THE BIG IDEA:
This was supposed to be “Energy Week” at the White House. As the secretary of energy once said in a different context: “Oops.”
“Infrastructure week” was overshadowed by James Comey’s testimony, which never would have happened if President Trump had not fired the FBI director and then boasted to the Russians the next day that getting rid of that “nut job” had removed “great pressure” related to the ongoing federal investigation.
“Workforce development week” was overshadowed by Trump announcing that he didn’t secretly record his conversations with Comey, which never would have been an issue if the president had not suggested that there were tapes.
Momentum toward passing an overhaul of Obamacare stalled after Trump called the bill that cleared the House “mean.”
One of the reasons being president is such a hard job is that, on any given day, there is an infinite number of potential external events – totally beyond your control – that can derail your agenda. During Trump’s first five months in power, however, almost every problem he’s faced has been a result of internal factors that were within his control. To the extent that the White House’s desired messaging is not breaking through to the American people, more often than not it’s the president’s fault.
Trump has made scores of unforced errors and self-defeating comments since Jan. 20. He’s also showcased his disrespect for women too many times to keep track: boasting about groping women to an “Access Hollywood” host, saying Hillary Clinton didn’t look presidential, mocking Carly Fiorina’s face, tweeting an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, claiming Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her whatever” and fat-shaming a former Miss Universe.
His unhinged and deeply personal attacks yesterday on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski dovetail with a lifelong pattern of boorish behavior. As deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders put it while defending her boss, “Look, the American people elected a fighter. … They knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump!”
There is an old adage that you should never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. The 21st century corollary might be: Don’t pick fights with people who have television morning shows that are widely watched by lawmakers in both parties whose support you need to advance your agenda.
-- It was inevitable that Trump’s attacks would dominate the news for at least two days.
Sure enough, Brzezinski and (Joe) Scarborough delayed their July Fourth vacation plans so they could go on the air this morning. And the couple respond to Trump in a Washington Post op-ed that posted at 5 a.m.: “President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president.” Three highlights from their piece:
“This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas. … Despite his constant claims that he no longer watches the show, the president’s closest advisers tell us otherwise.”
“Mr. Trump claims that we asked to join him at Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row. That is false. He also claimed that he refused to see us. That is laughable. The president-elect invited us both to dinner on Dec. 30. Joe attended because Mika did not want to go. After listening to the president-elect talk about his foreign policy plans, Joe was asked by a disappointed Mr. Trump the next day if Mika could also visit Mar-a-Lago that night. She reluctantly agreed to go. After we arrived, the president-elect pulled us into his family’s living quarters with his wife, Melania, where we had a pleasant conversation. We politely declined his repeated invitations to attend a New Year’s Eve party, and we were back in our car within 15 minutes.”
“Mr. Trump also claims that Mika was ‘bleeding badly from a face-lift.’ That is also a lie. Putting aside Mr. Trump’s never-ending obsession with women’s blood, Mika and her face were perfectly intact, as pictures from that night reveal. And though it is no one’s business, the president’s petulant personal attack against yet another woman’s looks compels us to report that Mika has never had a face-lift. … She did have a little skin under her chin tweaked, but this was hardly a state secret. Her mother suggested she do so, and all those around her were aware of this mundane fact.”
-- One element that made yesterday’s donnybrook unique was the exasperation that some of the president’s most diehard defenders were willing to express publicly. Sarah’s father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, said in a Fox News Channel interview that Trump “makes my daughter’s job very difficult with tweets like that.”
Conservative allies of the White House were especially frustrated because Trump could have spent Thursday talking about keeping one of his biggest campaign promises. “The House passed two hard-line immigration bills that would penalize illegal immigrants who commit crimes and local jurisdictions that refuse to work with federal authorities to deport them,” Mike DeBonis reports. “Both bills, Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, passed on largely party-line votes. … Kate’s Law … steps up prison sentences for criminals who reenter the U.S. illegally after being convicted and deported. The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act bars ‘sanctuary cities’ that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement from receiving many federal grants and leaves them vulnerable to liability lawsuits.”
From ex-Rep. Joe Wash (R-Ill.), who has been very pro-Trump on his nationally syndicated radio show:
From Laura Ingraham, the conservative commentator who talked with the Trump administration earlier this year about becoming White House press secretary:
“It’s kind of discouraging for Americans who want important things to get done to be sidetracked by something like this,” said fired Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, appearing on Ingraham’s radio show later in the day.
"I don't think the president should have tweeted it," Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his afternoon radio program, adding that he is a “big supporter” of the president using Twitter but making the attacks so personal only gives ammunition to the president’s critics.
From the editor-in-chief of Daily Wire, a former editor-at-large for Breitbart:
Here is a list of all the important policy priorities Trump advanced today by attacking Mika Brzezinski's bleeding face-lift:— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 29, 2017
-- A PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released Wednesday asked respondents if they thought Trump’s tweets were effective and informative or if they were reckless and distracting. “Overall, 7-in-10 adults chose the latter description,” Philip Bump notes. “In no group — even Trump supporters — did at least half say the tweets were effective and informative. … More than a third of those who approve of the job Trump is doing in office think his tweets are a net negative.”
-- In politics, when you’re whining, you’re losing. During yesterday’s White House briefing, Huckabee Sanders was looking for a respite from tough questions by reporters from the mainstream media. So she called on John Gizzi, a reliable ally. He works for Newsmax, which is owned by Chris Ruddy, one of the president’s best friends. “I’m not asking about the tweet itself,” Gizzi told her. “I’m asking about whether or not this helps his legislative agenda.”
