With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve.
THE BIG IDEA: Fifty years ago tonight, Robert F. Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic primary for president in California. The 42-year-old died of his wounds the next day. Two years to the day before his assassination, on June 6, 1966, the senator delivered perhaps the greatest speech of his life at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
A young student leader named Ian Robertson, who ran the National Union of South African Students, invited Kennedy to come for their Day of Affirmation, when members of the multiracial group, which resisted the apartheid regime, rededicated themselves to the ideals of freedom. The tradition started after the government banned nonwhite students from universities in 1959.
South Africa reluctantly agreed to grant Kennedy a visa to the country, and authorities only relented because they were worried about the optics of turning him away. The government, which had just expelled a New York Times reporter for critical coverage, denied entry to 40 print and television journalists who wanted to cover Kennedy’s trip.
Two weeks before Kennedy’s arrival, the government banned Robertson, 21, from participating in public life for five years because of his activism. The student who had invited Kennedy to speak was forbidden to be in a room with more than one other person at a time. An empty chair was left on stage as a symbol of his absence. “It's too bad he can't be with us today,” said Kennedy.
Before an audience that was all white — the government wouldn’t have it any other way — Kennedy delivered a paean to the freedom of speech, protest and the press. “The enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society,” he said. “The essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people.”
The speech captured the revolutionary zeitgeist of the 1960s as well as any other. It’s worth revisiting not just for historical purposes, though, but because of the timelessness and universality of its message. Fifty-two years later, Kennedy’s words feel relevant as President Trump attacks NFL players for nonviolently protesting police brutality and racial injustice. They feel important on the morning after the Supreme Court upheld a baker’s refusal to make a cake for a gay couple because of their sexual orientation. They seem vital as the United States de-emphasizes democracy promotion as an aim of foreign policy. Each day’s newspaper brings fresh reminders that, as Ted Kennedy put it 12 years after losing his third and final brother, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.
“The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans,” RFK said in Cape Town. “It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress.”
Kennedy opened with some mischievous misdirection. “I came here,” he said, “because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which once imported slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America.”
He noted that more progress had been made to give rights to African Americans during the previous five years than in the century before. But he emphasized how much more remained to be done. “We have passed laws prohibiting discrimination in education, in employment, in housing, but these laws alone cannot overcome the heritage of centuries — of broken families and stunted children and poverty and degradation and pain,” Kennedy said, making an observation that, sadly, is still very true today.
Then RFK, a devout Catholic, noted that his own Irish ancestors had faced discrimination only a generation before. “For two centuries, my own country has struggled to overcome the self-imposed handicap of prejudice and discrimination based on nationality, social class or race — discrimination profoundly repugnant to the theory and command of our Constitution,” he said. “Even as my father grew up in Boston, signs told him that ‘No Irish Need Apply.’ Two generations later President Kennedy became the first Catholic to head the nation. But how many men of ability had, before 1961, been denied the opportunity to contribute to the nation's progress because they were Catholic or of Irish extraction? How many sons of Italian or Jewish or Polish parents slumbered in slums untaught (and) unlearned, their potential lost forever to the nation and human race? Even today, what price will we pay before we have assured full opportunity to millions of Negro Americans?”
Kennedy’s willingness to acknowledge America’s flaws, and her ongoing struggle to live up to her ideals, added credence to his message. “Nations, like men, often march to the beat of different drummers, and the precise solutions of the United States can neither be dictated nor transplanted to others,” he said. “What is important is that all nations must march toward increasing freedom; toward justice for all; toward a society strong and flexible enough to meet the demands of all its own people, and a world of immense and dizzying change.”
The remarks were intended to give hope to political prisoners and young people who dreamed of a brighter future. Kennedy met with Robertson, the student organizer, in his apartment one-on-one, the only arrangement allowed. Kennedy noted that his apartment was probably bugged and told him to stomp on the floor and turn on the faucet to interfere with listening devices placed by the government. When Robertson asked how he knew that, Kennedy replied: “I used to be attorney general.”
Kennedy warned the thousands of young people who could come see him speak that the road ahead would be strewn with dangers. He identified four:
“First, is the danger of futility: the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. …
“The second danger is that of expediency; of those who say that hopes and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. …
“A third danger is timidity. Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. …
“For the fortunate among us, the fourth danger is comfort, the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who have the privilege of education.”
The senator, carrying his brother’s torch, concluded with a testament to the power of the individual to make a difference. He noted many of the world's greatest movements have flowed from the work of a single man. He cited Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson. Kennedy also invoked Martin Luther King Jr., who had recently won the Nobel Prize and would be assassinated a few months before him in 1968. King had been invited by the same student group, but the government denied his visa because he was black.
But he said most change comes from people who are part of mass movements, like those who resisted Nazism in Europe during World War II or Peace Corps volunteers. “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation,” he said. “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Those words are etched in stone at his grave in Arlington National Cemetery. When I visited yesterday morning, 150 students gathered by the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy’s tomb. But despite the impending anniversary, no one stood at his brother’s final resting place nearby. At the bottom of a grassy knoll, placed next to his modest tombstone, there was just one white rose — dotted with raindrops and wrapped in the colors of the Irish flag.
-- Happening tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.: The Daily 202 Live with Bernie Sanders. (Details on my interview with the senator here.)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House on the eve of an event to celebrate their Super Bowl championship. “Aides said only a smaller group of [10 to 12] players planned to attend, leading Trump to cancel instead of having a scaled-down or embarrassing ceremony. A number of star players … had said they were uninterested in attending,” Josh Dawsey and Wesley Lowrey report. Trump chalked it up to the dispute over the national anthem, even though the league enacted a new policy last month to placate him, which requires players to either stand on the field or wait in the locker room during the song.
Trump says he will celebrate instead with Eagles fans and the United States Marine Band and the U.S. Army Chorus at the White House. The president released a statement attacking NFL players who kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality: “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
Trump has done this before: The president also rescinded an invitation to the Golden State Warriors for their NBA championship last year because the team’s best player, Steph Curry, said he didn’t want to go.
