Happening Today: Comey Book, 'Scooter' Libby, Syria, Naloxone, Cannes Film Festival - NBC New York

Happening Today: Comey Book, 'Scooter' Libby, Syria, Naloxone, Cannes Film Festival

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    What to Know

    • Former FBI Director James Comey blasts President Donald Trump as unethical and "untethered to truth" in a sharply critical new book

    • Cities like Baltimore are feeling the financial squeeze as they rely on naloxone to try and counteract rising overdose rates

    • Cannes Film Festival organizers unveiled the 18 movies competing for the Palme d'Or prize next month

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    In New Book, Comey Blasts Trump's Presidential Leadership

    Former FBI Director James Comey blasts President Trump as unethical and "untethered to truth" in a sharply critical new book that describes Trump as fixated in the early days of his administration on having the FBI debunk salacious rumors he insisted were untrue but could distress his wife. In the forthcoming book, Comey compares Trump to a mafia don and calls his leadership of the country "ego driven and about personal loyalty." He also reveals new details about his interactions with Trump and his own decision-making in handling the Hillary Clinton email investigation before the 2016 election. He casts Trump as a mobster-like figure who sought to blur the line between law enforcement and politics and tried to pressure him personally regarding his investigation into Russian election interference. The book adheres closely to Comey's public testimony and written statements about his contacts with Trump and his growing concern about Trump's integrity. It also includes strikingly personal jabs at Trump that appear sure to irritate the president. The book, "A Higher Loyalty," is to be released next week.

    President Trump Plans to Pardon Libby in CIA Leak Case

    President Trump plans to pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the onetime chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney, an administration official told NBC News. Libby was convicted in March 2007 of lying to authorities and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of a CIA operative's identity. President George W. Bush later commuted the sentence, sparing Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case. Bush, however, did not grant a pardon. At his sentencing a decade ago, Libby's lawyers wrapped their client in the flag, but the tactic didn’t work. In the end, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Libby’s lies in the Valerie Plame affair outweighed his public service, from the Cold War to the Iraq war. Walton sentenced Cheney’s former chief of staff to 2½ years in prison for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation — the probe that showed a White House obsessed with criticism of its decision to go to war.

    Trump Puts Off Syria Strike Decision, Will Talk to Allies

    President Trump put off a final decision on possibly military strikes against Syria after tweeting earlier they could happen "very soon or not so soon at all." The White House said he would consult further with allies. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned such an attack carried the risk of spinning out of control, suggesting caution ahead of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that U.S. officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons. British officials said up to 75 people were killed. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a brief statement after Trump met with Mattis and other members of his National Security Council: "No final decision has been made. We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies." Sanders said Trump would speak later with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasized that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated. And he insisted it remains U.S. policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

    In Opioid Epidemic, Some Cities Strain to Afford ODAntidote

    On a Baltimore street corner, public health workers hand out a life-saving overdose antidote to residents painfully familiar with the ravages of America's opioid epidemic. But the training wraps up quickly; all the naloxone inhalers are claimed within 20 minutes. Cities like Baltimore are feeling the financial squeeze as they rely on naloxone to try and counteract rising overdose rates. Some hard-hit communities across the country are struggling to pay for dosages even at reduced prices. With more overdoses driven by synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil — so potent it's used as an elephant tranquilizer — naloxone remains pricey enough that Baltimore's health department is rationing supplies, stretching a dwindling stockpile of inhalers. Last year, the city distributed more than 25,000 doses, up from about 19,000 in 2016. In Charleston, West Virginia, the health department reported it has only 159 doses remaining, most allocated for community classes in coming days. A two-dose carton of Narcan — a brand name for naloxone inhalers — has list prices of about $125.

    Spike Lee, Godard Films to Compete at Netflix-Free Cannes

    The director of the Cannes Film Festival called the allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein "an earthquake" for the movie industry — but he said the quality of films, not gender quotas, remained the top factor in selecting this year's lineup. Organizers unveiled the 18 movies competing for the Palme d'Or prize next month, with a lineup that includes new movies by Spike Lee and Jean-Luc Godard. "The world is not the same anymore," Thierry Fremaux told reporters, referring to the Weinstein scandal. "But the movies we selected have been chosen for their intrinsic qualities. There will never be a positive discrimination." Although Fremaux said he recognized the importance of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, he said the selection process for the festival should not include gender quotas, and that all the female directors he has spoken with agreed with him. Only three female directors — Nadine Labaki, Alice Rohrwacher and Eva Husson — are on the list of 18 competing movies. Fremaux said a fourth female filmmaker could be added to the competition before the May 8-19 event starts on the French Riviera.

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