Mar 2, 2017

Trumpworld's Sessions situation

Alex Brandon / AP

Top White House officials were scrambling last night to grasp the significance of Jeff Sessions' contacts with Russia's ambassador and figure out what to do about it.

Sources close to the President's inner circle and to Sessions are very defensive and believe the "opposition party" media is elevating mundane interactions. Despite the growing clamor from Democrats, there's about a zero percent chance President Trump will fire Sessions or that the House will impeach him — the only ways he could leave.

This does, however, strengthen the case for an independent investigation, and the chances just got a lot higher that Sessions recuses himself from any FBI investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged contacts with Russian officials. Especially now that some prominent Republicans believe this should happen.

Perspective from a source in close touch with the president's inner circle:

  1. Sessions was a visible campaign surrogate but was hardly involved in the campaign's mechanics at that time.
  2. Absent more revelations, Sessions did nothing substantively wrong when he met with the Ambassador.
  3. The denial at the hearing is a problem — obviously — and it would be politically prudent for Sessions to recuse himself. It's unclear, though, what the President believes on this point.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
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Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

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The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

Reports: Saudi Arabia and Russia reach major deal to cut oil production

Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: The revival of the OPEC+ collaboration patches up the early March rupture between the countries, which had pushed already depressed prices down much further by threatening to unleash even more new supplies into the saturated market.