Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

The Justice Department is appointing a special prosecutor – former FBI Director Robert Mueller – to investigate Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election, including any possible involvement of President Donald Trump’s campaign in that effort.

If Trump truly asked James Comey to end the investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn, then the U.S. has reached a rare tipping point, according to David Gergen, who advised two presidents who faced impeachment: Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

“The president must be impeached,” Rep. Al Green, a Texas Democrat, said while addressing Congress today. “The House of Representatives has a duty that it can take up and that is of impeachment.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee requested any memos or recordings from Trump’s meetings with Comey, and also invited Comey himself to testify.

Trump struck a defensive tone while delivering the commencement address to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 2017, saying: “Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

The president’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller and Reince Priebus, were absent on television this morning — including Fox News — and are even ignoring Breitbart.

Former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was AL Gore’s VP running mate in the infamous 2000 election, is officially in the running to be the next FBI director, the White House revealed.

Trump has decided not to immediately move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a senior White House official said, violating a campaign promise but avoiding a provocation that could drive Palestinians away from peace talk.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is talking with Amtrak about re-routing some of its trains to Grand Central Terminal from Penn Station amid major repairs there this summer, officials said.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has a 60-34 percent job approval rating, his highest score ever, according to a new Q poll.

The de Blasio administration is scrambling to enlist influential elected officials – like Brooklyn BP Eric Adams – to marshal support for the mayor’s plan to open 90 homeless shelters across New York City.

The Empire Center’s Ken Girardin: “School budgets were approved at a record-high rate of 99.3 percent, adding to evidence that districts can live within a property tax cap set at either 2 percent or the prior year’s average rate of inflation, whichever is less.”

Every budget on Long Island was approved for the first time since 1996, when budget votes began being held on the same day.

Attorneys general from six states and Washington D.C., led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are set to release a report that contends cities can limit their involvement with immigration enforcement efforts without flouting federal law.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner vetoed legislative efforts to change her budget, just her third budget veto since taking office more than seven years ago.

A group of activists protested outside SED today, calling for the June 22 hearing on Buffalo School Board Carl Paladino’s fate to be held in the Queen City, not Albany.

Sue Sullivan, a strategic planning consultant from Ulster County, has officially filed paperwork to run in next year’s 19th district race, making her the fifth Democrat to officially file to challenge Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook.

“The Five” co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle won’t be taking White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s job as Fox News said she’s still under a long term contract.

Robert “Bob” Carter, the father of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter and a onetime WNY bar owner, died today in Florida. He was 65.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City. The state Legislature is in session in Albany.

President Donald Trump heads to Groton, CT this morning, where he will give remarks at the United States Coast Guard Academy Commencement Ceremony. He’ll return to D.C. in the afternoon.

At 8 a.m., state Sen. Phil Boyle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele co-host a breakfast briefing and policy update on offshore wind, Empire State Plaza Concourse, Albany Room, Albany.

Also at 8 a.m., state Sen. George Amedore addresses the National Federation of Independent Business of New York and other pro-business organizations at Small Business Day, The Empire State Plaza, state Capitol, Meeting Room 2, Albany.

At 9 a.m., the NYC Council’s Progressive Caucus advocates for bike safety and and infrastructure, and discusses transportation priorities in a new policy platform, “Resistance & Progress: 18 Progressive Policies for 2018,” with a press conference and rally co-hosted with Transportation Alternatives, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., criminal justice reform advocates and public defenders for #FairFares announce a series of speak-outs across NYC in support of Fair Fares, ahead of the final NYC Council Transportation Committee budget hearing, outside City Hall R subway stop, Manhattan.

At 10:15 a.m., workers announce and lobby for a new law that will provide family-sustaining wages, benefits and training opportunities to sub-contracted airport, bus and train station workers, Meeting Room #1, Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany.

At noon, members of the Stop The Cuomo Tax campaign protest what they describe as the governor’s “Trump-like nuclear bailout plan,” 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights Cuomo’s infrastructure investments at the New York Building Congress’ Leadership Awards Luncheon, Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Ave., Manhattan. (NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is also scheduled to speak).

At 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will tour recent safety improvements on Queens Boulevard and host a press conference to make an announcement related to Vision Zero, Woodhaven Boulevard & Hoffman Drive, Elmhurst, Queens.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul makes Westbury downtown revitalization initiative announcements, Piazza Ernesto Strada, 321 Maple Ave., Westbury.

At 5 p.m., Hochul joins Cuomo for the inaugural Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge, Pier A, 22 Battery Pl., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., the NYC Department of Education Panel for Educational Policy holds a meeting, including an update from Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, 100 Hester St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m, OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito hosts an Excelsior Scholarship information session, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Student Union, Large Lounge, 2805 State Highway 67, Johnstown.

Also at 6 p.m., Guillermo Linares of the state Higher Education Services Corp. hosts an Excelsior Scholarship information session, Onondaga Community College, Academic II Recital Hall, Room P100, 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

Also at 6 p.m. – NYC Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen keynotes the Delegation Welcome Dinner for the Sharing Cities Summit, Battery Gardens, 1 Battery Place, Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., NYC Council members Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and others host a Haitian Flag Day celebration, ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn.

Also at 6 p.m., board members and leaders of Middle Village Prep will update parents and others on the Brooklyn Diocese’s lawsuit seeking to evict the school from space at Christ the King High School, 68-02 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village, Queens.

