Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was arrested on a financial institution bribery charge.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues.

The FBI has seen a significant rise in the number of white supremacist domestic terrorism cases in recent months, a senior FBI counterterrorism official said.

Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, the USDA has issued a recall of more than 62,000 lbs of raw beef due to E. coli concerns.

Legendary high wire acrobat Nik Wallenda announced on “Good Morning America” that he and his sister will embark on a high wire walk 25 stories above New York City’s Times Square in June.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined forces with Sen. Elizabeth Warren to ​challenge Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over his role in the bankruptcy of Sears that resulted in thousands of workers being laid off and store closings.

Maine health officials confirmed the first case of measles in the state, bringing the total number of states reporting the highly contagious viral disease to 25.

Judith Nathan is “exploring” a lawsuit against her estranged hubby Rudy Giuliani over his most recent “media attack” on her amid their fractious divorce case, her lawyer said.

A real estate group represented by a lobbying firm started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former campaign manager, Maggie Moran, is waging a high-stakes battle against tenant advocates and the push for rent reform.

Facebook removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as the previous six months, the company said.

A section of New York state law that prohibits farm workers from organizing and collectively bargaining with their employers violates a section of the state constitution, an appellate court in Albany ruled.

In response to the TU’s article about Cuomo administration bidding at Republic Airport, a process that was eventually won by a major Cuomo campaign donor, state GOP chairman Ed Cox has called for an investigation.

Brooklyn jurors heard from yet another alleged NXIVM sex slave, who said her academic dreams and enrollment into an elite Swiss boarding school were derailed when she joined the group in 2002.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has asked NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to ban advertisements for junk food from city property now that he’s given booze ads the boot.

Ulster County’s two election commissioners have tentatively agreed to eight locations for early voting, ending a stalemate that put in jeopardy more than $100,000 in state funding.

De Blasio signed an executive order directing all NYC agencies to spend at least half of their annual print and online advertising budgets in community and ethnic media outlets, an initiative designed to ensure that vital local news remain solvent and continue to inform their communities.

A motion for a mistrial was denied by a judge who brought accused NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere’s trial to a screeching halt the day before, when he accused a defense attorney of driving a witness toward a nervous breakdown.

The class of cadets preparing to jubilantly toss their caps in the air at the U.S. Military Academy’s graduation ceremony Saturday includes 34 black women, a record number that’s a sign of concerted efforts to diversify West Point’s Long Gray Line.

An unconfirmed report has emerged in the gossip world that Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., hopes to run for mayor of New York City one day in the near or far-away future.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in NYC with no public events or interviews yet announced.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in Iowa today with no official events scheduled, and will return to the city in the evening.

This afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence participates in a meeting with USAID Administrator Mark Green.

At 9 a.m., City & State hosts the 2019 Digital New York Summit to convene New York’s information leaders from government and industry for a daylong, dynamic program on the innovative ideas being used to improve the delivery of services to both citizens and government agencies, National Geographic Encounter, 226 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the opening of the Donna M. Fernandes Amphibian and Reptile Center, Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave., Buffalo.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Council members Laurie Combo and Ben Kallos attend Generation Citizen’s Civics Day, The New York City Bar Association, 42 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

Also at 9:30 a.m., state Sen. James Skoufis holds a joint public hearing with state Sen. Brian Kavanagh on the current investigation into housing conditions and code enforcement, Newburgh Armory Unity Center, 321 S. William St., Newburgh.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance meets, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will be joined by members of the Monroe County Bar Association to re-dedicate a plaque honoring local attorneys who served overseas during World War I, County Office Building, 2nd Fl., 39 West Main St., Rochester.

Also at 10 a.m., state Assemblymembers Ron Kim and Yuh-Line Niou will be endorsing Tiffany Cabán for Queens DA, 135-32 40th Rd., Flushing, Queens.

At 10:30 a.m., state Sens. Todd Kaminsky and Anna Kaplan, alongside Assemblyman Steve Englebright and others, call for the passage of ambitious climate justice legislation, Nassau County Legislature, 1550 Franklin Ave., Mineola.

At 11 a.m., state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, with the Riders Alliance, Straphangers Campaign and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, demand state lawmakers authorize the use of bus lane enforcement cameras in New York City, 56-34 Main St., Queens.

At noon, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams addresses the St. Francis College Spring Commencement, Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, 3052 W. 21st St., Brooklyn.

At 12:30 p.m., state Assemblyman Charles Lavine holds a press conference with state Sen. James Gaughran regarding the recent renovations at the historic Sea Cliff Firehouse, 67 Roslyn Ave., Sea Cliff.

At 1:30 p.m., state Sen. John Liu, Assembly members David Weprin and Nily Rozic, and others hold a rally to demand passage of the utility responsibility bill, 188th Street and 81st Avenue, Queens.

Also at 1:30 p.m., following the unanimous passage of Assemblyman Dan Quart’s bill to decriminalize gravity knives in New York, criminal justice advocates will hold a press conference in front of Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen is joined by Nassau County SPCA officials and medical experts in a press conference to discuss the rise in dog bites during the spring and summer months, Newbridge Road Dog Park, 2600 Newbridge Rd., Bellmore.

Also at 2 p.m., Hochul views the transformation of the newly renovated TWA Hotel, JFK Airport, JetBlue Terminal 5, Queens.

