Washington waited with bated breath to see what would happen after word leaked out special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election could result in indictments next week.
President Trump at first ignored the report, tweeting Saturday about the country’s Gross Domestic Product growth and Jimmy Carter’s praise for him.
But, by Sunday he had changed his tune and said the “Russia talk” was distracting from the GOP push on tax reform. He also called for Democrats to be prosecuted for colluding with Russia.
Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, said the president is not worried about what some of his former campaign officials told Mueller during their interviews. He later added the president's tweets were not a reaction to Mueller's investigation.
Among those officials is Paul Manafort, who is connected to millions of dollars in wire transfers that have been the focus of an FBI investigation.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said there’s no real difference between Trump’s Justice Department and President Obama’s Justice Department when it comes to cooperating with Congress. He said Trump’s DOJ officials have not been forthcoming with how the department used the controversial dossier about Trump released earlier this year.
Gowdy also urged his fellow Republicans to give Mueller a chance to do his job instead of assuming any upcoming charges are political.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he has seen no “indisputable” conflict of interest in Mueller’s investigation, but warned against the appearance of such a conflict. He also said whoever leaked information on the impending indictments may have committed a crime.
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, has been an “obstacle” to that committee’s Russia probe because he keeps siding with the White House.
Independent Main Sen. Angus King called the upcoming charges “really just the beginning” and said he’s expecting to see more rolled out soon.
Polls also showed some bad news for Trump — one released on Saturday showed seven-in-10 Americans believe division in the country is as bad as it was during the Vietnam war, and one on Sunday showed his approval rating is now at its lowest point.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said in an interview he wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night if he did the things he would have had to do to win his spot again in 2018, which would mean cozying up to Trump.
Actor Woody Harrelson revealed in an interview he once had dinner with Trump and it was so “brutal” that he had to take a break in the middle of dinner to smoke marijuana to relax.
Actress Emma Thompson said she regretted not having dinner with Trump when he offered — she told him "fuck off" when he called because she didn't actually believe it was him, assuming it was a prank call.
Trump allies tried to change the subject to force the spotlight onto Democrats.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the media should focus on the “lies of the Clinton administration.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Clinton campaign was “damn glad” it “colluded” with Russia to smear Trump in the election after comments from former campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said it’s easier to find “Bigfoot or Amelia Earhart” than it is to find evidence Trump colluded with the Russians.
Trump also tried to blame Democrats for the upcoming hikes in Obamacare premiums that will result from his decision to stop payments to insurance companies that kept prices for low-income and elderly families down.
On the policy front, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady bent to pressure from opponents of his party’s tax reform plan to include a popular property tax break in the bill, which was set to be eliminated.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the federal government may stop forgiving all student loans used by students to attend for-profit colleges that later defrauded them.
The House Intelligence Committee struck a deal with Fusion GPS for the firm’s bank records. The firm contracted with the Washington Free Beacon and the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to do opposition research on Trump, and much of that information ended up in a controversial dossier published before the inauguration.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Clinton’s campaign officials should be called to Congress to testify more about the dossier’s financing.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said tax reform would decrease the federal deficit even if tax cuts are involved because it will increase growth and encourage more employers to bring jobs back from overseas. He also denied that the Republican Party is in the midst of a civil war, saying the party is in “pretty good shape.”
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said she wants to work with Portman and other Republicans on tax reform but the GOP simply isn’t including Democrats in the process.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also hit out at the criticism of his party that they don’t have many details of their tax reform plan made public yet, calling it a “Democratic talking point” and alleging the framework of the deal has been out for months.
New York Rep. Peter King wants Mueller to come to Congress to answer questions about what the FBI knew about a deal to sell a company that controlled 20 percent of the country’s uranium reserves to a Russian-controlled company. Mueller was in charge of the FBI at the time of the deal in 2009.
Top White House aide and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner got back from a secret trip to Saudi Arabia on Saturday that the White House confirmed was taken Sunday.
Trump ally Roger Stone was suspended from Twitter, permanently, for going on a late-night rant directed at CNN and New York Times personalities that included homophobic slurs.
Trump also took some time to be “not at all presidential” by taking a shot at Michael Moore’s Broadway show, which ended last week.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich warned Republicans Millennials will oppose the nationalistic turn the party is taking in the future and the party has to appeal to them. He also said he’s not currently “plotting” a run against Trump in 2020, but has left the door open to such a move.
In Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Russello asked the island’s governing board to cancel the controversial $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy to restore power to the island after Hurricane Maria.
Later on Sunday, the island's power authority announced it had, in fact, killed the contract.
In Afghanistan, American Warrant Officer Jacob M. Sims was killed in a helicopter crash.
In Mali, two Navy SEALs are being investigated in the strangulation death of a Green Beret that took place in June.
Sticking abroad, multiple people were killed after a car bomb exploded in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu.
In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani informed the world the Iranians would not stop its ballistic missile program and took shots at the Trump administration for threatening to back out of the deal.
Back at home, white nationalists rallied in two Tennessee towns. The rallies did not seem to result in as much violence and discord as happened in Charlottesville, Va. during the summer.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., plans to return to Congress this week after she received death threats for publicly giving the details of a call between Trump and the widow of a service member killed in Niger.
Trump’s grandchildren got dressed up for Halloween as service members and law enforcement officials.
First lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman defended the first lady’s anti-bullying campaign from criticism that compared it to her husband’s public antagonism of rival politicians by saying Melania Trump is “independent” of her husband.
President Obama will attend jury duty in Chicago next month after his name was pulled by Cook County officials.
The World Series was marred by a racist incident Friday night that had California Rep. Brad Sherman asking Major League Baseball to punish a Houston Astros player harshly for the gesture directed at a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher.
The federal government pulled funding for a project meant to honor the legacy of the Black Panthers in Berkeley, Calif.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson again refused to quell rumors he’ll run for president in 2020, saying “the ‘People’s President’” has a nice ring to it.
Political journalist Mark Halperin got another dose of bad news after he was outed as a serial sexual harasser last week: Showtime, the network that hosted his show “The Circus” said it was open to bringing the show back, but not with Halperin on board.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she has no intention of retiring yet.
And, in silly unlikely news, California has managed to take the first step toward breaking up into three separate states. A billionaire investor argues it’s the right move.