At 7:30 p.m., Republican NYC mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr. attends the Queens Public Transit Committee town hall meeting, Knights Of Columbus Hall, 135-45 Lefferts Blvd., Queens.

Also at 7:30 p.m., Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi will host a town hall meeting on proposed health care changes at the federal level, Dorfman Senior Center, 305 East Locust St., Rome.

At 8 p.m., Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, NYC mayoral candidate, will attend a meet-and-greet in her honor hosted by the Brooklyn Conservative Party, Archbishop John Hughes Council 481 of the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1306 86th St., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump’s White House was rocked last night by allegations that Trump tried to shut down an FBI investigation into one of his former aides, Michael Flynn, as the administration struggled to manage a growing list of scandals.

The existence of Trump’s request that now-fired FBI Director James Comey “let this go” is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and FBI investigation into links between his associates and Russia.

In the aftermath of the news, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle called for the Comey memo to be seen and for the ex-director to testify.

The House Oversight Committee has asked the FBI for all correspondence between the president and Comey.

Intelligence Committee member Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, said he believes Trump is moving toward impeachment territory.

“There is clearly probable cause that he’s committed obstruction of justice,” attorney Nick Akerman, an assistant special prosecutor during the Watergate investigation and current partner at law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said of Trump.

Trump will embark on his first foreign trip as president Friday less as an anti-Obama figure than as a latter-day Richard M. Nixon or Bill Clinton — a wounded president fleeing political storms at home for an uncertain welcome overseas.

Judge Merrick Garland, whose U.S. Supreme Court nomination by former President Obama was ignored by U.S. Senate Republicans, has no interest in running the FBI, according to a friend.

Trump welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House yesterday, where the two leaders pledged to work together to fight ISIS and help find a resolution to the Syrian conflict — and sidestepped recent disputes.

Congressional ethics investigators are probing Rep. Chris Collins’ role in attracting investors to an Australian biotech company, interviewing several of them in the Buffalo area yesterday and today.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a controversial co-host of Fox News’ “The Five,” says she’s in talks with Team Trump to become the administration’s next press secretary.

The Daily News finds IDC Leader Jeff Klein has quietly received a boost in stipend after he was named vice president tempore of the Senate this year.

AG Eric Schneiderman’s office has reached a settlement with a Long Island group that had leased land for those primarily with German heritage.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering an audit of every college and university in New York this summer to see whether they are obeying state rules for handling sexual-assault complaints and dating violence.

By a nearly two to one margin in a NY1/Baruch College poll, New Yorkers say they want to see the governor run for president in 2020. Back in December, before Trump’s inauguration, it was just the opposite, with a plurality of New Yorkers saying they did not want him to run.

Tom Precious details the Senate GOP’s botched handling of the lulu controversy, which took Majority Leader John Flanagan days to respond to, leaving individual members twisting in the wind.

IDC Leader Jeff Klein defended the GOP for giving his members committee chair stipends though they don’t chair committees.

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins issued a statement noting “troubling new questions” about “the apparent abuse of the Senate stipend system” had arisen, and called for an investigation. But a variety of law enforcement agencies, including the state AG’s office and the US attorney in Manhattan, were silent as to any possible inquiry, as was the Albany DA.

More >

Extras

President Trump asked the now former FBI director, James Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

The classified intelligence that Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, adding a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.

Trump defended his decision to share sensitive information about an Islamic State threat with Russian officials, saying he had the “absolute right” to do so, as the White House once again struggled to reconcile seemingly conflicting accounts of the president’s actions.

The president has called National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster “a pain” and complained that he talks too much in meetings.

With his shoot-from-the-hip tweets targeting US spies and alleged Oval Office leak of secrets to the Russians, Trump has damaged White House relations with American and allied intelligence agencies and put national security at risk, current and former officials said.

A new national PPP poll finds that Republicans are facing significant backlash over the health care bill that’s having the effect of firing up Democrats and putting them in position to make major gains in the House next year.

A small plane carrying a well-known New York event space designer and her two sons has vanished while flying over the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas, officials said.

An ethics investigation is underway looking into Rep. Chris Collins’ role in luring investors to an Austrailan biotech company.

Sen. Ruben Diaz: “It’s time for Senator Jeff Klein and Senator Mike Gianaris to sit down and have a serious conversation before they destroy the Regular and Independent Democratic Conferences, taking everybody down with them.”

Hiram Monserrate, who was ejected from the Senate in 2010 after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and who served time in prison for fraud and conspiracy, is announcing a bid for the NYC Council. He’s challenging his former aide, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who holds his old seat.

Assemblyman Phil Ramos’ wife, Angela, is leaving her $75,351-a-year job as assistant to the director of Suffolk Probation Department, only weeks after returning from a six-month leave of absence.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has raised the maximum amount of money he is allowed for the Democratic primary, and can start raising money for the November general election.

Real estate executive Paul Massey, who hopes to mount a Republican challenge to de Blasio in November, has already spent several million dollars – much of that on personnel.

Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who has raised nearly $100,000 two weeks into her NYC mayoral run, wants taxpayer-backed campaign matching funds for her bid under the public finance program she has fiercely criticized.

