* Erica Werner reports that Republicans are boldly standing up to the president:
Senate Republicans have dropped their attempt to reimpose U.S. sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, lawmakers said Friday, a victory for President Trump as congressional Republicans abandoned a rare effort to thwart his agenda.
The retreat means ZTE, a company found guilty of selling U.S. goods to Iran in violation of sanctions, will duck Commerce Department penalties that bar U.S. companies from doing business with it. U.S. and Chinese officials had said those penalties would effectively put ZTE out of business.
Trump had ordered his own Commerce Department to lift the penalties as part of a broader negotiating strategy with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but senators voted to reimpose them as part of a sweeping defense policy bill they passed last month.
So wait, are the Chinese laughing at us, or not? And did they give us back all our jobs yet?
* Felicia Sonmez and David Weigel report that you can start booking your hotel room for the summer of 2020 now:
The Republican National Committee announced Friday that it will hold its 2020 convention in Charlotte, making official a decision that had long been expected by party insiders.
The RNC’s announcement puts the city back in the national spotlight eight years after it hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
There are a lot of liberals in Charlotte, so I’d look forward to some protests.
* A good point from Adam Davidson: Whether Putin has kompromat on Trump or not, it’s obvious that Trump believes he does.
* A new report from the Brennan Center documents the growing threat voter purges pose to Americans’ right to vote.
* And Elizabeth Williamson and Emily Steel report on how new Trump communications director Bill Shine’s alleged role in covering up Roger Ailes’ long career as a sexual harasser has followed him from Fox News to the White House.
I can’t imagine why Trump would have thought someone with that history would be useful to him.