Apr 13, 2018

Axios PM

1 big thing: Trump's distractions won't go away

President Trump is skipping this weekend's Summit of the Americas to deliberate with advisers on how to respond to the latest chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

But on his television, he faces a growing list of distractions and potential provocations.

Screenshot: Maggie Haberman/Twitter

Consider the topics likely to dominate weekend coverage:

  • Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is under criminal investigation, per court documents.
  • Trump called Cohen today to "check in," the NYTimes reports.
  • Cohen also negotiated a $1.6 million settlement between a former Playboy Playmate and RNC deputy finance chairman Elliott Broidy, according to a story today by the WSJ.
  • James Comey's book comes out Tuesday. His George Stephanopoulos interview arrives on ABC on Sunday night, and the excerpts have been landing all week, including several in Axios AM. [Juiciest excerpts]
  • Trump punched back at Comey on Twitter today, calling him a "slime ball" liar and leaker.
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has told friends he's at peace with being fired, NBC News' Julia Ainsley reported this afternoon.
  • Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe misled investigators about his role in a news media disclosure, per the Associated Press.
  • Trump tweets on McCabe: "He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey - McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!"

Be smart: Trump already has a major decision on his hands in the coming days. Add a TV-addicted president and the situation becomes even more tenuous.

2. What you missed

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, walks to the Loews Regency hotel in New York City. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

  1. Trump has pardoned Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convicted of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in 2007. Statement.
  2. Trump quote du jour: “I’ve heard about [Libby] a long time and he got screwed." More.
  3. Oil giant Saudi Aramco made nearly $34 billion in net income during the first half of 2017, making it the world's most profitable company, according to data viewed by Bloomberg News. Highlights.
  4. House Democrats plan to use this week's Facebook hearings as the starting point for an aggressive push for privacy legislation, which sets them up to move a bill forward if the House flips in November. Why you'll hear it again.
  5. Russia claims Presidents Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron agreed on a phone call to stay in “close contact” and coordinate their actions to avoid military escalation in Syria. More.
  6. Paul Ryan has endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be his successor. Interview via NBC News' Chuck Todd.
3. 1 🐏 thing

This tweet of an Exmoor Horn ram, from the delightful Museum of English Rural Life Twitter account, has 28,000 retweets and counting:

Screenshot: Museum of English Rural Life/Twitter

Worthy of your amusement: The museum answers its most frequently asked questions about this "absolute unit," along with a series of other amazing animal pics.