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September 5, 2017

On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to announce that he is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but will delay implementation for six months, presumably to give Congress time to enact a legislative solution for the so-called DREAMers, or young immigrants brought here illegally as children. Trump had promised to end DACA while campaigning for president, but the move isn't popular with corporate leaders, some top Republicans, most GOP voters, the broader electorate, or, it turns out, members of Trump's loyal evangelical advisory board.

Trump has turned to his evangelical advisory board for policy advice since the campaign, and its multi-ethnic members have remained at Trump's side after the Access Hollywood tape captured Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, and other rocky patches. Only one of the two dozen evangelical leaders quit after Trump's equivocal response to white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, even as members of Trump's corporate advisory boards jumped ship. At a meeting in the Oval Office last Friday, a handful of the evangelical advisers urged Trump to show compassion for the DREAMers, one participant, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, tells The Washington Post.

This is the kind of issue that keeps the evangelical pastors at Trump's table, Franklin explained. "If I resign every time [the president] does something I don't agree with, then I lose the ability to have influence and speak up for the DREAMer children [and] the minorities that feel offended and hurt by the Charlottesville incident," he said. "That is why I am supposed to be there."

Other evangelical leaders offered slightly different reasons for maintaining close contact with Trump, including Christian empathy. But, notes the Post's Frances Stead Sellers, "for many, there is a pragmatic reason to stand with Trump. The president won the election with the support of 81 percent of white evangelicals," and his rollback of gay rights, pick of Mike Pence as vice president, and nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court have been very popular with conservative Christians. You can read more at The Washington Post, and hear why Trump may be trying to play both sides of the DACA issue in the CNN discussion below. Peter Weber

11:05 p.m.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) warned former White House Counsel Don McGahn on Monday night that if he ignores a congressional subpoena and refuses to testify before his panel on Tuesday, "the committee is prepared to use all enforcement mechanisms at its disposal."

Earlier Monday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone notified Nadler that Trump had instructed McGahn to ignore the subpoena and skip the hearing. In a letter to McGahn, Nadler said "President Trump's order — which seeks to block a former official from informing a coequal branch of government about his own misconduct — is unprecedented," adding that this "does not excuse your obligation to appear before the committee."

Nadler listed several reasons why Trump cannot keep McGahn from testifying, including that "the president himself has already called your credibility into question." Nadler is referring to Trump tweeting earlier this month he "was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller," contradicting what McGahn told Special Counsel Robert Mueller. "In attacking your credibility and asking you to make public comments about these events, the president has not only further waived any possible privilege with regard to your testimony; he has also created substantial concerns about acts of witness intimidation and further obstruction of Congress' ongoing investigations," Nadler said. Catherine Garcia

10:18 p.m.

Kris Kobach has a long list of demands for a job that doesn't even exist yet, three people with knowledge of his requests told The New York Times.

President Trump approached the former Kansas secretary of state in April about a job offer, after former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned, the Times reports. Trump wanted to know if Kobach, an immigration hardliner, might be interested in Nielsen's old position. Trump was concerned that the Senate would not confirm Kobach, so they talked about making an "immigration czar" position. Trump hasn't yet decided if he'll create the role — and if he does, he hasn't settled on hiring Kobach, the Times reports.

Following the meeting, Kobach got to work putting together 10 conditions for his employment, people with knowledge of the matter said. His demands shocked White House staffers; among other things, he asked for an office in the West Wing, weekends off, 24/7 access to a government jet, the ability to walk into the Oval Office whenever he wants, a staff of seven, the title "assistant to the president," at the highest pay grade, and a guarantee that all Cabinet secretaries who have anything to do with immigration policy defer to him, the Times reports. Kobach also wanted Trump's promise he will nominate him for Homeland Security secretary by Nov. 1, unless Kobach asks to remain immigration czar.

Kobach, who lost the Kansas governor's race last year, was appointed by Trump to lead a voter fraud commission launched after Trump baselessly claimed millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. The committee was dissolved last year. Catherine Garcia

9:13 p.m.

Air Force One is about to rack up a bunch of miles between D.C. and Pennsylvania.

During a rally on Monday night in Montoursville, President Trump promised that he would be "seeing a lot of you over the next year. I'll be here a lot. Got to win this state. We've got to win this state. We did great last time." Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district is holding a special election on Tuesday, and Trump was in Montoursville to campaign for Republican Fred Keller, who is running against Democrat Marc Friedenberg. Trump told the crowd he views the special election as "a referendum" on his presidency.

Trump won Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes in 2016. It's not surprising that Trump plans on visiting the state as often as he can: Earlier Monday, Politico reported that his own polling shows he's trailing behind former Vice President Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Catherine Garcia

8:12 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr is pushing back against criticism that he is using his position to protect President Trump.

