FORMER ACTING AG TESTIFIES ABOUT WARNINGS SHE GAVE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ABOUT FLYNN/RUSSIA TIES: "We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public and because we believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians," Yates said. "To state the obvious," she added later, "you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians." Trump shouldered into the conversation in the morning, tweeting that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Lt. Gen. Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired from his high position by the Obama administration in 2014.
MOON RISES OVER SOUTH KOREA: Exit polls in South Korea forecast that liberal candidate Moon Jae-in will win an election Tuesday to succeed ousted President Park Geun-hye, who was arrested in March for alleged corruption. A win by Moon would end a decade of conservative rule in South Korea and could result in sharp departures from recent policy toward nuclear-armed North Korea. Official results weren't expected for hours, but the exit poll of about 89,000 voters at 330 polling stations, jointly commissioned by three major television stations and released just after polls closed, showed Moon receiving 41.4 percent of the vote. His two main rivals, conservative Hong Joon-pyo and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, were expected to garner 23.3 percent and 21.8 percent, respectively, according to the exit poll, which had a margin of error of 0.8 percentage points.
SCOTT PRUITT GUTS EPA'S SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COUNCIL TO MAKE ROOM FOR INDUSTRY HACKS: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has chosen to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the agency evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations. The move could significantly change the makeup of the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors, which advises EPA’s key scientific arm on whether the research it does has sufficient rigor and integrity. All of the members being dismissed were at the end of serving at least one three-year term, although these terms are often renewed instead of terminated.
LEGISLATIVE REPUBLICANS HOPING FOR LESS CONTENTIOUS BUDGET PROCESS: After a quiet post-crossover week, state House and Senate leaders say they're on track to complete the budget early this year, aiming to avoid a lengthy stalemate. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has tentatively scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to roll out the Senate's spending plan. In this biennium, it's the Senate's turn to begin the process. In recent years, the House and the Senate have released proposals that varied widely in terms of spending growth and policy initiatives. In 2015, battles over budget provisions kept lawmakers in Raleigh till Oct. 1. Rabon said the plan is to hear the measure in committees on Wednesday, hold Senate floor votes on Thursday and Friday and then send it to the House. However, he said House and Senate leaders have not yet agreed on whether the Senate's ambitious tax cut plan, passed in a separate bill, would be included or figured into the budget deal.
GUN SALES DROP IN WAKE OF TRUMP PRESIDENCY: The fickle nature of firearms sales and its effect on stock trading was on full display again Monday. Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. reported after the market closed a 4.5 percent decrease in first-quarter net income to $22.2 million, along with a 3.3 percent drop in net sales to $167.3 million. The sales and profit declines were expected by analysts given it was the first full quarter of sales since the Trump administration took office Jan. 20 with a decidedly pro-gun policy that eased fears of heightened restrictions. Since Donald Trump’s victory, firearms manufacturers have faced slumping share prices, in a sense becoming victims of their own political lobbying success.