“I think the president would love for us all to focus on the legislative agenda a whole lot more,” Huckabee Sanders insisted with a straight face. She proceeded to rattle off statistics about how much coverage the evening newscasts have supposedly given to various issues between May and June: “They spent one minute talking about tax reform, three minutes on infrastructure, five minutes on the economy and jobs, 17 minutes on healthcare and 353 minutes -- 353 minutes! -- attacking the president and pushing a false narrative on Russia.”
“America is winning, and that's what we like to talk about,” she continued. “But you guys constantly ignore that narrative!”
Gizzi pushed back: “All those points that you make, Sarah, about the positive elements of the president’s agenda are certainly true. But the president today put out this tweet which takes away from all of that … I think that's the valid question that should be asked of you right now. Should we just ignore this entirely?”
Huckabee Sanders’s answer essentially boiled down to yes: “He’s put out a number of tweets on healthcare, on the immigration bills that will be in the House today, but that's not being talked about.”
-- Fox News cut into the White House briefing to air an interview with Republican National Committee chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel. “Today, the president acted like a human, and he pushed back,” she said.
But Romney McDaniel was caught off guard and unprepared when her talking point was challenge by Fox anchor Julie Banderas. “Listen,” she replied, “you don't need to stoop to the level, obviously. I don't care who you are. You don't stoop to the level of that. I mean that's like me scolding my 4-year-old for using a bad word and then me repeating it. That's just not how you run a country or you parent a 4-year-old. I mean I have to be honest, you know, if you see this negative commentary on a show, change the channel. Ignore it. I mean that's what I tell my kids: When somebody's mean to you, don't fight back. Just walk away.”
When Romney McDaniel tried again to justify the president’s tweets by listing some of the insults that have been directed at him, the Fox host compared Trump negatively to Barack Obama. “People used to call President Obama stupid,” Banderas said. “People used to call him a Muslim. People used to call him underqualified, a sellout to America, a hater of Israel. I mean they called him every name in the book, but you didn't see him lash out!” (Callum Borchers notes that it is very unusual to hear a defense of Obama like this.)
-- Trump continues to make choices that will ensure his desired message gets overshadowed: The White House confirmed yesterday that the president plans to meet with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg next week.
Some aides have cautioned Trump that it’s a bad idea to appear close to Putin with the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling. The meeting will define next week, and the picture of the two leaders together will reappear for months – or years – in coverage of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. But Trump has been defiant on all things Russia, and he wanted to go ahead with the sit-down.
“We have no specific agenda,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters. “It’s really going to be whatever [Trump] wants to talk about.” (David Nakamura has more.)
“It is rare and potentially risky for an American president to go into such a consequential meeting with another world leader — particularly one like Mr. Putin – with so little preparation on what policy objectives he wants to pursue,” said Stanford professor Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, in an interview with the New York Times. “Mr. Trump may not be preparing in terms of deliverables or outcomes that he seeks, but you can bet that Mr. Putin is. … The big danger with Trump and his instincts is that he often defines a ‘good meeting’ or a friendly encounter as a positive outcome of a meeting with a head of state, and with Putin — where we have a big agenda, and a lot of it’s adversarial — he’s got that backward.”
Moscow believes Putin, a career KGB agent, can extract “major concessions” from Trump during their talks. Unnamed western officials tell the Daily Beast’s Kimberly Dozier that their intelligence indicates Putin thinks he can play Trump by promising cooperation on areas like counterterrorism to win concessions like a reduction in the raft of sanctions against Russia. “Their misgivings highlight concern that Trump’s inexperience and Putin’s ability to flatter will slowly degrade the U.S. alliance with Europe over time, and boosting Moscow back to near-superpower status while extracting no changes to its aggressive, expansionist behavior,” she reports.
-- The uncomfortable work environment Trump has created in the White House and his inability or unwillingness to take advice from aides has led to unusually high level of turnover during his first five months. Deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh survived just two months. Communications director Mike Dubke only made it three months.
Vice President Pence announced yesterday that his chief of staff Josh Pitcock, who has been with him 12 years, is being replaced by the hard-charging GOP operative Nick Ayers. Ayers has been a leader of America First Policies, the pro-Trump outside group that launched attack ads last week against Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) for not supporting the Senate health-care bill. “There was growing unease among some in the vice president's orbit about whether the soft-spoken chief of staff could best serve as the strategic attack dog they believe Pence needs to help insulate him from some of the tumult enveloping the White House,” Ashley Parker reports.
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris came out with a bombshell story last night on GOP operative Peter W. Smith, who implied during the 2016 presidential election that he was coordinating with Michael Flynn to retrieve Hillary Clinton’s personal emails from Russian hackers: “The operation Mr. Smith described is consistent with information that has been examined by U.S. investigators probing Russian interference in the elections. Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary … It isn’t clear who that intermediary might have been or whether Mr. Smith’s operation was the one allegedly under discussion by the Russian hackers. The reports were compiled during the same period when Mr. Smith’s group was operating.”
“His project began over Labor Day weekend 2016 when Mr. Smith, a private-equity executive from Chicago active in Republican politics, said he assembled a group of technology experts, lawyers and a Russian-speaking investigator based in Europe to acquire emails the group theorized might have been stolen from the private server Mrs. Clinton used as secretary of state … In the interview with the Journal, Mr. Smith said he and his colleagues found five groups of hackers who claimed to possess Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails, including two groups he determined were Russians. ‘We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government,’ Mr. Smith said … Mr. Smith said after vetting batches of emails offered to him by hacker groups last fall, he couldn’t be sure enough of their authenticity to leak them himself.”
