Live Updates: Trump's Lawyer Says The President Is Not Being Investigated (Despite His Tweet)

This week at the White House: the Russia investigation continues to haunt the president, after his attorney general testifies before Congress.

Here's what's going on in Washington this week:

  • President Trump said Friday on Twitter that he is being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for obstruction of justice.
  • In a bizarre tweet, that seemed to attack his own deputy attorney general, Trump again called the probe a "witch hunt."
  • But a Trump lawyer said Sunday that the president's tweet was not correct and that he was not, in fact, being investigated.
  • The special counsel is also reportedly investigating the business dealings of Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner.
  • Trump's private attorney, Michael Cohen, has now also hired his own lawyer.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to testify on his contacts with Russian officials during and after the 2016 election.
  • Sessions denied any contacts with Russians about the election and called any suggestion of collusion "a detestable lie."
  • The FBI is refusing to release the memos James Comey wrote about Trump before he was fired as director of the agency.


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The president is not under investigation, despite what he said: Trump lawyer

Jake: So Trump said "I'm under investigation" even though he isn't? Trump lawyer: The president isn't under invest…

A lawyer for the president said Sunday that Donald Trump is not being investigated by authorities — despite the president saying just that.

On Friday, the president tweeted, "I'm being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt!"

Speaking on the Sunday morning news shows, Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump's personal legal team and chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, maintained the president was not speaking literally.

"The president is not and has not been under investigation," he said on Face the Nation on CBS.

"There has been no notification from the special counsel's office that the president is under investigation. In fact, to the contrary, what we know is what James Comey said the last thing we know is when he testified just a couple weeks back — that the president was not and is not a target of investigation," he said.

Speaking to a bemused Jake Tapper on CNN, Sekulow said the president was responding to a Washington Post story from Wednesday which reported, citing five anonymous officials, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had expanded his Russia investigation to examine whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

"That response on social media was in response to the Washington Post piece. It's that simple. The president is not under investigation," he said.

"Well, I wish it were that simple," Tapper responded, "but with all due respect, the president said, 'I am being investigated' in a tweet, and people take his word on that. But you're his attorney, and you're saying that the president, when he said that, was not accurate."

"It was 141 characters, there's a limitation on Twitter, as we all know, and the president has a very effective utilization of social media," Sekulow said.

Trump's tweet also raised eyebrows because of his apparent attack on his own deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.

—David Mack

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FBI says it won't release Comey's Trump memos because they're part of "law enforcement proceedings"

The FBI will not release memos written by former director James Comey on his interactions with President Trump because they're part of a "pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding."

BuzzFeed News requested the memos under the Freedom of Information Act. At least one of the memos is unclassified.

But, the FBI said, the memos' release could "reasonably interfere with enforcement proceedings."

Comey discussed the unclassified memo he wrote during Senate testimony last week. Over the past two days, CNN and the New York Times have filed lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act for the documents. In his testimony, Comey told senators that he began detailing his interactions with Trump after meeting the then-president-elect at Trump Tower. Read more here.

Claudia Koerner and Jason Leopold

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Feinstein fears Trump may fire Rosenstein and Mueller after his tweet

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she's concerned the president will attempt to fire both the special counsel and the deputy attorney general.

The California democrat released a statement on Friday after Trump's tweet, voicing her concern that the president would try to not only fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein but also special counsel Robert Mueller.

Here's the full statement:

I'm growing increasingly concerned that the president will attempt to fire not only Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible obstruction of justice, but also Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein who appointed Mueller. The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn't apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired. That's undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president's oath of office. First of all, the president has no authority to fire Robert Mueller. That authority clearly lies with the attorney general—or in this case, because the attorney general has recused himself, with the deputy attorney general. Rosenstein testified under oath this week that he would not fire Mueller without good cause and that none exists. And second, if the president thinks he can fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will shut down the investigation, he's in for a rude awakening. Even his staunchest supporters will balk at such a blatant effort to subvert the law. It's becoming clear to me that the president has embarked on an effort to undermine anyone with the ability to bring any misdeeds to light, be that Congress, the media or the Justice Department. The Senate should not let that happen. We're a nation of laws that apply equally to everyone, a lesson the president would be wise to learn.

