With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve
THE BIG IDEA: Trying to keep up with someone who routinely shifts his story often leaves White House surrogates holding the bag.
Aiming to satisfy a hard-to-please boss, many senior administration officials have sacrificed their personal reputations by making dubious or even false statements — only to be undercut by President Trump himself just hours later.
Sunday brought three fresh illustrations of how perilous it can be to speak for Trump.
-- Immediately after Friday’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the president told his Russian counterpart that members of Congress are pushing for additional sanctions over Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election. “But the two presidents, I think, rightly focused on: How do we move forward?” Tillerson, who participated in the sit-down, told reporters in Hamburg.
In his first comments since the Putin meeting, Trump tweeted yesterday morning: “Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin.”
That was one of eight tweets posted by the president before he motorcaded to his Northern Virginia golf course. He touted a cease-fire he negotiated in parts of Syria and vowed to “move forward in working constructively with Russia.”
I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
-- Most notably, though, Trump wrote: “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded … and safe.”
This drew immediate ridicule and scorn from across the political spectrum. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted:
Partnering with Putin on a "Cyber Security Unit" is akin to partnering with Assad on a "Chemical Weapons Unit". 2/3— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 9, 2017
Asked about Rubio’s tweet on ABC’s “This Week,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended the cybersecurity partnership as “a very significant accomplishment for President Trump.”
“This is a very important step forward,” Mnuchin said. “What we want to make sure is that we coordinate with Russia, that we're focused on cybersecurity together, that we make sure that they never interfere in any democratic elections … This is like any other strategic alliance. Whether we're doing military exercises with our allies or anything else. This is about having capabilities to make sure that we both fight cyber together, which I think is a very significant accomplishment for President Trump.”
Meanwhile, a chorus of national security experts from both parties piled on:
- “It is not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
- “I'm sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort since he is doing the hacking,” Sen. John McCain joked on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
- “This is like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary,” Ash Carter, who was secretary of defense when the Russians meddled last year, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
After sustained mockery, the president backed off last night: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen,” Trump tweeted. “It can’t.”
-- As POTUS hit the links, other aides also went to bat for him on the shows. The New York Times reported on the front page of Sunday’s paper that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort sat down with a Russian lawyer who has ties to the Kremlin last June.
On “ Fox News Sunday,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus dismissed the meeting as “a big nothing burger” that was about adoption and not at all out of the ordinary. “Talking about issues of foreign policy, issues related to our place in the world (or) issues important to the American people is not unusual,” he told Chris Wallace.
But just a few hours later, the president’s son acknowledged that he had actually agreed to meet with the Russian lawyer because she claimed she could provide potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton. In a statement, Donald Jr. said he met with her at the request of an acquaintance. “After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” He said that’s when she turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. “It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” he said.
-- Over the past six months, many administration officials have found themselves in an awkward position by going out on a limb for the president — especially as it relates to the dark Russia cloud that hangs over the White House.
In May, Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during an Oval Office meeting. After The Post broke the story, senior White House aides quickly denied it. “I was in the room. It didn’t happen,” said national security adviser H.R. McMaster. “This story is false,” added Dina Powell, his deputy. The very next morning, though, Trump acknowledged that he had shared the information and defended his right to do so.
When Trump fired James Comey as FBI director around that same time, press secretary Sean Spicer said it was entirely because of a memo he received from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein urging him to do so. “It was all him,” Spicer said of Rosenstein. “No one from the White House. That was a DOJ decision.” Then Trump told NBC he had already made up his mind before asking Rosenstein to write a letter justifying it. “I was going to fire Comey,” Trump told Lester Holt. “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”
Back in February, Aaron Blake made a list of the five times Trump’s team categorically denied any contact with Russians. There’s also this:
On "Face the Nation," @jdickerson pushes Pence: Did Trump campaign staff have *any* contact with Russia?— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 15, 2017
Pence scoffs. "Of course not."
MORE ON THE DONALD JR. BOMBSHELL:
-- The president's son was promised “damaging information” about Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, the New York Times’ Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman reported last night: “It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information … But [the people interviewed] said the expectation was that she would do so. [The meeting] represents the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.” A spokesman for Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims the president was unaware of the meeting.
-- Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger scoop who set up the meeting: Donald Jr. said Sunday that he was approached about the meeting by “an acquaintance” he knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. In an interview Sunday, Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who is friendly with Donald Jr., told The Post that he had arranged the meeting at request of a Russian client and had attended it along with Veselnitskaya. “He said Veselnitskaya wanted to discuss ways that Trump could be helpful about the Russian government’s adoption issue should he be elected[:] ‘Once she presented what she had to say, it was like, ‘Can you keep an eye on it? Should [Trump] be in power, maybe that’s conversation that he may have in the future?’ Goldstone said.”
-- Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to question “everyone that was at that meeting.” “There’s no reason for this Russian government advocate to be meeting with Paul Manafort or with Mr. Kushner or the president’s son if it wasn’t about the campaign and Russia policy,” he said.
-- A former White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush said what happened “borders on treason.” “This was an effort to get opposition research on an opponent in an American political campaign from the Russians,” Richard Painter said on MSNBC. “We do not get our opposition research from spies, we do not collaborate with Russian spies.” Painter said the Bush administration would not have allowed the meeting to happen. “If this story is true, we’d have one of them if not both of them in custody by now, and we’d be asking them a lot of questions. ... This is unacceptable ...This borders on treason, if it is not itself treason.”
-- “Trump Jr. confirmed that he went into the meeting expecting to receive information from the Russian lawyer that could hurt Clinton. That is a breathtaking admission,” Callum Borchers writes on The Fix. “The rest of Trump Jr.’s statement is an attempt to minimize the value of what the lawyer actually told him. The outcome of the meeting and its effect on the presidential race is important, of course, yet it is kind of beside the point. Trump Jr.’s attempt to obtain information from a Russian lawyer that could harm Clinton seems likely to alarm investigators, regardless of whether the effort proved successful.”
-- “The Trump Administration should not win any moral or political plaudits even if it turns out, in the end, that there was no collusion between the President’s campaign and the Russian government,” the New Yorker’s David Remnick writes. “Its countless sins of lying, conflict of interest, shady business transactions, character assassination, and so much else assures it a place in history as a uniquely grimy Administration. And we are not yet a half year into its reign ... For now, we live in a moment when the President of the United States is, without shame, trying to intimidate the people whose business it is to come to an honest reckoning. He tries to intimidate the press. He has fired an F.B.I. director and considered going further. It’s reasonable to wonder why.”
Trump, once again, attempted to change the subject at the start of the news cycle this morning by retweeting this Fox & Friends segment alleging that Jim Comey leaked classified information in memos about his personal meetings with Trump (the report was originally in The Hill):
Report accuses material James Comey leaked to a friend contained top secret information pic.twitter.com/Hkg4cAb6o9— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 10, 2017
The president then followed with these two early-morning tweets:
James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
Exciting news: Starting today, we’re launching a flash audio briefing. We’re debuting on Amazon Echo devices and Google Home "The Daily 202’s Big Idea." Every weekday, you can listen to me summarize The Big Idea and three other headlines you should know to start your morning. To learn how to add “The Daily 202’s Big Idea” to your flash briefings on your Echo device or Google Home, visit: washingtonpost.com/bigidea. You can also get the briefing on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Barack Obama will appear at a closed-door fundraising event for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee on Thursday. Juliet Eilperin reports: “Obama’s appearance … highlights the balance he is trying to strike as his party seeks to regain its footing at both the state and national levels. Obama does not want to cast ‘a long shadow,’ in the words of [DNC] Chairman Tom Perez, but he remains a central figure for a party that has yet to settle on a single strategy to combat [Trump]. Perez said in an interview Sunday that while some Democrats have urged Obama recently, ‘You’ve got to get out front on issue X or issue Y,’ the former president wants instead to ‘build the bench’ for the party.”
