1/ Trump ordered the White House's top lawyer to stop Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation, saying he expected his attorney general to protect him. Don McGahn unsuccessfully lobbied Sessions to remain in charge in March 2017. Trump reportedly erupted in anger in front of several White House officials. The previously unreported details have legal experts suggesting that there is currently a larger body of public evidence tying Trump to a possible crime of obstruction. Robert Mueller's investigation is currently investigating whether Trump obstructed justice while in office and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (New York Times)

  • THE TIMELINE:

  • Comey testified on May 3rd that the Russia investigation was ongoing to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • Two days after Comey's testimony, a Sessions aide approached a Capitol Hill staff member asking for derogatory information about the FBI director. The attorney general wanted one negative news article about Comey per day.

  • Comey was fired on May 9th.

  • 🇷🇺 What you need to know about the Russia investigation.

2/ A third Republican called on Jeff Sessions to resign, saying he "is not able to take the reins and direct" the Russia probe because of his recusal. Chris Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, joins Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus chair, and Jim Jordan, a member who sits on the oversight and judiciary committees in the US House of Representatives, who have called for Sessions to resign this week. (CNN)

3/ Paul Ryan supported House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes' threat to hold officials at Justice and the FBI in contempt of Congress if they didn't meet Nunes' subpoena demands. Over the summer, Nunes subpoenaed the Justice Department and FBI for documents related to the dossier about Trump's connections to the Kremlin and whether the FBI used information from the dossier to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to conduct surveillance on Trump associates. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray argued that the documents were highly classified and would not be released or shared outside the bureau. (CNN)

4/ Republican senators recommended possible criminal charges for the author of the Trump-Russia dossier. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham suggested that the Justice Department investigate Christopher Steele for possibly lying to the FBI. (Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ The FBI is actively investigating allegations of corruption related to the Clinton Foundation. Prosecutors shut down the investigation in 2016 due to lack of evidence. FBI agents from Little Rock, Arkansas, are looking into whether Hillary Clinton promised or performed policy favors in exchange for donations to the foundation while she was secretary of state. (The Hill / CNN / New York Times)

6/ Michael Wolff called Trump the least credible person to ever walk on earth and that he "absolutely" spoke to Trump as part of reporting his book. The "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" author added that "100% of the people around" Trump "questions his intelligence and fitness for office." Trump tweeted that "I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book," adding "watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve" Bannon. (NBC News)

poll/ 61% of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. In 2000, the adults who supported marijuana legalization stood at 31%. (Pew Research Center)


Notables.

  1. North and South Korea will sit down for their first formal talks in more than two years next week to find ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics in the South and to improve their poor relationship. (Associated Press)

  2. The Trump administration froze $125 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency – about a third of the annual US donation to the agency. (Axios)

  3. Scott Pruitt told friends and associates that he'd like to be attorney general if Jeff Sessions leaves the administration. (Politico)

  4. Pence's chief lawyer and domestic policy director are leaving his office. (CNN)

  5. The home of Roy Moore's accuser burned in a fire that is now under investigation by the Etowah County Arson Task Force. (Al.com)

  6. The White House asked to screen "The Post," a recently released political drama about the Washington Post's 1971 decision to publish the top-secret Pentagon Papers and the newspaper's legal victory over the Nixon administration. (Hollywood Reporter)

  7. Comcast fired about 500 salespeople, despite saying that the company would create thousands of new jobs in exchange for a big tax cut. (Ars Technica)

  8. The economy added 148,000 jobs in December, which means 2017 had the slowest rate of job growth in six years. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% – a 17-year low. (MSNBC / Wall Street Journal)