1/ Trump Jr. was told – in an email – that the Russian government wanted to help the Trump campaign. The email was sent by Rob Goldstone, who brokered the June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer – Natalia Veselnitskaya – that promised damaging information about Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign. The meeting took place less than a week before thousands of DNC emails were released by hackers. Goldstone is a publicist who represents a Russian pop star, whose father – Aras Agalarov – helped bring Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. Agalarovis is also a close friend of Putin. (New York Times)

  • The Justice Department will look at Trump Jr.’s emails and meeting. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators plan to examine the meeting and email exchanges disclosed by Trump Jr. as part of the broader Russian-meddling investigation. (CNN)
  • Senators respond to Trump Jr.’s emails. Lindsey Graham called them “disturbing” and “very problematic,” while Tim Kaine suggested Trump Jr. may have committed treason. (CNN / The Hill)
  • Trump’s deputy assistant shrugged the news off. Sebastian Gorka said that getting dirt “is what political campaigns do.” (CNN)
  • Trump Jr. may have crossed the legal line on collusion, a white-collar lawyer who represented officials in the Clinton White House said. Jeffrey Jacobovitz said the emails are firm evidence that Trump Jr. had intent to commit a crime by conspiring with the Russians “to commit election fraud or conspiracy to obtain information from a foreign adversary,” he said. “You cannot benefit from a foreign adversary in this kind of scenario.” (Washington Post)

2/ The email sent to Trump Jr. said the documents “would incriminate Hillary” and “would be very useful to your father.” Within minutes, Trump Jr. replied: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Four days later, Goldstone wrote back proposing a meeting with a “Russian government attorney.” Trump Jr. agreed, saying he would bring “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of the president’s closest White House advisers. (New York Times)

3/ Trump Jr. tweeted out the email chain used to setup the meeting with the Russian lawyer. “To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails,” he wrote. “I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. […] To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue.” (Politico)

4/ The White House said Trump didn’t know about his son’s meeting with the Russian lawyer. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump learned of the meeting “in the last couple of days,” adding that Trump Jr. “did not collude with anybody to influence the election.” Kellyanne Conway denied evidence of collusion, saying “everybody is trying to convert wishful thinking into hard evidence and haven’t been able to do that.” (CNN / Politico / ABC News)

  • Trump promised big news about Clinton’s crimes in his Republican nominee victory speech, which occurred four days after Goldstone’s first contact with Trump Jr. and two days before the meeting at Trump Tower on June 9th. “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” (Talking Points Memo / Time)

  • Ten times Trump denied collusion with Russia. We can count at least 10 times when President Trump has directly said there was no collusion between Russia and his 2016 campaign. (NBC News)

5/ Trump called Trump Jr. a “high-quality person” after emails about the Russian lawyer and meeting were released. Sarah Huckabee Sanders held an off-camera press briefing to address the emails, which offer the most direct link between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign. She stood by her statement that there was no collusion, declining to clarify how the situation described in Trump Jr.’s emails was not collusion. (Politico)

6/ The Russian lawyer denied having any connection to the Kremlin or damaging information on Clinton. Veselnitskaya said she met with Trump Jr. in 2016 to discuss sanctions between Russia and the US. “I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that,” Veselnitskaya said. “It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.” Trump Jr. has confirmed that the meeting occurred, saying the topic of conversation was primarily about adoption. (NBC News)

7/ The man connecting Trump Jr. to the Russian lawyer checked in for the meeting at Trump Tower on Facebook. A screenshot from Rob Goldstone’s Facebook page suggests he was at Trump Tower the day of the meeting. The caption reads “preparing for meeting.” (Business Insider)

8/ Trump’s election commission freezes its effort to gather voter data from states as legal challenges grow. The panel’s designated officer, Andrew Kossack, asked state elections officers to “hold on submitting any data.” The panel asked states for voter data, including birth dates and the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers. Most US states have rejected full compliance, which many called unnecessary and a violation of privacy. (Reuters)

9/ Mitch McConnell delayed the Senate’s August recess in order to “complete action on important legislative items.” The move comes as McConnell aims to pass the GOP health care bill, which has been “stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle.” Disagreements within the caucus center on a conservative proposal from Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, which would allow the sale of cheap insurance plans outside of Obamacare’s regulatory structure. The next revision of the bill could be unveiled to as soon as Thursday, with a Congressional Budget Office score likely to follow as soon as Monday. The Senate will remain at work through the week of August 7th. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico)

10/ Trump’s secret political appointees are trying to scale back government regulations. In February, Trump signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to form deregulation teams, many of which are staffed by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts of interest, such as reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill. Most government agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams and what the appointees are working on. (ProPublica / New York Times)

11/ Twitter users blocked by Trump sued him and two White House aides, arguing that his account amounts to a public forum that he cannot bar people from as a government official. Sean Spicer previously said Trump’s tweets are official statements. (New York Times)

12/ Trump’s state visit to the UK has been delayed until next year, citing “a scheduling issue,” an official said. “Finding a date that works for everyone turned out to be difficult. We’re looking at next year.” (Reuters)

13/ Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner recruited two war profiteers to devise alternative options in Afghanistan to counter the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops. Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, developed a proposal that relied on contractors instead of American troops. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to include the outside strategies in his review of Afghanistan policy that he is leading along with the national security adviser, H. R. McMaster. (New York Times)

14/ Jared Kushner sought a half-billion dollar investment from Qatar’s former prime minister a few months before Trump encouraged the blockade. He didn’t get it and now Qatar is facing an ongoing blockade led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and joined by Egypt and Bahrain, which Trump has taken credit for sparking. Kushner reportedly played a key behind-the-scenes role in hardening the US posture toward the nation. (Bloomberg / The Intercept)

poll/ 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think colleges hurt the country. 72% of Democrats say colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country. Overall, 55% think colleges and universities help the US. (The Hill)