Daily Edition Top 10 (Week of May 8, 2017)
Gabriella Schwarz / May 13, 2017
President Donald Trump‘s firing of FBI Director James Comey dominated the week: first with the news he was let go and then with evolving explanations from the White House and unanswered questions from journalists. Trump’s subsequent interviews did little to quell the controversy—neither did the testimonies of acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
Read more about the fallout from Comey’s firing and some of the other biggest moments of the week, including Friday’s global cyber attack and the election of Emmanuel Macron as the new president of France.
1. Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey—The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa
Top line: “The stated rationale for Comey’s firing delivered Wednesday by principal deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was that he had committed ‘atrocities’ in overseeing the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, hurting morale in the bureau and compromising public trust.
‘He wasn’t doing a good job,’ Trump told reporters Wednesday. ‘Very simple. He wasn’t doing a good job.’
But the private accounts of more than 30 officials at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI and on Capitol Hill, as well as Trump confidants and other senior Republicans, paint a conflicting narrative centered on the president’s brewing personal animus toward Comey. Many of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to candidly discuss internal deliberations.”
Topic to follow: James Comey
2. Trump Taunts Comey Over ‘Tapes’ of Their Conversations—NBC News, Erik Ortiz and Ali Vitali
Top line: “Trump’s tweetstorm railed against the ‘fake media’ and those who expect his surrogates to defend him with ‘perfect accuracy,’ while giving a stern warning to Comey that he ‘better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!’…
Trump’s tumultuous 48 hours came to a head during an exclusive interview Thursday with NBC News’ Lester Holt, when the president contradicted the reason for Comey’s firing — giving mixed messages and undercutting what his aides and surrogates were telling reporters about the FBI chief’s surprise exit.
The president said he came to the decision to oust Comey on Tuesday after thinking about how ‘this Russia thing … is a made up story.'”
Topic to follow: Donald Trump
3. McCabe: You Cannot Stop ‘The FBI From Doing The Right Thing’—NPR, Jessica Taylor
Top line: “McCabe directly contradicted White House assertions that one of the reasons Comey was fired by President Trump on Tuesday was because he had lost the respect and support of the FBI rank and file.
‘Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,’ McCabe said, saying he holds Comey in the ‘absolute highest regard.'”
Topic to follow: FBI
4. How the White House Learned That Michael Flynn Was ‘Compromised’—TIME, Tessa Berenson
Top line: “Former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified Monday that she had warned the Trump Administration that former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have been ‘compromised’ by Russia more than two weeks before Flynn was finally fired in February.”
Topic to follow: Michael Flynn
5. Global cyber attack hits hospitals and companies, threat seen fading for now—Reuters, Jeremy Wagstaff and Costas Pitas
Top line: “A global cyber attack leveraging hacking tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries, disrupting Britain’s health system and global shipper FedEx.”
Topic to follow: Cybersecurity
6. ICE announces major anti-gang operation, mostly US citizens arrested—CNN, Tal Kopan
Top line: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced its largest anti-gang operation ever on Thursday, a six-week operation that netted more than 1,300 arrests nationwide.
Though the effort was led by ICE, the focus was not exclusively on immigrants. Of the arrests, 933 were US citizens and 445 were foreign nationals, with 384 in the country illegally.”
Topic to follow: Immigration
7. Removal of Confederate Icons Stirs Nuanced, Varied Reactions—AP, Kevin McGill and Gerald Herbert
Top line: “The statue of the Confederacy’s president had been hoisted from its stone pedestal in the pre-dawn hours and the blue glint of police lights was still visible two blocks away outside the corner laundromat where Carol Patterson sat as diverted rush-hour traffic rolled by…
Opinions among New Orleans residents vary and are nuanced when it comes to Landrieu’s move but the mayor has remained insistent – even amid blistering criticism from some allies – since he first pushed for the monument’s removal in 2015.”
Topic to follow: American History
8. Sessions restores tough drug war policies that trigger mandatory minimum sentences—Los Angeles Times, Joseph Tanfani and Evan Halper
Top line: “Ordering federal prosecutors on Friday to crack down on drug offenders, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions made clear he wants the Justice Department to turn the clock back to an earlier, tougher era in the four-decades-long war on drugs.
In a memo, Sessions said federal prosecutors should ‘charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense’ in drug cases, even when that would trigger mandatory minimum sentencing.”
Topic to follow: Criminal Justice
9. South Korea’s New President and China Move to Soothe Tensions—The New York Times, Choe Sang-Hun
Top line: “The leaders of South Korea and China moved on Thursday to mend ties that have been strained by the deployment of an American missile-defense system in South Korea.
During a congratulatory call from President Xi Jinping of China to Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s newly minted president, Mr. Moon revealed his plans to send a delegation to Beijing to resolve the dispute over the system, which China views as a threat to its security, Mr. Moon’s office said.”
Topic to follow: South Korea
10. Emmanuel Macron vows unity after winning French presidential election—The Guardian, Angelique Chrisafis
Top line: “The pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron has vowed to unite a divided and fractured France after winning a decisive victory over the far-right Front National candidate Marine Le Pen in the country’s presidential election.
Macron, 39, a former economy minister who ran as a ‘neither left nor right’ independent promising to shake up the French political system, took 66% to Le Pen’s 34%.”
Topic to follow: Emmanuel Macron
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