THE BIG IDEA:

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve 

Programming note: James Hohmann is on vacation until Thursday, but we'll be delivering The Daily 202 to your inboxes every day except Wednesday. We hope you're getting some down time too during this July 4 week.

It may still be awhile before it becomes an official war, but there's no doubt President Trump has significantly turned up the heat on trade hostilities. What seemed to begin as a negotiating tactic for the author of “The Art of the Deal” is rapidly escalating into a full-blown standoff with all the world's major economies — and the possible ramifications could be very significant for the American economy, as well as Republican prospects in the midterm elections.

Trump's rhetoric regarding tariffs has become increasingly more barbed in recent days — see his confident interview with Fox News's Maria Bartiromo on Sunday and his Twitter takedown last week of Harley Davidson. 

And other countries are fighting back in what is amounting to an all-fronts battle with America's supposed allies and frenemies alike. Canada over the weekend imposed tariffs on $12.6 billion in U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. levies on steel and aluminum. On Friday, China is set to slap levies on $34 billion in American goods like soybeans in response to a symmetrical imposition of tariffs by the United States on Chinese goods. Also last week, the European Union sent a letter to the Commerce Department threatening to implement tariffs on $290 billion in American goods if Trump follows through with his desire to crack down on foreign autos.

“The European Union is possibly as bad as China just smaller, OK. It’s terrible what they did to us,” Trump told Bartiromo. “They send a Mercedes in; we can’t send our cars in. Look what they do to our farmers. They don’t want our farm products. Now in all fairness they have their farmers. So they want to protect their farmers. But we don’t protect ours and they protect theirs.”

On top of that, Trump seemed open to reconsidering the terms of U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization, according to a leaked draft of an administration bill that several Trump aides — minus hard liner Peter Navarro — warned would go nowhere. “Trump is especially upset at how the WTO treats China, according to a person familiar with the president’s thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly. Despite being the world’s second-largest economy, China is still considered a developing nation in the eyes of the WTO, which allows China to have higher trade barriers than developed countries,” reports my colleague Heather Long.

Heather writes: “Despite Trump’s rhetoric, concerns are growing that Trump’s appetite for tariffs only appears to be expanding as trade tensions escalate. Many who argued that Trump was just threatening tariffs as a negotiating tactic and would never let the skirmish intensify are now saying they may have miscalculated.”

In other words, the trade war could be quite for real. Trump has often bragged about the strength of the stock market and the U.S. economy, and he seems unconcerned his trade maneuvering will dent the numbers or jeopardize his party in the midterm elections — even though the tariffs could significantly impact voters in states Trump won in 2016.

“This may be the greatest economy we’ve ever had. So if it’s all about the economy, I think we should do phenomenally,” Trump told Bartiromo, replying to a question about GOP prospects in November.

And this morning:

The trade offensive is all the more head-scratching considering those with whom Trump is ramping up economic hostilities -- allies in Europe and Canada who Trump will meet next week as part of the NATO summit in Brussels. But presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered what could be termed an interesting response to the heightened trade hostilities in a news conference with reporters yesterday at the White House.

Sanders said that the United States had to respond because Canada had taken advantage of American "niceness." “We’ve been very nice to Canada for many years, and they’ve taken advantage of that. Particularly advantage of our farmers," Sanders said, as reported by The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale.

Dale continued: "Asked if Trump is winning this trade battle, given the retaliation from Canada, Mexico, China and the European Union, Sanders said: 'Again, the president is focused not on the short term but on the long term. And he wants to make sure that we’re doing things that help protect American workers and protect American industry, and he is going to keep pushing to make sure we have good trade deals."

Twitterati noted the irony:

And from “The Mooch”:

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- “The alleged killer of five Capital Gazette employees mailed three threatening letters to Maryland courthouses and a law firm before Thursday’s shooting at the Annapolis newspaper, Anne Arundel County police said Monday.” Clarence Williams and Tom Jackman report: “One of the letters opened Monday included a passage with a self-styled certification saying, ‘I further certify I then did proceed to the office of respondent Capital-Gazette Communications . . . with the objective of killing every person present,’ … The letters came from suspected shooter Jarrod Ramos, Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, a county police spokeswoman, [confirmed]. They ‘were threatening in nature, but that’s all we can release right now' about their content, Davis said. The letters were sent to the Baltimore City courthouse, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and a law firm [and were dated June 28, the day of the shooting], Davis said. She declined to say who specifically received them.”

