With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve.
THE BIG IDEA: On the biggest primary day of the year, with voters going to the polls in eight states on Tuesday, the national Democratic establishment got the last laugh.
-- It cost millions of bucks, but Democrats appear to have avoided their nightmare of getting locked out of competitive House races in California. The state’s quirky jungle primary system means the top two finishers face each other in November, and the national party apparatus mobilized to make sure a Democrat finished in the top two. California is notoriously slow at counting ballots, so several races have not been called yet and it may take days to know the final results, but with nearly every precinct counted in Orange County, Democrats are confident this morning they’ll have a nominee in all the winnable races in SoCal.
“In California’s 39th, 48th and 49th congressional districts, Democrats at least ended the night in second place,” Dave Weigel reports. “In the 39th, lottery winner and Navy veteran Gil Cisneros led a Republican candidate in the battle for the No. 2 spot by more than 3,000 votes. In Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s 48th, two Democrats — Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda — were battling for second place, both were roughly 1,000 votes ahead of Republican Scott Baugh. And in the 49th, Democrats Mike Levin, Sara Jacobs and Doug Applegate were more than 3,000 votes ahead of the nearest Republican.”
- Cisneros, who was backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, benefited from an 11th-hour truce with another wealthy candidate.
- The DCCC-backed Rouda ran fourth in early votes but trailed only Rohrabacher in votes cast closer to Election Day — a period when the DCCC had been on the airwaves, trumpeting its endorsement.
- Democratic strategists are most worried this morning about a lockout in the Central Valley’s 10th Congressional District, where investor Josh Harder was clinging to second place by less than 1,000 votes: “That race had combined all of the DCCC’s danger signs — a second credible Democrat (Michael Eggman, who had run and lost the district twice), two female candidates, and a Republican who entered the race late and attracted some voters unhappy with Republican Rep. Jeff Denham over his support for immigration reform,” Weigel notes.
-- Democrats increased their odds of picking up three House seats in New Jersey, as candidates favored by the DCCC beat back more liberal alternatives. Former assistant secretary of state Tom Malinowski won a three-way primary to take on Rep. Leonard Lance (R). Navy veteran Mikie Sherrill won in the seat opening with GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s retirement after 24 years. And in the open seat of retiring GOP congressman Frank LoBiondo, Democratic voters nominated conservative state legislator Jeff Van Drew, who has been recruited for years. Republicans picked an unknown local politician with basically no money in his coffers.
-- Democrats need to flip 23 seats to win the House in November, and California and New Jersey alone could theoretically get them about a third of the way there. Democrats are credibly targeting a half dozen of the 14 Republican-held House seats in the Golden State.
-- Back in California, despite all the hullabaloo on the left, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) crushed her primary challenger. There was so much buzz among Indivisible-type activists and the MoveOn crowd when California state Senate leader Kevin De León announced his campaign against the veteran senator, who has often shown an independent streak. Feinstein has used her perch as the top Democrat on the powerful Judiciary Committee to block or slow President Trump’s agenda, but the netroots was outraged when she expressed a willingness during a forum in San Francisco to work with Trump on areas of common ground. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, though, De León garnered just 11 percent. Because of the jungle primary, the two may face off again in November. Three Republican candidates are in the mid-to-high single digits. If it winds up a head-to-head matchup, because he’s running at her from the left, many Republicans will vote for Feinstein.
-- Get ready for Gavin Newsom to be a figure on the national stage again. The California lieutenant governor will face Republican John Cox because former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) finished a distant third in the race for governor. Facing Cox instead of another Democrat means that Newsom is more likely to prevail in November. The Democrat, who got 15 minutes of fame by legalizing same-sex marriage as mayor of San Francisco, offered a new slogan during his victory speech: “Resistance with results.” Watch for him to seek a much higher D.C. profile than outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and to maybe even try fanning the flames of 2020 presidential talk. Not that it will happen, but he is likely to be the chief executive of the nation’s most populous state.
-- On the other side, unblinking support for Trump really has become the ultimate litmus test in Republican primaries. In Alabama, Rep. Martha Roby (R) was forced into a runoff because she could not get more than 50 percent in her primary in her quest for a fifth term. The only reason why is that she withdrew her support for Trump and called on him to drop out after the “Access Hollywood” tape came out in October 2016. In the Montgomery-area district, former congressman Bobby Bright — who Roby defeated in 2010 — ran ads that accused her of turning “her back on President Trump when he needed her the most.”
Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Roby’s rebuke of the president nearly two years ago now — for, let’s not forget, saying he can get away with groping women because he’s a celebrity and boasting about making passes at a married woman (while he himself was married to Melania) — drove Trump loyalists into the arms of a longtime Democrat who voted to make Nancy Pelosi the speaker of the House and only recently became a Republican.
Roby has been a reliable conservative vote, and she’s bent over backward to emphasize her fealty to Trump’s agenda, specifically on tax cuts and the border wall.
In California, Cox was able to get the second spot because Trump came out strongly and repeatedly for him on Twitter. This is toxic in a general election out West, but it helped gin up GOP turnout. Cox, an accountant, previously lost three elections in Illinois and a random presidential bid. Ironically, Cox didn’t support Trump either in 2016. But now he’s an outspoken booster. “It wasn’t Donald Trump who made California the highest tax state in the country,” he said last night.
