Justice Department, Texas, Venezuela: Your Monday Briefing
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Here’s what you need to know:
Investigate the investigators, Trump says
• President Trump has intensified his frequent threats to intervene in the special counsel inquiry, demanding that the Justice Department look into whether the department or the F.B.I. had “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign.
The president has said that an F.B.I. informant who was sent to talk to his campaign aides was actually a spy dispatched for political purposes. In fact, the F.B.I. sent the informant only after receiving evidence that the advisers had suspicious contacts linked to Russia.
Legal experts said Mr. Trump’s call for an investigation had little precedent and could force a clash with the Justice Department reminiscent of the one involving Richard Nixon during Watergate.
• Also on Sunday, Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said the special counsel, Robert Mueller, hoped to finish by Sept. 1 the investigation into whether the president obstructed the Russia inquiry. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.
Giving peace a chance
• “We’re putting the trade war on hold.”
That was Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday, announcing that the Trump administration had suspended plans to impose sweeping tariffs on China as trade talks continue.
Analysts warned that the decision could thrust the U.S. back into the kind of long negotiations that have bogged down previous administrations.
• Separately, President Trump is grappling with the risks of his planned summit meeting next month with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, after Pyongyang declared last week that it would not readily give up its nuclear arsenal. Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in Washington on Tuesday.
In gun debate, Texas is not Florida
• After the mass shooting in February at a high school in Parkland, Fla., students helped ignite the biggest push for action on gun control in that state in decades.
A repeat is less likely in Texas, where the survivors of the rampage on Friday at a high school near Houston are showing little anti-gun fervor. The differences in the reactions illustrate the difficulty of finding a consensus on gun issues in the U.S.
Inside New York’s housing crisis
• Even as Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to add affordable housing, the system that protects New York City’s roughly one million rent-regulated apartments is profoundly broken, a Times investigation has found.
It’s an age-old story in the city, but over the last 25 years, regulators haven’t been able to keep up with the progressive weakening of rent laws, free market forces, and the evolution of the rental real estate business.
• If you’re a tenant in New York, here’s a quick guide to your rights and how to exercise them.
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Starbucks announced that people can sit or use the restroom at its stores without making a purchase. The move came weeks after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.
• Justify, the Kentucky Derby winner, won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. The horse has a chance for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.
• The Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first expansion team in the four major U.S. professional sports leagues since the 1960s to reach the championship round in its inaugural season. Here’s the latest playoff news from the N.H.L. and the N.B.A.
• “Shoplifters,” about a family of thieves and throwaways living on the margins in Japan, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The event’s closing ceremony was shaken up by the director Asia Argento saying she was raped by Harvey Weinstein at Cannes in 1997.
• Superhero versus superheroes: “Deadpool 2” earned $125 million to unseat “Avengers: Infinity War” at the top of the North American box office.
• A trinity of opinions on “Heavenly Bodies”
An art critic, a fashion writer and a Roman Catholic columnist walked into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What followed was a lively debate about clothing and faith.
• The New York survival kit
Life in the city can be hectic: stalled trains, heavy rain or a run-in with an old flame.
Our readers recommended 10 items every New Yorker should consider carrying at all times.
• Quotation of the day
“I was just tired of excuses, and tired of waiting for somebody else to fix it. I don’t trust politicians to deliver on promises.”
— Katie Fahey, the 28-year-old founder of a 10,000-volunteer organization dedicated to ending gerrymandering in Michigan.
• The Times, in other words
• What we’re reading
Steve Lohr, a technology and economics reporter at The Times, recommends this piece from The Ringer: “A smart, thorough oral history of the Microsoft antitrust case two decades ago. Victor Luckerson captures the context and why it resonates today.”
Today, we take a look inside Temperate House, the largest Victorian greenhouse in the world, which recently reopened at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, southwest London. It just had a multiyear renovation that cost 41 million pounds (about $55 million).
The greenhouse was designed by Decimus Burton and opened in 1863. It houses roughly 10,000 plants, including some of the rarest and most threatened, from temperate regions of Africa, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.
For example: Taxus wallichiana, a plant native to the Himalayan region and other parts of Asia, that is used to make the chemotherapy drug Taxol. Researchers hope that cloning the tree will help conserve it.
The renovation used modern technology to improve environmental control, optimizing air and light for the plants.
A reviewer for The Guardian noted how painstaking the work was: Tens of thousands of items were removed and repaired, and 15,000 panes of glass were replaced.