Justin Green
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Steve Scalise readmitted to intensive care

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican who was critically shot on June 14, was originally moved out of the ICU on June 23. Now he's back in the ICU, according to a statement released by his office late Wednesday:

"Congressman Steve Scalise has been readmitted to the Intensive Care Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center due to new concerns for infection. His condition is listed as serious. We will provide another update tomorrow, July 6."

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Manuel Noriega is dead

John Hopper / AP

Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama who was removed from power by an invasion from his former U.S. allies in 1989, is dead. He was 83.

  • Why he was removed, per WaPo: George H.W. Bush said Noriega "had declared war on the United States first ... made Panama a haven for drug dealers ... endangered open shipping channels through the Panama Canal. Gen. Noriega's opponents also charged he had ordered the killing of a prominent political opponent" and rigged the 1989 elections.
  • Why he mattered, per AP: "At the apex of his power he wielded great influence outside the country as well thanks to longstanding relationships with spy agencies around the world..."
  • After the fall: Noriega served a prison sentence in the U.S., eventually spending his final months in a prison for murdering political opponents during the 1980s, per the AP.
  • Go deeper: Obits by WaPo, NYT...
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Fox News witness: GOP candidate "slammed" reporter

Matt Volz / AP

Alicia Acuna, a reporter for Fox News who was in the room with GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte when he allegedly assaulted reporter Ben Jacobs last evening, says she witnessed the candidate grab the reporter "by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground ... then began punching..."

In a statement late last night, Gallatin County Sheriff's office announced they'd issued a citation to Gianforte for misdemeanor assault, saying the injuries suffered by Jacobs did not warrant felony assault. Gianforte is due to appear before court on June 7.

  • The scene: "On Wednesday, I joined field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey in Bozeman for our scheduled interview with Gianforte. ... As the time for the interview neared, Gianforte came into the room. ... we exchanged pleasantries and made small talk...
  • The incident: "During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder ... Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this!"
  • The aftermath: "Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left."

Get up to speed on the full incident, including audio and the competing statements, here.

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Trump on Manchester attack: terrorists are "evil losers"

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump has commented on the terror attack on Manchester, which left at least 22 dead and around 50 injured. From his remarks at a pool spray in Bethlehem, where he's meeting and speaking with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas:

"As President of the United States, on behalf of the people of the United States, I would like to begin by offering my prayers to the people of Manchester in the United Kingdom. I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attacks, and to the many killed and the families, so many families, of the victims. We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.
So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that's what they are. They're losers. And we'll have more of them. But they're losers. Just remember that.
This is what I've spent these last few days talking about during my trip overseas. Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people. And in today's attack, it was mostly innocent children. The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out of our society forever. This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated. Life must be protected.
All civilized nations must join to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens."
Featured

Report: Michael Flynn will plead 5th, decline subpoena

Saul Loeb / Pool Photo via AP

The Associated Press is reporting that Michael Flynn, the former general fired from his National Security Advisor role by President Trump for lying about his contacts with Russians, will decline a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  • The sourcing: "[A] person with direct knowledge of the matter... spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private interactions between Flynn and the committee."
  • Why this was coming: "Legal experts have said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the personal documents without immunity because he would be waiving some of his constitutional protections by doing so. Flynn has previously sought immunity from "unfair prosecution" to cooperate with the committee."

Background on the subpoena, here.

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Comey agrees to publicly testify before Senate

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Fired FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open session that will be scheduled after Memorial Day.

Chairman Richard Burr:

The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media.

Vice Chairman Mark Warner:

I hope that former Director Comey's testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President. I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Director Comey served his country with honor for many years, and he deserves an opportunity to tell his story. Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it.
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Firing "nut job" Comey eased pressure on me, Trump told Russians

Russian Foreign Ministry / AP

Here's a heck of a scoop from the NYT's Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman and Matthew Rosenberg, who report that Trump told the Russians in his Oval Office meeting earlier this month that getting rid of James Comey eased "great pressure" on him.

"I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job... I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off. ... I'm not under investigation." — President Trump, to Russian officials in the Oval Office

Notes:

  1. Sourcing: A document summarizing the meeting, which a U.S. official read to the Times.
  2. White House response: "Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account."
  3. Spicer's full quote: "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia," Mr. Spicer said. "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations."
  4. Another way of looking at it: "A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the "pressure" he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year's election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump."
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Rod Rosenstein defends Comey memo: "I stand by it"

Patrick Semansky / AP

The quote you'll want from Rod Rosenstein's remarks to the House and Senate on his memo:

"My memorandum is not a legal brief; these are not issues of law. My memorandum is not a finding of official misconduct; the Inspector General will render his judgment about that issue in due course. My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination. My memorandum is not a survey of FBI morale or performance. My memorandum is not a press release. It is a candid internal memorandum about the FBI Director's public statements concerning a high-profile criminal investigation. I sent my signed memorandum to the Attorney General after noon on Tuesday, May 9. I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it."

Full remarks here.

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Reuters: 18 undisclosed Trump campaign, Russia contacts

Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool via AP

Trump campaign officials engaged in more contacts with Russians and Kremlin-affiliated individuals than have previously been disclosed, according to a new Reuters report that cites "current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges."

  • The timing: "The 18 calls and electronic messages took place between April and November 2016..."
  • Main focus: "Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Kislyak and Trump advisers, including [Michael] Flynn..."
  • Caveat: "The people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far..."

Why it matters: "The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators..."

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Full statement appointing special counsel on Russia probe

Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

From deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, on his decision to name Robert Mueller the Special Counsel on the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election:

"In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command."
"Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations. I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confidence that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result."