-- Speaking of taxes, a Democratic state senator in Orange County got recalled over his vote for a new gas tax. Freshman Josh Newman went down because he supported a 12-cent-per-gallon tax. The race wasn’t even close. The recall passed by 20 points. This means that Democrats have lost their supermajority in the state legislature, at least until the end of the year. That’s not a huge deal because there’s not really much else on the agenda. But it’s a reminder that taxes can be a super potent issue. Republican strategists still hope to use the national tax bill passed in December as a winning issue in the midterms, warning that people’s taxes could go up if Democrats win the House.
-- For the first time in 87 years, a California judge was recalled from the bench thanks to the #MeToo movement. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to just six months in jail after his conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious student. The case became a cause celebre for sexual assault survivors.
Persky, 56, had served on the court since 2003. He argued that it would set a bad precedent to remove a judge from office over a decision that was lawful. His supporters warned that ousting Persky would prompt judges elsewhere to impose lengthier sentences for sex crimes so they can keep their seats.
For victims and their advocates, that sounds just fine. The recall campaign was chaired by Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber, and many students at Stanford — where the assault took place — got engaged in local politics for the first time.
-- It was another night of firsts: The New Mexico governor’s race will put two members of Congress against one another. Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham will face Republican Rep. Stevan Pearce. But women won the nominations for both parties in both open House primaries.
Debra Haaland, who won the Democratic primary for Lujan Grisham’s seat, may become the first Native American woman to ever serve in Congress.
If Lujan Grisham wins, and she is the front-runner despite a few damaging stories in the past few days, it would be the first time in U.S. history that a woman has succeeded another woman as governor.
South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem won the GOP primary for governor, putting her on a glide path to becoming her state’s first female governor.
And a 28-year-old state legislator in Iowa, Abby Finkenauer, won the Democratic nomination to take on vulnerable GOP Rep. Rod Blum in a battleground district. She would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
-- How the returns are playing locally:
- The Missoulian: “Matt Rosendale wins GOP Senate primary, will face Jon Tester in general election.”
- Des Moines Register: “Fred Hubbell wins Democratic nomination to run against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.”
- San Jose Mercury News: “Feinstein headed for November runoff, but against who?”
- LA Times: “California primary results portend a general election with national themes.”
- Sacramento Bee: “Come campaign in California, Donald Trump, Democratic leader says.”
- Argus Leader: “How Noem galloped to victory in the final two weeks.”
- Birmingham News: “Victorious Gov. Kay Ivey says state on 'right track.’”
- Albuquerque Journal: “Torres Small, Herrell to face off for congressional seat in GOP stronghold.”
- Jackson Clarion-Ledger: “Baria-Sherman runoff to determine Wicker's opponent in Mississippi Senate race.”
- NJ Advance Media: Bob “Menendez hit with protest vote from some Democrats as he and Hugin win Senate primaries.”
-- More evidence that the environment is bad for the GOP: In Missouri, Democrats flipped a GOP-held state Senate seat in a special election. Perhaps because of voter disgust with Trump or Eric Greitens, the Republican governor who recently resigned in disgrace, Democrat Lauren Arthur walloped a Republican state representative in the Kansas City suburbs by 19 points. Trump won the district by four points two years ago. That’s a 23-point swing.
-- Happening this morning: My Daily 202 Live interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. I’ll talk with the senator about what happened last night and so much more. (Watch the live stream here.)
-- Coming attractions: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) will be our next Daily 202 Live guest on June 27. (RSVP here.)
GET SMART FAST:
- A man wanted on a Maryland warrant was arrested Tuesday afternoon as he reported for work at the White House, where he was employed as a private contractor. The Secret Service did not say what charges Martese Edwards faces, but Prince George’s County authorities said a man with the same name is wanted on a charge of attempted first-degree murder. The 29-year-old's precise job or where he worked at the White House was not provided. (Peter Hermann and Lynh Bui)
- David Koch, one of two billionaire brothers whose powerful conservative network transformed Republican politics, is retiring from business and political life because of declining health. (James Hohmann and Amy Gardner)
- Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny invoked the Fifth, rather than answer questions about longtime former team physician Larry Nassar during testimony on Capitol Hill. (Will Hobson)
Officials estimated hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the volcanic activity on the island of Hawaii. One of the destroyed homes belonged to the county’s mayor, Harry Kim. (Eli Rosenberg)
- Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in an apparent suicide in her Park Avenue apartment. The 55-year-old designer was best known for her eponymous, colorful line of handbags, which she began designing in her apartment with Scotch tape and burlap — the cheapest material she could find at the time. (Sonia Rao and Elahe Izadi)
The family home of Parkland survivor David Hogg was “swatted.” Swatting is a form of harassment that involves someone placing a fake emergency call about a home in the hopes of attracting armed officers. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office was told Hogg’s house was the scene of a hostage situation, but officers quickly determined it was a prank. (Abby Ohlheiser)
- The Wall Street Journal replaced its top editor, Gerard Baker, a sometimes controversial figure in his own newsroom as some journalists privately complained he was too soft on Trump. The current No. 2, Matt Murray, will take over. (Paul Farhi)
- The Miss America organization announced it will eliminate the swimsuit portion of its competition. Contestants will also no longer be judged on their physical appearance. (Emily Yahr)
- Almost seven in 10 Americans are experiencing news fatigue, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. More than 60 percent of Democrats reported feeling overwhelmed by the current news cycle, as did 77 percent of Republicans. The results correlate with lower enthusiasm levels among GOP voters ahead of this year’s midterm elections.
