With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve.

THE BIG IDEA: President Trump used an Indiana rally Thursday to soothe conservative fears that he’s going to make too many concessions to the North Koreans.

“I think it’s going to be a very big success,” Trump said of the June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un. “But my attitude is: If it isn’t, it isn’t. Okay? If it isn’t, it isn’t. … You have to (say) that, because you don’t know.”

Everyone is excited about the homecoming of the three American prisoners, but there’s growing anxiety in the national security firmament that the president might be too hungry for a big win. Trump has appeared intoxicated at times by the possibility he could win the Nobel Peace Prize and relishes the chants of “Nobel” that have become standard fare at his rallies. He’s also been ratcheting up expectations that history will be made at his summit. Announcing the time and place of his meeting with Kim, the president tweeted: “We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”

-- Throughout his career, Trump has stressed the importance of being willing to walk away from the table in a successful negotiation. From 2014:

At the gymnasium in Elkhart, Ind., he returned to this theme, which was prominent in “The Art of the Deal.” “We’re not going to be walked into an Iran deal where the negotiator, John Kerry, refused to leave the table,” the president said, referring to the secretary of state who negotiated the multilateral Iran nuclear deal that he pulled the U.S. out of earlier this week.

Trump stayed uncharacteristically on message during his hour-long speech at the campaign-style rally, mostly sticking to the teleprompter. He ripped Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and touted his Republican challenger Mike Braun, who won a three-way primary on Tuesday.

-- Some hawkish thought leaders on the right have begun to say publicly over the past week what many more are saying privately during Washington cocktail parties: that the neophyte commander in chief could get suckered into taking a bad deal because he so badly wants to claim a diplomatic triumph.

“Any deal, even an inadequate one, would hold out the alluring possibility of changing the political dynamic in the run-up to the midterms,” writes National Review Editor Rich Lowry. “And hold out the possibility of Trump getting, if not a Nobel Peace Prize, the kind approval from elites that he simultaneously disdains and craves … [T]he problem is that nothing we have seen so far from Kim is inconsistent with the decades-long North Korean diplomatic pattern of selling us the same fake concessions in exchange for sanctions relief and economic benefits. … This is why the ultimate test of Trump’s mettle isn’t getting Kim to the negotiating table, but being willing to walk away from it.”

“If Trump wants to succeed, he must want a deal less than Kim does,” writes conservative columnist Marc Thiessen, who served as a speechwriter for Don Rumsfeld and George W. Bush. “He must be willing to walk away and to make Kim understand that he is serious about a military option if negotiations fail. He can’t do so if he is even remotely thinking about a Nobel. … History will judge Trump not by whether he won a Nobel, but by whether he was able to stop North Korea from deploying the capability to destroy an American city with a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.”

-- John Brennan, who was CIA director during Barack Obama’s administration, said Kim is tricking Trump by presenting “an appearance of cooperation” and predicted the Korean leader will never agree to give up his nukes. “Unfortunately, I think (Kim) has been masterful in how he has manipulated perceptions and how he has manipulated, and quite frankly duped, Mr. Trump,” Brennan said Thursday on MSNBC.

-- The White House is sensitive to all these charges. In an interview that aired today on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly insisted “the president’s got his eyes wide open” and won’t let himself “get strung along” the way his predecessors have. “Believe me, the president really wants this to work,” Kelly added. “We talk fairly frequently about nuclear weapons and he's just astounded that the United States, that the human race has got itself into this dilemma with all of these nuclear weapons. To help North Korea give up its nuclear program and its missile program would be a wonderful thing.”

-- Americans support the upcoming talks, but skepticism of Pyongyang’s intentions remains palpable: 71 percent approve of Trump’s talks with Kim, while just 21 percent disapprove, in a Pew Research Center poll published Thursday. Overall, 49 percent say North Korea’s leadership is not serious about addressing international concerns over the country’s nuclear enrichment program, while 38 percent think North Korea’s leaders are serious about addressing these concerns.

As I explained in a March Big Idea from Pennsylvania, most rank-and-file Trump supporters who were strongly against Obama negotiating with the Iranians are supportive of this president talking to the North Koreans because they trust his negotiating skills. In the Pew poll, 85 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now approve of the U.S. negotiating with North Korea. Three years ago, only 40 percent of this group approved of the U.S. directly negotiating with Iran.

