The Morning Briefing: McCain, Trump Jr., Jeff Sessions, Pelosi, and So Much More
Good Thursday Morning
This is your temporary captain speaking. Liz Sheld is fighting off the angry mob full-time today and tomorrow, so I'm filling in with the briefing. To start off, here's the most morbid tweet on the Internet.
Sad news on Wednesday
On Wednesday night, the Mayo Clinic explained Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) brain tumor diagnosis. Here's the official statement:
On Friday, July 14, Sen. John McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot.
Scanning done since the procedure (a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision) shows that the tissue of concern was completely resected by imaging criteria.
The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.
The Senator's doctors say he is recovering from his surgery "amazingly well" and his underlying health is excellent.
McCain's office said he "is in good spirits," and "is confident any future treatment will be effective."
The senator was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War and has served in the Senate for 30 years. He also ran for president in 2008, losing to Barack Obama — who tweeted "Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."
His daughter Meghan asked for prayers and expressed her gratitude and "boundless love" for her father, calling him "the toughest person I know." She added, "He is a warrior at dusk, one of the greatest Americans of our age."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — who has sparred with McCain before and during the 2016 Republican primary — expressed that his prayers are with his fellow senator. Cruz called McCain "an American hero who fought, bled, and suffered for our Nation. A true patriot."
On another subject, raise a glass ... of Smirnoff
Russia, Russia, Russia. The Washington Examiner's Josh Siegel and Kelly Cohen are on the story:
Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, according to a notice of the hearing posted on the committee's website.
The public hearing will occur Wednesday, July 26, at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
The hearing has been named after the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a federal law requiring agents of foreign governments to disclose their work.
Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, and Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, took part in a notorious July 2016 meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, seeking opposition research on Hillary Clinton but receiving none, according to Trump Jr.
A spokesman for Manafort told CNN he had received the invitation to testify and would not comment further.
A source close to Trump Jr. and his brother Eric told People that they hate their role as first sons. "Eric and Don, they never wanted this," one source said. Another suggested, "Don can't do any deals, because he'll be overly scrutinized. He just goes to work every day and is miserable."
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, will testify in a private session before the Senate Intelligence Committee next Monday.
Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, told Fox News' Alex Pappas that the president's son-in-law "will continue to cooperate and appreciates the opportunity to assist in putting this matter to rest." Good luck convincing the media to let this story die.
What do you say when your boss suddenly turns on you?
President Donald Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, turning on the first senator to endorse him in the 2016 Republican primary. In March, Sessions recused himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged connections with Russian agents.
"Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president," Trump said in an interview with The New York Times Wednesday. "How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair — and that's a mild word — to the president."
Trump also hit Sessions on his testimony during Senate confirmation hearings. During those hearings, the then-senator said he had not met with any Russians, but he had met at least twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (This came in the normal fulfillment of his duties as a senator, but the media made a big deal out of the discrepancy.)
"Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers," the president added. "He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren't."
The Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment from the Times or from CNN.
On the issue of the Russia investigation, the president warned special counsel Robert Mueller against expanding his investigation. Asked specifically if Mueller could venture into Trump's family's finances, the president said, "I would say yes. I think that's a violation. Look, this is about Russia."
Trump also said he doesn't think he is being investigated for obstruction of justice for removing former FBI Director James Comey. "I don't think we're under investigation. I'm not under investigation. For what? I didn't do anything wrong." One might think Sessions is thinking that right about now...
Here's the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.
And now for something completely different
"A budget that says we do not measure the strength of our country in the health, education, and well-being of our people. We only measure it in military might," Pelosi declared at a rally opposing education budget cuts on Wednesday. "You know what that does? It requires more military might. It takes us down the wrong path."
"This is supposed to be a budget that prevents the spread of violence, instead they have a budget that stirs it up."
Spending more money on the military does not "stir up" violence. But liberal rhetoric about "hate groups," "jihad," and violence does. Just ask James Hodgkinson, the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Or better yet, ask Floyd Lee Corkins III, who launched a terrorist attack against the Family Research Council (FRC) because it was branded a "hate group."