6:31 PM 5/16/2017 – Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation – The New York Times | Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians – The New York Times

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Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians – The New York Times

Israelis Nervous About Sharing Intel With Trump After Russia Gaffe – Vocativ
US, UK ban laptops, tablets on airplanes: What’s the threat? – Times of India
Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation – The New York Times
Analysis: Trump intel sharing risks damaging US alliances | WTOP
The Latest: German lawmaker questions Trump as security risk – SFGate
European official to AP: Country might stop sharing intel with U.S. – POLITICO
Russia denies reports that Trump revealed classified information to officials – LA Times
TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Moscow dismisses reports Trump revealed secret information to Russia as political pressure
Russia denies Trump shared classified information | TheHill
Trump and Putin exchange top secret information through Russian FM Lavrov – PravdaReport
“Maybe the Russians were the leakers!” Fox News offered a master class on spin Monday night. – Vox
Can President Donald Trump share top secret information? – BBC News
Someone has to yank President Trump’s security clearance
Vladimir Putin declares Trump mission accomplished: ‘Golf, glitz and gluttony are the key’
Amid Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Ruins, a New Push for Statehood – The New York Times

Videos – 5.16.17

Кибератака, которая вскрыла уязвимость всего мира – YouTube
Дело директора ФБР – YouTube
Полицейский пожертвовал почку ребенку – YouTube
Россия и Саудовская Аравия призвали продлить сделку о сокращении добычи нефти на 9 месяцев – economy – YouTube
Эксперты предупреждают о возможной новой волне кибератак – YouTube
Exploring Jewish life in Iran | DW English – YouTube
Дерипаска подал в суд на американских журналистов – YouTube
За вирусом WannaCry могут стоять хакеры из КНДР – YouTube
Меркель и Макрон готовы реформировать Евросоюз – YouTube
Украина заблокирует Яндекс, Одноклассники и ВКонтакте – YouTube
Программа “В рабочий полдень”: Сергей Собянин – YouTube
“Погода 24”: город Ракка ушел под воду – YouTube
Познер. Владимир Познер об оскорблении чувств верующих. 15.05.2017 – YouTube
Сборная России разгромила Латвию на чемпионате мира по хоккею – YouTube
Познер – Гость Иван Ургант. Выпуск от 15.05.2017 – YouTube
Белый дом: Трамп не обсуждал секреты в беседе с Лавровым / Новости – YouTube
SpaceX запустила спутник для Wi-Fi в самолетах – YouTube
Трамп мог раскрыть Лаврову секреты разведки – YouTube
Протесты в Венесуэле: погибли еще два человека – YouTube
Глава МЧС лично проконтролирует ликвидацию последствий паводка – YouTube
Дональд Трамп уволил главу ФБР. Почему в США не верят в официальную версию отставки Джеймса Коми?. Новости. Первый канал

Google News and Searches – 5.16.17

AP News in Brief at 6:04 am EDT
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Posts – 5.16.17

News Reviews and Opinions: 4:45 AM 5/16/2017 – Gunmen Kill Prominent Mexican Journalist Who Covered Drug Cartels
News Reviews and Opinions: 7:50 AM 5/16/2017 – AP Exclusive: Chinese spent $24B on US, other ‘golden visas’
News Reviews and Opinions: 8:20 AM 5/16/2017 – Man accused of killing mother, then stabbing worker after walking into store with severed head – OregonLive.com
News Reviews and Opinions: 10:57 AM 5/16/2017 – Bragging about our intel to Russia? Trump is too needy to be president – The Guardian
Current News: 12:26 PM 5/16/2017 – Can Putin destroy Trump? – UK Progressive Magazine
12:34 PM 5/16/2017 – ‘Golf, glitz and gluttony are the key’ – SATIRE: Vladmir Putin, in quest of easy secrets, sets his golfers and flatterers on to Donald Trump – The World Web Times – wwtimes.com
4:30 PM 5/16/2017 – Scandals prompt discussion about the future of Trump’s presidency – MSNBC – The World Web Times – wwtimes.com
RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: Video Review: WannaCry: кибернападение на мир by BBCRussian | Дело директора ФБР by golosamerikius

