NEWS   TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2018   NEWS

Trump Blasts 'Angry Democrats'. Warns Court Will Stop 'Injustice'
President Trump turned up the heat on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team early Monday -- decrying his investigators as “angry Democrats,” claiming they are investigating a “phony crime” and warning the court system will prevent “injustice.” “The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime. There is no O, it’s called Fighting Back,” Trump tweeted. Fox
VOA VIEW: Mueller is finished - he doesn't know it yet.

Trump Comes To Haspel's Defense, Says Dems 'Worry' She's 'Too Tough On Terror'
President Trump defended on Monday his nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, slamming Democrats for accusing her of being “too tough on terror.” The White House has repeatedly come to Haspel’s defense as Democrats push for her to withdraw her name from consideration following the revelation that she was a chief of base at a covert detention site in Thailand, where two terrorism suspects were subjected to waterboarding -- a technique that simulates drowning. Fox
VOA VIEW: The truth hurts.

Melania's Popularity Jumps In New CNN Poll
First lady Melania Trump has in recent weeks experienced a significant surge in support, a new CNN poll reveals, including among women and Democrats. In a poll conducted by SSRS last week, 57% say they have a favorable impression of Trump, up from 47% in January. This is the biggest number Melania Trump has experienced in any CNN polling, and higher than any favorability rating earned by President Donald Trump in CNN polling history going back to 1999. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN is tired of looking bad.

Melania Steps Out Of Donald's Shadow. Announces Platform.
This week, however, Melania Trump is poised to step into the limelight. First her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told National Public Radio the first lady would announce policy initiatives focused on children, in particular dealing with social media, health and addiction. Then the White House said the announcement would happen on Monday in the Rose Garden, a venue usually reserved for presidential press conferences. Guardian

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Oliver North To Be NRA's New President
Oliver North, the Fox News contributor and central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, will be the National Rifle Association's new president, the group announced Monday. "Oliver North is, hands down, the absolute best choice to lead our NRA Board, to fully engage with our members, and to unflinchingly stand and fight for the great freedoms he has defended his entire life," NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement on the pick. CNN

Trump Blasts Kerry For Trying To Save Iran Deal
President Trump blasted former Secretary of State John Kerry for reaching out to a top Iranian official to find a way to salvage a nuclear pact with the regime, saying Kerry’s the one who got the US into “this MESS.” “The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!,” Trump posted on Twitter on Monday. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Kerry is breaking the law.

Hawaii's Volcano Not Slowing Down
Fiery lava that’s still gushing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has now wiped out 26 homes, according to officials. Molten rock has been spewing like fountains from volcanic vents on the Big Island since Kilauea began erupting Thursday. “There’s no sign of slowing down,” Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County’s civil defense administrator, told NBC News on Sunday. “We had some pauses yesterday, but there’s a lot of magma underground.” NY Post

Trump Plans To Separate Families Caught Illegally Crossing Border
The Trump administration is cracking down on families caught crossing the border illegally by separating more parents from their children — and prosecuting the adults, in a new policy set to be announced Monday, according to reports. Generally, border agents try to keep families together by placing all members together in the same detention center — or they are all released while their applications for asylum are considered, the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times report. NY Post
VOA VIEW: A start.

PHOTOS: Fissures, Lava Flow And Evacuations Continue On Hawaii's Big Island
A volcanic eruption on Hawaii's big island continues to spew lava and toxic gases into a residential neighborhood, days after the shift in volcanic activity first prompted evacuations. Some 35 structures — including at least 26 homes — have been destroyed and there are now 10 active fissures, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency. More than 1,700 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes. NPR

Putin Sworn In For 4th Term In Kremlin Ceremony
Vladimir Putin has been sworn in for a fourth presidential term in a lavish Kremlin ceremony as tensions with the west rise and domestic discontent over poverty and wealth inequality simmers. State television began its live coverage of the inauguration on Monday with Putin, 65, apparently hard at work in his Kremlin office. He then walked down a long, red-carpeted corridor to a black limousine that whisked him to the nearby Grand Kremlin Palace, the former throne room of Russia’s tsars. Guardian

