Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in the hot seat amid new revelations that he met twice in 2016 with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sessions denies that he had any election-related contact with the Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and that the conversations pertained to his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee. But Sessions was a top advisor and surrogate to Trump during the campaign and during his confirmation hearing Sessions seemed to deny any contact with Russian officials during the campaign. That statement now appears to be incomplete at best. Sessions, who had previously said he would not recuse himself from any probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign, is facing calls from members of his own party to step aside in the investigation. Meanwhile, Democrats are rallying for Sessions’ resignation—and even prosecution. Whatever the facts of the case, it’s clearly a distraction for the Trump Administration coming just as it was building some momentum off the joint address.
President Trump will be visiting the future USS Gerald Ford in Virginia Thursday as he talks up his budget request to boost U.S. defense spending. Why a GOP revolt could upend Trump’s agenda. And how the House Obamacare replacement bill is being kept secret.
Here are your must reads:
A GOP Revolt Threatens President Trump’s Agenda
Leadership looks to raise the stakes to enforce party unity TIME’s Philip Elliott writes
Sessions Met With Russian Envoy Twice Last Year, Encounters He Later Did Not Disclose
New questions about whether he was truthful to Congress [Washington Post]
George W. Bush’s New Book of Paintings Illuminates the Lives of Veterans
The former president talks to TIME’s Michael Duffy
Trump Wants to Highlight Immigrant Crime. Democrats Aren’t the Only Ones Booing
TIME’s Maya Rhodan on the controversial office
Republicans Hide New Obamacare Draft Under Shroud of Secrecy
Worried about leaks, and scrutiny [Bloomberg]
“I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign, and those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false. And I don’t have anything else to say about that.” — Attorney General Jeff Sessions to NBC News Thursday morning. new revelations that he met twice in 2016 with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
“It was not a reset speech” — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on the President’s joint address
Bits and Bites
Trump Taps Putin Critic for Senior White House Position [Foreign Policy]
White House staff told to preserve Russia-related materials [Associated Press]