-- Trump might learn from Ronald Reagan’s decision to walk away from the 1986 summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland. Gorbachev showed up offering huge reductions in strategic and intermediate-range nuclear weapons. Reagan responded by proposing both sides eliminate all their nukes. Gorbachev said yes. It was a huge moment. But then the Russian leader said he would only move forward if the Americans agreed to limit research for the Strategic Defense Initiative, a missile defense system, to the laboratory for a decade. Reagan wouldn’t budge and walked away. The intelligentsia said he’d made a terrible mistake and ruined the chance to end the nuclear arms race.

“It took tremendous courage (to leave empty-handed),” said Ken Adelman, who was director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at the time. “Reagan was really mad all the way to the airport. He felt really terrible. The headlines were all bad. They all said it was a big failure. But there’s always a tomorrow. In two months, the Soviets were back at the table.”

The conversations at Reykjavik shaped the contours of the landmark arms control treaties that followed. Adelman wrote a 2014 book on what happened, “Reagan at Reykjavik,” which is now being turned into a movie.

The world has changed a lot in the intervening three decades, but Adelman told me during an interview yesterday that there is still a lot Trump can learn from the denouement of the Cold War. Reagan knew what he didn’t know and did not try to fake an understanding of complex weapons systems, for example. The Gipper also trusted his team to negotiate on his behalf.

Before things fell apart at Reykjavik, when it looked like they were on the cusp of a real breakthrough, Reagan had a gut check moment. He asked each of his top aides to answer directly: “Is this deal good for America?” “Negotiations have a certain momentum. They take on a life of their own. There’s a euphoria, a real rush,” Adelman said. “It was a really good exercise.”

Looking ahead to next month’s summit, he doesn’t think Trump will succeed in getting Kim to denuclearize but he thinks the diplomatic engagement lowers the odds of future armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula. “Kim is no Gorbachev, and Trump is certainly a far, far, far cry from Reagan,” said Adelman. “So I don’t have much hope this will accomplish what Trump wants. … But I assume this meeting will lead to some kind of process and follow-ons.”

-- As Kenny Rogers sang in “The Gambler,” one of my favorite songs: “You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

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-- AT&T paid Trump consigliere Michael Cohen $600,000 to help grease the wheels for its merger with Time Warner. Rosalind S. Helderman, Brian Fung and Tom Hamburger obtained internal documents that show why the president’s personal lawyer was hired: “The … contract specified that he would provide advice on the $85 billion merger, which required the approval of federal antitrust regulators. Trump had voiced opposition to the merger during the presidential campaign, and his administration ultimately opposed the AT&T effort. The Justice Department filed suit in November to block the deal, and that case is pending. The $600,000 that flowed to Cohen from AT&T was about 3.5 percent of the $16.8 million the company spent on lobbying in 2017 … AT&T declined to comment on the documents … but it did not challenge their authenticity.”