Firefighters, who were at the Capitol today to lobby for two priority bills, say that like local governments they are hindered by a 2 percent property tax cap and are increasingly running the risk of slashing EMS services if the money to pay for services isn’t there.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray criticized U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for recent comments about medication-assisted treatment for addition to heroin and other opioids.

A bill that has begun to move through the state Legislature would extend the period between primary and run-off elections in New York City from two to three weeks.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will headline the Democratic National Committee’s annual LGBT Gala in New York next month.

Russell Brooks, who has been Utica fire chief for 13 years, has been placed on administrative leave by the city – a move he blames on a claim he filed with five months ago asking the city to recognize he contracted an illness while at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001.

Former soccer star Abby Wambach, a Rochester native, and Christian blogger Glennon Doyle Melton celebrated Mother’s Day with an intimate wedding.

Former FBI Director James Comey’s fame did not translate into a higher sale price for his Connecticut mansion.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. The Legislature is in session in Albany.

Voters across the state go to the polls to cast their ballots on proposed school budgets.

In Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence participate in a working lunch with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.

Trump will later meet with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney.

At 7 a.m., NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez greets commuters at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station on the day of its reopening, 178th Street and Fort Washington Avenue, Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., NYC Council Progressive Caucus members Antonio Reynoso, Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal, Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca and Transportation Alternative members, hold a bike to work rally, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Sens. Cathy Young and Joe Robach and Assemblymen Sean Ryan and Andy Goodell join national highway safety advocate Stephen Eimers in calling for the state and federal governments to remove “X-lite” guardrail systems from roads across New York, Room 174, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilman Barry Grodenchik and the NYC Coalition for Adult Literacy call attention to the elimination of adult literacy classes from the mayor’s executive budget, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul breaks ground on affordable housing for seniors at the converted School 77 building, 429 Plymouth Ave., Buffalo.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina delivers testimony on the mayor’s FY 2018 executive budget before the NYC Council Finance and Education committees, Council chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio participates in an “armchair discussion” on poverty with Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcom X Blvd., Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Sen. David Valesky and Assembly Aging Committee Chair Donna Lupardo join AARP and the Alzheimers Association New York State Coalition to announce their commitment to work toward passage of anti-elder financial exploitation legislation this session, 3rd floor, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, other firefighters groups and state Sens. David Carlucci and Joseph Griffo discuss presumptive cancer coverage and other issues ahead of their lobby day, Empire State Plaza meeting room 7, Albany.

At 11 a.m., NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will preside over the annual Pre-Ramadan Conference, 1 Police Plaza, Auditorium, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, New York State Bar Association and others call on Albany to reform New York state’s criminal discovery laws, Legislative Office Building, LCA Pressroom 130, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Republican Nassau County executive candidate Jack Martins will discuss his ethics reform plans, Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building, 1550 Franklin Ave., Mineola, Long Island.

At 11:15 a.m., legal organizations, family members and grassroots community groups present a letter to NYPD Inspector General, Philip Eure, demanding a probe into the department’s anti-gang methods, including how people end up on “gang” databases, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At noon, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. co-host a Business Day Luncheon as part of Bronx Week 2017, Tosca Marquee, 4035 E. Tremont Ave., the Bronx.

At 1:30 p.m., O’Neill will announce a public engagement campaign, Mullaly Recreation Center, 1020 Jerome Ave. the Bronx.

Also at 1:30 p.m., the Assembly Democrats hold a press conference on the New York Health Act universal health care bill before a floor debate and vote on the measure, speaker’s conference room, 3rd floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 3:15 p.m., the UFT holds a press conference with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, UFT’s Brooklyn office, 335 Adams St.

At 4 p.m., Sen. Thomas O’Mara, Assemblyman Philip Palmesano and the New York Wine Industry Association’s host the Fourth Annual Sip and Sample tasting event, Legislative Office Building, The Well, Albany.

At 4:30 p.m., state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon hosts an Excelsior Scholarship information session, SUNY Adirondack, Bishop Conference Room, Scoville Learning Center, third floor, 640 Bay Road, Queensbury.

At 6 p.m., the state Education Department holds one of 13 public hearing to gather feedback on the draft ESSA plan, Bronx Borough Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., Henry Street Settlement holds its 2nd annual Lillian Wald Symposium, with keynote speaker activist Linda Sarsour, Abron Arts Center, 466 Grand St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Farina attends a meeting of District 32’s Community Education Council, IS 384, 242 Cooper St., Brooklyn.

Also at 6:30 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer attend the Climate, Jobs & Justice Accountability Forum hosted by environmental groups, New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio participates in a town hall meeting with NYC Councilman David Greenfield, Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, 5800 20th Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 7 p.m., Hochul highlights the benefits of doing business with New York at the Global NY ‎Trade Mission, 28 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation, two U.S. officials said, plunging the White House into another controversy just months into Trump’s short tenure in office.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called that report “false,” adding: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

McMaster two other senior Trump officials sought to characterize the president’s disclosures as benign and pertaining only to “common threats,” but did not deny he made them.

Hillary Clinton announced her decision to spend the next few years at the helm of Onward Together, a new progressive organization working to build a major national coalition of liberal voters.

Clinton, who until recently had maintained a relatively low profile after her loss in the presidential election in November, said on Twitter that her new group would encourage people to “get involved, organize, and even run for office.”

