Donald Trump, Israel, Erdogan: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing – New York Times


New York Times
Donald Trump, Israel, Erdogan: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing
New York Times
President Trump asked the former F.B.I. director, James Comey, to close the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote at the time. Mr. Comey, above, logged the request in February

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

1. President Trump asked the former F.B.I. director, James Comey, to close the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote at the time.

Mr. Comey, above, logged the request in February, according to two people who have read it. It’s the clearest evidence that Mr. Trump tried to influence the federal investigation into links between his associates and Russia.

Earlier, Mr. Trump strongly defended what he called his “absolute right” to share classified information about an ISIS plot with top Russian officials.

Two American officials, one current and one former, told our reporters that the intelligence was provided by Israel — which considers itself to be threatened by a close Russian ally, Iran.

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The turmoil has set the White House staff squabbling.

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Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

2. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, pleaded with the Trump administration to stop impeding the Republican agenda.

Mr. McConnell, above, who has been mostly quiet about Mr. Trump and Russia, called for “a little less drama from the White House.”

But top lawmakers, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have demanded more details about Mr. Trump’s meeting with Russian officials.

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Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

3. President Trump praised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as a stalwart ally against ISIS as the two met in the Oval Office.

And our Turkey correspondent gave us a tour of the country in an interactive video diary, a new storytelling format we’ve been experimenting with.

“I Saw the Decline of a Democracy” explains how divided Turkey has become after an attempted coup last year, and the crackdown on dissent that followed.

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Credit Yonhap, via Associated Press

4. Representatives of South Korea and the U.S. agreed to “pursue drastic and practical joint approaches” to the North Korean nuclear crisis, possibly including talks with the North.

And security experts said North Korean sleeper cells may be responsible for the crippling ransomware attacks targeting outdated versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Above, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, with Matt Pottinger, left, a special assistant to President Trump, in Seoul.

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Credit Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

5. Puerto Rico, which faces an economic meltdown in the form of $123 billion in debt and pension obligations, is poised to make a push for statehood.

Residents will vote on whether they want to become the 51st state in a nonbinding referendum in June. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says persuading Washington to grant the island statehood would help fix its economic problems.

Severe austerity measures are likely to include shuttered public schools, frozen salaries, slashed pensions and limited investments in public health.

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Credit Katsuhiko Hayashi

6. Scientists have coaxed mouse skin cells to grow into eggs and sperm, and say it’s only a matter of time before the process, in vitro gametogenesis, can be done with humans.

But the quandaries are legion. What if four people make a baby? A man clones himself? Someone steals skin cells from a celebrity’s bathtub?

“It gives me an unsettled feeling because we don’t know what this could lead to,” a researcher said.

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Credit Middle East Broadcasting Center

7. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins around May 27.

It’s the peak TV season in the Arab world, when networks debut new series — often escapist love stories — to binge-watch after breaking the daily fast.

We have an exclusive preview of a more serious one: “Black Crows” dramatizes life under ISIS, portraying its leaders as corrupt and hypocritical, and women who resist as heroes. (Watch here.)

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Credit Alberto Pizzoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

8. And in France, a dispute between Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival has sparked heated accusations of cultural imperialism and intransigence.

The festival, which starts Wednesday, has invoked a rule that all entries must be shown in French theaters and wait three years to play on streaming services. That’s to help protect France’s generous subsidies for new productions.

There’s hope that the new president, Emmanuel Macron, will dedicate some political will to finding a solution. He’s expected to name a culture minister this week.

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Credit Filippo Massellani for The New York Times

9. Take a tour of the 10 best pieces we saw at the Venice Biennale, the renowned exhibition that includes artists from around the globe.

Among them was Mark Bradford, whose installation was displayed at the United States pavilion, above.

“I don’t think progressive ideas ever come through the front door,” he said. “We always come through the side door, through the window, through the tunnel we bore, we struggle for our identities.”

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Credit Comedy Central

10. Finally, the late-night comics didn’t have much time to tackle Monday’s late-breaking news from Washington. They didn’t seem to need it.

“So the good news is, Trump listens during intel briefings,” Trevor Noah said. “And the bad news is, Trump listens during intel briefings.”

Tonight, Brad Pitt makes a rare appearance on “The Late Show” (CBS, 11:35 p.m. Eastern), and Jimmy Kimmel may discuss his plans to host the Oscars for a second year — “assuming I opened the right envelope,” he tweeted. (ABC, 11:35 p.m. Eastern).

Have a good one.

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Photographs may appear out of order for some readers. Viewing this version of the briefing should help.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

And don’t miss Your Morning Briefing, posted weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern, and Your Weekend Briefing, posted at 6 a.m. Sundays.

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