Special Counsel

Thursday, May 18, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 9.45.24 AM

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced. The appointment follows days of chaos that have engulfed the White House since the abrupt firing last week of James B. Comey.
  • Mr. Mueller, as head of the F.B.I. for 13 years and as a federal prosecutor, cultivated a reputation as an unflinching advocate for facts.

  • Weeks before the inauguration, Michael T. Flynn was said to have told the transition team that he was being investigated for working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey. But he was named national security adviser anyway, giving him wide access to American intelligence.
  • Joseph I. Lieberman, the former senator from Connecticut, was one of four people the president interviewed as a potential F.B.I. director.
  • After a succession of self-inflicted wounds, President Trump now faces the most daunting moment yet as a special counsel is appointed to investigate.

  • The S.&P. 500 and the Dow both took a dive, falling 1.8 percent each as investors appeared shaken by the drama around Mr. Trump.
  • On conservative media, Mr. Trump’s supporters have used unfounded allegations, diversions and conspiracies to keep his troops behind him.
  • The president has groused to friends that he is not looking forward to his first foreign trip in office, and his preparation has been hit-or-miss.

— The First Draft Team

How the Impeachment Process Works

By CHARLIE SAVAGE
President Trump leaving Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday.

President Trump leaving Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday. Doug Mills/The New York Times

The account from the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey of President Trump pressing him to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has escalated talk among the president’s critics that his actions may amount to obstruction of justice and grounds for impeachment.
“Asking F.B.I. to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice,” Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.”
But several legal specialists across party lines cautioned that talk of impeachment was premature while the facts remained unclear; the White House has denied that Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Comey to drop the case.
Still, the early chatter has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works.
Here’s what you need to know »
How a Special Counsel Alters the Russia Investigation

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was overseeing the investigation, had resisted pressure to name a special counsel. Here is what the appointment means.

Senators Mark Warner, left, and Richard M. Burr spoke to reporters after a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Republicans Pivot and Make Comey the Capitol’s Most-Wanted Man

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Congressional Republicans rushed to call on the former F.B.I. director to testify, produce memos and provide details of his encounters with the president.

Representative Kevin McCarthy with Dana Bash of CNN on May 4. Mr. McCarthy has walked into a firestorm over his remarks about President Trump and Vladimir V. Putin.

Payoffs From Putin to Trump? McCarthy Says No, He Was Just Kidding

By MATT FLEGENHEIMER AND EMMARIE HUETTEMAN

The House majority leader was recorded in June as saying that Donald J. Trump could be getting payments from Vladimir V. Putin. Now the congressman says he was joking.

Guadalupe García de Rayos reunited with her children, Angel, 16, and Jacqueline, 14, who are United States citizens, at the Kino Comedor, a soup kitchen that serves breakfast and lunch to people who have been deported, on Feb. 9 in Nogales, Mexico.

Immigration Arrests Rise Sharply as a Trump Mandate Is Carried Out

By CAITLIN DICKERSON

Under a new Trump administration policy, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is casting a wider net.

Bill O’Reilly, left, will begin making regular appearances on Glenn Beck’s podcast, the two men say.

After Fox, It’s Podcast Time for Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck

By JACEY FORTIN

They both made high-profile departures from top-rated shows on Fox News. Now they will be talking together regularly for internet audiences.

The right-wing radio host Alex Jones in Austin, Tex., in April.

Alex Jones Retracts Chobani Claims to Resolve Lawsuit

By CHRISTINE HAUSER

Accounts tied to the right-wing radio show host had falsely reported that the company’s factory in Idaho was connected to a sexual assault and tuberculosis cases.

Trump’s Urging That Comey Jail Reporters Is Denounced as an ‘Act of Intimidation’

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM, SYDNEY EMBER AND CHARLIE SAVAGE

News organizations expressed outrage Wednesday over a report that the president asked the former F.B.I. director to consider imprisoning journalists who published classified government information.

An image of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee employee, from a YouTube video.

How the Murder of a D.N.C. Staff Member Fueled Conspiracy Theories

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

Conservative media outlets have used the death of Seth Rich, who was killed in Washington last summer, to speculate about who gave Democratic data to WikiLeaks.

Supporters of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who is running for re-election, at a campaign rally in Isfahan on Sunday.

Iran Nuclear Deal Will Remain for Now, White House Signals

By GARDINER HARRIS AND DAVID E. SANGER

A statement on Iran came two days before Iranian elections, and just before the president’s first overseas trip as president.

Police officers outside the Turkish embassy during a visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on Tuesday.

Erdogan Security Forces Launch ‘Brutal Attack’ on Washington Protesters, Officials Say

By NICHOLAS FANDOS AND CHRISTOPHER MELE

Photos and videos showed people kicking and punching demonstrators outside the ambassador’s residence as the police tried to intervene.

David A. Clarke, the Milwaukee County sheriff, at Trump Tower in Manhattan in November.

Polarizing Sheriff David Clarke Says He’ll Take a Top Homeland Security Job

By RON NIXON

The Milwaukee County sheriff, who spoke at the Republican convention, once said ISIS and Black Lives Matter activists were allying to destroy America.

James B. Comey at a news conference last year.

Comey’s Memos Were a Product of a Culture of Note-Keeping

By REBECCA R. RUIZ

For law enforcement officials like James B. Comey, who was fired last week as the director of the F.B.I., documenting sensitive conversations is a reflex.

President Trump boarding Air Force One on Wednesday.

Fact Check: Trump Has Been Far Less Forgiving of Past Leaks Than His Own

By LINDA QIU

The president has defended sharing intelligence with the Russians, but he hasn’t always been consistent in his assessment of leaks of classified information.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been promoting a 20 percent tax on imports, which the House will take a look at next week.

Republican Hopes for Rewriting Tax Code in 2017 Are Fading

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

Upheaval at the White House and a growing list of matters for Congress to address have made the prospect even of tax cuts likely to be pushed into the next year.

President Trump arrives at the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in New London, Conn., on Wednesday.

Trump, Saying He Is Treated ‘Unfairly,’ Signals a Fight

By MAGGIE HABERMAN AND GLENN THRUSH

Delivering the commencement address to Coast Guard cadets, the president said that “no politician in history” had “been treated worse.”

Outside United States District Court in San Juan, P.R., where the case involving the island’s request for a form of bankruptcy relief opened on Wednesday.

Puerto Rico Faces ‘Humbling’ Scope of Its Woes in First Court Hearing

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH

Lawyers for the island’s creditors came together for their day in court, all trying to squeeze money out of a government that is broke.

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
• Andrew C. McCarthy in National Review:
“Democrats are so Trump-deranged that I suspect, despite Mueller’s solid reputation, they will claim the fix is in if impeachment does not appear to be on the horizon in short order. But most people will give Mueller a chance. And he deserves that.”
Andrew C. McCarthy is no great fan of special counsels, which is why his endorsement of Robert M. Mueller III for the job is noteworthy. He writes that Democrats and Republicans alike should have faith in the job Mr. Mueller will do, but worries about how Democrats will react if his investigation doesn’t reveal what they hope for. Read more »
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From the Left
• Adele M. Stan in