-- “The cyberattack that crippled computer systems in Ukraine and other countries this week employed a ruse — the appearance of being ransomware — that seems designed to deflect attention from the attacker’s true identity,” Ellen Nakashima reports: “The first reports out of cybersecurity firms [suggested] a new variant of WannaCry, a virus that encrypted data and demanded a ransom … was on the loose. In fact, a number of researchers said this week, the [malware] does not encrypt data, but wipes its victims’ computers. ... Security researchers caution that it is too early to know for sure who is behind it, but some say that the targeting and distribution method of the malware point to Russia. The breach fell on the eve of Ukraine’s Constitution Day — timing which a top Ukrainian security and defense official said 'indicated this was a political attack.'”
-- Germany became the latest European nation to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry. Isaac Stanley-Becker and Stephanie Kirchner report: “For some, the surprise was only how long it took, in a country often seen as a progressive model for the region. Notable, also, was how quickly the whole matter moved forward once it was brought up this week. At the same time, some conservative lawmakers said constitutional change was still required, meaning the debate may not be fully settled.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Iraqi forces seized the bombed-out ruins of a historic Mosul mosque that was destroyed by ISIS militants — recapturing what once served as the center of the group's self-described caliphate in a symbolic victory. The advancement prompted Iraq’s prime minister to declare “the end of the Daesh state” in his country, though militants still continue to occupy small pockets of the city. (Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim)
- Nearly three years after ending combat operations in Afghanistan, NATO said it will once again deploy troops to the country. The reversal comes as the 29-nation alliance seeks to join the Afghan army in helping beat back a resurgent Taliban. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Thursday that “thousands” of troops were requested, but did not say how many would be deployed. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ended his murderous first year in power the way it began: He encouraged troops to shoot drug addicts freely and without fear of consequences. Soldiers should not “hesitate to engage just because there are civilians,” he said in a speech. “It is the duty of civilians to flee or seek cover.” (Emily Rauhala)
- At his Wednesday fundraiser, the president suggested to the audience that he might sue CNN, whose employees he described as “horrible human beings.” According to audio collected by The Intercept, Trump said of the network’s recent retraction, “Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days.”
- MSNBC fired Greta Van Susteren after less than six months. Her 6 p.m. slot will be taken over permanently by Ari Melber, the network’s chief legal correspondent. (Vanity Fair)
- Twitter is exploring the addition of a feature that would allow users to flag tweets that spread “fake news” or other offensive and harmful information — seeking to curb the number of trolls, bots and extremist recruiters that have made use of its platform. (Elizabeth Dwoskin)
- British authorities have asked regulators to reexamine 21st Century Fox’s $15 billion Sky takeover deal, further delaying Rupert Murdoch’s longtime quest to acquire control of the European satellite giant. (New York Times)
At least one Trump property has taken down the fake Time cover that decorated its walls. A Trump golf resort just outside of Miami had hung the cover in its bar, but staff were instructed by their corporate team to take it down. (Francisco Alvarado and David A. Fahrenthold)
The U.S. birthrate just hit a historic low. Women in their 30s and 40s are having more children, but not enough to offset the decrease in children born to teens and 20-somethings. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
A paleoanthropologist in Kansas asked his dentist to inspect the teeth of a 130,000-year-old Neanderthal from Croatia. The pair’s findings are now being published in a journal. (Sarah Kaplan)
NASA set the record straight: no, they are not shipping child sex slaves into space. The theory that the agency was sending kidnapped minors to Mars was started by a guest on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s radio program. (The Daily Beast)
- In Russia, more than 1 million residents have flocked to a cathedral to see the newly showcased rib of Saint Nicholas. Lines can last up to 10 hours long and stretch as far as five miles away, but such obstacles are hardly enough to deter the devout, who are permitted just seconds in the presence of the revered saint’s rib before being pushed away. (David Filipov)
- Kylie and Kendall Jenner were accused of cultural appropriation by Notorious BIG’s mom. The reality television star sisters pulled a line of T-shirts featuring the late rapper’s image after the criticism. (Travis M. Andrews)
-- The CBO released updated numbers yesterday on the original version of the Senate bill, which highlighted how severely Medicaid would be affected if the legislation became law. Amy Goldstein reports: “What Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers did, at the prodding of the Senate Finance Committee’s senior Democrat, is make clear that the GOP legislation would squeeze federal Medicaid spending by 35 percent by the end of two decades, compared with current law … According to the CBO and other analysts, one ripple effect would be intense pressure on states, forcing them to make hard decisions about cutting benefits, eligibility or payments to doctors and hospitals while trying somehow to make their programs more efficient.”
-- Senate Republicans’ health-care negotiations now center on a stark question: “How much money should the Senate health-care bill spend on protecting vulnerable Americans, and how much on providing tax relief to the wealthy?” Kelsey Snell, Juliet Eilperin and Sean Sullivan report: “McConnell is rewriting his proposal to provide tens of billions more for opioid addiction treatment and assistance to low- and moderate-income Americans, in part with a major policy shift that has already alarmed conservatives who oppose it — potentially preserving a 3.8 percent tax on investment income provided under the ACA that the current draft of the Senate bill would repeal. At the same time, the Republican leader hopes to placate the right by further easing the existing law’s insurance mandates and providing higher tax deductions for the health savings accounts that conservatives favor … It remains unclear whether these changes, if adopted, would garner enough support for the bill to pass.”
