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Balance of Power: Sessions v Comey

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is talking to the Senate Intelligence Committee today, and Donald Trump should be worried.

The highest law-enforcement officer in the land has given conflicting answers about meetings with Russians and will be asked to explain his role in firing FBI chief James Comey. It's also not clear how much Sessions will say in between claims that he can't say anything because of executive privilege.

The intel committee’s decision to invite Sessions today – just five days after Comey testified before the same panel – shows just how seriously senators are taking the matter, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Yes, there are Trump loyalists making noises about whether he might fire special counsel Robert Mueller. With Trump, you can never say never, but don’t bet on it. It’s more telling to look at who isn't calling for Mueller's exit: Republican senators, many of whom seem plainly tired of the spot Trump has put them in.

Our well-thumbed Watergate history books tell us Richard Nixon was cooked when his own party could no longer defend his actions. Trump is a long, long way from that, but keep an eye on the Senate Intelligence Committee. If Trump loses them, he is lost.

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Trump speaks with Sessions in Washington, DC on May 15, 2017.
Photographer: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Global Headlines

May survives | Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May bought herself some time with a well-received appearance in front of Conservative lawmakers last night, when she conceded that they have the power to fire her at any time. But she remains a severely weakened figure who, crucially, has now lost the power to push through her own vision of Brexit.

Europe takes aim at a London jewel | Things are heating up behind the scenes ahead of Brexit talks. The EU will today stake an aggressive claim to one of London's lucrative back-office businesses for currency traders - the clearing of about $570 billion of euro-denominated derivatives a day. London banks vehemently oppose the move but it's sure to be a political football once negotiations are under way.

Russian hacks more widespread than thought | The cyberattack on America's electoral system last year was far more widespread than publicly revealed, hitting twice as many states as previously thought. As Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson write, the Obama administration was so concerned that it complained directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” The report comes as the U.S. Senate plans a vote this week on expanding Russia sanctions on entities engaging in “malicious cyber activity."

Trump turns back clock on Cuba | Trump is planning to scale back an Obama-era effort to open Cuba to U.S. tourism and trade. Options include new limits on American travel to the island and restricting partnerships between U.S. companies and entities tied to Cuba's military, according to two people familiar with the discussions. A decision is expected before Trump's Friday trip to Miami.

Putin critic jailed (again) | Tens of thousands heeded Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny's call for protests Monday, showing his anti-Kremlin drive still has traction. Navalny, who wants to challenge Vladimir Putin for the presidency next year, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for his trouble. “It's bad enough they ripped off the whole country, but because of them I'll also miss the Depeche Mode concert in Moscow,” he tweeted.

China poaches another friend from Taiwan | The democratically ruled island was left with just 20 diplomatic partners after Panama abruptly recognized Beijing as the capital of “One China” rather than Taipei. It's the latest domino to fall as China punishes Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for refusing to accept that both sides are part of one country since she took office last year.

And finally... It may be the biggest bovine airlift in history. Qatar is flying in 4,000 cows to boost milk production after the Saudi-led trade sanctions caused imports to collapse. As Mohammed Sergie and Donna Abu-Nasr report, it will take as many as 60 Qatar Airways flights to airlift in the 1,300-pound animals to the desert country. They will graze on specially irrigated grass spread out over a site the size of almost 70 soccer fields.

Photographer: Brent Lewin
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