TRUMP AGENDA: Mueller impanels grand jury
The big story from last night, from the Wall Street Journal: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter. The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, signals that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.”
Reuters: “A grand jury has issued subpoenas in connection with a June 2016 meeting that included President Donald Trump's son, his son-in-law and a Russian lawyer, two sources told Reuters on Thursday, signaling an investigation is gathering pace into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.”
Trump shot back at his West Virginia rally last night, NBC’s Ali Vitali reports, calling the probe a “fabrication” and saying “We didn't win because of Russia. We won because of you.”
From the AP: “President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is revealing a brief advisory role with a firm related to a controversial data analysis company that aided the Trump campaign, The Associated Press has learned. The disclosure of Flynn’s link to Cambridge Analytica will come in an amended public financial filing in which the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general also discloses income that includes payments from the Trump transition team, according to a person close to Flynn who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity Thursday to describe details of the filing made to the White House.”
And from the Washington Post: “Federal prosecutors are investigating Kushner Companies, the real estate firm owned by the family of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, over its use of a program that grants visas to wealthy overseas investors. The authorities, in part, are looking into the role of Mr. Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, according to a person familiar with the matter who confirmed the inquiry.”
POLITICO notes how GOP lawmakers have used the last week reining in their own party’s leader.
The New York Times sums up John Kelly’s push this week for “military discipline” in the White House: “Mr. Kelly cuts off rambling advisers midsentence. He listens in on conversations between cabinet secretaries and the president. He has booted lingering staff members out of high-level meetings, and ordered the doors of the Oval Office closed to discourage strays. He fired Anthony Scaramucci, the bombastic New Yorker who was briefly the communications director, and has demanded that even Mr. Trump’s family, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, check with him if they want face time with the president.”
The AP: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions took new steps Thursday to punish cities he believes are not cooperating with federal immigration agents in a move that was met with bewilderment by local officials who said they did not know why they were being singled out.”
The LA Times wraps up the flurry of Senate confirmations yesterday afternoon.
The Secret Service is vacating Trump Tower over a lease dispute, writes the Washington Post.
OFF TO THE RACES : Bob Bennett’s son can run in special to replace Chaffetz
AL-SEN: The latest strategy from Mo Brooks: Telling Luther Strange to stop attack ads against Roy Moore.
AZ-SEN: John McCain says he’s coming back to Congress — and he wants to revive immigration reform.
NY-GOV: Carl Paladino says he may run for governor again.
UT-03: “A federal judge ordered Utah election officials Wednesday to allow the son of late U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett to be on the November ballot in the special election to replace Jason Chaffetz in the House of Representatives,” writes the AP.
VA-GOV: Mike Pence will fundraise for Ed Gillespie.
WV-GOV: Here’s full coverage of Jim Justice’s party switch, first reported by the New York Times.