TRUMP'S CHICKENS ARE COMING HOME TO ROOST IN RUSSIAN COLLUSION PROBE: With a double-barreled blast, Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed Monday that he has won the cooperation of a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign who says he served as a go-between with the Kremlin in the spring of 2016. And Mueller heaped a 31-page indictment on former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates that contains the weight of conspiracy, money laundering and tax related charges in connection with an alleged scheme to launder millions of dollars through scores of offshore accounts. The charges seem designed to pressure them to cooperate, as well. It was a powerful public salvo after months of silence since Mueller took over the investigation of Russia’s election-meddling, a subject that has consumed the nation’s capital and haunted Trump’s presidency.
PAPADOPOULOS PLEA DEAL MAY BE THE REAL THREAT TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Manafort and Gates, who pleaded not guilty in federal court, are not charged with any wrongdoing as part of the Trump campaign, and the president immediately sought to distance himself from the allegations. He said on Twitter that the alleged crimes occurred "years ago," and he insisted anew there was "NO COLLUSION" between his campaign and Russia. But potentially more perilous for the president was the guilty plea by former adviser Papadopoulos, who admitted in newly unsealed court papers that he was told in April 2016 that the Russians had "dirt" on Democratic rival Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails," well before it became public that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails had been hacked. Papadopoulos was not charged with having improper communications with Russians but rather with lying to FBI agents when asked about the contacts, suggesting that Mueller — who was appointed in May to lead the Justice Department's investigation — is prepared to indict for false statements even if the underlying conduct he uncovers might not necessarily be criminal.
RUSSIA SAYS "NOTHING WRONG WITH IT," TRUMP SAYS "HE'S A LIAR": Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he sees nothing wrong a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump reaching out to a Kremlin-linked think tank. The Russian International Relations Council has confirmed contact with Papadopoulos, but said a meeting never took place. The council insisted that it was an independent advisory body and that it hosts many politicians at various public meetings. President Donald Trump says a campaign adviser who has admitted to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries was a "low level volunteer" who was "proven to be a liar." Court documents say Papadopoulos was approached by people claiming ties to Russia and offering "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the conversations.
JUDGE BLOCKS TRUMP ATTEMPT TO REINSTATE BAN ON TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE: A federal judge on Monday barred President Donald Trump's administration from proceeding with plans to exclude transgender people from military service. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the transgender service members who had sued over Trump's policy were likely to win their lawsuit. She directed a return to the situation that existed before Trump announced his new policy this summer, saying the administration had provided no solid evidence for why a ban should be implemented. Trump had ordered a reinstatement of the longstanding policy that barred transgender individuals from joining the military; service members who were revealed to be transgender were subject to discharge. Under President Barack Obama, that policy was changed last year to allow transgender people to serve openly.
DUTIFUL DAUGHTER IVANKA TRUMP TO PUSH FOR TAX CUTS WHILE DADDY IS AWAY: Top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump, will be lobbying in the U.S. for a tax overhaul while President Donald Trump is traveling in Asia. A White House official says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn and White House adviser Ivanka Trump will hold tax events around the country. The first daughter is going to Japan for a speech Friday, but has canceled plans to continue on to China and South Korea and will return to the U.S. over the weekend. President Donald Trump leaves Friday for a lengthy trip through Asia. House Republicans are set to unveil their tax bill Wednesday. Trump is scheduled to hold a tax meeting at the White House Tuesday.