- The nose of an American Airlines plane was decimated after it flew into a violent thunderstorm in New Mexico. The storm cracked the plane's windshields and prompted an emergency diversion into El Paso. While no injuries were reported, meteorologists have expressed “disbelief” that the plane flew into such a violent storm. (Jason Samenow)
PERSONNEL IS POLICY:
-- Shortly after Scott Pruitt was sworn in as EPA administrator, he enlisted a top aide to reach out to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy for a “potential business opportunity” — which, it turned out, was a job for his wife. Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey report: “A call was arranged, then canceled, and Pruitt eventually spoke with someone from the company’s legal department. Only then did he reveal the ‘opportunity’ on his mind … Marlyn Pruitt never opened a restaurant. [But] the revelation that Pruitt used his official position and EPA staff to try to line up work for his wife appears to open a new chapter in the ongoing saga of his questionable spending and management decisions[.] Pruitt’s efforts on his wife’s behalf … did not end with Chick-fil-A. He also approached the chief executive of Concordia, a New York nonprofit. The executive, Matthew A. Swift, said he ultimately paid Marlyn Pruitt $2,000 plus travel expenses to help with logistics for the group’s annual conference in September.”
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst called Pruitt “about as swampy as you get here in Washington, D.C.” The Iowa senator added: “If the president wants to drain the swamp, he needs to take a look at his own cabinet.” (Bloomberg News)
-- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that the EPA did not violate the Hatch Act when the agency appeared to criticize the Democratic Party in a tweet. Written shortly after the confirmation of former coal and nuclear lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as the EPA’s second-in-command, the tweet read in part, “The Democrats couldn't block the confirmation of environmental policy expert and former EPA staffer under both a Republican and a Democrat president.” From Brady Dennis: “[T]he U.S. Office of Special Counsel said that it had found no such violation and that it would be ‘closing our file without further action.’ The office noted that there was no evidence that [Scott Pruitt] composed the tweet or directed anyone at the agency to post it. In addition, the letter states, the tweet didn’t amount to a Hatch Act violation because ‘it was not aimed at the electoral success or defeat of a political party or candidate for partisan political office.’”
-- Trump aide Kelly Sadler, who sparked outrage when she dismissed John McCain’s opposition to CIA Director Gina Haspel because “he’s dying anyway,” no longer works at the White House. It's not clear whether she was fired or forced to resign, Josh Dawsey reports. “An official said the departure was not spurred by her McCain comments but instead was fueled largely by an internal dispute with the White House director of strategic communications, Mercedes Schlapp, over the fallout from the comment about McCain.”
-- The Trump administration has put its search for the Justice Department’s No. 3 official on hold after several candidates turned down the position. The Wall Street Journal's Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha report: “The department lacks permanent, politically appointed leaders to oversee at least five high-profile units, including the criminal, civil and tax divisions. … Without any immediate candidate ready to sign onto the job of associate attorney general, the administration is instead focusing on other vacancies. Department officials say the delays have strained resources and limited the agency's ability to fully enact and implement new policies. ... Officials have informally approached at least three potential candidates for the post, including attorneys Helgi Walker and Kate Todd, who said they wouldn't be interested in taking on the job right now[.]”
THE PRESIDENT'S PRIORITIES:
-- Trump may sign a dozen or more pardons in the next two months, a White House official said. He's ordered his lawyers to compile a list of possible candidates, and this person says Trump has become “obsessed” — describing pardons as the president’s new “favorite thing” to talk about.
Aides said he is “strongly considering” pardoning Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old currently serving a life sentence, after meeting with Kim Kardashian to discuss her case. Ashley Parker, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey have more: “Trump’s aides and associates see Kardashian’s celebrity imprimatur as crucial and alluring to the president. But the potential pardon of Johnson has caused consternation in the West Wing, with top advisers — including [Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn] — disturbed by the process[.] Kelly has reviewed Johnson’s background and her 1996 conviction … and is not convinced she deserves a pardon[.] And McGahn has also argued against the possible pardon as an unnecessary action by the president … Jared Kushner, [who] helped arrange the meeting with Kardashian … has heavily pushed for a pardon for Johnson within the West Wing.”
-- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the federal school safety commission formed in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting will not study the role of guns in school violence. From Moriah Balingit: “Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), in a hearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, asked DeVos about the safety commission, including its scope. In one of several acrimonious exchanges DeVos had with senators, Leahy pressed the education secretary to say whether the commission would be studying guns. ‘Will your commission look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in the schools?’ Leahy asked. ‘That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se,’ DeVos replied. … But DeVos’s answer contradicts the White House, which directed the commission to study and develop recommendations for ‘age restrictions for certain firearm purchases,’ according to the announcement about the creation of the panel. Elizabeth Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, said that remains part of the commission’s charge.”
-- A crucial Medicare trust fund that pays older Americans’ hospital bills will run out of money three years earlier than predicted, according to a new report. Amy Goldstein reports: “The report, issued Tuesday by a quartet of Trump administration officials who are trustees for Medicare and Social Security, reveals that policy changes ushered in by the president and the Republican Congress are weakening the financial underpinnings of the already fragile insurance program. According to the report, less money will be flowing into the hospital-care trust fund in part because the tax law passed this year will cause the government to collect less in income taxes. In addition, lower wages last year will translate into lower payroll taxes. As revenue slips, hospital expenses will increase, the report says. A senior government official who briefed reporters on it said that part of that increase is because the tax law will, starting next year, end enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance. As a result, hospitals are predicted to have more uninsured patients, in turn requiring the Medicare program to pay more for such uncompensated care.”
