BOTH BURR AND TILLIS CALL FOR ROY MOORE TO EXIT SENATE RACE: North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr joined a growing group of Republicans calling for Roy Moore to drop out of the Alabama Senate race after a fifth woman publicly accused the former judge of sexual misconduct Monday. “The allegations leveled at Roy Moore are disturbing. I have serious concerns about his prior conduct and fitness for office. He should immediately withdraw from the race,” Tillis wrote on Twitter on Monday evening. Burr also called on Moore to withdraw from the race. “With 5 women now coming forward, Moore should do the right thing and withdraw from the race,” he said in a statement released by his office. It was his first public comment since the scandal erupted last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the women and called for Moore to get out of the race earlier Monday. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, also called for Moore to step down.
SESSIONS ON THE CONGRESSIONAL HOT SEAT OVER NEW TRUMP/RUSSIA EVIDENCE: Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday amid growing evidence of contacts between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump. And he will be bracing for an onslaught of lawmakers' questions about how much he knew of that outreach during last year's White House campaign. The appearance before the House Judiciary Committee follows a guilty plea from one Trump campaign aide who served on a foreign policy advisory council that Sessions chaired, as well as statements from another adviser who said he'd advised the then-GOP Alabama senator about an upcoming trip to Russia. Those details complicate Sessions' effort to downplay knowledge of the campaign's foreign contacts. Democratic lawmakers already contend the attorney general has not been forthcoming with them and have signaled that questions about the new revelations are likely to dominate what could otherwise have been a routine oversight hearing.
AND SESSIONS TRIES TO DEFLECT FROM THAT WITH THREATENED CLINTON PROBE: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leaving open the possibility that a special counsel could be appointed to look into Clinton Foundation dealings and an Obama-era uranium deal, the Justice Department said, in responding to concerns from Republican lawmakers. The department said in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee Monday that Sessions had directed senior federal prosecutors to "evaluate certain issues" raised in recent weeks by members of Congress, which include allegations that the Clinton Foundation benefited from a years-old uranium transaction involving a Russian-backed company. President Donald Trump himself has repeatedly implored the Justice Department on social media to investigate the deal, including in a series of Twitter posts this month in which he lamented not having more direct influence over the agency's affairs.
TRUMP JUNIOR COORDINATED WITH WIKILEAKS TO PROMOTE RUSSIA'S HACKED DNC INFO: President Donald Trump's oldest son released a series of private Twitter exchanges between himself and WikiLeaks during and after the 2016 election, including pleas from the website to publicize its leaks. The revelations are sure to increase calls in Congress to have Trump Jr. testify publicly as part of several committee probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And they add a new element to the investigations that have been probing for months whether Trump's campaign colluded in any way with the Russian government. In an intelligence assessment released last January, the NSA, CIA and FBI concluded that Russian military intelligence provided hacked information from the DNC and "senior Democratic officials" to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has denied that Russia was the source of emails it released, including those from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
TRUMP MAKES FRIENDS WITH PHILIPPINE MASS-MURDERER DUTERTE: “The United States has to be treated fairly and in a reciprocal fashion,” he tweeted Tuesday. “The massive TRADE deficits must go down quickly!” Trump pressed that point on every stop on the grueling tour of Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, blaming his predecessors for yawning trade imbalances and declaring that the United States will no longer be taken advantage of under his watch. Trump also spoke warmly of the “many good friends” he had made on the trip, including Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump praised and joked around Monday with Duterte, who has overseen a bloody crackdown on the illegal drug trade that has featured extrajudicial killings, earning the Filipino leader the condemnation of human rights groups. Trump did not publicly take Duterte to task for the crackdown. Trump talked instead about their “great relationship.”