The Trump administration plans to vastly expand the so-called global gag rule that withholds American aid from health organizations worldwide that provide or even discuss abortion in family planning, which could disrupt hundreds of clinics in Africa and around the world that fight AIDS and malaria.

White House counsel Doug McGahn could be among the first to go in a staff shake-up being contemplated by Trump.

A New York federal judge asked Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey for supplemental information on their representation of Turkish-Iranian financier Reza Zarrab, who is accused of helping Iran dodge U.S. sanctions, after finding the lawyers’ affidavits failed to answer all the judge’s questions.

Having staked out a position favoring the House-approved Republican replacement for Obamacare, Rep. Elise Stefanik has embarked on an effort to convince her North Country constituency she did the right thing. At minimum, she’s putting a bright spin on the highlight controversial proposal.

Rep. John Katko addressed a pre-selected crowd of about 130 people last night at Onondaga Community College. Attendees were somewhat hostile, frequently shouting follow-up questions and challenging the congressman’s answers, but they also laughed and applauded.

An imbroglio over cash stipends for state senators with committee leadership positions veered into the legal weeds as attorneys for mainline Democrats and the Senate’s top Republican offered differing opinions on the legality of the payments.

One of the seven senators involved in the stipend dustup, Patty Ritchie, said she would consider returning some of the $15,000 she was paid this year after being misidentified as the Health Committee chair.

Another senator, Pamela Helming, told reporters she would not cash the checks, which were sent in March and April.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who made the committee appointments, insisted “the law is on our side and so is case law,” adding: “I believe that all the members, Democrat and Republican, Assembly or Senate are worthy of the compensation that they receive…All of this is transparent, all of this is disclosed.”

Seeking re-election without a strong Democratic primary opponent, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has for the first time raised more money than his best-funded Republican challenger, Paul Massey Jr., according to the latest campaign finance records.

More >

Extras

President Trump revealed highly classified intelligence information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador while meeting with them last week at the White House.

State AG Eric Schneiderman has opened an investigation into the real-estate dealings of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, deepening the already intense legal scrutiny of the young administration.

“If it’s hard to get checks on the presidency from Congress, we’re going to try to fill that space,” Schneiderman said. “I’m willing to bet on the rule of law. I think at the end of the day, it’s what people want. I will bet on that to survive this presidency.”

Barron Trump, 11, the president’s youngest son, will transfer to the private St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland after he moves to D.C. this summer with his mother, First Lady Melania Trump.

Callista Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is the preferred nominee to be the next ambassador to the Vatican.

K.T. McFarland, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, reportedly gave the president fake information, leading to a crackdown at the White House.

The hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” said that the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway complained extensively about Trump in private conversations with them before he was elected, and insisted she was only working for him for the money.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would stay out of a fight over a restrictive North Carolina voting law. The move left in place a federal appeals court ruling that struck down key parts of the law as an unconstitutional effort to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

U.S. Senate Republicans, increasingly unnerved by Trump’s volatility and unpopularity, are starting to show signs of breaking away from him as they try to forge a more traditional Republican agenda and protect their political fortunes.

In Buffalo federal court, G. Steven Pigeon will have a preliminary hearing on June 15 to evaluate the government’s evidence that he solicited an illegal contribution to the 2014 re-election campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“(T)he subway, the lifeblood of the city and arguably the most critical piece of infrastructure (Cuomo) controls, is falling apart on his watch.”

The first Democrat has announced his intention to challenge freshman Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney: Patrick Madden, 50, of Vestal, who is a computer scientist at SUNY Binghamton.

Cornell University is working on naming an ice cream flavor after former VP Joe Biden, an alumnus of Syracuse University law school, who will speak during the Ithaca school’s commencement weekend this month.

Nearly a dozen counties in upstate New York have no practitioners who are able to certify patients for medical marijuana, according to data from the state’s Department of Health.

The brutal stabbing of a Western New York police dog last November has spurred a call at the state Capitol to increase the penalties for seriously injuring and killing a police animal.

Queens Rep. Grace Meng, a DNC vice chair, said she will “certainly be seeking answers” after an ICE agent allegedly showed up at a Maspeth elementary school seeking a fourth grader, and blasted the “lack of consistency and standards” in the execution of immigration policies.

The federal agents who were turned away from the Queens school after showing up without a warrant and asking about a fourth-grader were investigating another person’s immigration application — not probing the pupil, officials claim.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio met today with Gen. John Kelly, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to discuss – among other things – the reported ICE visit to the Queens school.

Taxpayers could save more than $2 million a year if it weren’t for a group of breakaway Democrats who need their own support staff in the state Senate, critics say.

A NYC law that sets up new employment rules for freelance work went into effect today.

Shelter Island Town Supervisor James Dougherty has apologized for telling a joke about a woman being “ravished” by a gorilla during a speech he delivered last month.

“Departures,” a film featuring Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) and Asa Butterfield (“Ender’s Game”), will be shooting this week at Albany International Airport.

“For $32 million, the governor could probably pay off every mortgage and buy everybody a new car in the town of North Hudson,” says Peter Bauer head of Protect the Adirondacks.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule as of yet.

The Legislature is in session in Albany.

In D.C. this morning, President Donald Trump will travel to the Capitol to give remarks at the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.

