little hokey, he has confessed to crowds. Yet it stayed. If Frank Sinatra had to croon "My Way," even when he tired of it, Trump reasoned aloud, Trump could belt out his crowd-pleasing catchphrase.

More than a year into his presidency, Trump mouths the words a little less often. But rather than completely kill off a slogan that once rivaled "Build the Wall" in the Trump repertoire, he has done something more subversive: He has drained it of its meaning.

(Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press)

President Trump appeared to question the #MeToo movement on Saturday, writing on Twitter that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

The tweet came a day after Trump had expressed support and sympathy for Rob Porter, his former aide accused of spousal abuse, and twice mentioned that Porter says he’s innocent.

Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. He denies the allegations.

(Jim Watson / AFP)

President Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he wants Democratic lawmakers to “re-do” a classified memo about government surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor before it is released.

Trump refused on Friday to approve the release of the 10-page memo written by Democratic minority members of the House Intelligence Committee.

The document aims to refute Republican claims that the FBI surveillance of Carter Page was politically motivated, even though the counter-intelligence warrants were renewed three times by different judges over the course of a year.

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Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, left, appears with Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and Associate Atty. Gen. Rachel Brand.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, left, appears with Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and Associate Atty. Gen. Rachel Brand. (Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

The No. 3 official in the Justice Department is resigning to take a job in the private sector, another high-profile departure from a department under relentless pressure from the White House.

Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general, will leave her job after less than nine months to take an unspecified private sector job, the department announced on Friday.

Ordinarily a low-profile position, that job potentially put Brand next in line to oversee the special counsel investigation, after Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein – who has become a target of increasing attacks from right-wing Republicans.