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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court said Monday that it is allowing parts of President Trump's travel ban to go into effect and that it will hear arguments in the case in October.

The announcement comes on the last day of the court's term before summer recess.

In allowing parts of Trump's executive order to take effect, the court narrowed the scope of injunctions that lower courts put on the temporary travel ban.

The Supreme Court is allowing implementation of the temporary ban on entry into the U.S. of citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, but with an exception for people who have what the court called "any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

That includes foreign nationals with familial connections in the U.S., students who have already been admitted into an American university, and workers with existing job offers in the U.S.

For people from the six countries who have "bona fide" connections, the injunctions put in place by the lower courts are upheld. These individuals will not be banned under the executive order from coming into the U.S.

But anyone else from the six listed countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- who do not have such connections to the U.S. will be subject to the temporary travel ban.

“What the Supreme Court did today was to significantly narrow the scope of the injunctions, limiting them to people with a bona fide connection to the U.S. This is an many ways a clever compromise," said Kate Shaw, ABC's Supreme Court contributor. "But it leaves open a number of questions of interpretation and implementation. I think it might lead to a lot of litigation over the summer about who exactly has enough of a connection to the U.S. to satisfy the Supreme Court's standard.”

With Monday's court order, the travel ban is expected to go into effect in 72 hours in accordance with an earlier White House memo saying that such a delay would "ensure an orderly and proper implementation."

After 72 hours, the 90-day ban for foreign nationals from the six countries who lack bona fide connections to the U.S. and the 120-day ban for refugees without such ties will start.

Understanding the court's action

The high court's action on Monday was a per curium order, meaning that no specific author was identified, although three of the more conservative justices -- Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch -- all wrote separately that they supported going further by reversing the lower courts' injunctions in full and letting the ban go completely into effect.

Unlike the lower circuit courts that imposed stays and temporary restraining orders on the executive order, the Supreme Court didn’t look at Trump’s comments and tweets about Muslims. Monday's order appeared focused on balancing the parties’ interests, with its argument that Americans aren’t sufficiently “burdened” if they have no connection to the foreign national seeking entry, and the foreign nationals themselves don’t have a right to come in.

“Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national,” the court order reads. It also says the travel ban would not “impose any legally relevant hardship on the foreign national himself."

The Supreme Court justices also agreed with the 9th Circuit Court's ruling that the government can begin conducting a worldwide review of its procedures for vetting people seeking to come to the U.S. The court said the administration should have enough time to “conclude its internal work and provide adequate notice to foreign governments within the 90-day life" of the ban.

Trump and the ACLU react

Trump appears to see the court order as a big victory.

"Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security," he stated.

"It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective. As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive. My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation's homeland. I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0," he said in the statement, again saying that there was a voted decision when there was not.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a party in the suit against what it calls a "Muslim ban," viewed the court order differently.

"President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the fundamental constitutional principle that government cannot favor or disfavor any one religion. Courts have repeatedly blocked this indefensible and discriminatory ban. The Supreme Court now has a chance to permanently strike it down," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI has conducted extensive interviews with one-time Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as part of the federal investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Page has confirmed to ABC News.

Page confirmed he met with FBI agents in a series of meetings in March to answer questions about whether he had served as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and Russian officials – an allegation he strenuously denied. The interviews were first reported by The Washington Post.

“Our frank and open conversations gave me confidence that there are still logical, honest individuals at the Bureau who respect civil rights and the Constitution, despite the recent devastating impact on our democracy by self-centered politicians at the top of the Clinton-Obama-Comey regime,” Page told ABC News Monday.

The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Then-candidate Donald Trump identified Page as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign, but both Page and Trump aides said later that the role never matured into deeper involvement and the campaign distanced itself from Page over time.

The New York energy consultant, who worked in Russia for several years, became the focus of attention after he delivered a speech at the New Economic School in Moscow in July 2016 advocating for better relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Page’s name also later appeared in the unsubstantiated “dossier” prepared by a former British intelligence agent who had been hired to gather information about possible Trump ties to Russia. The document included the claim that Page made contact with key Russian officials during that visit in July, an assertion he has repeatedly refuted.

In an interview with ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” in April, Page wavered on whether he discussed easing sanctions against Russia with anyone in the Russian government during that trip.