POTUS almost canceled on the New England Patriots in April 2017 when he found out quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t coming. He huddled angrily with aides and even called Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “One former senior administration official described a chaotic scene (aboard Air Force One) ... Trump made a number of calls and asked aides to help fix the situation, worried that Brady’s absence would reflect poorly on him. Brady later said he skipped the event to be with his ailing mother, while another half-dozen Patriots skipped to protest Trump. Eventually, Trump was calmed down …”
My colleagues also reveal a new example of how Trump sought to punish the NFL: “When some players continued to kneel during the anthem (last fall), Trump told White House officials they should punish the NFL as part of a GOP-tax plan, according to White House and Hill aides,” Josh and Wesley report. “Some aides even began researching how to punish the lucrative league, and ideas trickled over to Capitol Hill. … Another White House official noted that Trump’s ideas were never implemented and described his orders more as venting.”
Trump seems quite keen on continuing to use the anthem, which is supposed to be unifying, as a wedge issue that divides the country:
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Trump also listed championship teams that have recently visited the White House:
We have had many Championship teams recently at the White House including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Alabama and Clemson National Champions, and many others. National Anthem & more great music today at 3:00 P.M.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
(But technically, the Cubs visited the Obama White House.)
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney blasted Trump’s decision: “These are players who stand up for the causes they believe in and who contribute in meaningful ways to their community,” the Democrat said. “Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend.”
Remember: Pennsylvania, the keystone of the president’s 2016 victory, will be a battleground in 2018 and 2020. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), up for reelection this fall against a Trump Republican, last night invited the Eagles to forgo the Rose Garden for a tour of the Capitol. “I’m skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress,” he tweeted.
-- The Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, bringing the team one game away from capturing the championship. The Post reports: “The Capitals weathered an early flourish from the Golden Knights, got a little help from a goal post and then took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by T.J. Oshie. Tom Wilson extended the lead to 2-0 late in the first period. Devante Smith-Pelly piled it on with another goal in the final minute of the first. The Capitals endured more good chances from the Knights in the second period, but instead it was Washington that struck again, with John Carlson converting on the power play. The Caps lead 5-2 in the third period after a James Neal goal ended the shutout bid by Braden Holtby and Reilly Smith added another with just over 7:30 remaining. Michal Kempny added Washington’s fifth goal of the night shortly after Smith’s and Brett Connolly accounted for the sixth.”
GET SMART FAST:
- At least 62 people were killed by Sunday’s violent volcanic eruption in Guatemala. The unexpected eruption sent streams of molten lava pouring down the mountain, burying entire towns in a fast-moving, 1,300-degree “river of hell.” (Susan Hogan and Avi Selk)
- At least 14 people were killed in Kabul after a suicide bomber attacked a two-day peace gathering of Muslim clerics. The bombing occurred just hours after attendees issued an unprecedented religious edict that condemned such attacks as violations of Islam. (Sayed Salahuddin)
- Starbucks founder and CEO Howard Schultz announced that he will step down from the company this month and resign his board position — reigniting speculation that Schultz, an outspoken and well-recognized executive, could be weighing a potential political bid. (Jena McGregor, Michael Scherer and Rachel Siegel)
George H.W. Bush was discharged from a Maine hospital. The former Republican president was treated for low blood pressure. (John Wagner)
- A former Defense Intelligence Agency officer was arrested and charged this weekend with trying to pass government secrets to China. His arrest comes as the latest in a string of recent espionage cases involving Beijing — and which have resulted in the arrest of two former CIA officers. (Devlin Barrett)
- A man identified by authorities as Dwight Lamon Jones, suspected of carrying out a string of recent murders across Scottsdale, Ariz., fatally shot himself as police closed in on his location at a hotel. Jones's death ends a days-long manhunt and spate of killings that appeared to target those in the mental health and legal communities. Four of his victims were loosely connected to his divorce proceedings. (Kristine Phillips and Keith McMillan)
- Serena Williams pulled out of the French Open because of a pectoral injury, which forced her to withdraw just moments before a highly anticipated faceoff with Maria Sharapova. Williams — who has never withdrawn from a singles competition during a major tournament before — said she was “beyond disappointed.” (Chuck Culpepper, Cindy Boren and Matt Bonesteel)
- Frank Carlucci, the former defense secretary and deputy CIA chief who served as a self-described “damage-repair specialist” for six presidents, died Sunday at his home in Virginia. The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease. (Bruce Nelan)
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- Robert Mueller’s team accused Paul Manafort of attempted witness tampering, asking a federal judge to consider revoking or revising the former Trump campaign chairman's release. Spencer S. Hsu, Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett report: “Prosecutors accused Manafort and a longtime associate they linked to Russian intelligence of repeatedly contacting two members of a public relations firm and asking them to falsely testify about secret lobbying they did at Manafort’s behest. … In court documents, prosecutors with [Mueller] allege that Manafort and his associate — referred to only as Person A — tried to contact the two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps. The description of Person A matches his longtime business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik. ... Manafort, 69, has been on home confinement pending trial. FBI agent Brock W. Domin said that one of the public relations firm’s executives identified as Person D1 told the government he understood Manafort’s outreach to be an effort to ‘suborn perjury' by encouraging others to lie to federal investigators by concealing the firm’s work in the United States. Spokesmen for Manafort and the special counsel’s office, who are under a court gag order in the case, declined to comment.”
-- Despite Trump's claims that he has an “absolute” right to pardon himself and that Mueller's appointment was “UNCONSTITUTIONAL,” the president's attorneys are preparing for a fraught legal battle. Carol D. Leonnig, Robert Costa, Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey report. “As the two sides head toward a confrontation over a presidential interview in the coming weeks, newly hired White House lawyer Emmet Flood and other attorneys are strategizing about how to handle a subpoena from Mueller … Several White House officials said Flood has cautioned Trump and others about the unpredictability of a subpoena fight that could be decided by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, [Rudy] Giuliani and other advisers have begun making plans to prepare Trump for a possible sit-down with Mueller. ...
