1/ A federal judge ruled for a second time that Trump must face a lawsuit accusing him of improperly profiting from his Washington hotel. U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte denied the dismissal request. The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia claim that Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause by taking payments from foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington. Trump faces a separate emoluments case in Washington, filed by about 200 Congressional Democrats. The administration argued last month that this case should also be dismissed. (Bloomberg / Washington Post)

2/ Michael Cohen’s lawyer leaked one of the recordings of his conversations with Trump. Trump is heard discussing how he and Cohen would buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about her alleged affair with Trump. The recording confirms that Trump had knowledge about the proposal to buy McDougal’s story and suppress it. On the tape, Cohen tells Trump “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” a reference to David Pecker, the head of American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer and had paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story. Trump then asked, “What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?” Cohen confirms the amount and says it’s for “all the stuff.” Trump muses that “maybe he gets hit by a truck.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

  • The Trump-Michael Cohen tape transcript, annotated. Trump and Michael Cohen reportedly discussed paying for the rights to Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal’s story of an alleged affair with Trump. The story at the time belonged to the publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., and the tape provides the first evidence that Trump spoke with Cohen about purchasing the rights to women’s stories – apparently to silence them – before the 2016 election. (Washington Post)

  • Cohen created a shell company in September 2016 to buy the rights to Karen McDougal’s story about having an affair with Trump. Cohen created Resolution Consultants on Sept. 30, 2016, and then dissolved it on Oct. 17, 2016 – the same day he created Essential Consultants LLC, which he used pay Stormy Daniels $130,000. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Federal investigators are scrutinizing Cohen’s relationship with David Pecker, head of American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer. The Justice Department is examining whether American Media acted more like an extension of Trump and his campaign in their coordination to keep Karen McDougal’s account of her affair with Trump under wraps ahead of the 2016 presidential election. (Wall Street Journal)

3/ Trump tweets that it is “so sad” Cohen recorded their private conversations and suggested that the audio had been doctored to exclude the “positive things” that he was “presumably” saying. “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?” Trump asked. “I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!” It is unclear what other recordings Trump was referring to. Cohen has previously represented Fox News host Sean Hannity and former Republican National Committee deputy finance chair Elliott Broidy. Cohen’s lawyer confirmed that “there are certainly more tapes” of his interactions with Trump. (Politico / CNN)

4/ The White House deleted a key exchange between a reporter and Putin from the official transcript and video of Trump’s recent summit with Putin in Helsinki. During the press conference in Helsinki, a Reuters reporter asks Putin, “Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Putin then responds, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” The White House omitted the first part of the question, leaving only the second part in the official transcript and video. The Russian government removed the entire exchange from their official record. [Editor’s note: Apparently this was due to the audio feed switching between only the right channel and both channels. Regardless, it’s unclear why the feed switched. White House transcripts are considered the official record of the president’s comments.] (The Atlantic / MSNBC / HuffPost)

  • The White House will no longer publish public summaries of Trump’s phone calls with world leaders. It’s unclear if the change will be temporary or permanent. Trump has had at least two calls with foreign leaders in the last two weeks — one with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — but he has declined to elaborate on what was said. (CNN)

5/ Trump erupted at his staff because Melania Trump’s television on Air Force One was tuned to CNN during his recent trip overseas. Trump’s standing rule is that all TVs on Air Force One should be tuned to Fox News whenever he’s on board. The incident reportedly caused “a bit of a stir” for breaking Trump’s programming rule. A spokeswoman for Melania said the first lady will watch “any channel she wants.” (New York Times / CNN)

6/ Newly disclosed government emails reveal that the Trump administration began a hard push to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census within months of Trump taking office. Steve Bannon began prodding Wilbur Ross as early as May 2017 to “talk to someone about the census.” A month later Ross started demanding that a citizenship question be added. The emails cast doubt on the administration’s initial explanation that the Justice Department requested a citizenship question to comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. (New York Times)

7/ Trump called the FCC “disgraceful” for raising “serious concerns” about the proposed $3.9 billion merger between Sinclair and Tribune Media. Trump called it “so sad and unfair” that the FCC didn’t approve the merger that, he says, would provide a “conservative voice for and of the People.” The merger would have created a conservative TV network that would have reached approximately 70% of U.S. households. FCC chair Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by Trump, found Sinclair had engaged in a “lack of candor” in an attempt to skirt restrictions on media ownership. Sinclair divested key stations to allies of Sinclair, which “would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name.” (Washington Post / CNN Money)

poll/ 64% of Americans don’t think Trump has been tough enough on Russia. 47% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats surveyed also said Trump hasn’t been tough enough on Russia. (NPR)

poll/ Voters are divided on whether the Senate should confirm Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 40% say the Senate should confirm the nomination and 41% say the Senate should not confirm the nomination. (Quinnipiac)


  1. The Trump administration will resume risk adjustment payments to health insurers that enroll higher-risk people. The administration suspended the program, which pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, less than three weeks ago. (New York Times)

  2. Two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee want to examine whether NRA officials knew about Russia’s attempts to contribute money to the Trump campaign through the gun rights group. The request from Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse come after federal authorities indicted Maria Butina last week for allegedly acting as a Kremlin agent. (The Hill)

  3. Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was vandalized. It’s at least the second time the star has been physically destroyed. (Politico)

  4. Trump wants to put 25% tariffs on nearly $200 billion in foreign-made cars later this year. His senior economic advisers have warned him that the move could damage the economy, but he’s told advisers and Republicans to simply trust his business acumen. (Washington Post)

  5. The U.S. and E.U. agreed to work on lowering tariffs with the Europeans agreeing to lower industrial tariffs and import more U.S. soybeans. Trump called the development a “new phase” in the relationship. (CNBC / New York Times)

  6. Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee: “I think that Donald Trump has too much power and I think Congress needs to reassert their authority.” Rep. Jeb Hensarling disagrees with Trump’s plan to provide $12 billion in bailout relief to farmers and ranchers, saying “We have a policy now that is taxing the American consumer and then bailing out U.S. farmers with welfare.” (CNBC)

  7. Trump’s nominee for chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service advised the Trump Organication on a tax question several years ago. Michael Desmond counseled the Trump Organization sometime between 2008 and 2011 on “a discrete reporting matter for a subsidiary company that was resolved with no tax impact.” (Bloomberg)

  8. Trump wants to delay his planned follow-up meeting with Putin until after the Robert Mueller investigation concludes. Yesterday, the Kremlin said it wanted the “dust to settle” on a follow-up meeting given the current “atmosphere” in Washington. (New York Times / Washington Post)