LBN – Special Report – Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

*Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation:
President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting. “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, RepresentativeJason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.
*Putin: I’ll Release Trump Meeting Records

Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said he would be willing to hand over to U.S. lawmakers the transcripts of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s meeting with President Trump. According to Putin, the U.S. president had not passed on any classified information to Lavrov during their Oval Office visit last week, and such transcripts, the Russian president said, would prove it. “I spoke to him [Lavrov] today,” Putin told reporters in Moscow, before joking: “I’ll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia’s intelligence services. It was very bad of him.” A Kremlin aide reportedly clarified that Putin’s office had a written record of the conversation as opposed to an audio one.

*McCain: Trump Scandal Has Hit ‘Watergate Size’
“I think we’ve seen this movie before. I think it appears at a point where it’s of Watergate size and scale… the shoes continue to drop, and every couple days there’s a new aspect,”McCain told Bob Schieffer, the retired former host of CBS’ Face the Nation, at a dinner where McCain was receiving the International Republican Institute’s Freedom Award. The senator told Schieffer that the advice he would give to Trump is “the same thing that you advised Richard Nixon, which he didn’t do… get it all out… it’s not going to be over until every aspect of it is thoroughly examined and the American people make a judgment. And the longer you delay, the longer it’s going to last.” McCain also savaged the Trump administration for inviting emissaries of the Russian government into the Oval Office. The senator has been a frequent critic of the Kremlin. “I’ve known this guy [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov for 30 years. He’s an old KGB apparatchik stooge, and Putin is a murderer and a thug,” McCain said. “And to have Lavrov in the Oval Office and be friendly with the guy whose boss… sent aircraft with precision weapons to attack hospitals in Aleppo, I just think it’s unacceptable.”

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Household debt reaches $12.73 trillion in Q1, surpassing the record $12.68 trillion in 2008. Consumers are borrowing again but the makeup of that debt is starkly different than it was at the brink of the 2008 financial crisis. While mortgages still comprise the majority of the obligations, they represent a far lower share and the rebound has been led by student and auto debt.

*Chelsea Manning Released From Prison:
Chelsea Manning, who was in prison on a 35-year sentence for passing classified information to WikiLeaks, has been released after serving seven years. Manning’s sentence was commuted by President Obama as one of his final acts before leaving office. Manning was in the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.
*South Korea Wants to Renew Dialogue With North Korea

South Korea says it wants to renew communications with the North in a bid to get the Pyongyang regime to rein in its missile program. The news comes as newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in urges dialogue in addition to sanctions against North Korea for its series of missile and nuclear tests. “Our most basic stance is that communication lines between South and North Korea should open,” said Lee Duk-haeng, a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry. Communications between the two countries were halted by Pyongyang last year after the North was hit with new United Nations economic sanctions. While the South says it is ready to talk, U.S. and Japanese officials have said any dialogue won’t be effective unless North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a sign of good faith and halts the country’s nuclear program first. After its latest missile launch on Sunday, North Korea boasted that the missile used was capable of carrying a “large-size nuclear warhead,” a remark that triggered alarm among members of the United Nations Security Council.
*DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that LBN is read daily in all 50 of the United States?
*Women in Their 30s Now Having More Babies Than Younger Moms

Women in their early thirties are for the first time having more babies than younger moms in the United States, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to health experts, the shift was caused by more women choosing to wait longer to have children, as well as a steady national drop in teen births. Now, the birth rate for women in the 30-to-34 age group is about 103 per 100,000. For women ages 25 to 29, it’s 102 per 100,000. The average age when women have their first child is 28, and the overall birth rate was down to about 62 births per 100,000 women, ages 15 to 44. Bill Albert, of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said teens are now growing up with fewer and fewer peers getting pregnant. “We always talk about peer pressure as a negative, but it can be a force for good,” he said.

*Yale Dean loves Diversity Except for
‘White Trash’

