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Friday, May 26, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 9.06.41 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
Trump in Europe
  • President Trump promised NATO leaders that the U.S. would “never forsake” them, but he also reminded them of their duty to pay a fair share of the costs. The discord was palpable even in the body language, which included an awkward handshake with one world leader and a little jostling with another.

  • Back-to-back visits by Presidents Trump and Barack Obama were a coincidence of scheduling for the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, but the difference in the receptions of the former and the current presidents was telling.

  • As world leaders were gathering for a “family photo” at the NATO summit meeting in Brussels, Mr. Trump appeared to push his way to the front of the line.

The Travel Ban
Leaks to the News Media
  • Mr. Trump condemned “leaks of sensitive information,” responding to a complaint by Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, over disclosures of details from the investigation into Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005.
  • Is there something unique to the United States about leaking? Some national allergy to protecting government secrets? Yes, in fact, there is.

The President’s Budget
  • The unveiling of Mr. Trump’s first budget and the initial congressional hearings on overhauling the tax code should have brought clarity to the administration’s top legislative priorities. That didn’t happen.
  • The Trump administration is considering moving responsibility for overseeing more than $1 trillion in student debt from the Education Department to the Treasury Department, a switch that would radically change the system that helps 43 million students finance higher education.
  • Mr. Trump’s plan to eliminate AmeriCorps and curb the Peace Corpsmarks a break in a nearly century-old tradition of expanding service programs.
The Montana Election
— The First Draft Team

How Michael Flynn May Have Run Afoul of the Law

Michael T. Flynn, right, at the White House in February before resigning as President Trump’s national security adviser.
Michael T. Flynn, right, at the White House in February before resigning as President Trump’s national security adviser. Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, is facing a mounting tangle of potential legal troubles arising from his business dealings with foreign entities and his interactions with both executive branch and congressional investigators.
One set of problems stems from Russia. In 2015, Russian-linked companies paid Mr. Flynn more than $65,000, including about $45,000 from the state-backed Russian television network RT for a December trip to Moscow, where he delivered a speech and sat next to President Vladimir V. Putin at a dinner. Last December, an American wiretap of the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak, intercepted conversations he had with Mr. Flynn discussing the Obama administration’s imposition of sanctions on Russia for meddling in the election.
The other set stems from Turkey. Last year, Mr. Flynn’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, was paid more than $500,000 by Inovo BV, a Dutch corporation. Inovo is owned by Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-American businessman with ties to the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. The work centered on research to discredit Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in Pennsylvania, and whose extradition Mr. Erdogan has been seeking.
Read more »

Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington?


We reviewed videos and photos to track the actions of 24 men, including armed members of the Turkish president’s security detail, who attacked protesters in Washington.

Joseph I. Lieberman, the former senator and vice-presidential nominee, at the White House last week.

Lieberman Withdraws From Consideration as F.B.I. Director


Joseph I. Lieberman, the former senator and vice-presidential candidate, was once said to be the president’s preferred choice.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Senate Panel Approves Stiff Iran Sanctions and Says Russia Is Next


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee linked the penalties to Iran’s continued support for terrorism. The full Senate could vote on the measure as early as next month.

Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the kingdom’s largest sovereign wealth fund, struck a deal with the Blackstone Group.

Blackstone Works With Saudi Arabia on U.S. Infrastructure Investments


Saudi Arabia’s largest sovereign wealth fund will make a $20 billion investment in a new Blackstone infrastructure project, which could then double in size.

Bodies being carried away after fighting in Mosul, Iraq, in March.

Pentagon Inquiry Blames ISIS for Civilian Deaths in Mosul Strike


An investigation concluded that an American airstrike in March inadvertently set off explosives positioned in a building by the Islamic State, killing 105 people.

A Border Patrol agent searching a detained immigrant in Roma, Tex., last year. President Trump’s budget calls for $100 million to support over 20,000 Border Patrol agents, including money to recruit and train 500 new agents.

Trump Budget Takes Broad Aim at Undocumented Immigrants


In ways large and small, the president’s first budget proposal would target undocumented immigrants, stepping up enforcement and deportations.

Sean Hannity, on the set of his program on Fox News in 2014, has been promoting a conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of a Democratic National Committee staff member.

In Controversy, Hannity Isn’t Seeing Advertisers’ Exodus That O’Reilly Did


Companies are sticking by Sean Hannity as he promotes his conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of a D.N.C. staff member, saying he is not violating their core values.


Checking Democracy’s Pulse


A second survey of political scientists finds a sense that the United States is doing slightly worse in some aspects of political well-being.

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
• Daniel McCarthy in The Week:
“The Riyadh speech […] was a step forward from the confusion into which the Trump administration had dashed headlong mere days before. More of this Trump, please.”
Mr. McCarthy doesn’t always agree with the president’s actions, but as he puts it, “the centerpiece speech of the visit to Saudi Arabia showcased President Trump as Dr. Jekyll, for once, rather than Mr. Hyde.” The president’s speech marked a departure from both George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s “ideological” overtures to the region, and instead, Mr. McCarthy argues, delivered a “principled realism” reflected in his campaign rhetoric. Read more »
From the Left
• Brian Kalt in New York magazine:
“If you want to prosecute a president, you should probably wait until he is no longer president.”
Mr. Kalt lays out a seven-point explanation for why it’s legally and politically advantageous to impeach a president before levying any criminal charges. Presidential immunity while in office, he writes, is a fuzzy area in the law, and smart prosecutors see the wisdom in waiting until after the president leaves (or is forced out of) power. Read more »
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