Special Counsel Robert Mueller will investigate President Trump's business transactions as part of his probe into Russia's election interference, Bloomberg Politics reported Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Mueller is specifically interested in a few developments, Bloomberg said: "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump's involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump's sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008." The probe will also investigate deals involving the Bank of Cyprus, of which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross previously served as vice chairman, and efforts undertaken by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to secure financing for certain real estate ventures.
Mueller's expanded probe reflects the investigation's absorption of an earlier probe by former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Before being fired in March, Bharara was gathering information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's financial dealings. "Altogether, the various financial examinations constitute one thread of Mueller's inquiry, which encompasses computer hacking and the dissemination of stolen campaign and voter information as well as the actions of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn," Bloomberg wrote.
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said that any probing by Mueller into his or his family's finances would be a "violation." For more on Mueller's expanded probe, head to Bloomberg Politics. Kimberly Alters
The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr. and President Trump's onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, are scheduled to testify before the committee next Wednesday during a public hearing.
Both men, as well as Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, attended a meeting in June 2016 with a Kremlin-linked attorney who offered to provide harmful information on Hillary Clinton. A lawyer for Kushner confirmed to NBC News that Kushner will speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session on Monday. Trump Jr. and Manafort will appear in front of a panel about foreign influence in elections. Catherine Garcia
CBO estimates Senate GOP plan to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement would leave 32 million more uninsured by 2026
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a cost estimate of Senate Republicans' latest health-care plan: to repeal ObamaCare now, but replace it later. The CBO score revealed that under that proposal, an additional 32 million would be uninsured by 2026 compared to under ObamaCare. The plan would reduce the federal deficit by $473 billion over the next decade.
Under the Senate GOP's previous proposal — to repeal ObamaCare and replace it immediately, via the Better Care Reconciliation Act — the CBO estimated 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 compared to ObamaCare. That bill would have reduced the federal deficit by $321 billion.
The CBO also found that average premiums for the nongroup market would jump by an estimated 25 percent next year under the repeal-and-delay plan compared to under ObamaCare. On average, premiums would double by 2026. The CBO warned that repeal-and-delay "would destabilize the [individual insurance] market, and the effect would worsen over time."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to hold a vote next week on repeal-and-delay, though three GOP senators — enough to kill the effort — have already indicated their opposition. Republicans are holding a last-minute health-care meeting for hesitant senators Wednesday evening. Becca Stanek
Supreme Court allows stricter enforcement of Trump's travel ban, but rules in favor of exemptions for grandparents
The Supreme Court weighed in on President Trump's travel ban Wednesday, and the results were mixed for the White House.
The court put a hold on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson last week, which would have let more people enter the U.S. by extending the travel ban exemption to refugees being processed for resettlement. The Supreme Court's decision allows the Trump administration to more strictly enforce its ban by declining Watson's refugee exemption. The court also indicated the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should now consider the matter.
However, the Supreme Court decided to stay a second part of Watson's ruling, which expanded the list of family relations exempted from the ban on visitors and refugees from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. The court left Watson's expansion in place, which means that until the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issues a ruling on the case, Trump's travel ban will not apply to grandparents of U.S. citizens. Becca Stanek
President Trump will nominate Jon Huntsman, a former Utah governor, U.S. ambassador to China and Singapore, and Republican presidential candidate, as the next ambassador to Russia, the White House announced Tuesday.
This is a role that requires Senate confirmation, and if Huntsman is confirmed, he'll head to Moscow. Back at home, a special counsel and Congress are investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The news was announced twice by the White House, as it spelled Huntsman's name wrong in the first press release heralding his nomination. Catherine Garcia
Ike Kaveladze has been named by The Washington Post as the eighth member of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer in June 2016 that has come under intense scrutiny. Kaveladze is an American citizen and employee of Emin and Aras Agalarov, Russian developers who hosted President Trump's 2013 Miss Universe pageant at one of their properties. Trump Jr.'s meeting was arranged by Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who represents Emin Agalarov.
An attorney for the Agalarovs told The Washington Post that Kaveladze's identity was requested over the weekend by "a representative of Special Counsel Robert Mueller," who is probing Russia's involvement in the election. "The request is the first public indication that Mueller's team is investigating the meeting," the Post writes.
Kaveladze reportedly believed he was attending the meeting as a translator, although when he arrived at Trump Tower he found that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had brought her own translator, the Post reports. Kaveladze had been asked to attend the meeting by Aras Agalarov.
President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, were also at the meeting, as was a Russian-American lobbyist. Read the full scoop at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange
Republican senator announces no vote on ObamaCare repeal: 'I did not come to Washington to hurt people'
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced Tuesday that she will not back Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) plan to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement at the ready. "As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people," Capito said in her statement.
McConnell and President Trump announced the plan to repeal ObamaCare with a two-year period to write a replacement after the GOP's initial repeal-and-replace bill was killed Monday.
Notably, Capito's no vote means just one more senator needs to come out in opposition in order for the effort to die, BuzzFeed News' Paul McLeod notes:
All it takes is a single Senator now to kill the repeal-without-replace plan. There’s a reason this wasn’t Plan A.
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) July 18, 2017
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is also a no vote on the motion to proceed. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has also expressed concerns, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is not present in the Senate due to his recovery from a recent surgery. Read Capito's full statement below. Jeva Lange
My latest statement on the Senate health care bill & planned vote to repeal Obamacare: pic.twitter.com/yAVIxgptCu
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) July 18, 2017
Last month, President Trump's attorneys were told about the email chain from June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone setting up a meeting for Trump Jr. with a Kremlin-connected attorney, two people with knowledge of the matter told Yahoo News Thursday.
The New York Times reported about the meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last weekend, and on Wednesday, the president told Reuters he first heard about it "two or three days ago." The emails, released by Trump Jr. and the Times on Tuesday, reveal that Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting after learning he would receive information that would "incriminate" Hillary Clinton and was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." Trump Jr. also invited his father's campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort, and Trump's son-in-law and current senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to attend.
Yahoo News reports Trump's chief lawyer in the Russia investigation, Marc Kasowitz, and Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, found out about the emails in the third week of June, after they were discovered by Kushner's lawyers. Kushner and Manafort were both forwarded an email by Trump Jr. about the meeting, with the subject line reading, "FW: Russia-Clinton-private & confidential," and after his lawyers learned this, Kushner amended his security clearance form for the second time to show the meeting. A Kasowitz spokesman declined to comment to Yahoo News. Catherine Garcia