Also at 2 p.m., state Sen. Pete Harckham announces a bill that would include spent nuclear fuel, from a nuclear power station that has ceased operations, in the definition of real property and another that relates to the transfer or lease of closed electric generators, Plumbers & Steamfitters HVAC Local 21 Hall, 1024 McKinley St., Peekskill.

At 2:30 p.m., state Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti and state Sen. David Carlucci hold a press conference introducing the new Toll Payer Protection Act, Village of Nyack Memorial Park, 4 Depew Ave., Nyack.

At 4:00 p.m., state Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick will receive an honorary doctorate degree and address graduates at PACE University’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony at Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli speaks at John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s MPA program hooding ceremony, Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts a district town hall discussion on the 2020 census, Serviam Hall, 2848 Bainbridge Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., state Sens. John Liu and Robert Jackson hold a school diversity and specialized high school admissions community forum, P.S. 173M, 306 Fort Washington Ave., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will host the borough’s annual Ramadan Iftar Dinner, in partnership with the borough’s Muslim community, The Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 7 p.m., Hochul is honored at the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City’s 2019 annual event, M1-5 Lounge, 52 Walker St., Manhattan.

Also at 7 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosts the borough’s annual Ramadan Iftar Dinner, in partnership with the borough’s Muslim community, Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Headlines…

President Trump abruptly blew up a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders, declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him and lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up.

…He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.”

Prior to the blow up with Trump, Pelosi, seeking to head off a growing revolt by House Democrats calling for impeachment, convened an all-hands meeting with her caucus to sell her members on her strategy of exhausting all legislative and legal avenues before taking that route.

Shortly after bolting from the meeting with Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on infrastructure, Trump was back on Twitter condemning the Democratic leaders.

A federal judge in New York City said Deutsche Bank and Capital One can turn over financial documents related to Trump and his businesses in response to subpoenas from two Democrat-led House committees.

Meanwhile, in Albany, state lawmakers approved a bill that would allow Congress to obtain Trump’s state tax returns.

The TRUST Act headed to the governor’s desk would allow the state tax commissioner to release Trump’s state tax returns to the chair of the federal House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.”

Democrats claim New York is doing its part to claw back Trump’s financial records, but Republicans insist it’s a political ploy.

Also this week, lawmakers passed a bill to permit state prosecutors to bring criminal cases against a limited set of individuals who might receive presidential pardons for federal crimes. The legislation was spawned a year ago by Trump’s suggestions of pardons of associates caught up in scandals.

The TU’s Chris Churchill takes state lawmakers to task for focusing on Trump while upstate’s economy withers and its population continues to wane.

Harriet Tubman — former slave, abolitionist, “conductor” on the Underground Railroad — will not become the face of the $20 bill until after Trump leaves office, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Nevada is poised to become the 15th state to approve the National Popular Vote measure, which would eliminate the influence of the electoral college – a movement that is the brainchild of John Koza.

Bronx-Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken aim at cauliflower, claiming that growing the vegetable in community gardens in nonwhite

A top Democratic official canceled a planned fund-raiser for an anti-abortion congressman that had prompted an outcry among progressives, raising the question of whether there is room left in the party for lawmakers who oppose abortion as Republican-controlled states are trying to effectively outlaw the procedure.

A 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and mayor was more than an hour late for a campaign appearance in Queens. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was stuck in traffic.

The National Rifle Association sued its most prominent contractor, even as the gun group declared that it was “now moving forward” from an ugly power struggle that had consumed its leadership at the highest levels.

Embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti betrayed the porn star who made him famous — by scamming nearly $300,000 in advance payments to Stormy Daniels for her memoir, the feds said.

The celebrity chef Mario Batali, who built a formidable restaurant empire before retreating amid accusations of sexual harassment by several women, is now facing a criminal assault charge that he groped and kissed a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.

The New York State Democratic Party voted unanimously to make it easier for registered independent voters to re-enroll as Democrats to vote in next year’s presidential primary — three years after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed the state’s onerous election rules.

New York’s compliance with party goals for the 2020 presidential primary process will boost its delegation to the second most powerful at the Democratic National Convention, state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said.

More >

Extras

President Donald Trump abruptly stalked out of a meeting with congressional leaders with a flat declaration he would no longer work with Democrats unless they drop all investigations in the aftermath of the special counsel’s Trump-Russia report.

Amid growing Democratic unrest with the White House stonewalling of House requests for documents and testimony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over a caucus meeting where five committee chairs spoke about the status of their investigations into Trump and his policies.

“We do believe it’s important to follow the facts, we believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States, and we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi said after the meeting.

The CEO of the company behind many of the recent mistakes in the installation of federally mandated crash-prevention technology on the LIRR declined an invitation for a public face-off with MTA leaders today — a move that some agency officials construed as disrespectful.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he isn’t planning on putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill next year and that a redesign of the currency won’t be issued until 2028.

A subway scoundrel has been terrorizing NYC’s already beleaguered underground by pulling the emergency brakes on trains during peak hours, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.

Billionaire Tom Steyer spent some $200,000 in Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s district to push for impeachment, arguing that launching an inquiry would put Nadler more in line with his voters, about 30,000 of whom have signed Steyer’s impeachment petition.

Members of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s police security detail are racking up overtime following him around the country for his longshot presidential campaign – despite a cap in OT for other cops on the job in the city.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced his support for the Climate and Community Protection Act in a letter to the state Legislature.

In a hotly contested seven-way Democratic primary for Queens district attorney, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has decided to endorse Tiffany Cabán, the candidate whose platform most echoes the first-term congresswoman’s.