–Jessica Simeone

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Trump's private lawyer hires a lawyer of his own

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, told BuzzFeed News he has hired a lawyer to represent him amid the Russian investigation.

Cohen has retained Stephen Ryan of McDermott Will and Emery as counsel.

NBC's Katy Tur first reported the news, adding that Cohen would testify before congress in September.

News emerged last month that Cohen had been contacted by congressional investigators probing Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Cohen first told ABC News that House and Senate investigators have asked him "to provide information and testimony" about contacts he has had with people connected to the Kremlin, but he had declined to comply.

"I declined the invitation to participate as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad, and not capable of being answered," Cohen told BuzzFeed News via text message.

Cohen told CNN's Jim Acosta: "They have yet to produce one single piece of credible evidence that would corroborate the Russia narrative."

Cohen's name appeared in the unverified dossier on Trump compiled by a former British intelligence agent and published by BuzzFeed News in January. The document alleged Cohen had traveled to Prague for a secret meeting with Russians, which he has repeatedly said is false.

After first tweeting a photograph of his passport cover as evidence he had never visited the Czech Republic, Cohen allowed BuzzFeed News to photograph the inside of his passport earlier this month. The passport shows Cohen has traveled the globe since 2009, the year the document was issued. However, there is no stamp showing Cohen visited the Czech Republic.

—David Mack

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The president appeared to call out deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein during early morning Twitter rant

I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

The president unloaded on Twitter Friday about the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, calling it a "phony witch hunt." He went on to say that he was being investigated for firing former FBI Director James Comey by the same man who told him to fire Comey.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the election, had expanded the probe to look at President Trump for obstruction of justice. The probe reportedly turned it's eyes on Trump after fired FBI Director James Comey testified last week he believed he was terminated because of his investigation into Russia's influence on the election.

Mueller did not advise the president to fire Comey, it was deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein that issued a letter to the president recommending Comey's termination.

However, it was later revealed that the president had already planned to fire Comey and had summoned Rosenstein and AG Jeff Sessions to the White House and directed them to put the reasons the administration was firing Comey into writing. Rosenstein reportedly threatened to quit after Trump and his surrogates made it seem that he was the driving force behind Comey's firing.

He started his rant by saying that after seven months of investigating, there's no proof of any "collusion with the Russians

After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my "collusion with the Russians," nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!

But he was able to give a self-congratulatory pat on the back, saying that despite the "witch hunt," the economic and jobs numbers are way up.

Despite the phony Witch Hunt going on in America, the economic & jobs numbers are great. Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!

The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media - over 100 million people! I can go around them

The president also took a moment to mention his "very powerful social media" that's followed by over 100 million people.

–Jessica Simeone

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Jared Kushner's business deals reportedly being investigated by special counsel

The financial and business dealings of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and adviser of President Donald Trump, are being investigated as part of the probe into whether Russia interfered with the 2016 election, the Washington Post reported, citing anonymous sources.

In May, the the Post reported that Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, held meetings with Russian officials in December that were being scrutinized. Kushner first met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and then with Sergey Gorkov, who heads a state-owned Russian bank. The Post also reported Kushner tried to set up a secret and secure communications line between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, which the White House has denied.

It was not clear earlier whether Kushner's financial work was under investigation.

— Michelle Broder Van Dyke

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Pence hires his own lawyer in connection with special counsel probe

Vice President Mike Pence has hired his own outside lawyer to advise him in connection with the special counsel investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters.

Pence has hired Richard Cullen, a lawyer at McGuireWoods in Richmond and a former US attorney, according to a spokesman for Pence.

Read more here. —Zoe Tillman

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Senate intelligence committee meets in closed session with Director of National Intelligence

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats answered questions behind closed doors on Thursday for the Setate intelligence committee.

Coats had testified publicly last week before the committee, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The committee on Thursday wanted to ask follow-up questions in a private setting, its leaders said in a statement.

"The Committee today met with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to clear up a number of questions that remained from his appearance in open session last Wednesday," senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner said.

During his public testimony, Coats refused to answer questions about Russian meddling or his conversations with the president about it. In particular, Coats was asked if Trump had pressured him to back off the investigation — which some people believe would be obstruction of justice by the president.

"I don't believe it's appropriate for me to address that in a public session," Coats responded at the time.

— Claudia Koerner

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Trump continued to push back on the Russia probe Thursday with a rare mid-afternoon tweet.

Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?

President Trump continued to lash out against the investigations into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia with a mid-afternoon tweet on Thursday.

"Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?" he tweeted.

He followed up a short time later with another tweet:

Crooked H destroyed phones w/ hammer, 'bleached' emails, & had husband meet w/AG days before she was cleared- & they talk about obstruction?

Trump was not specifically under investigation as part of the Russia probe, that is, until he cited it as a reason for firing FBI Director James Comey, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Trump is now reportedly under investigation for possible obstruction of justice.

—Jason Wells

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DC lawyer uses partisan websites to raise money for pro-Trump PACs

Two days before James Comey testified at the Senate Intelligence Committee, a pro-Trump group called Great America Alliance released an ad attacking the former FBI director. The ad was covered by several media outlets, including a conservative news website, American Action News. It published a story with the headline, "BREAKING: Pro-Trump Group ATTACKS Comey."

Its article largely consisted of three paragraphs copied word-for-word from the Washington Examiner, with one key exception: the top and bottom of the AAN article included prominent links to the donation page for the very same Great America Alliance. "SUPPORT GREAT AMERICA ALLIANCE'S EFFORTS TO DEFEND THE PRESIDENT. CLICK HERE" read the link text.

It's rare for a news report about a political organization's attack ad to contain a link to the donation site for that same organization. But this wasn't the first time AAN had done that. A review of AAN's content by BuzzFeed News found it has published at least 34 news articles that contain prominent links to the donation page for Great America Alliance or its affiliated super PAC, Great America PAC.

AAN also published at least two articles that solicited donations for the Stop Hillary PAC, neither of which contained a sponsorship disclosure.

Those three groups — Great America PAC, Great America Alliance and Stop Hillary PAC— have been cited or promoted in some way in more than 110 articles on AAN dating back to 2015. Of those, just 11 contained a label noting to readers that the content was sponsored.

Though it's not disclosed to readers, the PACs and AAN share a key person in common: a Washington-area lawyer named Dan Backer who is an outspoken opponent of campaign finance rules that limit money in politics.

Read more here. —Craig Silverman and Tarini Parti

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President Trump calls the obstruction of justice story "phony"

They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice

Trump responded to the Washington Post story with two tweets Thursday morning. The special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election Robert Mueller has reportedly expanded the probe to examine whether or not the president obstructed justice.

"They made up a phony collusion with the Russian story, found zero, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice," he tweeted.

An hour later he followed up with another tweet saying this is the "single greatest witch hunt in American political history."

You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA

–Jessica Simeone

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President Trump under investigation for potential obstruction of justice, Washington Post reports

The special counsel investigating Russian meddling in last year's presidential election has now expanded his probe and is examining whether President Trump tried to obstruct justice, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Robert Mueller's probe reportedly zeroed in on Trump after he fired FBI Director James Comey in May. Speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey testified last week he believed he was terminated because of his investigation into Russia's influence on the election.

"It's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation," Comey said.

Read more here.

—Jim Dalrymple II

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Trump has "no intention" of firing Russia investigation special counsel, White House says

After initially steering clear of rumors that Trump was considering firing Robert Mueller, the White House said Tuesday that the president "has no intention" of terminating the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday night aboard Air Force One, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that "while the president has every right to, he has no intention" of firing Mueller.

Angered by conservative media reports that Mueller was cozy with James Comey, the ousted FBI director who recently called Trump a liar in his Senate testimony, the president had been mulling firing the special counsel, according to the New York Times. Aides and staff worked to dissuade Trump, fearing that the president would make another rash move that "would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe."

Republicans also stood behind Mueller and expressed concern over reports that the president saw Mueller as "illegitimate" and was considering firing him.

"I know Bob Mueller and I have confidence in Bob Mueller," House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier Tuesday. "I think the best thing to do is to let Robert Mueller do his job. I think the best vindication for the president is to let this investigation go on independently and thoroughly."

