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The Biggest Stories in American Politics This Week

The Biggest Stories in American Politics This Week

President Trump called for the end of the special counsel’s investigation, even as top officials warned of Russian interference. to end the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, raising more questions about whether Mr. Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation. The White House and the president’s lawyers sought to minimize…


President Trump called for the end of the special counsel’s investigation, even as top officials warned of Russian interference.

to end the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, raising more questions about whether Mr. Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation.

The White House and the president’s lawyers sought to minimize any damage by arguing that the call, issued on Twitter, was an angry opinion, not an order. Mr. Trump has also sought an interview with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and his office, in an attempt to clear himself of any wrongdoing.

Yet even as Mr. Trump characterizes the investigation as a “Russian hoax,” top administration officials came forward on Thursday to assert that Russian election interference was a serious threat and to vow to prevent it.

How Trump Allies Shifted Their Defense as Evidence of Contacts With Russians Grew

  • Mueller Passes 3 Cases Focused on Illicit Foreign Lobbying to Prosecutors in New York

  • News Analysis: There’s Trump’s Foreign Policy and Then There’s His Administration’s

  • The financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort began this week.

    shift the blame to Rick Gates, Mr. Manafort’s former business partner and likely the government’s star witness.

    Federal prosecutors spent the first few days emphasizing Mr. Manafort’s lavish spending and the reversal of his fortune after 2014. Mr. Manafort’s accountant also testified that she had agreed to alter tax and bank documents to help Mr. Manafort out of his financial problems.

    Additional Reading

    • Paul Manafort Was Deep in Debt. He Saw an Opportunity in Trump.

    • Manafort’s Trial Isn’t About Russia, but It Will Be in the Air

    • Mueller’s Digging Exposes Culture of Foreign Lobbying and Its Big Paydays

    In midterm elections: more primary victories and an influence campaign on Facebook.

    announced on Tuesday that it had identified an active political influence campaign, potentially intended to disrupt the midterm elections in November.continued this week, Mr. Trump’s stamp is clear in some aspects of the midterm elections: shaping a governor’s race in Florida and potentially providing an opportunity for Democrats in Kansas.

    Additional Reading

    • News Analysis: Facebook Grapples With a Maturing Adversary in Election Meddling

    • Obama Endorses Dozens of Democrats, Rewarding Diversity and Loyalty

    • Campaigns Enter Texting Era With a Plea: Will U Vote 4 Me?

    • The Upshot: 99 Days to Go, and the Midterm Elections Battleground Is Not What Was Expected

    The administration escalated the trade war with China and contemplated more tariffs and other economic measures.

    intensified the trade war with China on Wednesday, ordering his administration to consider more than doubling proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. (China threatened retaliation on Friday.)

    The United States and Mexico are moving closer to agreement on how to rewrite important parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Talks this week, however, have excluded the pact’s third member, Canada

    Mr. Trump also reiterated his threat to Congress on Monday to shut down the government this year if he did not receive sufficient funding for a wall at the southern border. His administration is also considering bypassing lawmakers and granting a $100 billion tax cut primarily to the wealthy.

    Additional Reading

    • Ahead of Asia Trip, Business Lobby Gives Pompeo an Earful on Trade War

    • Trump Tariffs Are Lifting Profits, Steel Giant ArcelorMittal Says

    • Faced With Crippling Sanctions, ZTE Loaded Up on Lobbyists

    The tension between the White House and the press corps increased.

    publicly clashed with the publisher of The New York Times, A. G. Sulzberger, on Sunday over the president’s threats to journalism and what Mr. Sulzberger said was a misrepresentation of a private meeting between them.

    While the president has always had a combative relationship with his perceived detractors — especially unfavorable news reports — it escalated this week in rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania, centering many of his attacks on the press corps.

    Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, appeared to disagree with that position on Thursday — a notable contrast with the assertions made by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, during a briefing.

    Additional Reading

    • Crowds, Stoked by Trump’s Rhetoric, Increase Their Ire Toward the Press

    • Understanding The Times: What Does ‘Off the Record’ Really Mean?

    • What Is QAnon: Explaining the Internet Conspiracy Theory That Showed Up at a Trump Rally

    Read More