5.15.17

AP Top Stories May 15 A – YouTube
AP Top Stories May 14 P – YouTube
PM Netanyhau meets Ukrainian PM Volodymyr Groysman – YouTube
White House tries to move on after Comey – YouTube
Гройсман о “беспрецендентной агрессии” России – YouTube
Putin plays piano while awaiting Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Beijing – YouTube
President Duterte sits beside Putin at welcome dinner hosted by Xi – YouTube
Putin holds press conference at Silk Road forum in China – YouTube
Тиллерсон: отношения с Россией худшие со времен Холодной войны – YouTube
Donald Trump set for first foreign trip as US president – YouTube
US Support for Syrian Kurds in Fight Against IS Likely to Dominate US-Turkey Summit – YouTube
Who will replace James Comey? – YouTube
Rep. Trey Gowdy in the running to replace Comey at FBI? – YouTube
PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode May 14, 2017 – YouTube
Will firing Comey trigger a constitutional crisis – YouTube
Report: GOP Senators Pulling Away From Trump
G.O.P. Senators, Pulling Away From Trump, Have ‘a Lot Less Fear of Him’ – The New York Times
American institutions are ‘under…
Republicans who are complicit in Trump’s abuse of power will soon have a big problem – The Washington Post
AP FACT CHECK: It’s far from case closed on Trump, Russia – The Washington Post
Don’t politicize FBI pick, lawmakers urge Trump (and hand over any tapes, they add) – LA Times
American institutions are ‘under assault’ by Trump. But do people care? – The Washington Post
The Daily 202: Loyalty is a one-way…
North Korea’s latest missile launch…
Trump is reportedly considering a…
John Oliver blasts Trump over Comey…
Americans Deserve To Know About…
How Trump gets his fake news
Are Republicans starting to pull away…
Americans Deserve To Know About…
The Daily 202: Loyalty is a one-way…
American institutions are ‘under assault’ by Trump. But do people care? – The Washington Post
Comey’s firing, health care fuel…
Simple things you can do to protect…
Trump fires FBI chief, citing…
Lawmakers urge Trump to avoid picking…
Russia’s alleged interference in elections under spotlight at Prague summit | Technology | The Guardian
The Daily 202: Loyalty is a one-way…
26 children on board overturned bus…
Syria using crematorium to hide…
Trump promises law enforcement…
How to protect yourself from the…
Possible Candidates FBI Director…
Is Microsoft to blame for the largest…

Posts – 5.15.17

News Reviews and Opinions: 2:31 PM 5/15/2017 – Is Microsoft to blame for the largest ransomware attacks in internet history? – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
News Reviews and Opinions: Today’s News
News Reviews and Opinions: 9:07 AM 5/15/2017 – Video News Review
Cyber attack’s spread slows; security…
Why Congress will probably never see…
severed human head – Google Search
Man holding severed human head stabs grocery worker | The Spokesman-Review
Man enters store holding severed head, stabs worker | New York Post
cad – Google Search
GRAPHIC: Man carries woman’s severed head and knife into grocery store | KFOR.com
New round of Syria peace talks to open in Geneva – YouTube
Breaking News Today , President Trump Latest News Today 5/15/17 ,White House news – YouTube
Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador – The Washington Post
Trump shared highly classified…
The White House isn’t denying that Trump gave Russia classified information — not really – The Washington Post
Clapper says Trump weakening U.S. institutions – The Washington Post
The FBI needs a nonpartisan director – The Washington Post
Former attorney general: Trump made the right call on Comey – The Washington Post
Here’s how the Russians might have snuck a recording device into the Oval Office – The Washington Post
gowdy – Google Search
Trump shared highly classified…
Another Trump crisis craters GOP agenda
Trump again reveals his dangerous incompetence (opinion) – CNN.com
‘WannaCry’ ransomware shares code…
Trump again reveals his dangerous…

