May 19

The Russian Connection: It Doesn’t Stop – Friday Night News Dump

Trump is on his way overseas for a nine day tour that, hopefully, will exhaust him. That doesn’t mean that another shoe on the centipede hasn’t dropped. Two reports came out late this afternoon at the New York Times and Washington Post.

In the Times article, Trump, not only revealed highly classified intelligence to the Russian Foreign Minister and ambassador, but once again admitted that he fired Comey to end the investigation into his campaign’s connections to the Russian interference with the election last year.

Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation

By Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman and Matthew Rosenberg

President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account.

It’s the Washington Post article that is going to make Trump’ long flight to Saudi Arabia really miserable.

Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say

By Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The article further states that this may or may not lead to criminal charges. I guess they didn’t want to get our hopes up. Republican strategist and vehement Trump critic Anna Navarro said it in a tweet, “Folks, Trump’s best defense is dementia.”