Day 224: Tag teamed.
1/ Robert Mueller and the New York attorney general have teamed up to investigate Paul Manafort and his financial transactions. Mueller and Eric Schneiderman have been sharing evidence on potential financial crimes, including potential money laundering, as well as attempting to get Manafort to cooperate by approaching his family members and former business partners. Several firms and people who have worked with him have received subpoenas. Mueller working with New York state is important because Trump’s pardon power does not extend to state crimes. If Manafort or anyone else is charged under New York law, there will be nothing Trump can do about it. (Politico / Washington Post)
2/ Manafort’s notes from the Trump Tower meeting mentioned “donations” near a reference to the Republican National Committee. Investigators want to know if the meeting included discussion of donations from Russians to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party. It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections. (NBC News)
- Manafort’s political-consulting work often involved Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whose ventures have aligned with some of Putin’s foreign-policy objectives. Manafort worked with Deripaska for more than a decade on projects in Ukraine, Georgia, Montenegro, and other countries of political interest to Russia and its sphere of influence. Deripaska has offered to give testimony about alleged Russian meddling in the election to the House and Senate intelligence committees in exchange for immunity. (Wall Street Journal)
3/ Mueller’s grand jury heard testimony from the Russian-American lobbyist who attended the Trump Jr.-Russian lawyer meeting. Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer who served in a counterintelligence unit, testified before the jury for several hours on August 11th, signaling that Mueller is including the controversial Trump Tower meeting in his investigation. (Associated Press / The Hill / Financial Times)
4/ Trump’s lawyer “vehemently” denied working with Russia to disrupt the election. Michael Cohen gave Congress a point-by-point rebuttal of the 35-page dossier compiled by retired British spy Christopher Steele, which alleges he has deep ties to Russian officials. Cohen denied the dossier’s claims, including that he had secret meetings in Prague with a Russian official last summer. (New York Times)
5/ Trump’s outside legal team submitted memos to Mueller arguing that Trump didn’t obstruct justice when he fired James Comey and called into question Comey’s reliability as a potential witness. Trump’s attorneys hope the memos will end Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation. (Wall Street Journal)
6/ The State Department ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two annex buildings in Washington, D.C. and New York City. The move comes in response to the Kremlin’s decision to cut American diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, which itself was in response to Congress approving new sanctions against Russia. (Reuters)
7/ Trump is expected to rescind Obama’s Dreamer policy. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protects nearly 600,000 immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. They will be allowed to stay until their work permits expire. (Reuters / McClatchy DC)
8/ Health and Human Services cut the Affordable Care Act marketing budget by 90%. They’ll spend $10 million promoting open enrollment, which starts in November. The Obama administration spent $100 million last year. (Axios)
9/ Trump’s treasury secretary won’t commit to putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill. Last year, Obama and his treasury secretary proposed to replace Andrew Jackson’s image with Tubman, the famous abolitionist who helped free enslaved people. She would be the first woman on American paper money as well as the first African American. (Washington Post)
10/ Jim Mattis signed orders to send additional troops to Afghanistan. The defense secretary didn’t specify the size of the force, but Trump previously authorized him to send about 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. There are about 11,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan. (Reuters)
11/ The net neutrality comment period ended with nearly 22 million total replies. A telecom-backed study found that more than 90% of the comments were pre-written form letters. Of the unique comments, 98.5% oppose the plan to repeal the rules. The FCC has said it would consider the quality, not the quantity, of the comments in justifying its plans for net neutrality. (Recode / Ars Technica)
poll/ 61% of Americans have an unfavorable impression of Trump. 59% disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president. (NBC News)
poll/ 56% of voters feel Trump is “tearing the country apart,” compared to 33% who say he’s “drawing the country together.” (Fox News)
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