May 24, 2018

What we know from the meeting about the suspected FBI informant

FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties were briefed Thursday on the FBI's use of an informant in 2016, after the White House received backlash for not initially inviting Democrats to view the confidential information.

The VIPs: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Trump's Special Counsel Emmet Flood helped "facilitate" the meetings, and visited the Justice Department and Capitol Hill to offer opening remarks, according to a statement from the White House. However, neither were in the room when the classified information was disclosed.

What they're saying:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters that he saw “no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign.”
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mark Warner released a statement along with Rep. Schiff, saying, "Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a ‘spy’ in the Trump Campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols."
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell told NPR that he supports both the Inspector General investigation in the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation, and what he learned in the meeting doesn't change that.

Be smart: This whole thing was sparked by speculation from conservative writers. It was then picked up by President Trump, and has grown to become a key focal point in Washington. But as of now, there is still no public evidence to support claims that the FBI planted a source inside the Trump campaign.

Go deeper: An inside look at the suspected FBI informant, Stefan Halper

Go deeper

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,877,503— Total deaths: 362,731 — Total recoveries — 2,464,595Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,735,971 — Total deaths: 102,286 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.