“Another new Trump lawyer, Jane Raskin, talks with Mueller deputy James Quarles at least three times a week ... She is reviewing the classified conversations Trump and other top aides have had with foreign leaders, such as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov … but also is working to negotiate possible terms and limit questions Trump might face[.] And inside the White House, officials have tried to begin delving into key subjects with the president that might come up in a session with Mueller. However, the fledgling briefings have not gone very deep, because of the president’s anger about the probe ...”
-- Meanwhile, Senate Republicans warned Trump against trying to pardon himself, with “varying degrees of alarm.” Seung Min Kim reports: “Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) noted that constitutional scholars have reached varying conclusions on whether a president can pardon himself, but she added that were she advising Trump, she would urge him to ‘never say another word about Bob Mueller’s investigation until it’s complete.’ ‘There’s no doubt that the president is not above the law,’ Collins said Monday. ‘It would be a tremendous abuse of his authority if he were to do so, as well as remarkably unwise.’ Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) stressed that the Constitution ‘doesn’t give carte blanche freedom to a president.’” And Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also took issue with Trump’s claims: “If I were president and somebody, some lawyer told me that I could do that, I’d hire a new lawyer.”
It's a familiar cycle on the Hill as lawmakers insist the political consequences will deter Trump from this much in the same way they wager the president would never fire Mueller. “Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) gently remarked that while Trump may have the authority to pardon himself, ‘he’d be smarter than to exercise that.’ Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he couldn’t ‘imagine a president even bringing that up.’ And across the board, Senate Republicans said they prefer Trump avoid discussing the issue.” “Politically, it would be a disaster,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “I don’t know why we’re talking about this.”
-- A letter signed by 14 prominent law professors and legal scholars pointedly rejects the claim from Trump’s legal team that he could not have obstructed the Russia investigation. “The Office of the President is not a get-out-of-jail free card for lawless behavior,” the experts wrote. “Indeed, our country’s Founders made it clear in the Declaration of Independence that they did not believe that even a king had such powers; they specifically cited King George’s obstruction of justice as among the 'injuries and usurpations' that justified independence. Our Founders would not have created — and did not create — a Constitution that would permit the President to use his powers to violate the laws for corrupt and self-interested reasons." The signers include Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, former U.S. attorneys Harry Litman and Joyce Vance and former Obama White House ethics czar Norm Eisen. (Politico’s Josh Gerstein)
-- “If obstruction statutes cannot stop Mr. Trump from shutting down an investigation even if he did so with a corrupt motive, then Justice Department procedures and regulations also cannot stop him from ordering an investigation into his political opponents for corrupt reasons,” notes the New York Times’s Charlie Savage.
-- The admission from the White House and Trump’s lawyers that he did dictate a statement about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, despite repeated denials, reflects a pattern of only acknowledging the truth after being confronted with inconsistencies in their stories, Ashley Parker writes. “On Monday, [White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders] twice declined to explain her earlier denial — undercut by the president’s lawyers — that Trump had dictated aboard Air Force One the misleading statement about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer who was expected to provide dirt on Clinton to help Trump’s campaign. She repeatedly referred the media’s questions to the president’s outside counsel, prompting one exasperated reporter to say, ‘But in August, you said it.’”
-- “Cambridge University perch gave FBI source access to top intelligence figures — and a cover as he reached out to Trump associates,” by Tom Hamburger, Robert Costa and Ellen Nakashima: “His perch as a Cambridge professor gave [Stefan] Halper, a veteran of three Republican administrations, the chance to mingle with figures such as then-Defense Intelligence Agency chief Michael Flynn and Vyacheslav Ivanovich Trubnikov, former director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. … Former Justice Department and intelligence officials said Halper’s work appeared to be routine: occasionally supplying limited information for a broad FBI inquiry into Russian efforts to intervene in U.S. politics. However, there are lingering questions about his role — including how he was activated and why his first contact with a then-little-known Trump adviser, Carter Page, came weeks before the Justice Department investigation was officially opened.”
-- “What should the special counsel do next? I’d suggest it’s subpoena time,” The Post's Ruth Marcus writes in a column encouraging Mueller to secure an interview with Trump: “Backing down in the face of presidential recalcitrance would not only reward Trump but also tell future presidents that they can evade the ordinary demands of the law as long as they have the stomach to bully and delay. Mueller shouldn’t let that happen. He has waited long enough.”
-- The Russia investigation is also hampering Donald Trump Jr.’s efforts to sign a book deal. Fox Business’s Charlie Gasparino reports that Trump’s eldest son has gotten some pushback from major publishers, who have expressed concerns that he might be charged in the Mueller probe.
THE SUPREME COURT:
-- The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had been hostile to the business owner’s faith. Robert Barnes reports: “While the justices split in their reasoning, only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. [Justice Anthony Kennedy] wrote that the question of when religious beliefs must give way to anti-discrimination laws might be different in future cases. But in this case, he said, [Jack] Phillips did not get the proper consideration. As he had in oral arguments … Kennedy noted comments from Colorado commissioners that he thought denigrated Phillips’ faith, implying that, as Kennedy put it, ‘religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, implying that religious beliefs and persons are less than fully welcome in Colorado’s business community.’ Still, to achieve a wide majority, the opinion withholds judgment on how future cases might be decided in instances where the state displays no religious animosity.”
- “Avoiding a sweeping decision, the justices nevertheless laid the foundations for a more ambitious ruling in the future,” The Post’s Editorial Board writes. “Businesses cannot pick and choose their customers based on race. States should be able to extend that simple fairness to LGBT people, too. The court on Monday came closer to saying so.”
-- Richard Primus, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, argues that the Colorado ruling indicates trouble for Trump’s travel ban. Primus writes for Politico Magazine: “At issue in Hawaii v. Trump is whether the entry ban order results from anti-Muslim animus — that is, a kind of religious prejudice. Much of the fight is about whether courts should ignore President Trump’s Islamophobic statements when reasoning about the purpose of the entry ban. In Monday’s decision, Justice Kennedy made plain that it is appropriate to consider the prejudice in things government officials say when analyzing claims that those officials’ actions are unconstitutionally discriminatory: The key to the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, for Kennedy, was a series of statements by two members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that displayed, or might have suggested, a prejudicial attitude toward the baker’s religious beliefs.”