Sen. Ted Cruz is proposing an amendment that would secure his vote: “[Cruz] and [Sen.] Mike Lee (R-Utah) have indicated they could support the bill if leadership tacked on an amendment, offered by Cruz, allowing insurers to opt out of all ACA insurance requirements as long as they provide one fully compliant plan. A growing number of senators have said they back the Cruz proposal, but leaders met Thursday to determine whether it would run afoul of Senate rules.”
-- Paul Kane writes that unless two certain Republican senators can mutually agree on the health-care bill, it’s doomed to fail: “Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.) were intellectual forces inside the Republican caucus from the moment they took the oath in January 2011 … Both men ran sharply against Obamacare. But now, Portman has become the de facto leader of moderates and mainstream conservatives from states that accepted the law’s expanded federal funding for Medicaid coverage. Toomey has galvanized conservatives behind his proposal to cut that program and provide what some consider the most dramatic curtailment of an entitlement program in a generation … There is simply no path for victory unless these two senators, so similar in many ways, bridge their divide on this core issue. The two senators seem to have emerged from their 2016 reelections with vastly different outlooks.”
-- Federal Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood has become another sticking point between the moderate and conservative wings of the GOP. McClatchy’s Lesley Clark reports: “The health care provider uses federal funding to treat Medicaid patients and subsidize other health services, and by law cannot use those funds to provide abortions. But House Republicans still want to deny Planned Parenthood funding for a year because it performs abortions. The Senate bill, like its companion in the House, now includes a provision to do just that, but two of the senators whose votes on the health care bill are being courted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are opposed.”
-- It will be up to Mitch McConnell to bring the disparate factions of his party together. Marc Fisher and Sean Sullivan have a new profile of the majority leader this morning: “Based on the electoral math alone, this should be [McConnell]’s moment, the veteran lawmaker finally in command with an inexperienced president and a young House speaker as his partners in a united Republican government. Despite this week’s embarrassing decision to slam the brakes on the replacement of Obamacare — which President Trump promised would happen ‘immediately’ after he took office — McConnell may yet push through some version of the Senate’s health-care plan. But even if he does, it’s clear that the man who titled his autobiography ‘The Long Game’ faces an extended period of ideological division within his party, deeply damaged relations with the Democrats, and an uncertain bond with an impatient and impetuous president.”
-- After all the back-and-forth, the Senate GOP left for their July 4 recess nowhere near ready to pass a bill. Politico’s Burgess Everett, Seung Min Kim and Sarah Karlin-Smith report: “‘In some ways, we’re going around in circles, but I think we’re getting closer on some elements,’ said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). ‘This is complex.’ And there’s no guarantee that time back home will make things better … The best party leaders could hope for was to send a collection of new proposals to the Congressional Budget Office to analyze over the recess … The discussion on Thursday still seemed to fall short of appeasing either faction … Any progress this week was incremental at best, and some Republicans were confused at what would come next after a party lunch.”
-- The uncertainty continues to rattle the insurance market. Anthem announced that it would pull out of the Obamacare marketplace in Nevada, leaving 8,000 Nevadans in 14 rural counties without insurance and with no other federally subsidized option in the exchange, Reno Gazette-Journal’s Anjeanette Damon reports.
-- And the bitter partisan divisions over an Obamacare repeal are now having a ripple effect on other health-care matters in the Senate. STAT’s Erin Mershon reports: “A key Senate Republican is suspending the chamber’s investigation into the high cost of prescription drugs … Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who helms the Senate health committee, said Thursday that he won’t hold an expected July hearing on the issue because he’s frustrated that Democrats used a June panel to blast Republicans for their work to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
THERE IS A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- Democratic members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Jeff Sessions violated the terms of his recusal in the Russia investigation by being involved in the firing of former FBI director James Comey. (Karoun Demirjian)
-- House Intelligence Committee investigators are planning to interview Trump's longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller, who was entrusted with hand-delivering Comey’s letter of termination. ABC News’ Cecilia Vega and Benjamin Siegel report: “Schiller, the former head of security for the Trump Organization who now serves as the [director] of Oval Office operations, is one of several Trump associates on the House Intelligence Committee's witness list in its [Russia] investigation. … A former New York police officer, Schiller has been at Trump's side for nearly 20 years and is one of his closest advisers and aides … The committee's focus on Schiller [also] marks a new phase in the investigation [and is] the latest indication that the government's multiple investigations are touching Trump's inner circle.”
-- Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee are threatening to subpoena Trump for potential tapes of his conversations with Comey, dismissing the president’s tweet that he had no such tapes as insufficient evidence to call off the search. Politico’s Austin Wright reports: “Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement the White House needs to clarify whether it has ‘recordings, memoranda, or other documents’ — adding that they will consider using a ‘compulsory process’ to ensure a satisfactory response … The threat of a bipartisan subpoena from Congress will put significant pressure on the White House to provide a more substantive answer about what was behind a Tweet from the president last month in which he hinted at the existence of tapes.”
-- Former national security adviser Susan Rice has agreed to testify before the same committee in a closed-door session, a move that follows Republican criticisms of her for “unmasking” names in classified intelligence reports. Rice, who has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, said she will come in some time before the August recess.
