From THE HILL:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Department of Justice is creating a “religious liberty task force.”
Sessions said the task force, co-chaired by Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, Beth Williams, will help the department fully implement the religious liberty guidance it issued last year.
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President Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., will testify privately to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday as it investigates allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump Jr. had been invited to testify in public in a hearing in July, but reached an agreement to speak privately with committee staff.
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From REUBEN BRIGETY at FOREIGN POLICY:
The late U.S. Poet Laureate Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them!”
In other words, no one can hide his true nature. Never has this been more accurate for an American president than in the case of Donald Trump. Events in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville have made this abundantly clear. For the first time in our history, a Nazi sympathizer occupies the Oval Office.
As a former U.S. ambassador and senior State Department official, I know that there is a particular obligation by political appointees not only to represent the interests of the American people but also to ensure that the policies and perspectives of the elected government of the day are implemented.
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A panel at the 2017 National Association of Black Journalists conference in New Orleans featuring White House aide Omarosa Manigault quickly went south after Manigault refused to answer questions about the administration in which she serves.
The panel made news before it even started, according to Page 6, which reported that Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times and Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker refused to take part in the panel after they were informed they’d be on stage with Manigault.
From ABIGAIL TRACY at VANITY FAIR:
While Donald Trump and his surrogates were loudly campaigning against Robert Mueller on Twitter and on TV, the special counsel and his team of F.B.I. investigators has been quietly building their case, the details of which burst into public view Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that the bureau searched the home of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a dramatic pre-dawn raid at the end of last month.
The raid, which occurred one day after Manafort met with the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicates that the Justice Department investigation has entered a heightened stage—and that Mueller is willing to use any investigative tools at his disposal to determine the extent of the Russian government’s interference in the presidential election
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Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal has been one of Trump’s sternest critics, and in typical style, the president has responded with attacks of his own.
Reacting to Blumenthal’s allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, President Trump today unleashed a new tirade against the Connecticut senator.
“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!,” tweeted Trump.
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From Mother Jones:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has fallen out of favor with President Donald Trump, but that hasn’t stopped him from moving quickly to reshape the federal government’s approach to law enforcement. He has implemented new policies that will turn more offenses into federal crimes, confiscate suspects’ property, and crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions. The policies fit Sessions’ tough-on-crime attitude toward criminal justice—but he isn’t taking credit for them.
In announcing recent reforms, Sessions has said he is carrying out the recommendations of the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. […] But what exactly is this task force? It’s hard to say. The Justice Department has declined to disclose the task force’s membership, its meeting agendas, or its recommendations to the attorney general. The task force was slated to deliver a report to Sessions last week, but it has not been made public. Instead, the group supposedly behind some of the Trump administration’s most consequential policy moves remains an almost complete mystery.
Oooooh, I think I might know what the task force might look like! Please, I have my hand up. Pick me! Pick me!
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From BUSINESS INSIDER:
President Donald Trump on Friday replaced White House chief of staff Reince Priebus with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
CNN reported that Priebus offered Trump his resignation on Thursday.
The episode marked the end of a weeklong saga involving Priebus and new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Priebus had worked hard to block Scaramucci’s appointment, but Trump decided to hire him anyway.
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