BREAKING … WASHINGTON POST’S ANNA FIFIELD in SEOUL: “A team of U.S. officials crossed into North Korea on Sunday for talks to prepare for a summit between President Trump and Kim Un, as both sides press ahead with arrangements despite the question marks hanging over the meeting.
“Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, has been called in from his posting as envoy to the Philippines to lead the preparations, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.
“He crossed the line that separates the two Koreas to meet with Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice foreign minister, who said last week that Pyongyang was ‘reconsidering’ the talks. Kim and Choe know each other well — both were part of the delegations that negotiated the 2005 denuclearization agreement through the six-party framework.” https://wapo.st/2L0hN6e
THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK AHEAD … Monday: Trump will go to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony and a Memorial Day event. Tuesday: The president will eat lunch with VP Mike Pence and HUD Secretary Ben Carson. He also plans to meet with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and NIH Director Francis Collins. He then will travel to Nashville….
… Wednesday: Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and he’ll participate in a White House Sports and Fitness Day event. Thursday: Trump will go to Houston and Dallas. Friday: Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
THE PRESIDENT left the White House this morning with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.).
PRESIDENT TRUMP in the Oval Office last night, standing with Josh Holt, who the U.S. got out of a Venezuelan prison: “[I] want to thank Bob Corker. Great job you did over there. Great job. And I want to thank Mike Lee. And, Mia, you’ve been -- every time I’d see Mia, she’d talk about you, Josh. (Laughter.) She’d say, ‘What about Josh?’ I said, ‘What about something else? Can we talk about something else?’ (Laughter.) She was always doing it. And Orrin Hatch is a legend, as you know. He’s a legend in the Senate and in this country. And, Orrin, you were great.
“So, Bob, Mike, Mia, Orrin -- I want to thank you very much. So we’ve had 17 prisoners released during the Trump administration. Most people don’t know that. You remember Aya. We called the President of Egypt, and he released her. She was there for a long time -- three years. And the previous administration was unable to get her out. A fantastic young woman. And she was released.
“As you know, in North Korea, we just had a very great success. We have three wonderful people -- Americans -- that were released just recently. And they’re now home, safe with their families.
“And you were a tough one, I have to tell you. That was a tough situation. But we’ve had 17 released, and we’re very proud of that record. Very proud. And we have others coming. We’re in the midst of some very big negotiations to get others out. In most cases, they’re Americans, but we can try and help other countries too, where there’s injustice. So we’ve been working very hard on it.”
BOB CORKER: “It was quite an experience, that we could almost write a book about just the last 48 hours.”
-- WELL SENATOR, you’re retiring! Go ahead!
-- THE BACKSTORY, FROM THE AP: “Backchannel with ‘Dracula’ helped free Utah man in Venezuela,” by Joshua Goodman and Matt Lee: “Although [Bob] Corker sealed the deal in a few tense hours in Venezuela’s collapsing, crime-filled capital, the push to secure Holt’s release began months earlier by Corker’s top Latin American policy aide, Caleb McCarry, who both Corker and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, credited with leading the painstaking, behind-the-scenes negotiations. McCarry leveraged a 15-year-old relationship with Maduro from their time together in the Boston Group, an informal gathering from across the political spectrum -- Democrats, Republicans, socialists and capitalists -- from both countries that worked discreetly to repair relations between the two countries following a coup in 2002 against then-President Hugo Chavez. ...
“McCarry secretly traveled to Venezuela in February to discuss Holt’s imprisonment with Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores. ... Holding McCarry’s hand throughout the delicate talks was ‘Dracula’ — Rafael Lacava, the governor of central Carabobo state and a trusted ally of Maduro who also was close to the Boston Group members.” http://bit.ly/2Jc6SsS
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE FRONT PAGE: “Utahn ‘so grateful’ to be free” http://bit.ly/2L1i7lb
Good Sunday morning. The Indy 500 starts at 12:21 p.m. on ABC.
SUNDAY BEST … DANA BASH spoke with RUDY GIULIANI on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: BASH: “So you think that the Mueller probe is legitimate?” GIULIANI: “Not anymore. I don’t. I did when I came in, but now I see spygate, I see Judge Ellis in Manafort.”
KYLE CHENEY (@kyledcheney): “Rudy says details about an FBI informant — which he hasn’t seen — make the Mueller probe illegitimate.”
-- CLIP AND SAVE … RUDY on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: “The president’s not going to fire anyone because that would be playing into the hands of victim you know Watergate, they are the Watergate they are the ones who committed the crimes. What we have to do is go to court and seek protection from the court.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP, at 8:41 a.m.: “Who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt? They journeyed down to Washington, D.C., with stars in their eyes and wanting to help our nation...They went back home in tatters!”
