IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump-Kim summit, House votes and Blair inspires: The Morning Rundown

Paul Manafort's lawyers ask for leniency, saying their client's case is "not about murder."
Image: North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un Arrives In Vietnam Ahead Of The U.S.-DPRK Summit
Kim Jong-Un waves from his car after arriving in Vietnam ahead of his second high-stakes summit with President Donald Trump. Linh Pham / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump is due to arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam, this morning for his second summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Meantime House Democrats are pushing a vote on a resolution that would nullify the president's emergency declaration which aims to fund a border wall.

Here's what we're watching today.

'You must go now!'

The White House press corps was evicted from its workspace in Hanoi as a red carpet was rolled out at the same hotel to welcome North Korea's leader.

The forced move was highly unusual because the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space by journalists who cover the president.

It was unclear who made the decision to boot the White House reporters: North Korea, Vietnam, the U.S. or a combination of those governments.

All eyes will be on the leaders later this week when they meet to discuss the possible denuclearization of North Korea.

Kim was caught on camera taking a cigarette break — despite pushing an anti-smoking campaign back at home — during his almost 70-hour train ride through China to the high-stakes summit.

Is a giant cross a religious symbol or a secular WWI memorial?

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up that questionWednesday when it decides whether a huge concrete cross in Maryland should stay or go.

To its defenders, the 40-foot-tall Peace Cross is a secular monument, a memorial to 49 servicemen who died in World War I.

To its detractors, it's an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion invoking Christianity's most potent symbol.

The debate has now reached the highest court in the country and raises the question that has vexed the justices for decades: What is the proper place for religion in American public life?

The World War I memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland at the center of the Supreme Court's debate. Algerina Perna / AP file

House Dems gear up for vote to nullify Trump's emergency declaration

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass a resolution that would terminate Trump’s emergency declaration later today — and there are rumblings that it could pass the GOP-controlled Senate, too.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the latest Republican to indicate that she'll likely vote for the resolution once it reaches the Senate. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has made similar statements about voting in favor of the resolution.

Assuming all Democrats support the resolution, only four Senate Republicans would need to defect for Democrats to secure the 51 votes needed to send the measure to the president’s desk.

On Monday, more than 50 former national security officials from both parties sent a public letter to the Trump administration arguing that they are aware of "no emergency that remotely justifies" diverting funds to build a border wall.

Manafort's lawyers say case is 'not about murder'

Paul Manafort's legal team has made the argument for a sentence "significantly" less than the 10 years that could be handed down when he is sentenced in his case before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

"This case is not about murder, drug cartels, organized crime, the Madoff Ponzi scheme or the collapse of Enron," they wrote in the memo.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, is expected to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door meeting today and will testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

Meantime, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared to be trying to dampen expectations about what the public might see of special counsel Robert Mueller's widely-expected report, noting that federal prosecutors typically don't describe conduct that falls outside the scope of criminal charges.

The most senior Catholic to be charged with sex abuse has been convicted

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser and the Vatican's economy minister, was convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass in 1996.

The December conviction, which was suppressed by a court gag order until Tuesday, dealt a new blow to the Catholic hierarchy's credibility after a year of global revelations of abuse and cover-up.


  • No laughing matter: Comedian Jon Stewart was on Capitol Hill Monday urging Congress to provide additional funding for survivors and first responders of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
  • Video: After years of seeing garbage pile up on the beaches and waterways where she lives, activist Dianna Cohen decided to attack the pollution at its source: by removing plastic from her life. See how she managed to do it.
  • Netflix may have lost the best picture battle, but its war with Hollywood is just getting started.

THINK about it

Being asked out on a date with Idris Elba, considering a 2020 presidential run? It's all the same to Stacey Abrams. The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate joked with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, "I don't say no to anything."

Science + Tech = MACH

Dragon Aurora over Iceland.Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

Wow. NASA deemed the dragon-shaped aurora flickering over Iceland so cool that they named it the astronomy photo of the day.


Are you an introvert being asked to chime in during meetings? How can you psych yourself up to better tackle tasks that go against your personality type? Here are six ways to get the job done.

One inspiring thing

Actress Selma Blair took style and grace to another level at Sunday night's Vanity Fair Oscars party — it was her first public appearance since revealing that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Blair was visibly emotional before the cameras and tearfully admitted "it took so much to come out."

But she showed she could stand strong in spite of MS, a condition where the body's immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, striking an elegant and determined pose with a custom-made, monogrammed cane.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at:

If you would like to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox Monday to Friday, please sign-up here.

Thanks, Petra