-- The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, said that the panel may need more records from Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Flynn as it ramps up its own investigation. Lawmakers are now searching through "two batches” of documents from the Treasury Department to assess whether there are any financial links between Trump associates and Russian officials, Warner told reporters. “We're just starting that review,” he added. (CNN’s Tom LoBianco and Manu Raju)
-- In an op-ed for The Post, former CIA operation officer and independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin warns that Republicans are at risk of becoming “The Party of Putin”: “Republican voters had long held a healthy distrust of Putin, but Trump’s persistent affinity for Moscow and other Republican leaders’ silence are changing Republican voters’ minds, now making it politically costly for GOP leaders to defend the nation from this foreign adversary. … These dangerous trends impair the nation’s will to protect itself, and they are entirely the result of Republican leadership’s failure to oppose Trump from the beginning. Republican leaders and the party are at a crossroads. They will either choose liberty in an independent America or to serve a distant, foreign master who seeks no more than to enrich and empower himself at the expense of free society everywhere.”
-- Meanwhile, a jury in Moscow convicted five men for the 2015 assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and fierce Putin critic who was shot on a bridge near the Kremlin hours after denouncing the Russian president in a radio interview. (AP)
-- The Senate repassed a bill to stiffen Russia sanctions after making minor technical changes — once again leaving its fate in the hands of House lawmakers and prompting concern from some who have scrambled for its quick passage. Karoun Demirjian reports: “[Chuck Schumer] said Thursday that he and [Mitch McConnell] had hoped that Congress would approve the bill [before Trump meets with Putin]. 'It’s critical, critical that Congress speak in a loud and clear and unified voice to President Putin: Interfering in our election … will not be tolerated,’ Schumer said. … In the last week, Democrats began to suspect that House Republicans were intentionally slowing the sanctions bill down at Trump’s behest. … House leaders bristled at the accusation — but have not offered many assurances that they will, in fact, move the bill to the floor.”
-- There's new momentum on the Hill to restrict the president's free hand to use the military as he wants in the Middle East. Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis report: The GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment during the defense reauthorization markup to repeal the 2001 law underpinning the U.S. military effort against ISIS, a rebuke of Trump’s foreign policy unless he presents Congress with a plan for how he intends to proceed. “The repeal still has to survive a vote by the full House, as well as the Senate, before it becomes law — a set of hurdles the measure may not be able to clear. But the inclusion of a proposal by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to strike down the 2001 authorization of military force (AUMF), which she has offered in years past to no avail, marks a potential turning point for Congress in its ongoing struggle with the White House for a say in how the U.S. military fights extremist groups.”
TRUMP'S LIMITED TRAVEL BAN TAKES EFFECT:
-- A portion of Trump’s travel ban took effect last night, barring entry for visitors from six majority-Muslim nations unless they have a very close family tie to someone already in the United States, or a connection to an entity such as a workplace or university. Carol Morello reports: “The travel restrictions are temporary for now — 90 days for visitors and 120 days for refugees coming from six Muslim-majority countries … But the administration took a particularly strict interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling Monday that only those with ‘bona fide’ relationships, such as close family members, can enter the country. The administration’s new rules do not allow grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins and fiances. They do allow sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and stepchildren. Advocates and lawyers criticized the family list as capricious.” State lawyers in Hawaii have already filed in court asking a federal judge to halt the ban.
-- How safe will this ban keep us? It’s impossible to know, of course, but for some perspective, The Fix’s Philip Bump compiled a list of all successful and attempted terrorist attacks linked to radical Islamic ideology in the past 20 years. None of them, he concludes, would have been prevented by Trump’s travel ban.
VOTER “FRAUD” INVESTIGATION:
-- “The chair of [Trump's] Election Integrity Commission has penned a letter to all 50 states requesting their full voter-roll data, including the name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, last four Social Security number digits and voting history back to 2006 of potentially every voter in the state,” Christopher Ingraham reports: “In the letter, [Kansas Secretary of State] Kris Kobach said that ‘any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.’”
Several states said they will not comply with the request: “I have no intention of honoring this request,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said in a statement. Connecticut Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, said she would share “publicly-available information.” She added, however, that Kobach “has a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters …” and that “given Secretary Kobach's history we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this Commission.” Earlier this month, a federal judge fined Kobach $1,000 for presenting “misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.”
THE TRUMP AGENDA:
-- The president promised that he would “unleash” the potential of American energy yesterday, but energy experts were unimpressed by Trump’s proposals. David Goldwyn, president of Goldwyn Global Strategies and formerly the top energy official at the State Department, said, “It’s energy week — ‘W-E-A-K.’ It’s kind of disappointing. I don’t know why you set yourself up for a big announcement like this if you’re not really ready to announce anything that would be material.”
-- Addressing concerns from civil rights group, the attorney general promised to aggressively pursue those who violate federal hate crime laws: ““I know the responsibility that we have, and we have a responsibility to protect people’s freedom, their religious rights, their integrity, their ability to express themselves, to push back against violence and hate crimes that occur in our country,” Jeff Sessions told a group of federal prosecutors Thursday. “So, we’re going to do that, I will assure you, in every way.”
-- “The Senate on Thursday ignored President Trump’s desire to lop more than 30,000 workers from the federal payroll, approving legislation that protects the Federal Aviation Administration from being split in two,” Ashley Halsey III reports. “Trump endorsed with great fanfare this month a House plan to spin off air traffic controllers and close to 20,000 other workers into a nonprofit private corporation … But an increasingly independent Senate, emboldened by Trump’s legislative failures, opted to disregard the White House push to privatize the controllers and those working on modernizing the aviation system.”