During an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Barr said that before becoming Trump's attorney general, he saw the president was the focus of several investigations, and felt "the rules were being changed to hurt Trump, and I thought it was damaging for the presidency over the long haul."

Barr wrote a 19-page memo to the Department of Justice last year, saying Special Counsel Robert Mueller's obstruction inquiry hurt the presidency; after the report was released, Barr decided that several incidents of potential obstruction described in Mueller's report were not criminal. "At every grave juncture the presidency has done what it is supposed to do, which is to provide leadership and direction," Barr said. "If you destroy the presidency and make it an errand boy for Congress, we're going to be a much weaker and more divided nation."

Barr's critics have called him out for refusing to turn over an unredacted copy of Mueller's report to the House Judiciary Committee, which led to the panel voting to hold him in contempt; ordering a review into the origins of the Russia investigation; and telling lawmakers that Trump campaign associates were the victims of "spying." All of this is "an affront to everyone who worked on that case and who supported it, and to everyone who works counterintelligence in general," former top FBI counterintelligence agent Frank Montoya told the Journal. Catherine Garcia

6:59 p.m.

During a closed-door hearing earlier this year, President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee that Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow instructed him to lie to Congress in 2017 regarding negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, people familiar with his testimony told The Washington Post on Monday.

Cohen launched the Moscow project in September 2015, and told Congress discussions ended in January 2016; he later admitted the negotiations continued into June 2016. Cohen said he lied to help obscure the fact that while Trump was running for president, he was involved in a project with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. He is now in prison for lying to Congress, campaign finance violations, and financial crimes.

During his private testimony, Cohen told lawmakers Sekulow encouraged him to say negotiations ended on Jan. 31, 2016, since the Iowa caucuses were on Feb. 1, the Post reports. Sekulow joined Trump's legal team following the election, and the Post notes it's not clear how much Sekulow actually knew about the Trump Tower Moscow project. Sekulow's attorneys told the Post relying on Cohen's word "defies logic, well-established law, and common sense." House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said his panel is now investigating whether Sekulow or any of Trump's other attorneys "participated in the false testimony" Cohen gave to lawmakers. Catherine Garcia

5:36 p.m.

President Trump's attempt to block a subpoena from House Democrats has been overruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled in Washington, D.C., on Monday that Trump could not block the House Oversight Committee's subpoena of his financial records from his accounting firm. Mehta also denied Trump's lawyers' request to stay the ruling, meaning the firm is now supposed to hand over eight years of Trump's records, Politico reports.

House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm last month as part of Democrats' ongoing attempts to access the president's financial records. He asked for the records first, but officially subpoenaed them after Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen testified that the president had inflated his wealth on past financial statements. Trump quickly sued Cummings in return.

Trump's lawyers argued that Congress was improperly requesting Trump's records for "a law-enforcement purpose" rather than "to work on legislation." Yet in the process, those lawyers implied the Whitewater and Watergate investigations were invalid, leaving Mehta visibly skeptical.

In his Monday ruling, Mehta said "it is not for the court to question whether the committee's actions are truly motivated by political considerations" and ruled in the committee's favor. Trump's lawyers are expected to appeal the decision immediately, setting it up for a decision in the D.C. appellate court.

In another subpoena-blocking move, Trump also sued a few banks to stop them from handing over his financial records as well. That suit is still ongoing in a Manhattan court. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:37 p.m.

President Trump doesn't want former White House Counsel Don McGahn in front of Congress.

The West Winger turned fascinating Mueller report witness was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee for testimony last week, though Trump has publicly said he wouldn't let McGahn attend. McGahn isn't in the administration anymore, but that didn't stop the Department of Justice from issuing a 15-page letter spelling out why McGahn could not legally be called to testify, and it didn't stop Trump from publicly directing him not to testify on Monday.

In the Monday letter to current White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel wrote that "Congress cannot constitutionally compel the president's senior advisers to testify about their official duties." He specifically cited an opinion from former President Bill Clinton's Attorney General Janet Reno, along with precedents from throughout presidential administrations. White House Press Secretary summed up this "bipartisan and constitutional precedent" in a statement, and affirmed that Trump had directed McGahn not to testify.

McGahn still hasn't said if he'll comply with Trump's order, but he faces a pitfall either way. If McGahn ignores Trump and testifies, he'll likely "damage his own career in Republican politics, but also put his law firm" at risk because Trump could tell its GOP clients to "withhold their business," The New York Times explains. But if McGahn steps out on Congress, he could face a contempt charge. Judging by Attorney General William Barr's jokes in the past few days, though, that doesn't seem to matter much. The Week Staff

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