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The Morning Briefing: RUSSIA Collusion Update, Israel Fallout and Much, Much More

Good Thursday morning!

Here is what's on the president's agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will meet with Republican members of the Senate.
  • In the afternoon, the president will meet with the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
  • The president will then sign a proclamation for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
  • Later in the afternoon, the president will meet with congressional leadership.
  • The president will then meet with former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
  • In the evening, the president and first lady Melania Trump will host a Hanukkah reception.

RUSSIA collusion update

The DOJ is currently reviewing more than 10,000 anti-Trump messages between Mueller investigators, reports The Daily Caller. 10,000? That's a lot of text messages!

Fox News reports that the bureau is reviewing “several months” worth of messages that the agent, Peter Strzok, exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI attorney with whom he was having an affair.

The Justice Department is searching the texts before turning them over to the House Intelligence Committee, a process which could take “weeks.”

Don Trump Jr. testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday but he "declined to tell the House Intelligence Committee details about his conversation with President Trump regarding his meeting with a Russian lawyer, citing client privilege, according to the committee's top Democrat."

Trump Jr. told lawmakers he discussed the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with his father last summer, after emails setting up the meeting with a Russian lawyer became public. The meeting, with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, is one prong of the probe into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Veselnitskaya has a record fighting for Kremlin-backed issues.

Trump Jr. frustrated panel Democrats by refusing to answer questions related to the controversial meeting, however, the Republican lawmaker leading the Russia investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), maintained that Trump Jr. had answered "all" his questions. Other GOP lawmakers on the panel echoed that Trump Jr. cooperated with their questioning.

Democrats on the committee have repeatedly complained after panel interviews that the majority, who unilaterally have the power to issue subpoenas, have failed to press witnesses into answering questions that they want answered.

This happens when the other side is in power too, but they never complain about the minority not getting their way. It's possible that President Trump or Don Jr. had a lawyer present during those conversations and could not violate attorney-client privilege by answering the Democrats' questions.

A whistle-blower is reporting that General Mike Flynn, short-lived national security advisor, told his former business partner that the RUSSIA sanctions would be "ripped-up" and some deal put "in place."

Here's the backstory on the "deal:"