TFK Top Stories

May 18, 2017
Special Counsel Picked for Russia Probe

On May 17, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Former FBI chief Robert Mueller will lead the probe. Mueller ran the FBI from 2001 to 2013. He is a former Marine decorated for his service in Vietnam. He also once served as assistant to the U.S. attorney general and ran the criminal division of the Justice Department.


As special counsel, Mueller will look for evidence that officials from President Donald Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to influence the election on his behalf. Mueller’s appointment comes a week after Trump fired James Comey as FBI chief, who had been leading the Russia investigation. Mueller is likely to explore what, if anything, Trump’s decision to fire Comey had to do with the probe. Trump responded to Mueller’s appointment in a statement. “A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know—there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” he said. “I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.”

The Circus Leaves Town

After 146 years, the most famous circus of all is coming to an end. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will put on its final show on May 21 in Uniondale, New York. Declining attendance, high operating costs, and pressure from animal rights groups to stop using elephants as performers contributed to the decision to shut down the circus. Of Ringling’s two traveling shows, the one performing in New York is the only one still operating. The other circus closed in early May in Providence, Rhode Island.


Ringling is the last circus in the world to travel by train. Nick Lambert, one of the clowns, told the Associated Press that on the morning after the last performance, he will open a cabinet in his train compartment. Inside, clowns from the circus’s past have written their names, shows in which they performed, and the years they worked for Ringling. “I’ll get to add my name,” he said. “I’m the last one in this room before it is all gone.”    

A Royal Pilot

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands revealed on May 17 that he has been serving as a co-pilot on commercial flights twice a month for the past 21 years. The king, 50, told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that has helped fly Fokker 70 planes for KLM and before that, for Dutch airline Martinair. He added that he has ended his role as a regular “guest pilot” on the planes, because they are being taken out of service. Willem-Alexander said that he will now retrain to fly Boeing 737s.


The king, who is monarch to 17 million Dutch citizens, said that he is rarely recognized by passengers because of tight security on the planes. However, some passengers do recognize his voice when he makes announcements over the intercom. The king described flying as a "hobby" that lets him focus on something other than his royal duties. “You have an aircraft, passengers and crew. You have responsibility for them,” he said. “You can’t take your problems from the ground into the skies. You can completely disengage and concentrate on something else. That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying.”

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