-- Mitch McConnell announced he will cancel most of the Senate’s annual August recess — which could affect how much time vulnerable Democrats from red states can spend on the campaign trail during the summer. Sean Sullivan reports: “The Senate will now recess for one week in August instead of four, said McConnell (R-Ky.). His decision has been widely anticipated in the Senate Republican Conference. Some GOP senators sent a letter to McConnell last month urging him to keep the chamber in session … [and] the appetite to stay in town has grown in their ranks. The additional workweeks in August mean that endangered Democratic senators on the ballot this year will face a dilemma: Stay in Washington and attend to Senate business during time they could otherwise use to campaign back home or remain in their states and face criticism that they are shirking their responsibilities in government. The new schedule could also enable their Republican challengers — many of whom hail from the private sector or state government — to have the states to themselves during the late summer stretch.” This is mostly for show: The House still plans to be out of session.
-- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) intends to ask McConnell to spend August focusing on health care. Politico’s Elana Schor reports: “[Schumer] plans to send [McConnell] a letter on Wednesday asking him to set aside August time for votes on five Democratic-backed proposals aimed at expanding and lowering the cost of health care … Despite Schumer's request, McConnell and the Senate GOP anticipate using their extra August time to confirm more of [Trump's] judicial and executive-branch nominees, as well as move ahead on spending bills for the coming fiscal year.”
TRUMP'S TRADE WAR:
-- Mexico unveiled plans to impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. products in retaliation for Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Damian Paletta and Steven Mufson report: “The announcement comes as a senior Trump administration official said that the president wants to end the three-party talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, aiming instead to deal separately with Canada and Mexico to restructure the trade accord. … It wasn’t immediately clear how such an arrangement would work. The United States, Mexico and Canada agreed to NAFTA in the 1990s, and all three countries have worked to renegotiate the deal since Trump became president. Changes would have to be agreed by all sides. … Mexico’s government imposed a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork, apples and potatoes and 20 to 25 percent tariffs on cheese and bourbon. Mexico tailored the list of retaliatory duties to hit states governed by senior Republicans, such as the bourbon produced in the home state of (McConnell).” Bad news for the Bluegrass State ...
-- But McConnell says he will not bring up a GOP bill challenging Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, though he suggested the bill’s authors could try to attach the measure as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Erica Werner reports: “Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who are drafting the legislation, have suggested they might attempt that approach. ‘Items as contentious as that’s likely to be, we’ll see, but I’m not going to call it up free-standing,’ McConnell told reporters[.] ‘You’re suggesting it might be offered as an amendment. NDAA is going to be open, we’ll see what amendments are offered.’ The legislation … would give Congress authority to approve certain tariffs before they can take effect. It would apply to tariffs levied under a process that invokes national security, as was the case with last week’s tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.”
-- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urged Trump to exempt Canada from the steel and aluminum tariffs, according to ABC News’s Tara Palmeri. “After returning from the G-7 finance ministers summit in Canada, Mnuchin made the case that the U.S. has a $2 billion steel surplus with Canada and a nearly $26 billion services surplus, and should consider making an exemption for its northern neighbor, according to [four] sources. But not all of the advisers were in agreement, according to two sources familiar with the conversations. They say the group has been known to harbor ideological differences on major economic issues and the meeting adjourned without any clear resolution to the matter.”
-- Senior European officials acknowledge they are struggling to save the Iran nuclear deal amid threats of U.S. sanctions on the country. The Wall Street Journal’s William Horobin and Laurence Norman report: “[I]n a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, the finance and foreign ministers of France, Germany, the U.K. and European Union said the Trump administration’s plan to enforce so-called secondary sanctions—laws allowing Washington to penalize foreign companies for doing business with third countries—was undercutting their push to preserve Iranian trade. … The letter amounts to a stark admission by European officials that there is little the EU can do to ensure businesses to remain in Iran.”
-- A Republican congressional investigation found the Obama administration misled lawmakers about Iran’s access to U.S. financial institutions after the nuclear deal went into effect. Karen DeYoung reports: “[T]he unfreezing of Iran’s U.S. accounts would be the end of it, the Obama administration said at the time. Both before and after the deal was implemented, officials repeatedly told Congress that Iran, under remaining non-nuclear sanctions, would have no access whatsoever to the U.S. financial system or institutions. [The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations] believes it has found at least one example where that was not the case, and where Obama’s Treasury and State departments went out of their way to bend the rules for Iran.”
-- The Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” approach to migrant families is exacerbating Republican feuds over immigration policy. From Seung Min Kim and Mike DeBonis: “The two immigration issues confronting Washington — a legislative remedy for young undocumented immigrants, as well as administration efforts to confront an increase in migrant arrivals at the border — had largely run on separate tracks. But [White House legislative director Marc Short] said Tuesday that the administration was urging House Republicans to deal with the migrant issue in their ongoing talks on ‘dreamers.’ … But that may further complicate an already messy fight that has unfolded within House Republican ranks since a band of renegade GOP moderates launched an effort to circumvent their leadership and force votes on immigration bills.”
-- Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again defended the administration’s policy of separating migrant families. From Eli Rosenberg: “Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who admitted he was ‘disturbed’ by the separations, pressed Sessions repeatedly about the morality and necessity of the familial separations. But the attorney general stood his ground. ‘If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them,’ Sessions said, echoing some of the remarks he made in May when the Justice Department announced that it would begin to prosecute every person who crossed the border unlawfully, including many seeking asylum. ‘We’ve got to get this message out. You’re not given immunity.’ … Sessions tried to draw a parallel to how the legal system dealt with American citizens. ‘And every time somebody, Hugh, gets prosecuted in America for a crime, American citizens, and they go to jail, they’re separated from their children,’ Sessions said.”
