Trump Admits Passing Intel to Russia

President Trump admitted Tuesday morning that he did share highly classified information with two of Russia’s top diplomats during an Oval Office meeting last week. The extraordinary disclosure, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was initially denied by the White House. This morning, the 45th president of the United States contradicted his staff by admitting, via Twitter, that he shared information on terrorism with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their meeting. “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” he wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

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The Daily Beast CHEAT SHEET
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EDITION
16
May
 
1. MEA CULPA
Trump Admits Passing Intel to Russia
President Trump admitted Tuesday morning that he did share highly classified information with two of Russia’s top diplomats during an Oval Office meeting last week. The extraordinary disclosure, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was initially denied by the White House. This morning, the 45th president of the United States contradicted his staff by admitting, via Twitter, that he shared information on terrorism with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their meeting. “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” he wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. IT ALL COMES OUT
Yates: Russians Had Leverage Over Flynn
Russian officials had “real leverage” over former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told CNN. In a new interview with Anderson Cooper, Yates says Flynn was in a “serious compromise situation,” which led her to inform the White House. Before his dismissal, Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence, and Yates said there was “certainly a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct.” At the end of January, Yates said she called White House counsel Don McGahn to warn him that Flynn could become a blackmail target for Russians, based on an interview he gave to the FBI. The White House has since said Flynn was fired due to a “trust issue,” not a legal one. “I don’t know how the White House reached the conclusion that there was no legal issue,” Yates said. “It certainly wasn’t from my discussion with them.”
READ IT AT CNN  
 
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FBI Agents Fear Russia Probe May Be Dead
BY Jana Winter and Betsy Woodruff
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. WRECKING BALL
Cruz, Paul to Go ‘Nuclear’ on Obamacare
Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up for a potential “nuclear” showdown on repealing Obamacare during reconciliation, the express budget process that Republicans want to use to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Cruz and Paul say their colleagues are allowing outdated Senate norms to dictate their plans to deal with the law and are thus forfeiting a chance to completely abolish it. As it stands now, nonpartisan Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough decides whether each provision in the bill has a direct effect on the budget. Instead, Cruz and Paul argue that whoever presides over the Senate at the time can decide. The duo say that Vice President Mike Pence, president of the Senate, could make those calls instead of MacDonough. “The original law says the [person in the] chair decides—it doesn’t say anything about the parliamentarian,” Paul said. But most other Republicans interviewed by Politico said they have no interest in testing the Senate’s procedural bounds. “I don’t think it’s the best approach, and I think there would be resistance to that,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). “It’s tempting, but it’s also the proverbial slippery slope.” John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) also said they do not support Cruz and Paul’s plan.
READ IT AT Politico  
 
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4. PASSING THE BUCK
Netanyahu Calls Out Fox News for ‘Lie’
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has published transcripts of a meeting between U.S. President Trump and the Israeli leader to challenge what it says is a “lie” spread by a Fox News reporter. The move came after a Fox News correspondent hinted on Twitter on Monday that Netanyahu had urged Trump against relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, warning that it would escalate the conflict with Palestine. Correspondent Conor Powell wrote that he’d spoken with people in D.C. who’d “been briefed” to that effect. Netanyahu’s office quickly rejected that claim, however. “The report on Fox News is a lie. Netanyahu supports moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. This is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s clear and consistent position, which was also stated today,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement, apparently referring to Powell’s comments, and not a full report broadcast on the TV channel.  Plans for relocating the embassy have been a matter of debate since Trump’s first days in office, with his administration publicly expressing support for the move despite fears it would enflame regional tensions. On Sunday, however, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled that Trump’s administration was not fully decided on the move, saying the president was “being very careful” and taking feedback from Israel. Transcripts of a Feb. 15 meeting published by Netanyahu’s office showed the Israeli prime minister urging Trump to move the embassy, stressing that it would not lead to more conflict. Jacob Nagel, then the acting national security adviser, was cited in the transcripts confirming Netanyahu’s stance. 
READ IT AT Haaretz  
 