-- The U.S.-Russian ceasefire agreement took effect in southwestern Syria, marking Trump’s first attempt to cooperate with Moscow on an international crisis. But will it work? Liz Sly reports: “This cease-fire [has] modest expectations for success after several previous failed attempts … What makes this effort different, however, is that the peace push is now being driven by Russia, which took the lead in international diplomacy after the defeat of the Syrian rebels in [Aleppo] … The cease-fire signals U.S. acquiescence to a broader Russian plan to end the violence by creating a series of de-escalation zones around the country, to be sponsored by the regional or international powers with influence in each area. This accord creates a separate mechanism for the [U.S.] and Jordan to use their influence with allied rebels in southwestern Syria to halt the fighting while Russia exerts pressure on [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad. [Still], a bigger question mark remains over a long-standing challenge to peace efforts in Syria, which is whether Russia exerts enough influence over the Syrian government and Iran to convince them to abide by the truce.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Iraq’s prime minister traveled to Mosul to declare victory over the Islamic State, congratulating troops as they near conclusion of a grueling and months-long battle to wrest back control of the city. Still, pockets of militant-held territory remain — and airstrikes were ongoing even as the prime minister attempted a tour of the city. (Louisa Loveluck, Liz Sly and Mustafa Salim)
- Tens of thousands of Turkish opposition supporters gathered in Istanbul, meeting at the end of a 280-mile protest march and delivering a massive show of strength against President Tayyip Erdogan. The mammoth protest is a rare display of public dissent in Turkey, where thousands have landed in jail as part of a systematic post-coup purge of dissidents and government opponents. (Erin Cunningham)
- Wildfires across the western U.S. and Canada have forced thousands to leave their homes. In California alone, 8,000 have fled for safety. (AP)
- The parents of British infant Charlie Gard expressed continuing hope that he would be able to receive experimental treatment for his terminal disease. “If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting,” said Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother. (AP)
- A 35 percent decline in enrollment at the University of Missouri is forcing dorm closures and staff cuts. The decline has largely been attributed to the school’s 2015 race relations protests and has disproportionately affected the number of black applicants. (New York Times)
- Albuquerque police were called to the scene of a violent domestic dispute after the couple’s Google Home device called 911. (Gizmodo)
- Authorities are investigating the death of a 22-year-old American tourist who was killed in a bar fight in Greece. Surveillance footage from the altercation showed suspects beating him outside the bar even after he fell unconscious. The victim’s friends and family said it was “unlike him” to act aggressively or start a confrontation. (Kristine Phillips)
- A group of news organizations is requesting a limited antitrust exemption from Congress to collectively negotiate with online platforms like Google and Facebook. The request comes from the News Media Alliance, of which The Post is a member, and is considered something of a longshot. (New York Times)
- Four trained border collies may have located the exact sight of Amelia Earhart’s death. Days after the History Channel suggested that the famed aviator may have been captured by the Japanese, a group of dogs led by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery all sniffed out the same location on an empty island in the Pacific as a possible site of human remains. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
- Chuck Schumer urged the FDA to look into the health effects of snortable chocolate. “I can’t think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses,” the Senate minority leader said in a letter about a product called Coco Loko. (New York Post)
- An 18-year-old Nepali woman died after being bitten by a poisonous snake while isolated in a hut during the week of her period. She had been sleeping on wooden boards on the ground — in keeping with a tradition known as chhaupadi, which shuns menstruating women on the superstition that they are bad luck. (New York Times)
- A bear in Colorado attempted to bite and drag away a teenager. The 19-year-old awoke to a “crunching sound” with his head inside the mouth of the bear as it attempted to pull him out of his sleeping bag. (CBS News)
DO OR LIKELY DIE FOR SENATE HEALTH BILL:
-- Mitch McConnell has the bitter solace of knowing that he was right: the Fourth of July recess only made the health-care debate much more difficult for his fellow Republicans. David Weigel reports: “Key Republicans [differed] Sunday not merely on how to amend the bill, but also on whether a bill could pass at all. ‘I would probably put that as 50-50,’ Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said in a ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview. ‘They will get a repeal and replace bill done,’ White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on the same show. ‘My view is it’s probably going to be dead,’ Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ … Republicans have run in different directions, proposing everything from a bipartisan deal to pay for insurance subsidies to a ‘repeal and delay’ plan … Schumer’s Democrats, meanwhile, have continued campaigning against the BCRA, saying that they will come to the table on health care only if Republicans give up on repeal.”
