Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

The White House

  • President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and later contradicted the official White House explanation for doing so. While voters are split on the issue, many Republicans have come around to support Trump’s decision.
  • Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office, the highest-level meeting between Trump and Russian officials since he was sworn in. Though Russia has been criticized for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, more Americans said Comey’s actions surrounding the Hillary Clinton email investigation influenced the election outcome.
  • For the second time, the White House delayed a meeting to discuss whether or not to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. The meeting has not been rescheduled, and the administration pushed back its self-imposed deadline for a decision.
  • Trump’s top military and foreign policy advisers proposed a plan that would expand U.S. efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The proposal would delegate authority to the Pentagon, rather than the White House, to set troop levels.
  • Trump signed an executive order that seeks to strengthen digital infrastructure to defend the United States from cyberattacks.

Congress

  • House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) are working with the Trump administration to draft an immigration and border security bill — the most serious effort yet in the 115th Congress to address the issue.
  • As the House Freedom Caucus worked with senators to draft a health care plan, a Morning Consult/POLITICO survey found that Obamacare is more popular than the House-passed measure.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate is scheduled to convene Monday at 3 p.m. Up first is the nomination of Jeffrey Rosen to serve as deputy secretary of the Transportation Department. 
  • The House is slated to convene at 12 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Rosenstein will make a visit to Capitol Hill for an all-senators’ briefing, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office. No date was announced.
  • As it continues its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to meet behind closed doors three times this week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Calendar Events (All Times Local)

Monday
Senate convenes 3 p.m.
Tuesday
CATO Institute event on the Iran deal 10 a.m.
Senate Banking Committee considers several nominations 10 a.m.
House convenes 12 p.m.
Wednesday
U.S. Chamber Global Supply Chain Summit 8:15 a.m.
Sen. Lee, OMB’s Mulvaney speak at Federalist Society conference 9 a.m.
USDA’s Perdue at House Agriculture Committee 10 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers former Sen. Scott Brown for New Zealand ambassador 2 p.m.
Rep. Brady speaks at Politico tax event 5:30 p.m.
Rep. Delaney at Atlantic Council event on infrastructure 6 p.m.
Thursday
U.S. Chamber of Commerce event with Arizona Gov. Ducey, Kentucky Gov. Bevin on foreign investment in U.S. 8:30 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers William Hagerty for Japan ambassador 9:30 a.m.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at Senate Banking committee 10 a.m.
Bipartisan Policy Center event on infrastructure 10 a.m.
Sen. Murphy speaks at Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy 12:15 p.m.
Hoover Institution Event with EPA’s Pruitt 5 p.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

 

Morning Consult Washington Top Reads

1) Trump to Announce Slate of Conservative Federal Court Nominees
Adam Liptak, The New York Times

2) U.S. poised to expand military effort against Taliban in Afghanistan
Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe, The Washington Post

3) Comey’s removal sparks fears about future of Russia Probe
Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post

4) Days Before Firing, Comey Asked for More Resources for Russia Inquiry
Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times

5) Partisanship a Strong Factor in Voters’ Stances on Comey Firing
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

6) Yes, It Is Definitely Possible For The House And Senate To Agree On Health Care
Matt Fuller, Huffpost

7) Trump Approval Rating Drops Again After Health Care Vote
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

8) James Comey’s Testimony on Huma Abedin Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate
Peter Elkind, ProPublica

9) The Identity Politics Of The Trump Administration
Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight

10) 24 House Republicans Face Attacks Over Health Care Vote
Simone Pathé, Roll Call

Briefings

Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

President Donald Trump defended his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., after it was revealed that in June 2016 he met with a Russian lawyer who has ties to the Kremlin. The meeting came after he was led to believe the lawyer would provide damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that the information was part of the Russian government’s effort to assist his father’s presidential campaign. The meeting included a Russian-American lawyer who’s a former Russian intelligence officer

Washington Brief: Trump Says He Didn’t Learn of Son’s Meeting With Russian Lawyer Until This Week

President Donald Trump said he did not hear “until a couple of days ago” about a June 2016 meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer who might have had damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He also said he spent more than 20 minutes of his two-hour meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin pressing him on election meddling.

Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

The Supreme Court allowed part of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect, while saying the temporary restrictions could not be imposed on people who have a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States. Hawaii brought forth a legal challenge that asked a federal judge to clarify whether the Department of Homeland Security violated the Supreme Court’s instructions regarding which family members qualify as having bona fide relationships.

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