Jan 19, 2019

Trump praises Mueller for putting out BuzzFeed statement

Photo: Pete Marovich via Getty Images

Speaking to reporters Saturday morning, President Trump offered praise to special counsel Robert Mueller for putting out a statement that disputed parts of an explosive report from BuzzFeed News.

"Yes, I thought that the BuzzFeed piece and maybe equally as bad, the coverage of the BuzzFeed phony story. It was a total phony story, and I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement last night. I think it was very appropriate that they did so, I very much appreciate that."

Why it matters: Trump has unleashed countless Twitter tirades decrying the Mueller investigation as a "witch hunt" over the past year and a half, but Mueller's decision to take the rare step of going on the record to dispute the BuzzFeed story — and Trump's subsequent praise of that decision — may make it more difficult for the president to condemn future moves as politically motivated.

Go deeper: Mueller's BuzzFeed statement is a reckoning for Trump-era journalism

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Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.