Kate Sheppard here, standing in for Lauren Weber, who is out this week.
PARDON ME? Some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers are reportedly discussing using the president’s authority to grant pardons as a way to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. A source told The Washington Post that includes aides, family members and even himself. [WaPo]
RUSSIA PROBE WIDENS Speaking of the special counsel’s investigation, it is now reportedly “examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates.” [Bloomberg]
CHUCK ROAST Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has been pushing a theory that the research firm that paid a former British intelligence officer to investigate then-presidential candidate Trump’s potential Russia ties was secretly working for Moscow. There’s no public evidence that supports that theory, however. [HuffPost]
RUH ROH REX The U.S. Treasury Department fined Exxon Mobil Corp $2 million for “reckless disregard” of sanctions on dealings with Russia in 2014 ― when current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was still the oil giant’s chief executive. Exxon is now suing the federal government over the fine. [Reuters]
THE JUICE IS LOOSE A parole board granted O.J. Simpson release on Thursday, after nearly 9 years in prison on an armed robbery charge. [HuffPost]
NO-GO ZONE The United States is reportedly barring citizens from traveling to North Korea, according to several international companies that take tourists there. The news comes shortly after the death of an American student who had been imprisoned in the isolated nation for two years. [HuffPost]
NEW WHITE HOUSE COMMS DIRECTOR Trump is reportedly tapping Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci to serve as the new White House communications director, two months after Mike Dubke resigned from the job. [Axios]
DREAM ON Trump’s sympathy for young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children apparently does not extend to supporting bipartisan legislation that would help them. [HuffPost]
HAPPY ‘MADE SOMEWHERE ELSE’ WEEK A complete list of Trump merchandise made in the United States. It is very short. [HuffPost]
CITY IN MOURNING In Minneapolis, community members have united to mourn the deaths of Justine Damond, Philando Castile and others victims of police violence. [HuffPost]
SEAL OF APPROVAL The Navy has its first woman candidates for the SEAL team and several other elite units, a little over a year after a Pentagon policy change opened those jobs to women. [Military.com]
THE FAST TRAIN Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says he has “verbal” approval from the federal government to build an ultrafast “hyperloop” tube train on the East Coast. [NPR]
BEFORE YOU GO
The fall of Mosul, Iraq may not mean the end of ISIS but the birth of ISIS 2.0.
Trump’s frequent visits to Mar-a-Lago are also bad for sharks.
“Unknown Woman” played a surprisingly large and incredibly versatile role in American history.
The Pentagon’s mishandling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres of land.
Enjoy bacon while you still can.
The Justice Department is shutting down the darknet site AlphaBay, where you could buy anything from drugs to guns to fake IDs.
Vermont’s Secretary of State cast some serious shade on Trump’s voter fraud panel.
What people hate the most in every state.
The Senate just confirmed a federal judge who compared abortion to slavery.
A Tennessee jail is offering inmates a reduced sentence if they get a vasectomy or birth control implant, which the American Civil Liberties Union say is unconstitutional “coerced contraception.”
How to make an iron throne for your phone.
Internet romance scams are stealing millions of dollars from people.
Is this new Marvel villain modeled after Trump?