BLOOMBERG’S STEVE DENNIS (@StevenTDennis): “Manafort age: 69 … Flynn: 59 … Gates: 46 … Papadopoulos appears happy. … Who is he talking about?”
-- MAYBE Hope Hicks.
EMBARASSING … “Trump Falsely Says Times Made Up Source in Report on Korea Summit Meeting,” by NYT’s Mike Shear: “President Trump falsely accused The New York Times on Saturday of making up a source in an article about North Korea, even though the source was in fact a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room. The president was referring to an article about the on-again, off-again summit meeting between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, which Mr. Trump had canceled Thursday. The article, headlined, ‘Trump Says North Korea Summit May Be Rescheduled,’ said that the United States was ‘back in touch with North Korea’ and that the meeting might yet happen.
“Mr. Trump posted on Twitter to denounce part of the article, which reported in the 10th paragraph that ‘a senior White House official told reporters that even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.’ In a tweet, the president took issue with that sentence, saying, ‘WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.’
“It is not clear whether the president was simply unaware of the actions of his own senior staff or if he knowingly ignored the truth. The source of that sentence was a White House official who held a briefing on Thursday afternoon in the White House briefing room that was attended by about 50 reporters, with about 200 or so more on a conference call.” https://nyti.ms/2KVvnaT
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY …
-- AJC’S GREG BLUESTEIN and TAMAR HALLERMAN: “Georgia Democrats test a more liberal comeback strategy”: “The sharp tack to the left was headlined by Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor, who maintained that trying to appeal to moderate GOP voters was a lost cause — and won a sweeping mandate from her party to refocus its attention on policies that will energize left-leaning Georgians.
“Elsewhere on the ballot, voters fed up with conventional party strategy also rewarded other progressive candidates who support fewer abortion restrictions, back gun control, press for gay rights, oppose illegal immigration crackdowns and push other policies once sidelined by top Democratic contenders.
“That leftward lean is both thrilling and unnerving to Georgia Republicans, who are themselves moving more aggressively toward their conservative base. They’re thrilled because leaders believe Georgia is still a conservative state where voters will punish Democrats who can be painted as ideologically extreme, giving Republicans an advantage in the November general election.” http://bit.ly/2JbRLQ7
-- AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN’S JONATHAN TILOVE and ASHER PRICE: “Democrats are targeting these Texas districts in House takeover bid” https://atxne.ws/2IP0fNO
ZACH DORFMAN in POLITICO MAGAZINE: “The Mysterious Tale of a Powerful American Businessman, Three Sanctioned Iranians and an Imprisonment in Tehran”: https://politi.co/2Lwwlvk
SUNDAY BEST, CONTINUED …
-- CHUCK TODD talks to SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-ARIZ.) on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS”: TODD: “Have you ruled out running for president?” FLAKE: “It’s not in my plans, but I’ve not ruled anything out. I do hope that somebody runs on the Republican side other than the president. If nothing else, simply to remind Republicans what conservatism is and what Republicans traditionally stood for.” TODD: “If you ran, would you only run as a Republican?” FLAKE: “I think so. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
-- MARTHA RADDATZ speaks with SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FLA.) on ABC’S “THIS WEEK”: RADDATZ: “And you -- you tweeted something on Friday that was interesting along those lines. Kim Jong-un stays in power through force and deception and believes nukes give him prestige and reduced chances of U.S. attack. He never wanted a nuke deal, he wanted as much sanctions relief as possible without giving them up. Unfortunately the options on dealing with him are narrowing. What do you mean by that, that the options are narrowing?”
RUBIO: “Well, if you don’t think you’re ever going to be able to reach a deal where he gives up his missiles and gives up his nukes, then you’re going to have to make a decision, which is where we’ve been the whole time. And that is are you prepared to live in a world where someone like him possesses not just nuclear weapons but the ability to hit the mainland of the United States.
“And if you’re not, then you’re going to have to do something to go after them at some point. And I’m not in favor of that, it’s not something that I relish or take lightly. I’m just telling you that could very well be the option we wind up with at the end. Because ultimately, I remain convinced that he does not want to denuclearize, in fact he will not denuclearize.”
FOR YOUR RADAR -- “One roadblock to arming teachers: Insurance companies,” by WaPo’s Todd C. Frankel: “Kansas has a problem: It has a law allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom, but almost no schools are using it because insurance companies refuse to provide coverage if they do. As EMC Insurance, the largest insurer of schools in Kansas, explained in a letter to its agents, the company ‘has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises poses a heightened liability risk.’ Then came the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, leading frustrated Republican legislators in Kansas to try forcing the issue with a bill banning ‘unfair, discriminatory’ rates for schools that arm staff.
