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President Trump?s approval rating continues to decline, though voters haven?t given the orb enough time to fully integrate into the president?s neural pathways and firmly settle into its new host body ? believe us, you?ll absolutely love the guy then. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with a notorious internet troll ? and in addition to meeting the president, he also met with Chuck Johnson (hey oooh!). And Fox News retracted its Seth Rich story, upgrading its journalistic reputation from ?existential threat to civil society? to a mere ?cancer on the First Amendment.? Well done, gang. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017:

MORE DAMNING TESTIMONY AGAINST TRUMP CAMPAIGN - Maybe Trump will clarify this matter by blurting something out during a photo op with the Pope. That is the new fourth estate. The president blurting out things. Greg Miller: ?The CIA alerted the FBI to a troubling pattern of contacts between Russian officials and associates of the Trump campaign last year, former agency director John Brennan testified on Tuesday, shedding new light on the origin of a criminal probe that now reaches into the White House. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan said he became increasingly concerned that Trump associates were being manipulated by Russian intelligence services as part of a broader covert influence campaign that sought to disrupt the election and deliver the presidency to Trump. ?I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons,? Brennan said, adding that he did not see proof of collusion before he left office on January 20, but ?felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues.?? [WaPo]

TRUMP BUDGET AS TERRIBLE AS PROMISED – Remember: the president?s budget is simply a wish list of how he?d like to kill your grandmother. That?s all. Don?t get too worked up.  Arthur Delaney: ?President Donald Trump wants Congress to cut food stamps and other anti-poverty programs in order to pay for more military spending and a border wall, according to a budget proposal the White House will formally unveil on Tuesday. Trump?s budget for fiscal 2018, a summary of which the administration released late Monday, would plow the savings from welfare cuts into higher military spending and deficit reduction?. The budget cuts Social Security Disability Insurance by about 4 percent. Mulvaney argued that doing so doesn?t violate Trump?s Social Security campaign pledge because most people only think of retirement insurance when they think of Social Security. The proposal doesn?t touch retirement insurance, but Social Security advocates say Trump nevertheless broke his promise.? [HuffPost]

Congress reacted Trump?s budget like it was printed on a filthy, stinky diaper. ?President Donald Trump?s first budget didn?t exactly get rave reviews, even from Republicans, as word of its cuts spread on Capitol Hill Tuesday.? [HuffPost?s Michael McAuliff and Laura Barrón-López]

@W7VOA: ?Donald Trump united the entire Muslim world in a way that it really hasn?t been in many years,? said sr. admin. official on Air Force One.

WON?T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE RICH PEOPLE! The director of the White House Office of Management and Budget published Ayn Rand fanfic in the form of an op-ed today. Mick Mulvaney: ?For years, we?ve focused on how we can help Americans receive taxpayer-funded assistance. Under President Trump?s leadership, we?re now looking at how we can respect both those who require assistance and the taxpayers who fund that support. For the first time in a long time, we?re putting taxpayers first. Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft. This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.? [Miami Herald]

FOX PULLS SETH RICH STORY – Despite the fact that the network retracted the story, Sean Hannity remains tragically, er… tracted. Travis Waldron: ?A week after publishing a thinly sourced, conspiracy-peddling article that linked slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich to Wikileaks, Fox News has issued a retraction and removed the story from its website. The network?s statement, however, did not mention Fox?s television programming, where prominent commentator Sean Hannity has repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory since the story published. Hannity was still peddling the theory on Twitter just before the retraction was published, urging his followers to read a post from hacker Kim Dotcom that claimed Rich had definitive links to WikiLeaks. Earlier this week, CNN reported that Hannity had invited Kim Dotcom on his show?. Hannity isn?t the only Fox television commentator to spread the Rich conspiracy theory since the story published online. The ?Fox and Friends? morning show has pushed the story as well, and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich also raised it during an appearance on the network over the weekend.? [HuffPost]

FIIIIIIIINE, PRESIDENT AGREES TO MEET POPE – Erik Wasson, Steven T. Dennis and John McCormick: ?No two world leaders would seem to have less in common. They?ll meet face to face at the Vatican for the first time on Wednesday, at Trump?s request?. Trump, a Presbyterian, was in no hurry to meet the leader of the world?s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, according to a senior Vatican official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. The White House reached out to the Vatican only at the end of April, the official said, noting that leaders usually schedule meetings with the pope two months or more in advance?. The two leaders are expected to discuss issues including global poverty, immigration and climate change on which there will be ?legitimate differences,? the Vatican official said.? [Bloomberg]

Haircut: James Comey (h/t Christopher J. Hale), Nick Baumann (h/t Nick Baumann).

