339 posts
  • Russia
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III spent $3.2 million in the first 4½ months of his investigation into whether anyone from President Trump’s team helped Russian interference with last year’s presidential campaign.

The spending was summarized in a report released Tuesday, the first of what Mueller’s office said will be twice-a-year updates. 

The single biggest cost was $1.7 million for salaries and benefits, including $500,000 for special counsel employees and $1.2 million for Department of Justice staff working under Mueller.

Rep. John Conyers Jr.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Associated Press)

Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, stepped down today after his support among fellow Democrats collapsed amid accusations of sexual harassment by several female employees.

"I am retiring today and I want everyone to now how much I appreciate the support, incredible undiminished support I’ve received," Conyers said in a radio interview.

  • White House
  • Congress
President Trump meets with congressional leaders at the White House in September. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
President Trump meets with congressional leaders at the White House in September. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

After railing against Democrats for weeks and pushing a sweeping tax plan over their objections, President Trump reached out to the rivals Monday — a subtle acknowledgment that he’ll need their help to avert a government shutdown at the end of the week.

Trump invited congressional leaders to the White House on Thursday for discussions on a year-end budget deal, a do-over after Democrats backed out of an earlier meeting when the president tweeted shortly beforehand that he saw “no deal” to be made.

Trump had little choice but to soften his approach. Because many Republican lawmakers refuse to vote for almost any new spending bill, Trump needs Democrats to provide what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) calls “the currency of the realm” — the votes needed to approve a bill to keep government running.

President Trump has called the news media “the enemy” and routinely labeled reporting he dislikes “fake news.” On Monday, the White House broke another precedent in limiting the press’ ability to ask questions about the president’s decisions.

On a day filled with news, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One that he would not take any questions on the record.

While returning from Utah, where Trump announced a rollback of protections for national monuments in the state, Gidley read reporters a brief series of statements on a few news items of the day – including Trump’s endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and a Supreme Court decision to allow his travel ban to be enforced for now.

Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call
Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call

Paul Manafort ghost-wrote an editorial about his political work in Ukraine, violating a court order, according to a new court filing from the special counsel’s office.

The allegation was disclosed Monday as the reason the special counsel was backing out of a deal on bail with Manafort’s lawyers. The deal would have loosened the terms of house arrest for President Trump’s former campaign manager.

Manafort wanted to be allowed to travel among a few states in return for agreeing to forfeit $11.6 million in property if he missed a court appearance. 

  • Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

The justices, with two dissenting votes, said Monday that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. The action suggests that the high court could uphold the latest version of the ban that Trump announced in September.

The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a "bona fide" relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press)

House and Senate Republicans are set to go to work this week to reconcile significant differences between their two tax bills.

Here are the biggest sticking points they need to resolve while making sure the legislation does not reduce revenues by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade or, under Senate rules, add to the budget deficit after that. If it exceeds that amount, Republicans could no longer pass their tax package with a simple majority vote in the Senate.

President Trump, during an announcement at the Utah Capitol today, made a public lands declaration unlike any ever made by a U.S. chief executive.

The president shrank two big national monuments in southern Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — by nearly 2 million acres.

"Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington," he told a cheering audience at the Utah Capitol. "And guess what, they're wrong."

  • White House
  • Russia
(Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump said he felt “very badly” for his ex-national security advisor Michael T. Flynn, who pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the investigation into Russian meddling.

"I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. He's led a very strong life, and I feel very badly about it,” Trump told reporters Monday as he left the White House for a trip to Utah where he is expected to announce cuts to two national monuments there.

“I will say this. Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it destroyed his life, and I think it's a shame,” Trump said.

  • White House
  • Congress
Roy Moore
Roy Moore (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

President Trump on Monday fully endorsed Roy Moore, going further in his support of the Alabama Senate candidate accused of making unwanted sexual advances on teenage girls than he had in backing Moore last month.

“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted early Monday. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”

In November, Trump pointed to Moore’s denials of the allegations against the candidate from several decades ago, and the president spoke against voting for Democrat Doug Jones, but did not explicitly endorse Moore.