“Something may have come up in a conversation,” Page said. “I have no recollection, and there’s nothing specifically that I would have done that would have given people that impression. … Someone may have brought it up….And if it was, it was not something I was offering or that someone was asking for.” Page told ABC News that in speaking with the FBI he hoped to put to rest the rumors about him.

“During my extensive discussions with the FBI agents … they acknowledged that I’m a loyal American veteran but indicated that their ‘management’ was concerned that I did not believe the conclusions of the fake January 6 intelligence report,” Page said, referring to the declassified report on Russian election meddling released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. “I told them that I learned the lessons from the intelligence failures [during the run-up to the Iraq War] which cost this country thousands of service members lives and over a trillion dollars.”

According to Page, the FBI interviews occurred before special counsel Robert Mueller took over the case following Trump’s sudden dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

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The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump on Monday joined supporters in declaring a “clear victory” after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to allow parts of his travel ban to take effect.

While the ban will apply, effective Thursday, to people from the six predominantly countries listed on Trump’s March revised executive order -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- who do not have a ”credible claim” of “bona fide connections” to the United States, the high court will also hear arguments on Trump’s travel ban when it reconvenes in October.

Here is a range of the reactions:

In support of the travel ban

President Donald Trump:


Monday's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.

As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.

My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation's homeland. I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.


Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway:

@.POTUS Constitutional and statutory authority on this are compelling. https://t.co/JjlftRh7Mu

— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) June 26, 2017

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.:

Solid SCOTUS victory today for @POTUS Trump and common sense. National Security before PC.

— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) June 26, 2017

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn.:

Great news for @POTUS and the American people! We must put the safety of our families first. #MakeAmericaSafeAgain https://t.co/hfbeeckmlW

— Diane Black (@RepDianeBlack) June 26, 2017

Against the travel ban

Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project Omar Jadwat:

“President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the fundamental constitutional principle that government cannot favor or disfavor any one religion. Courts have repeatedly blocked this indefensible and discriminatory ban. The Supreme Court now has a chance to permanently strike it down.”

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez:


“Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is an unconstitutional and un-American assault on our country’s foundation of religious freedom. As a nation, our diversity is our greatest strength, and we cannot allow such prejudice to shut the doors of progress. Democrats will continue to fight this hatred every step of the way.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.:

Muslim travel ban has no merit & offensive to our nation’s core values. Disappointed SCOTUS decision will allow partial ban to take effect

— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) June 26, 2017

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.:

I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court decision to reinstate a portion of Trump’s #MuslimBan

— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBookerOffice) June 26, 2017

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev.:

I hope the #SupremeCourt sees @realdonaldtrump's travel ban for what it is -- a divisive unconstitutional, un-American act. #NoBanNoWall https://t.co/kCiyXWCixB

— Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen (@RepKihuen) June 26, 2017

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Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- “I try to stay out of politics,” Ivanka Trump said Monday morning when asked whether she advises her father, President Trump, on his tweets.

“I don't profess to be a political savant. So I leave the politics to other people and really lean into the issues that I care deeply about,” the first daughter said on Fox and Friends Monday.

Of the president's often-incendiary tweets, Trump said her dad’s “political instincts are phenomenal.”

Trump, 35, works in an unpaid position at the White House. She is known to be one of President Trump’s closest confidants and aides, as is her husband, Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser.

Since becoming an official adviser to her father, Ivanka Trump has taken on an political role. She met last week with senators, for instance, including Republican Marco Rubio of Florida to discuss paid family leave, a cause for which she has advocated since the campaign.

Trump has played a major role in her father's administration, delivering the keynote address at the Republican National Convention, sitting in on meetings with world leaders and traveling as part of the president’s first foreign trip in office.

“I advise my father on a plethora of things," Trump said later in the interview. "So, you know, he trusts me to be very candid with my opinions. I don’t have a hidden agenda."

Previously, Trump ran her own apparel company and worked as executive vice president of real estate development and acquisition at the Trump Organization.

In a statement in March announcing her official role, she said, “I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said Monday morning that his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, "colluded or obstructed" in regards to Russian interference in the U.S. election.

"The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win.....and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good," Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

"The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia.....under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!" he continued.

Trump did not elaborate on his accusations of collusion or obstruction.

Trump may be responding to a recent Washington Post article that said the Obama administration decided last September not to take any formal retaliation against Russia ahead of the election.

"They feared that any action would be seen as political and that Putin, motivated by a seething resentment of Clinton, was prepared to go beyond fake news and email dumps … The assumption that Clinton would win contributed to the lack of urgency," according to the article.

