It's Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Here are some of the stories we're talking about on ABC News' new daily podcast, "Start Here."
1. Sessions hits back at Trump, says DOJ 'will not be improperly influenced'
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has for months endured President Donald Trump's criticizing him publicly for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Yesterday, after Trump's accusation in a Fox News interview that he "never took control of the Justice Department," Sessions struck back.
"While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations," he said in a statement. "I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action."
ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry said the attorney general's pushback was an escalation because of what Trump said, and the timing of "so many prosecutions of close confidants swirling around the president."
"Sessions, I think, felt attacked," Moran tells us, "and he wanted to defend not just himself, but the Department of Justice as well."
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2. National Enquirer boss David Pecker granted immunity in Michael Cohen case
One of Trump's longtime friends, American Media Inc. CEO David Pecker, has cut an immunity deal with federal prosecutors in Michael Cohen's case.
Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to eight counts, including campaign finance violations that involved buying the silence of two women who claimed to have had affairs with the president.
Pecker told prosecutors he worked with Cohen on the agreements and that Trump knew about the deals, according to a source with knowledge of Pecker and Trump's relationship.
ABC News' James Hill explains why Pecker was granted immunity and the effect his media conglomerate has had on national elections.
3. Pope visits Ireland as outrage swirls over latest abuse allegations
Catholics are still reeling from horrific reports of abuse, detailed in a Pennsylvania grand jury report. And while the pope has issued a public apology, saying that "we showed no care for the little ones," there are calls for him to spare everyone the lectures and show more seriousness by holding more senior church leaders to account.
ABC News' David Wright tells us this issue will be front and center this weekend when the Pope visits Ireland.
4. Trump calls for 'study' of South African land seizures, claims 'large scale' farm murders
In a late-night tweet on Wednesday, Trump called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers." He quoted Fox News' Tucker Carlson as saying, "South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers."
The South African government, which is debating whether to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation, responded angrily in a statement on Twitter and accused Trump of trying to divide the country: "South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation."
ABC News' Candace Smith, who just recently returned from South Africa after reporting on the story, joins us.
"The question is whether or not farmers are actually targeted than any other race," she said, "and data shows they simply aren't."