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Attorney General and Russian ambassador, interest rate hike and more in political news

By Lauren AguirreMarch 2, 2017

Sessions sworn in
Sen. Jeff Sessions is sworn in as the new U.S. Attorney General by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office of the White House February 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

JEFF SESSIONS AND RUSSIA

According to several reports, Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador to the United States in Washington twice last year. This is the same Russian diplomat whose interactions with former national security adviser Michael Flynn led to his resignation. Sessions did not mention his meetings with the diplomat during his confirmation hearings. During the hearings, Sessions said he knew of no contacts between Trump surrogates and Russian officials. A Department of Justice official said Sessions did not mislead senators during his confirmation.

As a result of this revelation, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers are calling for Sessions to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Sessions has denied meeting with Russian officials before the election.


INTEREST RATE HIKE

The Federal Reserve Bank is considering raising the national interest rate in response to economic growth. The interest rate has been held very low at below 1 percent for a long period of time due to the financial crisis in 2008. The U.S. stock market has surged this week while claims for unemployment benefits hit a 44-year low. The Federal Reserve is likely to adjust the interest rate to control growth-related inflation. An increase in the interest rate, however slight, could dampen economic growth, but that interest rate hike will help prevent hyperinflation and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar.


TRANSGENDER RIGHTS CASE

Both sides in the Supreme court case that would determine how public schools must accommodate transgender students and employees urged the justices to decide the case. They said that school districts need an answer. However, lawyers representing the school board of Gloucester County, Virginia suggested that the court should first ask for a declaration from the Trump administration on the case. This step could delay the ultimate decision until a new justice is confirmed to the bench. The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments for the case on March 28.


BEN CARSON CONFIRMED

Doctor Ben Carson has been confirmed as the head of the Department for Housing and Urban Development. The Senate confirmed Carson with a 58-41 vote divided along party lines. Democrats have been skeptical of Carson’s appointment because he does not have any experience in issues related to housing. He is a medical doctor and became famous as the neurosurgeon who separated conjoined infant twins in 1987.