-- The Supreme Court also dismissed a lower court decision that allowed an undocumented immigrant teenager to obtain an abortion, but the teen's lawyers said the ruling should not affect a court order temporarily allowing undocumented girls in federal custody to get abortions. Robert Barnes and Anne E. Marimow report: “The five-page order directs the lower courts to dismiss as moot the teen’s individual claim seeking access to abortion services. The girl, known in court papers as Jane Doe, was able to terminate her pregnancy before the high court got involved. She has since turned 18 and is no longer in federal custody. Her lawyer, Brigitte Amiri of the American Civil Liberties Union, described as narrow the Monday ruling that she said does not affect a broader challenge to the government’s policy for pregnant teens in federal immigration custody that is pending in District Court in Washington. ‘Now we can focus on going forward and continue to do everything we can to strike the policy down once and for all,’ Amiri said.”
IT’S PRIMARY DAY IN CALIFORNIA:
-- Eight states will hold primaries today, but attention has centered on California, where a “top-two” primary system threatens to lock out Democrats from crucial House races. The LA Times’s Christine Mai-Duc writes: “The prospect of voters only having the choice between two Republicans on the ballot in crucial races in November has forced Democratic groups to spend more than $7 million in the closing weeks of the campaign to avert disaster. … Democrats have targeted 10 GOP-held seats here, including seven won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. California has as many potential pickup districts than the seven other states with primaries on Tuesday combined.
“The party is preparing for what it sees as the worst-case scenario: Democrats get shut out of one or two California races. That would leave them to compete in at least five GOP-held districts where Clinton won in 2016. Two of those districts in the Central Valley have proved hard for Democratic House candidates to penetrate. If they are shut out of more than a couple of districts in the primary, Democrats will have to scramble to find opportunities elsewhere in the country to flip the 23 seats they need to retake the House.”
-- California’s unique primary system has also left gubernatorial candidates scrambling to finish second to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Casey Tolan reports for the San Jose Mercury News: “What’s worth more — $23 million for political ads, or two tweets from [Trump]? The “top-two” primary election for California’s next governor could provide an answer tomorrow, as former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Republican businessman John Cox grapple for second place and a ticket to the November general election. … [W]hich of [Newsom’s] rivals makes it into the general will shape the state’s political scene over the next five months, with big implications on critical races down-ballot. If Newsom and Cox advance, as most recent polls have predicted, it will presage a more traditional Democratic versus Republican face-off in November. … If Villaraigosa edges Cox for second, it would make history as the state’s first intraparty governor’s election. It would likely be unpredictable and highly competitive, with supporters on both sides pouring tens or hundreds of millions of dollars into the contest.”
-- California’s primary system was billed as a cure for political polarization when it was introduced eight years ago. “Instead of statesmanship, the top-two system in California has this year fostered chaos and gamesmanship heading into Tuesday’s primary,” columnist Karen Tumulty writes. “The top-two system has also helped make primary battles extraordinarily expensive, on a scale normally seen in general elections. In one Southern California race, the 39th district where 17 candidates will be on the ballot to replace retiring Republican Edward R. Royce, three Democrats have spent close to $8 million. Much of that money went toward beating up on each other, until the party stepped in to broker a truce between two of them, Gil Cisneros and Andy Thorburn. Meanwhile, leading Republican contender Young Kim — who will almost certainly finish in the top two — has spent less than $700,000.”
-- Meanwhile, the race to replace outgoing Rep. Darrell Issa (R) could become the country’s most expensive regular congressional election. From CNBC’s Jeff Daniels: “There are 16 candidates vying for the seat in California's 49th Congressional District, which includes portions of northern San Diego County and southern Orange County. Despite the district's long history of being a conservative bastion in the southern part of the state, [Trump] actually came in second place in Orange County in the 2016 presidential election to [Clinton] and lost by an even bigger margin in San Diego County. … Nearly $15.3 million has been spent so far by candidates and outside groups for the Issa seat, including more than $9.2 million by four top Democrats who hope to prevail in [Tuesday's primary]. There also are four top Republican challengers that together have raised more than $1.8 million.”
Trump weighed in this morning on the race for California's next governor:
In High Tax, High Crime California, be sure to get out and vote for Republican John Cox for Governor. He will make a BIG difference!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
THE REST OF THE MIDTERMS:
-- Rep. Keith Ellison, who serves as deputy DNC chair, is expected to announce a bid for Minnesota attorney general today. Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reports: “Ellison has been in Congress since 2007, and served as deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee since last year, as a leader of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. But he’s been chafing for months at both roles: being in the minority in Congress and being subsumed to DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who beat him for the top job. … Beyond the reasons making him want to leave Washington are the reasons drawing him to the job: attorneys general have taken on major significance within the Democratic resistance to the Trump administration, and Ellison is eager to be a leader in that fight.”
-- Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the House GOP’s highest-ranking woman, is facing a more difficult path to reelection in Washington largely because of Trump. Mike DeBonis reports: “She is likely to face another woman for the first time in her congressional career, not to mention a highly motivated and aggressive corps of opposition. … Her Democratic opponent, Lisa Brown, is a veteran former state legislator who has raised $1.2 million and is seeking to capitalize on the incumbent’s leadership role in promoting cuts to health care and supporting other unpopular Republican priorities. That McMorris Rodgers occupies the seat once held by Democratic Rep. Tom Foley — who in 1994 became the only sitting House speaker ever to lose reelection — has added texture to the matchup. … McMorris Rodgers is responding to the pressure by walking a fine line between her district’s conservatism — it voted for Trump by 13 points — and refraining from an outright embrace of the president himself.”
-- March for Our Lives is planning a summer bus tour to register young people to vote. Lori Rozsa and Katie Zezima report: “The tour is scheduled to start on June 15 in Chicago and has dozens of planned stops over 60 days, and activists plan to register young people to vote in states including California, Connecticut, Iowa, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas. A separate tour is scheduled to make 27 stops in Florida, one in each of the state’s congressional districts. … Organizers said the bus tour will register young people at each stop, talking to them about gun reform and whether local candidates support them or have the support of the National Rifle Association.”