  1. The Pentagon has concluded its investigation into the disastrous special operations mission in Niger, which led to the ambush and deaths of four American soldiers last fall. Military officials said “numerous” planning failures were to blame for the attack and dispelled rumors that one U.S soldier was captured alive by militants. Instead, officials said that Sgt. La David T. Johnson was killed in action “while actively engaging the enemy.” (Dan Lamothe, Missy Ryan and Alex Horton)
  2. Five top ISIS leaders were captured in a sting orchestrated by Iraqi and U.S. intelligence. The operation was carried out over three months and demonstrates the growing ties between Washington and Baghdad. (New York Times)
  3. A Philadelphia nurse was charged in the death of H.R. McMaster’s father last month at a senior living facility Authorities said that after the elder McMaster suffered a fall, the nurse failed to perform any of the eight required neurological checks that could have saved his life. She could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of failing to provide adequate care. (CNN)
  4. A group of 20 people filed a lawsuit against Turkey’s government after they were beaten by security guards while protesting outside the Turkish ambassador’s D.C. residence last year. Demonstrators — nearly all of whom are U.S citizens and residents — are seeking “unspecified damages” for injuries sustained in the bloody assault. (Spencer S. Hsu)
  5. The FEC ruled campaign funds can be used for child care in certain instances. A first-time congressional candidate who previously cared for her children full time argued she only needed a sitter to run for office, making it a pertinent campaign expense. Hillary Clinton even wrote a letter to the commission on the candidate’s behalf. (Julie Zauzmer)
  6. Academia is having a #MeToo moment as more women accuse tenured professors and other prominent university figures of sexual abuse and assault. There are more than 2,400 accounts from victims and witnesses on an anonymous online spreadsheet describing incidents of sexual misconduct allegedly carried out by faculty mentors, professors and deans. (Nick Anderson)
  7. Researchers discovered they could send secret audio instructions to smart devices such as Siri, Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. The commands are virtually undetectable to the human ear — translated through white noise or random patterns of orchestra music, for example — but can trigger actions as complex as wiring money and opening front doors. While there’s no evidence the techniques are being exploited, some experts predict it’s only a matter of time. (New York Times)
  8. Famed Australian scientist David Goodall died after scheduling his own death at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. He was 104. Goodall has fought for the right to die on his own terms, telling reporters that he believed he had simply “lived too long.” Goodall did give one final news conference before his death, where he burst spontaneously into song: the German version of “Ode to Joy.” (Lindsey Bever)
  9. Students at Yale want to promote campus inclusiveness after a graduate student called the police on a black student napping in the common room of her dorm. In video footage, the exasperated, book-laden student can be heard explaining to officers: “I deserve to be here. I pay tuition like everybody else … I’m not going to justify my existence here.” (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
  10. Jared and Ivanka Trump are searching for new, permanent digs in Washington. The two are unhappy with their current rental — a six-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot manse — and are actively house-hunting in the Kalorama and Georgetown areas. (Politico)


-- “Trump berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a dispiriting Cabinet meeting on immigration Wednesday, according to three administration officials,” Josh Dawsey and Nick Miroff report. “Trump lashed out at his Cabinet, and Nielsen in particular, when told that the number of people arrested for illegally crossing the Mexico border topped 50,000 for the second consecutive month. The blowup lasted more than 30 minutes, according to a person with knowledge of what transpired, as Trump’s face reddened and he raised his voice, saying Nielsen needed to ‘close down’ the border. ‘Why don’t you have solutions? How is this still happening?’ he said, adding later, ‘We need to shut it down. We’re closed.’

“Trump’s tirade went on so long that many present began fidgeting in their seats and flashing grimaces, White House aides said. Eventually, the topic moved on to health care, bringing relief to many in the room. … Nielsen battled back, one person said, telling Trump that laws limit some of what she could do to block the flow of undocumented immigrants. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended her, saying the administration was looking for new ways to deter illegal crossings. Mostly, though, Nielsen struggled to get a word in, said one senior official.

The New York Times and Politico reported that Nielsen, who began the job in December, drafted a resignation letter. In a statement Thursday, a spokesman for the agency said that was false. … Homeland Security’s deputy secretary position is vacant, so there would be no immediate replacement if Nielsen were to step down.

Trump has never viewed Nielsen favorably, and complains to colleagues that she is ‘not tough enough,’ according to a senior White House official. He reminds staff that she was a ‘George W. Bush person’ because of her previous tenure as a White House Homeland Security adviser.” 

-- “One person close to Ms. Nielsen said she is miserable in her job,” the New York Times’s Michael D. Shear and Nicole Perlroth report. “Ms. Nielsen viewed the president’s rant as directed mostly at her and told associates after the meeting that she should not continue in the job if the president did not view her as effective.”

-- John Kelly, on NPR, said he wishes he had been able to start as White House chief of staff earlier. “In retrospect, I wish I had been here from day one,” said Kelly, who preceded Nielsen as DHS secretary. “I think in some cases in terms of staffing or serving the president that first six months was pretty chaotic and there were people some people hired that maybe shouldn't have. … It's not that things were a disaster that first six months but I believe they could have been better.” Kelly added he thinks Trump is “a super smart guy,” implicitly contradicting a report from last month that he called the president an “idiot.” (NPR)

