How Trump risked a key intel relationship
By speaking to the Russians
Deputy Newsdesk Editor
Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, left, and Russian Ambassador Kislyak at the White House in May. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP
Astonishing reporting from Vanity Fair's The Hive, by Howard Blum ... "What Trump ... told Kisylak after Comey was canned ... During a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office, the president betrayed his intelligence community by leaking the content of a classified, and highly sensitive, Israeli intelligence operation to two high-ranking Russian envoys, Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov":
P.S. Paul Manafort took at least 138 trips to Ukraine between 2004 and 2015 while consulting for Russian and pro-Russian oligarchs, McClatchy'sPeter Stone and Greg Gordon report:
Egyptian state TV is reporting that 184 people were killed and 125 more wounded in a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in North Sinai, Egypt, per AP. That number has been rising rapidly, and we will continue to update it as we get more information.
Police say men in off-road vehicles fired upon worshippers during Friday prayers at the mosque, in the town of Bir al-Abed. It appears that the explosion happened first, and the attackers fired on the worshippers as they fled.
Al Franken at The BookExpo2017 in New York City. Photo: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx
Democratic Sen. Al Franken has issued a statement about the latest allegations that he groped women while posing for photographs, saying he has taken "thousands of photographs" and is a "warm person," but acknowledging he "crossed a line for some women." He says he is sorry he made "some women feel badly."
Why it matters: Franken is in survival mode after four allegations of unwanted contact, and facing an Ethics investigation and some calls to resign. He's walking a tightrope here, not denying the individual accusations while portraying them as rare missteps resulting from his "warm" personality, rather than a pattern of creepy behavior. He says he plans to win back the "trust" of his constituents.
"I've met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I'm a warm person; I hug people. I've learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many. Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that.
"I've thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I've made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I'm sorry for putting them through this and I'm committed to regaining their trust."
FIle photo of then-National Security Advisor Flynn. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP
Michael Flynn's legal team has notified President Trump's lawyers that they are no longer willing to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the New York Times reports. Michael Schmidt, the lead reporter on the story, says that's "the clearest indication to date that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller" or is planning to.
Why it matters: We know Mueller struck a deal with George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign. A deal with Flynn, who served as Trump's National Security Advisor, could shed light on events both during the campaign and after Trump took office.
A word of caution: "The notification alone does not prove that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Some lawyers withdraw from information-sharing arrangements as soon as they begin negotiating with prosecutors. And such negotiations sometimes fall apart.Trump lawyer Ty Cobb to the Times last month: "[Trump] likes General Flynn personally, but understands that they have their own path with the special counsel. I think he would be sad for them, as a friend and a former colleague, if the process results in punishment or indictments. But to the extent that that happens, that's beyond his control."
Trump speaks with members of the armed forces via video conference. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP
Trump addressed U.S. service members stationed abroad by video conference today, telling them they're "very, very special people to me, and to everyone in this country."
Trump's overall message: The military is succeeding because he's letting them "fight to win," and the economy back home is doing great too.
"I have to say just directly to the folks in Afghanistan: everybody's talking about the progress you've made in the last few months since I opened it up. We opened it up, we said go ahead, were going to fight to win."
"We're being talked about again as an armed forces. We're really winning. We know how to win. But we have to let you win. They weren't letting you win before. They were letting you play even. We're letting you win."
"They say we've made more progress against ISIS than they did in years of the previous administration. And that's because I'm letting you do your job."
Photo: Alex Brandon / AP
President Trump stopped by a Coast Guard station in Florida this Thanksgiving, saying he was "very proud" of the entire branch, particularly after rescue efforts from Hurricane Harvey: "If you were looking at it as a brand, theres no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard, with what happened in Texas."
As in his earlier remarks to troops overseas, he spoke a bit about the state of the economy: "The country's doing really well. Stock market, all time high. This is all good stuff."
Zimbabwe's military has granted ousted dictator Robert Mugabe immunity from prosecution and guaranteed the safety of his family, per the Guardian. Mugabe, 93, has said he wants to spend the rest of his life in Zimbabwe. He will be provided a pension, health care and a travel allowance.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former vice president, is set to take office on Friday. He has a reputation as a ruthless strongman. The coup was precipitated after Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, 75, and seemed to be attempting to establish his 52-year-old wife, Grace, as his successor.
Barton. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP
Photo: Jose Luis Magana / AP
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Republican who broke ranks over the summer to vote against GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, has written an op-ed declaring her support for a repeal of the ACA's individual mandate. She writes, "I believe that the federal government should not force anyone to buy something they do not wish to buy in order to avoid being taxed."
Why it matters: The Senate tax plan includes a repeal of the mandate, which helps stabilize insurance markets by incentivizing healthy people to buy coverage. This may be a signal Murkowski intends to vote yes on the plan.
Kushner arrives on Capitol Hill in July to meet behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are looking into contacts Jared Kushner had with foreign leaders, including over a December UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements, before President Trump took office, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: It's illegal under the Logan Act for a private citizen to communicate with a foreign government to attempt to influence U.S. policy, but no one has been convicted under that law and it's unclear whether that's what Mueller is investigating. What is clear is that the Mueller investigation is going far beyond collusion with Russia to influence the election.