Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, Russia: Your Friday Briefing – New York Times
Here’s what you need to know:
• Robert S. Mueller III, above, the special counsel investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s U.S. presidential election, is issuing grand jury subpoenas, according to several lawyers involved in the case.
At least some of them are related to Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.
• Newly obtained transcripts of telephone calls between President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Australia show a new president eager to fulfill campaign promises — and also show how quickly those calls turned contentious.
The January exchanges became so sharp that Mr. Trump told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, above, that talking to President Vladimir Putin of Russia was more pleasant.
On Thursday, a day after he signed legislation to expand sanctions he disagreed with, Mr. Trump blamed Congress for the United States’ poor relationship with Russia, describing it on Twitter as “at an all-time & very dangerous low.”
• John Kelly, President Trump’s new chief of staff, is forcing military rigor on a chaotic White House. Doing so with the president himself is another matter.
Mr. Kelly has told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that his job is safe despite public criticism from the president. Mr. Sessions and his deputy have been quietly remaking the Justice Department into the agency that is most powerfully carrying out Mr. Trump’s agenda.
• Aleksei Navalny, above, Russia’s most high-profile opposition leader, was fined the equivalent of almost $5,000 by a court in Moscow on charges of organizing a public event without permission from the authorities.
Mr. Navalny’s supporters say he was in a detention center at the time the government claims he released a video address on YouTube promoting the event.
• President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, above right, will begin his second term on Saturday. But reform-minded supporters who helped him win the election in May are concerned he will not keep his promise to appoint women to his cabinet.
Analysts say Mr. Rouhani has involved Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, above left, Iran’s supreme leader, more deeply than usual in his choice of ministers as insurance against potential hard-line attacks.
• The real estate firm owned by the family of Jared Kushner, above, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is said to be under investigation over its use of a program that grants U.S. visas to wealthy overseas investors.
• This year was supposed to be a breakout one for female chief executives. But with only 27 women running publicly traded companies on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, the departures of even a few have quickly thinned the ranks.
• A British security researcher credited with stopping the global spread of malicious software in May was arrested in connection with a separate cyberattack.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Stephen McGown, above, a South African man held by Al Qaeda in Mali for nearly six years, was freed in exchange for $4.2 million, according to a retired European intelligence official. [The New York Times]
• The father of Fatemah Qaderyan, the captain of an all-female Afghan robotics team that recently participated in a global competition in Washington, was among 37 people killed in an Islamic State attack on a mosque in Herat. [The New York Times]
• Fire engulfed the 86-story Torch Tower in Dubai, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings, for the second time in less than three years. Officials said everyone made it out safely. [The New York Times]
• Germany and Vietnam are at odds over a Vietnamese oil executive who disappeared from Berlin. Hanoi says he turned himself in to the authorities; Berlin says he was kidnapped at gunpoint. [The New York Times]
• Prince Henrik of Denmark, frustrated that his title is the queen’s prince consort and not “king consort,” said he no longer wished to be buried next to his wife, Queen Margrethe II. [The New York Times]
• Donald Tusk, president of the European Council and the former prime minister of Poland, testified in Warsaw on the 2010 plane crash that killed Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president at the time. The hearing was criticized as politically motivated. [Politico]
• Rwandans are voting today in a presidential election that Paul Kagame, the country’s leader since 2000, has said is “just a formality.” [France 24]
• Divers off the coast of Ireland have recovered the main telegraph from the R.M.S. Lusitania, whose sinking by a German submarine in 1915 helped lead the U.S. into World War I. But researchers said it would do little to answer questions about the ship’s destruction. [The New York Times]
• Four Siberian tiger cubs made their debut at a zoo in Hamburg, Germany. The public has been asked to vote on their names. [The Telegraph]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Recipe of the day: the classic caprese salad.
• Don’t be afraid of mosquitoes. Here are some tips for how to avoid the nagging insects — and what to do if one bites you.
• An annual funeral ritual in a Spanish village celebrates the “victory of life over death” by parading survivors of illness or their loved ones around in coffins.
• The vineyards in Colares, Portugal, the westernmost wine region in continental Europe, are often said to be on the verge of extinction. But they produce what may well be Portugal’s most distinctive still wines.
• Jane Austen, who died 200 years ago, is being celebrated this summer on both sides of the Atlantic. Our reporter Sarah Lyall joined a group of the writer’s spirited fans on an Austen-themed tour of England.
“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!”
That’s a quote ascribed to Pierre Pérignon, a Benedictine monk, upon tasting his sparkling wine on this day in 1693. Legend has it that he used a cork to seal in the fizz, but the veracity of the quote — as well as the idea that he invented Champagne — have long been refuted by historians.
The evolution of some wine — from still to one with bubbles — in the Champagne region of France was more an innovation of happenstance. Wine bottles would explode at random, earning the name “le vin du diable,” or the devil’s wine. Fizzy wine wasn’t desirable, and removing the fizz was a problem.
The first documentation of sparkling wine (in the Limoux region) was in 1531. A paper in 1662 described how winemakers would add sugar to give it sparkle — making it “different than any other drink in the world,” as Hans Koningsberger wrote in The Times in 1958.
Dom Pérignon did, however, develop the techniques that led to the development of modern-day Champagne. Call it fizz, bubbles or sparkles, we can thank the monk and his legacy for the “wine of happiness.”
Danielle Belopotosky contributed reporting.
This briefing was prepared for the European morning. You can browse through past briefings here.
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