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5. THAT’LL FIX IT
Russia: Trump Intel Leak Is ‘Fake News’
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Tuesday lambasted U.S. newspapers for “fake” reports on Monday night claiming that President Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials in the Oval Office. Zakharova said it was just “another fake,” but she did not address the substance of the reports. “Guys, have you been reading too many American newspapers again? Don’t read them,” she wrote, on her Facebook page. “You can use them in various ways, but don’t read them—recently it is not only harmful, but also dangerous.” The Washington Post first reported the story, with The New York Times, Reuters, BuzzFeed, and others independently confirming the reports through U.S. officials.
READ IT AT Wall Street Journal  
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. BAFFLING
Rosenstein Shrugs Off Comey Scandal
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appeared to shrug off the furor surrounding his role in former FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal. Speaking at an awards dinner in Baltimore late Monday, Rosenstein said he wasn’t worried about the situation damaging his reputation. “When I took the oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, there is nothing in that oath about my reputation,” he was quoted as saying by CNN. His comments came amid calls for his recusal from an  investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, as lawmakers have begun to publicly question Rosenstein’s judgment in light of Comey’s firing. President Trump cited a memo from Rosenstein as the basis for Comey’s abrupt dismissal, a claim that was later called into question by a Washington Post report that said Rosenstein nearly quit over the scandal. Rosenstein rejected those claims on Monday, however, saying he told a friend who suggested he should quit, “There’s no place I’d rather be.” “If you ask me, one of the main problems in Washington, D.C., is that everybody is so busy running around trying to protect their reputation instead of protecting the public, which is what they’re supposed to be doing,” Rosenstein said.
READ IT AT CNN  
 
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7. SURE
Fox News: Hillary Was Worse
While Fox News lagged behind other cable news outlets in broadcasting reports that President Donald Trump had disclosed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, the network eventually hosted a series of guests who downplayed the reports. “If [National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell] thought what Trump was doing was a really, really bad idea, they probably would have spoke up,” Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts said on air. Guest Charles Krauthammer argued that Hillary Clinton had committed worse leaks. “The only implication here is that he’s unschooled,” Krauthammer said of Trump. “This is his first go-around with sensitive information and he might’ve slipped up. If he did, it’s not good. On the other hand, if it’s not deliberate, it’s not exactly a high crime and misdemeanor,” he said, implying that Clinton committed worse security infractions by using a private email server.
READ IT AT Fox News  
 
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White House Staff ‘Hiding’ as Russia Chaos Engulfs West Wing
BY Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, Tim Mak, and Jana Winter
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. BUT NOT HIS TAXES
Report: Trump to Disclose Some Finances
President Donald Trump plans on disclosing some of his personal finances this year, an anonymous White House official told the Associated Press on Monday. U.S. presidents are not required to disclose their personal finances until their second year on the job, although some, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, have done so within their first year. Trump’s 2016 financial disclosure will likely indicate his personal income, assets, and liabilities. The disclosure will not contain details like Trump’s tax rate or any charitable donations, which would appear on his income-tax forms. Trump has refused to release his tax forms throughout his campaign and presidency. Trump’s financial disclosure while on the campaign trail in May 2016 revealed that his companies had increased in value since he announced his candidacy.
READ IT AT AP  
 
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9. DEVIOUS
Hackers Holding Disney Film for Ransom
Hackers are demanding a “huge sum” of bitcoins from Walt Disney Studios to prevent a stolen copy of an upcoming film from being released, the company’s chief executive said Monday. Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said the movie studio is refusing to pay and working with federal investigators. Iger did not reveal the name of the film the hackers claim to have obtained, but the latest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is due to open Friday, and Cars 3 is slated for release in mid-June. The hackers reportedly threatened to first release a five-minute clip of the film, followed by 20-minute chunks until the ransom is paid. No further details were given on the hacking group behind the ransom scheme. The incident comes just weeks after hackers released the new season of Netflix’s hit series Orange Is the New Black after a ransom was not paid.
READ IT AT The Washington Post  
 
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10. SHOCK
Veteran Mexican Journalist Assassinated
Award-winning Mexican journalist Javier Valdez was shot to death Monday in broad daylight on a busy street in Culiacan. Valdez, a well-known correspondent for Mexico City’s La Jornada and a co-founder of the weekly publication Riodoce, was a veteran crime reporter covering drug wars and cartels. His death makes him the latest of at least five Mexican journalists assassinated in 2017, in what press freedom organizations describe as an increasingly dangerous climate for Mexican reporters. In a statement on Twitter, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto pledged to protect reporters. “I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and press, fundamental to our democracy,” Nieto said. The Valdez news came hours before gunmen in Autlan state attacked Sonia Córdova, an executive at the Semanario Costeno weekly magazine, and her son, Jonathan Rodríguez Córdova, a reporter at the publication. Reuters reports the younger Córdova died at the scene, and the mother was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
READ IT AT Los Angeles Times  
 
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