As the Russia investigation intensifies with the impaneling of a grand jury by special counsel Robert Mueller, President Donald Trump is dismissing the probe anew. Rallying his base in West Virginia at a campaign rally Thursday evening, Trump called suggestions that Russia interceded on his behalf a “total fabrication” and mocked Democrats and investigators. The event was classic Trump, who riled up his supporters with a “lock her up” chant when he called on Mueller to investigate Hillary Clinton. It’s the latest indication that Trump is taking a political approach to responding to his legal problems.
The Department of Justice is getting tough on leaks, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced Friday at a press conference. The Department is reviewing its protections for news media and the FBI is forming a dedicated unit to investigate classified leaks to the press, Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, announced. The crackdown comes after months of pressure from Trump to get tough on leaks—which Trump had signaled was needed for Sessions to keep his job.
The Russia probe crosses Trump’s “red line.” The real reason why Susan Rice is keeping her security clearance. And West Virginia’s governor switches parties.
Here are your must reads:
But the president proves to be a harder target [New York Times]
Crossing Trump’s ‘red line’ [CNN]
Expansion beyond Flynn grand jury is a sign the investigation in election meddling is ramping up [Wall Street Journal]
“Unusual” helicopter flight to South Lawn was ordered at taxpayer expense [TIME]
Trump’s national security adviser has emerged as one of the most volatile personalities in White House [Politico]
It wasn’t the deep state [The Weekly Standard]
“The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.” —President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in West Virginia.
“Are there any Russians here tonight?” —Trump mocking the Russia probe at the rally.
Bits and Bites
U.S. Attorney Subpoenas Kushner Cos. Over Investment-For-Visa Program [Wall Street Journal]
Flynn details tie to data firm, transition pay [Associated Press]
With Few Wins in Congress, Republicans Agree on Need to Agree [New York Times]
West Virginia Governor Is Switching Political Parties [Associated Press]