Yesterday’s school budget votes proved once again New York’s school districts aren’t having much difficulty staying under – or overriding – the property tax cap.

NYC Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who chairs the Women and Gender Equity Committee, plans to introduce legislation to create an Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention within the mayor’s office.

New analysis of federal education data released by the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Capitol Region chapter today shows that districts across the region discipline students of color at higher rates than white students.

The federal monitor overseeing reforms at the New York City Housing Authority – art Schwartz of Guidepost Solutions – has already racked up a nearly $3 million bill — though officials won’t say what the money is being spent on.

Gentrifying neighborhoods are a key reason behind the vermin outbreak, which extends beyond New York — Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles are also confronting issues.

Niagara County lawmakers are opposed to a state bill that would declare New York State a “sanctuary state” for immigrants living in the country illegally

Acting Adirondack Park Agency Chair Karen Feldman resigned her post this month after unsuccessful attempts to get paid for the full-time work she was doing at the Ray Brook-based state agency, she told the Adirondack Explorer.

Adding to a groundswell of concern over the New York City education department’s pending takeover of publicly funded preschool and daycare programs, all five borough presidents are calling on the city to scrap its plans and start over.

Acting state Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell today announced that Justin Herring will be appointed Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Department’s newly created Cybersecurity Division.

Cuomo, at a fundraiser with LGBTQ advocates on Tuesday, said state lawmakers must approve a bill legalizing gestational surrogacy in New York by the end of the legislative session, due to conclude next month.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no interviews or public events yet announced.

Vice President Mike Pence travels to Charlotte, NC today, where he will participate in the RNC convention kickoff, tour of Parkdale Mills and deliver remarks there before heading to Greensboro, NC.

In Greensboro, Pence will participate in a Trump Victory Event and then return to Washington, D.C.

At 9 a.m., the MTA Board meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications meets, Room 123, state Capitol, Albany.

At 9:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Domestic Animal Welfare meets, Room 813, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance meets jointly with the Committee on General Welfare, the Committee on Justice System, the Committee on Juvenile Justice, the Committee on Parks and Recreation and the Subcommittee on Capital Budget, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a roundtable for ethnic and community media and sign a related executive order, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11 a.m. Westchester County Executive Latimer signs two executive orders, one mandating groundwater testing going forward for many contaminants, including PFAS, and a second to effectively ban the use of PFAS at the Westchester County Airport as soon as permitted by Federal law, 3rd Fl. Observation Deck, Westchester County Airport, 240 Airport Rd., White Plains.

At noon, small business owners, construction workers and contractors will rally regarding the impact the state’s proposed changes to rent laws will have on jobs and small businesses, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

Also at noon, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilman Daniel Dromm and others join a broad-based coalition of LGBTQ+ groups to launch a major initiative to elect LGBTQ candidates to the New York City Council in 2021, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held to celebrate the opening of a Retro Fitness gym at the Empire State Plaza, southwest concourse, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., Rep. Gregory Meeks and the Queens Democratic Party host a fireside chat with 2020 Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Queens.

Also at 1 p.m., the state Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development holds a public hearing on rent regulation and tenant protection legislation, Van Buren Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building, second floor, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Justice System holds an oversight hearing on preparing for the implementation of bail, speedy trial and discovery reform, which the State Legislature passed in its FY20 Budget, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs discusses the 2020 delegate selection plan, which includes setting the date for the 2020 New York presidential primary, and reducing the timeframe for voters to switch party affiliations, Albany Labor Temple, 890 3rd St., Albany.

At 3 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at an event announcing the first annual Yankees-Stonewall Scholars recipients, The Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz holds a campaign fundraiser, The Blackthorn, 2134 Seneca St., Buffalo.

At 6 p.m., Citizens Union hosts its annual “Spring for Reform” event, featuring a panel discussion on the 2020 Census, moderated by NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan, and featuring NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca, NYC Census Director Julie Menin and ABNY Executive Vice President Melva Miller, Manhattan Penthouse. 80 5th Avenue, Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the U.S. Navy reception in honor of Fleet Week New York 2019, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House, 1 Bowling Green, Manhattan.

This evening, McCray and de Blasio will host an annual Iftar dinner at Gracie Mansion in honor of Ramadan. This event is closed press.

Headlines…

The state Assembly passed a bill to allow prosecutors to pursue state charges in some instances in which a person has received a presidential pardon, and the measure now heads to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it.

The bill, sponsored by Long Island Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, was created to close a “double jeopardy” loophole in the state’s legislation that makes it harder to prosecute someone who has received a pardon.

“Right now the president’s threatened use of the pardon power is very troubling. It would be done to undermine an investigation to help out friends and family members,” Kaminsky said.

The Legislature today is expected to pass a separate bill that would allow three congressional committees to seek Trump’s state tax returns; that bill also has the support of Cuomo, a Democrat in his third term.

The Internal Revenue Service has no choice but to honor congressional requests for Trump’s tax returns unless he invokes executive privilege to protect them, according to a draft legal memo written by agency staff members.

A rising number of Democratic lawmakers have begun to call for an impeachment inquiry – a sign of increasing frustration with their inability to obtain interviews with and information from Trump administration officials following the release of the special counsel’s report.

Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted Trump for shaming him for abandoning Pennsylvania — an attack line the president deployed at his Montoursville, Pennsylvania, rally Monday night.

North Korea criticized Biden as a “fool of low IQ” after the presidential hopeful called the country’s leader Kim Jong Un a “dictator and tyrant.”

