1/ Robert Mueller offered to reduce the number of obstruction of justice-related questions his team would ask Trump during a sit-down interview. Mueller's team would also allow some answers to be provided in written form. Negotiations over a potential presidential interview have been ongoing since March, and Mueller still plans to press Trump on topics related to obstruction, including questions about the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. In response to the proposal Mueller sent Monday, Rudy Giuliani told reporters that it's time for the special counsel to "put up or shut up." (Washington Post / ABC News / CNN)

  • Robert Mueller has requested an interview with the Russian pop star who helped set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Emin Agalarov's lawyer said the "conversations are ongoing" but that it's "unclear how this will play out." Agalarov's father, Aras Agalarov, is a billionaire with ties to Putin; he partnered with the Trump Organization to bring the 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. (NBC News)

  • A federal judge ruled that a former Roger Stone aide must testify before Robert Mueller's grand jury. Andrew Miller tried to challenge the legitimacy of Mueller's appointment in an effort to block subpoenas from the special counsel related to the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Washington Post / Politico)

2/ Trump told his advisers in recent days that he is eager to meet with Mueller and has urged his lawyers to reach an agreement on a sit-down interview with the special counsel, despite their warnings that he should not answer the Mueller team's questions. (New York Times)

3/ Hours after his lawyers updated him on the Mueller investigation, Trump called on Jeff Sessions to end the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference. On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Trump's lawyers updated him on the latest developments, including Mueller's proposal to limit obstruction-related questions. Shortly thereafter, Trump tweeted that Sessions should end the Mueller investigation "right now," calling it a "terrible situation" and a "disgrace to USA!" (CNN)

4/ The Trump administration plans to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency and emissions standards on new cars. Under the Obama administration, the EPA and the Transportation Department set requirements for new cars to average at least 35 mpg by 2020 and to continue improving efficiency up to 50 mpg by 2025. The policy was intended to combat global warming. Trump's plan would freeze the fuel economy standards after 2021 at about 37 mpg and would revoke a waiver granted to California and 13 other states to set more aggressive tailpipe pollution standards. (Los Angeles Times / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

5/ The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approved the release of documents related to the arrest and prosecution of alleged Russian agent Maria Butina. The documents contain records of the committee's interviews with Butina, who is accused of working as an unregistered Russian agent while attending American University in Washington from 2015 to 2017. (Politico)

  • A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to "impose crushing sanctions" on Russia meant to stop Putin from "meddling in the U.S. electoral process." The measure also would impose new sanctions on oligarchs who aid corrupt activities on Putin's behalf, and require the State Department to determine whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called it a "sanctions bill from hell." (Bloomberg / Reuters)

  • Two senators say Trump "hasn't been paying attention" to Russia's threat to the 2018 elections. Republican senator James Lankford contended that nearly every senator has been a target of Russian hackers, calling it a "pretty regular thing around here." (CNN)

6/ A Russian spy worked for the Secret Service at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for more than a decade. She was having regular, unauthorized meetings with members of the FSB, Russia's security agency, and is believed to have had full access to the agency's intranet and email systems. The Secret Service waited months to let her go and didn't launch a full inquiry after the State Department's Regional Security Office flagged the suspected spy in January 2017. (The Guardian)


Notables.

  1. The Senate voted to increase the military's 2019 budget to $716 billion – an $82 billion increase from last year. The 9.3% increase is one of the largest in modern U.S. history, second only to the 23% increase in 2003 during the build-up to the Iraq War. (Washington Post)

  2. Ivanka Trump called her father's "zero tolerance" policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border "a low point" for her. Ivanka, who remained publicly silent on the topic in June when Jeff Sessions announced the policy, claimed she was "very vehemently against family separation." (CNN)

  3. A new lawsuit filed against the Trump administration charges that Trump's efforts to "let Obamacare implode" were unconstitutional. The complaint argues that Trump has "waged a relentless effort to use executive action alone to undermine and, ultimately, eliminate the law," and is in violation of Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." (NBC News)

  4. Trump said he's looking forward to a second meeting with Kim Jong Un. In a late-night tweet, Trump thanked Kim for returning the remains of more than 50 U.S. service members, ending with "Also, thank you for your nice letter - I look forward to seeing you soon!" (Washington Post)

  5. Trump tweeted support for a Republican Congressman who is not on the ballot. The tweet supporting Steve Stivers' reelection has since been deleted. (Politico)

  6. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to say the press isn't "the enemy of the people," a phrase Trump has repeatedly used to attack the media. Instead, Sanders rattled off a list of somewhat unrelated grievances about how her life and the president's life have been affected by media coverage, which she characterized as "personal attacks" intended "to incite anger." Earlier in the day, Ivanka Trump said she didn't share her father's belief that the media is the "enemy of the people." (HuffPost / Washington Post)


Dept. of Paul Manafort's Trial.

Instead of writing summary recaps of the trial, I'm going to provide a few daily links to the live coverage.

Day Three.

  1. Prosecution has "every intention" of calling Richard Gates as witness. (Washington Post)

  2. Manafort's trial turns to accountants and tax preparers. (CNN)

  3. Judge says showing jury flashy suits could "besmirch the defendant." (NBC News)

Day Two.

  1. Prosecution Cites Lavish Spending by Paul Manafort in His Fraud Trial. (New York Times)

  2. A fake bill, a banned word, and a Rick Gates surprise. (Politico)

  3. Executive at 'most expensive store' testifies that Manafort paid for suits via wire transfers. (Washington Post)

Day One.

  1. Jury selection, first witness called and a $15,000 ostrich jacket. (Washington Post)

  2. Manafort's defense team opened by blaming Rick Gates. (New York Times)

  3. Prosecutors accused Manafort of being a "shrewd" liar who lived an "extravagant lifestyle" fueled by "secret income" that he earned from lobbying work in Ukraine. (CNN)