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The Brief: After former Trump campaign staffers' indictments, Texans react

Texans spent Monday reacting — or not — to indictments against three former campaign officials for President Donald Trump.

Des Moines, Iowa USA January 28, 2016: New York businessman Donald Trump rallies a crowd of veterans at Drake University while other Republican presidential candidates hold a final Des Moines debate prior to next week's caucuses.

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What you need to know

Washington, D.C., spent Monday reacting to indictments against three former campaign officials for President Donald Trump amid Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. Here's what you need to know

• Texas Republicans are cautious and quiet. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn — the second-most powerful Republican in the Senate — sidestepped questions about Mueller's investigation Monday, telling The Washington Post, "Special counsel's got his own responsibilities and it doesn't involve us." U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told The Dallas Morning News the indictments "are undoubtedly serious," and added, "We'll have to see if the facts back up the charges." Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said during an appearance on Fox Business that he is "a little disturbed" findings from the investigation "leaked," later adding he "wouldn't necessarily dispute" a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that suggested Mueller should resign.

• Democrats aren't. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders should exit her post after she said the indictments weren't at all tied to Trump. "Sarah Huckabee Sanders should resign as PressSec," he tweeted. "She lacks any credibility, outright lies to the American people." U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, tweeted: "What new twitter war will @POTUS create today to deflect from #TrumpRussia investigation..?"  

• Where's #txlege? Most state lawmakers have been mum since Monday's news broke, with a few exceptions. State Rep. Bill Zedler, a Republican from Arlington, tweeted several times: "So after a year of investigation there is still no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign & Russia." State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, also tweeted throughout the day, at one point saying, "If you watched Fox News today you would've learned that the Clinton Administration is having a rough go and that Halloween candy is boss." 

Now, your take

Thirty-three percent of Texas voters approved how President Donald Trump handled Russian interference in the 2016 elections, while 47 percent disapproved, per our latest UT/TT poll.

What do you think? Tell us with #MyTexasTake on Twitter and Facebook.

Other stories we're watching today:

• Gov. Greg Abbott is in Washington, D.C., today, where he's set to discuss Hurricane Harvey aid with members of Congress. 

Tribune today

Here's a look at who's interested in replacing retiring House Speaker Joe Straus so far. 

• A new state law will soon require insurance companies to cover 3-D mammograms for Texas patients. 

• Open enrollment for health insurance begins Wednesday — but thanks to slashed federal funding and a shorter sign-up period, enrollees may see greater challenges this cycle. 

• Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016 courted the McKesson Corporation with $9.75 million. Texas is now among those investigating the giant drug distributor's role in the growing opioid crisis. 

• Should federal courts approve funding to explore new evidence that could toss out a death sentence? The U.S. Supreme Court examined that question Monday, via a Texas death penalty case

Pencil us in

Join us in Lubbock for a conversation with GOP state lawmakers Sen. Charles Perry and Reps. Dustin Burrows and John Frullo on Nov. 3.  

Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith is interviewing state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, at The Austin Club on Nov. 7. 

What we're reading

• The FBI will roll out all of its JFK assassination files in the coming weeks. (Politico)

• A federal judge blocked the Trump administration's ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. (Reuters) 

It's unclear if former Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen's "essay and rib" contest is still happening. (Corpus Christi Caller-Times)

• Four Texas death row inmates lost their appeals at the U.S. Supreme Court. (Associated Press) 

• The American Civil Liberties Union says it's going to sue if federal immigration agents don't release an undocumented girl who was detained after her gallbladder surgery by today. (The Dallas Morning News $)

• UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven has "no interest" in running for Texas governor in 2018. (The Houston Chronicle $)

• Two high-schoolers in the Houston area are suing their schools to be able to protest the Pledge of Allegiance. (The New York Times $)

Quote to note

"There’s been virtually no state role in extending the good or mitigating the bad."

— Stacey Pogue, senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, doubting Texas will make up for new challenges facing the health insurance industry

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