5.14.17

U.S. Checks and Balances ‘Under Assault’ by White House, Clapper Says – The New York Times
Trump pledges to move quickly to name new FBI director | Reuters
Treasury unit to share records with Senate for Trump-Russia probe: WSJ | Reuters

____________________________________________

5.16.17 – Shared Links

Consternation on Capitol Hill over Trump’s Russia meeting – Washington Post
Libyan commander stages show of force on Benghazi campaign anniversary
Expansion of ban on larger electronics on airlines likely: U.S.
US envoy: North Korea is intimidating the entire world
Debris found in Bahamas from plane carrying four people – Sun Sentinel
Asia and Australia Edition: Cyberattack, Russia, North Korea: Your Morning Briefing
Search for Missing Plane Survivors Under Way After Debris Found Near Bahamas – NBCNews.com
Mexican journalists mourn, protest after deadly day
US aims to sway China on new North Korea sanctions after test: Haley – Reuters
Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation
Scandals prompt discussion about the future of Trump’s presidency – MSNBC
McMaster: Trump’s sharing of sensitive intelligence with Russia was ‘wholly appropriate’ – Washington Post
Hunting the cyber-attackers – BBC News
International inquiry finds sulfur mustard exposure in Syria
El Daily Stormer: Neo-Nazi website is now in Spanish, too
Four plead guilty in death of college student during ‘glass ceiling’ hazing ritual – fox8.com
Mexicans mourn well-known journalist as risks to reporters skyrocket – Washington Post
Erick Erickson: Trump’s Russia Leak Is ‘Far Worse’ Than Reported – HuffPost
Assad Regime Mocks U.S. Claims of Prison Killings, Crematorium
Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians
Kellyanne Conway denies that she dislikes Trump – Politico
Trump to Make Historic Visit to Western Wall in Jerusalem – NBCNews.com
Donald Trump is making western democracy look really bad and making dictators feel pretty smug – Salon
Trump’s comments to Russian officials appropriate to conversation, says McMaster video
Kellyanne Conway Denies Morning Joe Claims of Secret Disloyalty to Trump
Saved Stories – None
Consternation on Capitol Hill over Trump’s Russia meeting – Washington Post


Washington Post
Consternation on Capitol Hill over Trump’s Russia meeting
Washington Post
WASHINGTON Consternation and confusion overtook Capitol Hill on Tuesday as Republicans confronted revelations that President Donald Trump had disclosed highly classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office a day after firing FBI Director …
Hill Republicans Want ‘Less Drama’ From Trump After Latest ControversyNBCNews.com
McConnell Calls for ‘Apolitical’ FBI Director, Less Trump DramaBloomberg

all 121 news articles »

Libyan commander stages show of force on Benghazi campaign anniversary

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar staged a large military parade on Tuesday for the third anniversary of his campaign to control Benghazi, as his troops fight to secure two last districts in Libya’s second city.

Expansion of ban on larger electronics on airlines likely: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Homeland Security chief John Kelly has not made a final decision on extending a ban on larger electronic devices on airplanes, but the department still believes an expansion is “likely,” a spokesman said on Tuesday.

US envoy: North Korea is intimidating the entire world

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says North Korea is intimidating the international community with its nuclear program, military ability and cyberattacks. Nikki Haley also says any country that doesn't implement U.N. sanctions is supporting Pyongyang….
Debris found in Bahamas from plane carrying four people – Sun Sentinel


Sun Sentinel
Debris found in Bahamas from plane carrying four people
Sun Sentinel
A plane carrying a woman from New York, her two young sons and a friend was overdue to land in Titusville, Fla. Monday and the U.S. Coast Guard is searching for them in The Bahamas. Linda TrischittaContact ReporterSun Sentinel. A plane carrying a …

and more »

Asia and Australia Edition: Cyberattack, Russia, North Korea: Your Morning Briefing

Heres what you need to know to start your day.

