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First Read's Morning Clips: Trump Blasts 'Evil Losers'

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day.
Image: Donald Trump Holds Joint Press Conference With Colombian President Santos
President Donald Trump reacts as he and President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia (not shown) hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on May 18, 2017. FileNurPhoto / Getty Images

TRUMP AGENDA: “Evil losers”

NBC News: “President Donald Trump branded those responsible for the deadly suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert and other terrorist attacks "evil losers" on Tuesday. "So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers," he said in Bethlehem while standing next to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. "I won't call them monsters because they would like that term, they would think that is a great name." He added: ‘I will call them, from now on, losers because that's what they are: losers.’”

Last night’s big intelligence story from the Washington Post: “President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.”

The Post also reports that Trump is close to choosing an outside counsel for the Russia investigation.

Michael Flynn will take the Fifth. And some senators are considering holding him in contempt.

Happening today, from the AP: “Former CIA Director John Brennan is set to testify publicly about the intelligence underpinning the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and could shed light on concerns about the security risk posed by President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.”

The New York Times, on Trump’s overseas trip: “The president’s first foray overseas is giving the rest of the world its first real glimpse of America’s new governing structure — a White House that has quickly become an all-in-the-family business, standard practice in Saudi Arabia, but rare in the United States.”

Benjy Sarlin has a rundown of the president’s budget. “President Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal includes sweeping cuts to social spending for low-income Americans, including entitlement programs that the president promised to protect as a candidate, while boosting defense spending. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney briefed reporters on the blueprint Monday, which seeks to eliminate the deficit in 10 years while avoiding cuts to Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits. The full budget is scheduled to come out on Tuesday morning. "This is, I think, the first time in a long time the administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people paying the taxes," Mulvaney told reporters.” MORE: “It would accomplish its savings goals via deep cuts to other safety-net programs. At the same time, it assumes that the White House's agenda of repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code and investing in infrastructure will become law and unleash an economic boom that would further reduce deficits by $2 trillion over the next decade.”

From the New York Times: “The wildly optimistic projections balance Mr. Trump’s budget, at least on paper, even though the proposal makes no changes to Social Security’s retirement program or Medicare, the two largest drivers of the nation’s debt. To compensate, the package contains deep cuts in entitlement programs that would hit hardest many of the economically strained voters who propelled the president into office. Over the next decade, it calls for slashing more than $800 billion from Medicaid, the federal health program for the poor, while slicing $192 billion from nutritional assistance and $272 billion over all from welfare programs. And domestic programs outside of military and homeland security whose budgets are determined annually by Congress would also take a hit, their funding falling by $57 billion, or 10.6 percent.”

POLITICO: “The White House is looking to wall off the scandals threatening to overtake the president’s agenda by building a separate crisis management operation. President Donald Trump personally reached out to two of his former campaign aides – his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his deputy campaign manager, David Bossie – to sound them out about working with the administration as crisis managers, according to two people familiar with the situation. POLITICO previously reported that both men were spotted in the West Wing last week, before Trump departed on his overseas trip.”

OFF TO THE RACES: GOP’s costly special-election price tag

One of us(!) reports that the RNC, the NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund have spent a combined $15.5m playing defense in three House special elections in red districts.

POLITICO is keeping tabs on that very testy California Democratic Party chair race.

GA-6: Another poll shows a favorable race for Ossoff.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “More than 5,500 voters have so far been added to the rolls in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District after a federal judge ordered local counties to reopen registration through this past Sunday.”

MT-AL: The New York Times notes that Greg Gianforte is embracing Trump despite his swirling scandals.

NJ-GOV: His Chris Christie helping or hurting his second-in-command’s efforts to become governor? “or months, Christie has regarded his second-in-command's candidacy to succeed him with something approaching benign indifference. In January, asked if she was up to the challenge of being New Jersey's next governor, he answered: "I couldn't tell you if she's up for it or not, 'cause I wouldn't know. She's never done it." But on Monday, Christie was alternately effusive and mocking towards Guadagno, defending her record on job creation from the barbs of her GOP primary rival while sniping at her opposition to a costly Statehouse renovation and President Donald Trump's tax plan.”