News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
All through the hot summer campaign of 2016, as Donald Trump and his aides dismissed talk of unseemly ties to Moscow, two of his key business partners were working furiously on a secret track: negotiations to build what would have been the tallest building in Europe and an icon of the Trump empire — the Trump World Tower Moscow.
Talks to construct the 100-story building continued even as the presidential candidate alternately bragged about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and rejected suggestions of Russian influence, and as Russian agents worked to sway US public opinion on Trump’s behalf.
FBI Director Christopher Wray underscored the importance of protecting the identity of human sources in testimony Wednesday amid an ongoing battle with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and other House Republicans over the disclosure of a document the Justice Department says would endanger a source.
“The day that we can’t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe,” Wray told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we’re going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and the lives of their families.”
Donald Trump wants a deal with North Korea. His national security adviser thinks the North Koreans can’t be dealt with. And North Korea thinks he’s “human scum.”
North Korea’s latest diatribe against the United States — and specifically a “repugnant” national security adviser, John Bolton — spotlights a core tension within the Trump administration as the president seeks a nuclear deal with North Korea that he hopes might earn him a Nobel Peace Prize.
From The Hill
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they have obtained documents that suggest Russia used the National Rifle Association (NRA) to help President Trump‘s 2016 campaign.
The Democrats on Wednesday released a document outlining preliminary findings from their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. It states that the Kremlin may have “used the NRA to secretly fund Mr. Trump’s campaign.”
From The Hill
Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday provided a federal judge with an unredacted memo detailing the scope of his investigation.
Mueller’s team made the filing after Judge T.S. Ellis III requested the full document, Bloomberg and Reuters report. The memo was written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation, and spells out in detail what Mueller can investigate.
A Manhattan Judge Has Allowed A Former Apprentice Contestant’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Trump To Go Forward
A state court judge in Manhattan has ruled that Summer Zervos’s defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump for comments he made about her during the campaign can proceed while Trump is in office.
“No one is above the law,” Justice Jennifer Schecter wrote in her 18-page ruling on Tuesday.
Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice who had made public accusations against Trump during the campaign about “unwanted sexual misconduct,” sued him after he said “these allegations are 100% false” and began calling her and others “phony people coming up with phony allegations,” among other statements.
The Kremlin says Syrian President Bashar Assad has met with President Vladimir Putin at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
A transcript of Thursday’s meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting “terrorism,” which “opens the door to the political process.”
President Trump told reporters during a meeting with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg he doubts trade negotiations with China will end successfully, claiming the United States lost $500 billion in trade last year to China.“Will that be successful? I tend to doubt it… because China has become very spoiled. The European Union has become very spoiled. Other countries have become very spoiled, because they always got 100 percent of whatever they wanted from the United States.”— Trump to reporters, per CNBC
Donald Trump’s lawyers have begun planning a series of summer prep sessions for the president before a possible sit-down with special counsel Robert Mueller for an interview, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said Thursday.
The planning meetings — to be held during off-hours at the White House and perhaps over games of golf at Trump’s private courses, Giuliani said — will mirror Trump’s 2016 debate preparation, in which aides briefed an impatient president in several brief sessions over many weeks. Giuliani said the briefings likely will begin after Trump returns from a June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if a Mueller interview is agreed to.
The former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, has cut a plea deal with the Justice Department that requires him to cooperate with other criminal probes, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
The guilty plea agreement, which is under seal and has not been previously reported, could add to the legal pressure on Manafort, who is facing two indictments brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.