James Comey, Chelsea Manning, NBA Draft: Your Wednesday Briefing – New York Times

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Trump versus Comey, again.

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James Comey, to end the investigation into his former national security adviser, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote a day after the Oval Office meeting in February.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president said, according to the memo, parts of which were read to The Times by an associate of Mr. Comey’s. Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director last week.

The White House denied the memo’s version of events.

Amid increasing calls by lawmakers for Mr. Comey to appear before Congress, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the F.B.I. late on Tuesday demanding all records of discussions between Mr. Trump and the bureau’s former leader.

• What it means.

In a video, our reporter explains how the former F.B.I. director’s memo could be evidence that President Trump tried to influence the investigation into links between his associates and Russia.

We look at what qualifies as obstruction of justice, and whether the accusations against Mr. Trump fit that definition.

• A secret’s source.

Israel provided the classified intelligence that President Trump discussed in a meeting last week with Russian officials, a current and a former American official told us.

Mr. Trump’s disclosure — which he said was his “absolute right” — could complicate diplomatic efforts and overshadow his first trip abroad as president, which begins this week.

• Inside the White House.

It’s grim.

Reporters have heard senior advisers shouting from behind closed doors, and the president has described most of his aides as “incompetent,” one said.

• A blow to the N.S.A.

Last weekend’s ransomware attack, in which malicious software based on the National Security Agency’s techniques spread across the world, is only the latest in a series of trials for the agency.

• Manning set for release.

Chelsea Manning is expected to walk out of a military prison today, 28 years early.

The former U.S. Army soldier was sentenced to an unprecedented 35-year term for leaking government secrets, but former President Barack Obama commuted the bulk of her sentence.

• Want to get away?

In our Travel section, 10 writers discuss their favorite places in Europe that are on the water.

• “The Daily,” your audio news report.

Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.

Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device.


• Developing nations and environmental groups condemned the presence of corporate lobbyists at climate change talks in Germany. But some countries, including the U.S., defended it.

• Big personalities will fill ESPN’s revamped lineup as the sports network tries to adapt to the challenges of the digital age.

But it will feature fewer highlights shows, one of its foundations for many years.

• Twenty years after Amazon went public, its founder, Jeff Bezos, has a legitimate claim to having changed the way we live, our business columnist writes.

• U.S. stocks were mixed on Tuesday. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Smarter Living

Good sleepcan be pursued with gadgets, apps, gizmos and classes.

• Need something to break the tedium on a treadmill? Watch these shows.

• Recipe of the day: Make fettuccine with asparagus one of your half-hour favorites.


• Public housing residents ask: What now?

In today’s 360 video, visit Cairo, Ill., which has a population of less than 3,000. A plan to demolish two public housing developments would force many residents to leave and would cut school enrollment in half.

• What animals taught me about being human.

To kick off The Times Magazine’s health issue this week, Helen Macdonald, of “H Is for Hawk” fame, writes about finding refuge among wild creatures, and the lessons she has learned from them.

• Celebrating “modern Mexican.”

Rice and beans are yielding to ingredients like octopus and agave as Mexican cooking hits the world stage of fine cuisine.

• The rich get richer.

Already one of the N.B.A.’s best teams, the Boston Celtics won the right to pick first in the league’s draft next month.

Best of late-night TV.

Seth Meyers saw some good news coming from the West Wing: “At least Sean Spicer was hiding in an office, and not the bushes.”

Back Story

There’s an F.B.I. investigation currently in the headlines, but it was on this day in 1965 that a different one ended: a two-year inquiry into “Louie, Louie.”

The song was originally recorded in 1956, but it was the muddled lyrics of the 1963 version by The Kingsmen that many listeners thought might be obscene.

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen (HQ)
Video by Andy Glass

“Parents were concerned, and they figured, ‘My gosh, this sounds like a dirty song, I don’t understand it — maybe we should have an investigation,’ ” said Eric Predoehl, who is making a documentary about the song’s history.

One parent’s letter to the serving attorney general, Robert Kennedy, prompted the investigation.

“This land of ours is headed for an extreme state of moral degradation,” the parent wrote.

The lyrics may have been indecipherable because, when the band recorded the single in a studio in Portland, Ore., there was only one microphone, hanging several feet above Jack Ely, the lead singer. To be heard, he reportedly shouted lines like (maybe) “Me gotta go” and “All the way.”

The F.B.I. spent two years analyzing the lyrics, and although its report includes possible interpretations that involve obscene references to sex, no one could definitively figure out what Mr. Ely was saying.

Evan Gershkovich contributed reporting.


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