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June 6, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is asking witnesses to hand over their personal phones so they can look for conversations with anyone linked to President Trump via encrypted messaging programs, several people with knowledge of the matter told CNBC Wednesday.

The request was first made in April, and the witnesses have complied, CNBC reports. Investigators are looking at private conversations on WhatsApp, Signal, Dust, and Confide, and it's unclear what, if any, new details have been uncovered.

On Monday, prosecutors accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of tampering with witnesses, contacting them through WhatsApp and Telegram. Manafort has been indicted for money laundering and illegally acting as a foreign agent. Catherine Garcia

1:12p.m.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner may be the Trump administration's closest link to Saudi Arabia. So when CNN host Van Jones sat down with Kushner on Monday, he just had to ask: How did Kushner get "the dopest job in the world?"

Kushner's interview with Jones at CNN's Citizen political forum was his first public interview since December 2017, Politico's Annie Karni pointed out. It seemingly would've been a good time to ask about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey's Saudi consulate, considering Kushner's reportedly friendly relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Instead, Jones spent much of the interview discussing whether President Trump is a good grandfather, calling Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump "extraordinary," and asking if Kushner is "having fun" in the White House.

Jones did eventually ask whether Kushner "trust[ed] the Saudis to investigate themselves," seeing as bin Salman is both the "prime suspect" and the "prime investigator" in Khashoggi's death. Kushner simply urged bin Salman to "be fully transparent" as the investigation continues, then pivoted back to talking about the Middle East in general.

Kushner and Jones originally planned to discuss prison reform during the interview, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman acknowledged. But, as Karni put it, the conversation's lack of Khashoggi questions made for one big "elephant in the room."

12:58p.m.

Since winning the Academy Award for Best Director this year, Guillermo del Toro's career has just kept growing.

The Shape of Water director is set to helm a new stop-motion animated musical version of Pinocchio for Netflix, which will be set in Italy during the rise of fascism, writes The Hollywood Reporter. Del Toro says Pinocchio will be portrayed as an innocent soul who embarks on a journey in a world he does not understand, and along the way learns to understand his uncaring father. Del Toro also said in a statement that he feels a deeper personal connection with Pinocchio than with any other fictional character.

In fact, del Toro has been trying to make this movie for many, many years, but as recently as last November, he said it wasn't happening anymore. Then, a few months later, he won the Oscar for Best Director, and his film The Shape of Water won Best Picture, allowing him to leverage this success into financing his dream project. In his statement, del Toro emphasized that he's excited to direct an animated film for the first time, though he has previously produced stop-motion films like The Book of Life. Del Toro has hired the company that made the puppets for Tim Burton's Corpse Bride to make figurines for Pinocchio, and the Jim Henson Company will produce.

This del Toro film is completely unrelated to the live-action version of Pinocchio that Disney is currently making as part of its new slate of live-action remakes including The Lion King and Aladdin. The Disney version will be directed by Paddington's Paul King. Del Toro's Pinocchio is expected to begin production this fall, while Disney's reportedly won't start shooting until next year, so it looks like Netflix might beat Disney to the punch. Brendan Morrow

10:53a.m.

We regret to inform you that Anthony Scaramucci is at it again. And this time, he's dancing.

More than a year after being hired and quickly fired as White House communications director, Scaramucci has re-enacted his 11 days in office through interpretive dance in a video for the New York Post. Scaramucci refers to these dances as "Mooch moves," but they're more like a one-sided game of charades.

For example, take day one. Scaramucci devoted it to "cleaning house," he explains, and subsequently interprets cleaning like this.

(Screenshot/New York Post)

Scaramucci says he spent his second day "taking an axe to the tree of leaking" — a move that could also be called "the mixed metaphor." Day three involves some jazz hands that somehow evoke TV interviews, and day four is when Scaramucci misses the birth of his son. It's a "big bummer," Scaramucci laments, as you can see by the single tear he mimes below.

(Screenshot/New York Post)

The remaining days include acting out radio interviews with giant headphones, another hunt for leaks with an imaginary magnifying glass, and a mimed hanging to signify his firing. And once Scaramucci has left the White House? This is what he calls the "thank you God that it's over."