-- Cassidy, who came up with “the Jimmy Kimmel Test,” spoke out against the repeal-and-delay plan endorsed by Trump and some conservatives: “It gives all the power to people who actually don’t believe in President Trump’s campaign pledges, who actually don’t want to continue to cover and care for preexisting conditions and to lower premiums. It gives them the stronger hand. I think it’s wrong.” The Louisiana physician also called for compromise with Democrats: “I do think we have to do something for market stabilization. Otherwise, people who are paying premiums of $20,000, $30,000 and $40,000 will pay even that much more.”
-- Unlike most of his Republican colleagues, Ted Cruz spent the recess actively engaging with his constituents, usually on health care. Sean Sullivan reports from Texas: “Virtually everywhere [Cruz] traveled over the July Fourth recess, no matter where the conversation started, it inevitably veered to health care. … Cruz, who built a national reputation on strident conservatism and has fiercely criticized the ACA for years, seemed to relish debating health care with vocal liberal critics. In a red state where he holds little crossover appeal, Cruz sees his best path to a second term, which he will seek next year, in rallying his conservative base to turn out for him … Many close observers say they think Cruz is likely to support the final version of the bill, even though he does not support the initial version McConnell released.”
-- McConnell can still only afford to lose two votes, and key senators, such as West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito, are showing more hesitation than ever. Politico’s Adam Cancryn reports: “The first-term senator has emerged as one of the staunchest holdouts against Senate Republicans’ bid to overhaul the nation’s health care system, voicing concerns about the bill’s consequences for older Americans and rejecting swift funding cuts for a Medicaid program that’s played a key role in combating her state’s opioid epidemic … If Capito is feeling the heat in a state that Trump won by more than 42 percentage points, she isn’t showing it. Back here in West Virginia, where more than 30 percent of families rely on Medicaid, she doesn’t hesitate at the prospect of casting the vote that kills the GOP’s repeal effort ... Her record, meanwhile, illustrates why Republican leaders thought they could get repeal done quickly: Capito voted more than 40 times to dismantle Obamacare as a House member.”
-- To further complicate matters for McConnell, Republican governors of states that expanded Medicaid continue to lean on their senators to protect their newly covered constituents. The governors of Nevada, Ohio, Alaska and Arizona have been in contact with their senators to express everything from uncertainty to outright opposition to the Senate’s original health-care bill. (The AP’s Alison Noon and Bill Barrow)
--Meanwhile, the number of American adults without insurance has grown by about 2 million this year. AP’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports: “The new numbers highlight what’s at stake as Congress returns to an unresolved debate over Republican proposals to roll back much of former President Barack Obama’s health care law. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, published Monday, found that the uninsured rate among U.S. adults was 11.7 percent in the second three months of this year, compared with a record low of 10.9 percent at the end of last year. Though small, the change was statistically significant, survey analysts noted.”
-- Democrats are rolling out a new round of attack ads to target wavering Republicans. The progressive group Save My Care will spend seven figures across four states with GOP senators who oppose the current bill: Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, Dean Heller in Nevada, Susan Collins in Maine and Capito in West Virginia.
THE TRUMP AGENDA:
-- “Step by step, the Trump administration is walking back policies and rules in higher education that its predecessor said were needed to protect students who rely on federal funding to pursue a degree,” Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports. “Through the first half of the year, the department led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has withdrawn, delayed or announced plans to revamp more than a half dozen Obama-era measures involving federal student aid … What started as a slow chipping away of Obama administration directives has turned into full-fledged overhaul of regulations … For-profit colleges contend that the Obama administration’s initiatives were designed to cripple their schools. DeVos has voiced sympathy with these complaints … But advocates of the rule say it protects students from shoddy programs and high loan-default rates.” Trump’s own involvement with for-profit universities, which forced him in March to pay out a $25 million settlement without admitting fault, casts a shadow over the regulatory rollback.
-- In keeping with Trump’s “Buy American” agenda, the Pentagon plans to more strictly enforce laws originating from the Great Depression that prioritize American manufacturers in producing military supplies. Aaron Gregg reports: “A June 30 memo from the Office of Management and Budget provides new guidance on how federal agencies should enforce such laws, asking them to limit exemptions and calling for them to draft policies to maximize the procurement of U.S. products, specifically mentioning steel, iron, aluminum and cement … The two laws in question are the 1933 Buy American Act, which requires the Pentagon to purchase domestically-produced products for purchases over a $3,500 threshold, and the more-restrictive 1941 Berry Amendment, which applies mainly to clothing and food products purchased by the military … But in practice a sprawling hodgepodge of free trade agreements means American defense manufacturers can draw heavily on foreign materials.”
