With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve
THE BIG IDEA: The buck does not stop here.
Donald Trump declared after meeting Kim Jong Un last week that he trusts the North Korean leader and believes he will give up his nuclear weapons program. “I may be wrong,” the president said during a news conference in Singapore. “I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’” Then he paused and corrected himself. “I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that,” Trump clarified, “but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”
Trump’s aside may have been in jest, but it is also one of the more self-aware statements he's made during 17 months in power. Time and time again, the president has sought to shift the blame for his own decisions and their consequences to his political opponents. He’s doing it again this week by falsely blaming Democrats for his own policy of forcibly separating migrant children from their parents at the border, which he could stop with one phone call.
“Immigration … and all of the problems that we’re having … I say it’s very strongly the Democrats’ fault,” Trump said defiantly at the White House on Monday, even as every Senate Democrat formally signed onto a bill that would overturn his unpopular policy.
The president added on Twitter: “Why don’t the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world’s worst immigration laws? … It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime.”
In fact, the separations are the result of the “zero tolerance” approach announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally. Once they're detained, their children are declared unaccompanied minors and handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Republicans also control both chambers of Congress, of course, and the failure to pass legislation — which really is a separate issue from Trump’s executive decision to break up families — is the result of intra-GOP divisions over how welcoming the United States should be to immigrants.
During the 2016 Republican convention, Trump famously declared: “I alone can fix it.”
Defending the president’s family separation policy on Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen insisted: “Congress alone can fix it.”
-- Many Republican lawmakers were uncharacteristically willing to go on the record to call Trump and Nielsen disingenuous:
- “The administration’s decision to separate families is a new, discretionary choice,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “Anyone saying that their hands are tied or that the only conceivable way to fix the problem … is to rip families apart is flat wrong.”
- “To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
- “The White House can fix it if they want to,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”
- “President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “If you don't like families being separated, you can tell DHS, 'Stop doing it.'”
-- This is a feature, not a bug, of Trumpism:
Trump chose to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but he then falsely blamed Congress generally and Democrats specifically for putting the “dreamers” at risk of deportation.
The president even tried to point the finger at Democrats for not passing tougher gun laws after the shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Trump also blamed Democrats when Republicans could not unify to repeal Obamacare, even though they didn’t need a single Democratic vote to do so. “We'll let Obamacare fail,” the president told reporters at the White House last summer. “We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it.”
Since then, Trump has methodically gone about disemboweling the law — by repealing the individual mandate, discontinuing the cost-sharing reduction payments and ordering the Justice Department to stop defending in court the law’s requirement that insurance plans cover preexisting conditions. Premiums are expected to spike again this year, but Trump has said explicitly he deserves no blame for destabilizing the system. “Any increase in ObamaCare premiums is the fault of the Democrats for giving us a ‘product’ that never had a chance of working,” he tweeted.
When it looked like the tax cuts might not pass last October, Trump declared matter-of-factly during a Cabinet meeting: “I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest.”
When a federal judge blocked Trump’s first travel ban last year, the president suggested that the Republican appointee would be to blame if there was a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “If something happens blame him and court system,” he tweeted.
When Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed during a botched covert mission in Yemen last year, Trump did not just resist accepting responsibility for authorizing the operation. He blamed the generals. “They came to see me and they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected,” Trump said on Fox News. “And they lost Ryan.”
Asked in 2016 about whether his overheated rhetoric was to blame for physical clashes and violence at his rallies, Trump replied: “I don’t accept responsibility.”
-- Harry Truman kept a plaque on his desk in the Oval Office that said: “The buck stops here.” In contrast, Trump appears to see taking responsibility as showing weakness. To be sure, every president tries to deflect blame to some degree — though many have also been willing to take responsibility when they blow it. As John Kennedy quipped after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”
“President Obama, by his own admission, failed badly during the rollout of Obamacare in fall 2013, more grievously due to the failures of HealthCare.gov,” Vox noted last October. “But he took responsibility and fixed it, launching an unprecedented number of outside programmers and tech specialists to overhaul the site and get it in working order. ‘I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP,’ Obama said at the time. And so he did …
“Here are a few other things Obama took responsibility for while in office: The failed Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson Cabinet nominations in 2009. The BP oil spill in 2010. Democrats’ loss of the House of Representatives in 2010. The attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. The VA scandal in 2014. Democratic losses in the 2014 midterms. The death of two hostages in an operation against al-Qaeda in 2015. The Syrian government’s atrocities in Aleppo in 2016.”
-- Right up until he became president, Trump talked a big game about leaders needing to take responsibility for their own decisions. Here are two of the many tweets in this vein from before he took office:
Obama's complaints about Republicans stopping his agenda are BS since he had full control for two years. He can never take responsibility.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2012
Leadership: Whatever happens, you're responsible. If it doesn't happen, you're responsible.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2013
THE HUMAN TOLL:
-- New stats from DHS: More than 2,300 children were taken from their parents at the border between May 5 and June 9, with the pace of family separations growing over that period to nearly 70 a day.
-- ProPublica obtained audio from a U.S. detention facility, where children — some as young as 4 — can be heard sobbing desperately in the hours after being taken from their parents. “Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe,” Ginger Thompson reports. “They scream ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’ over and over again, as if those are the only words they know. The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. ‘Well, we have an orchestra here,’ he jokes. ‘What’s missing is a conductor.’ The person [who obtained the audio recording] estimated that the children … are between 4 and 10 years old. It appeared that they had been at the detention center for less than 24 hours, so their distress at having been separated from their parents was still raw. Consulate officials tried to comfort them with snacks and toys. But the children were inconsolable.”
-- Government officials still have no protocol established for reuniting immigrant parents with their children after they’ve been separated. The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer reports: “Under the zero-tolerance policy, border crossers are arrested and charged with a crime before being placed in immigration detention. If they came with their children, the children are turned over to [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] and treated as though they traveled to the U.S. alone. No protocols have been put in place for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other while they are separated, or for eventually reuniting them. Immigration lawyers, public defenders, and advocates along the border have been trying to fill the void.”
