FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
May 19, 2017
Eric Thayer/Getty Images

The ongoing probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign has reportedly identified a current White House official as "a significant person of interest," The Washington Post reports. The individual was described by people familiar with the matter as being "someone close to the president," although the sources declined to name names.

So far, President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, have been the public centers of the investigation. Neither is a part of the current administration. "Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson," the Post writes.

Kushner, for one, was a "prominent voice advocating Comey's firing," CBS writes. On Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump told Russian officials he had fired Comey in order to ease the pressure of the ongoing probe.

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with [Sergey] Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in late November. Kushner also has acknowledged that he met with the head of a Russian development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. The president's son-in-law initially omitted contacts with foreign leaders from a national security questionnaire, though his lawyer has said publicly he submitted the form prematurely and informed the FBI soon after he would provide an update.

Vnesheconombank handles development for the state, and in early 2015, a man purporting to be one of its New York-based employees was arrested and accused of being an unregistered spy. [The Washington Post]

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the Post that "as the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity."

The Washington Post adds that "people familiar with the matter said investigators on the case are more focused on Russian influence operations and possible financial crimes" and that "the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House, the FBI, and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take." Read the full scoop at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

2:36 p.m. ET
Courtesy image

Rompers for men are "nowhere near new," but they may never have a moment like they did earlier this year. Decades after James Bond rocked a similar one-piece on screen, a garment called the RompHim divided the nation when it made its first social-media appearance in May, and by the time its creators started shipping to customers, "a slew" of knockoffs were trawling for startup funding on Kickstarter, most of them failing to repeat the RompHim's success. But one company, Getonfleek, went wild with the concept, churning out scores of outré variations. The top seller? This tribute to Kim Jong Un ($100). The Week Staff

2:11 p.m. ET

Hours after he issued his resignation Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that it's "been an honor and a privilege to serve" under President Trump. Spicer said that he will step down from his role in August:

Spicer's resignation was announced shortly after it was confirmed that Trump had offered Anthony Scaramucci the role of communications director. The New York Times reported that Spicer "vehemently disagreed" with the appointment of the Wall Street financier. Trump reportedly asked Spicer to stay on, but Spicer declined.

The Associated Press reported that Spicer said after his resignation that he thinks the White House "could benefit from a clean slate." Becca Stanek

1:39 p.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump's newly hired communications director, is on the books as having donated a nice chunk of change to former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden in 2008. FEC donor records indicate the Wall Street financier gave $2,300 to Obama for America on May 31, 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times' Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet reported.

Now, Trump himself has also donated to Democrats, including to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, as well as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But on top of Scaramucci's donation, the new communications director has also made some less-than-complimentary comments about his new boss. In an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business, Scaramucci called Trump a "hack politician" and "an inherited money dude from Queens County."

The president's staff wasn't exactly on board with his decision to hire Scaramucci either: Scaramucci's hiring was apparently the impetus for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's resignation Friday. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon also reportedly weren't thrilled. Becca Stanek

1:09 p.m. ET

On Friday, just after President Trump offered Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci the position of White House communications director, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in protest. Spicer apparently ardently disagreed with Scaramucci's hiring and believed he could not do the job, NBC News' Katy Tur reports.

But perhaps it is more surprising Scaramucci wanted the job in the first place, given the way he talked about then-candidate Trump in an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business. "He's a hack politician," Scaramucci declared. "I'll tell you who he's gonna be president of, you can tell Donald I said this: the Queens County Bullies Association."

Scaramucci further hammered Trump on his outer borough roots. "You're an inherited money dude from Queens County," Scaramucci said, seizing on the president's notorious insecurity about fitting in with the Manhattan elite when he was a real estate mogul. Scaramucci also knocked Trump for "the way he talks about women" and for his "big mouth."

Now, Scaramucci will be in charge of massaging the messaging that comes from that "big mouth." Watch his appearance below. Kimberly Alters

1:07 p.m. ET

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will be remembered for many things: the Melissa McCarthy performances he inspired on Saturday Night Live; that time he hid among the bushes; and the press briefing in which he brought up Adolf Hitler. However, he likely won't be remembered for his mastery of the English language.

When he wasn't advising the press that President Trump's indiscernible tweets "speak for themselves," Spicer spent a lot of time tripping over words. So much time, in fact, that GQ was able to compile a minute-long alphabetical list of all the words Spicer invented, from "althewise" and "fress office" to "lasterday" and "vroter fraud."

Catch the complete compilation below. Becca Stanek

12:45 p.m. ET

If it's any consolation to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, his 182-day stint at the lectern may have been short, but it wasn't the shortest ever. Of the 31 press secretaries dating back to former President Herbert Hoover, five press secretaries have had even shorter tenures than Spicer, The Washington Post reported:

Roger Tubby (33 days) and Jake Siewert (111 days) were post-election fill-ins under lame-duck presidents — Harry Truman and Bill Clinton, respectively.

Jonathan Daniels (19 days) had just taken over for the iron man of press secretaries, Stephen T. Early (4,403 days), when Franklin Roosevelt died in office. Harry Truman briefly brought back Early on an interim basis before naming his own press secretary, Charles Ross.

Jerald terHorst (30 days) was Gerald Ford's pick after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. When Ford pardoned Nixon for all Watergate-related crimes, terHorst quit in protest.

James Brady (69 days) was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. He survived but never returned to the post. [The Washington Post]

Spicer resigned Friday after informing President Trump that he "vehemently disagreed with the appointment" of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, The New York Times reported. Becca Stanek

12:29 p.m. ET
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, Hawaii will introduce its emergency plan informing residents and visitors what to do if North Korea strikes. The plan will require students to practice "evacuation drills similar to 'active shooter' situations" and there will be emergency siren testing on the first workday of every month, Time reported. If the incident should ever arise, announcements will be broadcast urging everyone to "get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned."

The plan is being released just weeks after North Korea tested a missile that U.S. authorities confirmed "could travel up to 4,000 miles, just outside of Hawaii's reach and fully within range of Alaska." "We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public," Vern T. Miyagi, Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency administrator, said in a statement. "But there is clear evidence that [North Korea] is trying to develop ballistic missiles that could conceivably one day reach our state."

Meanwhile, Alaskans remain surprisingly unconcerned. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads