Having Trouble Keeping Up With All the Trump News? Here Are the Must-Reads – New York Times

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Monday, May 15

The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

• On Monday, The Washington Post reported that President Trump revealed highly classified information about an ISIS plot to Russian officials during their meeting in the Oval Office. Officials say this disclosure broke an agreement with an important ally in the Middle East.

Tuesday, May 16

• The New York Times reported that on Feb. 14, President Trump asked the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to close the investigation into Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote at the time.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president said, according to the memo, parts of which were read to The Times by an associate of Mr. Comey’s. Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director last week.

For a refresher on the Comey-Trump saga, here’s a timelineof what happened leading up to Mr. Comey’s firing and how the White House’s story has changed since.

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• Writing on Twitter, President Trump declared that he had an “absolute right” to share “facts” with top Russian officials during a White House meeting.

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• The Times reported that Israel provided the classified intelligence that President Trump discussed in the Oval Office meeting with Russian officials, a current and a former American official told us.

Wednesday, May 17

“No politician in history, and I say with surety, has been treated worse, more unfairly.”

President Trump used his commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday to portray himself as mistreated by the news media.

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• Later in the day, the Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney would.

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• According to a report from McClatchy on Wednesday, during the transition, Mr. Flynn stopped a military plan developed by the Obama administration to fight against the Islamic State, a decision that aligned with the interests of Turkey. During this period, Mr. Flynn failed to disclose that Turkey paid him $500,000 to represent their interests in the United States.

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• On Wednesday evening, The Times reported that Mr. Flynn told the Trump transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for not declaring work as a lobbyist for Turkey, according to two people familiar with the case. Despite the warning, Mr. Flynn took office as national security adviser. He was fired less than a month into the job.

Thursday, May 18

• Mr. Comey told a friend, Benjamin Wittes, that he was dismayed by Mr. Trump’s attempts to build a personal relationship with him.

Listen to our podcast to hear Mr. Wittes talk on tape about what Mr. Comey told him.

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“I just got a message from the president to stay strong.”

According to a Yahoo report published on Thursday, Mr. Flynn and President Trump remained in touch even after the national security adviser was fired.

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• On Thursday morning, President Trump referred to a “witch hunt” against him and insisted there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

At the White House later, he denied any collusion, adding: “I can only speak for myself.”

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• We reported that several advisers have encouraged the president to hire an outside lawyer to deal with the Russia investigation, which threatens to linger over his term.

Friday, May 19

• We learned that President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing Mr. 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 Times by an American official.

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• The Washington Post reported that a senior White House official has been identified as a person of interest in the investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign.

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• President Trump left for his first trip overseason Friday afternoon.

The first stop on the nine-day trip is Saudi Arabia, which is negotiating a $110 billion arms deal with the United States. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, played a key role. Mr. Trump will also visit Israel, Belgium and Italy.

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• The Associated Press reported that Sheri A. Dillon, President Trump’s lawyer, didn’t want him to certify that the information in his 2016 financial disclosure was true.

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• Finally, CNN reported on Friday evening that during the campaign, Russian officials bragged that they could use Mr. Flynn to influence the president. Officials in CNN’s report caution that it’s possible the Russians were exaggerating the strength of their relationship.

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Still want more? Find all our coverage of the Trump White House here.

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