Feedback
Politics

First Read’s Morning Clips: Donald Trump v. Jeff Sessions

TRUMP AGENDA: Trump vs. Sessions

Trump’s bombshell interview with the New York Times: “President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.” In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.”

You can read excerpts from the interview here.

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Jared Kushner will speak to the Senate intelligence panel in a closed-door session next week as part of the Russia probe. And Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. have also been called to testify.

Last night’s sad news: “Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been diagnosed with brain cancer, the Mayo Clinic said Wednesday in a statement released on behalf of the senator and his family. Doctors removed a blood clot from above McCain's left eye on Friday."Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot," the Mayo Clinic said in the statement.”

NBC’s Bob Windrem: “President Donald Trump's just-disclosed hourlong meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit — using a Kremlin translator, with no national security staff present — may have damaged U.S. interests, according to some national security experts. With no other witness or note-taker of the sort normally present on the American side, there's no guarantee that Trump or Putin's words were translated correctly — or that Trump didn't give away more classified information, as he did when top Russian officials came to the White House in May.”

The New York Times, on Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank. “Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks. Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.”

The CBO report on the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act shows that its enactment would mean 17 million fewer people with insurance within a year as well as a big spike in premiums, NBC’s Benjy Sarlin writes.

A new AP-NORC poll shows that 62 percent of Americans now say it’s the federal governor’s responsibility to ensure health coverage for all Americans.

The Freedom Caucus will try to force a vote on an outright repeal of Obamacare, writes POLITICO.

Don’t miss the remarkable interview that Katy Tur conducted with voter fraud panel chief Kris Kobach yesterday.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, former director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Interior Department Joel Clement says he’s blowing the whistle on the Trump administration for its reassignment of employees over climate change work. “I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding my reassignment, I raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community, most recently at a U.N. conference in June. It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Is Cordray entering Ohio’s gubernatorial race?

The Washington Post sums up Trump’s not-so-subtle warning to lawmakers about electoral consequences for defying him on health care.

AL-SEN: Mo Brooks has raised about $300k for his Senate campaign and has about $1.8 million cash on hand.

CA-GOV: Republican David Hadley is out of the California governors’ race two weeks after entering it.

IL-GOV: “One of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new communications aide has argued that abortion is being used “to rid the world of disabled and other ‘unwanted’ persons” — comparing it to Nazi Germany. Communications specialist Brittany Carl has also taken on organized labor in her on-line posts, contending that teachers unions should be dissolved.”

NJ-GOV: NJ.com: “The Republican National Committee, which is controlled by Trump, views Guadagno as someone who hasn't been loyal to the president and officials there see her race as a losing cause, according to two sources familiar with the RNC's plans.” (Guadagno didn’t answer questions about the grudge yesterday.)

OH-GOV: Cleveland.com: “Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is going to run for governor of Ohio, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill said he was told last week by a mutual friend. O'Neill said the friend, whom he declined to name, "openly stated" that Cordray is going to enter the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary.”

TN-GOV: The Tennessee governor’s race could be the most expensive in the state’s history.

TX-GOV: The owner of a Dallas gay leather bar is running for governor.