Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.
Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons.
The banker, Stephen Calk, president of the Federal Savings Bank, was announced as a member of candidate Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016.

It’s so strange that a by-the-book, impeccably ethical businessman like Donald Trump would hire someone as shady as Manafort.

* Carol Leonnig, David Nakamura, and Nick Miroff report that it pays to be related to the president:

The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their green cards.
Immigration experts said Viktor and Amalija Knavs very likely relied on a family reunification process that President Trump has derided as “chain migration” and proposed ending in such cases.
The Knavses, formerly of Slovenia, are living in the country on green cards, according to Michael Wildes, a New York-based immigration attorney who represents the first lady and her family.

How do we know they’re not terrorists or serial killers? I feel much less safe knowing they’re here.

* The latest Quinnipiac poll finds Trump with a 37 percent approval rating; 76 percent say Russia did indeed interfere in the 2016 elections, and 57 percent disapprove of the way Trump is handling the threat of Russian interference in the 2018 elections.

* Steven Shepard reports on a new poll showing that only 25 percent of Americans say they’ve noticed an increase in their paychecks since the Republican tax bill took effect.

* Tom Jacobs reports on new research showing that both Trump and Clinton supporters now perceive that publicly expressing prejudice against the groups Trump has targeted is more socially acceptable.

* Billy Graham passed away today. Ed Kilgore explains how Graham’s “long career at the crossroads of religion, popular culture, and politics is a reminder of how hard it is to distinguish the power of God from the God of power.”

* And Trump just wrapped up a “listening session” with students impacted by school shootings. The Associated Press posts a picture of the note Trump held in his hand, which said:

5. I hear you.

Well, it was a “listening session,” wasn’t it?