Search for Missing Plane Survivors Under Way After Debris Found Near Bahamas – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Search for Missing Plane Survivors Under Way After Debris Found Near Bahamas
NBCNews.com
The Coast Guard said Tuesday it’s now searching for survivors after it found a debris field in Bahamian waters where a plane disappeared while carrying a prominent New York executive and her two sons, along with the pilot. IMAGE: Jennifer Blumin in 2010.
Plane With New York CEO, 3 Others, Missing in BahamasBloomberg

all 68 news articles »

Mexican journalists mourn, protest after deadly day

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican journalists covered news conferences wearing black on Tuesday, and brought pictures of slain colleagues to rallies to put pressure on authorities to act against an escalation of murderous attacks on their trade.

US aims to sway China on new North Korea sanctions after test: Haley – Reuters


Reuters
US aims to sway China on new North Korea sanctions after test: Haley
Reuters
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks while Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho (L) and South Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Cho Tae-yul (R) look on during a press encounter ahead of an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council …
Guam residents cast wary eye at North Korea after launchWashington Post
US Intelligence Takes Increased North Korean Saber-Rattling SeriouslyVoice of America
Here’s what would happen if North Korea launched a real attackSTLtoday.com
New York Times
all 184 news articles »
Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

“I hope you can let this go, the president told the F.B.I. director in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote.

Scandals prompt discussion about the future of Trump’s presidency – MSNBC


MSNBC
Scandals prompt discussion about the future of Trump’s presidency
MSNBC
There was a great moment on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, with a sketch in which Donald Trump was being interviewed by Lester Holt both portrayed by actors, of course and the subject turned to the president’s firing of FBI Director

and more »

McMaster: Trump’s sharing of sensitive intelligence with Russia was ‘wholly appropriate’ – Washington Post


Washington Post
McMaster: Trump’s sharing of sensitive intelligence with Russia was ‘wholly appropriate’
Washington Post
President Trump’s national security adviser said Tuesday that the president’s decision to reveal highly classified information during a meeting with Russian officials last week was “wholly appropriate” the latest attempt by the White House to
White House under siege seeks to mitigate falloutCNN
Trump Defends Sharing ISIS Information With RussiaNew York Times
The Hill’s 12:30 ReportThe Hill
Politico –HuffPost –Los Angeles Times –The Boston Globe
all 24 news articles »
Hunting the cyber-attackers – BBC News


BBC News
Hunting the cyber-attackers
BBC News
The hunt is on for the cyber-attackers who struck last week and the first clues are emerging – but they are far from conclusive. The initial assumption was that a criminal gang was behind the attack because ransomware is typical of such groups out to

and more »

International inquiry finds sulfur mustard exposure in Syria

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog found that two Syrian women were exposed to sulfur mustard in an apparent attack in Aleppo province last September, a report to the United Nations Security Council said.

El Daily Stormer: Neo-Nazi website is now in Spanish, too

How does a leading neo-Nazi website that has railed against Hispanic immigrants expand its audience beyond a loyal base of U.S. white supremacists? By publishing a Spanish-language edition, of course….
Four plead guilty in death of college student during ‘glass ceiling’ hazing ritual – fox8.com


fox8.com
Four plead guilty in death of college student during ‘glass ceiling’ hazing ritual
fox8.com
Baruch College freshman Chun Michael Deng, 18, died from his injuries after fraternity brothers waited to contact authorities when Deng was unconscious as a result of a fraternity ritual on a group trip to the Poconos in Pennsylvania, according to

and more »

Mexicans mourn well-known journalist as risks to reporters skyrocket – Washington Post


