Quick Takes: Is Trump a Target in the Mueller Investigation?

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* One of the things Trump constantly pressed Comey about was that he wanted the former FBI Director to issue a public statement saying that the president was not a target of the Russia investigation. Especially when it comes to the possible charge of obstruction of justice, it certainly looks like Trump is a target of Mueller’s probe.

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials.

Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved “great pressure” on him.

The document requests provide the most details to date about the breadth of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and show that several aspects of his inquiry are focused squarely on Mr. Trump’s behavior in the White House.

In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s office sent a document to the White House that detailed 13 different areas that investigators want more information about. Since then, administration lawyers have been scouring White House emails and asking officials whether they have other documents or notes that may pertain to Mr. Mueller’s requests.

* I’n thinking about starting an occasional feature as part of “Quick Takes” that would be titled, “Because the president is an idiot.” Here is today’s entry:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised the health system of an African country that does not exist while speaking at a United Nations working lunch with African leaders.

“In Guinea and Nigeria you fought a horrifying Ebola outbreak,” he said. “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.”

There is no country named Nambia; it was not clear whether Trump had misread the name of Namibia or Zambia.

* Detailing how the president is an idiot would go right alongside continuous reports on how this administration lies.

When Trump administration officials slashed the advertising budget for healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace, they said it was because of efficiency. Advertising, they said, was showing “diminishing returns” and was no longer an effective way to boost enrollment.

But research that the Department of Health and Human Services conducted and then distributed internally during President Barack Obama’s tenure pointed to a very different conclusion.

It found that the ads work.

* Amidst reports that Trump’s poll numbers are rebounding just a bit, Ron Brownstein brings us some details.

The focus on whether President Donald Trump’s political base is splintering may be missing an even more important crack in his foundation…

Trump retains his strongest support from Republicans who are older or who lack a four-year college degree. But across several measures he’s now facing discontent among the opposite groups: Republicans who are younger than 50 or who have obtained at least a four-year college degree. New polling through this week provides some evidence that Trump’s recent legislative outreach to Democrats may be helping him recover somewhat with the latter, though not yet much with the former.

Still, the underlying contrasts underscore how firmly Trump’s movement is rooted in older and blue-collar white America — in the context of the Republican coalition and country overall.

* Rob Reiner and David Frum have teamed up to create a new website.

* I’ll go out today with a video from that new site featuring Morgan Freeman.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.