-- A Post analysis found managers of Sean Hannity’s rental properties in working-class neighborhoods aggressively enforced rent collection. Aaron C. Davis and Shawn Boburg report: “[Managers at Hannity’s four largest apartment complexes in Georgia] have sought court-ordered evictions at twice the statewide rate — in a state known for high numbers of evictions and landlord-friendly laws — and frequently have done so less than two weeks after a missed payment. … Among the tenants Hannity’s property managers sought to evict, records show, were a former corrections officer and her wife, who fell behind while awaiting a disability determination; a double amputee who had lived in an apartment with her daughter for five years but did not pay on time after being hospitalized; and a single mother of three whose $980 rent check was rejected because she could not come up with a $1,050 cleaning fee for a bedbug infestation. … Told of The Post’s findings, three experts said the pattern suggests that the threat of eviction is being used not just to remove tenants but also to generate revenue.” Hannity’s attorney said the Fox News host was not involved in the evictions. But last month, when Hannity was defending his real estate holdings, he said: “It is ironic that I am being attacked for investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment and in which, I am sure, those attacking me have not invested their money.”


-- A White House official mocked Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis during an internal staff meeting. Philip Rucker reports: “Kelly Sadler, a special assistant in the communications office who helps manage talking points for Trump allies, made the comment about McCain during a discussion among the White House communications staffers about Gina Haspel’s nomination for CIA director, which the Arizona Republican announced Wednesday that he opposed. ‘It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,’ Sadler said, according to the official with knowledge of the comment … A White House spokesman did not dispute the report and issued a statement on behalf of the White House: ‘We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.’”

Cindy McCain, the senator's wife, tweeted this at the White House aide:

From a strategist on McCain's presidential campaigns:

From a Politico reporter:

-- Meanwhile, a guest on Fox Business argued in favor of “torture” because he said it “worked” on McCain. From the Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell: “Appearing Thursday morning on the Fox Business Network, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney took an ugly swipe at McCain for his opposition to torture, telling Varney & Co. host Charles Payne: ‘The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’” He continued: “The fact is those methods can work, and they are effective, as former Vice President Cheney said. And if we have to use them to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to.”

The host later apologized:

And PolitiFact confirmed that the “Songbird John” slur is a falsehood:


-- Oregon prosecutor Ryan Bounds, Trump's nominee for a seat on the 9th Circuit, was grilled during his Senate confirmation hearing about a spate of offensive articles he wrote as a student at Stanford in the 1990s. Meagan Flynn reports: “Bounds’s [commentaries criticized] race-focused groups and questioned the value of cultural sensitivity training. In one of his Stanford articles, Bounds described a phenomenon … in which ‘multiculturalistas’ and ethnic minorities bonded together to form groups of ‘racial purity’ … In another article, he urged the university not to lower the burden of proof in finding accused rapists in violation of university policy, writing that ‘there is nothing really inherently wrong with the University failing to punish an alleged rapist — regardless of his guilt — in the absence of adequate certainty,’ and adding, ‘expelling students is probably not going to contribute a great deal toward a rape victim’s recovery.’

Bounds said his rhetoric was “overheated” and offered apologies for the tone of some of the pieces. He said they were “not as respectful” as they should have been “about how to best pursue diversity and ensure a multicultural respect on campus.”

But the more consequential story from the hearing is the way Bounds is getting his lifetime appointment: Senate Republicans are disregarding the century-old “blue slip” tradition to jam him through: “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) led Senate Republicans in pushing forward with the hearing, despite staunch opposition from both of Oregon’s senators, Ron Wyden and Jeffrey E. Merkley. ... The hearing proceeded despite both Oregon senators’ refusing to turn in ‘blue slips’: the pieces of paper used to signal approval of a nominee. When the slips aren’t submitted, it has often been treated as veto power of a nominee. ... 'Today, we’re making history — really bad history, for this institution and for the country and our Constitution,’ said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the committee.”


-- Mike Pence said Robert Mueller should “wrap up” the Russia investigation as it nears its one-year mark: “We've fully cooperated in it and in the interest of the country, I think it's time to wrap it up,” Pence told NBC News's Andrea Mitchell. “And I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.” (John Wagner)

-- House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has requested a financial audit of Mueller’s office in an apparent attempt to obtain a document outlining the investigation’s scope. Mike DeBonis reports: “Meadows, speaking Thursday during a taping of C-SPAN’s ‘Newsmakers’ that is to air Sunday, said he believed the audit is required under federal law and could not be completed without an unredacted copy of the memo written in August 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. … The 2017 ‘scope memo’ has turned into a major flash point between the Justice Department and a cadre of House Republicans — including Meadows and other members of the Freedom Caucus — who say that Mueller has gone outside the bounds of his original charge to investigate possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.”

-- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) appears to have backed away from his battle with the Justice Department. Devlin Barrett reports: “White House officials have urged the two sides to meet and try to resolve their differences, and Nunes traveled to the Justice Department Thursday with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) for a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein as well as DNI and FBI officials. Nunes and Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, did not speak to reporters after the hour-long meeting but issued a joint statement later in the day. ‘We had a productive discussion today with officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Justice, and FBI in which we raised questions related to information requested from the Intelligence Community,’ the lawmakers said in their statement. ‘The officials committed to holding further discussions of these matters, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue next week to satisfy the Committee’s request.’”

-- Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has left his law firm. Robert Costa and John Wagner report: “Giuliani, whose recent media blitz on behalf of Trump stirred controversy, took a leave of absence from Greenberg Traurig last month. But on Thursday, the firm announced Giuliani’s resignation, effective the day before. … In a brief interview Thursday, Giuliani said there was no acrimony inside the firm regarding his work for Trump, saying that ‘half the firm is for him, maybe half against — fifty-fifty. It wasn’t about that; it was about giving my full attention to the president.’”

-- After Giuliani’s resignation, Greenberg Traurig quickly sought to distance itself from recent comments he has made about Cohen’s payment to Stormy Daniels. From the New York Times’s Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Giuliani suggested that such payments were common at his firm, even without the knowledge of the clients. ‘That was money that was paid by his lawyer, the way I would do, out of his law firm funds,’ he said on Fox News. He added, ‘Michael would take care of things like this like I take care of this with my clients.’ The New York Times asked Greenberg Traurig about those remarks early this week. Shortly after Mr. Giuliani’s resignation was announced, the firm responded. ‘We cannot speak for Mr. Giuliani with respect to what was intended by his remarks,’ said a spokeswoman, Jill Perry. ‘Speaking for ourselves, we would not condone payments of the nature alleged to have been made or otherwise without the knowledge and direction of a client.’”

-- Giuliani said Trump’s legal team has not held an extensive prep session with the president for a potential Mueller interview. From CNN’s Dana Bash: “The former New York City mayor added that he's informally asked Trump specific questions about the matter. Giuliani said the discussions about preparing the President were merely a precaution at this point and dismissed a suggestion that the discussions meant an interview with Mueller is happening. … Giuliani added that Trump's attention to foreign affairs means his legal team ‘couldn't really get him prepared’ and that the legal team would need ‘two or three days,’ to prepare the President.”

-- Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released thousands of divisive ads created by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency in an effort to sow discord ahead of the 2016 election. NBC News’s Brandy Zadrozny, Ben Popken, Ben Collins and Andrew W. Lehren report: “ … Facebook, which also owns Instagram, received nearly $100,000 from the Russia-funded troll farm to run the 3,000 ads from 2015 to 2017, according to an NBC News analysis[.] The ads provide a deeper understanding of Russia’s use of social media to spread propaganda on divisive topics, which included pushing anti-immigrant messages to fans of specific Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, and buying batches of ads immediately after a mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Some of the most divisive ads capitalized on the political movement Black Lives Matter and hot-button political issues including immigration, gun control, the religion of Islam and LGBT-centric topics. Some 3.7 million users clicked on the IRA ads … [and] the ads released Thursday were seen over 33 million times, according to the metadata provided by Facebook.”

-- “The House Armed Services Committee has moved to nullify a 30-year-old nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, endorsing a measure that would entrust [Trump] to decide whether the United States should scrap the deal,” Karoun Demirjian reports: “The Republican-led measure, which was added around midnight Thursday to a draft of next year’s defense spending bill, states that the United States will no longer consider the treaty binding without White House verification of Russia’s full compliance. Though it is largely symbolic … it marks Washington’s latest attempt, as sponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) put it, to ‘nudge Russia into compliance’ with a Cold War-era agreement that Moscow is believed to have violated for years.”


