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A source who spoke to Trump last week told me he left the conversation concerned that the president "actually believes" Ty Cobb's "happy talk." What the source meant was that the White House lawyer has been naive in his view that the Mueller investigation — as it relates to the White House — will be wrapped by end of year or shortly after.

I emailed Cobb today to ask whether he still believed his previous public statements that the White House would be free of the investigation by the end of this year or January. (He'd originally said before Thanksgiving.)

  • Cobb's reply: "Yes Jonathan, still believe shortly after the first of the year absent some unforeseen delay. People keep confusing that estimate with the Manafort/Flynn silos which will certainly continue to be active. My August estimate of when interviews would be completed was less than two weeks off, and that was despite the China trip which cost us 2 weeks, and half a dozen international crises."

I told Cobb I still didn't understand what he meant. Was he saying Mueller has 100% completed all interviews with White House staff? And if the Manafort and Flynn "silos" continue to be active, couldn't they potentially implicate people who currently work in the White House?

  • Cobb replied again: "I am saying the interviews will be completed by the end of next week which I have said often and which has been quoted by 50 news outlets over the last month or more (with the caveat and understanding illness, Acts of God or logistical factors could add 24 to 48 hours). The Manafort inquiry has nothing to do with the White House as the indictment itself and the related public acknowledgement of Manafort's lawyer, make plain. And, we do not anticipate the long awaited Flynn indictment will delay the Special Counsel's conclusion of the inquiry into the White House. Just no there there."

Go deeper

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Updated 38 mins ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Live updates: Putin concludes press conference, Biden up next

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: At a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts.

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