-- Trump and his allies have touted San Diego’s border fence as proof that “walls work.” Yet new DHS statistics suggest the barrier has done little to tamp the flow of drugs across the border. Nick Miroff reports: “Trump has promoted a border wall as a solution to the opioid crisis … But U.S. seizure data indicates that San Diego, the place with America’s most formidable fencing, has become its principal gateway for hard drugs. According to the latest figures … seizures of fentanyl in San Diego nearly doubled last year to 139 pounds, enough for nearly 30 million lethal doses. More heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine come through the San Diego border than anywhere else, government statistics show.
“Most of the drugs come directly through U.S. ports of entry[.] Smuggling engineers use constantly evolving tactics to hide the contraband in fake vehicle panels, secret compartments or deep inside engine parts. Cartel chemists have learned to liquefy meth to make it look like water. And super-potent fentanyl is so compact that pedestrian couriers can walk it through border gates … Critics say [border wall funds] would be better spent hiring more U.S. customs officers whose job it is to facilitate trade and travel while stopping narcotics and other threats.”
-- Government officials are running out of shelter space for immigrant children detained at the border. NBC News’s Julia Ainsley and Courtney Kube report: “As of Sunday, nearly 300 of the 550 children currently in custody at U.S. border stations had spent more than 72 hours there, the time limit for immigrants of any age to be held in the government's temporary facilities. Almost half of those 300 children are younger than 12, according to the document, meaning they are classified by the Department of Homeland Security as ‘tender age children.’ The stations, run by the Border Patrol and meant only as the first stop for children detained at the border, often lack adequate bedding or separate sleeping rooms for children.”
THE #METOO MOVEMENT:
-- Bill Clinton defended his behavior in the Monica Lewinsky scandal in an interview — saying he would not handle the scandal “any differently” today, even amid a national reckoning over sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. John Wagner reports: “’If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t,’ Clinton told NBC News ‘Today’ correspondent Craig Melvin when asked if he would have approached the accusations against him any differently today. ‘I don’t think it would be an issue,’ Clinton said. 'Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. … A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work.’ In an interview that turned testy, Clinton said he had apologized ‘to everybody in the world’ for the 20-year-old episode but acknowledged he had not spoken directly to Lewinsky about the affair. ‘I’ve never talked to her,' Clinton said. 'But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.’”
-- “Clinton mirrored Trump in more ways than one. Asked how he views his sexual relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, against the backdrop of today's #MeToo movement, Clinton followed a script from which Trump has read, too,” Callum Borchers writes. For example, “Clinton invoked the ‘serious accusations against the current occupant of the Oval Office’ when asked about his own sexual misconduct … Perhaps Clinton was making up for the many times he has been used as a deflective device by [Trump].”
-- “What you saw there, I think, is the end of Bill Clinton’s life as a public figure in this country,” GOP strategist Steve Schmidt said on “Morning Joe.” “Because of that interview, I don’t think he’s campaigning anywhere ever again unless he can clean it up and fix it pretty quickly. … All he needed to say in the interview is ‘I am profoundly and deeply sorry.’”
-- Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of sexual harassment in the #MeToo era has drawn criticism from both his Republican and Democratic challengers, who say the two-term Democratic incumbent hasn’t gone far enough to crack down on harassment. Politico’s Jimmy Vielkind reports: “Cuomo advocated for and signed new sexual harassment legislation … But his opponents [say] he hasn't done enough to change Albany's patriarchal culture and hasn't been aggressive enough in cutting ties with known harassers. [Cynthia Nixon] released a video last week juxtaposing women marching for empowerment with Cuomo's statements about hiring former New York Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who was admonished for an affair with a 19-year-old female intern. Both Nixon and [Marc Molinaro], the Republican standard-bearer, seized on a federal complaint filed May 29 against Jay Kiyonaga, who has held several posts in various state agencies before he was fired … for a sexual relationship with a female subordinate and for harassing female coworkers. Against that backdrop, Nixon said … there is ‘a clear pattern of the Governor ignoring reports of sexual harassment against his top staff and allies.’”
-- The leader of the National Park Service apologized for behaving “in an inappropriate manner in a public hallway.” Dino Grandoni reports: “In a staff-wide email to Park Service employees on Friday, P. Daniel Smith wrote that as ‘a leader, I must hold myself to the highest standard of behavior in the workplace. I take my responsibility to create and maintain a respectful, collegial work environment very seriously. Moving forward, I promise to do better.’ As The Washington Post first reported, an anonymous agency employee wrote to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in March to describe how Smith shortly after taking office as the Park Service’s deputy director ‘grabbed his crotch and his penis and acted out as though he was urinating on the wall.’” The Interior Department’s inspector general recently completed a report on the alleged incident, but it has yet to be released publicly.
-- A group tasked with examining harassment in the federal judiciary recommended major changes to address wrongdoing. Matt Zapotosky reports: “The 45-page report from the judiciary’s working group to address workplace misconduct did not detail specific instances of wrongdoing but laid out how policies and procedures left concerning gaps in how courthouse misconduct could be reported and policed. It recommended revising written codes in several key respects, as well as creating offices at the national level and in each judicial circuit to help employees navigate the process of complaining about workplace malfeasance.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- Scott Pruitt’s scheduling director told congressional investigators she was asked to perform “numerous” personal tasks in her role at the EPA, including contacting Trump’s D.C. hotel to inquire about purchasing a used mattress, according to transcripts released by House Democrats. Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Brady Dennis report: “[Millan Hupp’s mattress search] … was one of several unusual tasks she performed for the administrator. The senior EPA official also scouted apartments for her boss in some of the District’s hippest neighborhoods and helped arrange his family vacation to California over the New Year’s holiday so that the Pruitts could watch the Oklahoma Sooners play in the Rose Bowl .... Hupp described her work for Pruitt on an array of personal tasks, including booking non-work flights with his personal credit card, during a closed-door interview with [lawmakers] on May 18.”
