Comey’s Memo

Wednesday, May 17, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.55.24 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • In a meeting the day after Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, President Trump asked that the investigation into Mr. Flynn’s ties to Russia be shut down, according to a memo by James B. Comey. I hope you can let this go, the president told Mr. Comey, who was the F.B.I. director at the time. The White House has denied the account.

  • The president’s request to end an F.B.I. inquiry has fueled accusations that the White House is obstructing justice, but what actually constitutes a crime can be very murky.
  • Some lawmakers called for Mr. Comey to appear before Congress after reports that Mr. Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into Mr. Flynn.
  • The classified intelligence that Mr. Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials was provided by Israel, adding a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.

  • President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has called repeatedly for unity in fighting terrorism. Mr. Trump seemed to take up that call, at least momentarily, on Tuesday.
  • As his staff squabbles, Mr. Trump’s mood has become sour and he has turned against most of his aides, two advisers say.

  • Over the objection of the United States, Russia and Australia, developing nations and green groups want a more limited presence at climate talks from companies that contribute to climate change.
  • Mr. Trump’s first venture abroad raises comparisons to other presidents who traveled overseas when things turned bad at home.
  • The latest nightmare for the N.S.A., which is responsible for eavesdropping, code breaking and cyberespionage, appears to be far from over.
— The First Draft Team

The Events That Led to Comey’s Firing, and How the White House’s Story Changed

By STUART A. THOMPSON AND ALICIA PARLAPIANO
New disclosures on Tuesday allege that in February, President Trump asked James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to shut down an investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Comey was fired by Mr. Trump on May 9.
See a timeline of the events »

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‘Seriously? This is Not News’: Readers React to Trump’s Disclosure of Classified Intelligence

President Trump met with Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, in the White House last week. American journalists were barred, but Russia released photographs.By MARIE TAE MCDERMOTT

Times readers shared thousands of comments about the president revealing highly classified information to Russia.

Chelsea Manning in 2010. She is expected to leave the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., on Wednesday.

Chelsea Manning Is Expected to Leave Prison, 28 Years Early

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

Ms. Manning is to be released from military prison on Wednesday. The bulk of her sentence for leaking government secrets was commuted by President Barack Obama.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, on Capitol Hill last month.

John Cornyn Takes Himself Out of Running to Lead the F.B.I.

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Mr. Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said that “the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.”

Trump Defends Sharing Information on ISIS Threat With Russia

By PETER BAKER AND JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

His national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, also offered a defense as the White House struggled to reconcile seemingly conflicting accounts of the president’s actions.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, speaking to reporters during the daily press briefing on Monday. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Fox News anchor, has openly discussed the possibility of taking his position.

White House Fights a Familiar Enemy: The Press

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

After two bombshell reports, the Trump administration trains its fire on the news media and the sources who are leaking to it.

Kellyanne Conway released a statement on Twitter defending her loyalty to President Trump.

Kellyanne Conway Denies ‘Morning Joe’ Claims of Secret Disloyalty to Trump

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

“My beliefs, commitments and loyalties are plain to see,” she said, in response to their claims that she only worked for the president “for the money.”

A projection at the entrance to the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Monday night.

‘Pay Trump Bribes Here’ Projected on Trump Hotel in Washington

By CHRISTOPHER MELE AND DANIEL VICTOR

The blue letters over an entrance at the Trump International Hotel alluded to questions about the president’s business affairs with foreign governments.

President Trump met Tuesday with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in the Oval Office.

Trump Praises Erdogan as Ally in Terrorism Fight, Brushing Aside Tensions

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS AND MARK LANDLER

The president welcomed Turkey’s leader to the White House, ignoring his crackdown on his own people and tensions over the campaign against the Islamic State.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Mollie Hemingway in The Federalist:
“If democracy dies in darkness, anonymity is not exactly transparent or accountable.”
Ms. Hemingway creates a list of rules for journalists covering breaking anti-Trump news; they’re similar to the rules covering an active shooter. These stories, she writes, are often inaccurate. Ms. Hemingway takes Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster’s response to the news last night (along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s and Dina Powell’s statements) as a powerful rebuke to The Washington Post’s article, and a potentially more credible source of information. Read more »
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From the Left
• Julia Ioffe in The Atlantic:
“But one reason the alleged presidential disclosure is hugely significant […] is that it is yet another fruit of a strategy the Kremlin has long stuck to: telling the West that Russia is its ally on counterterrorism.”
Ms. Ioffee points out how President Trump’s disclosures play right into a favorite “ploy” of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia: the appearance of counterterrorism cooperation. In the American president, the Russians have found a leader who does not understand that “since 2014, counterterrorism cooperation with the Russians has been a one-way street.” Read more »
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