A Turbulent 24 Hours For Trump: News Round-up

The last week has not been particularly positive for the US President, revelations in the last week surrounding his son’s links and meetings with Russian officials have caused a massive wave of controversy, but the last 24 hours have seen numerous new developments in the story. So in case you missed anything here is a brief look at the major breaking stories.

Marc Kasowitz (Trump’s personal attorney) and Mark Corallo (Kasowitz’s spokesman) have both resigned. Kasowitz has represented Mr. Trump since the early 2000s, and led his defense in the Trump University fraud case and Corallo is a longtime GOP operative who worked for the House committee that investigated President Clinton in the 1990s before going to the Justice Department under former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Politico reported that his resignation was “due to growing frustration with operation and warring factions, as well as concerns over whether he was being told the truth.” – http://www.cbsnews.com/news/corallo-kasowitz-depart-trump-legal-team/

President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation. According to the Washington Post they are building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort. Trump has reportedly asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and himself in connection with the investigation. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves. – https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-lawyers-seek-to-undercut-muellers-russia-investigation/2017/07/20/232ebf2c-6d71-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?pushid=597154e75ae0f93800000005&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.6774f37f261a

President Trump is anxious about the possibility that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia could expand to include the Trump family’s finances. The Washington Post ran a story late Thursday that the president has been particularly upset by the notion that Mueller could access Trump’s personal tax returns. As part of his investigation Mueller is also looking at possible financial ties between campaign members and Russian interests. Bloomberg also reported on Thursday that the special counsel has started to look at Trump’s business transactions, as well as those of his associates. This is a red line that Trump laid out in a New York Times interview where he criticised Mueller’s investigation. – http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/343081-trump-especially-upset-after-hearing-mueller-would-access-tax-returns

A conservative political consultant was on the payroll of the Trump 2020 re-election campaign this spring, while also defending the president in political commentary on the Fox Business Network. The Trump campaign’s most recent disclosure report, filed Saturday, lists two payments to ProActive Communications LLC: $20,000 on April 17 of this year and $10,000 on May 30 — a period when Mark Serrano, the company’s president and founder, was making frequent appearances on the Fox Business Network. The network identified the longtime commentator until recently as a former adviser to President George H.W. Bush; now it calls him a senior adviser to President Trump’s re-election campaign. – http://www.npr.org/2017/07/20/538401459/fox-commentator-turns-up-on-trump-campaign-payroll

The Senate Judiciary Committee has pre-approved subpoenas to force former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. to appear before the panel if they do not accept by Friday evening an invitation to appear next week. Committee chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that Manafort, Trump Jr. and a third invited witness, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, have until Friday night to accept the invitation to testify in a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday. If they do not accept, Grassley said, subpoenas would be issued “almost immediately.” – https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-judiciary-prepared-to-subpoena-manafort-trump-jr-by-friday-night/2017/07/20/7ca66f82-6d7b-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.90d1cc4d0fe5

Before joining Donald Trump last March as an unpaid campaign manager, Paul Manafort reportedly owed as much as $17 million to companies controlled by a Russian oligarch and a Ukrainian businessman with political ties to Moscow. According to financial records filed with the government of Cyprus and reviewed by The New York Times shell companies linked to Manafort and his business activities were millions of dollars in debt while the longtime Washington lobbyist was working as a political consultant for the pro-Kremlin Party of Regions in Ukraine. Most notably, Manafort—who retroactively registered as a foreign agent last month for his lobbying work—owed $7.8 million to a company connected to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Manafort also owed a separate sum of $9.9 million to a Cyprus company linked to Ivan Fursin, a Party of Regions member of the Ukrainian Parliament, through a Delaware-based LLC that he previously used to purchase real estate in New York City, the Times reports. – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/paul-manafort-russia-trump.html?_r=1

President Donald Trump’s chief counter-terrorism adviser declared that the Russian government clearly tried to manipulate the 2016 election, and that the Obama administration’s retaliatory sanctions didn’t go far enough. Thomas Bossert, a top national security aide under former President George W. Bush, was questioned on whether the Russians worked to manipulate the U.S. election at a discussion at the National Security Forum in Aspen and responded, “There’s a pretty clear and easy answer to this and it’s ‘yes,’” and went on to say that the Obama White House’s response — kicking out 35 diplomats and closing two Russian diplomatic facilities in December — “wasn’t adequate in my mind,”. – http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/20/tom-bossert-blames-russia-election-hacks-240763

There may have a been a third unreported Trump-Putin meeting at the G20. Sergey Lavrov told NBC News’ Keir Simmons in an exclusive interview, dismissing speculation about the leaders’ meetings, but didn’t seem too concerned about the importance of the meetings, stating that “After the dinner was over…I was not there…President Trump apparently went to pick up his wife and spent some minutes with President Putin…so what?”. – http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/amp/trump-putin-may-have-met-more-times-says-russia-s-n785146

Special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White House to preserve all documents relating to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had with a Russian lawyer and others, according to a source who has seen the letter. Mueller apparently sent a notice, called a document preservation request, asking White House staff to save “any subjects discussed in the course of the June 2016 meeting” and also “any decisions made regarding the recent disclosures about the June 2016 meeting,” according to a source, who read portions of the letter to CNN. – http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/politics/robert-mueller-russia-investigation-trump-tower-meeting/index.html

To top it all off Sean Spicer just resigned, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to the New York Times. – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/us/politics/sean-spicer-resigns-as-white-house-press-secretary.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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