“The insurance industry held firm. Last month, the bill failed. ... As proposals to arm teachers sweep across the nation, insurance companies are being forced to weigh the risks of these controversial plans. Some insurers are balking. Some are agreeing to provide policies but lamenting the lack of evidence about whether it makes schools safer — or increases the chances of people getting shot. Others are raising rates.” https://wapo.st/2GXAyF2
HMM -- “How does an inexperienced 30-year-old become hurricane chief? Win Rick Scott's trust,” by Miami Herald’s Elizabeth Koh: “If you judge Wes Maul by his online résumé, his tenure at the state Division of Emergency Management has seen the full spectrum of natural and human disasters: hurricanes, mass shootings, public health emergencies. ... Maul, who recently turned 30, has officially been the division’s permanent director only since Dec. 13, 2017. After catapulting from a job fresh out of law school as the governor’s travel aide, Maul spent a year and a half as the emergency division’s chief of staff before being appointed interim director, then permanent director, after Hurricane Irma.
“But as storm season approaches — with Subtropical Storm Alberto already threatening the state and early forecasts suggesting a near-normal or above-normal storm season — the state’s disaster preparedness lies in the hands of a political newcomer whose first official job experience with emergency management began two years ago.” https://hrld.us/2ITJRY6
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from Asheville, N.C.:
-- “A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers,” by Kim Wall and Mansi Choksi in Longreads: “How during a brutal, 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers failed the women soldiers who sacrificed everything to fight for a sovereign state for the Tamil minority.” http://bit.ly/2IOlgZ3
-- “How Britain’s First Mission to China Went Wrong,” by Stephen R. Platt, in an excerpt of “Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age,” in China Channel: “The 1793 mission of Lord Macartney, Britain’s first ambassador to China, is infamous for its failure to curry favour with the Chinese court. ... Macartney had brought along six hundred crates of gifts in the hope of opening up Chinese markets, but most were left behind at Beijing (about a week’s journey to the south) due to their fragility. The visit does not go as well as Macartney hoped.” http://bit.ly/2Lwyc35 … $23.56 on Amazon https://amzn.to/2GVgrqS
-- “The New Passport-Poor,” by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian in the N.Y. Review of Books: “The poor, unwanted abroad and unable to pay for the required visas, transit costs, and even basic documentation, stay trapped, while the rich can come and go as they please. In 2016, a record 82,000 millionaires moved to a new country thanks to immigration policies designed to attract the ultrarich, essentially by selling citizenship and residence permits.” http://bit.ly/2kt9BQC
-- “Just Kills: How The Marine Corps Blew The Biggest War Crimes Case Since Vietnam,” by Adam Linehan in Task and Purpose: http://bit.ly/2Ja3GOj
-- “Why did it take so long to arrest the Golden State Killer suspect?” by LA Times’ Joseph Serna and Benjamin Oreskes: “Interagency rivalries, old technology, errors and bad luck.” https://lat.ms/2kv54NG
-- “As He Heads Back To Prison, A Nashville Man Says ‘Goodbye’ To The New Life He Hoped To Build,” by Julieta Martinelli in Nashville Public Radio: “Matthew Charles was sentenced to 35 years behind bars in 1996. He was released after two decades when a federal judge reduced his sentence. But now, a higher court has ruled that Charles must return to prison and finish out his original term.” http://bit.ly/2ILvnOd
-- “They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?” by Rosa Goldensohn in Hibbing, Minn., in the NYT: “Prosecutors are increasingly treating overdose deaths as homicides, but they aren’t just going after dealers. Friends, family and fellow users are going to prison.” https://nyti.ms/2J9DPGg
-- “The Tragedy of SID,” by David Brooks in the Weekly Standard in May 1996: “Status-Income-Disequilibrium sufferers include journalists at important media outlets, editors at publishing houses, TV news producers, foundation officers, museum curators, moderately successful classical-music performers, White House aides, military brass, politicians who aren't independently wealthy, and many others.” https://tws.io/2Jd90Ne
-- “Ira Glass’s Commencement Speech at the Columbia Journalism School Graduation”: “Editing is crucial because in my experience anything you try to make - what YOU want is for the story to be AMAZING. But what the story wants to be is MEDIOCRE OR WORSE. And the entire process of making the story is convincing the story to not be what it wants to be, which is BAD.” http://bit.ly/2GOPtBl (h/t Longform.org)
-- “Why Every Media Company Fears Richard Liebowitz,” by Justin Peters in Slate – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “America’s most litigious lawyer is a 29-year-old New Yorker called Richard Liebowitz who sues media firms on a daily basis for using photographs without copyright clearance, demanding damages of up to $150,000 for a picture that might have earned $100 on a good day. Photographers love him.” https://slate.me/2IOrPGT
-- “The High Price of Being a #MeToo Whistleblower” – Longreads: “Tricia Romano considers what speaking out about abuse at the hands of Eric Schneiderman has cost a close friend.” http://bit.ly/2xdWr36
-- “Joe Versus the Democrats,” by The Weekly Standard’s Alice B. Lloyd: “The [Ned] Lamont mystique comes with a certain smugness, an unlovable invulnerability. Some of this is just Greenwich, a town where country clubs and hedge funds buttress an enviable quality of life, despite rising taxes and plummeting real estate values, as corporate taxpayers flee for New York and Massachusetts -- tax havens now, compared with Connecticut.” https://tws.io/2kpv8cK
ENGAGED -- Will Rabbe, producer at MSNBC’s “Hardball,” on Saturday proposed to Brittany Prime, fundraiser at WinCo. They met 6 years ago in D.C. through a mutual friend (Katy Goeke). He proposed in Southampton, N.Y.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- “Abigail Phillip, Marcus Richardson” – N.Y. Times: “Ms. Phillip, 29, is a White House correspondent for CNN in Washington. She graduated from Harvard. ... Mr. Richardson, 35, is a managing consultant at nVisium in Herndon, Va., a web and mobile app security company. He graduated from Florida State University. ... The couple met in 2011 in Washington at a party given by mutual friends.” With a pic https://nyti.ms/2xhgFZV
-- “Erikson Arcaira, Steven Sloan” – N.Y. Times: “Mr. Arcaira ... 33, is a data scientist, developing predictive analytics for classified matters, in Alexandria, Va., for the Mantech International Corporation, a cybersecurity and systems technology company. He graduated from Brown and received a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard. ... Mr. Sloan, 35, was until May 18 the director of enterprise reporting in the Washington bureau of CNN. He graduated from Georgia State University.” With a pic https://nyti.ms/2sfTn0E
-- “Sara Ganim, Daniel Cevallos” – N.Y. Times: “The bride, 30, is a CNN on-air correspondent in Washington. She graduated from Penn State University. ... The groom, 43, is a legal analyst at both MSNBC and NBC News in New York. He graduated from the University of Michigan and received a law degree from Notre Dame.” With a pic https://nyti.ms/2LxmqWk
WELCOME TO THE WORLD – OBAMA ALUMNI: Jacob Freedman, senior director at Albright Stonebridge Group and former chief speechwriter for Secretaries of Defense Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, and Alice Freedman, DCPS pre-K teacher, on Tuesday welcomed Alfred Jack Freedman, who is named after his grandfather, the American psychiatrist Alfred Mordecai Freedman. Pic http://bit.ly/2KVEcS7
BIRTHDAYS: David Plouffe, president of CZI Policy and Advocacy, is 51 … Henry Kissinger is 95 ... Campbell Robertson, national correspondent for NYT, is 42 ... Noam Scheiber, NYT labor and workplace reporter, is 42 ... Chris Dodd is 74 ... former FBI Director William Sessions is 88 ... Matt McKenna ... Marc Stanley is 61 (hat tip: Jon Haber) ... Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) is 72 ... Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is 71 ... Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) is 56 ... Politico’s Randy Lemmerman ...Rob Flynn is 6-0 ... Brigid Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab and the Good Life Initiative at New America ... Thalia Assuras ... Politico Europe’s Marylise Mahé ... Elise Dietsch ... Sean Rapelyea ... Herman Wouk is 103 ... Sumner Redstone is 95 ... NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden ... Katya Dimenstein, LD for Rep. David Schweikert ... “West Wing” alum Richard Schiff is 63 ... Jessica Borchert ...
... the Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson is 32 (h/t Katelyn) ... Julie Rasicot, managing editor of Bethesda Beat, a local newsletter in Montgomery County (hubby tip: Brendan Daly) … Adam Clayton Powell IV ... Kelsey Baron ... Jillian Busch ... Andrew Seidman ... Sue Tagliabue ... Lauren Paige ... Jenny Drucker ... Andrew Fowler ... Christy Harvey … Benjamin Cole ... Erin Wallwork ... Russ Rosler ... Drew Cole, partner at Roberti Global ... Andrew Overton, press secretary and deputy head of communications at the British Embassy in Washington ... Marisa Brand, a staffer for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, is 22 ... Bob Rayner is 58 ... Sherry Amatenstein ... Katharine Gallogly ... Devin Drewyer ... Stefanie Prelesnik ... Devan Barber … Andrew Keeney ... Whitney Gulick Reboulet ... Diana Roday Hosford of TAPS (h/t Kelley McCormick) ... Melissa Ludtke ... Karen Kirksey Smith ... Cary O’Reilly ... AP photojournalist Andrew Harnik ... NPR Delhi bureau chief Julie McCarthy ... Jill Wilkins ... Andrew Powaleny ... Kris Martinsek ... Juanita Williams ... Jan Silvers ... Ned Sebelius (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)