1/ Trump demanded that the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his presidential campaign under Obama’s orders. After accusing the FBI on Friday of sending a “spy” to infiltrate his campaign, Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon: “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes, and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 campaign on July 31, 2016. They sent an informant, a retired American professor, to talk to George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and Sam Clovis after receiving evidence that the pair had contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. (New York Times / Washington Post)
2/ The Justice Department asked the inspector general to review the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign hours after Trump demanded that the agency investigate whether his campaign was “infiltrated” by the FBI. Rod Rosenstein said in a statement: “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.” The suspected informant is Stefan Halper, an American who was a foreign policy scholar at the University of Cambridge until 2015. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats met with Trump at the White House. The meeting comes a day after Trump tweeted that he would “demand” the Justice Department investigate whether his campaign was improperly “infiltrated or surveilled” for political purposes. Rosenstein agreed that John Kelly would set up a meeting where congressional leaders can review “highly classified and other information they have requested” related to the Russia probe. (ABC News / CBS News / CNN / Bloomberg)
4/ Rudy Giuliani: Robert Mueller will end his investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Sept. 1 if Trump agrees to sit down with investigators for an interview. A source familiar with the probe called the deadline “entirely made-up” and “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work.” Giuliani added that questions about the FBI informant who approached campaign aides in 2016 need “to be cleared up before we even approach the idea of doing an interview” because Trump could be “walking into a trap.” (New York Times / Reuters / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Three months before the 2016 election, Trump Jr. met with representatives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who offered to help the Trump campaign, proposing a multimillion-dollar social media manipulation campaign. The group comprised Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation; George Nader, an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes; and Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Following the meeting, Nader became a close ally of Trump campaign advisers. While it’s illegal for foreign governments or individuals to be involved in American elections, two people familiar with the meetings said Trump campaign officials weren’t bothered by the idea of cooperation with foreigners. (New York Times)
6/ Robert Mueller expanded his probe into Joel Zamel’s role. Mueller has issued a subpoena for documents related to Zamel’s work, but not for Zamel himself. Zamel previously met with Mueller’s team to discuss his relationship with George Nader, who paid Zamel $2 million shortly after Trump was elected. The payment has been described as unrelated to the campaign. (Wall Street Journal)
Incoming NRA president Oliver North blamed school shootings on “youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence” and young boys who have “been on Ritalin” since early childhood. “They’ve been drugged in many cases,” North said. North, who is best known for his role in the Iran-Contra “guns for drugs” scandal, told Fox News, “You are not going to fix it by taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens.” (Washington Post)
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed school shootings on violent video games, removing religion from schools, abortion, broken families, too many entrances to schools, unarmed teachers, and irresponsible gun owners. Patrick did not blame guns for school shootings. (CNN)
Trump signed a bill that will undo efforts by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to discourage discrimination in auto lending. CFPB acting Director Mick Mulvaney called the guidelines “misguided” while praising the rollback. (Politico)
A border patrol agent detained two U.S. citizens after overhearing them speaking Spanish at a gas station in Montana last week. (Slate)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will aim to “crush” Iran with economic and military pressure if it doesn’t change its behavior in the Middle East. Pompeo demanded that Iran halt all uranium enrichment, stop its ballistic-missile program and give nuclear inspectors access to the entire country. (Bloomberg / CNN)
The Trump administration suspended its plan to impose tariffs on China. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said: “We’re putting the trade war on hold.” (New York Times)
The RNC paid roughly half a million dollars to a law firm representing former White House communications director Hope Hicks and others involved in the Russia probe. Trout Cacheris & Janis received $451,780 from the RNC after Hicks hired the firm’s founder as her personal attorney in September. The money used to pay the firm was originally meant to be used for election recounts and other legal matters, but RNC officials concluded that the money could be used to pay for the president’s legal fees. (Washington Post)
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