- “Hupp said that she did not recall what resulted from the [mattress] inquiry, but, asked to confirm that ‘it was not for use at EPA,’ she replied, ‘Not to my knowledge.’”
-- The Defense Department’s inspector general has opened an investigation into allegations against White House physician Ronny Jackson. Paul Sonne reports: “The investigation marks the latest fallout from Trump’s attempt to elevate his physician to the Cabinet, a move that ended in Jackson’s nomination falling apart and left the military physician’s highflying career under scrutiny by Pentagon investigators. … The Defense Department inspector general has the authority to conduct administrative and criminal investigations. A spokesman for the office declined to say whether Jackson was the subject of an administrative or criminal probe.”
-- Melania Trump attended her first official White House event in over three weeks, a reception honoring Gold Star families. Emily Heil reports: “According to one attendee, the president joked about the rumors that have circulated during his wife’s long absence and teased that they aren’t breaking up. ‘Isn’t that right, honey?’ he asked as Melania Trump laughed from the front row. She made no official remarks during the event. The president also said: ‘Melania had a little problem a couple weeks ago, but she wouldn’t miss this for anything.’ About 40 families participated in the candlelight ceremony in which the names of the fallen were read aloud. … Lori Donahue of Gillette, Wyo., said she was touched by Melania Trump’s presence: ‘It meant a lot that this was her first since her surgery.’ Donahue’s son, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Vrooman, was killed in Iraq.” The first lady was hospitalized on May 14 for five days following a procedure to treat a kidney condition.
THE TRUMP AGENDA:
-- Three Koch-backed organizations announced plans to oppose Trump’s tariffs. The multimillion-dollar campaign will include spending on “paid media, activist education and grassroots mobilization, lobbying and policy analysis,” the three groups — Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity and the Libre Initiative — said in a statement. (Tory Newmyer)
-- Sen. Bob Corker is crafting a bill that would subject tariffs to congressional approval. Erica Werner and Seung Min Kim report: “The aim of the bill, the Tennessee Republican said, would be ‘to make sure that before those things could even occur, you’d have to get congressional approval.’ … The senator, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he was aiming to assemble a bipartisan coalition in support of the legislation, which he hopes to unveil soon. Although Senate GOP leaders have been cool to the idea of bringing a trade bill to the floor that Trump would be sure to veto, Corker suggested that he would look for avenues to advance it, such as adding the legislation as an amendment to a major annual defense-policy bill that is pending.”
-- NASA is in talks with companies to take over operation of the International Space Station, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an interview. Christian Davenport reports: “‘We’re in a position now where there are people out there that can do commercial management of the International Space Station,’ Bridenstine said in his first extensive interview since being sworn in as NASA administrator in April. ‘I’ve talked to many large corporations that are interested in getting involved in that through a consortium, if you will.’ … [I]t was unclear, who, if anyone, would want to take over operations of the station, which costs NASA about $3 billion to $4 billion a year and is run by an international partnership that includes the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency.”
-- The Trump administration introduced an initial “scorecard” that compiles and publicizes state data on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Amy Goldstein reports: “This first scorecard includes state-by-state information showing that, on average, just over half the women on Medicaid are getting care while they are pregnant and after giving birth. Only three in five babies get checkups during their first 15 months, and less than half of children and teenagers have preventive dental visits. These and other measures show wide variations among states, though the initial version does not explicitly rank them. … For now, the Trump administration is not attaching any consequences to how states fare, but [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma] said that could change over the next few years as CMS refines and adds to the scorecard and members of Congress assess what it shows.”
-- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) voiced support for Trump’s consideration of commuting former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s prison sentence. “I think that the sentence imposed on Rod Blagojevich was definitely way too long,” Durbin told reporters in Chicago, calling the length of the sentence “outrageous.” “If there’s a way to reduce the sentence for him and his family, I would support it,” Durbin said. “I’ll let President Trump make that decision, but I certainly think 14 years was entirely too long.” (John Wagner)
-- During their Oval Office meeting last week, Trump told Kim Kardashian that she and her husband, Kanye West, were boosting his popularity in the African American community, Bloomberg News's Jennifer Jacobs reports. “Trump appeared to be referring to data from a Reuters weekly tracking poll, in which the portion of black men approving of Trump rose from 11 percent the week ending April 22 to 22 percent for the week ending April 29. But Reuters considers the number of African American respondents to those weekly polls too small to reliably indicate a shift in opinion.”
-- The Justice Department plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that Trump may not block people on Twitter. From Reuters’s David Shepardson: “Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the seven plaintiffs who sued, said the @realDonaldTrump account had unblocked the seven plaintiffs on Monday. ‘We’re pleased that the White House unblocked our clients from the President’s Twitter account but disappointed that the government intends to appeal the district court’s thoughtful and well-supported ruling,’ Jaffer said in an email.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- The absence of national security adviser John Bolton from Trump’s meeting last week with Kim Jong Un's right-hand man underscores how much North Korea hawks have been sidelined ahead of the planned summit. CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny, Jeremy Diamond and Michelle Kosinski report: “[Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] told Trump it would be ‘counterproductive’ to allow Bolton to attend the Oval Office meeting with visiting North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, two people familiar with the matter said, citing an escalating feud between the top diplomat and Bolton. The simmering tensions between two of the President's top foreign policy advisers reached a boiling point after Bolton went on television last month and cited the Libya model when talking about North Korea abandoning its nuclear program — and in doing so, also raising the specter of Libya's subsequent invasion and its leader's brutal murder. North Korea reacted furiously, lambasting Bolton in a statement. … But the remarks about Libya also infuriated Pompeo, who angrily confronted Bolton in a heated conversation at the White House.”
