Good Thursday morning ...
Motorists are forced to the side of the road as Trump's motorcade carries him back to the White House on George Washington Parkway yesterday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
President’s Trump’s M.O. is to project confidence in every setting: Even in small groups, he's loath to reveal even a tincture of self-doubt.
On North Korea, though, there have been private moments when his breezy talking of "winning" has evaporated and confidants found him almost awestruck by the enormity of what he’s confronting.
A lot of the other potential crises Trump faces — turmoil in the Middle East and a trade war with China — seem abstract and distant to him, inside sources tell Jonathan Swan and me.
Why it matters: Now, Trump is trying to defuse one of the world’s greatest risks, with a partner — “Little Rocket Man” — who looked ready to deal, but now suddenly sounds like he's returning to brinksmanship.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
President Trump, in a statement one year ago today, reacting to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller as special counsel in the Russia inquiry:
Original code name for the investigation, back in 2016, via N.Y. Times (2-col. lead story: "How F.B.I. Embarked, With Strictest Secrecy, On Trump Team’s Trail"):
Today's key news: Rudy Giuliani, a lawyers for Trump, says Mueller indicated in a meeting with Trump legal team a few weeks ago that a sitting president cannot be indicted under past legal opinions issued by the Justice Department.
P.S. USA Today lead story: "Trump formally disclosed [yesterday] that he paid his attorney [Michael Cohen a range of $100,000 to $250,000] as reimbursements for expenses — which included a $130,000 payoff to ... Stormy Daniels."
Go deeper ... Mueller's year: 10 moments that mattered, by Axios' Haley Britzky.
Rex Tillerson, former Exxon CEO and first Secretary of State for President Trump, didn't mention Trump by name while addressing graduating cadets at Virginia Military Institute yesterday, but he didn't have to:
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Tillerson: “When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America.”
Shot ... AP: "Primary election season is still young, but the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is already celebrating."
Chaser ... Third Way, the center-left think tank: "You have to ignore lots of examples to conclude the far left is winning the supposed 'Dem civil war.'"
ZGC Innovation Center in Santa Clara, Calif. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A surge in "China-focused accelerators — which support, mentor and invest in early-stage startups — is part of a larger wave of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley," Reuters' Koh Gui Qing and Salvador Rodriguez report:
TIME magazine's new cover story is an adaptation of a forthcoming book by Steven Brill, "Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall — and Those Fighting to Reverse It," out May 29:
Facebook today will announce a partnership with the Atlantic Council aimed at helping deter manipulation of the platform during elections around the world:
Why it matters, from Axios' Sara Fischer: About 87% of Facebook’s user base is outside the U.S., so the opportunity for election manipulation around the world is massive. And platform manipulation in those countries can be even harder to manage, because of language and cultural barriers.
"Salt shakers, once ubiquitous at fancy restaurants, have vanished. That’s deliberate, say top chefs," Bloomberg's Kate Krader reports: