This is TPM’s Trump investigations primer, your weekly roundup of the many efforts by Congress and other entities to look into what the Trump campaign and administration are up to.
It’s been a wild week in the world of Trump admissions.
On Wednesday, President Trump finally made explicit a sentiment that he had hinted at before: He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with accepting political dirt from a foreign government. Why not hear ’em out?
Trump made the admission during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, when he said he would at least look at information from a foreign power and waffled on whether he’d actually turn it over to the FBI. After far-reaching criticism, including from allies in his own party, Trump attempted to clean up the remark in an interview with Fox News on Friday. He said he’d only listen to it to see if it was “bad” first.
Some Republicans attempted to defend the President by claiming that the Democrats did the same thing with the Christopher Steele dossier (it’s not the same thing), while Pelosi reiterated her belief that Trump engaged in a “criminal coverup.”
In another excerpt of the same Stephanopoulos interview released later in the week, Trump also made the stunning admission that he thinks ex-White House counsel Don McGahn might have perjured himself.
The Democratic-controlled House on Tuesday approved a measure allowing Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to ask a court to force McGahn (and Attorney General William Barr, if Nadler wants) to testify. Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee intensified its efforts to get Mueller witnesses to appear for testimony, subpoenaing former national security advisor Michael Flynn and former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates.
Nadler and the Justice Department briefly set aside his differences this week: Nadler announced Monday that he had worked out a plan with the DOJ to gain access to Mueller’s “most important files” related to possible obstruction of justice. In return, Nadler agreed to press pause on any criminal contempt action against Barr.
The Senate, meanwhile, heard additional testimony from a key figure in the Russia probe: the President’s eldest son.
Donald Trump Jr. appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday after the committee’s Republican chairman subpoenaed him following the release of Mueller’s report. The committee was interested in reviewing some of Trump Jr.’s previous testimony, specifically related to the Trump Tower Moscow deal, in light of Mueller’s findings. Trump Jr. maintained that he never lied to Congress and said he didn’t diverge from his previous testimony during this week’s closed door hearing. He left the hours-long meeting mad at a former friend: Michael Cohen.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee heard from John Dean, former White House counsel who infamously flipped on then-President Nixon. Dean’s appearance earned him some side-eye from President Trump on Twitter, which Dean called an honor.
And while the President spends most of his days raging against those who want to impeach him, he’s actually privately fascinated by the process — and what it could do for his approval ratings.