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First Read's Morning Clips: Summing Up the Yates Testimony

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Yates and Clapper testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates listens as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies on May 8, 2017, before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

TRUMP AGENDA: Summing up Sally Yates’ day on Capitol Hill

NBC’s Ken Dilanian sums up Sally Yates’ testimony yesterday. “Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified Monday that she told the White House that then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn could be "blackmailed by the Russians," because he misled the vice president about his "problematic" conduct. "We were concerned that the American people had been misled about the underlying conduct and what General Flynn had done," Yates told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.”

More, from the New York Times: “Ms. Yates’s testimony, along with a separate revelation Monday that President Barack Obama had warned Mr. Trump not to hire Mr. Flynn, offered a more complete public account of Mr. Flynn’s stunning fall from one of the nation’s most important security posts. It also raised fresh doubts about Mr. Trump’s judgment in keeping Mr. Flynn in place despite serious Justice Department concerns. White House officials have not fully explained why they waited so long.”

The New York Times: “The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has a reputation as a shrewd tactician and a wily strategist — far more than his younger counterpart in the House, Speaker Paul D. Ryan. So the Senate majority leader’s decision to create a 13-man working group on health care, including staunch conservatives and ardent foes of the Affordable Care Act — but no women — has been widely seen on Capitol Hill as a move to placate the right as Congress decides the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.”

The Washington Post spends time with an Iowa congressman who’s having a rough time explaining his health care vote.

NBC’s Alex Johnson looks at Bill Cassidy’s appeal for a “Kimmel test” for health care.

And from the Wall Street Journal: “House Republicans may have won the battle to pass a health-care overhaul, but the fight over public messaging that is now ramping up could be critical to the shape of the bill that emerges from the Senate and to any final compromise. GOP leaders and the Trump administration are urgently trying to tamp down a backlash from Democrats and some Republicans who say the House legislation rolling back and replacing much of the Affordable Care Act would imperil coverage for millions of Americans.”

From the Washington Post: “President Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban. The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.”

Who has the ear of the president? Politico writes that it’s often wealthy white Republican men.

James Comey has opinions about Twitter, Andrew Rafferty writes.

The Kushner family could benefit from the first major piece of legislation Trump passed into law, the New York Times writes.

Politico has the latest on the legal fight over the travel ban.

The AP, on Obama’s new post-White House role: “Obama’s swift return to the spotlight has been cheered by some Democrats, who are still sifting through the wreckage of the party’s crushing defeats in the November election. But the attention surrounding Obama has also magnified the vacuum for new Democratic leadership, a reality that aides say is not lost on the former president.”

Matt Bradley reports for NBC News on the Le Pen campaign’s effect on French politics. “Liberals and moderates around the world publicly celebrated the vote as a sharp rebuke not only to Le Pen — whom a French court once ruled could be described as a ‘fascist’ — but to the global populist, anti-immigration trend she seemed to represent. However, her election performance also marked the arrival of a party widely viewed as racist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim to the mainstream.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Ryan to stump for Handel in GA-6

AL-SEN: From “The Senate Leadership Fund on Monday reserved a $2.6 million television ad buy on behalf of U.S. Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama, bidding to ward off challengers for the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The super political action committee, which has ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, made the show of fiscal force ahead of an August GOP primary on which Strange will face several challengers, including former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.”

GA-6: A new anti-Ossoff ad features San Francisco “thanking” him for being “one of us.”

Paul Ryan will stump for Karen Handel.

MT-AL: Polling trends indicate that it may be a single-digit race in Montana.

SC-5: GOP primary runner-up Chad Connelly is endorsing Ralph Norman in the runoff.

VA-GOV: Ralph Northam is calling for a cap on campaign donations and a ban on corporate giving, the Washington Post reports.