-- Top Senate Democrats demanded in a letter to Trump that he “hold the line” and settle for nothing short of complete denuclearization during his planned meeting with Kim. Karoun Demirjian reports: “The minority leader and several ranking Democrats issued a list of conditions in anticipation of the expected June 12 summit …. pressing the president to maintain a tough and unsparing stance with the North Korean leader and with his ally China to ensure that the talks achieve the goal of a ‘full, complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea’ — and nothing less. ‘Any deal that explicitly or implicitly gives North Korea sanctions relief for anything other than the verifiable performance of its obligations to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal is a bad deal,’ the Democratic senators wrote. [Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)] also warned Monday that Democrats would be watching the progress of negotiations to ensure their principles are met and … suggested that Republicans would join Democrats in any effort to restrain the president, if it appears he is moving too swiftly toward a bad deal."
- “Getting a deal with North Korea is actually the easy part,” Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said. “Getting a good agreement that works and is sustainable . . . is the hard part."
- Democrats also said the stakes of talks with North Korea are “far higher” than those with Iran, which Schumer noted “did not have nuclear weapons or a functional ICBM.” He added, “North Korea has both.”
-- Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), will hold a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing at 10 a.m. today on next steps in U.S. policy toward North Korea. (Watch the live stream here.)
-- A call between Trump and Emmanuel Macron last week was described as “terrible” after the French president candidly criticized Trump’s policies on trade and migration, CNN’s Michelle Kosinski and Maegan Vazquez report: " 'Just bad. It was terrible,’ [said one source]. ‘Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can't handle being criticized like that.’ The call came the same day the United States announced a unilateral decision to slap steel and aluminum tariffs on American allies … Thursday's strained call is particularly notable because Macron is arguably the European leader to whom Trump is closest. Trump can expect a similar call from British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday … It's not her style to be combative, but one source said May is expected to be direct in her criticisms and that Trump could expect a tough conversation.”
-- The size of U.S. Special Operations forces in Africa may be cut in half following a Pentagon review. The New York Times’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt report: “Ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in recent weeks, the assessment of Special Operations units worldwide follows an ambush in Niger that killed four American soldiers last fall. The review is an outgrowth of a Defense Department strategy that focuses on combating rising threats from Russia and China.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump demanded a faster release of a report from the Justice Department’s inspector general on its handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server:
What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays. Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
He also reiterated his regret over choosing Jeff Sessions as his attorney general:
The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself...I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined...and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
And he addressed families being separated at the border:
Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
The chief of staff to Philadelphia's mayor taunted the president:
From a CNN host:
The Eagles player said the president making an issue of players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice was never even mentioned in the meetings. He said there was no infighting on the team about attendance.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 5, 2018
From a Carolina Panthers player:
So many lies smh— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
Here are some facts
1. Not many people were going to go
2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem
3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military pic.twitter.com/89GUNhJ4eE
There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
From a New York Times reporter:
This White House dis-invitation gives the Philadelphia Eagles the chance to visit the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, where the true pillars of our democracy are displayed: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. https://t.co/GE5DKDScDJ— Dan Barry (@DanBarryNYT) June 5, 2018
From a CNN reporter:
WH schedule for tomorrow includes “Celebration of America” instead of Eagles ceremony pic.twitter.com/m4JSxYz4u4— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 5, 2018
An MSNBC host reacted to Manafort allegedly attempting to tamper with witnesses:
Let me get this straight: you’re facing trial in 2 states, wearing ankle bracelets courtesy of Robert Mueller and allegedly try to suborn perjury from potential witnesses emailing on encrypted apps thinking Mueller won’t find out?— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) June 5, 2018
Lawyer Ted Cruz debated whether Trump could pardon himself (see the whole thread):
This is not a question one should answer based on knee-jerk partisanship, as opposed to careful constitutional analysis.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
As for me, I still haven't studied the issue at that level of detail, and I don't intend to -- because this is nothing more than an academic debate.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
From a House Democrat:
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) responded to his Democratic colleague Jeff Merkley's failed attempts to access a detention center where immigrant children were being held:
This is outrageous. Sec. Nielsen owes us answers. My team was also barred from touring a migrant processing facility where families are being separated.— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) June 4, 2018
When the elected representatives of the people can't observe how our government is operating, we're in an upside down world. https://t.co/82K1y2dRUm
From California's junior senator:
It is outrageous that a United States Senator would be barred from entering a federal facility while trying to check on the welfare of children separated from their parents at the border. What does our government have to hide? https://t.co/v8ewae8Jzy— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 4, 2018
Another Democrat called for the recall of Trump's ambassador to Germany after he told Breitbart that he wants to "empower" European conservatives:
The State Department touted Trump's first 500 days in office:
Trump once again reveled in the 2016 election, per an AP reporter:
Trump, on conference call with supporters, reminisces about Hillary's "deplorables" line. "Well the deplorables are the - we’re the hot ones right now," he says. "They're all trying to figure out how do we get the deplorables on our side, right? So we're all deplorables together"— Jill Colvin (@colvinj) June 4, 2018
He also made a joke about the first lady's presence at a White House event, per a CNN reporter:
A person inside the room tells me Trump made a light-hearted joke about First Lady’s absence, saying the media was asking: “Where’s Melania?” He went on, laughing over speculation. “Did she leave him?” he asked at one point, before pointing out Mrs. Trump was in front row— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) June 4, 2018
A New York magazine writer shared this surprising fundraiser invitation:
Coming soon to NYC: a Donald Trump Jr fundraiser for Texas Land Commish George P Bush (Jeb’s son) pic.twitter.com/1yM2rjaIzy— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) June 4, 2018
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) gave some advice to Samantha Bee, who once mocked Walker's relationship with food:
Maybe Samantha Bee should go back to just ridiculing what I eat (spoiler alert: I’m eating 2 ham & cheese sandwiches in a brown paper bag today). pic.twitter.com/dNjF2U0uHp— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) June 4, 2018
A former senior adviser to Obama made this terrible pun about Howard Schultz's departure from Starbucks:
There are already several dark horse candidates for ‘20. How about a dark roast candidate?https://t.co/TYr4AEN0px— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) June 4, 2018
From a producer for Politico:
Howard Schultz's opponents' names will be misspelled on the ballot— Kelsey L. Hayes (@kelseylh) June 4, 2018
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- BuzzFeed News, “They Wanted The World To Pay Attention To Migrants. But The Attention Came At A Price,” by Adolfo Flores: “People all over the world knew about the caravan and the migrants propelling it forward, all with variations of the same tragic tale — forced from their homes by gangs, of loved ones threatened or raped or murdered. But now they were also facing the wrath of Trump’s tweets, and soon they would feel the crushing weight of the US and Mexican governments, as the caravan became the center of a political game and a media storm, even as the migrants grappled with what it meant to suddenly become the face of their fleeing compatriots. … It was a lesson in the consequences, in the age of Trump, of getting the attention you thought you wanted.”
