Sep 18, 2017

Trump's lawyers overheard debating Russia probe

"President Trump's legal team is wrestling with how much to cooperate with the special counsel, ... an internal debate that led to an angry confrontation last week between two White House lawyers," the N.Y. Times' Peter Baker and Ken Vogel write at the top of column 1:

  • "At the heart of the clash is an issue that has challenged multiple presidents: ... how to handle the demands of investigators without surrendering the institutional prerogatives of the office of the presidency."
  • "Trump's aides said they were scrambling to respond to [Mueller] requests to avoid a subpoena that might make it look as if the White House was not cooperating."
  • "The debate ... has pitted Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, against Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to manage the response to the investigation."
  • "Cobb was overheard by [Vogel] discussing the dispute during a lunchtime conversation with John Dowd, ... [Trump's] his personal lawyer ... at ... BLT Steak, not far from the White House and a few doors down from The Times's office."
  • "Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed 'a McGahn spy' and saying Mr. McGahn had 'a couple documents locked in a safe' that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for 'some of these earlier leaks,' and who he said 'tried to push Jared out.'"
  • More quotes from Ken's lunch.

Go deeper

Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police have fired pepper pellets at activists and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.