In the afternoon, Trump will welcome Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan of Abu Dhabi to the White House, and the two will sit down for a working lunch.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is traveling to Washington, D.C. this afternoon to attend several meetings with federal officials, along with the Infrastructure Week Leadership Dinner. He’s scheduled to return to the city this evening.

A fuller calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

Democrats should refuse to vote on President Donald Trump’s pick for the next FBI director unless a special prosecutor is named to take over the investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Justice Department officials over the weekend held what they described as substantive discussions with at least eight candidates to lead the bureau. The broad list of contenders includes a top Republican senator, two senior officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a federal judge.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed confidence that he can navigate the delicate task of improving relations with Russia amid fallout over Comey’s firing.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara defended fired FBI Director James Comey as a man of courage, pondering if any public servants willing to defy Trump remain in Washington.

“I am proud to know a man who had the courage to say no to a president,” Bharara wrote of Comey, his onetime boss, in a Washington Post OpEd.

Comey associates believe that the former director’s first comments on his termination would likely come in an open session before Congress.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he now has an “open mind” about the need for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, following the events of last week.

Trump has never shown any reluctance to sacrifice a surrogate to serve a short-term political need, so he apparently did not think twice this week about exposing a series of staff members to ridicule as he repeatedly shifted his explanation for firing Comey.

Multiple reports say besieged White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s job may be in jeopardy as part of a broader staffing shakeup in the Trump administration. One potential Spicer successor: Fox News’ Kimberly Guilfoyle, a polarizing co-host of “The Five.”

The Trump administration hastily called emergency meetings this weekend to contain fallout from the ongoing global ransomware campaign that has now hit victims in at least 150 countries, including the U.S.

The components of the global cyberattack that seized hundreds of thousands of computer systems may be more complex than originally believed, a Trump administration official said, and experts warned that the effects of the malicious software could linger for some time.

Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen tweeted a photo of his scantily clad daughter, Samantha, last night and called her a “beauty.”

Trump wished America’s moms and the first lady a “happy Mother’s Day” and then headed over to his Virginia golf resort to “hit a few balls.”

Civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, a Clinton family confidante, sent off Syracuse University’s class of 2017 with a charge to seek justice in the era of Trump. He was the school’s 163rd commencement speaker.

Former President Bill Clinton told graduating Hobart and William Smith Colleges students at their commencement that they must decide whether “our common humanity is more important or our differences matter more.”

Congressional Republicans anxious to show voters they can get something done are hailing their reversal of more than a dozen Obama-era regulations on guns, the internet and the environment, which they accomplished by employing an obscure legislative rule.

LG Kathy Hochul says she fully anticipates running again as Cuomo’s running mate in 2018, despite some Democrats hoping she would challenge an incumbent Buffalo-area Republican for her old congressional seat.

State Senate lawyers argued over the weekend that the Senate’s practice of paying members stipends for committee chairmanships they do not hold were legal, constitutionally defensible and proper as “a classic example of internal administrative prerogatives.”

The powerful hotel workers union HTC is targeting Assemblyman Joe Lentol over a bill that would benefit Airbnb.

Ken Lovett explores the myriad reasons why Senate Republicans are doling out lulus to lawmakers for jobs they don’t actually hold.

New York’s health insurers will request double digit rate increases for Obamacare policies for 2018 while debate rages in Washington to overhaul the law, analysts say. The insurers officially submit their rate plans to state regulators today.

More than 90 pension- and benefit-sweetener bills have been introduced in the state Legislature that could cost state and local governments at least $200 million.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that U.S. institutions are “under assault” from President Donald Trump, saying he believes the Russians see the firing of FBI Director James Comey as “another victory.”

The Justice Department last month requested banking records of Paul Manafort as part of a widening of probes related to Trump’s former campaign associates and whether they colluded with Russia in interfering with the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.

A growing number of legal experts say the president has opened himself up to a charge of obstruction of justice this week when he said “this Russia thing with Trump” was on his mind when he fired Comey.

Just 29 percent of Americans support Trump’s firing of Comey, hill 38 percent disapprove, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Trump said Saturday that “we can make a fast decision” on a new FBI director, possibly by late next week, before he leaves on his first foreign trip since taking office.

Teams of technicians worked around the clock Saturday to restore Britain’s crippled hospital network and secure the computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in other nations after a global cyberattack.

New York Court of Appeals Judge Michael Garcia was reportedly one of at least four candidates interviewing this weekend to serve as the next director of the FBI.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions interviewed eight potential replacements Saturday for the ousted James Comey — including a woman who investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton in the 1990s.

Trump is reportedly weighing a “huge reboot” in his White House staff after becoming disappointed with several aides. The shake-up could include White House press secretary Sean Spicer, top strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

On “Meet the Press,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would not comment on the suggestion that former President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland should head the FBI.

Long Island Rep. Peter King said that there are “probably more” connections between Clinton and Russia than there are between Moscow and Trump.

Trump slammed his critics as “pathetic” during his first commencement speech since taking office — as his administration comes under fire on multiple fronts. He picked up an honorary law degree at Liberty University.

The president took time during his commencement address to welcome Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, calling him a “friend” and “true champion” who “can serve as an inspiration to us all.”

Former President Bill Clinton during a commencement address talked about the importance of diversity in the country. The former president blasted anti-immigration policies and “us and them” models without placing any blame on other politicians.