-- BuzzFeed News, “How The Alt-Right Manipulates The Internet’s Biggest Commenting Platform,” by Charlie Warzel: “The commenting giant Disqus has said repeatedly that it doesn’t allow hate speech. But its platform is overrun with trolls, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis.”
-- Columbia Journalism Review, “The great remove,” by Sarah Jones: “From where I sit, I don’t know many national journalists who have a background like mine. In fact, the industry sometimes seems designed to keep us out of newsrooms altogether. Anyone coming from a low-income background runs similar mental calculations: How do we get into journalism? And if we do get in, how do we afford to stay in? … Whether you cover pop culture or poverty, your background shapes your path into your chosen field. And if your background includes poverty, that path contains boulders.”
-- Vanity Fair, “‘This Was Lachlan’s Revenge’: As A Murdoch Son Moves To Consolidate His Power, Rupert Says ‘I’m Still Here,’” by Gabriel Sherman: “Rupert Murdoch’s announcement last month that he was naming his eldest son, Lachlan, chairman and C.E.O. of New Fox—the downsized media conglomerate that will control the news and sports assets the Murdochs aren’t selling to Disney — was the culmination of a long-deferred dream. … But having repaired his relationship with Lachlan, Rupert seemed to echo the very mistake that led him to walk away.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Crowd cheers when valedictorian quotes Trump. Then reveals it was Obama,” from the Louisville Courier Journal: “Bell County high school student and valedictorian Ben Bowling wanted to share some words of wisdom with his graduating class, but there was a twist that no one saw coming. ‘This is the part of my speech where I share some inspirational quotes I found on Google,’ Bowling said in his speech. ‘’Don't just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.' — Donald J. Trump.’ The crowd burst into applause. ‘Just kidding,’ Bowling said. ‘That was Barack Obama.’ The 18-year-old valedictorian said the crowd quickly went silent. ‘I just thought it was a really good quote,’ Bowling said. 'Most people wouldn’t like it if I used it, so I thought I’d use Donald Trump’s name. It is southeastern Kentucky after all.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“A California city is giving its residents $500 a month with ‘no strings,’” from the Daily Caller: “Stockton, Calif., is hosting an economic experiment, choosing 100 of its own residents to receive $500 a month in private funds to approximate the effects of a universal basic income. The Economic Security Project (ESP) is funding the 18-month project, spending $1 million to conduct the test and monitor how the hand-picked residents spend the extra cash each month. ESP is partnering with Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, who says there will be ‘no strings’ for accepting the payments. ‘And then, maybe, in two or three years, we can have a much more informed discussion about the social safety net, the income floor people deserve and the best way to do it because we’ll have more data and research,’ Tubbs [said]."
Trump will meet with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and then have lunch with Mike Pompeo. He will later participate in the “Celebration of America” that replaced the Eagles’ visit and meet with members of Congress before a bill-signing ceremony.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Thankfully, the president hasn’t done anything wrong and wouldn’t have any need for a pardon,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of Trump’s claim he could pardon himself. (Yahoo News)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Washingtonians could see some afternoon thunderstorms complicating their evening commute. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “We may manage some partly sunny skies this morning as clouds slowly expand toward a mostly cloudy afternoon with breezy conditions. Highs are in the comfortable middle to upper 70s with some spots possibly hitting 80. Scattered showers and thunderstorms pop up middle to late afternoon and carry into the evening rush hour, but they seem scattered and short-lived.” Given all the recent rain, the Potomac is about to hit its highest level in eight years, Jason Samenow reports.
-- The Nationals selected two pitchers, Mason Denaburg and Tim Cate, with their first two picks in the MLB draft. (Jorge Castillo)
-- A new poll shows Ben Jealous and Rushern Baker leading in Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, but Gov. Larry Hogan’s 71-percent approval rating has overshadowed the race. Robert McCartney, Scott Clement and Rachel Chason report: “[T]he outcome of the [Democratic] race probably will depend on the nearly four in 10 likely voters who have not yet settled on a candidate. … The governor leads each Democrat by at least 10 percentage points in possible general-election matchups. Despite months of campaigning, multiple forums and two televised debates, none of the seven major Democratic contenders have distinguished themselves as the most experienced or electable, the poll finds.”
-- Battling high crime rates in Baltimore has become a prominent issue in Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Lynh Bui reports: “But the tough-on-crime talk that may have appealed strongly to voters in past political cycles has largely given way to different rhetoric. Candidates in the Democratic primary race have positioned themselves as reformers who will end mass incarceration, overhaul the bail system and make life easier for ex-offenders trying to rebuild their lives after prison.”
-- A Maryland judge denied gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin’s request to reprint millions of ballots before the Democratic primary. From Ovetta Wiggins: “Judge William C. Mulford II ruled that Linda H. Lamone, the administrator of the State Board of Elections, acted appropriately when she decided last month that there was not enough time to make new ballots after Ervin’s late entry into the governor’s race. … Mulford apologized to Ervin during a lengthy hearing Monday and told her that he sympathized with her situation. But he said he believed ordering the state board to make additional changes three weeks before the primary could lead to ‘chaos.’”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) will release a new attack ad today featuring taped conversations between his opponent, J.B. Pritzker, and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), whose case is back in the news because Trump is considering clemency:
Trump received another pardon request:
George Papadopoulos' wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos: "I trust and hope and ask to President Trump to pardon him." pic.twitter.com/ASYP0RE7Vj— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 5, 2018
Late-night hosts had a lot to say about Trump's claim that he can pardon himself:
And thousands gathered at Les Invalides in Paris to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the city's "Dinner in White":