June 19, 2017
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A Ukrainian businessman told The Washington Post about his previously unreported dinner last August with President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which took place two weeks before Manafort stepped down amid reports he received improper payments for political work he did in Ukraine and questions regarding his business ties to allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Konstantin Kilimnik gave his statement to the Post through Manafort's lawyer, and said during their dinner, they talked about "bills unpaid by our clients." While their meetings were "in no way related to politics or the presidential campaign in the U.S.," Kilimnik said, they did have discussions "related to the perception of the U.S. presidential campaign in Ukraine." For 10 years, Kilimnik helped run Manafort's international political consulting practice in Ukraine; prior to that, he learned English at a military school that some experts believe is a training ground for Russian spies, and once served in the Russian army, the Post reports. While in Ukraine, Manafort worked with the Party of Regions, which is cozy with Russia, and helped elect Viktor Yanukovych to the presidency; he was ousted in 2014, and fled to Russia.

Kilimnik said he also met Manafort in May 2016, two weeks before he became Trump's campaign chairman. Kilimnik's political opponents have said it's possible he's working with Russian intelligence, a claim Kilimnik rejects, and he also said he never met with any of Trump's other campaign officials. A person familiar with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials told the Post Kilimnik is of interest to the panel. The Justice Department is looking into whether Manafort did not share enough information on his work for foreign political parties as required by law, and NBC News reports subpoenas in New York have been issued seeking information on his real estate loans. Read more about Kilimnik's past at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

7:23 a.m. ET
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A 17-year-old student who brought a gun to Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland, on Tuesday did not live to see his victim die. But by Thursday, it was clear that Jaelynn Willey, 16, had "no life left in her," her mother, Melissa Willey, told reporters Thursday night, and her parents had decided to remove her from life support. "On Tuesday ... our lives changed completely and totally forever," Melissa Willey said. "My daughter was hurt by a boy who shot her in the head and took everything from our lives."

Just before class on Tuesday, police say, Austin Rollins took out his father's Glock handgun and opened fire, hitting Willey and a 14-year-old student who was released from the hospital on Wednesday. A school security officer, sheriff's Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, responded within a minute and shot Rollins, St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron. It isn't clear yet if Rollins killed himself or was shot dead by Gaskill. "All indications suggest the shooting was not a random act of violence," the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday, adding that Rollins and the girl had been in a relationship that recently ended. Peter Weber

5:57 a.m. ET

Trevor Noah got serious on Thursday's Daily Show, sitting down with five students who survived the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and asking them what they hope happens next. Students from the school have spearheaded a national push for new gun laws, and they are leading a March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The five students Noah spoke with did not agree on what should happen next. Carly Novell supported banning assault rifles and raising the age to purchase guns to 21, while Josh Belenke didn't support gun control and would like to see more armed adults at school but backed "gun violence restraining orders" like they have in California. Kai Koerber opposed armed teachers and any "lethal weapons" at school, he said. "I don't want to seem like that guy, but me being a minority in the South, having a teacher have a gun, regardless of color, does not make me feel comfortable." Mostly, the students wanted people to remember that they are still in pain.

Parkland is an affluent, mostly white community, but students in Baltimore are also being bussed in to the march. The Opposition's Kobi Libii went and trolled Baltimore's mayor and then spoke with black students in a Baltimore school where eight students were shot dead in just the last year, asking them why they are joining their peers from Florida on Saturday.

Jordan Klepper and the rest of the Opposition team were at a home in the D.C. area that's housing students coming in for the march. "I'm not going to lecture at you guys," Klepper told them. "I just want to listen — to myself lecture with you guys." The students mostly said "yes!" multiple times when Klepper asked them if they really want to ban assault rifles, but they will get their say on Saturday. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:06 a.m. ET
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Early Friday, China's Commerce Ministry announced tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. pork, aluminum scrap, apples, steel pipe, wine, ethanol, and other goods, saying President Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are "typical unilateralism and protectionism" and set a "very bad precedent." "China does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war," the Commerce Ministry said. "We are confident and capable of meeting any challenge. It is hoped that the U.S. side will be able to make a swift decision and not to drag bilateral economic and trade relations into danger."

China separately criticized Trump's announcement Thursday of tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese products, prompted by complaints of government-aided intellectual property theft. Beijing did not say how it would respond to that move, but the $3 billion in threatened tariffs announced Friday don't include items that would really hurt U.S. producers. "All the products on the list are small potatoes, and the real important ones are U.S. farm products like soybeans and sorghum," a government adviser in Beijing told The Wall Street Journal. "China is keeping its powder dry."

Global stock markets reflected the widespread unease at the looming trade war, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down more than 700 points, or almost 3 percent, on Thursdays and Asian markets tumbling 3 percent in early trading Friday. A trade war with China would hurt U.S. consumers.