-- The U.N. human rights office called on the White House to “immediately halt” the separations. The AP reports: “[Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the U.N. high commissioner for human rights,] said border control appears to take precedence over child protection and care in the U.S. ‘The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles,’ Shamdasani said during a briefing in Geneva. ‘The child’s best interest should always come first.’ Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, lashed back: ‘Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council.’”
-- Meanwhile, a House discharge petition that would force votes on immigration legislation picked up two more signatures, leaving it three short of success. Mike DeBonis reports: “Reps. Vicente González and Filemón Vela, who both represent border districts in southern Texas, said Tuesday that they planned to sign the petition after consulting with clergy in their home districts, as well as some of the young undocumented immigrants who could secure legal status under a congressional immigration deal. … For González and Vela, it’s an about-face after arguing in recent weeks that the discharge petition would only pave the way for a bipartisan immigration deal that would involve funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — something both men have fiercely opposed.” House GOP leadership has scheduled a two-hour meeting tomorrow to try to convince its members to reject the petition.
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- A federal judge gave former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort until next Friday to reply to allegations of witness tampering, following a request from Robert Mueller’s team that the terms of his bail be revoked or tightened ahead of his trial. Spencer S. Hsu and Devlin Barrett report: “In their filing, prosecutors said that Manafort and a longtime associate reached out to two unidentified potential witnesses in February, shortly after new charges were filed accusing Manafort of failing to register as a foreign agent while lobbying on behalf of a foreign government. If a judge agrees, Manafort could have his bail revoked … Sending Manafort to jail before trial could intensify the pressure on him to reach a plea deal with prosecutors.”
-- Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is requesting immunity from prosecution in exchange for his congressional testimony on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. CNN’s Laura Jarrett reports: “‘Under the terms of such a grant of use immunity, no testimony or other information provided by Mr. McCabe could be used against him in a criminal case,’ wrote Michael Bromwich, a lawyer for McCabe, to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who has requested McCabe testify next week. … If McCabe invokes his Fifth Amendment right instead of answering certain questions, it could set up a contentious confrontation with lawmakers. They could serve him with a subpoena and if he continues to refuse to testify, lawmakers could pursue a contempt resolution against him and refer the matter for prosecution by the DC US Attorney's Office or enforce the subpoena through civil action in federal court.”
-- Mueller threatened to charge former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos last summer as an unregistered agent of Israel, according to his wife. Rosalind S. Helderman reports: “[Simona Papadopoulos] said the special prosecutor’s office claimed to have evidence that Papadopoulos had worked on behalf of Israel without registering as a foreign agent while he was serving as an energy consultant before he joined the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos denied the allegation, she said, but pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI … Simona Papadopoulos’s assertion ... came as she conducted a series of media interviews this week in which she argued that her husband never conspired with Russia to assist Trump’s campaign. Her tone represents a shift since January, when she [said] that Papadopoulos would be remembered like John Dean, the former White House counsel who pleaded guilty to his role in the Watergate coverup and then became a key witness against other aides to [Richard Nixon].
“But on Tuesday, Simona Papadopoulos said her earlier comments were misinterpreted. She said she and her husband have reassessed his role after learning that his contacts with London professor Joseph Mifsud led the FBI to open a counterintelligence [probe into possible Trump-Russia ties]. And Papadopoulos was also upset to learn that a Cambridge professor who hired him … was a source for the FBI, she said. Now, she said she believes her husband deserves a pardon from Trump[.]” Papadopoulos is “a victim, honestly,” she said. “He made a mistake. He pleaded guilty for that mistake. It would make sense for the president to pardon him.”
-- Mueller’s office is investigating a mysterious research firm known as Wikistrat, whose founder, Joel Zamel, met with Donald Trump Jr. and other key Trump aides during the 2016 campaign. The Daily Beast’s Ken Klippenstein reports: “Wikistrat bills itself as a ‘crowdsourced’ geopolitical analysis firm based in Washington, D.C. But interviews … tell a different story: that the vast majority of Wikistrat’s clients were foreign governments; that Wikistrat is, for all intents and purposes, an Israeli firm; and that the company’s work was not just limited to analysis. It also engaged in intelligence collection. [The investigation comes as Mueller's probe] expands into Middle Eastern governments’ attempts to influence American politics. … Publicly, Wikistrat touts its crowdsourcing interface it has described as ‘Wikipedia meets Facebook’ to develop reports for clients. The documents also highlight Wikistrat’s heavy reliance on ‘gamification’ — applying game design features to encourage user engagement — to solicit information from sources. [And] despite the firm’s purported commitment to ‘transparent, open-source methodologies,' the documents … show something different: that the company exploits ‘in country … informants’ as sources.”
-- As Trump continues to attack him for his recusal from the Russia investigation, Sessions remains committed to his work as attorney general. Matt Zapotosky and Sari Horwitz, who spoke to six people close to Sessions, report: “As attorney general, those who know him say, Sessions wants to turn into reality the vision of America he long held as a senator. Already, he has instituted a tougher charging policy for drug offenders and instructed border prosecutors to take a zero-tolerance approach to cases of illegal entry. … One person who knows Sessions, though, said the attorney general probably thinks ‘he’s the only person standing between the president and the complete destruction of the Justice Department.’ … One person who talks to Sessions said the attorney general, though, was somewhat taken aback by his deputy’s appointment of Mueller as special counsel.”