Washington Post
Mexicans mourn well-known journalist as risks to reporters skyrocket
Washington Post
MEXICO CITY Journalist Javier Valdez long chronicled underworld activities in the Pacific-coast state of Sinaloa, home to the drug cartel once led by Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán. Valdez wrote on the cartel’s internal power struggles, profiled its

and more »

Erick Erickson: Trump’s Russia Leak Is ‘Far Worse’ Than Reported – HuffPost


HuffPost
Erick Erickson: Trump’s Russia Leak Is ‘Far Worse’ Than Reported
HuffPost
Erickson wrote that people close to the president find him too insecure to take constructive criticism as anything other than a personal attack. So sources have gone to the media in the hopes that the intense blowback may forceTrump to recognize his
Scoop: Trump, irked at cabinet and staff, mulls sweeping shake-upAxios
I Know One of the Sources | The ResurgentThe Resurgent

all 9 news articles »

Assad Regime Mocks U.S. Claims of Prison Killings, Crematorium

The state-run news agency, quoting an unnamed foreign ministry official, calls accusations of mass hangings and the burning of remains to hide the proof detached from reality and false.

Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians

President Trump escorting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel into the White House in February.

Israel was said to have provided the classified information about an Islamic State plot that President Trump disclosed to the Russians in a meeting last week.

Kellyanne Conway denies that she dislikes Trump – Politico

Kellyanne Conway denies that she dislikes Trump
Politico
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday denied a cable news report that she dislikes President Donald Trump and only works for him for the pay. My beliefs, commitments and loyalties are plain to see, she said in a statement posted to

and more »

Trump to Make Historic Visit to Western Wall in Jerusalem – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Trump to Make Historic Visit to Western Wall in Jerusalem
NBCNews.com
President Donald Trump heads to Israel next week where he is poised to make history by becoming the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall one of the holiest sites in Judaism. Trump “will say a prayer at the Western Wall,” National
USEmbassyTelAviv on Twitter: “Welcome to US Ambassador to #Israel David Friedman. First stop- a prayer at the …Twitter

all 124
Mark Meadows: McMaster made ‘concerning shift’ in favor of PalestiniansWashington Examiner
Trump to Visit Jewish, Christian Holy Sites in JerusalemU.S. News & World Report

all 126 news articles »

Donald Trump is making western democracy look really bad and making dictators feel pretty smug – Salon


Salon
Donald Trump is making western democracy look really bad and making dictators feel pretty smug
Salon
President Donald Trump a possible future victim of checks and balances has delighted foreign autocrats, who look to our president either for justification for their despotism or, in some cases, just a good laugh. Now you guys can’t lecture

Trump’s comments to Russian officials appropriate to conversation, says McMaster video

The US national security adviser, HR McMaster, speaks in defence of Donald Trumps comments to Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. The Washington Post alleged that Trump revealed highly classified details about a threat from Isis during their meeting last week

Continue reading…

Kellyanne Conway Denies Morning Joe Claims of Secret Disloyalty to Trump

“My beliefs, commitments and loyalties are plain to see, she said, in response to their claims that she only worked for Donald Trump for the money.
Shared NewsLinks Review

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
What is ‘wholly appropriate’ to the…
Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation
Amid Puerto Ricos Fiscal Ruins, a New Push for Statehood
Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians
Donald Trump is his administration’s…
Erick Erickson: Trump’s Russia Leak…
trump cartoons – Google Search
How lawmakers are reacting to report…
‘Golf, glitz and gluttony are the key’
“Maybe the Russians were the leakers! Fox News offered a master class on spin Monday night. – Vox
Trump Says He Has ‘Absolute Right’ To…
Trump and Putin exchange top secret information through Russian FM Lavrov
Someone has to yank President Trump’s security clearance
Russia denies Trump shared classified information
Analysis: Trump intel sharing risks damaging US alliances
European official to AP: Country might stop sharing intel with U.S.
Trump Says He Has ‘Absolute Right’ To…
laptops airplanes – Google Search
US, UK ban laptops, tablets on airplanes: What’s the threat? – Times of India
Can President Donald Trump share top…
Can President Donald Trump share top…
Can President Donald Trump share top secret information?
TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy
Israelis Nervous About Sharing Intel With Trump After Russia Gaffe
The Latest: German lawmaker questions Trump as security risk – SFGate

What is ‘wholly appropriate’ to the…

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What is ‘wholly appropriate’ to the White House? Pretty much whatever Trump says.

