President Trump appeared to confirm early Friday that he is the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller's expanding investigation into Russia and the commander in chief. The disclosure came in a confounding tweet, in which he seemed to fire a warning shot at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller. "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," Trump wrote. Rosenstein himself released a bizarre statement Thursday warning Americans to be skeptical of anonymous news reports, which only raised more questions about his role and longevity in the job.
Trump is in Miami Friday to announce steps to roll-back the Obama Administration's opening of Cuba. While he will maintain formal diplomatic ties, the Administration is beginning the process of trying to block funding for Cuban military and intelligence services. It stops short of his campaign rhetoric to completely undo the rapprochement.
Trump is also breaking another campaign promise, with his Department of Homeland Security formalizing that it will not seek to overturn the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which benefits so-called 'Dreamers' who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump promised to undo the Obama-policy. He is, however, undoing the DAPA program, which had deferred prosecution for many parents of those covered by DACA.
The Trump Administration nears an announcement on Afghanistan troop boost. Pence hires outside counsel. And Mueller staffs up.
Here are your must reads:
Trump Will Stop Short of Scrapping Obama’s Cuba Policies
Announcement is more show than substance [Yahoo]
About 4,000 More US Troops to Go to Afghanistan
Announcement expected next week [Associated Press]
Secrecy Surrounding Senate Health Bill Raises Alarms in Both Parties
Distrust and pessimism surround the bill [New York Times]
Pence Hires Outside Counsel to Deal With Russia Probe Inquiries
Latest sign of expanding probe [Washington Post]
Trump Will Allow ‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise
But takes steps against parents [New York Times]
Rattled by Shooting, Lawmakers Want More Personal Protection
Some Republican lawmakers are seeking to carry personal firearms into the Capitol, a proposal that is alarming Democrats [Politico]
Senate Passes Bill That Would Expand Russia Sanctions, Limit Trump’s Say
White House would need congressional approval to lift restrictions; bill also targets Russian banking and energy sectors [Wall Street Journal]
“Most of what we actually pass is bipartisan." — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on CNN with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the congressional baseball game
"It's very routine. Very routine." — Vice President Mike Pence on his decision to hire outside counsel for the Russia investigation
Bits and Bites
How We Became Bitter Political Enemies [New York Times]
Man on a Wire: Mike Pence’s Tightrope Act [Politico]