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Week in politics: Checking in on President Trump’s trip overseas and setting the table for the progression of the Russia probe

US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalems Old City on May 22, 2017.
US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalems Old City on May 22, 2017.

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A yarmulke-clad, stone-faced President Trump became the first sitting American President to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday, solemnly approaching the ancient, holy landmark and leaving a note in one of its many cracks.

The President also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and will dine on Monday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife as part of his two day trip to Israel, during which he hopes to plant the seeds for a Middle East peace deal and emphasize the importance of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal as part of the regional realignment. This follows Mr. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia this weekend, where he met with the Saudi monarch, King Salman, and delivered a speech on combating terrorism in the Middle East.

Back stateside, the president’s administration’s facing continued scrutiny over Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who is expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee after Memorial Day, and the investigation into Russian ties to the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election, now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This week, former CIA director John Brennan will testify before a House panel looking into Russia. In another offshoot of the Russia story, former Trump administration national security adviser Mike Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself when he announced Monday that he was refusing to turn over documents subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Also, late Friday, the New York Times reported the President told Russian officials he faced great pressure because of Russia, and that with Comey’s firing, that pressure’s taken off. Trump also referred to Comey as “crazy, a real nut job.”

The Times cites documents read to them that summarized the meetings, but who are the people taking notes on these meetings? And how do they end up somewhere they can be leaked?


Josh Meyer, senior investigative reporter for POLITICO; he has been following the story; he tweets @JoshMeyerDC

Lisa Mascaro, congressional reporter for the LA Times, where she’s been following the story; she tweets @LisaMascaro

Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Chancellor’s Professor of education and political science at UC Berkeley; she tweets @GarciaBedolla

John Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College; he tweets @jpitney