Mueller’s Focus on Manafort Goes Back 11 Years

Special Counsel Robert Mueller “is reaching back more than a decade in its investigation of Paul Manafort, a sign of the pressure Mueller is placing on President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman,” CNN reports.

“The FBI’s warrant for a July search of Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia, home said the investigation centered on possible crimes committed as far back as January 2006, according to a source briefed on the investigation.”

“The broad time frame is the latest indication that Mueller’s team is going well beyond Russian meddling during the campaign as part of its investigation of Trump campaign associates.”

Blair Sees Chance Brexit Will Be Reversed

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Bloomberg he thinks there is a 30% chance that Britain’s decision to quit the European Union will be reversed.

Said Blair: “I still have some difficulty seeing how, after the general election which produced a hung parliament in the U.K., this government is going to get its form of Brexit through.”

Trump Using Campaign Funds to Pay Legal Bills

President Trump “is using money donated to his reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election,” Reuters reports.

“The U.S. Federal Election Commission allows the use of private campaign funds to pay legal bills arising from being a candidate or elected official.”

“While previous presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine legal matters such as ballot access disputes and compliance requirements, Trump would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe, said election law experts.”

Senate GOP Reaches Tentative Deal on Budget

Senate Republicans have reached a tentative budget deal that would set the parameters for a tax overhaul being pursued by the party and President Trump, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Reuters notes the deal “could allow U.S. tax revenues to decline by as much as $1.5 trillion over 10 years, but they have not agreed on whether to prevent such losses from expanding the federal budget deficit.”

Moore Claimed Endorsement of Dead Conservative

Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) “is racking up endorsements from inside Alabama and around the country for his challenge to GOP Sen. Luther Strange, but one in particular stood out: renowned — and deceased — conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly,” Roll Call reports.

“Schlafly died September 5, 2016 at the age of 92, two months before Donald Trump won the presidential election and four months before Republican Jeff Sessions left his Senate seat in order to become attorney general, yet she was included on the endorsements page of Moore’s campaign website.”

Collins Leaning Against Graham-Cassidy Plan

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told ABC News that she is “leaning no” on the latest Senate Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has already come out publicly against the bill.

Jonathan Swan says it’s likely coming down to the votes of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “Graham, who was on the flight with Pence, told me McCain will speak for himself — but added with a knowing smile that he feels good about McCain’s vote.”

Ryan, White House Reject Bipartisan Health Fix

Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House “have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate… in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law,” Politico reports.

“After Senate Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare in July, talks began on fixing the law rather than dismantling it. The dose of cold water from senior GOP officials will put pressure on Republican senators to back a last-ditch bill to gut Obamacare before a Sept. 30 deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed that approach publicly on Tuesday.”

Officials Reject Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees

“Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost,” the New York Times reports.

The story hints the information was kept out of the final report by White House adviser Stephen Miller.

“An internal email, dated Sept. 5 and sent among officials from government agencies involved in refugee issues, said that ‘senior leadership is questioning the assumptions used to produce the report.’ A separate email said that Mr. Miller had requested a meeting to discuss the report. The Times was shown the emails on condition that the sender not be identified.”

An Accidental Scoop

Kenneth Vogel writes about how he happened to be sitting next to two of President Trump’s lawyers at a restaurant:

To my astonishment, they were in the midst of a detailed discussion of the Russia investigations being conducted by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and various congressional committees, as well as the strategy of Mr. Trump’s team for responding.

They were in a public place where they could have been overheard by anyone. I just happened to be a reporter, so I figured their conversation was fair game. I ordered another iced tea, pulled out my phone and began typing out notes, hoping that they would assume I was merely responding to emails, tweeting or surfing the internet.