A federal judge in Michigan this week ordered the Trump administration to turn over communications from former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other advisers on the president’s controversial travel ban.

Trump’s likely pick to fill the role of a top scientist at the USDA – Sam Clovis, best known for hosting a conservative talk show in Iowa – is a climate change skeptic with no background in science.

A tweet from the president suggesting that he might have taped phone conversations from the White House made waves in Washington, but some former employees and a former associate said it wasn’t a surprise to them that he would mention taped conversations, since they had seen him tape discussions in his Trump Tower office.

An unprecedented “ransomware” cyberattack that has already hit tens of thousands of victims in 150 countries could wreak greater havoc as more malicious variations appear and people return to their desks tomorrow and power up computers at the start of the workweek.

Federal prosecutors, faced with a defense request to move the “Buffalo Billion” case from Manhattan to Buffalo, filed a new indictment. It contains no new charges or defendants, but there are changes in how the government presents its allegations of bribery and bid rigging in Buffalo and across the state.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan plans to put NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio through the wringer before he’ll agree to sign off on another year of mayoral control for city schools.

An immigration agent tried to search for a fourth-grader at Queens school — but was sent packing by staff, according to de Blasio administration officials.

State Police officers doled out 14,542 summonses to New York City motorists in the first four months of this year — a major 759 percent increase from all of last year, when they scribbled just 1,692, records show.

A developer is planning a 43-story condominium with an Islamic museum and public plaza three blocks from the World Trade Center, where in 2010 the developer proposed building a 15-story mosque and cultural center.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Michael Bloomberg is among the nation’s top financial backers of the school-choice movement, topping the list of New York’s political contributors by donating $1.8 million to ballot measures and political action committees focused primarily on school choice.

The Brearley School, a prestigious all-girls private school in Manhattan, announced that it had retained a law firm to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct at the school, and asked anyone with knowledge of possible abuse to come forward.

Long Island officials on Saturday called on Amtrak to cease its control of Penn Station in order to reduce LIRR delays and halt crippling repairs this summer.

Michelle Schoeneman, the activist responsible for two recent billboards criticizing Republican Rep. Chris Collins, is emerging as the Democratic candidate against Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo in November.

Ginia Bellafante: “If the Child Victims Act, which in a future iteration might include stipulations about who is required to report abuse, doesn’t get passed, it will tell us something not only about the way politicians capitulate to religious interests, but also about the cultural pretenses we maintain around children’s safety.”

Brandon Bostian, the Amtrak engineer who drove a train that derailed in 2015 in Philadelphia and killed eight people, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after victims’ families took advantage of a law that forced officials to act.

Even though the possible breakup of the Cellino & Barnes personal injury law firm will play out in a Buffalo courtroom later this week, ramifications will be felt in Manhattan, Long Island and several California cities where the personal injury firm maintains major offices.

As a result of a free college tuition program, at least some of Tennessee’s four-year colleges have faced declining enrollment, as more students use community college as a steppingstone to a four-year degree. This could prove instructive to New York as it moves forward with its own program.

Is Cuomo’s two percent property tax cap – a signature achievement of his first term in office – actually working? It depends on who you ask.

Syracuse Democrats have endorsed at-large Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti for mayor. He was one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s endorsement, and won on the on the second round of voting in a close matchup against Andrew Maxwell.

After the first round of voting, it was clear Nicoletti and Maxwell had a significant lead among party members. So, two other contenders – Marty Masterpole and Juanita Perez Williams stepped aside, while three other candidates took less than one percent of the vote.

State Sen. George Latimer is the choice of the Westchester Democrats to run for county executive against Republican incumbent Rob Astorino, though County Legislator Ken Jenkins has vowed to fight on in the September primary.

Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota, who is reportedly under investigation on corruption charges, has announced he will not seek re-election this fall. County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini formally declared his candidacy to replace Spota.

Republican Chris P. Voccio marked his 50th birthday Friday by announcing his candidacy for the Niagara Falls City Council this fall. He has stepped down as publisher of the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal, and also resigned from the boards of the Niagara USA Chamber and the United Way of Greater Niagara.

Two candidates for the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education on Friday vehemently disavowed a flyer mailed to some district residents that contained that endorsed them as the candidates that will “Keep Lew-Port white” in Tuesday’s election.

The Capital Region’s computer chip industry appears to have emerged almost unscathed from the bid-rigging scandal that led to federal charges. Anchored by GlobalFoundries’ $12 billion Fab 8 factory, the sector is about to hit its stride.

Facing declining membership in many regions of upstate New York, veterans and fraternal clubs are pushing state leaders for help by allowing revenue-boosting video-gaming machines.

A Colgate University internal review of a May 1 campus lockdown issued Friday found that while protocols were followed by campus security officials, mistakes were made – some significant.

Ride-hailing services can begin operating in new parts of the state as soon as July 9, but with all the wonkish provisions lawmakers dumped into the final legislative language, the industry will see differences that may lead to impacts on consumers.

Hamburg Republicans have endorsed attorney Dennis Gaughan, a Democrat, for town supervisor after incumbent Steven Walters said he will not run for a fourth term. Gaughan, a longtime Democrat, ran unsuccessfully against Walters on the Independence Party line in 2009.

