Rex Tillerson is ready to talk.
The news broke Thursday afternoon that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It’s a step forward in the inquiry, and it’s not likely to sit well with the president, who has called the entire process a “witch hunt.”
And speaking of the president and calls, the White House said that President Trump didn’t really have phone conversations he’d previously claimed to have had.
In other presidential phone news, transcripts of the president’s earlier calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were released this week.
“But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall,” President Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about. But in terms of dollars – or pesos – it is the least important thing. I know how to build very inexpensively, so it will be much lower than these numbers I am being presented with, and it will be a better wall and it will look nice. And it will do the job.
That wasn’t the only heat in the capital. A proposal to curb legal immigration led to a testy exchange in the White House press briefing. Republican Senator Jeff Flake said his party is in denial about President Trump. And, after some doubt and a little silence, the president signed new sanctions on Russia, which inspired a backlash from the Kremlin.
Amid all this, the Justice Department announced plans to look into whether affirmative action has led to discrimination against white college applicants.
So … quite a week. We’ll unpack it all with a panel of top journalists.
- Michael Schmidt Washington correspondent, The New York Times
- Shawna Thomas Washington bureau chief, Vice News
- Salena Zito Pittsburgh-based reporter for the Washington Examiner; contributor, CNN; columnist, The New York Post
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