Source: Mueller briefed on Comey memos … Flynn pleading the Fifth … Trump’s Day 1 in Israel


CNN Politics:  Nightcap
May 22, 2017   |   by Daniella Diaz and Eli Watkins

First on CNN: Mueller reviewing Comey memos, source says

About that special counsel: Robert Mueller — the former FBI director now overseeing the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russia’s election-year meddling and possible contact with the Trump campaign — has been briefed on the contents of some of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey kept to document his conversations with President Donald Trump, according to a person familiar with the matter.  

Additionally, he has already visited FBI headquarters, where he met with the counterintelligence agents who have been working on the case since last July, according to two people familiar with the matter. Read the full story from CNN’s Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz.

And a tweet from House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Comey is speaking with Mueller before he makes public testimony.

“Spoke with Comey. He wants to speak with Special Counsel prior to pulic testimony. Hearing Wed postponed,” Chaffetz tweeted.

Flynn invokes Fifth Amendment in face of Senate probe

CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb write: Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded the Fifth Amendment instead of complying with the Senate intelligence committee’s subpoena for documents in its investigation of Russian meddling in the US election.

Flynn’s refusal to cooperate came as he faces scrutiny in several inquiries, including on Capitol Hill and a federal grand jury that has issued subpoenas to associates of the ex-national security adviser. His refusal to cooperate will also intensify scrutiny over President Donald Trump‘s decision to hire him initially for the job and his decision to keep him on staff for 18 days after the President was warned by then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn may have been compromised by the Russians.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner told CNN they might hold Flynn in contempt of Congress, saying, “I’ve got to get the legal answer to that first.”

But former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has turned over documents to the committee, a source familiar with the filing told CNN. Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has also complied with the committee’s requests and answered its questions, according to Stone’s attorney, Robert Buschel.

On the House side, CNN’s Lauren Fox and Manu Raju report on a letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings. Democrats on the House oversight committee say their outgoing Republican chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, must subpoena White House documents, and the Cummings letter refers to a Report of Investigation that the Democrats say shows Flynn lied to investigators. Here’s the full letter.

STRAIGHT UP

“I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all.”

 

— President Donald Trump on Israeli-Palestinian peace in his remarks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

BUZZING

Trump makes historic visit to Western Wall: President Donald Trump  became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. Trump, wearing a yarmulke, placed his right hand on the wall and swayed slightly back and forth with his eyes closed for nearly a minute. He then reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a note on a folded piece of paper, and placed it into a crack in the wall. More from CNN’s Jeremy Diamond.

BAR TALK

Trump: ‘I never mentioned the word or name Israel’ to Russians

Standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump faced a throng of reporters asking about an Oval Office meeting from earlier in the month with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the United States. 

A story, first reported in The Washington Post, cited current and former officials who said Trump told those Russian officials about highly classified intelligence the United States had received from an ally.

Reports later emerged further underscoring the sensitivity of the information and its source: Israel.

Trump said in Jerusalem that he never mentioned Israel. However, no one had accused him of that. Instead, officials in the reports said Russia would be able to determine the source based on the content Trump had disclosed.

For more, read the full story: CNN’s Kevin Liptak wrote from Jerusalem.

TIPSY

Podcast host and Trump critic Jesse Berney ribs Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera for floating a baseless claim about a man who was murdered in D.C. last year. Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich have been riding this train, too. Read CNN Money’s Oliver Darcy from last week about how it got new wings.

LAST CALL

4 things you might have missed today

SCOTUS strikes down NC congressional district maps: The Supreme Court struck down two congressional district maps in North Carolina, holding that the state had engaged in an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. More from CNN’s Ariane de Vogue.

Trump’s budget to include paid family leave, but may face trouble in Congress: President Donald Trump‘s 2018 budget will push for the creation of a federal paid family leave program that will provide families with six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, a Trump administration official tells CNN. But the paid family leave program will likely face stiff opposition on Capitol Hill, where Republicans have vociferously opposed any such program. More from CNN’s Dan Merica. Cabinet member praises absence of protest in a country where protests are illegal: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross praised Trump for a trip to Saudi Arabia that was so successful it didn’t draw a single protester. One problem: Protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia. More from CNNMoney’s Jill Disis. Christie says he warned Trump about Flynn: “I think it’s safe to say that Gen. (Michael) Flynn and I didn’t see eye-to eye,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters at a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey. “I didn’t think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the President or to the administration, and I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump.” More from Eli.

CLOSING TIME

David Letterman, now in retirement, has no regrets about playing host to then-businessman and reality TV boss Donald Trump time and time again over the years. … The Trump administration decides to continue protecting Haitians living in the United States since the 2010 earthquake from deportation for another six months after the expiration of the program became controversial. … The United States is working to reassure allies that the Trump administration can be trusted with sensitive information in the wake of Trump’s reported disclosure of highly classified material, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says.
Thanks for reading the CNN Politics Nightcap. Your bartenders are Daniella Diaz and Eli Watkins. The tip jar: nightcap@cnn.com.
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Your bartenders for CNN Politics’ Nightcap are Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) and Eli Watkins (@EliBWatkins)— Tips, thoughts and beer recommendations are always welcome at nightcap@cnn.com.
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