1/ Trump "fully reimbursed" Michael Cohen between $100,001 and $250,000 in 2017 for an unspecified payment to a third party in 2016, according to Trump's financial disclosure report. The disclosure corroborates Rudy Giuliani's claim that Trump personally reimbursed Cohen between $460,000 or $470,000 for "incidental expenses" that he had incurred on Trump's behalf. Trump reported assets of at least $1.4 billion and income of at least $593.3 million for the 2016 calendar year and the early months of 2017. Trump owes at least $310 million to various financial institutions, including $130 million to Deutsche Bank. (CNBC / New York Times)
- Trump's 2017 financial disclosure report. (CNN)
2/ The Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in order to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. The Senate committee's bipartisan conclusion contradicts Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, who dispute the intelligence community's findings that Putin was trying to help Trump. "We see no reason to dispute the conclusions," the Senate committee's chairman, Richard Burr, said. "There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections." (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Senate Judiciary Democrats say the evidence is clear that the Trump campaign "was willing to accept Russia's assistance." The committee's preliminary findings on the Trump Tower meeting also suggest they found "evidence of multiple contacts" between the Trump campaign and Russia, including "offers of assistance and purported overtures from Vladimir Putin." The committee also found that Trump Jr. and the White House misled the public about the June 9, 2016, meeting with Russians at Trump Tower, and that Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner were frustrated "that more damaging information was not produced" at the meeting. (Feinstein / Senate.gov)
Senate Judiciary Democrats: "In its investigation so far, the Committee has found evidence of multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials or their intermediaries, including offers of assistance and purported overtures from Vladimir Putin." pic.twitter.com/fXPsBjzypl— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 16, 2018
Senate Judiciary Dem statement on transcripts released today: “[T]he Committee has found evidence of multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials or their intermediaries, including offers of assistance and purported overtures from Vladimir Putin" pic.twitter.com/G1Q11AsZSi— Emma Loop (@LoopEmma) May 16, 2018
The Senate Judiciary Committee released more than 2,500 pages of testimony related to their investigation into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a self-described Kremlin informant. Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but testimony largely confirms that Veselnitskaya did not provide dirt that could be used in the campaign. (New York Times / Washington Post)
7 things we learned from the Trump Tower meeting testimony. (Washington Post)
Materials from Inquiry into Circumstances Surrounding Trump Tower Meeting. (Senate Judiciary Committee)
4/ Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee he never mentioned the Trump Tower meeting to his father or the offer of compromising information about Hillary Clinton. He also said he couldn't "recall" if he discussed the Russia investigation with his father. Trump Jr. told the committee he didn't think there was anything wrong with meeting a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 presidential election, saying "I didn't think that listening to someone with information relevant to the fitness and character of a presidential candidate would be an issue, no." (Associated Press)
5/ Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson warned of a "growing crisis in ethics and integrity" among U.S. leaders during a commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute. Tillerson did not mention Trump by name, but insisted that "a common set of facts" are essential to maintaining a free society. (Politico)
6/ Robert Mueller issued two subpoenas to Roger Stone's social media consultant. Mueller has been probing whether anyone associated with the Trump campaign may have helped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or the Russians with the release of the hacked DNC emails. In particular, Mueller wants to know if Stone had advance knowledge of the hacked emails. Mueller has also been requesting interviews with former employees and friends of Stone in recent weeks, asking them about Stone's ties to Russia and Assange. (Reuters / Bloomberg)
7/ Mueller's team told Trump's attorneys they can't indict a president, according to Rudy Giuliani. "All they get to do is write a report," Giuliani said. "They can't indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us." Mueller's conclusion is likely based on Justice Department guidelines and is not an assessment of the evidence the special counsel has compiled. (CNN)
8/ The White House brushed aside North Korea's threat to cancel the summit meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, saying that "this is something that we fully expected," and Trump remains "hopeful" that the June 12 meeting will happen. "We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters, adding that he will insist on North Korean "denuclearization" as a condition of talks. North Korea said Kim could withdraw from the meeting over Trump's demand that it unilaterally abandon its nuclear arsenal. (New York Times / USA Today)
poll/ 50% of voters have either "a lot" or "some" confidence in Trump's ability to handle North Korea. 32% of voters think Trump should meet with Kim Jong Un only if North Korea makes concessions on its nuclear weapons program beforehand, while 47% say Trump should meet with Kim regardless. (Politico)
The top lawyer for the Swiss drugmaker Novartis resigned in connection with the $1.2 million deal he co-signed with Michael Cohen, calling the deal a mistake. "Although the contract was legally in order," Felix Ehrat said, "it was an error." He continued: "As a co-signatory with our former CEO, I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end." (Reuters)
The FBI and Justice Department are investigating Cambridge Analytica and are looking to question former employees and banks that did business with the data firm. Few details about the investigation are available as investigators work to get an overview of the company and its business dealings. (New York Times)
Trump demanded that Congress make progress on the southern border wall and crack down on sanctuary cities during an event outside the Capitol honoring police officers. He also called for an end to so-called "catch and release" immigration laws. Trump reiterated his calls for the border wall during a private lunch with Senate Republicans. (The Hill)
Democrats flipped another seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, bringing the total number of state legislative flips to 41 since Trump's inauguration. (Daily Beast)
Scott Pruitt said that one of his top aides helped him search for housing last year, but said she had done so "on personal time" and he did not pay her for the help. Democratic senators say the help constitutes a gift, which would be a violation of federal law. (Washington Post)
A running list of stories I'm keeping an eye on.
💬 What stories are you noticing? Let me know using the chat icon in the lower right-hand corner.
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.