“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been probing Roger Stone’s finances as it summons a series of witnesses to gather more information about one of President Trump’s longtime advisers,” CNN reports.
“Since Donald Trump began dominating American politics more than two years ago, Democrats concerned about his policies and behavior have taken solace in a group of influential Republicans who have consistently assailed the president as anathema to the values of their party, and the country more broadly,” the New York Times reports.
“In the past year, however, influential liberal donors and operatives have gone from cheering these so-called Never Trump Republicans to quietly working with — and even funding — them. Through invitation-only emails and private, off-the-record meetings, they have formed a loose network of cross-partisan alliances aimed at helping neutralize President Trump, and preventing others from capitalizing on weaknesses in the political system that they say he has exploited.”
“Julian Assange’s nearly six-year refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is in danger, opening the WikiLeaks founder to arrest by British authorities and potential extradition to the US,” CNN reports.
“While Assange has in the past claimed his position in the embassy was under threat, sources say his current situation is ‘unusually bad’ and that he could leave the embassy ‘any day now,’ either because he will be forced out or made to feel so restricted that he might choose to leave on his own.”
“Truth is relative. They may have a different version of the truth than we do.”
— Rudy Giuliani, quoted by the Washington Post, saying special counsel Robert Mueller may be setting a “perjury trap” for President Trump.
“Early Thursday morning, after a flurry of calls with a handful of senior advisers, an angry President Donald Trump personally dictated the three-paragraph letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that cancelled the scheduled summit between their two nations,” NBC News reports.
“It had been less than 12 hours since Trump and his team began grappling intensely with the prospects for shelving what would have been an historic meeting between the two heads of state.”
“But the president, fearing the North Koreans might beat him to the punch, wanted to be the one to cancel first.”
Washington Post: The inside story into how Trump’s summit fell apart.
Iowa state Sen. Nate Boulton (D) announced he “is suspending his campaign for governor just weeks before the Democratic primary, following allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women,” Politico reports.
“Boulton, one of the top tier candidates in the Democratic primary competing to face Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, was accused by three women of sexual misconduct in a report published by the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. Boulton did not deny the allegations, initially telling the paper that he did “not have the same recollection.”
First Read: “Why did Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who will brief the members of Congress on this confidential source along with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats – allow these meetings in the first place? Remember, this is an ongoing investigation that involves the president of the United States.”
“As was discussed on MTP Daily yesterday, there are two theories what Rosenstein is doing here: One, he’s caving to Nunes and the White House. Or two, he’s just trying to buy time for the Mueller investigation, given that he knows more about Mueller’s findings (and timetable) than anyone else.”
Vanity Fair: “The Trump camp’s witch-hunt talking points are now dominating the news—but the media battle may be the wrong way to beat Mueller.”
Said a former FBI official: “This investigation is classic Mueller: he is doing a classic, organized crime case. This is RICO 101, working your way up and sideways. You pop a few guys for gambling, and no one is going to do a million years for gambling, but you’re gonna get their scratch pads, then you move on to their associates. You flip one guy who you arrest with no fanfare. It’s exactly what Mueller has been doing his whole goddamn life. It’s just that this time the boss of the family happens to be the leader of the free world. Mueller doesn’t care if he gets Trump. He doesn’t care if he doesn’t get Trump. He has no political agenda. He is digging through the layers and bringing back the truth, and the truth is going to be whatever it is going to be.”
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told PBS Newhour that, in his judgment, Russia’s subversion of the 2016 presidential election did prove decisive in tipping it to Donald Trump.
Said Clapper: “As a private citizen, it’s what I would call my informed opinion that, given the massive effort the Russians made, and the number of citizens that they touched, and the variety and multi-dimensional aspects of what they did to influence opinion … and given the fact that it turned on less than 80,000 votes in three states, to me it exceeds logic and credulity that they didn’t affect the election. And it’s my belief they actually turned it.”
“President Trump has notified Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, that he has canceled their much-anticipated meeting, which was set for June 12,” the New York Times reports.
In a letter to Mr. Kim, the American president said he would not attend the summit due to “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement.”
He was referring to recent comments from a North Korean official who described Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.”
Axios: “Markets fell sharply on the news, and tensions with Pyongyang are likely to ratchet up — and quickly.”
“Responding to teacher walkouts across the country, congressional Democrats on Tuesday proposed raising teachers’ salaries by canceling the tax cut for the nation’s top 1 percent of earners,” the AP reports.
“The Republican-controlled Congress was unlikely to support the idea of giving states and school districts $50 billion over a decade to fund the teacher raises at the expense of dismantling the hard-won tax bill.”
“But the proposal gives Democrats an issue they can use ahead of the November midterm elections. Teachers have won widespread support, even in conservative areas, as they complain about low pay.”
“One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, ‘I absolutely just loved altering my mind.’”
“Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America’s arsenal. Air Force records obtained by the Associated Press show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico.”
“The Trump administration is using national-security laws to consider imposing new tariffs on vehicle and auto-parts imports… President Trump is asking for new tariffs of as much as 25% on automobile imports… after he repeatedly signaled his intention to impose such tariffs,” the Wall Street Journal reports
“Mr. Trump has asked his team to investigate using a legal provision of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act to find whether tariffs or other restrictions are needed on imported cars. It is the same legal justification the administration used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) “is off to an early and expensive start in advertising his U.S. Senate bid, spending more than $1 million a week on TV spots for a race that could determine whether the GOP keeps control of the chamber,” Bloomberg reports.
“His Democratic opponent, incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, has yet to run a commercial in what’s likely to be the most expensive congressional race in the country.”
“Scott, who can dip into his personal fortune, has also gotten help from outside groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that have brought total TV spending on his behalf to $8.7 million in the past five weeks.”