China did not say when its 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork and recycled aluminum and 15 percent tariff on the other goods might kick in, leaving time for negotiations. China exports only a small amount of steel and aluminum to the U.S. Late Thursday, the White House announced it will exempt allies like the EU, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, and Australia from the steel and aluminum tariffs — accounting for two-thirds of U.S. steel imports and half of imported aluminum — until at least May 1. Peter Weber

2:36 a.m. ET

"You up to date on Trump vs. Biden?" Jimmy Kimmel asked on Thursday's Kimmel Live. If you aren't, he walked through former Vice President Joe Biden's claim that he would have "beat the hell" out of Trump in high school for disrespecting women and President Trump tweeting back his fantasy of beating up Biden and making him cry. "This is what it's come to, though: Two old men arguing over who could beat the other one up," Kimmel said, before speculating about who would actually win such a fight back in high school.

"Fortunately, for the good of all of us and our entertainment, Trump and Biden have decided to put the talk aside and settle this man-to-man," Kimmel said, rolling a fake preview of the fight — POTUS vs. JOETUS, live on C-SPAN pay per view. "They really should do that — all proceeds to charity, whoever wins gets to be president," he said, then staged a press conference about the idea with Sarah Knucklebee Sanders, the handy White House press secretary.

"This is just what America needs: The Thrilla in Vanilla," Seth Meyers said on Late Night, rolling his eyes at the idea of the 71-year-old Trump and 75-year-old Biden throwing down. "The last time I saw two old dudes going at it like that, my local Walmart was down to its last bottle of prune juice," he joked. "This whole ordeal is embarrassing not only because it degrades our political discourse but also because it would never happen. Can you imagine these two actually fighting?" He gave it a shot.

Also, "shame on Joe Biden," Meyers said. "We all know you want to fight Donald Trump. But when it comes time for someone to fight Donald Trump, I'm sorry, we're just not going to pick you — we're gonna pick Ronda Rousey." He turned to Trump's legal battles, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

2:09 a.m. ET
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Isaac Larian is the billionaire CEO of one of the world's largest privately held toy companies, and he wants your help saving Toys 'R' Us.

Larian's company, MGA Entertainment, is behind several well-known brands, including Little Tikes. He said that along with other investors, he will pledge $200 million of the $1 billion necessary to bid on 400 Toys 'R' Us stores that are being liquidated. The rest of the money would be raised through a GoFundMe campaign, with donors receiving special items depending on how much they give. "There is nothing quite like the joy and and awe of a child walking through the aisles of a Toys 'R' Us store," he said in a statement. "I want to preserve that innocent experience for future generations. We can't sit back and just let that disappear."

Toys 'R' Us closing its stores would cause a ripple effect, Larian said, with suppliers having to lay off workers, too. MGA Entertainment depends on Toys 'R' Us — Larian said nearly 20 percent of sales were to the retailer, and it was the only store that had enough room to display Little Tikes bikes. "People do not realize the hole that can't be filled by other retailers," he said. "The pipeline is too big." Should enough money be raised, a bankruptcy judge would have to authorize the deal. Catherine Garcia

1:26 a.m. ET
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At this rate, the next time you turn on Fox News it might just be an empty set or this guy, since all of the on-air personalities are being poached by President Trump.

On Thursday, Trump announced that John Bolton, a Fox News analyst and George W. Bush administration alumnus, will be replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and another frequent guest on Fox News, Joseph diGenova, just signed on to be part of Trump's legal team. We already know Trump watches Fox & Friends like it's his job, but he sometimes changes the channel, as shown by his recent hiring of conservative CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow as director of the National Economic Council.

It makes sense for Trump to pluck people his base is familiar with, Fusion TV host Alicia Menendez told CNN. "If you love the president, if you love Fox News, then his hiring from Fox validates Fox's credibility and it also validates the president's great taste, right?" she said. "It works both ways." Why stop there, though? Trump should turn to network television to start filling positions — make nemesis Alec Baldwin his body double, replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Judge Judy, put the kids from Riverdale in charge of homeland security, and let Young Sheldon take over NASA. Catherine Garcia

1:20 a.m. ET
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Early Friday morning, the Senate passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government through September. The 65-32 vote came hours after the House passed the bill, 256-167; the 2,232-page legislation was released Wednesday night. Trump is expected to sign the bill, likely the last major legislation Congress gets through this year, before Saturday, averting a third government shutdown this year.

Some fiscal conservatives were upset with the price tag of the spending bill, which includes big increases for the military and domestic programs — as sought by Republicans and Democrats, respectively. But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who caused the last, brief government shutdown, did not reprise his efforts to block this legislation after intense discussions with Senate leaders. Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) did slow down the bill a bit Thursday evening over a proposal to rename a forest in Idaho after Cecil Andrus, a former four-term Idaho governor who died last year. Risch backed down after the Senate agreed to separate legislation postponing the forest renaming. It's unclear if the House will approve that motion. Peter Weber

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