Saudi Arabia, Theresa May, Elena Ferrante: Your Friday Briefing

U.S. officials described the action as a protective response, rather than a military escalation.

Above, residents walked through rubble in the once popular resort town of Zabadani yesterday.



Trump on Special Counsel: ‘It Divides the Country’

President Trump said there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, when asked about the appointment of a special counsel to investigate ties with Russia.


Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

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“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

That was Mr. Trump’s reaction to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate ties between his presidential campaign and Russia. He denied any collusion, adding: “I can only speak for myself.”

We explore the many attempts Mr. Trump made to build a personal relationship with James Comey, whom he later ousted as the director of the F.B.I., including an awkward hug.



Pool photo by Dan Kitwood

• In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May wooed Labour voters in her party’s election manifesto.

She also recommitted to a target of keeping net immigration below 100,000 a year, which many consider unrealistic.

Here’s how the three main parties’ manifestoes compare ahead of the June 8 vote.



Pool photo by Philippe Wojazer

• In France, Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, said she would run for the parliamentary seat representing her party’s northern stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont in elections next month.

Above, the first meeting of President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet. There was some anger among local news media when Mr. Macron’s office, in a break with precedent, sought to select the journalists that would travel with him to Mali today.



Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

Ferrante Fever has flared up in Naples, where nearly 5,000 children are vying to audition for HBO’s adaptation of “My Brilliant Friend,” the first of the four smash-hit novels by Elena Ferrante.

The open casting call has injected hysteria and hope in parts of the southern Italian city that is poor in resources but rich in characters.

Separately, our correspondent visited the nearby Villaggio Coppola, built in the 1960s with…

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