🎧 ‘The Daily’: Rod Rosenstein’s Impossible Choice | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Rod Rosenstein’s Impossible Choice by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

President Trump has asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether the F.B.I. infiltrated his campaign in 2016 for political purposes. In response, the department granted the president’s team access to highly classified information from the special counsel’s Russia investigation. What’s behind this decision?

On today’s episode:

• Julie Hirschfeld Davis, who covers the White House for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• In a series of tweets on Sunday, President Trump demanded an investigation into whether an F.B.I. informant “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign. The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to accommodate the president’s wishes by expanding an existing inquiry.

• The president’s tweets referred to a Times report about Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, examining whether countries other than Russia, including Saudi Arabia, had offered assistance to the Trump campaign.

• After a White House meeting on Monday, intelligence and law enforcement officials agreed to disclose some sensitive documents from the Russia investigation to Republican congressional leaders.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Does Mueller Have a Plan for Trump? | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Does Mueller Have a Plan for Trump? by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

White House lawyers have claimed that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, will not indict the president, regardless of his findings. If that’s true, then what is the purpose of his inquiry?

On today’s episode:

• Michael S. Schmidt, a Washington correspondent who covers national security and federal investigations for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• According to President Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Mueller’s investigators said that they would abide by the Justice Department’s legal and historical precedent to refrain from prosecuting sitting presidents.

• Any discovery of wrongdoing by the president might instead be referred to Congress for a decision, as was done when Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton were under investigation.

• It has been one year since Mr. Mueller was appointed special counsel to look into a dizzying array of events that span years and continents. Here's a guide to what has happened.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Mueller’s Questions for Trump | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Mueller’s Questions for Trump by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The New York Times has obtained the list of questions that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel looking into Russia’s election interference, wants to ask President Trump. The wide-ranging queries offer a rare view into an investigation that has been shrouded in secrecy.


On today’s episode:

• Michael S. Schmidt, who has been covering the Russia investigation for The Times.

Background reading:

• The Times reports that Mr. Mueller’s team shared with the president’s lawyers a list of at least four dozen questions, the majority of which focus on possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.

• Here are the questions, along with a look at their context and significance.

If his attorneys couldn’t have guessed all of these questions by themselves, they should be fired. The real secret is to know the hidden questions to things they’re aware of, but no one knows they’re privy to.

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👓 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/05/11/what-we-found-facebook-ads-russians-accused-election-meddling/602319002/ | USA Today

Read We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Here's what we found (USA TODAY)
What we learned about Russian election meddling by reading all 3,517 Facebook ads they were pushing from 2015 to 2017.
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👓 Why Mueller Has to Expose Trump’s Crooked Business Empire | Daily Intelligencer | New York Magazine

Read Why Mueller Has to Expose Trump’s Crooked Business Empire by Jonathan Chait (Daily Intelligencer)
If Trump is laundering money, and he probably is, the Russians know about it. So do Michael Cohen’s gangster friends.

I read the story about Trump’s empire the other day and remarked about how screwwy the situation seemed and wondered where the investigation into his businesses and taxes was and why we hadn’t heard much about it. Well it seems to be coming out in more force.

In this article, Chait indicates what is only incredibly obliquely implied in that Washington Post article: Trump is likely laundering money for Russian concerns for he can’t honestly have the native cash flow from honest dealings to be spending the way he has. This is a much more stark take on this recent financial reporting.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: James Comey Opens Up About Ego, Distrust and More | New York Times

Listened 'The Daily': James Comey Opens Up About Ego, Distrust and More by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, spoke with me for Friday’s episode of “The Daily,” as he wraps up a publicity tour for his book, “A Higher Loyalty.” Our conversation focused on his decision, before his firing, to document his interactions with President Trump in a series of memos — and to eventually share the contents of one of those memos with a journalist, in the hopes of pressuring the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel in the Russia investigation.

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👓 Lawyer Who Was Said to Have Dirt on Clinton Had Closer Ties to Kremlin Than She Let On | New York Times

Read Lawyer Who Was Said to Have Dirt on Clinton Had Closer Ties to Kremlin Than She Let On by Andrew E. Kramer and Sharon LaFraniere (nytimes.com)
Newly released emails have renewed questions about who the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, was representing when she met with top Trump campaign officials promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

 

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Prospect of Pardons | The New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: The Prospect of Pardons by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

As the special counsel built his case against Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, pressure was mounting for the men to to cooperate with the Russia inquiry.Then a lawyer for President Trump came to them with an idea: What if the president were to pardon his former advisers?



On today’s episode:

• Michael S. Schmidt, who has been covering the Russia investigation for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• The talks about possible pardons for two former Trump adviserssuggest that the White House was concerned about what Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort might reveal to the special counsel in the Russia investigation.

Presidents should not be able to grant or push potential pardons in actions in which they’re so closely involved.

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👓 Mueller gathers evidence that 2017 Seychelles meeting was effort to establish back channel to Kremlin | The Washington Post

Read Mueller gathers evidence that 2017 Seychelles meeting was effort to establish back channel to Kremlin by Sari Horwitz and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post)
An Indian Ocean meeting between a Trump backer and a Russian official may have been planned to secretly discuss U.S.-Russia relations.

Wow! The plot gets thicker with some new bits and new players.

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👓 Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say | Washington Post

Read Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say (Washington Post)
Mueller is interviewing senior intelligence officials as the Russia probe widens.
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👓 Jared Kushner’s Role Is Tested as Russia Case Grows | New York Times

Read Jared Kushner’s Role Is Tested as Russia Case Grows by Glenn Thrush (nytimes.com)
It is unclear how Jared Kushner’s high-profile woes will affect his hard-won partnership with his father-in-law, perhaps the most stable in an often unstable White House.
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