-- House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black’s budget plan to majorly cut entitlement spending is receiving pushback — from fellow Republicans. Politico’s Rachael Bade and Sarah Ferris report: “Tuesday Group co-chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) is gathering signatures on a letter asking Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to intervene … The Tuesday Group letter — which sources say has about 20 signatories so far — warns that [Black]’s proposal is ‘not practical’ and ‘could imperil tax reform.’”
-- The CBO announced yesterday that the government will likely run out of money to pay its debts in “early to mid-October,” giving Congress a more concrete deadline to pass a budget resolution. (Politico’s Sarah Ferris)
-- The White House announced that former Republican senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas would be nominated to serve as the next NATO ambassador, Politico’s Negassi Tesfamichael reports.
Trump nominated Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adams to become the next U.S. surgeon general. “An anesthesiologist, Adams may be best known in recent years for responding to an HIV outbreak soon after he took his post in late 2014,” Lenny Bernstein reports.
-- Angela Merkel delivered forceful remarks before the German parliament, vowing to defend the Paris climate accord recently spurned by the Trump administration and told lawmakers that she anticipates a “difficult” meeting with world leaders at next week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg. Isaac Stanley-Becker and Stephanie Kirchner report: “She was blunt about the obstacles posed by American retreat from the deal … ‘Since the U.S. announced that it would exit the Paris agreement, we cannot expect any easy talks in Hamburg,’ Merkel said … [Merkel] insisted that she would not countenance calls to revise the agreement, [and] deemed the pact ‘irreversible.’ A chasm separates Merkel and Trump — and not just on climate — as they head into the conference ... The German leader has said she intends also to make free trade and the shared burdens of managing the global refugee crisis focal points of discussions.”
-- A group of top scientists, policymakers and corporate leaders released a statement this week warning that if the world doesn’t make progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, it could become “impossible” to contain climate change within safe limits. Chris Mooney reports: “The group of experts was led by Christiana Figueres -- who oversaw the U.N. negotiations that ultimately produced the Paris climate accord – and was directly aimed at influencing next week’s G-20 meetings. It also explicitly mention’s Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the pact."
-- A new study projects how much each area of the United States could stand to lose economically because of climate change. States such as Texas and Arizona could lose up to 20 percent of their GDP, scientists found, while agriculture in the Midwest could see losses “on par with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.” (Brady Dennis)
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- The Trump administration announced new sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering money for North Korean companies and approved a $1.4 billion arms sales package for Taiwan, a pair of measures that could ruffle feathers in Beijing. David Nakamura and Greg Jaffe report: “Officials said the actions were unrelated and emphasized that the administration was not targeting China. But the moves are likely to raise concerns among Chinese leaders who had sought to get off to a good start with [Trump]. The new sanctions were announced just hours before South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived at the White House for a two-day summit."
HOW TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON “MORNING JOE” ARE PLAYING:
-- The New York Times, “Trump, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough: A Roller-Coaster Relationship,” by Liam Stack: “In recent months, the pair have excoriated Mr. Trump on the air, denouncing his behavior and questioning his mental health — criticisms the president views as a personal betrayal.”
-- Rolling Stone, “Joe Scarborough Details Trump Falling Out: 'He Screamed at Me,'” by Patrick Doyle: “Scarborough says it was the day adviser Stephen Miller, talking about the ban, said on NBC that the president’s power ‘will not be questioned’ on February 13th. ‘We just exploded on set the next day. And then from that point on it just turned really ugly, really quickly.’”
-- The Post, “Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has never ‘promoted or encouraged violence.’ She is very wrong,” by Aaron Blake: “Even if you don't believe Trump has technically incited violence (which he has been sued for), he clearly nodded toward violence at his campaign rallies. Sometimes it was veiled; other times it was unmistakable.”
-- The Washington Examiner, “Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough will delay vacation to appear on 'Morning Joe' on Friday,” by Daniel Chaitin: “MSNBC co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are postponing their July 4 vacation in order to appear Friday morning on their show "Morning Joe."
-- The Atlantic, “Mika Brzezinski and Donald Trump's Penchant for Blood Feuds,” by Megan Garber: “The thing that aimed to delegitimize Brzezinski not merely according to her job performance—not even, as is Trump’s wont, according to her appearance—but according to her ability to bleed … The accusation calls to mind the long cultural history of delegitimizing women as people because of their biological associations with blood. Blood, again, as weakness.”
-- CNBC, “Trump's tweets about 'bleeding' Mika Brzezinski shine a spotlight on workplace sexism,” by Kathryn Dill: “It seems to have taken the election of a businessman president to shine a spotlight on, and start an overdue national conversation about, some of the most pernicious forms of workplace sexism.”
-- The Week, “Trump's tweets about MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski would get most people fired, experts say,” by Peter Weber: “The fact that Trump is the boss wouldn't necessarily protect him, either. ‘Any good outside crisis adviser would tell the company's board that they have no choice but to terminate the CEO,’ said Hofstra University public relations expert Kara Alaimo.”
-- Slate, “Trump No Longer Seems Able to Hide His Raw Misogyny. Good,” by Michelle Goldberg: “When you’re under pressure, it can be harder to hide your true self. And Trump’s true self is a pig.”
-- CNN, “Delegitimizing his presidency, one tweet at a time,” by Stephen Collinson: “The longer such antics go on, more and more people will question whether the leader of the free world is not just damaging his own presidency, but demeaning the office itself and potentially diminishing it for whoever comes after him.”
-- The New Yorker, “Donald Trump Will Go Down in History as the Troll-in-Chief,” by John Cassidy: “Trump’s online presence isn’t something incidental to his Presidency: it is central to it, and always has been.”