Washington Post – ‎2 hours ago‎
If there were two words the White House wanted you to take away from national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s press briefing Tuesday, they were these: “wholly appropriate.” McMaster tempered his earlier denial of a Washington Post report that

How dangerous are classified secrets claims for Trump?

BBC News – ‎3 hours ago‎
The Trump White House has now settled on its defence of the president’s meeting with the Russian delegation, in which he reportedly revealed classified information to his guests. In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning the president framed any

Trump Says He Has ‘Absolute Right’ To Share Intelligence With Russia

NPR – ‎6 hours ago‎
Updated at 4:36 p.m. ET. President Trump is responding to the backlash against the allegations that he shared “highly classified” information with the Russians by saying he had “the absolute right to do” so. He tweeted Tuesday morning: As President I

The Latest: Report says Israel provided intelligence on IS

New York Daily News – ‎32 minutes ago‎
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, left, calls on a reporter as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster listens at right during a briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. President Donald Trump claimed the authority to

There’s almost nothing Congress can do to stop Trump from giving out secrets

Washington Post – ‎2 hours ago‎
Republicans in Congress may be totally dismayed that President Trump shared highly classified information with the Russians. Almost no one on Capitol Hill is helping to defend the president on this. But unless Republicans want to get seriously …
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· · ·

Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

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“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo.

Mr. Comey did not say anything to Mr. Trump about curtailing the investigation, only replying: “I agree he is a good guy.”

In a statement, the White House denied the version of events in the memo.

“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the statement said. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”

In testimony to the Senate last week, the acting F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, said, “There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.”

A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment.

Mr. Comey created similar memos — including some that are classified — about every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the two people said. It is unclear whether Mr. Comey told the Justice Department about the conversation or his memos.

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last week. Trump administration officials have provided multiple, conflicting accounts of the reasoning behind Mr. Comey’s dismissal. Mr. Trump said in a television interview that one of the reasons was because he believed “this Russia thing” was a “made-up story.”

The Feb. 14 meeting took place just a day after Mr. Flynn was forced out of his job after it was revealed he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of phone conversations he had had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Despite the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey, the investigation of Mr. Flynn has proceeded. In Virginia, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas in recent weeks for records related to Mr. Flynn. Part of the Flynn investigation is centered on his financial ties to Russia and Turkey.

Mr. Comey had been in the Oval Office that day with other senior national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. When the meeting ended, Mr. Trump told those present — including Mr. Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to leave the room except for Mr. Comey.

Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

The Trump administration has offered conflicting answers about how and why the F.B.I. director, James Comey, was fired.

Mr. Trump then turned the discussion to Mr. Flynn.

After writing up a memo that outlined the meeting, Mr. Comey shared it with senior F.B.I. officials. Mr. Comey and his aides perceived Mr. Trump’s comments as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret — even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation — so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.

Mr. Comey was known among his closest advisers to document conversations that he believed would later be called into question, according to two former confidants, who said Mr. Comey was uncomfortable at times with his relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Comey’s recollection has been bolstered in the past by F.B.I. notes. In 2007, he told Congress about a now-famous showdown with senior White House officials over the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. The White House disputed Mr. Comey’s account, but the F.B.I. director at the time, Robert S. Mueller III, kept notes that backed up Mr. Comey’s story.

The White House has repeatedly crossed lines that other administrations have been reluctant to cross when discussing politically charged criminal investigations. Mr. Trump has disparaged the ongoing F.B.I. investigation as a hoax and called for an investigation into his political rivals. His representatives have taken the unusual step of declaring no need for a special prosecutor to investigate the president’s associates.

The Oval Office meeting occurred a little more than two weeks after Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Comey to the White House for a lengthy, one-on-one dinner in the residence. At that dinner, on Jan. 27, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey at least two times for a pledge of loyalty — which Mr. Comey declined, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

In a Twitter posting on Friday, Mr. Trump said that “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

After the meeting, Mr. Comey’s associates did not believe there was any way to corroborate Mr. Trump’s statements. But Mr. Trump’s suggestion last week that he was keeping tapes has made them wonder whether there are tapes that back up Mr. Comey’s account.

The Jan. 27 dinner came a day after White House officials learned that Mr. Flynn had been interviewed by F.B.I. agents about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. On Jan. 26, Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates told the White House counsel about the interview, and said Mr. Flynn could be subject to blackmail by the Russians because they knew he had lied about the content of the calls.

Continue reading the main story

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· · · · ·

Amid Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Ruins, a New Push for Statehood

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Statehood, Mr. Rosselló and his allies argue, would mean more investment in infrastructure, which would attract more businesses and create a more stable economy. Mr. Rosselló has also criticized Puerto Rico’s current relationship with the mainland as a “colonial status” that deprives its 3.4 million residents “of the right to political, social and economic equality under the U.S. flag.”

But Mr. Rosselló must not simply convince a wary Congress, which, by law, holds the key to Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. On the island, the “status” issue, as it is typically called, has for decades been the defining — and most divisive — question at the heart of Puerto Rican politics.

The three main political parties are not really divided along ideological lines; rather, Puerto Ricans know them as the party of statehood, the party of independence and the party that supports some improved version of the status quo. Voters in the June 11 referendum will be asked to choose among those three visions, and Mr. Rosselló’s allies are making a big push.

“Treasure your American citizenship,” read signs posted around the capital. “Guarantee it. Vote for statehood.”

But resistance runs deep. Jose Falu, 63, a black Puerto Rican who served in the Army from 1978 to 1984, was visiting the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in San Juan last week. He said he would like to see the commonwealth receive the same treatment as states — but not become a state. “I’ve lived in the United States during my period in the Army,” he said, “and they don’t treat the Puerto Ricans the same way as the Americans.”

Such is the swirl of complex feelings toward the mainland in Puerto Rico, obtained by the United States in 1898 as a spoil of the Spanish-American War. Its mash-up Caribbean culture has long encompassed strains of ardent American patriotism and concerns about the dilution of a unique Hispanic heritage, and its compatibility with the broader American project. In San Juan, the Capitol is adorned on the inside with paintings of Puerto Ricans who served with particular distinction and bravery in the American military. Abraham Lincoln’s famous quotation — “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth” — graces the exterior.

Some Puerto Ricans believe that the best expression of that sentiment would be a declaration of independence from the United States, but their numbers are small: The Puerto Rican Independence Party has never won the governorship.

“I don’t feel optimistic at all” about achieving independence, said Humberto Rodríguez Ortiz, 29, an artist and bartender. “I just hope for it like a little kid.”

During the Cold War era, the F.B.I. tried to undermine the independence movement here, but it has also been weakened by the perks of commonwealth status. Though Puerto Ricans residing on the island do not vote for president, and their sole representative in Congress cannot cast a vote, they are United States citizens and may move to the mainland as they please.

It is an option Puerto Ricans have increasingly taken advantage of in their effort to escape the economic malaise on the island, where 46 percent of the people are in poverty and the unemployment rate was 11.5 percent in March. More than 400,000 have moved to the mainland in the past decade. As of 2013, there were 5.1 million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland, according to the Pew Research Center, while the number of residents in the commonwealth is expected to dip below 3 million by 2050.