-- Facebook admitted it allowed Chinese telecom company Huawei special access to user data, stoking security concerns. Tony Romm reports: “The relationship between Facebook and Huawei was one of the special agreements brokered between the social giant and device makers over the past decade that sought to make it easier for Facebook users to access site services on a wide array of technologies. For years, lawmakers in Congress and top U.S. national security officials have raised red flags about the security of Huawei products, fearing that the Chinese government could demand access to communications stored on their devices or servers. The company has denied the charges, but the Pentagon took the rare step this year of banning sales of Huawei smartphones on U.S. military bases.”
-- Trump faced backlash for his decision to host a “Celebration of America” at the White House after abruptly canceling a planned visit from the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. David Nakamura and Wesley Lowery report: “'We love our country. We respect our flag. We always proudly stand for the national anthem,’ Trump said during brief remarks after the anthem was performed. A heckler attempted to disrupt the president but was drowned out by boos from the crowd. The event marked another discordant moment in the tide of cultural disputes stoked by Trump … [Although no] Eagles players had participated in [the national anthem] protests … [Trump sought to magnify tensions rather then defuse them], turning what has traditionally been an apolitical White House feting of a sports team into another divisive spectacle. The controversy prompted [LeBron James], whose Cleveland Cavaliers are competing in the [NBA] Finals against the Golden State Warriors, to predict that neither team will want to visit the White House next year.”
“[White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders] thrust blame on the Eagles’ organization for a ‘political stunt’ intended to embarrass the president … [She said that the team], after initially committing to sending 81 players and team officials to the ceremony, attempted to reschedule for next week when Trump will be traveling out of the country. When the White House declined, she said, the Eagles then said only a ‘tiny handful’ of players and team officials would attend … prompting Trump to call it off. ‘The vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans,’ she said.”
-- The resulting “Celebration of America” became “a gathering more of circumstance than pomp,” Ashley Parker writes. “The crowd of alleged Eagles fans looked more like overflow from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a sea of gray and blue blazers and sensible dresses, with scant patches of Eagles memorabilia. … It was an utterly restrained and civil display of cheer at an event honoring a team, and a city, whose fans are perhaps best known for booing Santa Claus before pelting him with snowballs. But then, the planned Eagles celebration wasn’t really about the Eagles, or even football. Instead, Trump — who has long used the refusal by some NFL players to stand for the national anthem as a galvanizing cultural issue with his base — turned the festivities into yet another political cudgel.”
-- Fox News apologized after using photos of Eagles players in a pregame prayer during a segment on the anthem protests. Cindy Boren reports: “[Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz] and his Eagles teammates were shown kneeling in several photos during the Fox News segment, but Ertz said the players were kneeling in prayer, not to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality issues, as other players have done. … Ertz spotted the photos in the Fox report, tweeting Tuesday morning, ‘This can’t be serious. … Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad. I feel like you guys should have to be better than this.’ Ertz’s tweet quickly was shared on social media, gathering more than 83,000 likes and 33,000 retweets within six hours. And by midmorning, the network had apologized for the report on ‘Fox News at Night with Shannon Bream.’”
-- “Washington, it seems, can’t have nice things anymore,” Paul Kane writes of the canceled event. “[I]n Washington these annual celebrations have been among the few remaining feel-good events that bring all sides together for a common cause. Jokes are told, the president gets a ceremonial gift of the winning team’s uniform and everyone applauds. … The event served as a partisan end to a storybook season for a team that had to use its backup quarterback throughout the playoffs and Super Bowl, an underdog image befitting a city and team that had never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.”
THE NORTH KOREA SUMMIT:
-- Former NBA star Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore next week during Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un. The New York Post’s Tina Moore reports: “’The Worm’ will arrive in the country a day before the June 12 sitdown — and sources said he could even play some sort of role in the negotiations. ‘A lot of times in situations that involve complex diplomacy countries like to identify ambassadors of goodwill and whether you agree with it or not Dennis Rodman fits the bill,’ [a source said]. The zany, 6-foot-7 ex-baller — who has struck up an unlikely bromance with the pint-sized, 5-foot-7 Kim, and has visited the rogue regime five times in the past — took some of the credit for getting the two leaders together. In an April interview with TMZ, Rodman said that Kim didn’t understand the president until he gave the North Korean strongman a copy of … ‘The Art of the Deal,’ for his birthday in 2017.”
-- The White House announced the venue for the summit: the Capella hotel on Sentosa Island, just off the southern coast of Singapore. From David Nakamura and John Hudson: “Sanders disclosed the location in a tweet. … Speculation that the Capella would be selected as the summit location had been building over the past week. The hotel boasts a mix of colonial-style buildings and curvy modern edifices, and the resort's relative seclusion appealed to security-conscious U.S. and North Korean officials. … Sanders's announcement was another sign that the summit planning was moving forward, days after Trump reinstated the meeting after having abruptly canceled it last month.”
-- Trump wants Kim to commit to a timetable for disarmament when they sit down, according to Bloomberg News's Jennifer Jacobs. “Trump has been advised not to offer Kim any concessions, as the White House seeks to put the onus on the North Koreans to make the summit a success, one U.S. official said. The president is determined to walk out of the meeting if it doesn’t go well, two officials said. Alternatively, Trump is toying with the idea of offering Kim a follow-up summit at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida — perhaps in the fall — if the two men hit it off.”
