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Day 488: Too inconvenient.

1/ Trump uses White House cellphones that lack the proper security features required to protect his communications, potentially leaving him open to hacking or surveillance. Trump uses at least two different iPhones — one for making calls and one for Twitter and news — and has resisted efforts from his staff to beef up the security around his phone use. Aides have urged Trump to swap out his Twitter phone on a monthly basis, but Trump says it's "too inconvenient." Trump has gone as long as five months without having his phone checked by security experts. (Politico)

  • Trump is essentially doing the same thing he demanded Hillary Clinton be locked up for doing. Trump's actions are identical to Clinton’s, but Trump's situation is an easier target for foreign hackers, especially since Trump is particularly vulnerable to espionage and blackmail due to his concealed business interests and alleged adultery. (New York Magazine)

  • Trump's communication security practices illustrate the clear double standard between Hillary Clinton’s emails and his own cell phones. Whether or not convenience was actually Clinton's reasoning for the use of her private server is a fair question, but there are still clear parallels between what Trump attacked Clinton for and what he's doing now. (Washington Post)

  • The White House pushed back on the report that Trump's cell phones are not secure: “The White House is confident in the security protocols in place for the President’s use of communications devices,” a senior White House official said. (ABC News)

2/ White House employees who draft proposed tweets for Trump intentionally use bad grammar and incorporate spelling errors to make it sound like Trump is the one tweeting. The overuse of exclamation points, random capitalization of words for emphasis, and use of fragmented sentences are all part of a process intended to make the tweets seem like genuine Trump communications. (Boston Globe)

3/ The EPA banned the Associated Press and CNN from a national summit on harmful water contaminants. The EPA also blocked the environmentally-focused E&E News from attending the meeting in Washington, which was convened by Scott Pruitt. One AP reporter was grabbed by the shoulders and forcibly removed from the EPA building after she asked to speak to an EPA public affairs representative. "This was simply an issue of the room reaching capacity," said EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox, "which reporters were aware of prior to the event." Wilcox later announced that the afternoon session of the meeting would be open to all press. (Associated Press / NBC News / Axios / CNBC)

4/ The Interior Department plans to reverse a 2015 ban that prohibits hunters on some public lands in Alaska from using bacon and doughnuts as bait or using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs while hibernating in their dens. The proposed changes would allow hunters to hunt black bears by using dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to kill swimming caribou. These and other hunting methods have been condemned as cruel by wildlife protection advocates and were outlawed on federal lands under the Obama administration. The Interior Department will accept public comments on the proposed rule changes for the next 60 days. (NBC News)

5/ The Government Accountability Office approved a proposal to cut more than $7 billion in unused funding from the Children's Health Insurance Program. The GAO report approved the vast majority of the Trump administration's $15.3 billion plan to reduce government spending. The plan will likely be able to avoid any filibuster in the GOP-controlled Senate, and is expected to pass with a simple majority vote. The House version of the bill has has already been drafted and is expected to head to the floor in June for a vote. (Politico)

6/ Elliot Broidy received the largest U.S. government payout in the history of his company while he was selling access to Trump to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to securing nearly $1 billion in contracts from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2017 in exchange for lobbying against Qatar, Broidy and George Nader locked down more than $4 million in contracts from the Defense Department in August and September of the same year. The most Circinus LCC had received in defense contracts prior to Broidy's lobbying work in Washington D.C. was $7,501. (Daily Beast)

  • Hey, Look: More evidence that Broidy may Have been covering for Trump in that Playmate affair. (New York Magazine)

7/ A bipartisan group of lawmakers say they will try to stop Trump from reducing penalties against ZTE, the Chinese telecom giant. The proposed deal would lift a seven-year ban on the use or sale of ZTE components by U.S. chipmakers and other companies. In return, China would eliminate tariffs on U.S. agriculture or agree to buy more farm products from American companies. Republican and Democratic lawmakers are looking at ways to block any possible changes to the ban. "We will begin working on veto-proof congressional action," Marco Rubio tweeted. Dick Durbin said lawmakers are considering several options and plan to act "soon." (Reuters)

  • China has already reduced its import tariff on passenger cars from 25% to 15% following a truce between Trump and Chinese officials. The move opens up a market that has been a major target of the U.S. in its ongoing trade battle with the world’s second-largest economy. The reduction will be a boon to U.S. carmakers, but it will also end up benefiting European and Asian manufacturers from Daimler AG to Toyota Motor Corp. (Bloomberg)

  • How China acquires ‘the crown jewels’ of U.S. technology: The U.S. frequently fails to police foreign deals over the cutting-edge software that powers the military and American economic strength. (Politico)

8/ James Clapper said the FBI was not, at any point, spying on the Trump campaign. “They were not," Clapper told The View. "They were spying — a term I don't particularly like — on what the Russians were doing." Clapper said the FBI was simply interested in answer the question: "Were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence?" (Politico / The Hill)

  • James Clapper: Trump tweets are 'disturbing assault' on Justice Department's independence. The former Director of National Intelligence accused Trump of leading "a very disturbing assault on the independence of the Department of Justice." (CNN)

9/ Harley-Davidson took a tax cut, closed a factory in Kansas City, and rewarded its shareholders with a nearly $700 million stock buyback plan. Four months after receiving a tax cut as a result of the GOP federal tax bill, the company laid off 800 workers, moved its factory to Pennsylvania, and announced a dividend increase and a stock buyback plan to repurchase 15 million of its shares, which are valued at around $696 million. (Vox)

  • An increase in gas prices easily outpaces the benefits of the tax bill for lower-income Americans. It’s not yet clear whether — or how much — this is a function of the Iran deal as opposed to the normal increases typically seen during the summer months. (Washington Post)

  • Gas prices reach $5 per gallon in Manhattan. One gas station in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood listed its gasoline for $4.999 per gallon. (The Hill)


  1. The Supreme Court ruled for the first time in a 5-4 decision that private sector workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws. In the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act, meaning that employees who sign employee agreements to arbitrate claims must waive their rights to join a class action lawsuit and go through arbitration on an individual basis. (NPR / Politico)

  2. Purdue Pharma hired Giuliani in the mid-2000s to head off a federal investigation into its marketing of OxyContin so it could continue selling the drug, which has been at the center of the national opioid crisis. Purdue turned OxyContin into a multibillion-dollar drug after its launch in 1996 and launched an unprecedented marketing campaign to pitch the painkiller to doctors. (The Guardian)

  3. Bob Corker turned down the offer to become the next U.S. ambassador to Australia. "I had a number of conversations with both President Trump and [Mike] Pompeo," Corker said. "At the end of the day though…it just felt like it wasn't the right step." (The Tennessean)

  4. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pushed back on the intelligence community's assessment that Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2016 presidential elections in an attempt to help Trump and hurt Clinton. "I don't believe that I have seen that conclusion … that the specific intent was to help President Trump win," Nielsen said. (CNN)

  5. Senior GOP lawmakers are questioning Paul Ryan's ability to lead the party through the 2018 midterm elections. No one is planning to remove him just yet, and Ryan continues to insist that he is not planning to step down as speaker, but many Republicans, including moderates, have become increasingly willing to defy Ryan, whom they view as the lame-duck leader of the party. (Politico)

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