So remember how they kept telling President Donald Trump to stop using his unsecured personal cell phone? Well it looks like Vice President MIke Pence didn’t listen either. The Indianapolis Star reports that Pence used personal email for state business -- and was hacked. That story by Tony Cook. Allison Carter pointed out, “Mike Pence used an AOL account for some state business.” Lee Horwich added this happened while Pence served “as Indiana governor.”
Oh Sessions (my Sessions)
Of course, the big news yesterday was that Jeff Sessions spoke twice with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s presidential campaign, Justice officials say. It was reported by Greg Miller in the Washington Post.
Then today we hear that Sessions used political funds for expenses in Cleveland, where he met a Russian envoy, according to Paul Sonne, Rebecca Ballhaus, Carol Lee at the Wall Street Journal.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, the Wall Street Journal (via reporting from Carol Lee, Christopher Stewart, Rob Barry, and Shane Harris) published news that Investigators probed Sessions’ contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign. Anthony De Rosa put it bluntly, “Sessions lied under oath about contact with Russian officials during campaign.” David Enrich added the whole thing “Keeps getting crazier. Jeff Sessions was communicating with Russians during @realDonaldTrump's campaign.”
Naturally, a Top GOP lawmaker calls on Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, Karoun Demirjian wrote in the Washington Post. That lawmaker would be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. And indeed, Sessions did just that yesterday afternoon.
Mark Berman at the Washington Post processed the news by putting together a list of Six times Jeff Sessions talked about perjury, access and special prosecutors - when it involved the Clintons.
For The Onion’s take on the situation, read: Heartbroken Russian Ambassador Thought Special Meetings With Jeff Sessions Were Very Memorable. Bradford Pearson tweeted this quote from the piece: "It really hurts to think that Jeff doesn’t cherish the afternoons we spent sitting in his office."
But wait, there’s more...of Trump officials speaking with Russia, it seems
Meanwhile, Steve Reilly at USA Today got the exclusive that Two other Trump advisers also spoke with a Russian envoy during the GOP convention.
Over at the New York Times, a report that Kushner and Flynn Met With a Russian Envoy in December, the White House Says. Michael Schmidt, Matthew Rosenberg, Matt Apuzzo wrote that story. Maggie Haberman wrote, “Another Flynn contact w the Russian ambassador in December, beyond a ‘happy holidays’ call.
And ProPublica puts this mess into perspective, writing Five Trump Cabinet Members Who’ve Made False Statements to Congress, a story by Eric Umansky and Marcelo Rochabrun there. Lisa Song added, “It's not just Sessions: here are 4 more Trump cabinet members who said false things to Congress, 3 under oath.”
And if you’re wondering what’s going on with the Trump children, turn to the Wall Street Journal, where Jay Solomon and Benoit Faucon write: Donald Trump Jr. Was Likely Paid at Least $50,000 for an Event Held by Hosts Allied With Russia on Syria.
Moving on to some business dealings, here’s Ben Lefebvre in Politico reporting that the White House said Keystone is exempt from the 'Buy American' requirements. Paul Volpe explained: “Build American, Buy American loophole. ‘New pipelines’ only. Keystone proposed in 2008, so...exempt.”
Who TF is Sergey Kislyak?!
Let’s begin with the piece in the Washington Post: Moscow’s man in Washington is at the center of the political moment, as explained by Anne Gearan.
Also in the Washington Post, this opinion piece: Sergey Kislyak, the least memorable man in the world, written by Alexandra Petri. Petri tweeted, “Once Sergei Kislyak slept on a memory foam mattress and left no impression whatsoever.”
Interestingly enough, Frank Thorp tweeted: “You know Russian Amb Kislyak who Jeff Sessions met w/ last year? He was on the House flr on Tues ahead of Trump's #JointAddress (Via Getty): https://t.co/xpKiLOuivt
Then Bradd Jaffy tweeted: "Watch @chrislhayes pin down Carter Page into this ? A+ answer: 'I will say that I never met [Sergey Kislyak] anywhere outside of Cleveland.'"
‘Very normal stuff’
Elsewhere in government, Sarah Kliff at Vox published “We cannot find the bill:" Inside the frantic hunt for the GOP Obamacare replacement. Her dek on the piece is truly amazing - “Members of Congress are literally wandering the Capitol looking for the rumored draft document.” Kliff also tweeted, “Today I watched legislators wander the Capitol looking for a draft bill. One spoke to a statue. Very normal stuff.”
‘Wow’ - but not the good kind
You might have heard the news that an undocumented immigrant was arrested by ICE agents in Mississippi shortly after speaking to the media about her family's detention. Well now Huffington Post reports that Daniela Vargas Is To Be Deported Without A Hearing, Her Attorney Says. Dana Liebelson and Elise Foley wrote that story. Julia Ioffe just had this to say: “Wow.”
Foley also tweeted this statement from the 22-year-old Dreamer facing deportation after speaking out. It was shared by Vargas’s lawyer.
Some news about news
If you missed yesterday’s story that the White House press corps received brand-new espresso machine from none other than Oscar winner and national treasure Tom Hanks, we’re sharing it here again. “Come for the coffee... stay for his note,” writes Peter Alexander.
Before you think it’s just a publicity stunt, Jake Tapper at CNN puts it into perspective: “This is the third time over the last few years that Mr. @tomhanks has sent a brand new espresso machine to the White House press corps,” he tweeted.
For more on journalism in the time of Trump, give Margaret Sullivan a read. She writes in the Washington Post: While pundits swooned over Trump’s speech, reporters plugged away at the real story. Laura Helmuth pointed out the “Important distinction between pundits (ooh, 'presidential') and reporters (but about those facts...).”
In other news, Rob Cox at Reuters thinks the Snap IPO marks the moment investors donned sweats. On Twitter, Cox added, “Creeping totalitarianism is not confined to the political realm. Snap's IPO marks the moment investors surrendered.” Charles Herman called it an “excellent review of $snap.” While Alex Kantrowitz tweeted, “Holy shit. This Reuters lede.” For the record, that lede is: “Investors have effectively just done what no self-respecting person ever should: wear sweatpants in public.”
Finally, a good thing
You May Want to Marry My Husband is this week’s Modern Love essay in the New York Times. It was written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and we are warning you here, it is a tear-jerker. But entirely worth the read and you should do it.