Live Updates

President Trump today

What we covered here

  • North Korea summit: Trump said preparations for the June 12 summit are continuing. He also warned Kim Jong Un that North Korea could be “decimated” if he refuses to strike a deal with the United States.
  • A year ago today: Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to lead he investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 
21 Posts

Our live coverage has ended. Read the posts below to see how the day unfolded.

Trump: Peace in North Korea is more important than a Nobel Peace Prize

President Donald Trump (C) meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) as Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2018.

President Trump was asked today if he thinks he should get a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to organize a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I don’t know. I want to have peace in the world, more so than the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said. “I’d like to see peace. North Korea is going to be very important.” 

Trump said he’s not sure what’s happening with North Korea because it looks like the meeting is on. Earlier this week, North Korea threatened to cancel the summit.

“They’re working out times and meeting times,” he said

Trump continued: “If it doesn’t take place, that’s fine. If it does take place, I think some tremendous things can happen. We’ll see what happens.”

Trump says he was referring to MS-13 members when he made "animals" remark

President Trump just clarified that he was indeed speaking about members of the MS-13 gang on Wednesday when he called criminals who cross the US-Mexico border illegally “animals.”

“I was talking about the MS-13,” Trump said. “MS-13, these are animals. They’re coming into our country, we’re getting them out. They come in again, we’re getting them out.”

“I referred to them as animals. And guess what: I always will,” he said.

President Trump dismisses "Libyan model" on North Korea

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 17, 2018.

President Trump, contradicting his national security adviser, dismissed talk of applying the “Libyan model” to the denuclearization of North Korea, reassuring North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that he would remain in power if he gave up his nuclear weapons.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all when we’re thinking of North Korea,” Trump said. “This with Kim Jong Un would be something where he would be there. He would be running his country. His country would be very rich.” 

Trump’s comments were a rebuke of his national security adviser John Bolton’s comments late last month that the “Libya model of 2003, 2004” could be applied to US negotiations with North Korea.

But while Bolton was referring to the dismantling of Libya’s weapons of mass destruction program, Trump appeared to refer to the “Libyan model” as the subsequent military intervention in Libya years later that removed Moammar Gadhafi from power.

“The Libyan model was a much different model. We decimated that country, we never said to Gadhafi, ‘Oh we’re going to give you protection,’” Trump said. “We went in and decimated him and we did the same thing with Iraq.”

Trump also warned Kim that North Korea could be “decimated” like Libya if the US and North Korea do not reach a deal.

President Trump speculates China's Xi could be influencing Kim Jong Un

President Trump speculated Thursday that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping could be holding sway on Kim Jong Un ahead of a planned US-North Korea summit.

“It could very well be that he’s influencing Kim Jong Un,” Trump said in the Oval Office, adding: “Xi could be influencing Kim Jong Un.”

Trump suggested the change in tone from North Korea began after Kim visited China for the second time for talks with Xi. He didn’t explain further what could be behind the shift.

The North Koreans are reading "Fire and Fury," former UK official says

Members of the North Korean government are reading Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” to understand President Donald Trump, according to a longtime former negotiator who travels to Pyongyang frequently to meet with members of the Kim Jong Un’s regime.

 “They were very keen to study Donald Trump when I was there in December,” Jonathan Powell told Christiane Amanpour in London.

Powell, who is the former chief British negotiator on Northern Ireland and former chief of staff to Tony Blair, now runs a private firm, Inter Mediate.

“They were reading ‘Art of the Deal,’ and wanted to discuss the book and what it showed about the President,” he said.

“When I went back at the beginning of this year, they were reading ‘Fire and Fury’ – all on PDFs, not buying the book itself, and trying to discuss what that told them about Trump too.”

Trump says it would be "very interesting" if North Korea summit doesn't happen

President Trump offered another guarded respond to warnings from North Korea Thursday, saying it’s possible the upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un doesn’t happen.

We may have the meeting. We may not have the meeting. If we don’t have it that will be very interesting,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

He said preparations are underway for the summit, including direct dealings with North Korea to make arrangements.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said .”We are dealing with them now.”

He said the harshening of tone from North Korea began after Kim met for the second time with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but didn’t offer a theory as to why.

“You have to want to do it. With deals…you have to have two parties that want to do it,” Trump said. “(Kim) absolutely wanted to do it. Perhaps he doesn’t want to do it.”

Trump: "Nothing has changed with North Korea that we know of"

North Korea threatened earlier this week to cancel the June 12 summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Today, Trump said North Korea hasn’t told his administration anything.

“Well, nothing has changed with North Korea that we know of. We have not been told anything,” Trump said. “If it doesn’t, that’s fine. We have not been told anything. We’re just reading story like you are. We’ve heard certain things from South Korea. We’ll see what happens.”

“If the meeting happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, we go on to the next step.”

White House: Trump's "animals" comment was "very clearly" about MS-13 gang members

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump was “very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who enter the country illegally” when he talked about “animals” illegally crossing the US-Mexico border.

“This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of rape, control and kill,” Sanders said. “If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13 they’re more than welcome to.”

Sanders went on to describe in graphic terms several violent crimes she said were carried out by MS-13 gang members.

“It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out,” Sanders said. “It took an animal to beat a woman they were sex trafficking with a bat 28 times, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap, drug nand rape a 14-year old Houston girl.”

White House on why Cohen disclosure wasn't included in last year's form

The White House said Thursday that President Trump’s lawyers determined it wasn’t necessary to include reimbursement payment to Michael Cohen on last year’s financial disclosure form.