Trump also used Twitter to comment on the state of the Senate health care bill.

"Republican Senators are working very hard to get there, with no help from the Democrats. Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!" he wrote.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump, still mired in persistent allegations that his victory in the 2016 presidential election was aided by his campaign colluding with Russia, took to Twitter on Sunday morning to accuse Hillary Clinton of colluding with the Democratic Party to secure her nomination.

"Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!," Trump tweeted.

 

Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2017

 

Clinton's alleged collusion with her party to defeat the insurgent Sanders campaign in the 2016 primary is an issue that brought division in the Democratic Party's base, and has resulted in a lawsuit that seeks restitution for donations made by supporters to the self-described Democratic Socialist's campaign, citing claims of fraud and deception on the part of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The allegations -- bolstered in part by a trove of emails leaked from the account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and published by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks -- ultimately played a role in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, resigning as the DNC chair. They also inspired protests that took place at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

The president's tweet follows others he wrote on Friday and Saturday that took aim at the Obama administration, alleging it failed to curtail the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?" Trump wrote.

Clinton and Sanders, meanwhile, have been focused on bolstering the opposition argument against the GOP health care bill, which will be evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office later this week.

Clinton tweeted on Saturday, saying that if the bill is passed, the Republicans are "the death party."

 

Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they're the death party. https://t.co/jCStfOaBjy

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 23, 2017

 

Meanwhile, Sanders helped kick off the start of the "Protect Our Care" tour at a rally at the Pittsburgh Convention Center, using the opportunity to blast the Republican health care bill.

"This is a barbaric and immoral piece of legislation," Sanders told the crowd Saturday night.

Trump has backed the proposed health care legislation, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, despite calling a version of the bill that passed in the House “mean.”

So far, five Republicans have come out in opposition to the current version of the bill, creating major obstacles for getting the legislation passed. Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that objections that exist within his party can be overcome through negotiation.

“I don’t think they’re that far off -- you know, famous last words -- but I think we are going to get there,” he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time in over two decades, the White House did not host an Iftar or Eid celebration dinner to mark the month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when Muslims fast during daylight hours.

Hosting an Eid celebration or an Iftar dinner – the nightly meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan -- had been a White House tradition since 1996, when then-first lady Hillary Clinton hosted the first Eid dinner there.

Iftar dinners inviting prominent members of the Muslim community to break their fast at the White House were continued each year during the administrations of both President Bush and President Obama.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also broke with tradition by not hosting an Iftar dinner at the State Department during Ramadan, as has happened for the past two decades.

Last year, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in an interview that he would be open to continuing the tradition of hosting an Iftar dinner if he were in the White House.

“It wouldn’t bother me. It wouldn’t bother me,” Trump said last June. “It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to but it wouldn’t bother me.”

The president and first lady issued a statement Saturday afternoon recognizing the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

"On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr," the statement reads. "During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values."

The White House did host a Passover Seder in the month of April, but neither the president nor members of his family who are Jewish attended.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump is "leaving open the possibility" that his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey were taped, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway said.

Conway's comments in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday came two days after the president announced on Twitter that he had not personally taped his conversations with Comey.

In a pair of tweets on Thursday, Trump wrote: "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

Stephanopoulos asked Conway on This Week if the president has tried to end any uncertainty over the issue by asking the intelligence community if it had recorded any of the conversations between Trump and Comey.

She declined to say.

“I'm not going to comment on his conversations with his intelligence community," Conway said. “He is leaving open the possibility that it could have happened.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Amid speculation that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may announce his retirement, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway declined to say whether President Trump or the White House has heard from the justice about his plans.

“I will never reveal a conversation between a sitting justice and the president or the White House,” Conway told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday.

The Supreme Court’s last day before summer recess is Monday, and there is speculation that any news out of the high court could come then.

Conway said the White House is “paying very close attention” to decisions that may come down before the court adjourns for the summer.

In the event of a vacancy, she said the president would look for a candidate with similar credentials to his previous nominee who was confirmed, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

“I can tell you one thing: Just as the president did with Justice Neil Gorsuch, whenever there are vacancies, whenever that happens, he will look for someone with the fidelity to the Constitution, who doesn’t make up the law as they go along,” Conway said.

She added that she hopes Republicans can “get more than a handful of Democrat senators” to vote for the nominee.