-- Avi Selk spoke to John Moore, the award-winning photographer for Getty Images who captured the above shot of a 2-year-old girl crying as her mother was patted down at the border. “The mother stoically had her hands against the vehicle, and the girl was crying,” Moore said. “Neither were saying words. Nothing could be said with her. She needed to be with her mother.”
-- “Nazis separated me from my parents as a child. The trauma lasts a lifetime,” by Yoka Verdoner in the Guardian: “My grief and anger about today’s southern border come not just from my personal life. As a retired psychotherapist who has worked extensively with victims of childhood trauma, I know all too well what awaits many of the thousands of children [who] are now in ‘processing centers’ and foster homes — no matter how decent and caring those places might be. … We can expect old men and women, decades from now, still suffering, still remembering, still writing in the present tense.”
-- William Wan explains what happens when children are forcibly separated from their parents: “Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit messages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain.”
-- The world is watching: U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein blasted Trump’s child separation policy during a speech in Geneva, describing it as “government-sanctioned child abuse” that will cause “irreparable harm.” “In the [U.S.], I am deeply concerned by recently adopted policies which punish children for their parents’ actions,” al-Hussein said. “The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.” (Politico)
TRUMP TEAM IN THE HOT SEAT:
-- After her widely criticized appearance in the White House briefing room yesterday, Nielsen has now become the public face of the unpopular policy. David Nakamura and Nick Miroff write: “Nielsen’s response, which at times contradicted itself, offered evidence that the administration — and perhaps Nielsen herself — was still struggling to formulate a message to counter critics who have accused the Trump White House of creating a humanitarian disaster. … Nielsen’s role as the lead defender of the administration’s immigration policies follows months of worsening tensions between her and Trump, who has repeatedly berated the Department of Homeland Security chief in front of other White House officials and blamed her for the surge in border crossings that began earlier this year. … Rather than offer a sense that the administration was reconsidering, however, Nielsen went on offense — alternately blaming past administrations, Congress and the media while seeking to focus attention on issues other than family separation.”
-- Nielsen, who is still seen internally as an opponent of the family separation policy, was advised against doing the briefing by her mentor, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. From Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni: “Knowing Nielsen is in a vulnerable position, and that her handling of the border crisis could give the president a reason to scapegoat and fire her, her detractors have tried to tar her with a connection to one of the Bush administration’s greatest failures: Hurricane Katrina. At the time of the 2005 disaster, which drowned New Orleans, Nielsen was serving as special assistant to the president for prevention, preparedness and response.”
Nielsen’s stock inside the West Wing has fallen alongside Kelly’s: “Trump’s chief of staff considers [Nielsen] a surrogate daughter — she spent last Christmas with his family — and helped her secure the DHS job last December. … But Kelly’s status in the White House has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another. According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.”
-- “The grim desperation of Kirstjen Nielsen,” by Aaron Blake: “Nielsen's tenure as DHS secretary has been marked by the occasionally strange claim and a willingness to stretch the bounds of credulity to avoid further alienating her boss. That happened recently when she said she wasn't familiar with the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia aimed to help Trump in the 2016 election.” (She also claimed not to know Norway was a mostly white country when pressed by lawmakers about Trump's reported comments that he preferred immigrants from there than from Haiti and African nations, which he described as “shithole” countries.)
-- Demonstrators gathered in New Orleans to protest Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s outspoken defense of Trump's policy as he attended the National Sheriffs’ Association convention. Deanna Paul reports: “As Sessions defended his ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, the chanting group outside the NOLA convention center grew. Demonstrators filled the sidewalks and blocked the streets. One woman was struck by a vehicle, and five people were arrested, according to WWL-TV, a local CBS affiliate. Protesters demanded that families be kept together and held signs: ‘Immigration detention centers are concentration camps for kids’ and ‘Cage Jeff Sessions.’”
-- Appearing on Fox News last night, Sessions was asked about comparisons of the facilities where kids are being held to concentration camps. “Well it’s a real exaggeration,” the attorney general told Laura Ingraham. “Of course in Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.” (The Hill)
-- A bipartisan group of more than 70 former U.S. attorneys signed a letter to Sessions demanding he end the separations. “It is time for you to announce that this policy was ill-conceived and that its consequences and cost are too drastic, too inhumane, and flatly inconsistent with the mission and values of the United States Department of Justice,” the letter reads. “It is time for you to end it.”
-- “Sessions is effectively claiming divine sanction for the idea that people who break laws may be punished and deterred by subjecting their children to mental anguish,” writes former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. “This is cruelty defended by heresy. The Bible, like a gun, is a dangerous thing in the hands of a bigot.”
-- Obama’s former DHS secretary Jeh Johnson calls the zero-tolerance policy “immoral and un-American” in a Post op-ed: “Further, the current policy is unsustainable. We cannot continue to flood the federal courts across the Southwest with thousands of new migrants per month to extract assembly-line guilty pleas from them, while also filling facilities for holding migrant adults, children and families.”
A WEDGE ISSUE TRUMP THINKS HE CAN WIN WITH:
-- A new CNN poll finds that two-thirds of Americans disapprove of “the Trump administration's practice of taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders.” Only 28 percent approve of the practice, though 58 percent of self-identified Republicans do. The president's overall approval rating is 39 percent. “Only 35% approve of the way Trump is handling immigration, down from 40% in March,” Grace Sparks reports. “More people disapprove of his handling of immigration (59%) than of any other issue.” (Full results.)
A separate Quinnipiac University poll found almost identical numbers: Two-thirds of Americans overall are opposed, but 55 percent of Republicans support Trump’s new family separation policy — making them the only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group to hold a favorable opinion of the practice. In the Q poll, 70 percent of women — and 65 percent of white women — oppose separating children from their migrant parents.
