1/ Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, reinstating all sanctions it had waived and imposing additional economic penalties. Trump’s aides persuaded him twice last year not to withdraw. Trump called the accord “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” adding that the 2015 pact was “a great embarrassment.” Following Trump’s announcement, Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing “regret and concern” while pledging their “continuing commitment” to the terms of the agreement. (New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Trump is frustrated with Rudy Giuliani’s inability to handle the Stormy Daniels situation and is concerned that Giuliani’s media appearances are raising more questions than they are answering. Some aides say they expect Trump to fire Giuliani if he is unable to turn things around. Trump recently told a confidant that perhaps Giuliani should “be benched” from TV appearances temporarily if he can’t stay on message. Giuliani, however, said that Trump “is encouraging me to do more of them. I try to keep them under control,” adding that Trump is “very comfortable” with the strategy. (Politico / Associated Press / The Hill)

3/ Robert Mueller rejected Trump’s request to answer questions from investigators in writing. Trump’s legal team had been pushing for Mueller to allow him to submit written answers, because they’re afraid that Trump might lie to or mislead investigators during an in-person interview. Giuliani said he would fight a potential subpoena for Trump to testify in front of a grand jury, but has stopped short of saying that Trump would ignore a subpoena from the special counsel. (CBS News)

4/ Trump’s lawyers hope to decide by May 17 whether he will testify. May 17 is the one-year anniversary of the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s lawyers contend that testifying would be a distraction from his work as president. However, in an informal, four-hour practice session, Trump was only able to walk through two questions. “Anyone can see he has great difficulty staying on a subject,” one person familiar with the legal team’s deliberations said. (Wall Street Journal)

5/ The shell company Michael Cohen used to pay Stormy Daniels received more than $1 million in payments from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and Fortune 500 companies with business before the Trump administration. At least $4.4 million flowed through the shell company Cohen used, Essential Consultants, starting shortly before Trump was elected president and continuing to this January. Essential Consultants received about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. (New York Times)

  • AT&T confirmed it paid Cohen for “insights” about the Trump administration. According to Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, AT&T made four payments to Cohen’s company totaling $200,000 in late 2017 and into early 2018. (CNBC)

6/ Mueller’s investigators questioned a Russian oligarch about $500,000 in payments made to Michael Cohen after the election. Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, alleges that Cohen received about $500,000 from Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin who was placed on a list of sanctioned Russians related to election interference. According to a dossier published by Avenatti, “Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017.” Vekselberg is also one of two Russian oligarchs the FBI stopped earlier this year after their private jets landed in New York-area airports. (CNN / Daily Beast / NBC News)

  • Michael Cohen put up his Manhattan apartment as collateral for millions of dollars in loans to his taxi business. Businesses owned by Cohen and his wife owe as much as $12.8 million as of March. (Bloomberg)

  • Alex van der Zwaan turned himself in after being sentenced for lying to investigators as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. van der Zwaan is the first person sentenced to prison as part of Mueller’s investigation and will serve a 30-day sentence. (Politico)

7/ Senior White House staff are urging Trump to fire EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who is currently the subject of 11 federal investigations. Some Republicans are also calling for Pruitt’s resignation. Trump has championed Pruitt up to this point, but support from the president appears to be waning as Pruitt’s legal and ethical issues continue to pile up. (New York Times)

  • Internal EPA documents show Pruitt held private, high-level meetings at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with industry lobbyists on at least four occasions. (NBC News)

poll/ 63% of Americans believe that the US should not withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord, compared to 29% who believe the US should withdraw. (CNN)

poll/ 60% of voters oppose the Interior Department’s plan to expand oil and gas drilling off coastal states. 70% of respondents supported states’ rights to request a drilling exemption through a waiver. (The Hill)

poll/ 53% of Americans think Robert Mueller’s investigation is politically motivated, while 44% think the Russia investigation is justified. 73% think Trump should cooperate and be interviewed by Mueller. (CBS News)

poll/ Trump’s job approval rating hits 40%. 85% of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing, while 89% of Democrats and 55% of independents disapprove. (CBS News)


  1. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned after four women accused him of physically assaulting them. The women claim that he frequently hit them after drinking, often in bed and never with their consent. Two of the women say Schneiderman threatened to kill them if they broke up with him. Schneiderman resigned three hours after the allegations were made public. Schneiderman positioned himself as a public champion of women’s rights and an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement. (The New Yorker / New York Times)

  2. Fair-housing advocates sued HUD Secretary Ben Carson for suspending Obama-era fair-housing rules, which required every community receiving HUD funding to assess local segregation patterns, diagnose the barriers to fair housing and develop a plan to correct them. (Washington Post)

  3. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to North Korea to prepare for Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un. “The location is picked, the time and date, everything is picked and we look forward to having a great success,” Trump said of the upcoming summit. It’s Pompeo’s second trip to North Korea in recent months. (CNN / Politico)

  4. Oliver North was named the National Rifle Association’s new president. North worked for Reagan’s National Security Council and was convicted as part of a scheme to sell weapons to Iran and use the proceeds to fund the rebel Contras in Nicaragua. (Politico)

  5. Melania Trump’s “Be Best” campaign plagiarized a document from the Obama administration. Aside from the introductory page, the entire “Talking With Kids About Being Online” booklet is virtually identical to the “Net Cetera,” a booklet published by the FTC under Obama. (The Guardian)

  6. Melania’s office blamed “opposition media” for “lob[bing] baseless accusations” that her “Be Best” pamphlet plagiarized an FTC pamphlet, saying Melania received a “standing ovation” for her “strong speech.” (Daily Beast)