Trump wraps up Saudi stop … Meanwhile, a ‘cloud’ hangs over Trump back in Washington … North Korea launches another missile

CNN Politics:  Nightcap
May 21, 2017   |   by Eli Watkins

Trump’s Saudi weekend comes to a close

President Donald Trump took off from Washington on Friday for his first trip abroad since taking office. He got a royal welcome in Saudi Arabia and the lavish treatment basically never let up.

On Saturday, he received a medal and inked a nearly $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. And on Sunday, he delivered a speech to leaders from across much of the Muslim world. 

Read CNN’s Jeremy Diamond on the big speech, which didn’t contain Trump’s preferred epithet “radical Islamic terror.” The speech, as written, referred to “Islamist extremism,” and a senior White House official told CNN that Trump’s reference to “Islamic extremism” was an accident caused by exhaustion.

On that note, CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny cataloged just how far Trump’s speech was from the candidate who said, “Islam hates us.” 

Trump didn’t show up to the final event he had on his schedule, and his daughter Ivanka Trump spoke in his place. That wrapped up Trump’s first visit to a foreign country as president, but the whole trip is far from over. On Monday, Trump has public events in Israel and a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


“More than 95% of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim”


— President Donald Trump in his Saudi Arabia speech


Just the President of the United States, a few authoritarian leaders and a glowing orb.


Back in Washington, pressure not letting up on Trump

CNN’s Catherine Treyz and Jim Acosta report: “As part of its probe into Russian election interference, the House intelligence committee has reached out to a Donald Trump presidential campaign communications adviser, Michael Caputo” to request he provide “‘certain documents and other materials to the committee and participate in a voluntary, transcribed interview at the committee’s offices,’ according to a copy of a May 9 letter obtained by CNN. …

“Caputo has complied with the committee’s request for documents, a source familiar with the matter said.

“The committee said an interview could entail discussing ‘Russian cyber activities directed against the 2016 US election, potential links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns, the US government’s response to these Russian active measures, and related leaks of classified information.’ … 

“Caputo has asked to participate in public testimony to clear his name, according to a source familiar with the situation.”

Add that to a Washington Post story saying the Russia investigation “identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest,” and one can see why Republican Sen. Marco Rubio would say of the Russia probe on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “this cloud is impacting everything else.”

And House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said on ABC’s “This Week” that he expected to speak with former FBI Director James Comey on Monday.


KFILE: CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, Christopher Massie and Nathan McDermott report that Sheriff David Clarke, who is up for assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized parts of his master’s thesis on US security.


5 things you may have missed

North Korea fires second ballistic missile in a week: The United States, South Korea and Japan said North Korea fired off its second missile test in a week. Read more from CNN’s Brad Lendon.

Here’s one of the weekend’s most stunning stories: The New York Times published a four-bylined story citing current and former officials who detailed the Chinese government’s dismantling of CIA operations there, including the killing or imprisoning of sources.

Administration officials bounce along to a ceremonial sword dance: President Donald Trump and men from his administration bobbed along with swords on their shoulders. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO, seemed the most comfortable, saying in a Fox News interview that it wasn’t his “first sword dance.” Read more from CNN’s Eric Levenson and Noah Gray.

NASA says it’s sending astronauts to handle a space-station emergency: NASA announced it will send two astronauts to put in a new computer on the International Space Station after one failed on Saturday. Read more from Reuters’ Irene Klotz.

Your regular bartender got married: CNN’s Eric Bradner tied the knot this weekend. Hopefully he’s not checking his email, but congratulations are in order.


Some students at Notre Dame walk out of their graduation ceremony as Vice President Mike Pence delivers the commencement address. … The Washington Post reports on massive DoD fund mismanagement allegations. … Saudi news outlets compliment first lady Melania Trump. 
Thanks for reading the CNN Politics Nightcap. Your bartender is Eli Watkins. The tip jar:
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