• Politics

How President Trump Backed Himself Into a Corner on Russia

4 minute read

President Trump reluctantly signed tough new sanctions on Russia and North Korea Tuesday, after the legislation passed last week with overwhelming margins in Congress. “I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity,” Trump wrote in an unconventional signing statement, that also touted his business acumen and desire to make deals with Russia, China and North Korea. “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars,” Trump wrote. “That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.” The White House is correct that other administrations likely would share this one’s reservations about congressional encroachment on the Executive Branch’s foreign policy authority. But Trump backed himself into this corner, with a parade of positive statements about the Russian government, longstanding denial of its efforts to hack the 2016 election and a refusal to take unilateral steps on his own.

Senate Republicans are growing more independent of Trump after the failure of healthcare reform. As the White House pushes lawmakers not to abandon Obamacare, they appear set to do just that. And they are sending warning signs to Trump not to mess with cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments—not because they don’t want to see them eliminated, but because they worry that a swift end would destabilize the marketplaces, raise premiums and adversely affect their constituents.

The First Golfer’s relationship with the game. The White House admits Trump played a role in Donald Trump, Jr.’s misleading statement. And former Trump aides find their place in the swamp.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Senate Republicans Are Slowly Turning Their Backs on Trump
They’re asserting their independence [Associated Press]

How Donald Trump Jr.’s Misleading Statement Could Cause Legal Trouble
Trump’s involvement places him in jeopardy as well [TIME]

First Golfer
Donald Trump’s relationship with golf has never been more complicated [Sports Illustrated]

Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions
Seeking to challenge policies it views as discriminating against white applicants [New York Times]

Full Transcript: Trump’s Wall Street Journal interview
Excerpts omitted Trump’s questionable assertions [Politico]

‘The Moment When It Really Started to Feel Insane’
An oral history of the Scaramucci era [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“It wasn’t a directive. It was a joke. There’s a very big difference.” — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Tuesday responding to the acting DEA chief’s rebuke of the president’s comments on police brutality

“He met with members of the media. I don’t find that to be a strange thing.” — Sanders on Sean Spicer’s meeting with a Republican donor and a Fox contributor behind a concocted story on the death of a DNC staffer last year

Bits and Bites

White House: President Trump Weighed In on Donald Trump Jr. Statement ‘As Any Father Would’ [TIME]

Retired Military Leaders Sign Letter Opposing Transgender Troop Ban [TIME]

President Trump Is on Tricky Legal Ground in His Threat to Kill Obamacare [Associated Press]

3 Trump Appointees Owe Thousands of Dollars in Back Taxes [Center for Public Integrity]

Trump Loyalist Mixes Businesses and Access at ‘Advisory’ Firm [New York Times]

Boy Scouts ‘Unaware’ of Call Trump Said He Received From Organization Praising Jamboree Speech [TIME]

Senate Confirms Christopher Wray as New FBI Director [Associated Press]

How Russian Adoptions Became a Controversial Topic [TIME]

Tillerson spurns $80 million to counter ISIS, Russian propaganda [Politico]

Boeing Jets Once Destined for Russian Carrier to Be Next Air Force One [Wall Street Journal]

Trump’s fundraising prowess keeps Republican Party close [Associated Press]

Trump Is Considering Perry for Homeland Security Chief [Bloomberg]

More Must-Reads from TIME

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