A dean at Yale University who championed cultural sensitivity has apologized for her “insensitive” Yelp reviews of restaurants, gyms and movie theaters, including hot takes on what “white trash” customers would find tasty and employees she blasted as “barely educated morons.” June Chu, dean of Yale’s Pierson College, apologized for the offending reviews, which had been circulating among students for several months, after the Yale Daily News published screenshots on Saturday. “To put it quite simply: If you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!” Chu wrote in one review of a Japanese restaurant. “This establishment is definitely not authentic by any stretch of any imagination and perfect for those low class folks who believe this is a real night out. Over salted and greasy food. Side note: employees are Chinese, not Japanese.”
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Approximately 1% of Haiti’s population owns more than 50% of the nation’s wealth.
*SEPARATE – Black Harvard Students Holding a Graduation of Their Own: 
Black students at Harvard University are organizing a graduation ceremony of their own this year to recognize the achievements of black students and faculty members some say have been overlooked. More than 700 students and guests are registered to attend Harvard’s first Black Commencement, which will take place two days before the school’s traditional graduation events. It isn’t meant to replace the existing ceremony, student organizers say, but rather to add something that was missing. “We really wanted an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless at Harvard,” said Michael Huggins, president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, a campus group that is planning the ceremony. “So many students identify with the African diaspora but don’t necessarily feel welcome as part of the larger community, and they don’t feel like their stories are being shared.”
*WTF? – Man Sues Date for Texting during Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: 
According to the Austin American-Statesman, 37-year-old Brandon Vezmar of Austin is suing a Round Rock woman for texting during their movie date last week. He’s seeking $17.31, the price of a ticket to a 3D screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Describing the outing as “a first date from hell,” Vezmar told the newspaper that his date began texting about 15 minutes into the movie. According to a petition filed in small claims court, Vezmar’s date “activated her phone at least 10-20 times” until he asked her to stop. When he suggested she go outside to text, the woman departed the theater altogether and left Vezmar without a ride home, he said. Vezmar said the woman subsequently refused to reimburse him for the ticket, and his petition described her behavior as “a threat to civilized society.” Reached by the American-Statesman, the woman asked not to be identified by name and said she wasn’t aware of the claim against her. “Oh my God,” she said. “This is crazy.”
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: Since President Trump’s firing of F.B.I. Director James Comey, one question has been repeated over and over: With Democrats lacking any real governing power, are there a few good elected men or women in the Republican Party who will stand up to the president’s abuse of power as their predecessors did during Watergate? And this question will surely get louder with the report that Trump asked Comey in February to halt the investigation into the president’s former national security adviser. But we already know the answer: No. The G.O.P. never would have embraced someone like Trump in the first place — an indecent man with a record of multiple bankruptcies, unpaid bills and alleged sexual harassments who lies as he breathes — for the answer to ever be yes. Virtually all the good men and women in this party’s leadership have been purged or silenced; those who are left have either been bought off by lobbies or have cynically decided to take a ride on Trump’s Good Ship Lollipop to exploit it for any number of different agendas.
*MY REVIEW: “My parents hate LBN cause of the wild, sexy photos. I don’t care which is why I sent this photo in. Go LBN! You rock it hard!”——Didi C., an LBN reader from Montgomery, Alabama

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT – “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” – Henry Ford ——
*LBN-COMMENTARY By Michelle Goldberg: On Monday night, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, President Trump’swidely admired national security adviser, held a hastily convened news conference to try to knock down reports that Mr. Trump had shared highly classified information with Russia — only to have Mr. Trump appear to confirm the reports in two Tuesday morning tweets. “General McMaster spent decades defending this nation, earning his integrity and honor. Trump squandered it in less than 12 hours,” responded the Republican strategist John Weaver in a tweet. The journalist and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, David Frum, asked: “How does McMaster not resign today? That thing he said ‘did not happen’ the president has just defended doing.” General McMaster may find a way of avoiding that conclusion for now, but — if the yelling from the inmates of the West Wing is anything to go by — the moral and intellectual contortions now required of those who serve in the White House are extracting a heavy cost. It is tempting to believe, for instance, that the president’s press spokesman Sean Spicerwill forever be remembered for the evening Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey, when Mr. Spicer cowered among the bushes on the White House grounds to avoid journalists. But in all likelihood, Mr. Spicer will soon find himself at the center of yet another humiliating tableau, one that will supplant that last one in the public consciousness.


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*LBN-COMMENTARY by Sydney Lupkin and Pauline Bartolone: Recent research has linked the proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, to serious side effects, including chronic kidney disease, and recently filed lawsuits allege, among other things, that the manufacturers should have known of their potential harms. The risk of chronic kidney disease is as much as 50 percent higher in people who’ve taken the drug compared with those who’ve not—although no causative link has been proven and manufacturers insist they are safe.  The drugmakers strongly defend their products. AstraZeneca is “confident in the safety and efficacy of Nexium and Prilosec when used in accordance with the FDA approved label,” said spokeswoman Abby Bozarth, in an emailed statement. Proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium and Prilosec, among other brands, are blockbusters in the U.S. With 15.3 million prescriptions written in 2013 alone, they are considered highly effective at relieving gastroesophageal acid reflux as well as preventing and treating ulcers.


*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***In a new interview, Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC’s Tonight Show, spoke out for the first time about his controversial September sit-down with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Fallon, who was roundly criticized for fawning over the real-estate mogul, told The New York Times he found the online hate inescapable. “After this happened, I was devastated,” Fallon said. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.” At the end of the segment, Fallon had playfully run his hands through Trump’s hair, sparking outrage online. “I didn’t do it to humanize him,” Fallon said. “I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: ‘He did the thing that we all wanted to do.’”   ***Taylor Swift  is back on the dating scene. The pop superstar is dating British film and theatre actor Joe Alwyn, a source says. As for why we’ve yet to see the duo out and about, a source told the publication she’s used wigs and disguises to go completely unnoticed while getting to know 26-year-old Joe in the U.K.   ***Amy Schumer has been busy traveling the world to promote her flick Snatched, but one person has been conspicuously missing from her side: her boyfriend Ben Hanisch. The actress’ rep says: “Amy and Ben have ended their relationship after thoughtful consideration and remain friends.”   ***Cool, even-keeled, no-drama Barack Obama is one of the few people in the country who hasn’t publicly opined on the tweets and turmoil wrought by President Trump. And so a persistent question to those close to the former president is: What does Obama really think of the man now occupying the Oval Office? “He’s nothing but a bullsh–ter,” Obama told two friends early last November, describing an election night phone call with Trump, in which the businessman suddenly professed his “respect” and “admiration” for Obama—after years of hectoring.   ***Former Ford model, actress and HGTV lifestyle expert Susie Coelho — the ex-wife of Sonny Bono — has married Mike Peel, the vice president of human resources and administration at Yale University. Coelho and Peel — a former top exec at General Mills and PepsiCo — were married April 29 at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in Chelsea. After honeymooning in Europe, we’re told that the happy couple will split their time between their New York and Los Angeles homes.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord

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