-- But, but, but: Top advisers say Trump considers immigration a winning issue for him politically. "He has complained repeatedly in recent months that he looks ‘weak’ on border enforcement and has been concerned that his base could turn on him for not being tougher, according to a senior administration official,” per Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim. “A second administration official said Trump is in agreement with (domestic policy adviser Stephen) Miller, a hard-line influence in the administration, in believing that ‘if we’re having an argument on immigration, we always win because that’s our ground, no matter what the nuances of the argument are.’ White House officials have said there is no comprehensive strategy at play. ‘What’s the end game?’ another senior administration official asked.
“Trump has been closely monitoring the [wall to wall] coverage but has been suspicious of it, telling associates he believes that the media cherry-picks the most dramatic images and stories to portray his administration in a negative light, according to one senior administration official. The images in the media contrast with more positive photos that Trump’s aides have shown the president depicting detained children smiling, playing video games and exercising outside …
“At a meeting with Sens. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) at the White House on Monday, Trump reupped his threat to shut down the government in September if he doesn’t get money for the border wall, according to two people familiar with the meeting. The president told the senators he was willing to take such a drastic action, these people said, and wanted his wall funding along with strong border security measures.“
Trump will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with House Republicans and push for immigration legislation that would provide funding for his promised border wall, among other priorities. Senior administration officials suggested that the humanitarian crisis at the border was leverage to force legislators to pass such a law."
-- Some Trump advisers argue that immigration will be a more potent issue for voters in November than the tax cuts. The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report: “[W]ith more Americans still opposing the tax measure than supporting it, Mr. Trump’s allies believe that trying to link Democrats to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and gangs like MS-13 will do more to galvanize Republican voters and get them to the polls in November than emphasizing economic issues.”
-- Doubling down: Top Trump aides are planning fresh immigration crackdowns ahead of the midterms, despite the outrage over the family separation policy. Politico’s Nancy Cook reports: “[Miller] and a team of officials from the Justice Department, Department of Labor, [DHS and OMB] have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials … The goal for Miller and his team is to arm Trump with enough data and statistics by early September to show voters that he fulfilled his immigration promises — even without a physical border wall or any other congressional measure[.] Among the fresh ideas being circulated: tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; making it harder for legal immigrants who have applied for any welfare programs to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from certain countries.”
-- “Are Republicans trying to lose their majorities in Congress this November?” the Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial board wonders. “We assume not, but you can’t tell from the party’s internal feuding over immigration that is fast becoming an election-year nightmare over separating immigrant children from their parents. This is what happens when restrictionists have a veto over GOP policy.”
BUT REPUBLICANS ON THE BALLOT IN 2018 KEEP DISTANCING THEMSELVES:
-- Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), who is up for reelection in a blue state, suspended the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S. border, citing the Trump administration’s “inhumane” treatment of children and families. “[Baker] directed the National Guard not to send any assets or personnel to the Southwest border today because the federal government’s current actions are resulting in the inhumane treatment of children,” his communications director told WGBH News in a statement.
-- “Let me be clear — I do not favor separating families,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is challenging Sen. Bill Nelson (D).
-- Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who is also in cycle and vulnerable on this issue, announced last night that he will introduce emergency legislation to try keeping migrant families together while doubling the number of federal immigration judges to quickly process asylum claims. “All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers. This must stop. Now,” Cruz said in a statement.
-- Mitt Romney, campaigning for a Senate seat in Utah (and facing a primary next week), called the separations a “humanitarian crisis.” “I think immediately we should go back to the setting where we’re not ripping children away from their parents, and then we expect Congress to take whatever action is necessary to fix this on a permanent basis,” Romney said. “I believe the right answers will be held with the administration and the Congress working together.” (Elise Viebeck)
-- “As surprising as the swift Republican reactions — at a time when support for Trump initiatives is key to political survival — was the concurrent Democratic unity,” Michael Scherer and Sean Sullivan note. “Several Democrats broke with their party to support funding Trump’s border wall in the spring, and earlier, a handful opposed a party move to deny government funding in order to push new legal protections for ‘dreamers’ … But Monday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who has been running an ad in the state boasting of his vote to fund Trump’s border wall, became the last to join a Democratic proposal to require families to be kept together. In a statement, he cast the issue as a moral one, saying he had come to his position ‘as a father, grandfather and Christian.’”
-- Separations could become a marquee issue in the Nevada Senate race: “Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s rival, Rep. Jacky Rosen, aired a Spanish-language television ad during the World Cup last weekend that showed a soccer referee giving a red card to Trump for his dirty game — ‘el juego sucio’ — of separating mothers from children. Heller has not commented publicly on child separation since telling the Reno Gazette Journal on June 1 that the administration had created a ‘terrible policy,’” per Michael and Sean. “Democrats plan to hammer Heller’s disagreement with Trump again this weekend, when the president is scheduled to travel to Las Vegas for a fundraiser for his campaign. ‘Could you think of a worse time for Donald Trump to go to Nevada?’ asked Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A former CIA employee was charged with violations of the Espionage Act tied to last year's leak of a collection of agency hacking tools. Matt Zapotosky reports: “Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, was charged in a 13-count superseding indictment with illegally gathering and transmitting national defense information and related counts in connection with what is considered to be one of the most significant leaks in CIA history. The indictment accused Schulte of causing sensitive information to be transmitted to an organization that is not named in the indictment but is thought to be WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks posted the hacking tools online last year in a release it called ‘Vault 7.’ … Schulte had long been a suspect of investigators exploring the leak, but before Monday, he had been held on separate child pornography charges.”
-- A federal judge rebuked Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and permanently blocked a controversial state voter-registration law. Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports: “U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson’s ruling against the law was widely expected, but she coupled it with pointed complaints that Kobach had failed to comply with court rules requiring disclosure of evidence to the law’s opponents in advance of the trial. ‘The disclosure violations set forth above document a pattern and practice by Defendant of flaunting disclosure and discovery rules that are designed to prevent prejudice and surprise at trial,’ Robinson wrote. … Robinson, an appointee of President George W. Bush, ordered Kobach to do an additional six hours of continuing legal education in the 2018-19 year, above and beyond the ordinary state requirements.” Kobach helped lead Trump's voter-fraud commission.