Even if Trump did want to fire Mueller, it is far from clear that he would be able to do so. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, told the Senate Tuesday that he saw no reason to remove him as special counsel and that only he, not the president, could fire him.

And while Trump did not watch much of Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Huckabee said the president thought the Attorney General "did a very good job, and, in particular, was very strong on the point that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The president visited Wisconsin while Sessions was testifying, touring a technical college with his daughter Ivanka Trump and later attended a fundraiser for Gov. Scott Walker's re-election campaign in Milwaukee.

Brianna Sacks

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Democrats blast Sessions for refusal to answer questions on Trump conversations

AG Sessions is impeding this investigation. “Appropriateness” is not a legal standard.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' refusal before the Senate on Tuesday to detail his conversations with President Trump outraged Democrats, who accused him of impeding the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

Sessions repeatedly declined to answer questions from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee about his meetings with Trump, citing the president's "constitutional right" to have his communications be private. (President Trump did not, however, exercise his executive privilege to prevent Sessions or former FBI Director James Comey from testifying).

Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted after the hearing that Congress cannot allow members of Trump's administration to refuse to answer questions regarding potential obstruction of Justice and it "must compel responses using whatever process necessary."

During the testimony, Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, used his allotted time to accuse Sessions of dodging the committee's questions, hindering the usefulness of the Senate inquiry.

"My understanding is that you took an oath, you raised your right hand here today and you said that you would solemnly tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and now you're not answering questions," Heinrich said. "You're impeding this investigation."

Sessions said he was simply respecting the "president's constitutional right," to give out information without the president's approval. He said it was a "long-standing policy of the Department of Justice to make sure that the president has full opportunity to decide these issues" — however he could not refer to an explicit written policy when asked by Sen. Kamala Harris.

"If POTUS is not invoking executive privilege AG Sessions should be answering our questions. His silence speaks volumes," Heinrich tweeted after the hearing.

Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, also criticized Sessions for refusing to answer questions. "It is hard to see how he can continue to serve," Durbin said in a statement.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said Sessions "repeatedly refused to answer pertinent questions...without offering a scintilla of a legal justification for doing so."

"This is part of a repeated and troubling pattern from Trump administration officials who clam up and refuse to answer questions about the Russia investigation," he said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also criticized Sessions' performance and called for his resignation.

Congress can't allow Administration to refuse to answer q's on potential obstruction. Must compel responses using whatever process necessary

Today before Congress, AG Sessions refused to answer key questions about his discussions with @realDonaldTrump related to Comey’s firing.

As our top law enforcement officer, the AG must be truthful and uphold the law. Sessions cannot continue to serve. He should resign.

Republicans, however, applauded Sessions and praised what they said was a strong appearance.

"Strong testimony today by AG Sessions," Rep. Peter King of New York tweeted. "So far, after all these months, still no evidence of Russian collusion with Trump campaign."

Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, live-tweeted the hearing, calling it a "pathetic dem witch hunt train wreck."

"Crushed it," he wrote of Sessions' opening remarks.

—David Mack

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Sessions testifies before Senate, but refuses to detail conversations with Trump

Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify about his contacts with Russian officials during and after the 2016 election.

Sessions denied any contacts with Russians about the election and called any suggestion of collusion "a detestable lie."

Throughout the hearing, Sessions said that he is "unable to comment" on private conversations with Trump regarding Comey firing.

Sessions repeatedly said he had "no recollection" of meeting Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, but stopped short of denying it.

Sessions appeared to get angry at several points during the hearing, at one point decrying "secret innuendo being leaked out there about me."

The attorney general also testified that he never had a conversation with Comey regarding his performance and his ability to lead the FBI.

Sen. Martin Heinrich used his allotted time to accuse Session of dodging the intelligence committee's questions, hindering the usefulness of the Senate inquiry.

"My understanding is that you took an oath, you raised your right hand here today and you said that you would solemnly tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and now you're not answering questions, Heinrich said. "You're impeding this investigation."

Check out all the key moments here. —Lisa Tozzi

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Congressional Republicans are also standing behind Mueller

Congressional Republicans are standing behind special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, amid rumors that President Trump is considering firing him.

