Republicans close to the White House fear that Tuesday's revelations could take President Trump into a legal or constitutional realm where his staff and supporters can't save him.
"A whole new door has opened," said a well-known Republican operative who has worked to help the Trump White House. "A week ago, we were talking about the agenda grinding to a halt," the Republican said. "Now, the train is going down the hill backwards."
More officials are likely to need lawyers, and could face subpoenas for texts and emails off personal devices. They could be asked questions like: "Did the president ever talk about this in your presence?" ... "Were you in the room?" ... "Is there a record?"
The N.Y. Times reported that in a memo written after an Oval Office meeting in February, then-FBI Director James Comey said Trump had asked him to shut down the investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
Numerous competitors instantly confirmed the report — a reminder of the enemies that Trump has made in the permanent government. There could be more memos, and there'll be lots more leaks.
The Times reported that according to the memo (which is disputed by the White House), Trump said: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go ... He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
Drudge dubbed the memo "Comey's Revenge." And we may hear a lot more from him: The sacked director is likely to testify on the Hill. Hushed talk — obstruction of justice; impeachment — grew louder.
Capturing the mood of the stunned capital, Sen. John McCain told Bob Schieffer at an award dinner last evening that the Trump scandals have reached a "Watergate size and scale."
Dire predictions about Trump are usually wrong, so forecasting the uncharted days ahead is a fool's errand. The president leaves Friday on a world tour that his staff hopes can serve as a modest reset.
Trump's campaign sent supporters a fundraising email yesterday with the subject line "SABOTAGE": "You already knew the media was out to get us. But sadly it's not just the fake news… There are people within our own unelected bureaucracy that want to sabotage President Trump and our entire America First movement."
1 Axios screen, by Dave Lawler, catches you up.
... and maybe the month! From N.Y. Times p. 16, "Aides Cope With Chaos And Boss's Foul Mood," by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman:
Read the whole thing. Every line in it is a story.
Sean Hannity's alternative universe is the lead story of the WashPost Style section, "Hannity sees unicorns, not the elephant in the room," by media columnist Margaret Sullivan:
The president's favorite apologist was at it again, devoting his hour-long show on Fox News Channel to a strange assortment of topics that had nothing to do with the blockbuster news ...
[T]he most notable segment was his idea for reforming the White House news briefings by requiring journalists to choose among a dozen or more topics and submit written questions in advance. The White House could then pick those it liked and answer them after carefully crafting responses.
Deadspin editor Timothy Burke tweeted screenshots of the three cable news networks at the same moment in prime time: CNN: "Sources: Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him To End Flynn Probe" ... MSNBC: "Trump Asked Comey To End Flynn Investigation" ... Fox: "Clinton Foundation: Where Is It Now?"
Why it matters: Remember that Trump — and a key slice of his base — are watching Fox in prime time, reinforcing their view that the rest of the world is delusional.
P.S. "Creeping closer: MSNBC has good week competing with Fox," by AP Television Writer David Bauder: "MSNBC topped Fox among the 25-to-54-year-old age demographic for the first time since the week of Dec. 29, 2008, just after Barack Obama's first election."
A tour de force by Axios Visuals Editor Lazaro "Laz" Gamio:
"This visualization is a modified version of Chernoff Faces, a technique that maps multiple statistical values to the features of a face. Because it's 2017, we expanded on the technique and made Chernoff Emojis. Each part of the emoji is controlled by the state's ranking in a given metric, which range from the uninsured rate to the percent of adults who report getting enough sleep."
Treat yourself to clicking on the whole thing.
The travel industry hates this ... Reuters' David Shepardson: "U.S. Homeland Security chief John Kelly has not made a final decision on extending a ban on larger electronic devices [such as laptops in the cabins of] airplanes, but the department still believes an expansion is likely."
"Amazon is hiring people to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market," by CNBC's Christina Farr: "[W]ith the rise of high-deductible plans and the trend towards consumers paying for health care, it is ready to get more serious. ... The company recently started selling medical supplies and equipment in the U.S."
"Tesla Rebuffed Uber Partnership on Self-Driving Cars in 2016," by Bloomberg's Eric Newcomer: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick "rang up Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk last year to propose a partnership on self-driving cars, according to an upcoming book."
"The discussion came after Apple Inc. invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, then a fierce competitor of Uber in China. Kalanick pitched Musk on teaming up against Apple, according to Wild Ride [Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination], a book by Fortune magazine's Adam Lashinsky scheduled for release next week."
The Wall Street Journal has a rocking front page today, with a trifecta of stories worthy of your attention:
"The last days of the Ringling Bros. circus," which ends this weekend after 146 years — AP's Michelle Smith in Providence, R.I.:
An elephant stretches its trunk through a window to soothe a sick child. A woman gives birth and three months later is back performing on the high wire. A handler of big cats weeps as the beasts lope out of the ring for the last time.
These stories could come only from circus performers, and in particular one famous circus, the one immortalized as "The Greatest Show on Earth": the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is hanging its hat for the last time this weekend. ...
The size, the spectacle and the history — stretching back to P.T. Barnum and his traveling museum in the 1800s — set it apart. One of Ringling's two traveling circuses is scheduled to perform its final show Sunday in New York. The other closed this month, in Providence, Rhode Island, and with it, the end to a way of life.