GET SMART FAST:
- Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz resigned. Trotz’s departure marks only the fifth time in the past 40 years that the NHL coach who just won the Stanley Cup did not return to his team the next season. (Isabelle Khurshudyan)
- The Richmond School Board voted to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School, named after a Confederate general, to Barack Obama Elementary School. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Apple said that the iOS 12 operating system, which is slated for release this fall, will automatically share location data when its users dial 911. The location data cannot be used for nonemergency purposes, Apple said, and will only be accessible to the 911 center during an emergency call. (Hamza Shaban)
- Four in 10 people have deleted at least one social media account in the past year due to privacy concerns, according to a new study, while 62 percent of respondents said they want more regulation of such platforms. (CNBC)
- The World Health Organization is considering adding a “gaming disorder” to its manual of disease classifications. Doctors say the potential move would give legitimacy to a disorder that some people are reluctant to recognize and help expand a list of available treatment options. (NBC News)
- Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany on suspicion of fraud related to the VW emission-cheating scandal. Stadler’s arrest makes him the first member of Volkswagen’s executive board to be arrested in connection with the scandal — and comes just one week after prosecutors said he was included in their investigation. (Jonnelle Marte)
- French Telecom and six of its executives were ordered to stand trial on charges of “psychological harassment” following a wave of employee suicides tied largely to stress in the workplace. At least 30 French Telecom employees committed suicide between 2008 and 2009, with at least 12 others attempting to take their own lives. The case marks the first time a major company in France will face a criminal judgment over a bullying law. (Jena McGregor)
- Artificial trans fats are officially banned from all U.S. restaurants and grocery stores. The ban comes after the FDA in 2015 deemed artificial trans fats to be unsafe to eat and ordered a three-year phaseout period of the ingredient. (Caitlin Dewey)
- Norman Pearlstine was named as the new executive editor of the Los Angeles Times, bringing to the paper a 50-year veteran journalist who previously held leadership positions at the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and Time Inc. His hiring was the first major move by the Times’s new owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, who officially took over on Monday. (LA Times)
- A Texas sheriff’s deputy was accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old and threatening her undocumented mother with deportation if she reported it. Jose Nunez now faces a felony charge of “super aggravated sexual assault of a child,” which carries a minimum prison sentence of 25 years. (Samantha Schmidt)
- Heather Locklear was taken to the hospital for a psych evaluation this weekend after a family member said she threatened to commit suicide. In dispatch audio, the family member can be heard telling emergency responders that Locklear was “trying to find a gun” to shoot herself. (TMZ)
- An emergency room doctor was suspended from a Northern California hospital after he was captured on video mocking a patient who said he was having an anxiety attack. When the patient — who currently takes medication for an anxiety disorder — explained that he was struggling to inhale, the doctor burst into peals of laughter. (Lindsey Bever)
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Trump threatened China with tariffs on $200 billion worth of products unless it agrees to his trade demands. David J. Lynch and Heather Long report: “In a statement, Trump said he had ordered his chief negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, to draw up a list of $200 billion in Chinese products that will be hit with tariffs of 10 percent if China refuses his demands to narrow the yawning U.S. trade deficit and change its industrial policies. The president warned that he was prepared to hit China with an additional $200 billion in import taxes unless Beijing capitulates. Such a step would be virtually unprecedented in U.S. history and would put nearly all of the $505 billion in products that the United States imports from China under tariffs. … In a statement published shortly after Monday’s announcement, China’s Ministry of Commerce called the move ‘blackmail.’”
-- Following Trump’s announcement, Asian markets dipped. Emily Rauhala reports: “Stock markets across the region fell Tuesday, with Shanghai closing down 3.78 percent, its biggest drop in two years, and Shenzhen down 5.31 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) closed down 2.76 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.77 percent and Korea’s Kospi Index was down 1.54 percent. Major European markets opened down across the board.”
-- Apple CEO Tim Cook has received assurances that iPhones, which are assembled in China, would not be subject to tariffs. The New York Times’s Jack Nicas and Paul Mozur report: “But Apple is worried China will retaliate in ways that hamstring its business, according to three people close to Apple … Apple fears ‘the Chinese-bureaucracy machine is going to kick in,’ meaning the Chinese government could cause delays in its supply chain and increase scrutiny of its products under the guise of national-security concerns, according to one person close to the company. Apple has faced such retaliation before, another person said, and Reuters reported Ford vehicles are already facing delays at Chinese ports.”
-- The Senate passed its annual defense authorization bill with a provision to reimpose penalties against Chinese telecom giant ZTE, setting up a showdown with the president. Karoun Demirjian reports: “The Senate voted 85 to 10 to approve the $716 billion piece of legislation with little fanfare — a sign of how much common ground there is between the House and Senate versions of the bill, which must still be woven into a single piece of legislation. … [T]he ZTE provision has already sparked direct clashes with the Trump administration, setting up a likely fight between the GOP’s national security hawks and Trump’s closest supporters as administration officials attempt to persuade lawmakers to strip the Senate’s policy change from the final bill.” (The measure is named after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who remains away from Capitol Hill as he battles brain cancer.)
-- The Pentagon announced that the United States and South Korea have canceled an important military exercise that was scheduled for August, following through on Trump’s promise at the Singapore summit. Dan Lamothe reports: “It applies solely to the August exercise Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, in which about 17,500 U.S. troops gathered with South Korean counterparts last year in an exercise that focused heavily on computer-simulations to defend against a North Korean attack.”
-- Kim Jong Un is visiting China again. Emily Rauhala reports: “Though neither the Chinese nor North Korean side has released details about his itinerary, the timing of Kim’s third visit is a reminder of Beijing’s central role in East Asian diplomacy — and its power over Pyongyang.”
