What We're Reading

Daily Reads: A White House in Chaos; Erdoğan’s Bodyguards Brutalize Protesters on Embassy Row

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

A White House in Chaos

President Donald Trump listens to remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

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Other shoes keep dropping –> In the first of two bombshell reports that sent shockwaves across DC yesterday, The New York Times revealed that Israel was the source of the intelligence that Trump acknowledges sharing with Russian officials during a meeting at the White House last week. Adam Goldman, Eric Schmitt and Peter Baker write, “Mr. Trump’s boasting about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries and raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the region.”

ABC News reports that “the life of a spy placed by Israel inside ISIS is at risk tonight, according to current and former US officials,” and two Israeli intelligence officials told Sheera Frenkel at Buzzfeed that the breach represented “our worst fears confirmed.”

On Tuesday, H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters that Trump’s revelations were “entirely appropriate,” but CNN reports that “over several days, US intelligence officials spent hours on conference calls making specific requests to CNN to withhold certain details of the intelligence information,” saying that “publishing it would endanger lives and destroy intelligence-gathering methods used to keep an eye on terrorist groups.”

As if that weren’t enough –> Before the shockwave from that story dissipated, The New York Times revealed that former FBI Director James Comey had written a detailed memo about a conversation in which President Trump allegedly asked him to stop investigating his previous national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was a central figure in the agency’s probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Michael Schmidt reports, “the memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation. An FBI agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.”

Josh Dawsey and Matthew Nussbaum report for Politico that the White House is in full-blown crisis mode, and that Trump is seething with fury toward his staff. And at The Washington Post, Sarah Posner argues that President Trump’s first overseas trip, scheduled for later this week, must be cancelled. “Our national security, our relationships with allies and the security of the world are at risk due to the president’s erratic behavior and inability to adhere to basic norms of both democracy and diplomacy,” she writes.

This is not what democracy looks like –> With those headlines grabbing so much attention, Trump’s friendly meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who’s widely seen as an authoritarian strongman who undermined Turkish democracy and blamed the United States for a failed coup in his country, received relatively little notice. But later in the day, Erdoğan’s presence was felt on Embassy Row when a group of his bodyguards attacked a number of protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence, leading to nine injuries and two arrests, according to The Guardian.

Single-payer plan for New York? –> The New York State Assembly passed a bill on Tuesday that would make the Empire State the first to offer its residents universal, single-payer health insurance. Similar bills have passed the lower chamber in the past, only to die in the state Senate, but Mic’s Anthony Smith explains why this iteration has a better chance than in past years.

Mother’s Day tantrum” –> That’s how Salon’s Amanda Marcotte describes “a bill-blocking spree” last week, when the Texas state legislature’s far-right “Freedom Caucus” used “procedural machinations to run out the clock for more than 100 bills.” This was an act of retaliation, writes Marcotte, after “the House’s leadership, which is also dominated by conservative Republicans, caused the demise of a handful of Freedom Caucus-friendly bills covering a range of far-right hobbyhorses, including attacks on abortion rights and public schools.”

Visionary and creative resistance” –> At Open Democracy, Inna Michaeli and Semanur Karaman write that around the world, women are leading the charge against environmentally destructive “extractivism” — and paying a price for it as they face threats and in some instances, deadly violence.

Eighteen years of corruption –> Rick Quinn, a veteran South Carolina state lawmaker, was indicted on two charges of misconduct in public office and suspended from the legislature pending an outcome in the case. Prosecutors allege that Quinn “did act as a lobbyist while holding office in the South Carolina House of Representatives,” and enriched himself with questionable donations from lobbyists dating back to 1999. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in jail, and a fine, according to John Monk at The State.

Heartbreaking –> The Atlantic published a piece by Alex Tizon, who passed away in March, about coming to grips with the fact that his “model immigrant” family were modern-day slaveholders. A brief description doesn’t do the piece justice — this is a must-read.

Never too old –> On Sunday, Verdun Hayes, a British D-Day veteran, broke a world record for jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at age 101 and 38 days. The Guardian has the details.


Daily Reads was compiled by Bill Moyers staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.