(Screenshot/New York Post)

Luckily, Scaramucci's limited tenure means you only have to experience 11 dance-like moves. Watch it all below. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:33a.m.

In a fresh sign of progress for inter-Korean relations, North and South Korea have agreed to remove all firearms from a Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, a former village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) now used for diplomatic meetings. Both sides committed Monday to ceasing "all hostile acts" in the DMZ.

Guard postings will also be reduced in Panmunjom; land mines are already being removed from the area; and the two governments will share information on their surveillance equipment in the DMZ. "We discussed the timeline of the pullout of firearms and guard posts, as well as ways to adjust the number of guard personnel and conduct joint inspections," South Korea's defense ministry said in a statement Monday.

This is but the latest in a series of steps toward normalizing relations between North and South. Last week, the two Koreas agreed to reconnect some roads and railways separated by the DMZ, and on Friday the U.S. and South Korea canceled plans for a joint military exercise to ease diplomacy with North Korea. Bonnie Kristian

10:31a.m.

Fox News' narrative about the Central American migrant caravan doesn't seem to be resonating with independent voters.

At least, that's what a Fox & Friends discussion with four independents seemed to discover on Monday. Host Steve Doocy, along with his co-hosts and guests, have recently been promoting the idea that the approaching caravan of migrants from Central America is dangerous, with host Brian Kilmeade warning of "security issues" and nodding along as a guest described the caravan as "an act of war," and host Pete Hegseth calling for a military deployment to stop the migrants.

But when Doocy talked to a panel of voters about the caravan, the very first panelist didn't seem to agree with any of this. "This is the mightiest country on the planet," one voter said, per Mediaite. "I think we can handle a caravan of people, unarmed, coming to this country." The very next panelist decried the fact that immigration has been used as a "partisan football," and another pointed to the "humanitarian crisis taking place in Central America."

Finally, the last independent voter on the panel said that the caravan should not be treated as "an invasion," adding, "these are human beings coming here." This segment came during the very same show in which a Fox & Friends guest speculated without evidence that ISIS terrorists could be infiltrating the caravan, a theory that seemed to inspire a particularly inflammatory presidential tweet this morning. Watch a clip from the Fox & Friends panel below. Brendan Morrow

10:08a.m.

Whether journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a gruesome assassination or, as Saudi Arabia has claimed to much skepticism, a brutal fist fight gone wrong, it may seem obvious he — and not, say, President Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and other enthusiasts of the U.S.-Saudi alliance — is the victim here.

Rubio suggested otherwise in a Monday morning tweet:

The Florida senator did concede Khashoggi's violent death and dismemberment was "immoral" in its own right. But by word count, anyway, the great bulk of his concern was for himself, Trump, and others now suffering political opposition over their affection for a dictatorial monarchy. Bonnie Kristian

9:57a.m.

You probably haven't heard about one of the worst American oil spills ever. That's because the company responsible has reportedly kept the ongoing spill secret for years, and has no apparent plans to stop it.

After a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan sunk one of Taylor Energy's oil platforms in 2004, anywhere from 300 to 700 barrels of oil have poured into the Gulf of Mexico every day, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Millions of gallons and 14 years later, and the leak looks like it'll surpass BP's Deepwater Horizon spill to become the largest in American history.

This ongoing spill likely would have flown under the radar if it weren't for Deepwater Horizon — the 2010 environmental disaster that happened just a few miles from this one. Taylor Energy reportedly hid the spill for six years until a watchdog group investigating BP's spill found it. And even after a Justice Department analysis revealed the spill was bigger than initial Coast Guard estimates, Taylor Energy has maintained that there is "no evidence to prove any of the wells are leaking," the Post writes.

Taylor Energy's leak makes up just a slice of the 330,000 gallons that gush into Louisiana's waters every year, according to the state's oil spill coordinator's office. Yet even as Gulf leaks continue, the Trump administration has approved further offshore drilling with little federal regulation, the Post says. Many of the proposed rigs are in the Atlantic, where hurricanes are far more frequent, especially as climate change warms ocean waters.

Taylor Energy has declined to comment on the apparent spill, which you can read about more at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

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