-- “How Trump and Three Other U.S. Presidents Protected Israel’s Worst-Kept Secret: Its Nuclear Arsenal,” by the New Yorker’s Adam Entous: “When a delegation of senior Israeli officials visited the Trump White House on February 13, 2017, they wanted to discuss several issues with their new American counterparts. Topping the list was a secret letter concerning a subject the Israelis had promised the Americans never to discuss publicly — Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal. … Trump’s aides felt blindsided by the Israeli request. They knew nothing about the existence of any letters and were confused by the sense of urgency coming from the Israelis. … The White House’s reaction was understandable. There had been a similar moment of surprise eight years earlier, when Barack Obama became President and received a similar request. The very existence of the letters had been a closely held secret.”
-- Syrian state media accused the United States of launching a deadly airstrike on its military positions near the Iraqi border, but Washington denies involvement. A U.S. Central Command spokesman said “no member” of the U.S.-led coalition carried out the strikes near Albu Kamal. (Reuters)
-- A new report from a nuclear watchdog found Russia could be storing nuclear weapons roughly 30 miles from the Polish border. From Business Insider’s John Haltiwanger: “Satellite images showed [an underground bunker] being excavated beginning back in 2016, renovated, and then covered in 2018, which suggests it could be returning to operational status, according to the report from the Federation of American Scientists.”
FOLLOW THE MONEY:
-- “Lies, China And Putin: Solving The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross' Missing Fortune,” by Forbes's Dan Alexander: “In November 2017, Ross confirmed in writing … that he had divested everything he promised. But that was not true. . . . For most of last year, Ross [maintained] stakes in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm tied to [Vladimir Putin’s] inner circle, a Cypriot bank reportedly caught up in [special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe], and a huge player in an industry Ross is now investigating. . . . Rather than dump them all, [Ross] sold some of his interests to Goldman Sachs— [and] put others in a trust for his family members. He continued to deal with China, Russia and others while evidently knowing that his family’s interests were tied to those countries.”
Five days before reports surfaced about Ross’s connections to the Putin-linked shipping firm, Navigator Holdings, the Commerce secretary — who likely knew about the reporting — “shorted stock in the [company], positioning himself to make money on the investment when share prices dropped,” Forbes reports. “His family still appears to have an interest in Navigator, along with the Bank of Cyprus, another Russia-tied company.”
-- A South Korean aviation firm tied to Michael Cohen, the president's longtime fixer and personal lawyer, failed to disclose last year that it was the subject of a corruption probe, even as it secured a lucrative contract with the U.S. military. Shawn Boburg and Aaron C. Davis report: “On Oct. 11, nine current and former executives at [KAI] were indicted in Seoul on charges that included bribery, embezzlement and defrauding the South Korean government[.] Just two weeks later, KAI cleared a business integrity review … and won a contract worth up to $48 million — its largest ever from the Air Force — to maintain fighter jets. Experts said the criminal case should have subjected the company to additional scrutiny. But KAI did not alter filings it had previously submitted to the U.S. government certifying that none of its executives were under indictment …
“Cohen was a consultant for KAI at the time, part of an arrangement that [spanned] the indictments and the awarding of the Air Force contract. Cohen’s firm was paid $150,000 when the relationship ended in November. There is no indication Cohen was involved in the awarding of the contract. … Even so, the payment to Cohen’s firm could draw new attention to the aviation company’s ethics disclosures and to a much larger contract it is considered a front-runner to win with Lockheed Martin to provide the U.S. military with more than 300 supersonic training jets — a deal worth an estimated $18 billion.”
-- During his time leading a private consulting firm, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joe Hagin worked with a Libyan client now implicated in a major sex-trafficking case. BuzzfeedBuzzFeedTarini Parti and Aram Roston report: “Basit Igtet, the Libyan client, was an exile eyeing a triumphant comeback at the dawn of the Arab Spring. Hagin and his firm worked with Igtet from 2011 until at least 2013: First, Hagin would help him build support for the rebel government that toppled Muammar al-Qaddafi, and later he and his colleagues would run an international treasure hunt to try to recover Libya’s stolen billions in exchange for a massive payoff for his firm, according to three sources. Igtet, however, had other interests outside recovering Libyan riches, including one at the center of a major sex-trafficking case. Igtet was deeply involved in NXIVM, the celebrity ‘sex cult’ whose leadership is now under federal indictment, two sources said. Igtet proselytized for the group … while his wife, the heir Sara Bronfman, reportedly kept the cult afloat with tens of millions of dollars.”
-- The Beverly Hill Hotel has been subpoenaed for records of Trump’s past stays there by lawyers for Summer Zervos, the former “Apprentice” contestant who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct and is now suing him for defamation. From Frances Stead Sellers: “Still uncertain is how far the famous Beverly Hills Hotel — where guests pay up to $10,000 a night for a bungalow stay — will go to protect the privacy of a former guest who now occupies the White House. The hotel takes pride in the privacy it offers guests, even teasing on its website about the secrets it guards. ‘If these walls could talk,’ it says, adding that ‘we would never reveal the scandals that have unfolded.’ In her complaint, Zervos offers cinematic details of a hotel meeting with Trump to discuss jobs. … Hotel records — including room service bills and logs of his stays — could shed light on some of the facts.”
-- Public records show the Trump Tower in Chicago has never met EPA rules for protecting fish, breaking with requirements implemented five years ago by the state of Illinois. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne reports: “[State records] show the president’s glass-and-steel skyscraper is one of the largest users of Chicago River water for its cooling systems, siphoning nearly 20 million gallons a day through intakes so powerful the machines could fill an Olympic swimming pool in less than an hour … Yet of the nearly dozen high-rises that rely on the Chicago River for cooling water, the decade-old skyscraper developed by [Trump] is the only one that has failed to document it took those measures[.] Trump’s Chicago managers also haven’t conducted a study of fish killed by the luxury [high-rise] — another step required five years ago by the Illinois [EPA]. Estimates of Trump Tower fish kills likely won’t be available anytime soon. A draft of the state’s latest permit gives building managers another three years to complete the ecological study and confirms state inspectors failed to ensure the skyscraper has complied with the fish-protecting regulations.”
