“I hope you can let this go.” So said President Donald Trump to then-FBI Director James Comey regarding the investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn’s Russian connections. The detailed Feb. 14 memo was written by Comey immediately after meeting the president, and calls into question whether Trump was trying to impede or influence the investigation. The White House said it was “not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation,” but the House Oversight Committee has set a May 24 hearing date to ascertain if Trump meddled in the FBI probe, calling on Comey to testify.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Looks like they found the leak. According to multiple U.S. officials, President Donald Trump jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on ISIS by revealing highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador last week. According to H.R. McMaster, Trump didn’t know where the information he shared came from, as it was available through ”open-source reporting,” and therefore “wholly appropriate.” Meanwhile, lawmakers from both parties said they were troubled by the leak, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is demanding a “full explanation.”
They can hack it. Cybersecurity experts say they’ve found similarities between the code used for last week’s massive WannaCry ransomware attack and that used by the prolific Lazarus Group — linked to North Korea’s government — that suggest the two could be connected. After the success of WannaCry, intelligence and law enforcement officials warn that more attacks could be on the horizon, especially with reports that criminal hackers have stolen and repurposed a second classified NSA cyberweapon known as EsteemAudit and made it available on the black market.
She’s officially back. Clinton has announced the formation of a new political organization, “Onward Together,” aimed at funding grassroots progressive groups to solidify a “resistance” to President Trump. After months of keeping a low profile following her November election defeat, the former secretary of state announced that her organization will initially support five groups, which are focused on local politics, racial justice, and encouraging people to vote, canvass and run for office. The Republican party, meanwhile, took to its official Twitter to criticize Clinton’s attempt to recycle her “failed branding.”
They’re pulling back on the throttle. Sources say the company, beset by underwhelming stock performance and a 42 percent drop in first-quarter earnings, will shrink its headcount drastically. While it’s not clear whether the cuts will affect global workers or just salaried positions in North America and Asia, the measure’s part of Ford’s plan to cut $3 billion in costs this year. Details are expected as early as this week — and observers anticipate that any major U.S. cuts will put Ford on a collision course with President Trump.
Know This: Award-winning Mexican reporter Javier Valdez, 50, has been shot dead in Sinaloa. The U.S. State Department has accused the Syrian government of daily mass killings at a military prison near Damascus. And hackers have pirated Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and are demanding a vast ransom.
Read This: Four years ago, Texas banned Planned Parenthood from Medicaid, and in doing so gave up $35 million per year in federal funds. Now they want that money back — and if it’s granted, other states may decide to nix the women’s health provider.
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“The human footprint is everywhere.” So said a marine ecotoxicologist after returning from Henderson Island — an uninhabited UNESCO World Heritage Site only visited once every 5-10 years for research, now considered the world’s most polluted place. Researchers estimate that more than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have been carried on ocean currents to accumulate on its once-pristine shores, situated in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean some 3,100 miles from the nearest town. They’re hoping Henderson’s example will remind mainlanders about the perils of plastic.
Keep an eye on the future. Delta Air Lines will roll out a $600,000 pilot program this summer at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, aiming to ultimately expand the new tech to airports nationwide. Passengers will scan their passports at special kiosks that use facial recognition to confirm travelers’ identities, speeding up the check-in process. Amid a chorus of concerns over privacy, Delta has said their biometric technology will comply with existing laws, meaning that photos and scans will not be stored.
Life, uh, finds a way. The immaculately preserved remains of a 112 million-year-old armored dinosaur are finally making their debut in an Alberta museum after undergoing 7,000 hours of preparation over five years. The striking nodosaur, which some say resembles a sleeping dragon, has been called a “dinosaur mummy” thanks to the exceptional condition of its spikes, skin and scales. Paleontologists say the remarkable preservation of the 3,000-pound, 18-foot-long creature could unlock the secrets of armored ankylosaurs’ formidable defenses.
He may have to face the music. After Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s abrupt and unexplained departure from the top job at Sony Music’s Epic Records last weekend, allegations have emerged that he sexually harassed an employee. The female staffer claims Reid made inappropriate comments about her appearance at work, and that while on a business trip he asked her to lie down on a bed and give him a hug. While Sony has launched an investigation in response, it’s unclear whether they’ve confirmed any of the allegations.
For some, going stateside is the goal. North America’s pro soccer league has long lagged behind its European counterparts in luring top international talent. While its efforts once relied on recruiting big-name established players like David Beckham or Andrea Pirlo, these days it’s looking to the next generation. With 22 franchises in 2017 expanding to 28 by 2020, Major League Soccer is hoping that increasing payrolls and the promise of regular playing time can draw more talent away from European and South American shores to a new land of opportunity.