-- PJ Media, “Mr. Trump Has Changed the Presidency from a 'Bully Pulpit' into a 'Bully Sandbox,’” by Rick Moran: “Has it really been that long since we expected a certain level of decorum and civility from a president? Politics is a full-contact sport, but there used to be boundaries that simply weren't crossed.”
-- National Review, “The Latest Names,” by Jay Nordlinger: “Conservatives weren’t prudes when they emphasized the importance of character in office [during the Clinton administration]; they weren’t morally preening; they were recognizing something deep and true.”
-- CNN, “Healthy, happy people do not behave like Trump,” by S.E. Cupp: “The President of the United States should have too full a plate, too serious an agenda and too solid a constitution to rant about a woman’s looks on Twitter.”
-- “Americans watch a health-care bill that could upend many lives again,” by Sandhya Somashekhar, Laurie McGinley, Lena H. Sun and Lenny Bernstein: “Millions of Americans of all ages and needs would be affected if Republicans in Congress succeed in overhauling major parts of the Affordable Care Act. And the latest maneuvering is only intensifying concerns. But with Senate GOP leaders trying to retool parts of their bill — which was pulled back this week after support for a fast vote eroded — it isn’t easy sussing out exactly how an individual might benefit or lose. Would an uninsured home-care worker in Ohio get a tax credit that would make private health coverage affordable? Would the big changes envisioned for Medicaid funding cut out a New Mexico house painter with emphysema? What about the medical services a young West Virginia boy might require for the rest of his life? Those with health care on the line are thinking a lot about the future, many with real anxiety. Here are some of their stories.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Many Republican lawmakers and commentators expressed dismay at Trump’s tweet insulting Mika Brzezinski:
Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office.— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 29, 2017
Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 29, 2017
Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down.— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) June 29, 2017
The President’s tweets are beneath the dignity of his office. It needs to stop. #StopTheTwitterTantrums— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) June 29, 2017
This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov’t and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 29, 2017
Inappropriate. Undignified. Unpresidential. https://t.co/6iZFIfA5Hn— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) June 29, 2017
"With all due respect, I thought it was you humans who were supposed to have a sense of propriety and dignity..."pic.twitter.com/L5GbSr3s1g— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 29, 2017
But some were skeptical of their disavowal:
Again, ten women came forward to say the president had grabbed/groped/assaulted them. The GOP shrugged and chanted "Lock her up!"— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 29, 2017
Brzezinski got in this dig at the president:
More reactions on the "Morning Joe" tweets:
Trump has now spent more time talking about Mika Brzezinski's "low IQ and bleeding facelift" than defending us against Russian cyberwarfare. pic.twitter.com/lQcihYPUXM— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) June 29, 2017
Folks, I'm getting the sense Trump may not be a particularly decent human. Could be wrong, but that's what my spidey sense tells me— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) June 29, 2017
This man's fear of female-associated viscera may be unmatched in modern history.— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) June 29, 2017
It's been a while since we've commented on female cable news anchors bleeding. https://t.co/KDTRJEiIOO— Katie Leach (@KatieMLeach) June 29, 2017
At long last the mystery of "blood coming out of her whatever" is solved https://t.co/PlEn241ez7— Jessie Opoien (@jessieopie) June 29, 2017
Anyone with a child under 18 has to be asking themselves, how do I explain the president's actions especially since he faces no consequences— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) June 29, 2017
"Be courteous to all.” -Washington— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) June 29, 2017
“With malice toward none.” -Lincoln
“Low-IQ Crazy Mika…was bleeding badly from a facelift.” -Trump
This might be controversial, but it seems like our president sometimes treats women differently than men— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) June 29, 2017
Starting think that all women need to do to get Trump out of the White House is stage a bleed-in on his front lawn.— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) June 29, 2017
From an NBC executive:
Never imagined a day when I would think to myself, "it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States."— Mark Kornblau (@MarkKornblau) June 29, 2017
From two House Democrats:
Two years ago this week, President Obama sang "Amazing Grace." Today, we have a president who's amazingly graceless. These tweets are vile. https://t.co/m9T4dErujb— Rep. Roybal-Allard (@RepRoybalAllard) June 29, 2017
President Obama's White House photographer Pete Souza once again trolled the president over his tweet:
Celebrities also weighed in:
I see Melania's campaign to end cyber bullying is off to a slow start— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 29, 2017
And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tried to offer a constructive suggestion:
Since our President clearly has a problem with women, let's send more to Congress. Women of America, you need to run! RT if you agree.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 29, 2017
A controversial ad from the NRA angered many on the left:
This new NRA ad is barely a whisper shy of a call for full civil war. https://t.co/N33s2KyvVz— Jeff Sharlet (@JeffSharlet) June 28, 2017
This NRA ad is an open call to violence to protect white supremacy. If I made a video like this, I'd be in jail. pic.twitter.com/LD65yMUMVn— deray mckesson (@deray) June 29, 2017
Greta Van Susteren addressed her departure from MSNBC after less than six months on the air:
I am out at MSNBC -— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 29, 2017
I had a great staff and we always tried our best to be fair...to focus on the facts,whatever they were. https://t.co/wbU43AoFlB— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 29, 2017
I am sorry that it ended so quickly. https://t.co/XOwPjxt8Mr— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 29, 2017
A creative person played with the president’s alleged request to former FBI director Jim Comey to abandon the Michael Flynn investigation:
Saw this in a DC office yesterday. Thought it was a pretty creative take. pic.twitter.com/dKzYL09oax— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) June 29, 2017
Retiring Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who has slept in his office while in D.C., wished Capitol Hill a less than fond farewell:
And Senate Republicans deepened their rift with PETA:
I hrd Sen Hatch was defending bacon on twitter Thx 4 supporting pork Iowa's # 1 meat industry more pigs than any other state— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 29, 2017
Anything for you, Chuck. And for those delicious pigs. https://t.co/r0eWM7ERFE— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) June 29, 2017
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Politico, “Inside Jared Kushner’s circle of trust,” by Annie Karni: “Kushner, in the words of one person who knows him, is a longtime ‘collector of people.’ In interviews, half a dozen people who have worked and socialized with him described how he likes to crowdsource on issues new to him, often cold-calling people he is impressed by and making his own introduction. In his first six months in Washington, he’s developed a new circle of advisers — one that’s more political — while leaving behind some of his earlier confidants.”