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FEC MEMBER CALLS FOR GREATER TRUMP INVESTIGATION – Kenneth P. Vogel: ?A member of the Federal Election Commission is calling on the agency to investigate whether Russian agents paid for Facebook ads to spread damaging stories about Hillary Clinton ahead of last fall?s presidential election. ?I think there is potential there for finding a violation, but I don?t want to suggest that I have prejudged anything that could potentially come before me,? said FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic appointee to the commission. Her assertion comes as agency staff is already moving to investigate a related complaint filed in December by a pair of watchdog groups against President Donald Trump?s campaign and the Russian government, according to two sources familiar with the agency?s handling of the complaint. They said that, if the investigation proceeds apace, agency staff could be expected to incorporate the recent revelations about Facebook ads into their fact-finding.? [Politico]

TRUMP UNPOPULAR – Ariel Edwards-Levy and Grace Sparks: ?President Donald Trump?s average approval rating just reached a new low, according to HuffPost Pollster?s aggregation of publicly available surveys. Trump?s ratings took a noticeable dip in March after Republicans failed to pass a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act. They stabilized in the low 40s for much of April. In the past month, however, his ratings have taken a more significant downturn. His average approval rating stands at just below 40 percent as of Tuesday afternoon, with his disapproval rating at nearly 56 percent?. Individual pollsters who?ve tracked Trump?s ratings this month have measured strikingly similar downward shifts. Of the six pollsters who?ve released multiple surveys taken in May, five found Trump?s net approval rating ? the difference between his ?approve? and ?disapprove? numbers ? falling by between 7 and 9 points, as of Monday evening. The sixth, the Ipsos/Reuters tracking poll, shows him down by 11.? [HuffPost]

Impeachment is so yesterday. The 25th Amendment so fresh.

ZINKE MET WITH CONSPIRACY TROLL – If only that were the name of some kind of endangered mole-rat the department were trying to protect. Alas. Chris D?Angelo: ?Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke held a video call in April with an infamous right-wing internet troll and a virtual reality entrepreneur to discuss the Trump administration?s plans to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Zinke?s half-hour call with Charles ?Chuck? Johnson, the CEO and founder of Gotnews.com, and Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, occurred just after lunch on April 12, according to a recently published log of Zinke?s scheduled meetings last month. The call?s listed topic of discussion: ?Border Wall building plans.? ? A conservative journalist with serious credibility issues, Johnson is perhaps best known for being banned from Twitter in 2015 after asking for donations to help him ?take out? civil rights activist DeRay McKesson.? [HuffPost]

Oh: The wife of President Trump?s top anti-terror adviser, Sebastian Gorka, has been hired as a temporary adviser to the Department of Homeland Security?s chief of staff, according to documents obtained by a watchdog group. Katherine Gorka will serve as a temporary adviser for 120 days, with the possibility of an extension, according to the American Oversight group?. Gorka?s husband has taken heat…over Gorka?s alleged ties to Hungarian far-right organizations with ties to the Nazis.? [The Hill?s John Bowden]

CONGRATULATIONS TO MODERATE REPUBLICANISM - What?s it like being dead? Lindsey McPherson: ?New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur has stepped down as co-chair of the moderate Republican Tuesday Group. ?I?ve been thinking about it since the day we voted on health care,? MacArthur told reporters Tuesday, describing divisions in the group. ?There are people that have bristled with me engaging with the Freedom Caucus,? he said. ?I?m going to do that again. That?s who I am. I?m going to work with everyone.? Still, MacArthur said he did not feel pressure to resign as the backlash against him over the health care negotiations ?had settled down somewhat.? Rather, he said he is stepping down because he thinks it?s the right thing to do.? [Roll Call]

ICYMI: INTERIOR CENSORING CLIMATE FINDINGS – Really outstanding stuff over at Interior these days. Dino Grandoni: ?On Thursday, a group of scientists, including three working for the U.S. Geological Survey, published a paper that highlighted the link between sea-level rise and global climate change, arguing that previously studies may have underestimated the risk flooding poses to coastal communities. However, three of the study?s authors say the Department of Interior, under which USGS is housed, deleted a line from the news release on the study that discussed the role climate change played in raising Earth?s oceans.? [WaPo]

SHERIFF CLARKE MAY NOT GET ADMINISTRATION JOB AMID PLAGIARISM REPORT –  Well, Melania Trump did plagiarize that Michelle Obama speech and she was still named first lady, so…how about that for a take? Nathan McDermott and Andrew Kaczynski: ?Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke said this week that a CNN KFile report on plagiarism in his master?s thesis could impact the Trump administration?s decision to hire him for a role at the Department of Homeland Security. A CNN KFile review of Clarke?s 2013 master?s thesis found 47 examples in which Clarke used passages from sources and credited them with a footnote, without using quotation marks indicating that he took the language verbatim. In several instances, Clarke copied entire sentences while changing or replacing only one or two words. Clarke has said that he had accepted an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, but a DHS spokesperson said last week that no announcement of his appointment had been made.? [CNN]

BECAUSE YOU?VE READ THIS FAR - Here?s a very bad dog.

