Week in Review
- President Donald Trump signed into law new sanctions against Russia, but he criticized the Republican-controlled Congress for tying his hands with the legislation.
- Robert Mueller, the Justice Department’s special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, has convened a grand jury, signaling his investigation has entered a new phase. Investigators expanded their probe to include the finances of Trump and his campaign associates.
- At a Trump rally in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice announced he would switch parties and register as a Republican. Justice had one of the steepest drops in approval among his constituents earlier this year, according to Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings.
- Trump’s disapproval rating climbed to 53 percent, tying an all-time high, following the Senate’s failure to repeal Obamacare and amid turmoil in his administration, a recent poll showed.
- White House Chief of Staff John Kelly completed his first week on the job, where he imposed a military-style discipline on administration staff. The week began with the departure of communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and news that the administration is considering Rick Perry to replace Kelly, who previously served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security before taking the White House post.
- By a 92-5 vote the Senate confirmed Christopher Wray to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- The Senate unanimously passed legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to access drugs that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Senators also reauthorized funding for the FDA’s prescription drug and medical device review process, by a 94-1 vote.
- With a unanimous Senate vote, Congress sent Trump a bill that would increase veterans education benefits by $3 billion over the next decade.
- Josh Hawley, Missouri’s attorney general, formed a committee to consider seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill next year. The party does not yet have a challenger to one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents.