Spicer goes off-cam


Tuesday, May 16, 2017
TV coverage is visible from a West Wing window after reports allege President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian diplomats last week in the Oval Office. Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Spicer Goes Off-Cam: Briefing today was supposed to be on camera, but that’s changed

Dem 2020 Preview: Potential presidential candidates meet today at St. Regis Hotel in D.C.

Washington Gets Lit: Dueling light shows at the WH and Trump International

Kate Bennett

What the White House Is Talking About:
Day 117, one of the diciest yet. President Donald Trump meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Oval Office, and has a working lunch. 

What the White House Press Corps Is Talking About:
Top of our head: 
— Who knew what, when
— The competency question of the administration overall
— Loyalty on the line
— Where is Vice President Mike Pence? Rumor has it he’s so annoyed about sticking his neck out on the James Comey stuff, he’s not touching this Russia situation with a 10-foot pole. 

Wait, What?:
This morning everyone pretty much did a collective ? at Trump’s tweets, basically admitting he shared the information that The Washington Post says he did, but arguing it was totally his right to do so. And after two of his most-respected staffers — H.R. McMaster and Dina Powell — flatly denied the incident took place. Here’s CNN’s Eugene Scott’s cheat sheet to catch you up in case you missed it. 

Spicer Goes Off-Cam: 
After initially announcing an on-camera briefing with Sean Spicer, the White House changed the plan and has opted for a 2 p.m. off-camera gaggle with the press.

Tiffany Trump Enters Adulthood:
On Monday, Tiffany Trump attended the University of Pennsylvania graduation of her boyfriend, Ross Mechanic. Mechanic has been to the White House a few times — most recently for the Easter Egg Roll. He also attended inaugural festivities with the first daughter. Here’s what she posted on her Instagram: 

Tiny RBG Gives Award on Huge Stage:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a surprise presenter at Monday night’s Helen Hayes Awards at the National Theatre. The Supreme Court justice gave out the Tribute Award to actor Ted Van Griethuysen.
Credit: @chelseydc/Twitter

Men, Don’t Do This:
There’s a Kickstarter campaign out there that you might have seen — raising money for men’s rompers, called The RompHim. Friends, trust me, it’s dumb and they’re ugly. Yet I feel like my voice is being drowned out in a sea of bros with too much spare cash and wanting to be “that guy” at the summer barbecue. The company had a goal to raise $10,000, and as of 11:30 this morning, it had reached $49,639. Sigh.

Credit: The RompHim

Did Trump Copy the Legally Blonde Commencement Speech? 
You decide. “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” makes a compelling case, with side-by-side comparisons to Elle Woods. #plotthickens

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington Is Talking About:
The report Monday that President Donald Trump shared confidential information with the Russians during last week’s visit in the Oval Office hit like an aftershock after last week’s earthquake firing of James Comey. The ground’s still shaking.

What America Is Talking About:
Instagram is introducing face filters. Hmm … sounds familiar.

What Hollywood Is Talking About:
Disney CEO Bob Iger said Monday hackers are threatening to release an upcoming Disney film unless they pay a ransom, which the company is refusing to do. Per Deadline Hollywood, the film is “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” Last month, a hacker made a similar threat to Netflix and released episodes from the fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black.”

New WaPo Record:
Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler tweeted Monday the paper’s Trump Russia leak story broke its record for most readers per minute, previously set by its “Access Hollywood” tape story.

Credit: @GlennKesslerWP/Twitter

Drudge this morning is running it with “BLOODSPORT: WASH POST NEWSROOM CHEERS AFTER LATEST HIT ON PRESIDENT…”

On This Day in History:
Four years ago today, Trump asked whether Washington could handle “yet another scandal” on Twitter. At the time, the Internal Revenue Service was accused of targeting tea party and other conservative groups and the Justice Department was revealed to have been secretly collecting two months’ worth of of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter

But seriously, I wonder what the next scandal will be in D.C. Can we handle yet another?!

2020 Dem Preview:
Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are meeting today at Washington’s St. Regis Hotel for the Ideas Conference, hosted by the Center for American Progress. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will deliver the lunch keynote, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey will give the closing keynote this afternoon. At events like this “you want to do well,” Democratic campaign veteran Bob Shrum told CNN’s Eric Bradner.

“There’s a lot more happening behind the scenes in terms of folks maneuvering to line up fund-raisers, political talent, how they’re going to put a campaign together,” he said.

Clinton Breaks Silence:
Hillary Clinton ended her eight-day tweet draught Monday, not by weighing in on former FBI Director James Comey’s firing but announcing Onward Together, a group she said will work “to encourage people to get involved, organize, and even run for office.”

The logo uses the same font and arrow motif that her campaign logo did:

Credit: Onward Together

Pending any surprise tweets or interviews, the next time we’ll see Clinton publicly will be May 26 when she delivers the commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College, followed by Recode’s Code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, which begins May 30. I’m assuming we’re more likely to hear her Comey thoughts at the latter than the former.

Claire Underwood Has an Ask:
The latest “House of Cards” promo video, showing Robin Wright as Claire Underwood asking listeners to “tell us what you see” two weeks ahead of the election, is frightening.

Washington Gets Lit:
The White House was lit blue Monday night to commemorate Police Week …

Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

while just down the Pennsylvania Avenue, the Trump International Hotel was lit up by projections reading “Pay Trump Bribes Here,” “Emoluments Welcome” and the text of the Emoluments Clause.

Credit: Adrian Parsons

The clause, from Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, reads: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State,” so it’s popular among Trump critics who accuse him of using his office to enrich himself and his family.

Send me your pics of political street art to coverlinehunter@cnn.com, tweet me @hunterschwarz, or tag @cnncoverline on Instagram.

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COVER/LINE is where politics meets pop culture. From CNN’s Hunter Schwarz and Kate Bennett, this daily newsletter is the must-read lunch date in Washington and beyond.
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