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NYTimes: How Michael Flynn’s Disdain for Limits Led to a Legal Quagmire
Fired by the military, Mr. Flynn tried to build a lucrative consulting business. Instead, he sparked a scandal.
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7 days ago
NYTimes: Trump Acknowledges He Is Under Investigation in Russia Inquiry
President Trump acknowledged for the first time that he is under investigation by the F.B.I. as part of a broad inquiry into Russian election meddling.
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9 days ago
NYTimes: Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Special Counsel
The assertion comes as conservative allies of the president have started attacking the credibility of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
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12 days ago
Donald Trump's state visit to Britain put on hold | US news | The Guardian
Donald Trump's state visit to Britain put on hold
Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor• Sunday 11 June 2017 13.27 BST
Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.
The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.
The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.
The conversation in part explains why there has been little public discussion about a visit.
May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was “delighted that the president has accepted that invitation”.
Many senior diplomats, including Lord Ricketts, the former national security adviser, said the invitation was premature, but impossible to rescind once made.
Trump has named Woody Johnson, a Republican donor and owner of the New York Jets, as the new ambassador to the UK but has yet to nominate him formally. A large number of US ambassadorial positions remain unfilled worldwide largely due to the Trump team failing to make any formal nominations.
The acting US ambassador to the UK, Lewis Lukens, a career diplomat, clashed with Trump last week by praising Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, for his strong leadership over the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack.
His remarks came just days after Trump criticised Khan for his response to the attack, misquoting the mayor’s message to Londoners not to be alarmed by the increased presence of armed police.
Khan’s office pointed out Trump’s error later but the president responded by accusing London’s mayor of making a “pathetic excuse”. Khan then called on the UK government to cancel Trump’s invitation. No date had been fixed for the visit.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said on Twitter that Trump’s decision was “welcome, especially after his attack on London’s mayor & withdrawal from #ParisClimateDeal.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman said it would not comment. “We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations. The Queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans.”
The UK’s traditional effort to act as a bridge between the US and Europe has become more complex since the vote last year to leave the European Union and Trump’s support for policies that have angered European allies.
The Foreign Office was disappointed when against its pleading Trump went ahead earlier this month with his plan to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord. The UK had lobbied hard for Trump not to take the decision, which has led to a wider break between the EU and the US.
Trump had been an advocate of Brexit, and at one point seemed to want the EU to break up, but confidence has since returned to the bloc with pro-European Emmanuel Macron’s victory over far-right Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election.
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14 days ago
NYTimes: A Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theorist, a False Tweet and a Runaway Story
The journey of one tweet shows how misinformed, distorted and false stories are gaining traction far beyond the fringes of the internet.
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14 days ago
NYTimes: For Trump, the ‘Cloud’ Just Grew That Much Darker
James B. Comey’s testimony was almost certainly the most damning j’accuse moment by a senior law enforcement official against a president in a generation.
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16 days ago
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26 days ago
NYTimes: Kushner Talked to Russian Envoy About Creating Secret Channel With Kremlin
A back-channel between Jared Kushner, a White House adviser, and Moscow was proposed to discuss Syria, but never pursued, in the weeks before Donald J. Trump’s inauguration.
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29 days ago
What James Comey Told Me About Donald Trump - Lawfare
BENJAMIN WITTES on Lawfareblog.com, “What James Comey Told Me About Donald Trump”: “Comey understood Trump’s people as having neither knowledge of nor respect for the independence of the law enforcement function. And he saw it as an ongoing task on his part to protect the rest of the Bureau from improper contacts and interferences from a group of people he did not regard as honorable. … The first incident he told me about was the infamous ‘hug’ from Trump after the inauguration: The hug took place at a White House meeting to which Trump had invited law enforcement leadership to thank them for their role in the inauguration.
“Comey described really not wanting to go to that meeting, for the same reason he later did not want to go to the private dinner with Trump: the FBI director should be always at arm’s length from the President, in his view. … [A]s he told me the story, he tried hard to blend into the background and avoid any one-on-one interaction. He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall. … Comey was disgusted. He regarded the episode as a physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him.”