-- “Steve Bannon is out of Trump’s doghouse,” Joshua Green writes in New York Magazine: “Leading the fight while everyone else is frantically lawyering up is exactly the type of loyalty Trump demands … and Bannon is especially poised to deliver. Despite his portrayal as Trump’s Rasputin, Bannon’s return was prompted less by his own influence than by the president’s needs. Nobody has ever really had the power to control Trump for long — a fact beleaguered White House officials can agree on. Bannon is less ‘The Great Manipulator’ than Trump’s indispensable henchman, the man he turns to when everything’s going to hell. Bannon is astute enough to discern Trump’s desires and heedless enough to carry it out. ‘If the whole White House is backed up against the wall facing a firing squad, Steve will stay there,’ says Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund. ‘Reince [Priebus] and the other guys will run.’”
-- The Trump-backed House GOP plan to privatize the country’s air-traffic control system is still, well, up in the air. Politico’s Brianna Gurciullo and Lauren Gardner report: “A month after Trump offered his public support in a White House speech, the proposal to split up the Federal Aviation Administration still faces opposition from rural interests, small-plane owners and key Republicans in Congress, where the to-do list for returning lawmakers is piled high with big tasks like repealing Obamacare and rewriting the tax code. One crucial lawmaker says he's not even sure how strongly Trump supports the proposal … Still, the proposal may at least make it further than it did last year, when a bill sponsored by House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) faced so much opposition that House leadership didn’t even bring it to the floor … But Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the FAA.”
-- “Conservatives are curiously zen about the debt ceiling hike, which points to a tectonic shift in the politics of debt now that we've entered the Trump Era,” Axios’s Jonathan Swan writes. “Not a single major conservative outside group is demanding the White House slash spending in exchange for their cooperation raising the debt ceiling (which will have to happen in October). Privately, most top Trump administration officials are delighted conservatives aren't pressuring them. One high-profile conservative leader — summing up a view I'm hearing across the movement — told me his group doesn't think it's a good idea to play chicken with Republican leadership and the President over the debt ceiling as they often did with Barack Obama … The politics of debt have shifted under Trump; top White House officials are now weighing tax cuts that could substantially increase the deficit in the short-term.”
-- Amateur hour: The White House press shop misidentified two world leaders in one day. The comms team issued statements recognizing “President Xi of the Republic of China” and “President Abe of Japan.” Xi Jinping is the president of the People’s Republic of China (the Republic of China is the formal name for Taiwan’s Chinese nationalist government), and Shinzo Abe is the prime minister of Japan. (Nicole Lewis and Kristine Phillips)
-- “Coal no longer fuels America. But the legacy — and the myth — remain,” by Karen Heller: “Boone County claims to be the birthplace of America’s coal industry … [and] gives name to nearly everything in these parts, [including] the West Virginia Coal Festival, celebrating, as we arrive in town, its 24th year. There’s a carnival, a talent competition, and seven beauty queens … who wilt in the heat on the steps of the neoclassical courthouse, draped in charcoal-black sashes. Coal mining, celebrated with rhinestones and pageantry, is an enduring legacy rather than a thriving enterprise. Which is coal country’s problem, and the challenge for its boosters. We’re stuck on the idea of coal, its potent history and Walker Evans imagery, although much of the world has moved on. … But not Boone County. Not yet. ‘We’re keeping our heritage alive. We don’t want it to be a dying industry,’ says [festival vice president] Delores W. Cook … ‘This has been a way of life for people in West Virginia, keeping the lights on for all of the United States, for many, many years.’”
-- “‘Grandstanding’ or truth teller? CNN’s Acosta walks a fine line with Trump,” by Paul Farhi: “At a time when CNN is under attack by President Trump and his supporters, Acosta has been fighting back. He has said on the air that White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s unresponsive answers were rendering him ‘just kind of useless’ as a credible source; that the ever-briefer briefings have become ‘basically pointless’; that covering this White House has at times been like ‘covering bad reality television’ … Acosta’s remarks aren’t just blunt; they’re unusual. Reporters are supposed to report, not opine. Yet Acosta’s disdain has flowed openly, raising a question about how far a reporter — supposedly a neutral arbiter of facts, not a commenter on them — can and should go.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The latest revelations about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian officials were met with widespread condemnation.
