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May 18, 2017
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Several weeks after his inauguration, President Trump contacted James Comey, then the FBI director, and asked him when federal authorities planned on spreading the word that he was not personally under investigation, two people with knowledge of the call told The New York Times.

This was one of several interactions that Comey believed jeopardized the FBI's independence, the Times reports, and he instructed the president on the proper way to receive details about investigations: Have the White House counsel send inquiries to the Department of Justice. At the time, Comey was overseeing the investigation into ties between Trump associates and Russia, and two incidents concerned him, friends said: During a dinner, Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty, and in a meeting at the Oval Office, Trump said he hoped the Russia-linked investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, would be canceled; Trump denies this happened. The Times also reports that the day after Trump talked to Comey about Flynn, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked Comey to assist with pushing back against reports that during the campaign, Trump associates had been in contact with Russian intelligence officials.

Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Comey's and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, spoke with the Times, and said during a lunch in March, Comey told him he had spent the previous two months trying to teach the White House how to properly interact with the bureau. Comey was afraid people would think he was becoming friendly with the new president, Wittes said, and even went so far as trying to blend into the curtains in the White House's Blue Room during an event so Trump wouldn't spot him and call him out (he did). Comey also told Wittes that on March 1, the White House called him and said Trump needed to speak with him "urgently." It turned out Trump "just wanted to chitchat," Wittes said, and Comey took the call to mean Trump was still "trying to get him on the team and he saw it in light of his refusal to give him his loyalty." Catherine Garcia

10:07 p.m. ET
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At least six of President Trump's top advisers — including Reince Priebus, his former chief of staff, and former chief strategist Stephen Bannon — on occasion used private email accounts to talk about White House matters, several current and former officials told The New York Times on Monday.

On Sunday, a lawyer for Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner confirmed that Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, created a domain in December called IJKFamily.com for their personal email, and "fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House" from his account. Officials told the Times that in addition to Priebus, Bannon, Kushner, and Ivanka Trump — who reportedly used private emails to conduct business when she was both an unpaid adviser and later a formal adviser — chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and senior adviser Stephen Miller sent or received "at least a few emails on personal accounts," officials told the Times. It isn't known if any of the emails contained confidential information, or how many emails were sent and received from the private accounts.

For oversight reasons, government officials are supposed to use their work emails to conduct business, and if they do use private email accounts, they must forward any work-related emails to their government accounts for preservation purposes. During the campaign, Trump spent much of his time blasting Hillary Clinton for using a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state, leading his supporters at rallies in cheers of "Lock her up!" Catherine Garcia

8:43 p.m. ET
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Pittsburgh Steelers starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva said Monday he's "embarrassed" when he sees photos showing him standing alone during the anthem before Sunday's game at Soldier Field.

"This national anthem ordeal has sort of been out of control, and there's a lot of blame on myself," Villanueva said. "I made Coach [Mike] Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only. I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault." Following President Trump's Friday comments — in which he called players taking a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality against blacks "sons of bitches" and said they should be fired — Tomlin said the Steelers would not take to the field during the anthem as a way to remain unified. "We're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda," he added.

Villanueva, a West Point grad and Army Ranger who deployed to Afghanistan three times, said he had gone out to look at the flag before the game, and when the anthem started, he didn't want to move, and put his hand over his heart. "Unfortunately, I threw [my teammates] under the bus, unintentionally," he said. "Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed. We as a team tried to figure it out. Obviously, we butchered it…I'm not gonna pretend I have some kind of righteous voice."

Villanueva said he has no problems with players kneeling during the anthem, and many of the same players who take a knee have thanked him for his service, adding, "I will support all my teammates, and all my teammates and all my coaches have always supported me." Likely due to people thinking Villanueva was somehow protesting his team's decision not to come out on the field, his No. 78 jersey has been the top seller on NFLShop.com and Fanatics.com since yesterday, USA Today reports. Catherine Garcia

7:14 p.m. ET
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Late-night host and unlikely voice of the health-care debate Jimmy Kimmel was quick to tweet his support of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine Monday evening, following her announcement that she won't vote for the the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal ObamaCare.

"Thank you @SenatorCollins for putting people ahead of party," he tweeted. "We are all in your debt." Kimmel publicly entered the health-care debate earlier this year, after his son Billy was born with a heart condition and had to undergo emergency surgery when he was just three days old. Kimmel said he doesn't want anyone in the United States to worry about having to pay for life-saving care, and along with his wife, Molly McNearney, has tweeted his thanks to Republicans who have come out against the recent health-care bills — last week, after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he wouldn't vote for Graham-Cassidy, McNearney tweeted a photo of Billy in a robe with boxing gloves and thanked McCain for "fighting for kids like me." Catherine Garcia

6:38 p.m. ET
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Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday evening she is opposed to both versions of the health-care bill sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that aims to repeal ObamaCare.

In a statement, Collins said she has three major concerns about the proposal Graham and Cassidy authored last week and the newest version they came up with over the weekend: both make "sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program," "open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions," and "would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans." Collins said there are "many flaws" with the Affordable Care Act that need to be fixed, and her "focus will remain on remedying these problems."

Her decision effectively kills the bill, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last week he did not support it, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he's a "no," although he did make a list of demands that, if met, would change his mind. Catherine Garcia

3:50 p.m. ET

The Senate Finance Committee was forced to briefly delay its hearing on the Republican health-care bill on Monday after police were called in to remove loud protesters, many of whom were representing the disability rights group ADAPT, The Hill reports. The demonstrators chanted "no cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty" and "kill the bill, don't kill me," and could still be heard in the hallways after they'd been removed from the room.

Growing frustrated with the noise, panel chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) snapped: "If you want a hearing, you better shut up."

On Sunday, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) released a new draft of their bill designed to win over a small handful of holdout GOP senators. Jeva Lange

3:03 p.m. ET

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reassured Americans that President Trump did not actually declare war on North Korea via tweet.

Sanders' statement ran contrary to claims made earlier in the day by North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho. Ri claimed Pyongyang now has the right to shoot down U.S. bombers in international airspace after Trump said Saturday that North Korea "won't be around much longer" if it keeps intimidating America.

"We've not declared war on North Korea," Sanders said. "And frankly the suggestion of that is absurd."

She went on to add: "It is never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters. Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That's our focus." Watch below. Jeva Lange

2:36 p.m. ET

After famously dubbing President Trump a "bum" over the weekend, LeBron James doubled down on his comments at the Cleveland Cavaliers' media event on Monday. "The thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is that [Trump] used the sports platform to try to divide us," James said in response to Trump's comments about NFL protests as well as his decision to disinvite the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry from the White House. "It is so amazing what sports can do for everyone, no matter what shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion or whatever … It just brings people together like none other."

James added: "We're not going to let — I'm not going to let ... one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should have or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us."

James also stressed that everyone should try every day to make a difference for others. "We know this is the greatest country in the world," James said. "It's the land of the free. But we still have problems just like everybody else, and when we have those problems we have to figure out how to come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." Jeva Lange

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