KTP  Trump  James_Comey  FBI  rule_of_law 
5 weeks ago
5 things to watch on Trump’s foreign trip - POLITICO
Michael Crowley: “1. Will he say ‘radical Islamic terrorism’? … 2. Will he play Middle East peacemaker? … 3. Does he really support NATO? … 4. Can he stick to a script? … 5. Can he change the subject?”
KTP  Trump  global_citizen 
5 weeks ago
Worldwide effort set to keep Trump happy on 1st trip abroad
AP’S JULIE PACE: “Worldwide effort set to keep Trump happy on 1st trip abroad”: “When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal -- steak with a side of ketchup -- will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine. At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule.”
KTP  Trump  global_citizen 
5 weeks ago
Tips for Leaders Meeting Trump: Keep It Short and Give Him a Win - The New York Times
PETER BAKER, who is traveling with the president to Saudi Arabia and Israel: “Tips for Leaders Meeting Trump: Keep It Short and Give Him a Win”: “For foreign leaders trying to figure out the best way to approach an American president unlike any they have known, it is a time of experimentation. Embassies in Washington trade tips and ambassadors send cables to presidents and ministers back home suggesting how to handle a mercurial, strong-willed leader with no real experience on the world stage, a preference for personal diplomacy and a taste for glitz.
“After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short -- no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.”
KTP  Trump  global_citizen 
5 weeks ago
Vice President Pence avoids political fray surrounding him
REMEMBER MIKE PENCE? The vice president is nowhere to be found these days. The separation Pence’s team is putting between the VP and the president in this CNN piece is stunning.
-- CNN’S ELIZABETH LANDERS: “After a fast and furious news cycle at the White House this week, the last few days may have worn on Vice President Mike Pence. Though Pence will continue to be a ‘loyal soldier’ because he is a ‘relentlessly positive guy,’ he ‘looks tired,’ a senior administration adviser observed on Thursday, outlining the vice president’s schedule and trying to explain his relative absence from the public eye.
“While an aide to the vice president says he spent the last few days in speech preparation, it conveniently kept him out of the firing line, missing a regular Senate lunch on Capitol Hill on Tuesday while he worked behind closed doors with President Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The Pence team knew what they were getting themselves into when they joined the Trump ticket and team almost a year ago. ‘We certainly knew we needed to be prepared for the unconventional,’ but, the source adds, ‘not to this extent.’”
KTP  Trump  White_House 
5 weeks ago
Comey prepared extensively for his conversations with Trump - The Washington Post
Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous: “FBI Director James B. Comey prepared extensively for his discussions with President Trump, out of concern that the president was unlikely to respect the legal and ethical boundaries governing their respective roles, according to associates of the now-fired FBI chief.”
KTP  Trump  FBI  rule_of_law  James_Comey 
5 weeks ago
Comey, Unsettled by Trump, Is Said to Have Wanted Him Kept at a Distance - The New York Times
MIKE SCHMIDT STRIKES AGAIN -- “Comey, Unsettled by Trump, Is Said to Have Wanted Him Kept at a Distance”: “President Trump called the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, weeks after he took office and asked him when federal authorities were going to put out word that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation, according to two people briefed on the call.
“Mr. Comey told the president that if he wanted to know details about the bureau’s investigations, he should not contact him directly but instead follow the proper procedures and have the White House counsel send any inquiries to the Justice Department, according to those people. After explaining to Mr. Trump how communications with the F.B.I. should work, Mr. Comey believed he had effectively drawn the line after a series of encounters he had with the president and other White House officials that he felt jeopardized the F.B.I.’s independence. At the time, Mr. Comey was overseeing the investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. ...
“The day after the Flynn conversation, Reince Priebus … asked Mr. Comey to help push back on reports in the news media that Mr. Trump’s associates had been in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.”
KTP  Trump  FBI  rule_of_law  James_Comey 
5 weeks ago
What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey - POLITICO Magazine
GARRETT GRAFF, author of “The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War,” in POLITICO Magazine, “What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey: The two men who could bring down the president have been preparing their entire lives for this moment”: “What unfolds ahead will be territory all too familiar to both Comey and Mueller—the field of play where they have made their careers and risen to the highest levels of government—yet the way that a Washington scandal takes on a life of its own amid independent investigations and looming prosecutions is deeply unfamiliar to Trump and many associates around him. … It is as if, after having an unrelated disagreement over movie trivia in a bar, Trump has challenged Usain Bolt to a 100-yard dash or John Cena to a cage match to the death.”