From Obama's "ethics czar":
most damaging part of Don Jr. admission: by taking meeting, he, Manafort & Kushner sent message back to Russians: yes, we are ready to deal— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) July 10, 2017
This is the cover of one of the president's hometown papers today:
From Ted Cruz's former communications director:
So Don Jr. is openly admitting his father's campaign was willing to accept help from the Russians to damage HRC. Seems pretty big.— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) July 9, 2017
From Hillary Clinton's former spokesperson:
Don Jr called it "phony" to say Russia was trying to hurt Clinton 6 wks after he met w/Russians to plot against herhttps://t.co/spb4g1xBif— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 9, 2017
What POTUS' son admits to in this statement is jaw dropping in and of itself. https://t.co/L9QhnQ8s8f— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) July 9, 2017
From a reporter at HuffPost:
Just trying to imagine what Paul Ryan would say if this were Chelsea Clinton and not Donald Trump Jr.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 9, 2017
From two Vox writers:
Who among us hasn't met a Russian lobbyist offering dirt on our enemies as a pretext to talk sanctions, forgotten it, then lied about it?— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 9, 2017
Stranger things have happened, but it would be odd to tell all these lies *and fire the FBI Director* if you’d done nothing wrong.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 10, 2017
"I met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer to get dirt on my opponent, but she didn't have anything good" is a bad excuse. https://t.co/QPFbsGROAA— German Lopez (@germanrlopez) July 9, 2017
The MSNBC host:
Trump associates who've offered on-the-record or *under-oath* falsehoods about meeting w Russians— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 10, 2017
From a Times national political correspondent:
Why wouldn't Trump folks have preemptively disclosed every contact w Russians months ago, when Qs first raised?https://t.co/hFXAg0ajgF— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) July 9, 2017
A University of Texas law professor:
Seems to me that the narrative coming from @realDonaldTrump & co. may soon change from "no collusion" to "so what; collusion isn't illegal."— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) July 9, 2017
From a Democratic House member:
From The Weekly Standard editor:
Might be good for Congress to include in NDAA a provision requiring congressional approval for president to share cyber info with Russia.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 9, 2017
Several Republican senators criticized Trump's call for a cybersecurity alliance, including Ben Sasse:
This obviously should not happen--& obviously will not happen. Why the President of the United States would tweet it is inexplicably bizarre https://t.co/Y3YvnzRaku— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) July 10, 2017
Putin is an enemy of free religion, speech, press and protest. He is now plotting future cyber attacks on America. He won't become a friend. https://t.co/YU18LOjrJ6— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) July 10, 2017
Trump's emphasis on Putin's denial of election interference also raised eyebrows.
From the U.S. attorney who Trump asked to stay on but then abruptly fired:
When pursuing a corrupt politician, mobster or murderer on strong FBI evidence, if he "vehemently denied it," we just dropped it usually. https://t.co/d4HqyHQexB— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) July 9, 2017
The president sent congressional Republicans a reminder that they have been promising to repeal Obamacare since its passage:
For years, even as a "civilian," I listened as Republicans pushed the Repeal and Replace of ObamaCare. Now they finally have their chance!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
From Iowa's senior Republican senator:
52 Republicazn senators shld be ashamed that we have not passed health reform by now WE WONT BE ASHAMED WE WILL GO FROM MAJORITY TO MINORITY— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 9, 2017
Former Sen. Scott Brown seems to be enjoying his new job as ambassador to New Zealand:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- New York Times, “At Private Dinners, Pence Quietly Courts Big Donors and Corporate Executives,” by Kenneth P. Vogel: “Vice President Mike Pence has been courting scores of the country’s most influential donors, corporate executives and conservative political leaders over the past several months in a series of private gatherings and one-on-one conversations. The centerpiece of the effort is a string of dinners held every few weeks at the vice president’s official residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Washington. Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, have presided over at least four such soirées, and more are in the works.”