-- Another broken campaign promise? Trump will today outline a “strategy” on reducing prescription drug prices, but his plan will not include Medicare negotiating with drug manufacturers. The New York Times’s Robert Pear reports: “As he campaigned for the presidency, Mr. Trump boldly broke with his party and embraced a longstanding Democratic proposal when he called for the federal government to use its buying power to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare recipients. The proposal was popular with voters but not with other Republican politicians, who had been battling it for years. … Congressional Democrats said they would like to work with Mr. Trump on plans to rein in drug costs, but they predicted that his proposals would be inadequate.” “On the campaign trail, he spoke like a populist,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “He talked the talk, but he has failed — at least so far — to walk the walk.”

 -- Paul Ryan is seeking to quash a brewing rebellion among GOP lawmakers attempting to force a vote on a package of immigration bills. Mike DeBonis reports: “Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters he would ‘like to’ take up an immigration bill, one day after 17 Republicans signed a petition that would force votes on a number of immigration bills. A discharge petition is a rarely successful legislative maneuver that overrides the speaker’s power to determine what legislation comes to the House floor. ‘Going down a path and having some kind of a spectacle on the floor that just results in a veto doesn’t solve the problem,’ Ryan said, suggesting that [Trump] would reject the bills that the petition would discharge ... Republican leaders have cajoled rank-and-file lawmakers not to sign on to the petition, privately arguing that the issue of immigration could create an unpredictable and politically treacherous free-for-all in the middle of an election year.”

-- The FCC announced net neutrality rules would be officially repealed next month. From CNN’s Seth Fiegerman: “‘Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for nearly 20 years will be restored,’ Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, said in a statement Thursday. … The new timeline comes as net neutrality advocates make a last ditch effort to undo the repeal. Senate Democrats are currently pushing for a vote on a bill to overturn the decision as soon as next week. Even if the resolution passes the Senate, it still faces an uphill battle in the House.”

-- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau downplayed plans to consolidate its student arm with another office. An agency spokesperson said, “There is a very modest organizational chart change to keep the Bureau in line with the statute but the office is still operating within the same division.” Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports: “Dozens of Democratic lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and [Dick Durbin (Ill.)], denounced the consolidation as a thinly veiled attempt by the Trump administration to curry favor with the student loan industry at the expense of consumers. On Thursday, protesters gathered in front of CFPB headquarters to oppose the reorganization and urge the agency to continue to fight for student loan borrowers.”


Trump went after Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.):

Schumer responded by referencing the first lady's new initiative, which encourages children to use social media in positive ways:

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee criticized House Republicans:

A Republican senator requested more information on Gina Haspel:

There was lots of outrage about the attacks on McCain. From the Illinois radio host and former tea party congressman Joe Walsh:

From a former lawyer at the National Security Agency:

From a professor at the Naval War College:

A former Pentagon adviser called on both Sadler and McInerney to leave their roles:

The head of the EPA attracted more controversy, per a New York Times reporter:

A writer for The Fix considered Trump's approval rating:

A CNN executive producer compiled Trump's comments about Kim Jong Un:

And here are the worst (best?) puns of the day from C-SPAN's communications director:


-- “Loyalty, unease in Trump’s Midwest,” by Dan Balz, Melina Mara and Jordan Frasier: “[Dennis] Schminke lives in a section of the Upper Midwest that responded enthusiastically to Trump, as a candidate and an incoming president. In this region, the Trump presidency is viewed as both reassuring and exhausting, a welcome poke in the eye at elites and the Washington power structure coupled with endless and often self-inflicted distractions. What is also apparent is that, 16 months into Trump’s presidency, many voters here have recalibrated their feelings and intensity of support for the man they backed in 2016.”

