Friends. What a bloody roller coaster this week. Are you ok? We are so-so. Just remember we are in it together.
1. White House
Well, now it's serious. The Justice Department appointed ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to run the feds' investigation into Russia's interference into last year's election -- and that includes possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians.
So who's Robert Mueller? Glad you asked. He's the second-longest-serving FBI director in history (under Bush and Obama), a former US attorney who is widely respected, considered nonpartisan and is an incredibly talented investigator. His appointment was widely praised on both sides of the aisle. CNN's Chris Cillizza says Mueller's appointment is important because, since he's respected by Democrats and Republicans alike, his investigation might be the only one that has a prayer of being accepted by the nation.
The White House was blindsided. There was no heads-up from Justice that this was coming until about a half-hour before the news broke. President Trump put out a short statement (no tweets!) saying that the investigation would confirm that "there was no collusion" between his campaign and the Russians.
The markets don't like all this drama. The Dow had its worst day since September, plummeting 373 points.
Has any president wanted to get away as badly as Donald Trump does right now? Trump leaves today on his first overseas trip as President after what has undoubtedly been the most difficult two weeks of his term. He'll go to Saudi Arabia, Israel and then to global summits in Italy and Belgium.
Trump will leave behind the sting of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Russia election-collusion allegations, as well as the fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey. Trump called the investigation a "witch hunt" and denied he asked Comey to end it. And speaking of Comey, we may hear from him very soon. A Republican on the House oversight committee said he's "pretty confident" Comey will testify next week. Talk about must-see TV.
As for who'll replace Comey at the FBI, Trump says he's close to making his decision and that ex-Sen. Joe Lieberman is among the frontrunners. That would definitely tick off Democrats. Sure, Lieberman was the Dems' veep candidate in 2000, but he fell out of favor after he became an independent, then backed Sen. John McCain for president in 2008. Since leaving the Senate, Lieberman has worked for a law firm that has represented Trump, a fact Democrats could seize on as well.
3. Times Square
A driver was charged with murder after a car plowed through pedestrians in New York's Times Square, killing a tourist and injuring at least 22 people. Richard Rojas also faces 20 counts of attempted murder and other charges. Witnesses described a hellish scene: a speeding car jumps the sidewalk, rams through three blocks worth of screaming pedestrians, then crashes in a fiery wreck. The suspect tested positive for PCP, told police God made him do it and said he expected officers to shoot him, a source tells CNN. The incident is not being investigated as an act of terrorism.
Chelsea Manning is a free woman. Manning, the ex-Army intelligence analyst behind the WikiLeaks scandal, was released from Fort Leavenworth. She had been serving a 35-year sentence for taking 750,000 pages worth of classified documents and videos and giving them to WikiLeaks. Her sentence was commuted by former President Obama before he left office in January. Manning -- who came out as transgender while in prison -- said she looks forward to living life as a woman outside the prison walls, where she had to conform to male standards of grooming.
A massive cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, spreading a virus that has crippled the systems of banks, hospitals and other institutions around the world. Yes, it's that serious, and experts expect more damage when people fire up their computers for the work week.
In plain terms, a group of unknown hackers launched a ransomware virus known as "WannaCry." The virus locks a computer's information until the victim pays a certain amount of money (hence the "ransom" in ransomware). The virus exploits a weakness in computers with Microsoft Windows and is primarily targeted at businesses, where a network of connected computers can all be taken down in one fell swoop. Still, if you're a Windows user, it's probably best to make sure your version of Windows is updated and, as always, avoid clicking on any suspicious links.
ps: Breaking today....
- International leaders will be refreshing their news feeds.Because the election could change Iran’s relationship with the international community.
source: the skimm
- Prosecutors in Sweden said today that they would drop their investigation into Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.
source : NYT
- President Trump is beginning his first trip overseas since taking office, starting today in Saudi Arabia, which is negotiating a $100 billion arms deal with the U.S. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, played a key role.
source: the skimm