The story twists and turns. The President is now saying he had always planned to fire the FBI Director, “regardless of the recommendation,” he was given by his advisors, in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt. Trump said he made the decision before before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave his formal counsel, despite the White House initially announcing the call was made after the recommendation was given. POTUS also claims that Comey assured him he wasn’t under investigation “three times,” and called the former director ”a grandstander, a showboat.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s a case of “he said, he said.” Andrew McCabe, who was appointed Tuesday evening following James Comey’s dismissal, told the Senate that the former director had not lost the support of the bureau, despite the Trump administration using that justification to fire him. McCabe said Comey “enjoyed broad support” and was held in the “absolute highest regard” within the agency. McCabe also agreed, in front of the Senate, not to update the White House on the Russia probe. Commentators are suggesting the White House is having trouble getting its story straight and is raising suspicion as a consequence.
The bromance is back. President Donald Trump welcomed Russia’s foreign minister to the Oval Office, saying he hopes for warmer relations — even as Democrats demanded a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia after the White House’s abrupt dismissal of FBI Director James Comey. Reports say Comey had accelerated his investigation into Russia, Trump and the 2016 election in recent days. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed documents from disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of their own ongoing investigation into the matter.
It’s being called Brazil’s “trial of the century.” Riot police and protesters gathered outside the Curitiba courthouse where former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been put on trial in a monumental corruption case that’s captured the country’s imagination. Lula, 71, told Judge Sergio Moro that the charges against him — that a construction company bribed him with a beachside apartment — are “illegitimate.” If he’s not sent to prison, Lula says he’ll run for president next year, and polls indicate that if the election were held today, he’d win.
It’s a fiscal necessity. With the U.S. territory ordered to cut $40 million per month from its budget, about 300 schools are facing closure. Federal officials say it’s about efficiency, citing empty classrooms and wasted resources, but teachers’ unions argue that the closures, plus plans to eliminate two school days a month and freeze teachers’ salaries for 13 years, will leave students underserved. They’re also kicking back against the New York-based governing board overseeing Puerto Rico’s affairs, with some skeptical that mainlanders have the island’s best interests in mind.
Coming soon: An excuse to not work while traveling. The Department of Homeland Security is considering a ban on laptops, tablets and e-book readers in airplane cabins on flights arriving from Europe — similar to the one that already exists for flights from several airports in North Africa and the Middle East. European regulators have cautioned that so many lithium batteries in the hold could itself be a safety risk, and U.S. authorities say they haven’t made a final decision — though an announcement could come any day.
Know This: New York state is fining cab drivers for taking financial advantage of undocumented immigrants fleeing the U.S. for Canada. Snap Inc.’s first quarterly earnings report as a public company saw it admit to a $2.2 billion loss. And a Russian blogger has been given a three-and-a-half year suspended prison sentence for playing Pokemon Go in a church.
Read This: Is Dwayne Johnson — aka The Rock — the next celebrity who’ll seek political office? He’s waffling, even as some believe the registered independent could win.
Love This: We want your best stories about mom, or the person who served as your mom, in anticipation of Mother’s Day. Email your heartwarming, hilarious or heroic tales with a photo from the family album to firstname.lastname@example.org. Go deep. We’ll include the best ones in our Daily Dose.
It’s a medical miracle. A new report based on data from 18 studies of 88,500 HIV-positive patients across Europe and North America found that life expectancy has lengthened by 10 years since the mid-1990s. Young patients diagnosed with HIV today who receive treatment can expect to live into their late 70s. The research highlights the progress made with antiretroviral treatments and medical management over the past three decades. However, researchers explained that early diagnosis and preparing health care systems to care for seniors with HIV are key.
Believe it when you see it. The tech giant has announced its acquisition of cult studio Owlchemy Labs, famous for cutting-edge games like Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality and the satirical Job Simulator, one of the most successful VR titles on the market. While Google has its own virtual reality platform, Daydream, this indicates that the company’s pushing to develop more original content. Austin-based Owlchemy Labs will continue to create games for many platforms, including Cardboard-rival Oculus Rift, but hasn’t announced any big new initiatives yet.
To them it’s a misdemeanor, to him it was doing his job. Veteran reporter Dan Heyman was arrested in Charleston, West Virginia, after asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about whether domestic violence is considered a pre-existing condition under Trumpcare. When he was ignored, Heyman continued to press the question — until he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for “aggressively breaching” Price’s space. Now Heyman could face six months in jail, in what the ACLU labeled “a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press.”
You can’t keep a funny man down. Wilmore’s The Nightly Show was canceled by Comedy Central last year, but the veteran comedian’s just announced a new podcast for Bill Simmons’ Ringer network. Black on the Air will be a simpler operation: Wilmore, who also co-created HBO’s Insecure and is an executive producer of ABC’s Black-ish, will weigh in on the news and interview people from “politics, entertainment, culture, sports and beyond,” including Bernie Sanders and Neil deGrasse Tyson. The first episode, which drops today, features legendary TV producer Norman Lear.
Nobody puts tight ends in the corner. Last month, for just the second time in 38 years, three tight ends were drafted in the first round, suggesting the once-lowly position might be on the rise once again. Since 1979, when NFL offenses started prioritizing the quarterback-wide receiver combination, demand for tight ends has waned: Just 20 were drafted in the last 20 first rounds, the fewest of any skill position. But with more teams gambling on modern tight ends’ “multidimensional” potential, the position may be making a comeback.