Lucas Jackson / Reuters

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)


Today in 5 Lines

  • NBC News reports that federal authorities have been monitoring the phone lines of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, since before the raids on Cohen’s offices and home. Earlier in the day, the network incorrectly reported that he had been wiretapped.

  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump, who has denied knowing about Cohen’s payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, didn’t know about the exchange “at the time.” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani revealed in an interview on Fox News on Wednesday that Trump “reimbursed” Cohen for the $130,000 he paid to Daniels to cover up an alleged affair.

  • The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott reports that a press staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency tried to plant a negative story about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “take the heat off” Administrator Scott Pruitt.

  • Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a measure boosting teacher pay and increasing funding for support staff and supplies, bringing an end to the week-long teacher’s walkout.

  • During a speech in the Rose Garden, Trump announced a new White House faith office meant to “ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs.”


Today on The Atlantic

  • ‘The First Porn President’: Donald Trump is the country’s first truly shameless president, writes Caitlin Flanagan. And that’s why Stormy Daniels, more than investigators or any of Trump’s other accusers, is just the person who can take him down.

  • Not Helping: What Rudy Giuliani revealed during two recent interviews on Fox News might intensify the legal risks for President Trump. Here’s how. (Adam Serwer)

  • Scandal in the Southern Baptist Convention: A Baptist leader’s assertion that women in abusive marriages should avoid divorce and “be submissive” to their husbands has split the denomination in two. (Jonathan Merritt)

  • A Dangerous Intersection: States are shifting tax dollars away from public colleges just as younger generations are becoming more diverse. (Ronald Brownstein)


Snapshot

Cindy and Fred Warmbier, parents of Otto Warmbier, speak during a symposium on possible ways of international cooperation to urge North Korea to take concrete actions to improve its human rights situation at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters


What We’re Reading

Don’t Count Your Chickens: President Trump’s celebration of North Korea’s “denuclearization” is premature, argues Stephen F. Hayes—and it’s not the first time he’s taken an early victory lap. (The Weekly Standard)

Replicating Trumpism: Three primary elections are coming up next Tuesday in Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia. In each, the question seems to be: Who is the most like Donald Trump? (James Arkin, RealClearPolitics)

It’s Worse Than You Think: Amid an onslaught of attacks from the Trump administration and several public failures, the FBI is facing a major crisis of credibility. “We’ve seen ups and downs, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one former agent. (Eric Lichtblau, Time)

In the Crosshairs: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly focusing intently on interactions between former Trump campaign official, Rick Gates, and political operative Roger Stone. (Brian Schwartz, CNBC)


Visualized

Hard to Keep Up?: Here’s everything President Trump, his lawyers, and his press secretary have said so far about his relationship with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. (Karen Yourish, The New York Times)

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