-- The former U.S. diplomat who secured Otto Warmbier’s release from North Korea warned against discussing human rights concerns during the summit. Karoun Demirjian reports: “‘I really think it would be a mistake to overload the agenda,’ said Joseph Yun, who served as the United States’ special representative for North Korea policy until March … Yun cautioned that the Kim-Trump talks would have to ‘concentrate on denuclearization above all else.’ … Yun’s comments to a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee struck a chord with one of Trump’s staunchest congressional allies … ‘Look, we’re all about human rights,’ said Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho). ‘But if you try to overload this and try to resolve all these things at once, I think you’re just setting things up for failure.’”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump was on a tweeting spree yesterday. He touted a proposed rescissions package for the recently passed spending bill:
The HISTORIC Rescissions Package we’ve proposed would cut $15,000,000,000 in Wasteful Spending! We are getting our government back on track.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Imagine how much wasteful spending we’d save if we didn’t have Chuck and Nancy standing in our way! For years, Democrats in Congress have depleted our military and busted our budgets on needless spending, and to what end? No more.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
He also claimed the investigation into his campaign began months earlier than previously disclosed:
Wow, Strzok-Page, the incompetent & corrupt FBI lovers, have texts referring to a counter-intelligence operation into the Trump Campaign dating way back to December, 2015. SPYGATE is in full force! Is the Mainstream Media interested yet? Big stuff!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
New York magazine's Jonathan Chait writes of Trump's claim: “The only publication reporting this is Gateway Pundit, a right-wing site known for breaking news of astonishing conspiracies that turn out to be false.”
Trump then continued to promote his "Spygate" conspiracy theory:
Great interview by @LouDobbs with Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch concerning the governments counter-intelligence operation into the Trump Campaign. SPYGATE at the highest level. Who would believe?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
....The greatest Witch Hunt in political history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
And he later applauded McConnell's decision to cancel most of the Senate's August recess:
Mitch McConnell announced he will cancel the Senate’s August Recess. Great, maybe the Democrats will finally get something done other than their acceptance of High Crime and High Taxes. We need Border Security!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
Trump did not appear to sing some parts of “God Bless America” during yesterday's “Celebration of America”:
A House Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs expressed disappointment in Trump for disinviting the Eagles — and declined to go to the White House:
Eagles my fave team. Super Bowl win so meaningful as Philly sports fan. POTUS handled poorly. This is a depressing commentary on our political culture, very deflating to me. Was really excited for today. As a fan who bleeds green. Not going to WH. Disappointed in all of this. https://t.co/YfgBQjzFgB— Ryan Costello (@RyanCostello) June 5, 2018
From a National Review editor:
The attempt to make the Eagles event cancellation about the national anthem is just a complete act of deceitful propaganda and conservatives should have zero to do with it. If that was the issue, why schedule the event in the first place? Also: None of them kneeled. Shameful.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) June 5, 2018
A reporter for NBC's Philadelphia syndicate reported from the "celebration":
A Bloomberg News reporter added this:
As reporters shouted into the assembled crowd to ask who had traveled from Philadelphia there were... a lot of blank stares https://t.co/y0bTDiojQl— Justin Sink (@justinsink) June 5, 2018
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rang alarm bells about reports that Facebook granted Huawei special access to user data:
This Trump tweet from 2014 recirculated after reports that Dennis Rodman would visit Singapore:
Dennis Rodman was either drunk or on drugs (delusional) when he said I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Glad I fired him on Apprentice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2014
A Post reporter covering Scott Pruitt's ethics controversies commented on her recent research:
If you had told me a month ago I would be researching mattress styles and Chick-for-A franchise rules as part of my beat, I wouldn’t have believed you. https://t.co/QKbsLYaPJu— Juliet Eilperin (@eilperin) June 5, 2018
From another Post reporter:
Perhaps my favorite headline of this era. pic.twitter.com/5m2Yl0ZUXm— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) June 5, 2018
A CBS News reporter reflected on this week's headlines so far:
An attempted murderer working at the WH was arrested; Scott Pruitt tried to buy a used Trump Hotel mattress; he also tried to use his position to get his wife a gig at @ChickfilA; Trump said he could pardon himself; he also disinvited the @Eagles to the WH. It’s only Tuesday.— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) June 6, 2018
Chelsea Clinton mourned the loss of Kate Spade:
My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 5, 2018
Ivanka Trump used Spade's death as an opportunity to highlight mental health resources:
Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry. If you are struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, please, please seek help. https://t.co/eruSexNoGj— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2018
And actor David Spade mourned the loss of his sister-in-law:
-- “Where Killings Go Unsolved,” by Wesley Lowery, Kimbriell Kelly, Ted Mellnik and Steven Rich: “The Washington Post has identified the places in dozens of American cities where murder is common but arrests are rare. These pockets of impunity were identified by obtaining and analyzing up to a decade of homicide arrest data from 50 of the nation’s largest cities. The analysis of 52,000 criminal homicides goes beyond what is known nationally about the unsolved cases, revealing block by block where police fail to catch killers.”
-- Daily Beast, “What I Saw on RFK’s Funeral Train 50 Years Ago Today,” by Mike Barnicle: “[T]he train started through the long tunnel beneath the Hudson River and soon darkness gave way to a brilliant light as it emerged into a blazing sun that covered the teeming neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey. Suddenly, as it crossed a trestle above a river there was a fireboat with several firefighters standing on deck, still as sentries, saluting the train and the cargo it carried. That was just the start of an epic 225 mile rail journey that remains fresh in my mind some 50 years later.”
