Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice, five people with knowledge of the situation told The Washington Post.
As part of the expanded investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, senior intelligence officials — including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, and Rogers' former deputy Richard Ledgett — have agreed to be interviewed by investigators, possibly as early as this week. Trump had wanted former FBI Director James Comey to publicly announce he was not personally being investigated, and after Comey didn't do so during a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Trump asked Coats and Rogers separately to issue public statements denying any collusion between his campaign and Russia, the Post previously reported. Coats also reportedly told associates that Trump asked him if he could get Comey to step back from the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn; he later said he did not feel pressured by Trump to do this.
It's unclear how many other officials have already been questioned as part of the probe. The obstruction of justice investigation started a few days after the firing of Comey last month, the Post reports, and officials are also looking into possible financial crimes committed by Trump associates. A spokesman for Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told the Post the "FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable, and illegal." Catherine Garcia
Manuel Noriega, who ruled Panama as a military dictator from 1983 until he was ousted by U.S. troops in 1989, has died, the government of Panama announced early Tuesday. He was 83.
Noriega was in poor health, and after undergoing brain surgery in March, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma. Born in Panama City on Feb. 11, 1934, Noriega was a career soldier. Beginning in the late 1950s up until the 1980s, Noriega worked with the CIA, while at the same time trafficking cocaine. He was indicted by the United States in early 1989 on charges of racketeering, laundering drug money, and drug smuggling, and in 1990, after spending 10 days in the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Panama City, he surrendered.
Noriega was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1992, and was convicted in absentia of murder and laundering $2.8 million in drug money by purchasing property in France. He was extradited back to Panama in 2011. Catherine Garcia
The Republican candidate for an open House seat in Montana, Greg Gianforte, allegedly assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event Wednesday night. Jacobs described the situation on Twitter:
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson was directly outside the room in question, and she described "angry yelling" and a "giant crash." The Guardian posted audio of the encounter, where Gianforte can be heard shouting angrily, "I'm sick and tired of you guys!"
Gianforte's campaign put out a response accusing Jacobs of having "grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground." This account is rather divergent from the recorded one, not least because it says Gianforte asked Jacobs to lower his recorder and he refused, which cannot be heard in the posted audio.
Jacobs wrote an article detailing Gianforte's ties to sanctioned Russian companies last month. The election is tomorrow. Ryan Cooper
Before President Trump's inauguration, Michael Flynn told Trump's transition team that he was the subject of a federal investigation, two people with knowledge of the case told The New York Times on Wednesday.
Last August, Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, was secretly hired by a Turkish businessman to launch a campaign discrediting Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed for instigating a failed coup last July, but Flynn did not register as a foreign agent, as required by law. On Nov. 30, the Justice Department let him know they were looking into his lobbying work, and he retained a lawyer.
On Jan. 4, Flynn let Don McGahn, the transition team's chief lawyer and current White House counsel, know about the investigation, and two days later, Flynn's attorney alerted transition lawyers. Despite the revelation, Trump still chose Flynn as his national security adviser, giving him access to almost every state secret, the Times said. Flynn was fired after 24 days on the job, when it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of discussions he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The White House would not comment on the report. Before Flynn was fired, acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House that he could be the subject of blackmail due to his conversations with the ambassador. Catherine Garcia
The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Robert Mueller, who led the FBI for 12 years during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, will serve as special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. The announcement comes after the revelation Tuesday night that former FBI Director James Comey kept detailed notes of his conversations with President Trump, including when Trump allegedly asked Comey to drop his Russia-linked investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The FBI has been investigating hacking into emails to hurt Hillary Clinton, a Russian campaign of spreading fake news before the election, and whether associates of Trump colluded with Russia during the campaign. Catherine Garcia
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is calling The Washington Post's report that President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week "very, very troubling" if true.
"To compromise a source is something you just don't do," Corker said. The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says that during a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump "began describing details about an Islamic State terrorist threat" that were given to the U.S. by a partner through a sensitive intelligence-sharing agreement. "The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order. It's got to happen," added Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening."
Other senators are also weighing in, with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) saying if the Post's report is accurate, "this is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources and methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that while Trump has "the right" to leak classified information, he needs to "be careful," and "we certainly don't want any president" to go around sharing such sensitive matters. During the presidential campaign, Trump tweeted that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was "not fit" for the presidency because Clinton and her team "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." Catherine Garcia
On Facebook Live Sunday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill that bans so-called "sanctuary cities," which fail to comply with at least some requests from federal immigration enforcement authorities.
Under the new law, police can now ask anyone they detain about their immigration status, and local officials have to comply with federal requests to hold suspects who might be deported. "We all support legal immigration," Abbott said. "It helped build America and Texas. But legal immigration is different from harboring people who have committed dangerous crimes." The bill was opposed by every major police chief in Texas, Democrats, and immigrant rights activists, who call it unconstitutional and pledged to fight it in court.
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has set a policy for her department that limits how the jail cooperates with requests from federal immigration officials, while honoring petitions for inmates accused of serious offenses. The law bans such policies, with punishment including fines and removing officials from their posts and charging them with a crime. Abbott's office gave little notice of the signing, so protesters could not assemble. Catherine Garcia
On Thursday, Congress will vote on the Republicans' plan to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more than a month after an earlier version of the bill was withdrawn from the House floor because it didn't have enough GOP support.
For the American Health Care Act to pass, it needs 216 votes; 18 Republican lawmakers have announced they oppose the plan, and 24 have declared they are still undecided, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday evening "we have enough votes." Some moderate Republicans have said the revised AHCA does not offer enough help for people with pre-existing conditions, and on Wednesday, President Trump signed off on a proposal adding $8 billion to a fund to assist patients with pre-existing conditions, but many experts and doctors say that's not close to being enough money. Catherine Garcia