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President Trump Shakes Up Legal Team, But Not Strategy

Jul 17, 2017

President Trump shook up his legal team over the weekend, bringing in Ty Cobb as "special counsel" at the White House to oversee the internal and external responses to the expanding Russia investigation. But that hasn't stopped Trump from continuing to tweet about the probe—or for his son, son-in-law, and their legal teams from keeping the most visible representation of the stakes in the news by failing to fully disclose the participants in the their June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. Now that meeting is known to have included a Russian-American who has been accused of working for Russian intelligence, among others. The drip-drip-drip approach is becoming paralyzing for the Trump Administration. Meanwhile, Trump has gone from arguing that there was no collusion to explaining that not exploring a partnership with the Russian government would have been political malpractice.

The Senate health care bill is being delayed after Sen. John McCain underwent surgery this weekend, depriving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of the votes to proceed to debate on the legislation. But even without McCain's illness, it was far from certain that McConnell had the votes to move forward—and the delay could only prove more problematic for the bill, which hasn't yet had a public score released by the Congressional Budget Office. Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins are both committed to opposing the bill, meaning McConnell has no margin for further defections.

The Secret Service contradicts Trump's attorney. The White House falls short on opioid fight. And Democrats still have no message.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

South Carolina May Prove a Microcosm of U.S. Election Hacking Efforts
There were nearly 150,000 attempts to penetrate the voter-registration system on Election Day 2016, State Election Commission says [Wall Street Journal]

How the White House and Republicans Underestimated Obamacare Repeal
The Trump team thought Congress would scrap the health law by late February. Nobody expected the effort to drag into the summer months [Politico]

U.S. Secret Service Rejects Suggestion It Vetted Trump Son's Meeting
Contradicting Trump lawyer [Reuters]

White House Unveils ‘Made in America’ Week
Though many Trump products are made overseas [Washington Post]

Trump Campaign Shoulders Big Legal Bills as Russia Probes Rapidly Expand
Trump's campaign racked up more than $677,000 in "legal consulting" fees between April and June [USA Today]

Despite Trump Promises, White House Falling Short in Opioid Fight
Key campaign promise by the wayside [CBS]

With 2018 Looming, Democrats Divided on Their Core Message
"That message is being worked on..." [Associated Press]

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Sound Off

"I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The President had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me." — Trump attorney Jay Sekulow to ABC News. The Secret Service denied that it had any role in vetting those in the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr.

"Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That's politics!" — President Trump in a Monday morning tweet

Bits and Bites

Trump's Lawyer Defends Donald Trump Jr.'s Controversial Meeting [TIME]

McConnell Defers Health Care Action After McCain Surgery [Associated Press]

McCain’s Surgery May Be More Serious Than Thought, Experts Say [New York Times]

Lessons in disaster: A top Clinton adviser searches for meaning in a shocking loss [Washington Post]

White House squeezes Jeff Flake [Politico]

Major Insurance Groups Call Key Provision in Senate Health Care Bill 'Unworkable' [Associated Press]

Trump Administration Appeals Latest Travel Ban Ruling to the Supreme Court [Associated Press]

White House releases sensitive personal information of voters worried about their sensitive personal information [Washington Post]

Joe Biden's Memoir, Promise Me, Dad, Is Arriving November 14 [Associated Press]

'Inappropriate' and 'Insulting.' Most Americans Disapprove of Trump's Twitter Use [TIME]

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