Today’s edition of quick hits:
* North Korea “is calling off high-level talks with South Korea because of ongoing military exercises between South Korea and the United States, South Korean media reported Wednesday local time.”
* On a related note, let’s note for context that now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boasted in March that Kim Jung-un “has allowed [us] to continue our [military] exercises on the peninsula.”
* Breaking late this afternoon: “A federal judge on Tuesday denied former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss the indictment returned against him by a grand jury in Washington, DC – rejecting Manafort’s challenge to special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment.”
* Following dozens of Palestinian deaths yesterday: “U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley walked out of a Security Council meeting on Tuesday when the Palestinian envoy began to speak, just hours after she praised Israel for acting with ‘restraint’ in handling the protests in Gaza.”
* Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) “declared victory as prosecutors abruptly dropped a felony invasion-of-privacy charge alleging he had taken a revealing photo of a woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair. The St. Louis circuit attorney’s office said it still plans to pursue the case, either through a special prosecutor or an appointed assistant.”
* With Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Bill Nelson (Fla.) announcing their support for CIA director-nominee Gina Haspel, her confirmation is staring to look like a foregone conclusion.
* Iraq: “Moktada al-Sadr, a firebrand militia leader whose forces once battled American troops in Iraq and were implicated in widespread atrocities against civilians, has emerged as the surprise front-runner in the Iraqi national elections, according to Iraqi election officials.”
* What’s the defense? “Scott Pruitt began receiving round-the-clock security from the moment he stepped foot inside the Environmental Protection Agency in February 2017, at the behest of a Trump administration political appointee, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.”
* A curious choice: “President Donald Trump has nominated Gordon Hartogensis, the brother-in-law of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, to head the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.