-- Politico, “California Republicans sweat Trump effect,” by Carla Marinucci: “Republicans running for governor in the Democratic stronghold of California face a myriad of challenges. One of the them is how to handle the issue of Donald Trump. Travis Allen, an assemblyman who announced his bid last week to succeed Jerry Brown as the state’s next governor, argues that he’s already a standout — of the three leading Republicans in the race, he alone proudly admits voting for the president.”
-- Politico, “President Trump's enemies list,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Donald Trump is less than six months into his presidency, yet one of the organizing principles of his political operation is already becoming clear: Payback. In private, Trump has spoken of spending $10 million out of his own pocket to defeat an incumbent senator of his own party, Jeff Flake of Arizona, according to two sources familiar with the conversation last fall. More recently, the president celebrated the attacks orchestrated by a White House-sanctioned outside group ag ainst another Republican senator, Dean Heller of Nevada, who has also been openly critical of him. Fear of Trump reprisals has led one Republican congresswoman, Martha Roby of Alabama, to launch an intense campaign to win over a president who remembers every political slight — and especially those who abandoned him following the October release of the 2005 ‘Access Hollywood’ tape.”
-- New York Magazine, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” by David Wallace-Wells: “It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
“Islamophobes are attacking me because I’m their worst nightmare,” from Linda Sarsour in The Post: “Since the Women’s March on Washington, which I had the privilege of co-chairing with inspirational women from across the country, my family and I have received countless threats of physical violence. These ugly threats come from people who also spout anti-Muslim, xenophobic and white-supremacist beliefs. Their sole agenda is to silence and discredit me because I am an effective leader for progress, a Palestinian American and Brooklyn-born Muslim woman. In short, I am their worst nightmare.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“Trump stopping to pick up Marine's hat blown away by wind is president's latest viral moment,” from ABC News: “The latest President Trump moment lighting up the twitterspehere isn't a social gaffe nor an awkward moment with another world leader. Instead, it's video of the president retrieving a Marine's hat that was blown off the service member's head as he guards Marine One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland … As Trump approaches Marine One, he bends down to pick up the hat and places it back on the Marine's head and pats him on his arm.”
Trump has no public events today.
Pence has a morning interview on the Laura Ingraham Show followed by two phone calls with the prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia. He will also later have a meeting with the prime minister of Tunisia.
Congress returns to Washington.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Former CIA director John Brennan on Trump’s warm reception of Putin in Hamburg: “I seriously question whether or not Mr. Putin heard from Mr. Trump what he needed to about the assault on our democratic institutions of the election.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
--It’ll be warmer and more humid than recent days in D.C. today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Skies are generally partly to mostly sunny, though we can’t rule out a brief shower in the morning.”
-- The Nationals beat the Braves 10-5, Chelsea Janes reports. The win puts them 16 games over .500 halfway through the season.
-- “Metro’s inspector general is investigating the agency’s handling of complaints alleging racial and sexual harassment by a top MetroAccess official, the IG’s office has confirmed,” Faiz Siddiqui reports. “The probe was initiated after complaints from individuals outraged over Metro’s response to the harassment allegations reached the office of the newly appointed inspector general in recent weeks.”
-- “Two men were killed in a shooting incident on the Eastern Shore early Sunday and an off-duty state trooper fired at one of them, but it was not known whether he caused the man’s death,” Martin Weil reports.
-- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has announced his opposition to drilling off of the state’s coast, Scott Dance reports.
-- The University of Maryland will begin offering training on the burgeoning medical marijuana industry to its pharmacy students, Meredith Cohn reports.
-- National Park Service plumbers are going to battle with 19th-century pipes to keep water flowing through D.C.’s many fountains, Steve Hendrix reports.
-- The nonprofit group that has transformed the former streetcar tunnels under Dupont Circle into a subterranean art space is trying to fundraise for expansion, Rachel Chason reports.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
The Post's Editorial Board gathered questions for the president from readers:
An Australian political journalist gave a searing assessment of Trump's G-20 performance:
Turkish protesters marched from Ankara to Istanbul to decry the imprisonment of rights activists, journalists and lawmakers:
Nikki Haley defended Ivanka Trump sitting in for her father at a G-20 meeting:
One family explained how they would be affected by the Senate's proposed cuts in Medicaid:
A few dozen members and supporters of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in opposition to the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. There was a much larger counterprotest:
Finally, the National Zoo’s panda is great at falling out of trees: