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.
The trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort inched forward Tuesday as Judge T.S. Ellis broadly laid out the criminal charges against Manafort in front of a few dozen potential jurors.
The pool was convened as part of the process to find suitable jurors for trial. After Ellis’ comments, potential jurors left to fill out questionnaires about their affiliations, personal experiences, and ability to serve on a jury for a three-week trial, the first of the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Manafort was in the courtroom Tuesday wearing a suit, unlike Monday, when he donned a green jail jumpsuit. As the potential jurors left the room, Manafort surveyed the pool before looking at his wife in the front row and offering a wink.
From The Hill
“I’m one who thinks that it’s a good thing for leaders of countries to talk, but I would consider putting that one on the back burner for a while,” Cornyn told reporters when asked about the White House’s plans to invite Putin to the United States.
Pressed if he was saying they should wait until after the November election, Cornyn, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, reiterated that he thought the potential meeting should be sidelined “for a while.”
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office has launched a campaign on Twitter to prove he is alive following the discovery that Google falsely shows that he died in 2017.
On Monday, Hatch’s office posted a screenshot of the auto-generated search result, writing “Hi.. @Google? We might need to talk.” Since the discovery, his Twitter account has posted several photos of Hatch reading the newspaper and the senator attending his birthday party in March.
The Kremlin was reticent on Tuesday about whether it would accept an invitation from U.S. President Donald Trump to hold a summit with Vladimir Putin in Washington later this year, saying only that the two men had other chances to meet as well.
The Kremlin’s failure to swiftly accept Trump’s invitation for a Washington summit has been noticeable. Though Moscow saw the Helsinki summit n the two leaders held last week as a success, the fiercely negative reaction by some U.S. politicians to Trump’s performance has taken some in Russia aback.
Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said that though Washington and Moscow agreed there was a need for another Putin-Trump meeting, Russia had not yet begun any practical preparations for a new meeting.
From The Hill
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer‘s new book, “The Briefing,” is reportedly riddled with inaccuracies, including falsely identifying a former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) as the author of a controversial dossier alleging ties between President Trump and Russia.
ABC News White House corresponded Jonathan Karl wrote in a review for The Wall Street Journal that Spicer’s book is “much like his tenure as press secretary: short, littered with inaccuracies and offering up one consistent theme: Mr. Trump can do no wrong.”
“Mr. Spicer has not been well served by the book’s fact checkers and copy editors,” Karl wrote. “He refers to the author of the infamous Trump dossier as ‘Michael Steele,’ who is in truth the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, not the British ex-spy Christopher Steele.”
Other inaccuracies include a supposed reference to a White House press conference hosted by former President Obama in 1999 — nearly 10 years before Obama was elected.
The Russian Ministry of Defense slammed US Gen. Joseph Votel Tuesday, accusing America’s top military commander in the Middle East of discrediting President Donald Trump’s position after Votel expressed hesitancy about working with Russia in Syria.
“With his statements, General Votel not only discredited the official position of his supreme commander-in-chief, but also exacerbated the illegality under international law and US law of the military presence of American servicemen in Syria,” the Russian Ministry said in a statement published on social media in response to an interview Votel gave to ABC News.
“I would want to make sure that this isn’t something that we stepped into lightly,” Votel, the commander of US Central Command, said when asked about the idea of the US and Russia working together to facilitate the return of refugees.
“I am not recommending that. And that would be a pretty big step at this point,” Votel added.
The Trump administration may have already deported as many as 463 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border, and they may have lost their right to reunification, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing on Monday.
Those parents may not be eligible to be reunified with their children, according to the filing, which grouped parents not in the U.S. as either potentially eligible or not eligible.
The filing also reported that 879 migrant parents have been successfully reunified with their parents, up from 364 on Thursday. But 917 parents may not be eligible for reunification at all.
President Donald Trump urged the audience before him on Tuesday to support a Missouri Republican’s Senate campaign, smeared Democrats and warned the crowd not to “believe the crap you hear from (the media.)”
The speech amounted to a typical political stump speech for Trump, all except for the setting. Instead of a political rally draped in campaign signage, Trump was addressing the annual convention of the nonpartisan Veterans of Foreign Wars, which invites the sitting US president every year — regardless of party — to address its members.
Past US presidents have typically focused their remarks at the annual veteran’s event on policy issues, leaving little room for partisan political attacks or political endorsements. President Barack Obama, though, in 2015 used his speech to take shots at Republicans over their budget proposal at the time.
President Donald Trump’s bailout for the ag industry is driving his many Republican trade critics to exasperation.
Pro-free trade Republicans were already furious with Trump’s escalation of tariffs against U.S. allies and China — a multi-front trade war they say is hurting U.S. farmers and manufacturers. But the administration’s response Tuesday — sending $12 billion to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs to ease the pain — is the precise anathema of conservative, free-trade orthodoxy, they said.
“This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “I’m very exasperated. This is serious.”
From The News Blender
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told CNN Tuesday he believed there were “sound reasons” for judges to approve the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, in yet another break between the Republican leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
“I don’t think I ever expressed that I thought the FISA application came up short,” Burr said when asked about House Republican memo alleging FBI and Justice Department abuses of the FISA process. “There (were) sound reasons as to why judges issued the FISA.”
Burr’s comments once again put him at odds with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who spearheaded the memo on FISA abuses.
Last week, as America’s top national security experts convened in Aspen, a strangely inquisitive Uber driver showed up, too. And caused a minor freak-out. Was the mystery woman some kind of covert agent—or simply a figment of these hyper-paranoid times?