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First Read's Morning Clips: Was Pence Kept in the Dark?

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on May 10, 2017.Joshua Roberts / Reuters

TRUMP AGENDA: Did Team Trump keep Pence in the dark?

From NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard: “Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's alleged wrongdoing, according to a source close to the administration, who cited a potential ‘pattern’ of not informing the vice president and calling it ‘malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable.’”

The New York Times: “President Trump called the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, weeks after he took office and asked him when federal authorities were going to put out word that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation, according to two people briefed on the call. Mr. Comey told the president that if he wanted to know details about the bureau’s investigations, he should not contact him directly but instead follow the proper procedures and have the White House counsel send any inquiries to the Justice Department, according to those people.”

The Washington Post: “FBI Director James B. Comey prepared extensively for his discussions with President Trump, out of concern that the president was unlikely to respect the legal and ethical boundaries governing their respective roles, according to associates of the now-fired FBI chief.”

And Comey friend Benjamin Wittes writes in Lawfare: “While I do not know how many incidents we’re talking about, how severe they were, or their particular character, I do know this: Comey understood Trump’s people as having neither knowledge of nor respect for the independence of the law enforcement function… Comey described at least two incidents which he regarded as efforts on the part of the President personally to compromise him or implicate him with either shows of closeness or actual chumminess with the President… he expressed wariness about the then-still-unconfirmed deputy attorney general nominee, Rod Rosenstein … “Rod is a survivor,” he said. And you don’t get to survive that long across administrations without making compromises.”

From Leigh Ann Caldwell: “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Thursday told the U.S. Senate that he was aware of President Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey before he wrote the president a memo saying he had lost confidence in the director, according to members who attended the briefing.”

From the Washington Post: “Congressional probes related to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election are likely to be complicated or stalled by the appointment of former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel investigating the same topic, despite pledges by some lawmakers Thursday to forge ahead. Mueller has resources and a mandate lawmakers know they cannot match, and is the only one who can bring criminal charges — except against the president himself. Not responding to his subpoenas also comes with the real threat of criminal prosecution.”

Senate Democrats are not exactly psyched about the prospect of Joe Lieberman for FBI Director, POLITICO reports.

The Wall Street Journal: “President Donald Trump next week will propose the U.S. can balance the federal budget over 10 years with substantial cuts to safety-net programs such as food stamps and other anti-poverty efforts, combined with a tax and regulatory overhaul that speeds up the nation’s economic growth rate, a senior White House budget official said.”

POLITICO previews Trump’s meeting with Pope Francis.

How to keep Trump happy overseas? The AP: “When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal — steak with a side of ketchup — will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine. At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule. It’s all part of a worldwide effort to accommodate America’s homebody president on a voyage with increasingly raised stakes given the ballooning controversy involving his campaign’s possible ties to Russia. For a former international businessman, Trump simply doesn’t have an affinity for much international.”

From NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald: “Some Democratic leaders around the country are growing increasingly concerned that the party could be repeating its errors from the 2016 election by looking past voters' core concerns in lawmakers' eagerness to take aim at the president.”

OFF TO THE RACES: We’re in the money…

Seitz-Wald reports that House Democrats have raised more money online this year than they did all of 2015.

From the House Majority PAC: “House Majority PAC, the leading super PAC for House Democrats announced a $700,000 investment in the GA-06 special election. The large investment includes a $500,000 broadcast television buy in partnership with Patriot Majority starting Tuesday, May 30th and an unprecedented $200,000 Get-Out-The-Vote field effort beginning this weekend and running through Election Day.” And they’ll spend $25,000 in Montana, too.

GA-6: The DNC is hiring 10 new staffers to help with Jon Ossoff’s campaign.

Democrats are hoping that mobilized minorities can help close the gap.

MT-AL: Rob Quist admitted to being cited for pot possession in 1971.

And Quist says he’s raised more than $5 million.

NJ-GOV: Last night’s Republican primary debate between Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli got pretty testy at times.