Anita Hill, whose treatment during U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing has become an issue in the 2020 campaign, said she worries that the Democratic women in the race “are not being taken seriously as presidential candidates.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram this week to open up about the “myths” surrounding working in Congress, writing that “I do see members on the brink of tears quite often.”

Instagram has launched an investigation after a database containing private data linked to millions of accounts was allegedly exposed online without a password.

U.S. government debt prices were slightly higher this morning, as investors await the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting.

New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, subpoenaed former White House communications director Hope Hicks and an aide to former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the panel.

Lawyers for Trump will appear before a Manhattan judge today to argue that House Democrats shouldn’t be allowed to get their hands on the commander in chief’s financial records through a subpoena — a position that failed to win over a Washington, DC, judge earlier this week.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is entering a new phase of his White House bid, nodding more forcefully to a part of his background that distinguishes him from nearly all of his campaign rivals: his military service.

A federal judge in Mississippi expressed deep skepticism about a state law that bans abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, sending a signal that attempts across the country to pass near total bans on abortion might not easily withstand judicial scrutiny.

The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

Attorney Michael Avenatti said yesterday that he expects to be indicted on charges related to his March arrest within 48 hours.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s been pleading with people to pledge as little as a buck to support his quixotic bid for the White House, has hired a “lean and mean” presidential campaign team of just five people, because he’s not sure if he’ll be a viable candidate.

De Blasio has the highest negative rating among all 23 Democratic presidential contenders — as a staggering 45 percent of American voters don’t like him, a new Quinnipiac University poll revealed.

During a CNN interview, the mayor professed his love for ska — the Jamaican music genre that fused with punk in the mid-1990s.

More >

Extras

The House Judiciary Committee gaveled in to an empty witness chair for the second time this month after former White House counsel Don McGahn did not appear after he was subpoenaed.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler subpoenaed former White House officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson to testify before his committee and provide documents related to a sweeping probe of figures in President Donald Trump’s orbit.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has expressed reluctance to him testifying publicly in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tussled awkwardly with freshman Rep. Katie Porter, a California Democrat, at a hearing over HUD real estate owned — or REO — homes, at one point asking if she was referring to an “Oreo.”

Cardi B has reportedly canceled a concert this weekend due to complications from plastic surgery.

A law firm has completed its investigation into how a racist photo appeared on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page 35 years ago, and is expected to release the results tomorrow.

Masten Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo, who has been barred from Buffalo Public Schools property after bringing a loaded gun inside Riverside High School last week, is stepping down as chairman of the Common Council’s Education Committee until an investigation is completed.

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere fancied himself an all-powerful “grandmaster” to his harem of sex slaves, yet ran and hid in a closet when the feds stormed his Mexico hideout, a witness testified.

The incoming chair of the New York State Republican Party, Erie County GOP Chair Nick Langworthy, said he would focus on local elections and building the party’s small-donor base when he formally takes the reins in July.

Seth Agata, executive director of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, will leave the top staff post at the watchdog entity near the end of June to join a law firm in Manhattan.

Three Brooklyn women at the head of a Coney Island affordable-housing development pocketed more than $870,000 in bribes to help fast-track prospective tenants into in-demand apartments, authorities alleged.

Sea levels could rise more than 6 feet over the next century, flooding major coastal cities such as the Big Apple and displacing millions of people around the globe in a “catastrophic” disaster, a new study warns.

New York’s spending on elementary and secondary education reached a record $23,091 per pupil in 2017, once again topping all other states in this category, according to the latest U.S. Census data.

In a would-be “open letter” circulated privately on May 11 to state elected officials, along with a request for their signature, Sen. Alessandra Biaggi called on Bronx Councilman Reuben Diaz Sr. to step down from the post he’s held since 2017.

Karen Feldman, the former acting chair of the state Adirondack Park Agency, has left the board, leaving more than one-third of the board’s appointed seats open.

The powerful state teachers union NYSUT has agreed to a $100,000 settlement to resolve allegations its top officials violated state election law.

New legislation would require New Yorkers to be at least 21 years old to purchase nitrous oxide chargers that are commonly used to make whipped cream and fill balloons.

Legislation before New York state lawmakers would create a new tax break for restaurants that donate oyster shells for environmental conservation.

The UB Foundation paid former Vice President Joe Biden $200,000 for his October 2018 speech in Alumni Arena, according to documents The Spectrum obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

DressBarn is closing the door on all 650 of its stores, including four in the Buffalo Niagara market. No closing date has been set, and operations will continue as usual for now, the chain’s owner, Ascena Retail Group, said.

Singer Ciara got into Harvard.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has not yet released his public schedule for the day, if he has one.

The state Legislature is in session.

At 8:15 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and New York City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal attend the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District’s annual meeting, Fordham University School of Law, Costantino Room, Skadden Conference Center, 150 W. 62nd St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Health meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 9 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli gives remarks at the Police Conference of New York Convention, High Peaks Resort, 2384 Saranac Ave., Lake Placid.

Also at 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the legislative breakfast for Prescribed to Death – a Memorial to Victims of the Opioid Crisis, Empire State Plaza convention center, Albany.

At 9:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Cities meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 9:30 a.m., NYC Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer and Carlos Menchaca gather to urge the city to reconsider proposed cuts this year to libraries, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 9:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Higher Education meets, Room 913, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 9:30 a.m., the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission holds a public hearing, 1 Centre St., ninth floor, Manhattan.