Changing technology has the Amherst Town Board considering a moratorium on the installation of new cell towers, including newer “small cell” systems on utility poles.

The MTA is calling on its passengers to practice common courtesy with a new campaign.

NFL Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas was quick to blast out word that Cuomo had tapped him to be a judge in the inaugural contest for New York’s best craft beers on May 17.

The developer and owner of the Long Beach Superblock property has threatened to sue the city for $105 million if officials do not support the latest application for tax breaks to build a pair of luxury apartment towers.

Nassau’s top cop, Thomas C. Krumpter, underwent a procedure at a cardiac center to reopen blocked arteries last week and was released the next day, police officials said.

State environmental and agricultural officials this past week said they are expanding the state’s so-called restricted zone to step up their fight against the invasive pest known as the herald ash borer.

During an interview Friday with Glenn Beck, another former Fox News Channel personality who was the subject of an advertiser boycott, Bill O’Reilly, complained of a liberal “hit job” that did him in.

Extras

President Trump warned James Comey, the former F.B.I. director he fired this week, against leaking anything negative about him, saying Comey “better hope” that there are no secret tapes of their conversations that the president could use in retaliation.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly refused to say if Trump secretly taped his dinner conversation with Comey, after the president himself suggested he had.

Trump threatened to end White House press briefings, arguing that “it is not possible” for his staff to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public

A CNN spokesperson responded in a statement to Trump’s bashing of several of its anchors, calling his “comments are beneath the dignity of the office of the president.”

Melissa McCarthy, the upcoming host of “Saturday Night Live” who has drawn raves for her spot-on imitation of Spicer, was spotted cruising the streets of Manhattan this morning on her way to Rockefeller Center in a mobile podium.

Trump today pledged to campaign heavily for Republican House and Senate candidates during the 2018 midterms.

After defending his jails chief without hesitation for two weeks, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the retirement of Dept. of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte in the wake of two blistering probes of the agency.

“At the end of the day, I feel there is no way to win a battle in the media, so it’s not about me — this is about the Department of Correction,” Ponte said.

De Blasio called upon the Senate IDC to “return to the Democratic fold” – even if they want to maintain their “independent presence” within the bigger conference.

Becoming a U.S. citizen would be free for tens of thousands of eligible immigrant New Yorkers in the city under a taxpayer-funded plan released by Comptroller Scott Stringer, who said he’s motivated by “President Trump’s misguided immigration policies.”

The de Blasio administration is reissuing tens of thousands of parking permits to city education workers, rolling back reforms made by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Amtrak’s chief, Wick Moorman, basically threw his hands up in defeat while addressing state Assembly members, yesterday, lobbing a bunch of “I don’t knows” as he was grilled over the commuter crisis at Penn Station.

Trump confidant and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is one of the leading voices in designing a “cyber doctrine” for the U.S., according to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, but there is little information about how that process is going.

The Adelphi University men’s lacrosse team on Long Island uses a quote from Trump’s acceptance speech at the 2016 GOP convention, played over a music track, as their psych music for their entrance to the field.

New York voters will head to the polls next Tuesday, May 16, to vote on school budgets that are benefiting from a $1 billion boost in state aid and a more flexible property tax cap, with just 12 districts seeking a 60 percent vote to override the cap.

Will homeowner’s insurance policies protect those homes and property ravaged by rising waters on the south shore of Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River in recent weeks?

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has launched an internal investigation into the behavior of dozens of correction officers whose loud partying drew police to an Albany hotel multiple times earlier this week.

State health officials warned New Yorkers to take precautions against Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus, as the weather heats up.

A Hannibal Central School District board member has resigned after she was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated following a crash on State Route 104 Monday afternoon.

Extras

While testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe rejected the White House’s assertion that his predecessor, James Comey, had lost the backing of rank-and-file agency members agents, a pointed rebuke of what had been one of the president’s main defenses for the move.

President Trump, in an interview with NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt, called McCabe a “showboat” and a “grand-stander” who he had long planned to fire. Trump also said he asked Comey three times whether he was under investigation, and was told he was not.

McCabe acknowledged publicly for the first time that some agents were angry with the 2016 decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton – while also defending Comey’s overall standing at the bureau.

McCabe also said he would not update the White House on the spy agency’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, amid growing concerns that Trump could again try to interfere with the probe.

Here are some things to know about McCabe.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, mentioned as a possible Comey replacement, was spotted power lunching near the White House yesterday.

Over the last week, the Q poll asked Americans for the first word that comes to mind when they think of the president. The answer given more times than any other was “idiot,” followed by “incompetent” and “liar.”

Donald Trump Jr. shared a tweet linking former President Bill Clinton’s 1993 firing of the FBI director to the death of Clinton aide Vince Foster, alluding to a far-right conspiracy theory.

Trump is creating a commission to look into his wild claims of widespread voter fraud — and has picked a deeply controversial man to lead it: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The president scorched a host of TV personalities in a new interview — branding CNN’s Don Lemon “perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting,” Chris Cuomo (brother of Gov. Andrew Cuomo) “a chained lunatic” and Stephen Colbert “a no-talent guy.”

Kellyanne Conway isn’t happy about Anderson Cooper’s eye roll.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio joined skeptics in questioning whether Cuomo’s AirTrain to LaGuardia will actually improve travel times to the airport.