KTP  Trump  rule_of_law  James_Comey  FBI 
5 weeks ago
Politico_Playbook 051917 - BULLETIN: Sweden dropping charges against Julian Assange -- The White House’s blind spot -- Remember MIKE PENCE -- PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW: Geoff Morrell -- B’DAY: Cindy McCain - POLITICO
We are beginning to sense a trend with THE WHITE HOUSE: they oftentimes act as if politicians are completely consistent in their views. For example, the president seemed convinced dismissing James Comey would be popular with both parties, just because Democrats criticized him during the campaign. And now, they seem to think, just because Joe Lieberman was a Senate Democrat (at one point), the entire caucus would vote to confirm him as FBI director. (Don’t feel bad, guys. We kind of thought so too.) Lieberman is the leading contender, according to the White House. See Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim’s story http://politi.co/2qDrHSl
KTP  Politico_Playbook 
5 weeks ago
The Ghost of Mike Flynn Haunts the White House - The Atlantic
Rosie Gray: The retired general’s short tenure as national-security adviser continues to haunt the White House.
Mike Segar / Reuters
KTP  Trump  national_security  Russia  FBI  from iphone
5 weeks ago
Paris Hilton Invented Everything You’re Doing in 2017, and She Knows It | W Magazine
Despite Hilton’s longtime dependency on various cellular devices, it is perhaps visionaries like Steve Jobs who are indebted to her, seeing that it was Hilton who took their creations beyond their wildest expectations, inventing along the way the maligned but ubiquitous selfie.
“If a beeper had a camera, I would have taken a selfie with it,” said Hilton later, agreeing that she was truthfully the matriarch of the modern phenomenon. “I think I have a selfie from when I was a little kid, like on a disposable camera.”
KTP  celebrities  brands  selfie  from iphone
5 weeks ago
NYTimes: The Election Is Over, But Trump Can’t Seem to Get Past It
At the root Donald J. Trump’s unpredictable presidency is a deep frustration about attacks on his legitimacy, and a worry that Washington does not see him as he sees himself.
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6 weeks ago
NYTimes: In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred.
James B. Comey’s associates say he now believes his unwillingness to pledge personal loyalty led President Trump to fire him as the F.B.I. director.
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6 weeks ago
NYTimes: ‘Enough Was Enough’: How Festering Anger at Comey Ended in His Firing
President Trump returned from a weekend away determined to act after months of growing frustration with the F.B.I. director, according to people close to the president.
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6 weeks ago
Politico_Playbook 051017 COMEY is OUT -- BACK-STORY from DAWSEY on why an ‘ENRAGED’ Trump fired Comey -- What Trump needs to do next -- POTUS’ only agenda item today: meeting with Russian foreign minister -- RUSSIA investigations plod along - POLITI
If you’re a betting man or woman, and you’re looking for action in Washington this spring, summer or fall, short the legislative system. If President Donald Trump was looking to foster a spirit of bipartisanship, firing FBI Director James Comey like this was not a step toward kumbaya. Democrats and many Republicans are furious at Trump for firing the FBI director. Leave aside any lingering concerns with Jim Comey’s performance. The optics of firing Comey the way Trump did is almost too reckless to believe, according to the insiders we’ve spoken to. One senior Republican aide put it this way: It's almost as if Trump was courting controversy with both parties by handling the situation the way he did.
SURE, Democrats aren’t wild about the guy. But if Trump really thought that would insulate him from backlash, boy, he was wrong.
SENATE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who is leading the Senate’s Russia probe, said he was “troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.” Burr added in a tweet that “Dir. Comey has been more forthcoming w/ information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intel committees.”
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.) said he was “disappointed” by Trump’s action and renewed his call for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s attempts to influence the American political system. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a Trump ally, said Comey’s “removal at this particular time will raise questions.” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), up for reelection next year, said on Twitter that “I’ve spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey’s firing. I just can’t do it.” Imagine the fallout if Trump did this when the House was in session.
SENATE DEMOCRATS – who raised Nixon, Watergate and the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” all Tuesday night – will hold a special caucus meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss the situation. This is a juicy detail from Austin Wright and Seung Min Kim: "Schumer has also asked Democrats to sit at their desks inside the chamber when the Senate convenes Wednesday morning as McConnell delivers the opening remarks 'to hear what, if anything, McConnell has to say about Comey's firing,' according to one senior Senate Democratic aide." Full story http://politi.co/2pyPi5b
TRUMP SPEAKS -- @realDonaldTrump at 10:42 p.m.: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp”
TOP TWEETS -- @EricHolder: “To the career men and women at DOJ/FBI: you know what the job entails and how to do it. Be strong and unafraid. Duty. Honor. Country.” … @PreetBharara: “EVERYONE who cares about independence & rule of law in America should be ‘troubled by the timing and reasoning’ of Comey firing. Period.” … @BillKristol: “One can be at once a critic of Comey and alarmed by what Trump has done and how he has done it.” … @thomaswright08: “On Fox, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy WH press secretary says time to let Russia investigation go.” … @sahilkapur: “This @andersoncooper eyeroll when Conway, asked about Comey’s firing, changes the topic to winning Michigan.” http://bit.ly/2qpXvwO
… @RobbyMook: “Twilight zone. I was as disappointed and frustrated as anyone at how the email investigation was handled. But this terrifies me.” … GOP Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) (@justinamash): “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.” … GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) (@carloslcurbelo): “No one should find out via the television that they’ve been fired. If true, that’s poor form and plain unprofessional. #Comey”
KTP  Politico_Playbook  Trump  FBI  Russia  scandals 
6 weeks ago
Politico_Playbook 042417 - SHUTDOWN WATCH -- PLAYBOOK POWER LIST: The New Guard -- OBAMA IS BACK -- ALEX ISENSTADT on GOP sounding alarms on 2018 -- The New Yorker on STEVE BANNON’s time in Hollywood -- B’DAY: Zack Roday - POLITICO
MAKING SENSE OF THE FRENCH ELECTIONS -- “6 takeaways from French election’s first round,” by POLITICO Europe’s Pierre Briancon in Paris: “French voters chose centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and the far-right National Front’s Marine Le Pen to compete for the presidency in May 7’s runoff. With all votes now counted, Macron came first on 23.8 percent versus 21.5 percent for Le Pen. François Fillon, the mainstream conservative candidate of the Républicains party, and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, gained 19.9 and 19.6 percent of the vote respectively.
“Here are six takeaways from Sunday’s first round: 1. Change and renewal. … 2. Populism beaten but not dead. … 3. The parliamentary election campaign starts Monday. … 4. The right without a leader. … 5. Farewell to the Socialist Party. … 6. Give it to the pollsters: they were right.” http://politi.co/2q5X0n6
SPEAKING OF ELECTIONS -- “Republicans sound alarm on Trump’s troubles ahead of 2018,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Republicans say President Donald Trump needs to turn things around fast — or the GOP could pay dearly in 2018. With the party preparing to defend their congressional majorities in next year’s midterms, senior Republicans are expressing early concern about Trump’s lack of legislative accomplishments, his record-low approval ratings, and the overall dysfunction that’s gripped his administration.
“The stumbles have drawn the attention of everyone from GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who funneled tens of millions of dollars into Trump’s election and is relied upon to bankroll the party’s House and Senate campaigns, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is privately warning colleagues about the perils of the coming election. Potential GOP candidates whom party leaders want to recruit are afraid of walking into a buzz saw, uncertain about what kind of political environment they’ll be facing by the time the midterms come around – and what Trump’s record will look like.” http://politi.co/2oBYHbO
Politico_Playbook 
8 weeks ago
NYTimes: Aircraft Carrier Wasn’t Sailing to Deter North Korea, as U.S. Suggested
The saga might never have come to light had the Navy not posted a photograph of the Carl Vinson sailing through the Sunda Strait, which separates two Indonesian islands.
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9 weeks ago
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