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Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As five Republicans have come out in opposition to the current Republican health care bill, President Donald Trump expressed optimism that the Senate will pass the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“I don’t think they’re that far off -- you know, famous last words -- but I think we are going to get there,” the president said in an interview with reporters.

Trump downplayed the opposition that the bill is facing, suggesting the objections that exist within his party can be overcome through negotiation.

“We have a few people that are -- I think you can say modestly -- they’re not standing on the rooftop screaming. They want to get some points. I think they’ll get some points,” he said.

Asked if Republican senators are doing enough to help him get the bill through, the president said, “I think so.”

In addition to the five Republicans who have said definitively that they will not support the legislation as it is currently written, there are several other Republicans who have expressed misgivings about the bill since getting a first look at the text on Thursday. Prior to the bill’s Thursday release, most members of the Senate had not seen the text, which was drafted behind closed doors by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a close cadre of aides.

In the interview, the president continued to slam Democrats as obstructionists, and singled out Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for criticizing the legislation before he had seen what was in it, noting that few in the GOP had even seen it at that time.

“I saw Sen. Schumer criticizing the bill a couple weeks ago, and he had no idea what was in the bill," he said. "In fact, the Republican senators didn't know because it wasn't released. Very few people knew."

The president also took a personal swipe at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who has been a leading voice in criticizing the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare. Trump once again referred to her as “Pocahontas” and called her a “highly overrated voice.”

“I call her Pocahontas, and that's an insult to Pocahontas. I actually think she is just somebody that has a lot of hatred, a lot of anger,” the president said.

He went on to suggest that Warren actually damaged Hillary Clinton’s chances of capturing the White House during the 2016 campaign.

"I watched her campaigning for Hillary, and she was so angry. Hillary would be sitting back, listening to her, trying to smile,” he said. “But there were lot of people were going, 'Wow, is this what we want?' ”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, in the wake of his party's most recent loss in a congressional special election, Democrats "better stand for something."

Schumer told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday that the party will unveil a strong economic message this summer that will appeal to the middle class and unite Democrats.

"Here’s the No. 1 lesson from Georgia 6th," Schumer said in reference to the Democratic loss in the special election last week in Georgia's 6th Congressional District outside Atlanta.

"Democrats need a strong, bold, sharp-edged and commonsense economic agenda," the Senate minority leader said.

Schumer said Democrats have an opportunity given that Trump has an approval rating of 40 percent.

"But they say, 'What the heck do the Democrats stand for?' We better stand for something, and it can’t be baby steps," he said.

The New York senator also addressed the Senate health care bill unveiled by Republicans on Thursday, which he said stands about a 50 percent chance of passing.

“I think they have, at best, a 50-50 chance of passing this bill," Schumer said, adding that the legislation “devastating." "And that’s what’s making it so hard for them to pass it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to bring the bill to a vote on the Senate floor before the July Fourth recess. So far, five Republican senators have announced their opposition to the bill in its current form, which raises questions about whether the bill can clear the 50-vote threshold for passage.

The GOP Senate leadership unveiled the legislation, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act, on Thursday after negotiating behind closed doors. The private negotiations drew criticism and concern from Democratic senators and some Republicans.

Schumer told Stephanopoulos on This Week that he asked McConnell to bring the entire Senate together to work on the bill.

“Let Democrats and Republicans together -- all 100 of us -- meet in the old Senate chamber and discuss this," the Democratic senator said.

But he said Senate Republican leaders "want to try it themselves first."

"If they fail, hopefully they’ll come sit down. They’ll stop sabotaging Obamacare and sit down with us and make Obamacare better," Schumer said.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway asserted Sunday that the Senate health care bill does not propose cuts to Medicaid, despite projections that it would cut Medicaid by $800 billion.

“These are not cuts to Medicaid," Conway said to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday. "This slows the rate for the future, and it allows governors more flexibility for the future with Medicaid dollars.”

Conway said those who became a recipient of Medicaid through the Obamacare expansion are "grandfathered in."

“We’re talking about in the future,” Conway said.

When pressed by Stephanopoulos on how the proposal doesn’t amount to cuts when it directly curtails funding for Medicaid, Conway said the administration sees its actions as putting Medicaid back to pre-Obamacare levels.

“We don’t see them as cuts. It’s slowing the rate of growth in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was,” she said.


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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and several Cabinet members attended the Saturday-night wedding of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Scottish actress Louise Linton.

Vice President Mike Pence officiated the ceremony, which took place at Washington's Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, a historic venue located near the National Mall. Second lady Karen Pence was also in attendance.

Melania Trump wore a Gilles Mendel silk chiffon gown with Manolo Blahnik pumps, according to the first lady's office.

About 300 guests reportedly attended the wedding.

Aside from the Trumps and Pences, guests included White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and his wife, Rebecca Miller; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson; and Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin.

It's the second marriage for Linton, 36, and the third marriage for Mnuchin, 54.

Linton has appeared in the TV shows "CSI: NY" and "Cold Case," as well as the film "Cabin Fever."

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Trumps attend Steve Mnuchin's wedding, officiated by Mike Pence



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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hours after a Washington Post article detailing the Obama administration’s response to Russian cyberattacks was published, President Donald Trump reacted to the issue on Twitter.

Trump’s response comes amid an ongoing investigation of his current and former administration members’ activities with Russians. The president has been quick to defend himself against any allegations suggesting his personal involvement with Russia in terms of the election, tweeting that after months of investigation, there has been no evidence of “collusion.”

Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2017

While Trump’s tweet in response to the Washington Post story questions why the Obama camp “did nothing” about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the article itself indicates otherwise.

According to the article, Obama’s actions in response to findings that the Russians were specifically targeting Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president in an effort to elect Trump were “modest,” not nonexistent.

Though some staffers of the former president reportedly believe the Obama administration could have been more aggressive in its response to the threat, others stand by his actions.

Obama issued economic sanctions on Russia in late 2016, in addition to approving a “cyber-weapon” to be used on Russia to defend America from further threats. That cyber-weapon was never used and is now under the jurisdiction of Trump for release.

Additional efforts by the former president have been released in the months following the election, including Obama verbally telling Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out” in terms of hacking at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, in September.

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Hemera/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The Koch brothers' political network plans to pick up the pace of spending in the run-up to 2018, despite major policy disagreements with the Trump administration that includes skepticism of the health care bill now being debated in the Senate.

The Koch network of organizations –- funded by some 100,000 donors, with billionaires Charles and David Koch front and center -– had previously announced plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million in the 2017-18 cycle.

"We think it's going to be on the high end of that range," Tim Phillips, president of the Kochs’ political wing Americans for Prosperity, told reporters Saturday as the Koch network's twice-a-year conference started.

Charles Koch told donors that the network he and his brother control is growing and getting stronger. In his opening remarks to the gathering, at a posh resort in Colorado Springs, he made no mention of President Trump, who has had a tense relationship with the Kochs.

"We are more optimistic now about what we can accomplish than we've ever been," Charles Koch said. "I see us taking it to the next level."

In Colorado this weekend, hundreds of wealthy conservative donors have joined four governors, six senators, and five House members -– all of them Republicans -– to discuss policy and strategy under the thematic batter of "the courage to lead."

As for leadership in Washington, leaders of the Koch-backed political groups are expressing optimism about progress in some areas, particularly judicial appointments and the rollback of regulations.

But they are airing sharp differences with the Trump administration in other areas, including criminal justice reform, trade agreements, and drug enforcement.

Mark Holden, Koch Industries' general counsel, told reporters that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is embracing a failed "big-government approach" that is "based on fear" when it comes to following tougher sentencing guidelines. Holden has led efforts to reach out to Republicans and Democrats -– including the Obama administration -– on sentencing reform, only to see Sessions move in the other direction.

"Hopefully we can change people's minds," Holden said.

The Koch-backed groups have stopped short of endorsing the Senate health care draft revealed this past week. They came out against the initial House proposal, but relented after changes were made to reflect conservatives' concerns.

"We're still hopeful on the health care front," Phillips said, adding that the bill "needs to get better" from a conservative perspective to earn his group's support.

He called it "flatly wrong" for Republicans to support continuing Medicaid expansions -– something moderate lawmakers are pushing for in the Senate.

"Their position is not the compassionate way to go, because this program is failing," he said.

The Koch brothers have had a tense relationship with Trump, dating back to a primary campaign where the president attacked his GOP rivals for their ties to the billionaires. Charles Koch told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl last April that "it's possible" Hillary Clinton would make a better president than Trump for small-government priorities; the Kochs wound up attacking Clinton in local races while staying away from outright support for Trump.

As part of an effort to patch up relations, Vice President Mike Pence met privately Friday night with Charles Koch. Pence was in Colorado for unrelated political events and did not attend the donor gathering.

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