Breakfast Briefing, 5.17.2017: Struggling to keep up with the latest on Trump

The New York Times and Washington Post are locked in an old fashioned newspaper war for the biggest scoop on the Trump administration. The latest: Tuesday's NYT report that Trump pressured former FBI director James Comey to drop the inquiry into Michael Flynn.

This about sums it up
Asked about the torrent of negative news battering the White House, one senator mimicked a cat holding on to a tree by its claws late Tuesday, according to CNN. That about sums up two of the craziest weeks in politics in decades, which have included testimony by a former acting director of the Justice Department, the firing of the head of the FBI, accusations that the president spilled top-secret information to Russian officials, and Tuesday’s story in The New York Times that President Donald Trump urged former FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Here’s the latest: House Oversight chair demands all documents pertaining to Trump-Comey conversations (NBC News); Trump reportedly advised Comey to jail reporters who published classified leaks (NYT); McCain said Trump scandal has reached "Watergate size and scale" (The Hill); Newt Gingrich urges Trump to shut down White House briefing room (Politico). Oh, and Trump’s week-long international trip is about to begin.

Trump tweets undercut surrogates
Conservative leaders are urging Trump to shake up the West Wing without delay, with the usual names mentioned as targets for dismissal: Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Communications Director Mike Dubke; and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, according to The Hill. But can anyone serve as an effective surrogate for Trump when the president undercuts his or her arguments on Twitter? The Wall Street Journal looks at the case of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, whose own defense of Trump on Monday was rebutted by the president the next morning on Twitter.

What to watch today
Google is kicking off its annual I/O developer conference on Wednesday in Mountain View, California. What to look for: a standalone VR headset (Variety); a new version of its Android mobile operating system (TechCrunch); a greater emphasis on machine earning (The Verge); and more information about the "AI future" Google CEO Sundar Pichai began talking about last year (Recode). It’s also Christmas come early for red carpet watchers, with the Cannes Film Festival beginning today.

Shakeup at H+K
PRWeek broke the news on Tuesday that Hill+Knowlton Strategies is promoting Alexander Jutkowitz to U.S. CEO after a blowout year for his Group SJR unit. Former U.S. chief executive Beth Balsam is leaving the WPP agency. Erin Gentry was also named U.S. president.

It could be the pet rock of Summer 2017
One of the stranger aspects of the early months of the Trump administration is the sudden global fame of Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who is being further immortalized by "Garden Spicer," a cutout of the spokesman’s mugshot for hedge decorating. Started by a Canadian college professor who posted the image on Facebook, it has been downloaded more than 110,000 times, according to Reuters. Just be careful to place it "among" and not "in" the bushes in your front yard. 

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