At 9:45 a.m., state Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin hold a press conference calling on lawmakers to ban the sale of crib bumper pads, fourth floor lobby, state Capitol, Albany.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance meets jointly with the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management and the Committee on Transportation, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Consumer Protection meets, Room 901, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Finance meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Elections meets, Room 904, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., state Sens. Gustavo Rivera and Tim Kennedy hold a press conference highlighting amendments to Dakota’s Law and calling for its swift passage, LCA Press Room, Legislative Office Building, Room 130, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities meets, Room 946A, state Capitol, Albany.

At 10:45 a.m., state Republican Chairman Ed Cox and Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy will hold a joint press conference following their transition meeting in Albany, NYGOP Headquarters, 315 State St.

At 11 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and New York City Councilwoman Diana Ayala celebrate the opening of Tres Puentes, a 175-unit affordable senior housing campus, 295 E. 138th St., Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the NYS Emergency Medical Services Providers memorial service, Empire State Plaza, Tree of Life Memorial, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., state Assemblyman David Weprin participates in the New York State Council for the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision’s Spring Meeting, DCJS Alfred E. Smith Office Building, 80 South Swan St., Room 118, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn joins County Executive Steve Bellone, Krista Bertschi, who lost her son Anthony to substance abuse in 2017, and local sports coaches to announce a new program to provide substance abuse training to high school athletic coaches to further combat addiction among student athletes, Ward Melville High School, 380 Old Town Rd., East Setauket.

At 11:15 a.m., a statewide coalition of environmentalists and climate activists advocate for statewide climate legislation that would block all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects and transition to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2030, Senate Gallery, state Capitol, Albany.

At noon, the state Senate Committee on Children and Families meets, Room 915, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at noon, state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and state Sen. Jessica Ramos hold a press conference, Legislative Office Building, LCA Pressroom 130, Albany.

Also at noon, leaders from major national labor and civil rights groups will stand with Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and other elected officials and members of the Start SMART NY coalition to call for marijuana regulation for adult use to address the devastating impact of marijuana prohibition on families and communities, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at noon, NYC Councilman Rory Lancman, candidate for Queens District Attorney, announces his plan for protecting “revenge porn” victims, Goldberg PLLC, 16 Court St., 33rd floor, Brooklyn.

At 12:30 p.m., Hochul discusses career opportunities in state government at NYS 4-H Capital Days, NYS Museum, Huxley Theater, 222 Madison Ave., Albany.

Also at 12:30, Assembly Republican lawmakers will hold a press conference to push for the passage of Ramona’s Law, back of the Assembly chamber, third floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 1 p.m., state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas holds a press conference to discuss legislation to expand protections for employees experiencing harassment and discrimination, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., Hochul highlights New York’s efforts as an “age-friendly” state at the Older New Yorkers Appreciation Day, The Egg, Hart Lounge, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the CARD Act at the House Triangle with various consumer groups, Washington, D.C.

At 3 p.m., the state state Senate is in session, Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany.

At 5:30 p.m., Planned Parenthood of New York City and its supporters will speak out and fight back to #StopTheBans on abortion, as part of a National Day of Action, Foley Square, Manhattan. (NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at approximately 6 p.m., and LG Kathy Hochul will also speak).

At 6:30 p.m., Diaz Jr. hosts his annual Dominican Culture & Heritage Celebration, Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

At 7 p.m., DiNapoli attends the Legislative Correspondents’ Association Show, The State Room, 100 State St., Albany.

Headlines…

A federal judge in Washington has ruled against President Donald Trump in a financial records dispute with Congress, saying he cannot block the House subpoena of financial records.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is threatening to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt if he does not testify publicly today before Congress.

Standing in front of thousands of supporters at a rally in north central Pennsylvania, Trump leveled multiple attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads Trump in an early poll in the state.

“Don’t forget: Biden deserted you,” Trump told the crowd as he was ending his speech at a campaign rally in Montoursville. “He left you for another state.”

Despite backlash from Trump and Republican leadership, Rep. Justin Amash has renewed his calls for impeachment and explained why the president’s supporters are wrong about his innocence.

“I’ve known him and he’s been against Trump from the beginning,” the president told reporters outside the White House when asked about Amash’s comments. “He probably wants to run for some other office. I don’t think he’d do very well. He’s been a loser for a long time.”

Trump lashed out at The New York Times, disputing the paper’s reporting on his relationship with Deutsche Bank and launching into a broader criticism of the news media.

Sen. Christopher Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said that several of his Republican colleagues had “privately expressed concerns” about the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign.

Michael Cohen told lawmakers one of Trump’s personal attorneys asked him to falsely testify to Congress and told him the president was considering granting him a pardon to “shut down” the Russia investigation, according to transcripts of Cohen’s two private interviews with the House Intelligence Committee.

Cohen also said that he had discussed the possibility of a “global pardon” with one of the president’s attorneys – a move that Cohen said was meant to “shut this whole thing down.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos used her personal email accounts for government business in “limited” cases and did not always properly save messages, according to an internal investigation released yesterday.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to change the way it calculates the health risks of air pollution, a shift that would make it easier to roll back a key climate change rule because it would result in far fewer predicted deaths from pollution.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pipe-dream presidential campaign has quietly opened a headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn that’s operating with a tiny staff and limited resources, he revealed.

New presidential candidate de Blasio already has spent far more time in key battleground states this year than in Albany, despite the fact that a battle over renewing the NYC rent laws is looming, his public schedule shows.

De Blasio launched a probe of the NYC taxi market following a damning report that claimed industry leaders duped drivers with predatory loans and artificially inflated the costs of cab medallions for years, leading to their eventual collapse.

The state attorney general’s office also said it had opened an inquiry into more than a decade of lending practices that left thousands of immigrant taxi drivers in crushing debt. The efforts marked the government’s first steps toward addressing a crisis that has engulfed the city’s yellow cab industry.

NYC Department of Education brass are targeting a “white-supremacy culture” among school administrators by disparaging ideas like “individualism,” “objectivity” and “worship of the written word.”

State lawmakers are looking to fatten pensions of the most recently hired government workers by undoing some Tier 6 reforms that were approved to control runaway costs.

Legislation passed in the state Senate would allow law enforcement and firefighters to carry EpiPens to help save lives.

New York City’s economy remained strong in the first quarter of the year, buoyed by record-low unemployment, according to a report by Comptroller Scott Stringer.

More >

Extras

President Donald Trump called for an investigation into financial ties between China and the family of former Vice President J0e Biden, the current front-runner in a crowded Democratic 2020 field, and the candidate Trump’s advisers believe could pose the biggest potential threat to his re-election.

Two days after GOP Rep. Justin Amash claimed that Trump committed impeachable offenses, a Michigan state representative has stepped forward to challenge him in the primary election. ​

Trump is preparing to instruct his former White House counsel, Donald McGahn, to defy a congressional subpoena and skip a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, denying Democrats testimony from one of the most important eyewitnesses to the president’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation.

The U.S. government says a 16-year-old Guatemalan died today at a Border Patrol station in South Texas, the fifth death of a migrant child apprehended by border agents since December.

Trump has grown increasingly willing in recent months to use profanity, saying in public what most of his predecessors tried to keep behind closed doors.

Keith Raniere kicked, whipped and planned to jail women in a “dungeon” for what he viewed as their indiscretions as part of his secret “master/slave” club, former NXIVM official Lauren Salzman testified.

Membership in the “sex cult” NXIVM required a vow of secrecy about all things related to its leader — including the location of his 15-year-old mistress, Salzman said.

A witness who reported that a man was walking with a rifle this morning on Route 146 – a sighting that prompted Shenendehowa to lock-in students – may have mistaken an umbrella for a weapon, Saratoga County sheriff’s investigators said.

Cuomo declared a state of emergency for eight counties affected by rising water levels on Lake Ontario, including Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence that runs through Sept. 1.

Queens Democrats are hosting the mayor Wednesday for a “fireside chat” about his 2020 White House bid — South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, that is.

Buttigieg has been spending almost 50 percent of his time away from South Bend, since February after he announced his exploratory committee for president in January.

A meatpacking company owned by a pair of shady Brazilian brothers already under scrutiny for receiving $62 million in federal bailouts was given another turn at the government trough, receiving $2 million more from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The scores of New York’s nursing homes dipped to an average of 3.19 out of 5 stars in the federal government’s latest Nursing Home Compare report card, down from 3.33 in January. But the state average remains better than the national average.

Subway trains are running the best they have in a half decade, with trains arriving on schedule about 80 percent of the time on weekdays in April – though not yet to the standard of New York City Transit President Andy Byford.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has turned to Facebook in an 11th hour scramble to meet the 65,000 donor threshold that would help him secure a coveted spot in the first Democratic presidential candidates’ debate next month.

EJ McMahon: “New York’s Common Retirement Fund (CRF) fell nearly two percentage points short of its investment earnings target last year – and the state’s other major public pension funds are on the same sub-par track.” (He’s not surprised).

Although puzzled by how long it’s taking, all three state legislators representing Seneca County are confident that Cuomo will sign the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act of 2019.

Live Nation says Cardi B has postponed her upcoming concert at St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview due to “circumstances beyond her control.”

Many of the properties likely to face fines under New York City’s recently adopted “Green New Deal” are older brick apartment buildings across the city, and the prospect has residents fretting about the costs and consequences.

An upstate New York doctor is fighting a $50 fine on principle — and so far it’s cost her $60,000.

Fifty years ago, Catholic priests who sexually abused children in the Buffalo Diocese would have no worries about getting arrested. But they had to worry about something else: Monsignor Franklin M. Kelliher, a stocky, tough-as-nails former boxing champion who also fought as a professional wrestler known as “The Masked Marvel.”

Needing cash, facing declining membership, and reeling from a Department of Justice investigation that could land its former director in prison next month, the legendary Friars Club is hoping for a return to its former glory with some modern touches.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has not yet released his public schedule for the day.

The state Legislature is in session.

Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Jacksonville, FL, where he will deliver remarks at a America First Policies event USMCA: A Better Deal for American Workers, tour a P-8 aircraft, and deliver remarks to service members before returning to D.C.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be in Connecticut today, returning to NYC sometime before the mayor’s live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” with Errol Louis at 7 p.m.

At 9 a.m., NYC Councilman Antonio Reynoso and NYC Council Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger call for the renewal of Extended Learning Time funding, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., state Sen. Todd Kaminsky and his colleagues in the Legislature will address the issue of potentially toxic mercury vapor in schools and propose legislation on the topic, 55 Front St., Rockville Center, Long Island.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance meets jointly with the Committee on Education and the Committee on Economic Development, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. holds a press conference and Mental Health Is Public Health white paper launch, Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

Also at 10 a.m., the Assembly Standing Committee on Banks and the Assembly Standing Committee on Local Governments holds a public hearing on State and Municipal Deposits in Credit Unions, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, second floor, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., firefighters from across the state will be in Albany to meet with their legislators to discuss bills of interest and importance, a press conference focused on EMS cost recovery for fire departments will kick off the day, Meeting Room 7, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul addresses middle and high school students at the New York Sun Works Youth Conference, Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway and 95th Street, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 611, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Local Government meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 801, Albany.

Also at 11:30 a.m., leaders in the fight against Amazon HQ2 rally and release a bold platform to transform economic development in New York along with state legislators sponsoring groundbreaking legislation, Million Dollar Staircase, Albany.

At noon, the state Senate Committee on Codes meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and state Sen. Jen Metzger are joined by middle school students at a rally in support of legislation to encourage oyster recycling and Save the Hudson River press conference, LCA Pressroom, LOB 130, Albany.

Also at 12:30 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the Foreign Policy Association Luncheon with Quebec Premier Francois Legault, The St. Regis, 2 E. 55th St., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., state Assemblyman Chris Tague will be unveiling legislation to give an income tax exemption to volunteer firefighters, EMS personnel and emergency medical service providers at a press conference, back of Assembly chamber, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m, Hochul highlights a $175 million workforce development investment during a tour of a state-supported program, Per Scholas Inc‎., Pfizer Building‎, 6th Floor, 630 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn.

At 3 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

At 6 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts a reception for her gallery’s “Flâneur in New York” exhibit and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 1 Centre St., 19th floor South, Manhattan.

Headlines…

After more than two years of study and deliberation, President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have decided to take a businessman’s approach to Middle East peace: They will try to buy their way to a deal.

Trump urged Republicans to stay “UNITED” on abortion in a series of tweets late Saturday night and wrote that he is “strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother.”

Trump threatened to destroy Iran in a tweet sent in the wake of reports that a rocket was fired into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone less than a mile away from the US Embassy.

Trump said he was “very happy” with the trade war and that China wouldn’t become the world’s top superpower under his watch.

U.S. government debt prices were lower this morning, as investors prepared for comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Trump attorney and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said he would like to put California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff “under oath” and see what he knows since he once claimed to have evidence of collusion on Trump.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg shrugged off trolling by Trump, who likened him to “Mad” magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman last week, during a Fox News town hall where he laid out stances on abortions and taxes.

The US Golf Association is probing whether Trump’s golf scores were hacked after someone posted abysmal numbers under his name on the association’s handicap-tracking system last week.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said his progressive political message appeals to voters across the country and his brand of New York campaigning has enough heft to unseat Trump.

Giuliani ridiculed de Blasio’s presidential aspirations, ripping him as “Big Bird” who “doesn’t go to work.”

De Blasio was welcomed in South Carolina Saturday by a retired NYPD officer who was protesting him.

New Yorkers who survived 9/11 are experiencing a massive surge in aggressive brain cancers as dollars for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund continue to dry up, leaving them wondering in their final days who will support their families once they’re gone.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Commerce Department to investigate whether a Chinese state-owned company’s proposal to design new subway cars for the MTA could pose a threat to national security.

The state Democratic Party is holding a special meeting this week to consider the rules for the 2020 primary, which it hopes to hold on April 28. As part of the formal selection process for delegates, it will consider amendments that would let more voters participate in selecting the Democratic nominee.

NYC Councilman Kalman Yeger, who was booted off the City Council’s Immigration Committee last month for tweeting, “Palestine does not exist,” is now demanding a rival, Councilman Carlos Menchaca, receive the same treatment for opposing the addition of certain sex offenses to a list of crimes warranting deportation.

State prison inmates may finally be guaranteed placement near their kids, thanks to the Democratic-controlled Legislature installed a few months ago.

Competition from Uber and Lyft has shattered New York’s yellow taxi business, cratering driver earnings and sending medallion values plummeting, data obtained by the Daily News shows.

A free-lunch pilot program for Jewish and Muslim NYC school kids with religious dietary restrictions has been plagued by delays, two politicians charge.

Legislation is making its way through the Capitol that would let New Yorkers obtain a one-day authorization to officiate weddings.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Rep. Justin Amash, an iconoclastic Republican of Michigan who has considered a run against President Trump in 2020, became the first member of his party serving in Congress to publicly suggest that the president’s conduct had reached the “threshold of impeachment.”

Trump responded by calling Amash a “total lightweight” who is causing controversy solely for “the sake of getting his name out there.”

The Trump administration has warned Congress that the flow of unaccompanied migrant children at the southern border has increased even further than it anticipated just a few weeks ago and may require an additional $1.4 billion to provide housing and care.

Well-wired Democrats say the massive 2020 primary field means that the nominee may still be unclear when Democrats head to Milwaukee for their mid-July convention.

Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger was attacked on Saturday by a man who kicked him in the back at a sports event in South Africa that the action hero was hosting.

Responding to a series of highly restrictive abortion laws aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade, several Democratic presidential candidates have called on Congress to codify abortion rights, signaling a newly aggressive approach in a debate whose terms have long been set by conservatives.

The series of abortion restrictions recently passed by states may appear to present a united front and a coordinated political campaign. Instead they reflect a sustained effort by a network of disparate activists, each with their own strategy honed over decades of work.

Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal told reporters “you can’t say you’re a Democrat…if you’re against abortion.” Jayapal, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, reportedly called for “strong primary challenges” against candidates who weren’t as bold on that issue.