Republicans said Tuesday it would look terrible for Trump to fire Mueller, whose investigation includes possible collusion between Russia and members of the Trump administration.

"That would obviously be a bad move. I don't think he's really pondering it," Rep. Adam Kinzinger said. "My thought is more it's somebody like Newt Gingrich floating it because he's got a book coming out."

Read more here.

Paul McLeod

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No good cause for firing Mueller, deputy AG says

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire Robert Mueller as the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election.

His comments came a day after Chris Ruddy, a close friend of the president, said he believed Trump was considering firing Mueller. The White House denied Ruddy's statement.

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday morning, Rosenstein was asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, whether he had seen any evidence that could support Mueller being fired for good cause.

"No, I have not," he replied.

Due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation, Mueller now reports to Rosenstein, who says he is confident the former FBI director has full independence to conduct his probe.

"Nobody else in the department would have the authority to do [fire him], and you have my assurance that we are going to faithfully follow that regulation and Director Mueller is going to have the full independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately," Rosenstein said.

"If there were good cause, I would consider [firing him]," Rosenstein added later. "If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says."

—David Mack

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Trump tweets about latest court ruling on the travel ban

A day after a federal appeals court ruled against President Trump's travel ban, he posted his reaction on Twitter.

Well, as predicted, the 9th Circuit did it again - Ruled against the TRAVEL BAN at such a dangerous time in the history of our country. S.C.

In its opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit cited Trump's recent statement on Twitter — "That's right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won't help us protect our people!" — as evidence that the president's assessment is that "the 'countries' ... are inherently dangerous, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries" who are affected by the travel ban.

The administration has asked the Supreme Court to resolve the question of whether Trump's executive order is allowed — and also whether the federal government can enforce the order until the justices resolve the case.

Prior to the travel ban tweet on Tuesday, Trump also took aim at a favorite target for his morning ire, the media.

The Fake News Media has never been so wrong or so dirty. Purposely incorrect stories and phony sources to meet their agenda of hate. Sad!

Later in the morning he continued his attack at the media tweeting that "Fake News is at an all time high." He went on to ask, "Where is their apology to me for all of the incorrect stories???"

On the same day that his Attorney General will be testifying in the Senate's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Trump tweeted about former AG Loretta Lynch.

A.G. Lynch made law enforcement decisions for political purposes...gave Hillary Clinton a free pass and protection. Totally illegal!

–Lisa Tozzi and Jessica Simeone

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Trump considering firing special counsel overseeing Russia investigation, friend says

Chris Ruddy to @JudyWoodruff: President Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who he consider…

President Trump is said to be considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading an investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he's weighing that option," Newsmax Media CEO Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend of Trump's, told PBS News Hour.

Ruddy was spotted leaving the West Wing earlier on Monday, but a White House official told BuzzFeed News he had not spoken with Trump.

Ruddy said that he believed firing Mueller would be a mistake, but he also raised questions about whether Mueller had a conflict of interest. Trump had considered Mueller to lead the FBI before he was named as special counsel, Ruddy said.

He'd likely have to ask Rosenstein to fire Mueller, challenge the special counsel rules in (in court), or withdraw the special counsel rule.

Trump does not outright have the authority to fire Mueller, but he could ask Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to do it. Alternatively, Trump could seek changes to the rules related to special counsels.

Should the president be successful, one congressman said it'd be only a temporary victory. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he'd work to reappoint Mueller to his investigative role.

If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller. Don't waste our time.

—Claudia Koerner

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Interior department scrubs climate change mentions from...climate change website

As tribal nations groups across the US commit to climate action and the Paris Agreement, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has removed references to "climate" and "climate change" from the website that anchors the agency's efforts in this space.

The BIA, a bureau within the Interior Department, oversees the management of lands and programs for 567 federally recognized tribes. The Tribal Climate Resilience Program is one of several agency programs that fund and empower tribal nations to study climate change impacts, and develop ways to prepare their communities to survive them.

But sometime in the last month, the program's website language changed. Now it's called the "Tribal Resilience Program," and the only reference to climate change is in its URL.

"Tribal communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change, so I think they will be displeased that the administration is trying to deny that there is such a thing," Kevin Washburn, a law professor at the University of New Mexico, who oversaw the BIA as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Interior Department between 2012 and 2015, told BuzzFeed News. "Trying to erase its existence from the public record is short-sighted."

Read more here. — Nidhi Subbaraman

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Second appeals court upholds injunction against Trump's travel ban

A federal appeals court on Monday kept enforcement of President Trump's travel ban on hold "in large part" — allowing the federal government to conduct "internal reviews" while the ban is challenged but keeping external enforcement on hold.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit kept in place a lower court's injunction that halts enforcement of the temporary ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as the portions of the March 6 executive order that temporarily halted the refugee program and capped the number of refugees allowed into the country in 2017 to 50,000.

The Ninth Circuit is the second appeals court to uphold an injunction against the travel ban portion of the executive order.

Read more about the decision here. —Chris Geidner

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DC and Maryland attorneys general speak about decision to sue Trump

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court accusing Trump of violating constitutional prohibitions on federal officials accepting gifts and other "emoluments" while in office, including payments by foreign officials for rooms at a Trump hotel and leases by foreign-owned entities of Trump properties.

The president is already fending off similar claims in federal court in New York that he violated the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. The foreign emoluments clause says that federal officials can't accept "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State," without approval from Congress. The domestic emoluments clause forbids the president from receiving any other "emolument" while he's in office, generally defined as a payment or other financial benefit.

"We know exactly what's going on every single day," said Racine, noting that he could see Trump's hotel in Washington from his office. "Foreign governments are spending money there to curry favor with the president of the United States."

Read more here.

Zoe Tillman

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Ivanka Trump surprised by "viciousness" of her father's critics

WATCH part two of @IvankaTrump's exclusive interview on @foxandfriends.

Ivanka Trump appeared Monday on Fox and Friends, where she was interviewed about James Comey's testimony and her sister-in-law's baby shower (which was attended by at least one Fox News host).

Asked whether it was hard for the administration to stay focused amid the Russia inquiry, Ivanka agreed and said, "There's a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience."

"I think some of the distractions and some of the ferocity was – I was a little blindsided by on a personal level," she added.

"I'm trying to keep my head down, not listen to the noise and just work really hard to make a positive impact in the lives of many people," she said.

For many people, the immediate response to Ivanka's comments was essentially, "Sorry, what?"

Read more about the reaction here. —David Mack

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DC and Maryland are suing Trump over corruption allegations

Attorneys general for the District of Columbia and Maryland told the Washington Post that they are suing President Trump on Monday, claiming that he violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by not properly separating from his private business interests.

Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) say Trump has accepted millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since becoming president.

At the center of the lawsuit is the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which Racine and Frosh will argue has negatively impacted their travel and entertainment industries and may have drawn business away from the taxpayer-owned D.C. convention center and Maryland's taxpayer-subsidized center, according to the Post.

Saudia Arabia, which Trump visited first on his recent trip abroad, has booked rooms at the president's hotel several times since he was inaugurated. And after first booking at the Four Seasons, The Embassy of Kuwait switched its event to Trump's hotel.

"We're getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be," Racine told the Post "We're bringing suit because the president has not taken adequate steps to separate himself from his business interests."

—Brianna Sacks

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Sessions to testify on Tuesday — in public

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify on Tuesday before the Senate intelligence committee in an open hearing, the ranking members confirmed on Monday.

After Sessions' sudden announcement over the weekend that he would appear before the committee, there had been confusion about whether he would testify publicly or in private.

On Monday, Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the top Republican and Democrat on the committee, confirmed the attorney general's appearance would be at an open hearing.

The hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET, the senators said.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News prior to the senators' announcement, a Department of Justice spokesperson said Sessions requested his appearance be public.

"He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow," the DOJ spokesperson said.

Sessions has recused himself from all Russia-related matters at the Justice Department due to his role in the Trump campaign last year, as well as multiple undisclosed meetings with top Russian officials.

Reacting to the news, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the committee, said it was "vital" Sessions appear publicly.

"Public needs to now more about Sessions' Russia contacts & his role in Comey's firing," Wyden tweeted.

—David Mack and Zoe Tillman

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