-- Esquire, “’It’s amazing I haven’t ruined myself,’” by Timothy Bella: “Once revered as one of the greatest heroes in Red Sox history, today Curt Schilling is known as much for offensive memes as for his bloody sock. Is his goal to dominate right-wing media – or win a spot in the Senate?”
-- Wired, “How Instagram used DeepText, an AI-based system built at Facebook that mimics the way language works in our brains, to block offensive comments,” by Nicholas Thompson: “Every word has at least one meaning when it stands alone. But the meaning can change depending on context, or even over time. White, for instance, means something completely different when it’s near the words snow, Sox, House, or power. Humans are generally good at this kind of parsing, and machines are generally bad. Last June, however, Facebook announced that it had built a text classification engine to help machines interpret words in context … DeepText is designed to operate the way a human thinks, and to improve over time, like a human too.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
“Republicans’ health-care efforts would set black women back, report says,” from Nicole Lewis: “Black women were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act, but a new report argues that the Republican efforts to dismantle parts of the law threaten to undo many of the gains made, putting low-income women and women with chronic health conditions most at risk. Under the ACA, the report found more black women were able to access to health care, including preventive screenings and treatment for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, HIV and hypertension. Because black women are disproportionately affected by chronic health issues, they may have been more susceptible to denial of coverage due to ‘preexisting conditions’ before the ACA.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“Federal judge blocks California ban on high-capacity magazines,” from the Sacramento Bee: “A federal judge has temporarily blocked a voter-approved California law that would have forced gun owners to get rid of high-capacity ammunition magazines by this Saturday. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who is based in San Diego, issued a preliminary injunction Thursday that found the law was likely unconstitutional because it prevented people from using firearms that employed ‘whatever common magazine size he or she judges best suits the situation.’ The law would have barred people from possessing magazines containing more than 10 bullets.”
President Trump will have a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before his meeting and joint appearance with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Trump and the first lady will later travel to Bedminster for the weekend.
The vice president will visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial with President Moon in the morning before joining Moon and Trump for their meeting. Pence and the South Korean president will also have a working lunch, followed by the vice president’s meeting with the labor secretary.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
From Melania Trump’s spokesperson on her husband’s tweet disparaging the “Morning Joe” hosts: “As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The heat and humidity will pick up today in the District. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Upper 80s to low 90s with humidity that may fall short of unbearable but adds that typical end-of-June level of sweat–about what we’d expect and about climatological average for this time of year. As clouds slowly increase and build through the day, we could see some afternoon showers or storms, particularly south of the city.”
-- The Nationals lost to the Cubs last night 5-4, Chelsea Janes reports.
-- The Washington Redskins have won their battle to keep the franchise name. Ian Shapira and Ann E. Marimow report: “On Thursday, the five Native Americans fighting the NFL team over its trademark registrations called it quits in federal appeals court. So did the Justice Department, which on Wednesday declared the team the winner. The Native Americans and the Justice Department didn’t have much of a choice. On June 19, in a separate case involving an Asian rock band, the Supreme Court declared that a key section of federal law banning trademarks that ‘may disparage’ people was a violation of the First Amendment.”
-- Former Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart offered some unsolicited advice to the man who beat him for the Republican nomination, Ed Gillespie. Stewart said: “Ed, if you’re listening to this: Nobody cares that your dad owned a grocery store. Nobody cares that your ancestors were immigrants. Nobody cares about that because everybody in that room has a similar story. I haven’t met any person who has been inspired by Ed’s story of growing up in a grocery store.”
-- “On Wednesday, U.S. Capitol Police arrested 40 people who blocked hallways in Senate office buildings demanding to meet with their senators” to discuss the health-care bill, Perry Stein reports.
-- The Historical Society of Washington is moving to the Newseum for a year, John Kelly reports.
-- The Fairfax County school system has turned to a time-honored tradition to feed children who rely on free lunches during the summer: community barbecues. (Moriah Balingit)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
The Daily 202 presents the world debut of the Washington Post Kids Chorus. Their first musical assignment had a political twist: the president’s tweets. From our video team:
Stephen Colbert didn’t realize he could still be shocked by something Trump said:
Seth Meyers kicked off a new segment entitled “I Can’t”:
In light of Trump's recent tweets, this Hillary Clinton campaign ad was making the rounds again:
The Post’s Callum Borchers explains Trump’s years-long feud with “Morning Joe”:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed Republicans’ “poor record” of legislative victories since Trump took office:
Amnesty International is sending staffers to airports across America to protest the altered travel ban:
A dog crashed an outdoor orchestra concert in Turkey: