This isn’t ominous or anything

Friday, May 19, 2017
A billboard bearing portraits of President Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, is seen on a main road in Riyadh Friday ahead of Trump’s visit. Credit:Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images
This Isn’t Ominous or Anything: Dramatic storm blows through Washington

Body Language: Breaking down Comey’s now infamous Oval Office handshake

The Rock Shades Trump: “More poise, less noise”

Kate Bennett

What the White House is Talking About:
It’s trip day for President Trump, and the first lady. And Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. So, basically, it’s a family vacation? But with politics and intrigue
What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:
Most of the White House press corps is already in the air, or on the ground, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, prepping for Trump’s arrival. 

We’re Also Talking About Weiner: 
An Anthony Weiner cameo during this week of exploding news is like a tiny gem of a different topic. The former congressman today pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. As a result, Weiner must register as a sex offender, give up his passport and also his iPhone. The plea agreement means the government will recommend between 21 and 27 months of jail time; Weiner’s sentencing is set for September 8th. 

This Isn’t Ominous or Anything:
Last night a fierce storm blew through town. We’re not reading into it, but maybe a little. CNN photojournalist Khalil Abdallah caught this insane shot last night from the northwest corner of the White House. 

Credit: Khalil Abdallah/CNN

Wait, Melania is Going Too! 
I feel like I’m a puppy jumping up on the bigger dogs, wagging my tail like, “Guys! Guys! Don’t forget! Melania! Melania is going on the trip! She’ll be there too, guys! Guys?” But, that’s me. And that’s also, well, my job. To that end, here’s everything you should know about how important this first trip abroad is for Melania Trump. You’re welcome. 

Javanka Get Religious Pass Go Ahead:
As practicing Orthodox Jews, technically Jared and Ivanka are not religiously permitted to travel on the Sabbath, which begins after sundown tonight. However, they got a special “ok” from their rabbi, so they’re all set. It’s pretty challenging to get a rabbinical dispensation to bypass this sort of thing, but the couple has done so before on at least one occasion, Inauguration weekend. 

Baby Theodore Makin’ Milestones in DC:
The littlest Kushner/Trump, one-year-old Theodore, yesterday took his first wobbly steps in the living room of his parents’ Kalorama home. It was cute. Also, Ivanka is wearing this $138 dress from her own line, if you’re interested. Let’s not forget Theodore took his first crawl in Washington during Inauguration weekend in the State Dining Room of the White House; she got video of that one, too. 
Credit: screenshot from @IvankaTrump/Instagram 

I will unabashedly admit I am way, wayyyyy too amped up about Pippa Middleton’s wedding tomorrow in England. She’s tying the knot with some rich banker guy but who cares because WHAT WILL HER DRESS LOOK LIKE?? See, here’s what I think: she can’t wear a slim silhouette because she did that for Kate’s wedding to William, and she also can’t wear a big a-line gown with sleeves because it would be too much like Kate’s dress. I’m on pins and needles — and it’s ok to be worried about me. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, here’s a take on the Middletons, and a thing on what we know about the wedding so far.

It’s Friday and This is The Best Thing on Twitter: 
Please take a few seconds to watch this debate prep video snippet of Hillary Clinton trying to get away from Philippe Reines’ hugging Donald Trump imitation. #TGIF!

Credit: @PhilippeReines/Twitter

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington is Talking About:
Exhausted from the week, holding its collective breath over President Trump’s foreign trip, and wanting two full days to chill and talk about man rompers or whatever.

What America is Talking About:
Harry Styles did Carpool Karaoke.

Body Language:
The detail from last night’s New York Times story on how uncomfortable Comey felt about Trump were unreal. Comey told Trump if he wanted to know details about the FBI’s investigation, he should go through official channels, but Trump was chummy. I went back to the tapes, and watching the body language the same way I watch people on an awkward first date, it appears to play out exactly like the article alleges.

The story says at a January 22 Oval Office meeting to honor law enforcement, Comey didn’t want to go “because the F.B.I. director should not have too close a relationship with the White House” and the 6’8” man “tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room.” But then he did get spotted, and he was determined there wouldn’t be a hug between him and Trump.

Guys… look at this:

Meanwhile, across the room, Trump has his arms outstretched to Comey:
Comey, now spotted, drops his head before making the walk.
It takes about five and a half seconds from the moment he starts walking till their hands meet, and the whole time, Comey seems to nervously clasp his hands together, and he has this look on his face:
When they meet, Comey offers one hand while Trump does the handshake-while-patting-on-the-back thing:
It’s all pretty awkward. Watch the whole scene here.

As our Pam Brown reported last night, Comey was concerned about the interaction and beforehand, he actually practiced what he’d say with aides.

Biden Shades Clinton and Talks 2020:
The former Veep said Thursday at the SALT hedge fund conference in Las Vegas about Hillary Clinton, “I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate.”

He also added, “Hillary would have been a really good president,” to temper things a little bit. As to whether he’ll run in 2020, Biden said, “Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably not.”

The Rock Shades Trump and Talks 2020:
The “Baywatch” star said Thursday on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” about Trump, “A lot of people want to see a different leadership today, I’m sorry, not different, but better leadership today.”

Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

His answers about the reaction to all the presidential talk in his GQ cover story also sounded polished, like they were crafted with the help of a political consultant. He was humble, saying, “I’ve really been blown away,” by the response to the article. He talked about his support in political, grassroots terms, saying, “the surge and groundswell since then has been so amazing.” Despite being one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and really, really rich, he positioned himself as an everyman, saying, “I think over the years I’ve become a guy that a lot of people kind of relate to, get up early in the morning at a ridiculous hour and go to work, and spend time with the troops, take care of my family. I love taking care of people.” And he even sounded like he was workshopping a possible campaign slogan, casually dropping the catchy, rhyming “More poise, less noise.”

Folks, do you smell what The Rock is cooking? It smells like babies being held out to kiss and Iowa state fair pork chops and thousands of red, white and blue latex balloons falling from the ceiling.

Live, From Riyadh:
Toby Keith will also be in Saudi Arabia when Trump is there this weekend. He’s performing a free concert in the capital city of Riyadh tomorrow with an Arabian lute player. Only men are allowed in. I talked to Toby’s publicist, Elaine Schock, who said not only is this his first show in the country, he’s believed to be the first non-Arabic artist to perform there. I’m eager to hear the setlist. Figure “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” will not be performed, but we’ll see.

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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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