The middle ground has long been occupied by the Popular Democratic Party. Its leaders do not want to abandon the autonomy that the current status provides, but they argue that serious changes are needed if the island’s economy is to be saved.

In an interview on Tuesday, Héctor Ferrer, the party president, argued, among other things, that Congress should modify the Jones Act of 1920, which prohibits non-American ships from carrying goods between the island and the mainland, an exclusion that he said pushes up the prices of consumer goods and gasoline.

But he also criticized the referendum language, and warned of the cultural losses that would come with statehood. “We will lose our autonomy,” he said. “We will lose our culture. We will lose our language.”

At their conventions last year, Democrats and Republicans expressed support for the ability of Puerto Rico to choose its status. But skeptics on the island wonder how seriously statehood would be taken in Congress, given that it would mean billions more in outlays for federal programs in Puerto Rico; and in the Trump administration, where the White House has taken down the Spanish-language page of its website and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has supported efforts to make English the official language. During a debate, Mr. Trump criticized Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail, saying, “This is a country where we speak English.”

Mr. Rosselló’s New Progressive Party controls both houses of the legislature, but his critics note that he was elected in November with only 42 percent of the vote, and the two main opposition parties have pledged to boycott the referendum.

The crisis has driven some Puerto Ricans into Mr. Rosselló’s camp. Erick Storer, 36, became a convert to the statehood movement when he was laid off three months ago from his job in the pharmaceutical industry. The sector had thrived here thanks to generous corporate tax breaks created by Congress in 1976.

But Congress began phasing out the breaks in 1996, and they disappeared in 2006 — one reason, experts say, the economy has taken such a hit. With no representation in Congress, residents like Mr. Storer have been left feeling as if they have little say in policy making.

“We’re part of it, and we’re not part of it, and I don’t like that,” said Mr. Storer, who drives for Uber to make ends meet.

Others warn that statehood will not be a panacea. Among other things, Puerto Ricans would have to give up their current exemption from federal income tax for income earned in the commonwealth.

For some statehood supporters, the slim chance of convincing Congress of their cause is not as important as sending Washington a strong message. “It’s just so they can hear our voice,” said Marcos Díaz, 46, the owner of a moving company.

But there is also fear that the effort and attention being lavished on the referendum will be just one more distraction from the issues the island needs to address, among them corruption, nepotism and the need for a cleareyed economic plan. The last time a status referendum was held, in 2012, 61 percent of voters chose statehood, but the Popular Democratic Party instructed its followers to leave ballots blank, and argued that the end result had little merit.

“I personally think it’s a waste of time,” said Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, a consultant who works with a number of Puerto Rico organizations in Washington. “Puerto Rico puts so much emphasis on electing parties and party leaders that represent a status option as opposed to a good-governance option.”

Some of that sentiment was echoed last Tuesday afternoon at Yordy’s Mini-Market. A testament to Puerto Ricans’ enduring knack for industry and improvisation, it is part hardware store and part bar, with drinks mixed next to a key-duplicating machine during happy hour.

“Neither Republicans nor Democrats want us,” Roberto Reyes Villegas, 50, a carpenter who works for San Juan’s municipal government, said as he drank a Medalla Light beer.

Mr. Reyes described himself as a regular voter who was not loyal to any party. But he said he refused to participate in the referendum. It was little more than a distraction, he said, cooked up by what he called the “legisladrones,” or thieving lawmakers, who, he said, have been “sucking millions out of Puerto Rico.”

Mr. Reyes said the austerity plans had not touched his salary or benefits yet. And at age 50, he is taking a philosophical view of what comes next, paraphrasing Einstein’s contention that the distinction between past, present and future was a “stubbornly persistent illusion.”

He knows that the future is a more concrete and perhaps frightening proposition for his 18-year-old son. But his son, Mr. Reyes said, is smart and bilingual. If things get worse, he said, his son would probably just move away.

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