-- New York Times, “These Women Mostly Ignored Politics. Now, Activism Is Their Job,” by Campbell Robertson: “At regular intervals this past year, the scale of the grass-roots fervor on the left has been on full display. Thousands take to the streets for another national protest; another record is broken for the number of candidates running for Congress; another special election ends in a shock Democratic victory … Beneath all of this is a machine that keeps humming. In suburbs, exurbs and small towns around the country, and here in politically contested western Pennsylvania, the machine has been powered to a large degree by college-educated women in midcareer or retirement. [They] often have no prior interest or experience in politics. But with the election of Mr. Trump, they were aghast at how they felt the political system, which most had taken for granted to the point of indifference, had allowed things to fly so far off the rails.” “I knew it was possible,” said Beverly Graham, a retired teacher in rural Mercer County, Pa. “But I didn’t think it was probable.”

-- Politico, “‘When gerrymandering backfires’: Democrats go after once-safe GOP seats,” by Elena Schneider: “Republicans redrew congressional districts across the country in 2010 in an attempt to consign Democrats to a semipermanent House minority. … In many states, Republicans maximized gains in the House by spreading GOP voters across as many districts as possible. Typically, that left Democrats with around 40 to 45 percent of the vote in those districts, making them difficult under normal circumstances for the minority party to contest. But this election year is anything but normal. Many of the once-secure 55-45 Republican districts are very much in play … ”


“Policy Advisor For Trump-Tied ‘America First’ Group Praises Nazis: They Should’ve Kept ‘Going,’” from Mediaite: “Last December, in a Florida hotel room just three miles from [Trump’s] ‘Winter White House,’ a policy advisor for the Trump-tied nonprofit America First Policies praised Nazis and expressed disappointment that they didn’t ‘keep f---ing going.’ Juan Pablo Andrade voiced his love for the Third Reich — in a video obtained by Mediaite — while attending a Turning Point USA conference … Andrade, aside from his work for the pro-Trump America First group, has quite the resume. Per his LinkedIn account, he worked on Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council, Trump’s National Diversity Coalition and the Trump campaign as a surrogate.”



“Group of GOP senators calls for canceling August recess,” from Seung Min Kim: “The effort, led by Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), is a repeat of last year’s push in which a coalition of mostly newer GOP senators said that they would skip the annual August break if necessary to complete the legislative work that had gone unaccomplished. … [T]he Senate Republicans make the case that spending more time in session is particularly critical at a time when the chamber is facing what they call ‘historic obstruction’ by Democrats. Republicans have been especially eager to show voters that they are accomplishing much of Trump’s agenda in an election year in which GOP control of both chambers is at stake.”



Trump will attend a roundtable with auto CEOs. He will deliver his speech on lowering drug prices at 2 p.m. in the Rose Garden and then meet with Mike Pompeo.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close friend of John McCain, gave an upbeat update on his colleague’s condition as he battles cancer: “Don’t believe what you read in the paper,” Graham said. “I was concerned when I went. I’m thinking now about my next trip. No talking about funerals.” He added the two of them watched the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and provided their own “R-rated commentary.” “You want to figure out John McCain, watch ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ — that tells you all you need to know about me and him,” Graham said. (Sean Sullivan)



-- Washington’s weather today receives a 10/10 rating. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “It should stay bright and warm, despite any periodic clouds. High temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s feel great with comfortable dew points (about 50 degrees) much of the day.”

-- The Nationals beat the Diamondbacks 2-1 in 11 innings. (Chelsea Janes)

-- The death of gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz has upended Maryland’s “already unsettled” Democratic primary. Ovetta Wiggins reports: “[Kamenetz’s] running mate, former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin, has until May 17 to decide whether she wants to designate a new gubernatorial candidate for the ticket, said Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the State Board of Elections. … Kamenetz’s name is on ballots that will soon be mailed to members of the military living overseas, DeMarinis said. He said it was unclear whether his name will remain on ballots when voters go to the polls next month.”


Seth Meyers questioned calls for Trump to receive the Nobel Peace Prize:

Trevor Noah realized his own role in Michael Cohen's payment to Stormy Daniels:

Showtime’s “The Circus” captured the moment Daniels’s lawyer tweeted about Cohen’s consulting work:

Meghan McCain echoed her father's criticism of enhanced interrogation techniques as senators consider Haspel's confirmation:

Aerial footage showed how Hawaii's Big Island has been affected by recent volcanic activity:

An Illinois woman described raising her baby in prison while she serves out her sentence:

And The Post asked people in a South London neighborhood, sometimes called “the black capital of Europe,” whether Meghan Markle's race mattered to them: