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The White House asserted this week that broad swaths of federal ethics regulations do not apply to people who work in the Executive Office of the President. Ethics experts say this sets the Trump White House apart from past administrations.

The administration's assertion was made in a letter that White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino wrote regarding the controversy over White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway's recent ethical issues.

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The Senate confirmed former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy yesterday. At his swearing-in, Perry described what Donald Trump told him before offering him the job.

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All right we're going to get past the media strategy and into some substance with our Friday regulars, columnist David Brooks of The New York Times. Hey there, David.

DAVID BROOKS, BYLINE: Hello.

President Trump got generally positive reviews this week for his speech to a joint session of Congress. But that was quickly eclipsed by news of more undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and the Russian government.

Compared with the Obama administration, the Trump White House has been much slower to submit its nominees' financial arrangements for review by the federal Office of Government Ethics.

A statistical report NPR obtained from OGE on Friday shows that the Trump nominees' documents have not only come in more slowly, but also have been far more complex.

The OGE shared the data with NPR in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. OGE officials say the report was compiled for the Congressional Research Service in February.

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There's nothing like being out of office for more than eight years to make a former president look happy and, maybe for some, human again.

George W. Bush appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night --laughing, cracking jokes and charming his host as he plugged his new book of portraits of veterans.

Last year, when presidential candidate Donald Trump hammered the Affordable Care Act as "a fraud," "a total disaster" and "very bad health insurance," many Americans seemed to agree with him.

Now that President Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to keep their promise to get rid of the law, voters increasingly seem to be having second thoughts.

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Big news from the Justice Department late yesterday - Attorney General Jeff Sessions called a press conference to announce that he will play no role in an investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.

Let's start with Sunday night, because, how could we not? You already know about the Moonlight cock-up (leave it to the British to give us a perfect word for what that was), but did you know this: although Moonlight's Mahershala Ali was described as the first Muslim to win an Academy Award, Pakistan isn't having it. Apparently, the sect to which Ali belongs is outlawed in Pakistan. The Atlantic broke it down for us.

Donald Trump frequently boasts about starting a movement, and sociologists say they are seeing unprecedented grass-roots activism across the country. They credit Trump for inspiring people to become politically engaged on the right — and even more so on the left. And many of those activists are brand new to the scene.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions now says he will have nothing to do with investigations into President Trump's campaign and possible communication with Russia.

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Eric Greitens had barely been Missouri's governor for a week when he faced a pretty tough decision: cutting the Show Me State's budget.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is now the 14th U.S. Secretary of Energy, despite having once pledged to eliminate the Department of Energy.

Or at least, he tried to pledge to eliminate the department — including once when he couldn't think of its name.

Perry was confirmed Thursday by the Senate in a 62-37 vote.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, has been trying to get a look at the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

He's the top-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will have to approve the bill before the whole House can vote on it.

But as of Thursday afternoon, Pallone still couldn't get his hands on a copy.

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At a press conference this afternoon, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement.

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Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, is not known to seek the limelight. He's a mild-mannered diplomat and an arms control expert who came to Washington as ambassador in 2008. But he has been in the news a lot of late, as Trump administration contacts with him come under scrutiny.

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Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will recuse himself from any investigations into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 elections.

"Let me be clear: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign," Sessions reiterated during an afternoon news conference in response to reports that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. last year.

"I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in," Sessions said.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will recuse himself from any investigations related to the presidential campaigns.

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For years, parents have been warning their college-age children to be careful what they post on social media.

Now, one young candidate is learning this important lesson the hard way — everything you post can and will be used against you in politics.

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