Boeing has reportedly admitted for the first time that there was a flaw in its 737 MAX flight simulators.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the president “is doing the right thing” by ignoring congressional subpoenas.

Commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced he will donate an estimated $40 million to pay off the student debt for the 400 students graduating at the historically black, all-male Morehouse College.

Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic 2020 contender, said that she would end the detention of immigrants if elected to the White House.

Steve Wynn, the billionaire former casino mogul who resigned as chairman of Wynn Resorts and as finance chairman of the RNC last year after The Wall Street Journal revealed allegations of sexual assault and harassment spanning decades, has recently donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the committee.

Porn actress Stormy Daniels has agreed to dismiss a lawsuit that accused her former lawyer of colluding with Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to have her deny having an affair with Trump.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani says “no one really respects” ex-FBI director James Comey “or wants to hear from him.”

Crooked college consultant William “Rick” Singer reportedly advised some of his rich white clients to pretend their kids were “minorities” in order to gain entry to elite universities.

Former Vice President Joe Biden returned to Pennsylvania, the state of his birth, on Saturday to deliver a forceful call for national unity, looking past the Democratic presidential primary to directly appeal to the voters who helped power Trump’s victory in this state and across the country in 2016.

Trump has requested the immediate preparation of paperwork needed to pardon several American military members accused or convicted of war crimes — including high-profile cases of murder, attempted murder and desecration of a corpse — indicating that he is considering pardons for the men on or around Memorial Day.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio once said Democrats would have the best shot at taking back the White House if they ignored Trump. Now that he’s officially running himself, he seems to have had a change of heart.

De Blasio acknowledged that he may not qualify for the first presidential debate next month – by raising contributions from 65,000 individual donors – but argued it isn’t a sign about his overall chances of winning the Democratic nomination.

Last month, de Blasio gave the city’s Board of Elections the opportunity to open 100 poll sites for early voting and get $75 million, but the board has not jumped at the offer, so far selecting only 38 early poll sites across the city.

The mayor’s presidential dreams had better not make him too neglectful of his day job — or he could lose it, under a never-used clause in the NYC charter.

De Blasio got thrown his first curveball in the early days of his quixotic presidential campaign Saturday as a prominent South Carolina Democratic activist urged him not to battle Trump in the gutter.

The mayor attacked Trump for allegedly violating a federal law banning the use of government resources in politics — even though de Blasio filmed his own campaign announcement inside Gracie Mansion.

More >

Extras

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal had warned that if the Treasury Department did not comply with a 5 p.m. deadline today to hand over President Trump’s tax returns, he’d likely to sue the department “as quickly as next week.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded this afternoon that the department would not be turning over the returns to the committee.

The Missouri House passed restrictive abortion bill prohibiting abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, though many women often don’t know they’re pregnant in that time. The bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies but not for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in an OpEd that he’s unimpressed with Joe Biden’s chances of capturing the Democratic presidential nomination, let alone of winning in a matchup against President Trump.

Trump renewed his attacks on House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler in a tweet that suggested that Hillary Clinton’s missing emails were still getting under his skin.

Amid a new round of tariff battles between the U.S. and China on each other’s exports, China has recalled two cute giant pandas from the San Diego Zoo in California.

Mnuchin won more than $200,000 in a lawsuit against a private-jet company after he claimed the company broke an agreement to reimburse him after he terminated his membership.

In a major education policy speech set to be delivered tomorrow, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will call for a ban on all for-profit charter schools, a position that puts him directly at odds with the Trump administration and becoming the first of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to insist on such a move.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whose 2020 campaign is lagging, is now reorganizing her online operations and trying to turn around her political and financial fortunes with her high-profile criticism of the new laws in Georgia, Alabama and other states that drastically restrict abortions.

Ulysees Wingo, a Buffalo Common Council member, has been barred from stepping foot on Buffalo Public School property after bringing a gun inside a high school earlier this week, district officials said.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped away from the criticism in his hometown to engage curiosity in Iowa, making his first stop as a presidential candidate in the middle of farm country to demonstrate his interest in agricultural issues and take shots at Trump.

De Blasio’s first stop was an ethanol plant in Gowrie, a town of about 1,000.

De Blasio said he’s not ready to release policy proposals for his 2020 presidential bid, even though he’s been toying with the idea of a White House run for five months.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Franke, a law firm to which de Blasio owes more than $300,000 in unpaid legal bills, has targeted the mayor’s office – and even the mayor himself – to lobby for clients that include Disney.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed pay records for a retired Long Island Rail Road worker who earned more money than anyone else at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year, as well as the records of more than a dozen other MTA employees.

State Sen. Tim Kennedy, chair of the Transportation Committee, said he’s blocking legislation aimed at outlawing pedestrians who text while walking across the street.

The northeastern U.S.’s largest supplier of natural gas stopped processing new customer applications in New York City and Long Island after the Cuomo administration blocked a major pipeline project.

The MTA would be forced to install elevators at any subway station undergoing a closure or renovation of at least six months under a new state bill.

The meetings of the secret master-slave society started by NXIVM leader Keith Raniere occurred three times a week. They began with all the women stripping naked. Then they posed for a picture to be sent to him.

The Cayuga Power Plant in Lansing will end its coal operations and reopen as a data storage center if all goes according to company plans.

The time off for voting law approved by the Legislature earlier this year is a problem for schools.

RIP, Grumpy Cat.