“That was addressed in the financial disclosure. That is something that would be determined by White House counsel,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

In the form released on Wednesday, a footnote indicated that Trump’s lawyers didn’t believe it was necessary to list the payment, but were doing so in the interest of full transparency.

White House: Trump "strongly feels" Mueller's probe is a witch hunt

On the one-year anniversary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the President still believes the investigation is a “witch hunt.”

“The President knows that there was no collusion in the campaign and he has been quite clear about this. It’s gone on for over a year and they’ve found no evidence,” Sanders said in response to a question from CNN’s Jeff Zeleny.”

She added that Trump still “strongly feels it’s a witch hunt” and said the White House and the President could not be “more clear” about that view.

Earlier today, Trump took to Twitter today to voice his frustrations over the probe.

Read his tweets below:

Trump to take questions from press after meeting with NATO Secretary General

Press secretary Sarah Sanders, pressed on why a planned joint press conference was scrapped on Thursday, said President Donald Trump would likely take questions in the Oval Office later this hour.

“The President will have press at his event here shortly,” Sanders told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny. “And he’s likely take a few questions at that event.”

Trump had been expected to hold a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his visit to the White House, but the event wasn’t on his schedule when it was released last Wednesday.

White House is moving forward with North Korea summit preparations, despite threats

The White House moving forward with preparations for the June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un, despite North Korea’s threats to cancel the meeting.

“We’re continuing to move forward in preparations,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

“And the President, as we’ve said all along will be prepared and ready to meet.”

Asked if North Korea was playing a game, Sanders said, “You’d have to ask North Korea what game they’re playing.”

White House says report of FBI informant should be looked in to, if true

The White House said on Thursday that if the FBI had an informant within the Trump campaign it should be investigated.

“If there’s any truth to that it should certainly be looked into,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

She said she hadn’t spoken to the President about the issue, and wouldn’t engage in hypotheticals about whether the report changes Trump’s thinking about firing Robert Mueller.

Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted: “Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI “SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.” Andrew McCarthy says, “There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.” If so, this is bigger than Watergate!” 

President Trump donates first quarter salary to VA

President Trump has donated a quarter’s worth of his salary to the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House press secretary announced.

Trump had committed to donating his $400,000 salary to worthy causes. He’s previously given it to the Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The briefing room is filling up but we're still waiting for Sarah Sanders

The White House press briefing was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, but Sarah Sanders has yet to take the podium. Reporters are checking their watches.

6 questions that could come up at today's 1 p.m. press briefing

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to reporters in the White House on May 7, 2018 in Washington, DC.

It’s been days since press secretary Sarah Sanders has held a White House press briefing, so she will likely be peppered with questions when she takes the podium today.

Here are a few questions that could come up:

  • President Trump tweeted today that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is a “the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.” Mueller has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election for a year. Is the President thinking about firing Mueller?
  • Rudy Giuliani says Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers it concluded it can’t indict a sitting president. So, is Trump now thinking about sitting down with Mueller for a interview?
  • Transcripts from the Senate Judiciary Committee were released yesterday and show how eager Donald Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign were to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in the famous Trump Tower meeting. Did Trump read the transcripts? What does he think about the revelations?
  • A New York appeals court has denied Donald Trump’s attorney’s motion to stay the Summer Zervos case, which means the discovery process can move forward. Is Trump concerned about what could be revealed in the discovery process?
  • The President acknowledged, by filing his financial disclosure form, that he repaid attorney Michael Cohen more than $100,000. The disclosure, however, triggered questions: An ethics watchdog group has filed a criminal complaint and the Office of Government Ethics referred the disclosure to the Justice Department. Did the President leave the payments off last year’s form and why?
  • North Korea threatened to cancel an upcoming summit between Kim Jong Un and the President. Has anyone from the Trump administration reached out to North Korea about the threat? Is the summit still on?

Robert Mueller has been overseeing the Russia probe for a year

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel one year ago. The former FBI director was charged with task of overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller’s appointment came more than a week after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in the middle of the FBI’s intensifying investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.

Since his appointment, Mueller’s team of investigators have interviewed dozens of people and filed criminal charges against several people.

Here’s a look at what he’s done so far:

President Trump tweeted this morning about the one-year anniversary of the probe, calling it the “greatest witch hunt in American history.”

New York court denies Trump attorney's request to halt Summer Zervos case

A New York appeals court has denied Donald Trump’s attorney’s motion to stay the Summer Zervos case. This means that the discovery process can move forward even as Trump’s appeal process is underway.

“We look forward to proving Ms. Zervos’s claim that Defendant lied when he maliciously attacked her for reporting his sexually abusive behavior,” Mariann Wong, Attorney for Summer Zervos, said.

Donald Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz filed the motion to stay the case pending appeal. The filing, dated April 2nd, was obtained by CNN’s Athena Jones.

Kasowitz’s motion, had it been granted, would have temporarily suspended the proceedings until the appeal has been decided.

On the agenda: President Trump is meeting NATO's secretary general today

President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 16, 2018.

President Trump is host NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at the White House today.

Trump and Stoltenberg will sit down for a bilateral meeting, where they will discuss the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels and “review progress on United States priorities for NATO, such as the need for fair burden-sharing and NATO’s role in the international fight against terrorism,” the White House said in a statement.

The White House said the meeting will “reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the Alliance.”