AL FRANKEN REALLY, REALLY HATES TED CRUZ – Reminder that this guy also described the Texas senator as ?the love child of Joe McCarthy and Dracula.? Eliot Nelson: ?Franken?has been cracking wise about about one of his least favorite colleagues, Ted Cruz (R-Texas), while promoting his sarcastically titled new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate. ?You have to understand that I like Ted Cruz probably more than my colleagues like Ted Cruz,? Franken told USA Today?s Susan Page, repeating a line from his book, ?and I hate Ted Cruz.? ?He?s a special guy,? the senator added.? [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- The people from those ?regular people? Chevy ads speak out: ?When that wall opened, it was the loudest, most awkward and slow-moving thing I?ve ever experienced in my life.?  

- Vimeo channel features videos of national putt-putt championships dating back decades.

- The Killers? ?Mr. Brightside? hasn?t left the U.K. charts since 2004.

TWITTERAMA

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffpost.com)

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Philippines President Duterte declares martial law on Mindanao island

President Duterte declares the measure on Mindanao island after a deadly clash with militants there.

Chinese Student’s Commencement Speech In U.S. Isn’t Going Over Well In China

Shuping Yang praised the “fresh air of free speech” in the U.S. during her commencement address at the University of Maryland. That sparked a backlash from classmates and from people in China.

Trump Reflects On ‘Amazing’ Visit To A Holocaust Museum He Barely Visited

President Donald Trump breezed through a visit to Israel?s national Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem on Tuesday, summing up the half-hour experience in the museum?s guest book as ?SO AMAZING.?

Although initial reports in Israeli and Jewish media suggested the president planned to spend just 15 minutes at the center, Trump?s team ended up setting aside 30 minutes for the visit, the AP reports. 

Before he left, Trump briefly signed the memorial?s guest book. True to form, Trump?s note was blunt and appeared a bit rushed.

 Times of Israel correspondent Raoul Wootliff tweeted out an image of the note. 

?It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends – So amazing and will NEVER FORGET!? the president wrote.

In response to the strangely curt note, an image of the message former President Barack Obama left in the guestbook started circulating on social media on Tuesday. Obama?s note, written while he was still a senator in 2008, demonstrated the striking differences in personality between Trump and his predecessor.

?Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ?never again,?? Obama wrote. ?And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.?

Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem, told ABC that he didn?t think Trump?s guestbook message was insensitive, especially because of the strong statements the president made during a speech at the center that remembered the victims as human beings and reminded people of the importance of speaking up in the face of evil.

Shalev told ABC that the remarks were ?very meaningful? and that the president ?touched all the essential elements that should be touched.?

Most foreign dignitaries who visit Israel make it a point to stop at Yad Vashem. Visits to the center, which preserves the memories of the six million Jewish people who were systematically murdered by Nazis during World War II, usually take about and hour and a half.

Obama spent about an hour touring the museum during another trip in 2013, visiting a children?s memorial, the Hall of Names, and the center?s Museum of Holocaust Art before spending several minutes writing in the museum?s guest book. President George Bush spent a longer amount of time at the museum during a visit in 2008. 

Trump didn?t tour the museum during his brief visit on Tuesday, citing his busy schedule during his first foreign trip as president. He did, however, attend a prayer ceremony inside Yad Vashem?s Hall of Remembrance, along with his wife, Melania Trump, and his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.

The president lit the memorial?s eternal flame and laid a wreath, and spoke out against the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, calling it ?the most savage crime against God and his children.?

?Millions of innocent and wonderful and beautiful lives, women and children, were extinguished as part of a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people,? he said during a speech at Yad Vashem.

He also expressed firm support for Israel.

?The State of Israel is a strong and soaring monument to the solemn pledge we repeat and affirm: Never again,? he said. 

Before he left Yad Vashem, Trump was given a replica of a diary that belonged to Ester Goldstein, a German-Jewish teen who murdered during the Holocaust.

Trump has been criticized in the past over how his administration addressed the Holocaust.  In January, his team released a statement about Holocaust Remembrance Day that neglected to mention Jewish victims. And earlier this year, his press secretary Sean Spicer made the strange claim that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons, when in fact, the Nazis gassed millions of Jews in concentration camps.

Trump has tried to make amends since those incidents, forcefully speaking out against anti-Semitism during an annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony in late April.

Steven Goldstein, Executive Director, Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, told HuffPost in an email that the president?s 30 minutes at the center was ?better? than the originally reported 15 minutes. ?

?But it was nowhere close to the 90 minutes or more recommended length of a visit to Yad Vashem that would have allowed for a significant learning and reflection experience – the kind of deeper experience that would have countered the President?s odd signing of the guest book as ?SO AMAZING.? (Caps his.)?

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Talking to children about attack

What is the best approach for parents when the news is frightening?

Manchester attack: Take That cancel concert ‘out of respect’

The group cancel their show in Liverpool “out of respect” for those affected by the Manchester attack.

Even Harley-Davidson Can’t Resist the Tug of Overseas Factories

Lauded by President Trump as a symbol of American manufacturing, the company hopes a new plant in Thailand will help it clear trade barriers to woo Southeast Asian buyers.

Crews fill sinkhole in front of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

Crews filled a sinkhole that opened in front of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort Monday in Palm Beach, Fla.

A Trump Tweet For Every Occasion

WASHINGTON ? There is a game that critics of Donald Trump like to play on Twitter.

After each successive revelation or major development concerning his administration, people resurface his old tweets as a commentary on the pile of contradictions that is the Trump presidency. The veritable gold mine of information found on Trump?s Twitter page is a gift that truly keeps on giving ? offering detractors ample opportunity to note his hypocrisy at home and abroad.

?Trump is like Hallmark cards. There?s an old tweet to celebrate every occasion,? GOP strategist and CNN commentator Ana Navarro tweeted over the weekend, after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged to donate $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs that was proposed by Ivanka Trump.

When former national security adviser Michael Flynn announced Monday he would invoke his the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination amid the investigation into Russian interference in last year?s presidential election, critics highlighted statements Trump and his aides made about the investigation into Hillary Clinton?s emails, the IRS scandal of 2013, and Bill Cosby.

Trump in 2012 called on former President Barack Obama to appoint an ?independent counsel? to investigate leaks emanating from his administration. Last week, however, the president denounced the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russia?s alleged meddling in the election, calling it a ?witch hunt.?

In 2014, Trump remarked that Obama appeared ?exhausted,? and later boasted about his own stamina as ?one of my greatest assets.?

But Trump?s stamina didn?t fare too well during his first trip abroad over the weekend. A White House official said the president was ?exhausted? on Sunday when he dropped out of an event at the last minute in Saudi Arabia, the first stop of his trip to the Middle East and Europe. 

Trump regularly criticized the Obama administration for failing to stand up to Saudi Arabia, taking issue with the ?absolute fortune? the U.S. has spent to protect the Middle Eastern country.

Prior to the president?s arrival there, however, Trump?s administration announced it had sealed a $110 billion arms deal ? the largest in American history ? between the U.S. and Saudi King Salman?s government. Jared Kushner, Trump?s son-in-law, reportedly intervened to negotiate a lower price on a missile system for Saudi Arabia by personally phoning the CEO of Lockheed Martin.

In 2015, before he announced he was running for president, Trump criticized then-first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf over her hair during a trip to Saudi Arabia. 

But when Trump and his family visited the Islamic nation this weekend, first lady Melania Trump did the same thing.

Trump regularly fumed at Obama and Clinton on Twitter for refusing to use the phrase ?radical Islamic terrorism,? accusing them of being overly politically correct.

Yet in a major speech in Riyadh over the weekend, Trump softened his rhetoric on Islam and offered praise for a religion he once said hated America. ?We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,? he said.

After Trump ordered a missile strike against Syria in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons last month, Twitter users tweaked the president for not seeking congressional authorization for the military action ? as he once called for during Obama?s administration:

Like his predecessor, Trump hasn?t had much luck halting North Korea?s missile launches. In fact, its leader Kim Jong Un on Monday ordered mass production of a medium-range ballistic missile. Yet, in 2012, Trump tweeted:

Trump also attacked Obama over the issue of transparency, criticizing the former president for refusing to release records.

Trump?s administration, however, refuses to make records of visitors to the White House available to the public. Moreover, the president has yet to release his tax returns ? a tradition followed by every presidential nominee in the last 40 years.

Perhaps the most egregious case of hypocrisy surrounding Trump centers on the game of golf. Trump constantly criticized Obama for spending his weekends playing golf, but so far during his presidency, he has spent far more time on the golf course.

The pace of earth-shattering revelations over the Russia investigations and the firing of former FBI director James Comey, in particular, prompted some Twitter users last week to resurface old Trump tweets in which he expressed concern over the direction the nation was headed.

One tweet even floated impeachment ? a subject the president?s lawyers are now researching in the unlikely event of attempts to remove him from office.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Big Game Hunter Killed by Elephant in Zimbabwe

Theunis Botha, 51, of South Africa, led hunting trips for wealthy tourists. An elephant fell on him after it was shot by another hunter.

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