1/ Trump and Kim Jong-Un abruptly ended their summit in Vietnam after negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear disarmament collapsed. The two leaders were unable to agree on steps toward denuclearization or any measures to ease tensions between North and South Korea. Trump said the main issue was the sanctions, which Kim wanted Trump to remove entirely. “We had some options,” Trump said, “but at this time we decided not to do any of the options.” He added, “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.” (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)
- Trump defended North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un over the death of Otto Warmbier because Kim told “me he didn’t know about it, and I take him at his word.” (CNN / Politico / Washington Post)
2/ Trump ordered John Kelly to grant Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance last year and overrule concerns by intelligence officials and Donald McGahn, the White House’s top lawyer. Both Kelly and McGahn wrote contemporaneous internal memos outlining Trump’s “order” to give Kushner the clearance. In January, Trump said he had no role in Kushner receiving his clearance. (New York Times)
3/ The D.C. attorney general’s office subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee for documents related to how the fund raised $107 million and whether the fund’s spending was “wasteful, mismanaged” or “improperly provided private benefit.” The subpoena requested records of all payments from or on behalf of the committee to the Trump Organization, including any relating to the Trump International Hotel in Washington. The committee paid the hotel $1.5 million. It’s the third request to the committee for documents – the first two were made by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and by New Jersey’s attorney general. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The House Intelligence Committee intends to call the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg to testify. Michael Cohen repeatedly cited Weisselberg’s firsthand knowledge of alleged financial irregularities during his public testimony before the House Oversight Committee yesterday. Weisselberg was granted limited immunity by New York prosecutors to provide information in their case involving Cohen’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Weisselberg does not have an ongoing cooperation agreement with prosecutors. (Daily Beast / NBC News / Washington Post)
5/ The House Oversight Committee will seek to interview Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Weisselberg. Michael Cohen indicated to Congress that all three were involved in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, and that Trump Jr. and Weisselberg signed one of the $35,000 checks reimbursing him for the payment. Cohen also said that he briefed Trump Jr. and Ivanka about Trump Tower Moscow approximately 10 times, though Trump Jr. testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 that he was only “peripherally aware” of the project. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / Axios)
6/ Robert Mueller corrected part of a previous allegation that Paul Manafort lied about his contacts with his Russian business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik. Mueller cited new evidence obtained less than two weeks ago from Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, which appears to suggest that Mueller made a mistake with one of his accusations against Manafort. Mueller’s recently revised court filing says the revision should not change the ruling by Judge Amy Berman Jackson that Manafort lied about his interactions with Kilimnik because they have presented enough additional evidence to support the underlying allegation. (New York Times)
- The foreign-linked mystery company fighting Mueller to avoid handing over records has racked up $2.25 million in fines. Lawyers for the mystery firm have argued that because the company is entirely owned by a foreign government it should not be subject to subpoena in a U.S. criminal investigation. (Politico)
Roger Stone disputed Michael Cohen’s claims that Stone and Trump discussed WikiLeaks’ forthcoming DNC email dump in July 2016, saying “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true.” Stone’s “statement” on Cohen’s testimony, which came in the form of a single text message sent to BuzzFeed News, did not indicate which part of Cohen’s testimony was false. Stone is currently under a gag order not to publicly comment on his case or Robert Mueller’s investigation, including any “participants” in his case or the investigation. (BuzzFeed News)
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz says he “personally apologized” to Michael Cohen after he publicly threatened to reveal information about Cohen’s alleged “girlfriends” in a tweet sent shortly before Cohen’s testimony. “I’ve personally apologized to @MichaelCohen212 4 referencing his private family in the public square,” Gaetz tweeted. “Regardless of disagreements, family members should be off-limits from attacks … Let’s leave the Cohen family alone.” The Florida Bar Association is currently investigating Gaetz’s original threat as a possible violation of its rules of professionalism. (NBC News / Daily Beast)
The Pentagon offered to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan within three to five years as part of peace negotiations that could lead to a government in Kabul that shares power with the Taliban. (New York Times)
The Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the EPA in a 52 to 47 vote mostly along party lines. Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote against him. Republicans have praised Wheeler for his deregulatory agenda, which includes weakening regulations for reducing emissions from power plants and cars, while also proposing to make new coal-fired power plants easier to approve. Wheeler has acknowledged that climate change is real, but doesn’t consider it a priority at EPA. (New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / Politico)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.