-- Politico, “Manchin goes full MAGA,” by Burgess Everett: “[M]ore than any other Democrat in Congress, [Manchin (W-Va.) has] positioned himself as a vocal Trump ally. In fact, the senator, up for reelection in a state Trump won by more than 40 points, [said] he isn’t ruling out endorsing Trump for reelection in 2020 — a position practically unheard of for a politician with a ‘D’ next to his name. … Technically, Manchin is a Democrat. In reality, he’s a man without a party. His discomfort is apparent all around: He needs to appeal to Trump voters in a historically Democratic state that’s turned blood red. He had an infamously chilly relationship with President Barack Obama — he still refuses to talk about who he voted for in 2012 — and now has regrets about supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016.”
-- McClatchy, “A Democrat who talks like a Republican could steal a major NC race from the GOP,” by Katie Glueck: “On paper, a socially conservative Republican should trounce just about any Democrat here in North Carolina’s Ninth District, which stretches from south suburban Charlotte east through more rural counties to the Fayetteville area. It went for [Trump] by nearly 12 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election and is a decades-long GOP stronghold. Yet like so many other typically Republican districts across the country, this year, it is very much in play. … [T]he Democratic candidate here has figured out how to sound downright conservative as he talks about ‘regulatory relief’ and respect for the military; his relationship with his pastor and his opposition to Nancy Pelosi. That helps as he aggressively targets the center-right moderates he will need to win over, knowing that he has the liberal vote around Charlotte all sewn up.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“In sharp contrast to Trump, Warren touts the good that government regulations can do,” from John Wagner: “With a Republican president in the White House who prides himself on cutting regulations, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took a far different tack … robustly defending government rules as essential to the well-being of Americans. In a speech, Warren … called [Trump’s] deregulatory agenda a corrupt boon to corporate interests and argued that well-crafted rules foster consumer protection, workplace safety and a better environment. ‘Don’t tell me that all rules do is restrict freedom,’ Warren said[.] ‘Good rules empower people to live, work and do business freely and safely. … Government matters, and we cannot be afraid to say so.' "
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“No evidence connecting Trump to Russia: Gingrich on 'The View,’” from ABC News: “Appearing on ABC's ‘The View,’ Gingrich said he is ‘saddened’ by how special counsel Robert Mueller has handled the Russia investigation so far. ‘Show me the evidence,’ Gingrich said. ‘There's no evidence that ties Donald J. Trump to anything involving Russia.’ … When asked what is most misunderstood about Trump, Gingrich says the president is consistent on his big promises. ‘He's extraordinarily smart ... this is a guy with enormous intelligence,’ Gingrich said. ‘On little things, he's totally unpredictable and sometimes self-destructive. On big things, he's very consistent, he does what he says.’”
Trump has a bill signing ceremony today followed by a visit to FEMA headquarters with the first lady. He will then meet with Senate Republicans and later host the White House iftar dinner, in celebration of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“'The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. … But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.' That advice applies in boxing, in law, and in life.” — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quoting the movie “Rocky” in a speech yesterday.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Washington should avoid any showers until the weekend. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Behind last evening’s cold front, light winds from the north lock in the drier air. That makes for a pleasantly cool and comfortable day, as morning temperatures rise into the 60s, and afternoon highs reach the low 70s with partly cloudy skies.”
-- The Nationals beat the Rays 4-2. (Jorge Castillo)
-- A new Post poll shows Maryland voters broadly approving of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), despite their more liberal stances on many policy issues. Robert McCartney, Emily Guskin and Rachel Chason report: “But Hogan’s ratings for handling education have sagged to their weakest point in his term, according to the poll, potentially making him vulnerable to criticism from Democratic gubernatorial candidates who urge more spending on public schools and expanded pre-K programs. … Hogan’s strongest area of overall support is his handling of the economy, which Marylanders approve by a margin of nearly 3-to-1.”
-- Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates held two debates. Steve Thompson reports: “For several hours, the seven major Democratic candidates had said little that deviated from long-honed stump speeches. They all would like to improve public education, health care and mass transit. And they all agree a second term for Gov. Larry Hogan (R) would be terrible. Among the more interesting questions was the one posed by Larry Young as the hopefuls appeared on his WOLB 1010 radio morning show: How would they avoid a repeat of the party’s loss to Hogan in 2014, when many Democratic voters lost enthusiasm and others crossed over to vote Republican?”
-- In a substantial number of D.C. public and charter schools, locks on classroom doors do not work or do not exist, raising questions of school security. From Joe Heim: “At a budget hearing last month before the D.C. Council’s Education Committee, Michael Gaal, the school system’s deputy chancellor in charge of systemic improvement, told council members that more than 50 of the District’s 115 schools have classroom doors that can’t be locked.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Bill Clinton took a "do over" on his Monica Lewinsky comments during an appearance on Stephen Colbert's show:
Trevor Noah marveled at Trump's difficulty in attracting White House visitors:
An unidentified man was seen kneeling as the national anthem played at yesterday’s “Celebration of America:”
Sanders exchanged tense words with reporters about Trump's stance on national anthem protests:
A Nevada gubernatorial candidate disclosed she was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse in a campaign ad:
And police in Virginia pursued a tank-like vehicle that had been stolen from a military base: