President Trump is facing a new lawsuit from Maryland and the District of Columbia arguing his businesses’ acceptance of foreign payments amounts to a violation of the Emoluments Clause and his Constitutional oath. The long-shot case by Democratic attorneys comes as the Department of Justice is arguing those payments are entirely consistent with the constitution. The prospects for such a case are dim—think of it more as a PR stunt—but it’s the latest ethics question to put the president on defense, and sets the Trump Administration up to have to defend the president’s foreign earnings while in office.
The Trump Administration and its allies are stepping up their assault on Russia special counsel Robert Mueller. The widely-respected former FBI Director is being attacked for being a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey and for whom he has hired to assist in the investigation. The prosecution of Mueller, who is leading the independent investigation and who was selected by Trump’s hand-picked Deputy Attorney General, is less a reflection of him that it is the Trump orbits fears about the threat Mueller and his expansive investigative authority poses.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday in open session, where he will be pressed on Comey’s revelations from last week. Republicans offer advice to Trump. And Puerto Rico statehood advances.
Here are your must reads:
D.C. and Maryland to Sue President Trump, Alleging Breach of Constitutional Oath
Novel legal strategy tests judicial limits [Washington Post]
Democrats in Split-Screen: The Base Wants It All. The Party Wants to Win.
Georgia race puts the party in a bind [New York Times]
Jeff Sessions’s Testimony to Keep Russia Probe in Focus
President Donald Trump’s attorney general will appear before the Senate committee that met with James Comey [Wall Street Journal]
Melania Trump, Son Barron Move Into the White House
First Family reunited in DC [Associated Press]
Trump Considers Reversing Historic Obama-Era Opening With Cuba
Administration wants to get tougher on Cuba [LA Times]
Trump Can Take Payments From Foreign Governments, U.S. Says
Government says emoluments clause doesn’t bar Trump businesses [Bloomberg]
President Trump Says He’s ‘100%’ Willing to Testify Under Oath About James Comey
Breaking with his aides’ advice [TIME]
“Here’s what’s so frustrating for Republicans like me: You may the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you.” — Sen. Lindsay Graham on CBS Face the Nation on his message to the president
“There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience. But this isn’t supposed to be easy. My father and this administration intends to be transformative. And we want to do big, bold things. And we’re looking to change the status quo. So, I didn’t expect it to be easy. I think some of the distractions and – and some of the – the ferocity was – I was a little blindsided by on a personal level.” — Ivanka Trump to “Fox and Friends” on life in D.C.
Bits and Bites
Puerto Rico Could Become the 51st State [Associated Press]
Trump attorney won’t rule out firing Mueller [Politico]
Role of Trump’s Personal Lawyer Blurs Public and Private Lines [New York Times]
Republicans Tell Trump to Come Clean on Possible Comey Tapes [Associated Press]
Mattis Quietly Keeps Distance From Trump’s Most Divisive Moves [New York Times]