Politics

President Donald Trump's first day in Saudi Arabia began with a lavish reception and ended with an ostentatious ceremony, but not before Trump and the Saudi king signed several agreements spanning diplomatic, governmental and commercial ventures, including an arms deal worth $110 billion.

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President Trump's choice to represent the United States at the Vatican, Callista Gingrich, has one especially prominent achievement as a Catholic: She is responsible for her husband, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, converting to Roman Catholicism in 2009.

"When Newt became a Catholic, it was one of the happiest moments of my life," she said in a 2012 interview with The New Yorker.

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The History And Reach Of Special Counsels

21 hours ago

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The latest must-see TV are apparently White House press briefings. People are tuning in in record numbers. NPR's Vanessa Romo checked in with some young viewers and asked them, why are you watching?

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As President Trump begins his first overseas trip, Americans have widely differing views of his approach to foreign policy. But a majority of both Republicans and Democrats want the U.S. to continue its robust engagement with the rest of the world.

Updated at 10:21 a.m. ET

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has won re-election by a large margin.

According to Iran's Interior Ministry as reported by Press TV, Rouhani won about 57% of the vote with more than 23.5 million votes against his main challenger Ebrahim Raisi's 15.7 million. Rouhani appeared to have benefited from a large turnout that forced polls to stay open until midnight, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports. More than 40 million out of 56 million eligible voters cast their ballots.

In the mayor's office on the second floor of Baltimore City Hall, Catalina Rodriguez-Lima has been uneasy lately. Rodriguez-Lima runs a city office whose mission is to attract new immigrants to Baltimore — a strategy for reversing decades of population decline. But President Donald Trump's plans to ramp up deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally have cast a pall over her efforts.

President Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday carrying baggage — namely, a swirl of controversy stemming from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the ongoing Russia investigations. But his hosts in Riyadh aren't likely to be bothered by it all.

Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open session.

"The Committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media," Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement released Friday evening.

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Russian Americans have been among President Donald Trump's most loyal supporters. After a week of scandals, many say they're unfazed by the recent scandals roiling Washington.

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Happy to say that it is finally Friday. Can we say that again?

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It is finally Friday.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, America - White House in crisis...

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Now we're going to try to take stock of this jaw-dropping, eye-popping superlative-defying week in politics. Here in the studio with us are our Friday regulars, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and The Brookings Institution. How you doing?

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President Trump told Russian officials last week that he had fired the "nut job" FBI Director James Comey to ease the pressure of the mounting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, according to a report from The New York Times.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told members of Congress that he knew President Trump planned to fire FBI Director James Comey before he wrote a memo that the White House has cited to justify the termination.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet approved legislation Friday allowing Japan's emperor to abdicate the throne. If the bill passes parliament and if Emperor Akihito steps down, the event will mark Japan's first abdication in 200 years.

Friday News Roundup - International

May 19, 2017

Turkey’s president comes to Washington, but it’s his bodyguards who leave a mark. Vladimir Putin says he can prove President Trump did not give secrets to Russia. And it’s a pilgrimage of sorts as Donald Trump prepares to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

GUESTS

Edward Luce, Chief U.S. columnist and commentator, Financial Times; his latest book is “The Retreat of Western Liberalism”

Elise Labott, Global affairs correspondent, CNN

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

May 19, 2017

It’s been another leaky week as concerns mount over secrets shared and confidences broken.

On this week’s Roundup of top national news stories, find out who’s been saying what and who’s been saying too much.

GUESTS

Byron York, Chief political correspondent, The Washington Examiner

Julia Ioffe, Staff writer, The Atlantic

Naftali Bendavid, Editor and reporter, The Wall Street Journal

On Wednesday afternoon, the Justice Department selected Robert Mueller III as special counsel to investigate any links or coordination the Trump campaign had with Russia as part of that country's effort to interfere in last year's presidential election.

"Special Counsel Mueller has agreed to resign from his private law firm in order to avoid any conflicts of interest with firm clients or attorneys," a Justice Department statement noted.

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President Trump will try to leave his troubles behind as he departs on the first foreign trip of his presidency. It's an ambitious itinerary with stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican and two meetings with European leaders.

Here are five objectives to watch for as Trump goes overseas.

1. Will the cloud of controversy follow?

There has been one "bad news" headline after another involving the Trump administration breaking every day this week. But if the president is looking for a reprieve, recent history indicates he might be disappointed.

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