May 18, 2017

Report: Flynn delayed attack on ISIS opposed by Turkey

Evan Vucci / AP

Ten days before President Trump took office, Michael Flynn helped delay a Pentagon plan to attempt to retake the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, McClatchy reported Wednesday night. The plan was opposed by Turkey, which had previously paid Flynn for lobbying work.

  • How it reportedly happened: Then-national security advisor Susan Rice approached Flynn about having Trump sign off on the plan, which was to utilize Syrian Kurdish forces and be executed under Trump's administration. Flynn told her to hold off, without consulting anyone else on the transition team and without any explanation
  • Flynn was already under federal investigation for his undeclared lobbying on behalf of Turkey. The NYT reported Wednesday that Trump's team was aware of that investigation.
  • Why it matters: Per McClatchy, some in Congress have privately accused Flynn of treason. This could also complicate matters further for Trump, who reportedly asked James Comey to back off the Flynn investigation.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.