Bob Megna, Cuomo’s former budget director and the new leader of two arms of SUNY Polytechnic Institute implicated in a bid-rigging scheme last year, said a legislative push to pre-audit its economic development activities would just slow it down.

Two private universities upstate – Ithaca and Clarkson – are anticipating decreases in enrollment this fall, a drop both schools attribute at least in part to Cuomo’s promise of “free tuition” for public university students.

After kicking the tires of the state’s much-vaunted Excelsior Scholarship, some SUNY trustees appeared less than enthused.

A petition started by a Staten Island resident is calling on Cuomo to remove Brian Levine – the senior administrative law judge at the Traffic Violations Bureau – from office.

Leaders of four New York government reform groups are calling for Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to stop allowing the unused stipends of Senate committee chairs to be passed to vice-chairs.

A famous chef (Mario Batali) and a Buffalo Bills legend (Thurmun Thomas), as well as the governor himself, are among the judges for Cuomo’s inaugural Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge.

Amtrak will announce the summer service plan for New York Penn Station next week, with an early estimate suggesting that about 25 percent of the trains running in and out of the station daily could be cancelled.

“Movies about colorful characters, be they saints or sinners, are often hijacked by their subject, so it’s unsurprising that Mr. Stone, with his bespoke suits and Nixon tattoo, owns this one from the get-go.”

Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino will not seek a fifth term as the county’s top elected official.

The village of Hoosick Falls has received a $220,000 grant from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. to help cover engineering and other expenses that followed the discovery three years ago of a toxic chemical in the community’s water supplies.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

LG Kathy Hochul will tour areas affected by coastal flooding in Wayne, Monroe, and Orleans counties.

Down in D.C., President Donald Trump is scheduled to receiving his daily intelligence briefing in the morning, and has no public events on his calendar as of yet.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians at the Mayflower Hotel at 9 a.m.

A full calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

The U.S. Senate intelligence committee has subpoenaed former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn for documents related to the panel’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

President Donald Trump defended his firing of now former FBI Director James Comey, telling reporters he “wasn’t doing a good job,” and asserting in a flurry of tweets that Republicans and Democrats “will be thanking me.”

Trump also said in a tweet that Democrats should be “ashamed” for their response to his decision regarding Comey, and sent out a highlight reel of old news clips and public appeals made by politicians who urged the former director to step down, but are now blasting his ouster.

Senior aides and other associates who know the president say the firing was triggered not by any one event but rather by the Trumo’s growing frustration with the Russia investigation, negative media coverage and the feeling that he couldn’t control Comey, who was a near-constant presence on TV in recent days.

In the weeks before he was sacked, a federal investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government was heating up, as Comey became increasingly occupied with the probe.

Comey says in a farewell letter that he does not plan to dwell on the decision to fire him or the “way it was executed.”

A growing number of House Republicans – including New York Reps. Claudia Tenney and John Faso – said in carefully couched terms that they are open to an independent investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after Trump’s surprise dismissal of Comey.

Rep. John Katko said Trump’s firing of Comey won’t interfere with the FBI’s probe into accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He’s open to the possibility of an independent prosecutor, but only after congressional committees complete their work.

It’s unclear who will replace Comey. The Trump administration is already interviewing for a new interim director and promised to name a potential permanent director as early as the end of the week. That person would have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s absence from the briefing room yesterday comes at a tenuous time, as Trump has asked senior advisers for weeks if he needs to change the face of his administration. The president was pleased with deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ performance on Friday, when she first filled in for Spicer on camera during the midday briefing.

Hillary Clinton’s satisfaction at seeing Comey lose his job, friends said, is offset by worries that it could derail the FBI’s investigation of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

An anti-Rep. Chris Collins billboard has gone up in Hamburg, targeting his health care reform vote.

Aetna will complete its withdrawal from Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges for 2018, announcing that lingering financial losses and uncertainty about the marketplaces’ future was prompting it to exit two final states.

Drawing shouts of “Liar!” and “Just go,” U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos powered through her commencement address yesterday at a historically black university, even as many of the graduating students turned their backs to her in protest.

In a surprising victory for former President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, the U.S. Senate voted to uphold an Obama-era climate change regulation to control the release of methane from oil and gas wells on public land.

The collapse of a tunnel containing radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex in Washington State underscored what critics have long been saying: The toxic remnants of the Cold War are being stored in haphazard and unsafe conditions, and time is running out to deal with the problem.

In a first step toward possibly allowing driverless cars in New York, the state is seeking applications from companies interested in testing the vehicles on public roads.

New York is midway through a monumental initiative begun in 2011 to redesign the costly Medicaid program, the largest purchaser of health services in the state for its 6.2 million beneficiaries.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a $2,500 court judgment against Northern Taxi and its owner/operator, Christopher Crowningshield, for charging refugees as much as $300 or more for a taxi ride from Plattsburgh to the Canadian border. It normally costs between $50 and $75.

NYC Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte is sending an increasing number of dangerous inmates to lockups around the state, in an attempt to curb violence on Rikers Island.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Ponte should resign after misusing his city vehicle and allegations that his agency spied on investigators probing the Rikers Island jail.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio received an enthusiastic endorsement for his re-election effort from the Hotel Trades Council just a few hours after the NYC Council passed a bill to keep banning the conversion of hotel space to condos.

More >