I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Friday, August 31, 2018. 67 days until Election Day 2018. 795 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trump vs. DOJ: "President Donald Trump attacked his own Justice Department and FBI leadership and implied Hillary Clinton could face criminal charges during a campaign rally Thursday night in Indiana."
"'Our Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their jobs and doing it right and doing it now, because people are angry. People are angry,' Trump said at a rally in Evansville, where he was campaigning for Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun."
..."'What's happening is a disgrace, and at some point -- I wanted to stay out, but at some point, if it doesn't straighten out properly -- I want them to do their jobs -- I will get involved,' Trump said."
"Trump also attacked his 2016 opponent, Clinton. 'Look at what she's getting away with it,' Trump said. 'But let's see if she gets away with it. Let's see.' The crowd responded with chants of 'Lock her up!'" (CNN)
--- Bloomberg interview: "President Donald Trump said Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s job is safe at least until the midterm elections in November. 'I just would love to have him do a great job,' Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. Asked if he’d keep Sessions beyond November, he declined to comment."
"Asked whether he would comply with a subpoena from Mueller to answer questions, Trump said in the interview that 'I’ll see what happens.'"
"'I view it differently. I view it as an illegal investigation' because 'great scholars' have said that 'there never should have been a special counsel,' the president said." (Bloomberg)
New poll: "President Trump’s disapproval rating has hit a high point of 60 percent, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll that also finds that clear majorities of Americans support the special counsel’s Russia investigation and say the president should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions."
..."Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to Trump being removed from office, while 46 percent say Congress should not."
"And a narrow majority — 53 percent — say they think Trump has tried to interfere with Mueller’s investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice; 35 percent say they do not think the president has tried to interfere."
"Overall, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance, with 36 percent approving, according to the poll. This is only a slight shift from the last Post/ABC survey, in April, which measured Trump’s rating at 56 percent disapproval and 40 percent approval."
"The new poll was conducted Aug. 26 to 29, in the week after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of federal tax and bank fraud and after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty and implicated the president in illegal payments to silence women who alleged sexual encounters with Trump." (Washington Post)
All eyes on Mueller: "The window closes next week for special counsel Robert Mueller to take any more bombshell actions before midterm season officially kicks off, and people in the president’s orbit and across Washington are watching with heightened anticipation that a final pre-election surprise could come soon."
..."The increased attention stems from Justice Department guidelines that recommend against law enforcement taking major investigative or prosecutorial actions close to an election, so as not to unduly influence voters." (Politico)
--- What this means: Special counsel Mueller is expected to avoid taking any major actions in his investigation after Labor Day, as the midterm elections near. Today is the last business day before Labor Day, and Mueller's grand jury is known to meet on Fridays, leading to speculation that something big could be coming this afternoon (poentially an indictment of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone), although -- as is always the case with the Mueller probe -- no one knows for sure.
White House schedule
President Donald Trump travels to Charlotte, North Carolina today. At 2:35pm, he is expected to sign an executive order "to make it easier for small businesses to group together to provide their workers with retirement plans," according to USA TODAY. At 3:40pm, he participates in a roundtable with supporters. At 4pm, he delivers remarks at a joint fundraising committee reception.
Trump will then return to Washington, D.C.
Both houses of Congress are on recess.
Sen. John McCain will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol rotunda today. The ceremony, which will begin at about 11am, will include remarks by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Vice President Mike Pence. McCain is the 31st person to lie in state in the Capitol building, a rare honor that was last given to Sen. Daniel Inouye in 2012.
A memorial service for McCain was held in Phoenix on Thursday, where Vice President Joe Biden delivered an emotional tribute to his longtime friend. His funeral will be held on Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral; speakers are set to include former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. McCain will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday.
--- President Trump was not invited to any of these events, which McCain meticulously planned before he died last weekend. Read more: "How McCain Got the Last Word Against Trump" (New York Times)
Supreme Court schedule
The Supreme Court is on its summer recess.
*All times Eastern