Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak cultivated a powerful U.S. network
Just days after United States President Donald Trump stuck to the script and gave a reassuring speech to Congress on Tuesday, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted to having spoken with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, during the U.S. election campaign. Two advisers to Mr. Trump have run into trouble for not being more candid about contacts with Mr. Kislyak: Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser, and now Mr. Sessions, who admitted two previously undisclosed conversations. Mr. Kislyak also met during the transition with Mr. Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. It seems Mr. Kislyak has cultivated a powerful network in the U.S. that has caused a stir in the White House.
Mike Pence used a private e-mail account while Indiana governor
United States Vice-President Mike Pence used a private e-mail account to conduct public business as Indiana's governor, according to public records obtained by the Indianapolis Star. E-mails provided through a public records request show Mr. Pence communicated with advisers through his personal AOL account on homeland security matters and security at the governor's residence during his four years as governor. Mr. Pence frequently criticized Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server when she was former president Barack Obama's secretary of state, accusing her of "purposely keeping her e-mails out of public reach and shielding her from scrutiny."
Move to plug White House leaks creates unease in Washington
A movement to ensure no leaks come out of the White House is in full force, said sources familiar with the matter. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin used his first senior staff meeting last month to tell his aides he would not tolerate leaks to the media, while access to a classified computer system at the White House has been tightened by political appointees to prevent staffers from seeing memos prepared for the new president. As well, at the Department of Homeland Security, officials fear a witch hunt is under way for the person who leaked a draft intelligence report that found little evidence that citizens from the seven Muslim-majority countries Mr. Trump included in his immigration and travel ban pose a threat to the U.S.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Trump
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Mr. Trump on March 14, their first encounter after an unsteady beginning to their relationship amid disagreements over trade, Mr. Trump's immigration ban and his comments about the media. The visit will be shortly before a meeting in Germany of the finance ministers of the G20 industrialized countries, and will help lay the groundwork for Mr. Trump's visit to Germany in July for a meeting with G20 leaders.