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Trump, Iraq, Jerusalem: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. “There is no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

That was Randall Stephenson, above right, the company’s chief executive, in a memo to employees on the decision to hire Mr. Cohen as a consultant on AT&T’s bid to buy Time Warner.

The company paid $600,000 to Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer who is now under investigation by federal prosecutors. Mr. Stephenson insisted that “everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate,” but still a “serious misjudgment.”

Separately, a lawyer for two women who said they were victims of the former New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, said he had discussed the claims with Mr. Cohen in 2013.

2. President Trump outlined a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs by promoting competition — and pressing foreign countries to raise their drug prices to alleviate pressure on American consumers.

He argued that the current system had been corrupted by greedy businesses and middlemen who have made “an absolute fortune” through “dishonest double-dealing” at the expense of consumers who need medicine to extend or improve their lives.

But his proposals hardly put a scare into that system. Drugmakers’ stocks jumped immediately after the speech, as did the stocks of pharmacy benefit managers, the “middlemen” who Mr. Trump said had gotten “very, very rich.”


3. Does China hold the cards in the coming talks between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea?

That’s the question our Beijing bureau chief asked in a visit to the China-North Korea border, where evidence of Beijing’s leverage was everywhere. Above, Mr. Kim, left, and President Xi Jinping of China.

And in Southern California, which is home to the largest Korean population outside of Asia, we talked with Korean-Americans who said they felt a whipsaw of emotions over this week’s news.


4. The American Embassy in Jerusalem is set to open with great fanfare on Monday. But the American ambassador to Israel will work there only part of the time, and most of the embassy staff will remain in Tel Aviv for now.

President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year and announced that he would move the embassy there. The decision drew a storm of criticism from Arab and European leaders.


5. Sheldon Silver, the former powerful Democratic speaker of the New York


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