-- The chairman of Halliburton, the nation’s largest oil-services company, is planning a Montana development that involves a foundation established by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Politico’s Ben Lefebvre and Nick Juliano report: “Lola Zinke pledged in writing to allow the [developer backed by the Halliburton chairman] to build a parking lot for the project on land that was donated to the foundation to create a Veterans Peace Park for citizens of Whitefish. … Lola Zinke is [the foundation’s] president, a role her husband gave up when he became interior secretary. … The involvement of the interior secretary’s family in a multimillion-dollar project funded by the chairman of an energy-services giant … is rife with conflicts of interest, ethics experts say, especially since Zinke’s job as interior secretary makes him the custodian of more than 500 million acres of public land and head of a department that sets technical and safety standards for pipelines and drilling.”
THERE'S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about his 500-page report on the FBI’s actions during the 2016 presidential race. Matt Zapotosky, Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Barrett report: “Monday’s hearing offered lawmakers on each side of the aisle an opportunity to press their long-held talking points about the Clinton email case and the similarly charged [Trump-Russia] investigation … Through [Horowitz], lawmakers seemed to score political points. Horowitz conceded bias might have affected one FBI agent’s decision to prioritize the Russia case over the Clinton email probe and called out as particularly troubling a text exchange in which the agent told an FBI lawyer ‘we’ll stop’ Trump from becoming president. ‘We found the implication that senior FBI employees would be willing to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects to be deeply troubling and antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Justice Department,’ Horowitz said. But Horowitz rebutted Trump’s claim that the report exonerated him with respect to possible coordination with Russia, saying flatly, ‘We did not look into collusion questions.’”
Two more big I.G. reports are coming: Horowitz said his office, based on a referral from the FBI, is reviewing James Comey’s handling of his contemporaneous memos that detailed his conversations with Trump before he got fired. Horowitz said he will issue a report on the matter, as well as another one on leaks from inside the FBI.
-- Rudy Giuliani said his demands last week that the Justice Department suspend Mueller’s Russia probe “within 24 hours” were just for show: “That’s what I’m supposed to do,” Giuliani told Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn. “What am I supposed to say? That they should investigate him forever? Sorry, I’m not a sucker!”
THE REST OF TRUMP'S AGENDA:
-- Trump said he would direct the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” branch of the U.S. military. Sarah Kaplan and Dan Lamothe report: “Trump has floated this idea before — in March, he said he initially conceived it as a joke — but has offered few details about how the Space Force would operate. Several experts noted that an act of Congress is required to establish a new branch of the military. … ‘It is not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,’ Trump said, adding that he didn't want to see ‘China and other countries leading us.’" Staff for Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, promised to “work closely with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s office, other Defense Department officials and Congress to ‘implement the President’s guidance.’”
-- The acting DEA chief is retiring due to the “increasingly challenging” nature of his temporary post. Devlin Barrett reports: “Robert W. Patterson, who has worked at the DEA for 30 years, sent an email to employees Monday afternoon saying he will retire in about two weeks. Patterson said he ‘realized that the administrator of the DEA needs to decide and address priorities for years into the future — something which has become increasingly challenging in an acting capacity.’ … It was not immediately clear who would succeed Patterson as acting DEA administrator. Patterson became the agency’s acting head in October, following the departure of Chuck Rosenberg, who had also served as an acting, rather than Senate-confirmed, head of the agency.”
-- “Empty desks, squabbles, inexperienced staff: Exactly who is coordinating White House drug policy?” from Stat’s Lev Facher: “For at least six months, staffers in the Office of National Drug Control Policy — often political appointees in their 20s — have [sat through] weekly meetings of an ‘opioids cabinet’ chaired by Kellyanne Conway. Then they have returned to their desks and reported back to veteran career staff — who have listened, often with disappointment, to the ideas proposed[.] Frustrations with the meetings … are symptomatic of a broader issue: A year and a half into the Trump administration, it remains unclear who, besides Conway, is coordinating U.S. drug policy in the midst of an opioid crisis. [Former White House official Jim Carroll] has been serving as acting drug czar since [February]. But Carroll has little in the way of experience in drug policy or public health … [And others] have expressed concern that the agency is being used as a pasture for former Trump campaign workers and administration officials who have left previous jobs …”
-- A new NIH report documents disturbing evidence of coordination between a Harvard team studying the effects of drinking and the alcohol industry. From the New York Times’s Roni Caryn Rabin: “A 165-page internal investigation prepared for Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that Kenneth J. Mukamal, the lead investigator of the trial, was in close, frequent contact with beer and liquor executives while designing the study. Buried in that document are disturbing examples of the coziness between the scientists and their industry patrons. Dr. Mukamal was eager to allay their concerns, respond to their questions and suggestions, and secure the industry’s buy-in. … [T]he report documented conference calls [Mukamal] held with alcoholic beverage companies and lengthy memos written in response to their concerns, long before the N.I.H. even announced it would sponsor the trial.”
DECISION DAY AT SCOTUS:
-- The Supreme Court declined to weigh in on two partisan gerrymandering cases. Robert Barnes reports: “In considering a Republican-drawn map from Wisconsin and a Democratic effort in Maryland, the court had raised the possibility of producing a landmark change in the way the nation’s elections are conducted. … The justices left the door open for future challenges to partisan gerrymanders. But as a result of Monday’s technical resolutions, both states’ maps will be intact for the 2018 elections, and the status quo remains. The ruling indicates that the court’s pivotal justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, was not persuaded by the challengers that they had presented a way for courts to determine when partisan efforts so infect a state’s political maps that they violate the Constitution.”
-- The court announced it will consider in its next term the government’s ability to seize property from criminal suspects. From Ann E. Marimow: The case in question involves “a low-level drug dealer whose $40,000 Land Rover was seized. Soon after Tyson Timbs was arrested for selling heroin worth a few hundred dollars to undercover officers in Indiana, police took his truck. The high court announced Monday that it would review whether constitutional protections against ‘excessive fines’ restrict states from seizing property in the common, but controversial, law enforcement practice of asset forfeiture.”