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WH Confirms Trump To Skip Jerusalem Embassy Opening
US President Donald Trump will not attend next week’s opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, the White House confirmed Monday. Trump surprised Jerusalem late last month when he said he was considering attending the embassy’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 14. During a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the White House on April 27, Trump said he “may go” to the event. Times Of Israel

Trump And Giuliani Golf Together Days After They Couldn't Agree On 'Facts'
President Trump hit the links with Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to his legal team, on Sunday just days after the president chided the former mayor to get “his facts right” about a six-figure payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels. The White House pool report said a tipster confirmed that the two were at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., and despite asking for confirmation from the administration nearly three hours ago, still haven’t received any word. NY Post
VOA VIEW: So!

In Traditional First-Lady Style, Melania Trump Unveils 'Be Best' Initiative
Melania Trump often seems like a reluctant first lady. But she stepped into the spotlight this week to take on a very traditional part of the role. Mrs. Trump unveiled a new initiative Monday, called "Be Best," which she said aims to educate children "about the many issues they are facing today." As President Trump looked on in the Rose Garden, Mrs. Trump outlined the initiative's three pillars: well-being, social media use and opioid abuse. NPR

Facebook Found 3,000 Russia-Linked Election Ads. Now House Democrats Are Planning to Release Them
Ever wondered what those Facebook ads Kremlin-linked groups ran during the 2016 presidential election looked like? Soon you can find out. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are preparing to release 3,000 of them, giving the biggest illustration to date of how Facebook (FB, +0.76%) was used in an attempt to manipulate citizens during the election. Fortune
VOA VIEW: Facebook needs to be regulated.

US Trains Troops For Front Line In "Hybrid War" With Russia
The U.S. is still ramping up its support for Ukraine; more than 200 anti-tank missiles were delivered this month. "They learn from us the newest experience of the hybrid war against Russia," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told CBS News. "And we learn from them their tactics and strategy, which makes my army much more efficient." Poroshenko wants more weapons from the U.S., and UN peacekeepers. He says his country is the front line in a new Cold War with Russia. CBS

What Explains Russia's Uncharacteristic Indifference To The Revolution In Armenia?
The April revolution in Armenia came as a huge surprise to the Russian leadership, as it did for most stakeholders in the multiple conflicts in the Caucasus. But you’d expect that Moscow would have been better informed. There had been expert warnings about the brewing discontent in this impoverished South Caucasian state, but the Kremlin is not generally interested in even moderately independent expertise. President Vladimir Putin called and “warmly congratulated” the Moscow-friendly Serzh Sargsyan when he was appointed prime minister in mid-April (although by protocol, he didn’t have to), and from that moment, the Russian official and mainstream media completely ignored the street protests in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. Brookings

Pentagon Wants To Deploy 'Low-Yield' Nuclear Weapons To Deter Russia From Similar Ones
Even as the Trump administration excoriates Iran and North Korea on nuclear arms, Congress is set to fund a new, "low-yield" atomic weapon. The Pentagon says one is needed to plausibly deter any plans by Russia to use smaller nukes. Critics say such a "useable" nuke would increase, not decrease, the likelihood of the nuclear war that military planners say they want to avoid. NPR

You Will Now See Calorie Counts On Menus Everywhere And People Have Thoughts
Starting on Monday, chain restaurants and other locations across the US that sell food, like coffeehouses and supermarket salad bars, will have to include calorie count information on their menus. The rule is courtesy of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, and is being put into place uninhibited by the current administration. It applies to any restaurant chain with at least 20 locations that have the same name, and it's not just restaurants — the rule includes movie theaters, grocery stores, vending machines, and any location that provides food or drink. Buzz Feed

Trump And Giuliani Golf Together Days After They Couldn't Agree On 'Facts'
President Trump hit the links with Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to his legal team, on Sunday just days after the president chided the former mayor to get “his facts right” about a six-figure payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels. The White House pool report said a tipster confirmed that the two were at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., and despite asking for confirmation from the administration nearly three hours ago, still haven’t received any word. NY Post
VOA VIEW: So!

In Traditional First-Lady Style, Melania Trump Unveils 'Be Best' Initiative
Melania Trump often seems like a reluctant first lady. But she stepped into the spotlight this week to take on a very traditional part of the role. Mrs. Trump unveiled a new initiative Monday, called "Be Best," which she said aims to educate children "about the many issues they are facing today." As President Trump looked on in the Rose Garden, Mrs. Trump outlined the initiative's three pillars: well-being, social media use and opioid abuse. NPR

Facebook Found 3,000 Russia-Linked Election Ads. Now House Democrats Are Planning to Release Them
Ever wondered what those Facebook ads Kremlin-linked groups ran during the 2016 presidential election looked like? Soon you can find out. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are preparing to release 3,000 of them, giving the biggest illustration to date of how Facebook (FB, +0.76%) was used in an attempt to manipulate citizens during the election. Fortune
VOA VIEW: Facebook needs to be regulated.

US Trains Troops For Front Line In "Hybrid War" With Russia
The U.S. is still ramping up its support for Ukraine; more than 200 anti-tank missiles were delivered this month. "They learn from us the newest experience of the hybrid war against Russia," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told CBS News. "And we learn from them their tactics and strategy, which makes my army much more efficient." Poroshenko wants more weapons from the U.S., and UN peacekeepers. He says his country is the front line in a new Cold War with Russia. CBS

What Explains Russia's Uncharacteristic Indifference To The Revolution In Armenia?
The April revolution in Armenia came as a huge surprise to the Russian leadership, as it did for most stakeholders in the multiple conflicts in the Caucasus. But you’d expect that Moscow would have been better informed. There had been expert warnings about the brewing discontent in this impoverished South Caucasian state, but the Kremlin is not generally interested in even moderately independent expertise. President Vladimir Putin called and “warmly congratulated” the Moscow-friendly Serzh Sargsyan when he was appointed prime minister in mid-April (although by protocol, he didn’t have to), and from that moment, the Russian official and mainstream media completely ignored the street protests in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. Brookings

Pentagon Wants To Deploy 'Low-Yield' Nuclear Weapons To Deter Russia From Similar Ones
Even as the Trump administration excoriates Iran and North Korea on nuclear arms, Congress is set to fund a new, "low-yield" atomic weapon. The Pentagon says one is needed to plausibly deter any plans by Russia to use smaller nukes. Critics say such a "useable" nuke would increase, not decrease, the likelihood of the nuclear war that military planners say they want to avoid. NPR

You Will Now See Calorie Counts On Menus Everywhere And People Have Thoughts
Starting on Monday, chain restaurants and other locations across the US that sell food, like coffeehouses and supermarket salad bars, will have to include calorie count information on their menus. The rule is courtesy of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, and is being put into place uninhibited by the current administration. It applies to any restaurant chain with at least 20 locations that have the same name, and it's not just restaurants — the rule includes movie theaters, grocery stores, vending machines, and any location that provides food or drink. Buzz Feed

Trump Push For Conservative Judges Intensifies, To Dems Dismay
The Senate this week is set to take up six of Trump’s nominees to the regional appeals courts, including four from states that have at least one Democratic senator. A long-standing Senate tradition that gave senators clout over judicial nominees from their home states has been fraying for years, meaning Democrats have less of a chance of blocking appointees they oppose, as they did with some success during Republican former President George W. Bush’s administration. Reuters

Trump Plans Iran Decision On Tuesday
President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he’ll announce whether the U.S. will remain in the Iran nuclear accord on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. in Washington. Germany, France and the U.K. have lobbied Trump and his top aides to remain in the deal, which the president has frequently criticized. Trump has strongly hinted that he will withdraw from the agreement, and French President Emmanuel Macron said after meeting with Trump last month that he expects the U.S. to exit the deal. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: It's time to end the suspense.

