May 20, 2017

This Week in Trumpland: Russian for a scoop

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

POTUS kicked off his nine-day, five-country swing across the Middle East and Europe this weekend, hoping for a reset after a disastrous week. Just how bad was it? Well, there were no less than seven White House-related stories that individually could have led multiple news cycles in more normal times — but we live in Trumpland! So while POTUS enjoys Saudi Arabia, let's look back on a week of Russian scoops…

Monday: In an Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian ambassador to the United States — that the American press couldn't enter, but Russian press did — POTUS bragged about intel from a foreign pal on a key ISIS source. The pal was Israel, which Trump visits in 2 days. They weren't happy. But the explanation should make you feel better: POTUS' disclosure was "wholly appropriate" because he wasn't aware of where the information came from!

Tuesday: The news that POTUS asked Comey back in February about "letting Flynn go" blew up every happy hour in Trumpland. Things went downhill quickly. Some Democrats started throwing around the word "impeachment." Even John McCain made a "Watergate" comparison! And given the news of Comey's fastidious paper trail, there could be even more bad weeks ahead.

Wednesday: Right at 6 PM, maybe the biggest news of the week: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller as special counsel on the Russia investigation. No one saw it coming — not even the White House, which apparently only got an hour's notice. And why not drop another at 10 PM? Michael Flynn told the transition team back in January that he was under FBI investigation for undisclosed lobbying for Turkey — and he still got hired to be the gatekeeper for the Trumpland's national security decisions!

Thursday: After months of repeatedly denying any communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, news came of at least 18 previously undisclosed contacts, involving Flynn and other officials. After such a crazy week, this one almost seemed tame. But don't worry — you're fully authorized to make contact with Trumpland each and every Saturday.

Friday: The week has to end just like POTUS' meal — with two scoops. First: POTUS told Russian officials in the Oval Office that Comey was a "nut job" and that firing him had "taken off" great pressure because of the Russia investigation. Second: a senior White House official is under scrutiny as "a significant person of interest" in the Russia investigation, so, uh, it definitely looks like the pressure is still on in Trumpland.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,225,360 — Total deaths: 66,542 — Total recoveries: 252,615Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 312,249 — Total deaths: 8,503 — Total recoveries: 15,021Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August." Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: The Louisiana governor warned that his state is set to run out of ventilators in four days. Illinois governor claims Trump doesn't understand the word "federal."
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Work update: Employees still going to work are often facing temperature checks, distanced work stations, protective devices and mass absences.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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