-- The justices handed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a victory in his first appearance before the Supreme Court. Rosenstein had been arguing the government’s case as the court weighed how much justification federal judges need to provide when reducing defendants’ prison sentences. (Ann E. Marimow)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) called on the DHS secretary to resign:
It's time for Secretary Nielsen to resign. The government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart. And the government should have a commitment to transparency and accountability. Under her tenure, DHS does not have a track record of either.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 18, 2018
One of Harris's Democratic colleagues added this:
A George W. Bush White House alum slammed Nielsen's appearance at the press briefing:
Nielsen's emphasis on how well-taken care of the children are is straight up propaganda after listening to the sobbing children.— Elise Jordan (@Elise_Jordan) June 18, 2018
From a CNN reporter:
Nielsen says the idea that this is a deterrent is offensive. "Why would I ever create a policy that purposely does this?"— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) June 18, 2018
John Kelly, her mentor, last year: "I am considering, in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network, I am considering exactly that."
From an MSNBC host:
Currently, the Trump administration is arguing that its family-separation policy:— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 18, 2018
- is a deterrent
- is biblically compliant
- is the Democrats' fault
- does not exist.
From a former NSC spokesperson under the Obama administration:
Every senior member of this administration should be required to address the briefing room; it tends to reveal their character, especially those once portrayed as white knights. Just ask John Kelly... and now Kirstjen Nielsen.— Ned Price (@nedprice) June 18, 2018
A Post reporter took note of one of Trump's other Cabinet members:
Striking to see Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan and whose family came to the US aboard a freight ship as immigrants, sit behind Trump as he declares the US "will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility."— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) June 18, 2018
Former first ladies joined Laura Bush in denouncing the policy:
We should be a better country than one that tears families apart, turns a blind eye to women fleeing domestic violence, and treats frightened children as a means to a political end.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2018
Sometimes truth transcends party. https://t.co/TeFM7NmNzU— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 18, 2018
Statement from former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter on children separated from their parents at the border: pic.twitter.com/WVg91SWutl— The Carter Center (@CarterCenter) June 18, 2018
From a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks:
All the living First Ladies have come out against separating immigrant children from their families.— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) June 18, 2018
Jeb Bush joined his sister-in-law in condemning the policy:
Children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool. @realDonaldTrump should end this heartless policy and Congress should get an immigration deal done that provides for asylum reform, border security and a path to citizenship for Dreamers. https://t.co/OOjv0vNeVg— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) June 18, 2018
From George W. Bush's former White House communications director:
Thank you @laurawbush for your clarity compassion-I remember your first public appearance after 9/11 - you went on TV to talk to Americans about protecting their children from fear. This is a common thread of your rare public commentary, and it is desperately needed. Bless you https://t.co/yJ784OCswi— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) June 18, 2018
From another Bush White House alum:
Trump's casual cruelty is a product of his near total lack of empathy and sympathy. This attitude, like others (e.g. pathological lying), eventually radiates throughout/begins to define an administration. And a party. That's how corruption spreads. And it's why character matters.— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) June 18, 2018
A former Fox News host also agreed with Laura Bush's assessment:
The government should know how bad this looks and how innocent children are actually suffering. That kind of scenario is unacceptable to most Americans as exemplified by former First Lady Laura Bush’s withering criticism. https://t.co/F4PKL00xLS— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) June 18, 2018
Fox News contested reporters' descriptions of migrant children being housed in cages:
A Politico reporter replied:
Brought to you by the people who said it’s absurd parsing not to call an FBI “informant” a “spy.” https://t.co/shxVzCg49D— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 18, 2018
A House Democrat shared what he has seen at the border:
The youngest child (boy) I’ve seen here so far who was separated from his family is 8 months old and has been here over a month, according to administrators. #FamiliesBelongTogether— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) June 18, 2018
A presidential historian tweeted this photo:
A German news outlet fact-checked Trump:
Guten Tag from Germany! 🙋♀️🇩🇪— dwnews (@dwnews) June 18, 2018
So here goes: Contrary to your assertion, crime here has actually fallen off dramatically! Criminal offenses totaled 5.76 million in 2017, the lowest number since 1992 = the lowest crime rate in more than 30 years. Pleasure.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) went after the former FBI director:
Comey attorney said he was out of the country & couldn’t testify 2day but he was tweeting from Iowa recently I prefer being in Iowa too but ppl deserve answers abt FBI conduct— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 18, 2018
A bipartisan group of governors stood in support of protections for those with pre-existing conditions:
Unbelievably, the Administration has chosen to no longer defend the law of the land that protects those with pre-existing conditions.— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) June 18, 2018
Once again, both Republican and Democrat governors are standing side by side against this disappointing decision. pic.twitter.com/xgXBwWisbj
Obama's former U.N. ambassador focused on Trump's Cuba policy:
Trump is great at cancelling things but as we are seeing all over the world, he actually has no idea how to handle the negotiating part. Doesn't know the issues, fails to leverage US advantages, & flails between two predictable techniques - extortion and extreme flattery. 2/2— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) June 18, 2018
A Wall Street Journal reporter commented on framed photos in the White House:
Pictures of President Trump and Kim Jong Un in the West Wing of the White House. A few weeks ago, these frames surrounded pics of Trump with Emmanuel Macron, president of France, one of America’s closest allies. pic.twitter.com/RZja99SDnJ— Michael C. Bender (@MichaelCBender) June 18, 2018
-- “What’s it really like in Russia? During World Cup, more vibrant than I expected,” by Steven Goff: “One writer dreaded working and living in Moscow for almost six weeks. But the Russian capital has proven to be the vibrant heart of this soccer celebration, erasing any doubts about why Russia was chosen to host the World Cup.” (Sign up to receive The Post’s daily World Cup newsletter here.)
-- “Bob Dole’s final mission,” by Steve Hendrix: “On this particular June Saturday, the Lincoln Town Car with the Kansas plates is unavailable, so Nathanial Lohn, the former Army medic who serves as Dole’s nurse, helps the nonagenarian into Lohn’s Honda Insight. It’s tight, but good enough for the 20-minute drive to a monument the former senator all but built himself. There, from a handicapped parking spot, he eases into the wheelchair as the greetings begin — ‘Oh my gosh, Bob Dole!’— finally rolling into his place in the shade just outside the main entrance to the National World War II Memorial. And then they come, bus after bus, wheelchair after wheelchair, battalions of his bent brothers, stooped with years but steeped in pride, veterans coming to see their country’s monument to their sacrifice and to be welcomed by of one of their country’s icons.”
-- Politico Magazine, “The Economy’s Booming, But Florida Voters Are Still Worried, by Steven Shepard: “Older Floridians are anxious about being able to make ends meet, with health care topping their list of key issues for the 2018 midterms. … [But] the nation’s economy is humming along, with unemployment near historic lows and growth roaring past 3 percent. … So why do so many voters in Florida — particularly the bloc of voters 50 and older that are often so decisive in elections there — feel like they are falling behind?”
-- Vanity Fair, “‘We Were So Far Ahead of the Curve’: Watching the World Change From Inside the Obama White House,” by Dan Pfeiffer: “The Democratic communications advantage that the Obama campaign built in 2008, and built upon in 2012, was gone [in 2014]. The ground had shifted under our feet. The media environment had changed and it had changed in ways that benefited the outrage-fueled messaging of the right wing. If I had better understood how dramatic this change was, I wouldn’t have been so sure that Trump was going to lose in 2016.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Illinois GOP candidate caught in blackface — but he insists he has black friends,” from Rawstory: “A newly-resurfaced photo from a Halloween party shows current Edwardsville, Illinois mayor and GOP state Senate candidate Hal Patton in blackface for a ‘rapper’ costume. … When reached for comment by the newspaper, the longtime public official confirmed it was indeed him in the photo and claimed the costume was not intended as a social statement. ‘There was never any intention for it to be an act of racism or racial commentary,’ Patton said. ‘I’ve certainly lived my life above board and with the best principles that you can,’ he continued. ‘I have lots of friends from every race and every country — that is how I’ve always lived my life.’” He added: “At the time, Run DMC and others were rappers. That was the look.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Trump supporter disrupts De Niro’s musical with ‘Keep America Great’ flag,” from the New York Post: “A Trump supporter tried disrupting a performance of the Robert De Niro-directed ‘A Bronx Tale: The Musical’ on Saturday — standing up during the curtain call and displaying a ‘Keep America Great!’ flag toward the audience. ‘TRUMP 2020,’ the flag said. … His demonstration appears to be a direct response to the ‘F–k Trump’ comments that De Niro made during the Tony Awards last week. … Saturday’s incident isn’t the first time one of the president’s supporters has attempted to disrupt a theatrical performance in NYC. Two people jumped on stage during the Central Park production of ‘Julius Caesar’ last summer to protest its depiction of Trump as the title character.”
Trump is giving a speech to the National Federation of Independent Business. He will later greet the king and queen of Spain at the White House. He will also sign the 10 millionth U.S. patent before traveling to the Capitol to meet with House Republicans. Tonight, he will deliver a speech to supporters at a fundraiser.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force: separate but equal, it is going to be something so important.” — Trump on his proposal for a new branch of the U.S. military (CNN)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Washingtonians should be prepared for high temperatures and possible afternoon thunderstorms. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Partly to mostly cloudy skies this morning accompany high humidity. Scattered showers and storms take shape around midday as a cold front pushes south. Temperatures peak in the upper 80s to low 90s, but humidity is dropping through the afternoon.”
-- The Nationals split their doubleheader against the Yankees, winning one game 5-3 and losing the other 4-2. The games, which were postponed from May, allowed Juan Soto to pick up a homer before his technical MLB debut. Jorge Castillo explains: “On May 15, the day the Nationals and Yankees played the game’s first 5½ innings, Soto went 3 for 4 against the Bowie Baysox for Class AA Harrisburg. He didn’t make his major league debut for another five days. On Monday, entering the game as a pinch hitter with a runner on base, Soto blasted a fastball to the back of the upper deck in right field. It was the 19-year-old outfielder’s sixth career home run — or his first, depending on one’s views on time and space.”
-- D.C. voters head to the polls today. Peter Jamison and Fenit Nirappil have a breakdown of what’s on the primary ballot.
-- A newly publicized report claims Metro officials didn’t act for years after learning customers were being overcharged due to erroneous fare calculations. Faiz Siddiqui reports: “In a fine-print addendum to a news release on fare increases last summer, Metro announced that it was correcting a long-standing problem with its posted fares. The agency had made calculation errors, including incorrectly plotting some platform locations, that led to miscalculated fares in hundreds of the agency’s 16,000 possible fare combinations. Metro said it would provide SmarTrip credits to any customers who were overcharged more than $2 between 2015 and 2017. But the inaccurate calculations were known at least as far back as 2012, according to the now-public report that precipitated the change.”
-- Several well-known private schools in the D.C. area are abandoning Advanced Placement classes. In a joint statement, the schools said that AP classes have “diminished utility” and rely too much on rapid absorption and memorization. (Nick Anderson)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Late-night hosts criticized the Trump administration's "monstrous" immigration policy:
The Senate chaplain commented on family separations at the border through his daily prayer:
In his daily prayer, Senate Chaplain Barry Black weighs in on border controversy: "As children are being separated from their parents, remind us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to protect the most vulnerable in our world." https://t.co/vAT9d25A9g pic.twitter.com/33EGmdC7i6— ABC News (@ABC) June 19, 2018
Palestinians used a kite with a fishing net attached to bring down an Israeli drone near the Gaza border:
Richard Painter, George W. Bush's former ethics czar who is now running for the Senate in Minnesota as a Democrat, released his first campaign ad — featuring a dumpster fire:
And The Post explained the significance of five pieces of Louvre art featured in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s new music video, “Apesh--":