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Mexico Deploys Deportation Force Near Its Own Southern Border
On the Suchiate River dividing Mexico and Guatemala, it sure looks easy to cross north without papers. A young, mustached man is pulling a makeshift raft across the quiet river via two ropes connecting the countries. The crossing costs 4 quetzales, 10 pesos or 50 U.S. cents. The raft captain says that nearby migration officials rarely intervene. But the impression that Mexico is lax on migrants disappears as you head just a little north. NPR

MS-13's Appeal To Girls Grows As Gang Becomes 'Americanized'
For 15 years, the girls lived parallel lives. Left behind in El Salvador by mothers bound for America, they grew up a few miles apart in San Vicente, entering adolescence just as the city sank into gang violence. They fled within weeks of one another, traveling north in 2014 along the same smuggling route, before ending up in the Washington suburbs. CT Post

Rebels Begin Evacuation Of Syria's Last Besieged Enclave
Hundreds of rebels left the last major besieged opposition enclave in Syria on Monday, with thousands more expected to follow, responding to months of pressure by a Russian-backed government offensive, the army, rebels and residents said. A first convoy of buses with hundreds of rebels and their families, accompanied by Russian military police, departed from the city of Rastan, starting a week-long evacuation from towns and villages in an enclave between the cities of Homs and Hama. Reuters

Hatch To McCain: Invite Trump To Your Funeral
Sen. John McCain should reconsider his wish that President Donald Trump not attend McCain's funeral, said Sen. Orrin Hatch, the most senior GOP senator. McCain prefers instead that Vice President Mike Pence attend his funeral rather than Trump, who has mocked McCain for being tortured and attacked him for voting against Obamacare repeal. But Hatch said he thought keeping the president from his funeral was too much: "I think it's ridiculous." Politico
VOA VIEW:  Time will tell.

Israel Fears 'Explosion Of Violence' As US Prepares To Open Embassy In Jerusalem
Police in Israel have started patrols and security sweeps of a southern Jerusalem neighbourhood, anxiously preparing for a US embassy inauguration that Israelis and Palestinians fear may launch a week of violence. The move on 14 May will mark the start of a potentially volatile week when Israel will celebrate its 70th anniversary and Palestinians mark the “catastrophe”, or Nakba, of their displacement on the 15th. Guardian

Housing Confidence Hits Record High As Prices Skyrocket
Supply is tight, prices are soaring and mortgage rates are rising. That shouldn't exactly add up to a happy housing market, and yet, it does. Consumer confidence in housing jumped to its highest level on record in April, according to a monthly sentiment index from Fannie Mae. Of the index's six components, only the share of those who think it's a good time to buy fell. No surprise there, given the high competition in most of the nation's neighborhoods. CNBC

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Federal Judge Rebukes Mueller For Questionable Tactics
An experienced federal judge has confirmed what I have been arguing for months, namely, that the modus operandi of special counsel Robert Mueller is to charge associates of Donald Trump with any crime he can find in order to squeeze them into turning against the president. This is what Judge T.S. Ellis III said at a hearing Friday: “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud … What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.” Hill
VOA VIEW: Ellis should be on the Supreme Court.

Mueller Investigation In Jeopardy As "Witch Hunt" Accusations Begin To Play Out In Court
A funny thing happened on the way to impeaching Donald Trump. After two-years of investigations by a highly politicized FBI and a Special Counsel stacked with Clinton supporters, Robert Mueller's probe has resulted in the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the arrests of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and the indictment of 13 Russian nationals on allegations of hacking the 2016 election - along with the raid of Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Zero Hedge
VOA VIEW: Mueller's probe is a witch hunt.

Trump Urges West Virginia Voters Not To Back Don Blankenship, Comparing Him To Roy Moore
President Donald Trump on Monday urged voters in West Virginia to reject former coal executive and GOP Senate candidate Don Blankenship, throwing his support behind the two other major contenders in Tuesday’s primary. All three leading candidates in the GOP primary have tried to attach themselves to Trump by emphasizing their commitment to his agenda. Last month, Trump invited two of them, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), to appear with him at a White House event on taxes. Blankenship was not asked to attend. Huff Post

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US Sanctions 3 Venezuelans, Calls For Election Suspension
Vice President Mike Pence announced new sanctions on three Venezuelans on Monday, designating them as “narcotics kingpins” and restricting their financial and travel access in a swipe at the country’s authoritarian government. Speaking in Washington to the Organization of American States, Pence also called for Venezuela to delay its upcoming presidential election — and for the organization to suspend Venezuela from its membership. Politico

Republican Fears About Holding The Senate Start To Sink In
Democrats are going into the 2018 elections with the wind at their backs, which could even be enough to flip a Senate map heavily stacked for Republicans come November. In conversations with several top GOP strategists, nearly all conceded that the overwhelming Democratic enthusiasm they're facing this November is incredibly worrisome. Most still think it's a better than even chance that they do keep the Senate — albeit narrowly — but it's no longer out of the realm of possibility that the upper chamber could change hands, especially given the volatility of the GOP's two-seat majority. NPR
VOA VIEW: The Senate will be greater Republican.

CIA Nominee Gina Haspel Faces A Senate Showdown
Gina Haspel's appearance before the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday promises to be a very unusual confirmation hearing. Most every nominee for a top government job has a long public record that is open for scrutiny. Not so with Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the CIA. She is a spy's spy. She spent 32 years undercover at the agency and was named deputy director last year. Much of her life remains shrouded in mystery. There are just a few public photos. NPR

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Putin’s Top MMA Fighter: Backed By Trump, Busted By The FBI
The Russian fighter was in Chicago, killing time with his entourage in the days before a mixed martial arts bout, when the call came. FBI agents were looking for him. A fearsome heavyweight known as “The Last Emperor”—and who’s beloved by Russian President Vladimir Putin—Fedor Emelianenko had been in America for only five days before the feds appeared at his hotel near O’Hare Airport on Tuesday, April 24. Daily Beast

Pence Swears In Gay Ambassador
Far left protesters held a queer dance party outside of Mike Pence’s home in Washington DC on Inauguration Day. The anti-Pence protesters chanted, “We are here. We are queer. We will dance.” Democrats have convinced gays that Vice President Mike Pence is putting gays in jail. So this photo released last week must have surprised the radical gay mob. Vice President Mike Pence swore in Rick Grenell as US Ambassador to Germany with his longtime companion Matt Lashey.  Gateway Pundit

Model Claims She Saw Trump Cheat On Pregnant Marla Maples
A German model claims to have been in the same room with Donald Trump during an alleged romp he had with Playboy Playmate Barbara Moore. She spoke to the Daily Mail about the tryst, which supposedly went down while Trump’s second wife and then-fiancee Marla Maples was pregnant with daughter Tiffany. “I was just sitting there and they got into a little sexual thing,” recalled model Elke Jeinsen. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Another want to be publicity seeking hake.

The GOP's 'Primary Problem', Haspel Divides The Resistance And Other Comments
GOP leadership in West Virginia is worried voters on Tuesday will nominate Don Blankenship for the US Senate, reports Jay Cost at National Review. Blankenship is a former coal-mining exec who went to prison for his part in a disaster that killed more than two dozen miners; he’s also “said extremely racist things in the last few weeks.” His nomination “would be a blessing” for Democrats and his presence in the Senate “an embarrassment” to Republicans. NY Post

John McCain Showing 'Maverick' Spirit Even On Death Bed
He's said to be enjoying visits with old friends, holds daily conference calls with his staff, has a new book coming out and documentary in the works, and is even dictating plans for his funeral. U.S. Sen. John McCain is apparently still showing signs that garnered him the moniker "The Maverick." The 81-year-old Arizona Republican, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year, is still giving the straight talk he's been known for to anyone who will listen. McCain's son-in-law Ben Domenech said on Sunday that the former GOP nominee for president is "talking, he's chatty and he's walking around." ABC

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