-- Trump declined a request to lower federal flags in honor of the five victims of the shooting. Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley (D) requested that the flags be lowered to honor the four journalists and a sales associate killed at the paper. “This was an attack on the press,” Buckley said. “It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy.” (Justin Wm. Moyer)

-- “In a lifetime of words, Rob Hiaasen wrote for his children in journals and for his community in newspapers,” by Reis Thebault: “When Rob Hiaasen’s three kids were young, he wrote each of them a journal that he planned to share with them as they grew up. At one point, while penning the one for his daughter Samantha, he wrote: ‘It just dawned on me that this book is upside down. Forgive me, I am often upside down myself.’ As hundreds of family members and friends celebrated Hiaasen’s life at a memorial service Monday, crowded under a tent at the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, Md., it was quips like that they remembered: funny, kind, loving.”

-- “The Trump administration is planning to rescind Tuesday a set of Obama-era policy documents that encourage the use of race in college admissions,” the Wall Street Journal’s Michelle Hackman reports. “The documents, issued jointly by the Obama Justice and Education departments, laid out legal recommendations for schools looking to use race as an admissions factor to boost diversity at their schools. Trump administration officials plan to argue that the documents, published in 2011 and 2016, go beyond Supreme Court precedent on the issue and mislead schools to believe that legal forms of affirmative action are simpler to achieve than the law allows.”

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Twelve members of a boy’s soccer team and their coach were found alive in a cave in Thailand nine days after they were trapped there by a flood. None of the team members appear to be in critical condition, but the Thai navy warned the recovery effort could take months. (Kristine Phillips)
  2. The FBI arrested a man accused of planning a July 4 attack on downtown Cleveland. The man, Demetrius N. Pitts, discussed his plan with an undercover FBI operative who Pitts believed to be working for al-Qaeda. (Matt Zapotosky)
  3. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back on accusations that he groped a young female reporter at a music festival in British Columbia in 2000, telling reporters at a Canada Day event that he “did not recall” the allegations. “I remember that day in Creston well,” Trudeau said. “It was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all,” Trudeau said. (Rebecca Tan)
  4. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Capitol Police have arrested a man accused of making graphic death threats against him and members of his family. Paul said the man had threatened to kill him and “chop up” his family with an ax. Paul is the second lawmaker in as many weeks to receive a serious death threat. (Felicia Sonmez) The FBI arrested a man accused of planning a July 4 attack on downtown Cleveland. The man, Demetrius N. Pitts, discussed his plan with an undercover FBI operative who Pitts believed to be working for al-Qaeda. (Matt Zapotosky)
  5. A court in Myanmar is slated to decide next week whether to convict two jailed Reuters reporters who were accused of “obtaining secret documents” last year while reporting on the country's violent, military-led crackdown against Rohingya Muslims. If convicted, the reporters could face up to 14 years in prison. (Shibani Mahtani and Aung Naing Soe)
  6. Malaysia’s former prime minister was arrested in connection to a corruption investigation. A special task force looking into the disappearance of billions of dollars from the state investment fund announced Najib Razak had been arrested but did not specify the charges against him. (Shibani Mahtani)

  7. Atlantic Media is selling Quartz to a Japanese business intelligence and media company. The deal comes a year after Atlantic Media chairman and owner David Bradley announced he would sell a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine to Emerson Collective. (Thomas Heath)
  8. Denmark is introducing a harsh new set of laws aimed at “ghettos” — or low-income immigrant neighborhoods — as part of a bid to force residents in the majority-Muslim enclaves into the mainstream. Beginning at age 1, the laws orders so-called “ghetto children” to be separated from their parents for 25 hours a week, where they will receive mandatory lessons in “Danish values,” which include the country's language and religious traditions. (New York Times)
  9. Brazil advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals, defeating Mexico 2 to 0. The Brazilian team will play Belgium, which won against Japan in a frantic 3 to 2 comeback victory. (Chuck Culpepper and Cindy Boren)
  10. A New York State trooper was fatally shot after arriving at the house of a school principal who was reported to be suicidal. Authorities said the principal was armed and found dead inside the house “with an apparent gunshot wound,” but declined to say whether he shot himself or was killed by authorities. (New York Times)

THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:

-- Big scoop from my colleagues: Multiple agencies, including the SEC, are now involved in the federal investigation into Facebook’s sharing of user data with Cambridge Analytica. Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett report: “Representatives for the FBI, the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the [Justice Department] in its inquiries about the two companies and the sharing of personal information of 71 million Americans, suggesting the wide-ranging nature of the investigation, said five people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a probe that remains incomplete.

The questioning from federal investigators centers on what Facebook knew three years ago and why the company didn’t reveal it at the time to its users or investors, as well as any discrepancies in more recent accounts, among other issues, according to these people. The Capitol Hill testimony of Facebook officials, including Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, also is being scrutinized as part of the probe, said people familiar with the federal inquiries . . .

“Many details about the federal probe remain unknown, including whether investigators are considering criminal charges or civil penalties for the companies involved. But investigators seem particularly focused on what data Facebook allowed to be collected from its platform and under what conditions, as well as what Facebook told the public at the time of the data sharing and during recent Congressional hearings, said these people.”

-- Some Trump advisers saw Michael Cohen’s interview with ABC News as an attempt to sway the president toward pardoning his former lawyer or at least offering financial assistance. During the interview, Cohen signaled his willingness to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation. Rosalind S. Helderman, John Wagner and Josh Dawsey report: “Some in Trump’s orbit said the interview was a miscalculation if it was an attempt to reach out to the president … ‘I think it’s a cry for help and a cry for attention,’ said one person close to the Trump Organization who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the criminal probes. ‘Every time the story dies down, he seems to want to reignite it' . . . ‘Is anyone at the Trump Organization lying awake at night worrying that Michael is flipping? No,’ the person said.

-- But sources close to Cohen claim the interview was an attempt to preempt attacks from Trump and his lawyers, which he expects to soon escalate. Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox reports: “The hits from Trump and those around him started coming months ago, when the president publicly distanced himself from Cohen and his business dealings in interviews, as did his new attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Cohen had reason to believe that they would ramp up in the coming weeks. As [the joint defense agreement between Cohen and Trump, which allowed their lawyers to share information,] nears its conclusion, Cohen believed that those around the president might be preparing a strategy to go after him, according to a person familiar with his thinking.”

-- A collection of documents retrieved from Cohen’s shredder revealed little about the Trump lawyer’s business dealings. BuzzFeed News’s Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier report: “Now, BuzzFeed News has obtained documents reconstructed by the FBI. A close examination shows that the records are a combination of documents that prosecutors already had, handwritten notes about a taxi business, insurance papers, and correspondence from a woman described in court filings as a ‘vexatious litigant’ who claims she is under government surveillance.”

-- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said his panel has been in “weekly” contact with lawyers for Christopher Steele, the former British spy and author of the Trump-Russia dossier. BuzzFeed News’s Emma Loop reports: “Asked if Steele had provided any information to the committee, Burr said: ‘That continues to be the topic weekly.’ Burr said in October that the committee had ‘hit a wall’ in its attempts to investigate the dossier’s explosive claims and that efforts to interview Steele had been unsuccessful. … It’s unclear why the interview has failed to take place.”

-- A federal judge has scheduled a hearing next week in Michael Flynn’s case, as Robert Mueller’s team appears to near setting a sentencing date for Trump’s former national security adviser. From Politico’s Josh Gerstein: “The hearing set for next Tuesday would be the first court appearance for Flynn since last December, when the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief appeared in a packed courtroom to plead guilty to one felony count of making false statements to the FBI … The repeated delays in Flynn's sentencing have led to speculation that prosecutors believe his testimony could be useful at some future trial, or that the sentencing process might disclose some aspect of the investigation that Mueller still wishes to keep secret. Some Flynn allies have even suggested he might seek to withdraw his plea, although his lawyers have given no indication of that.”

-- Former FBI official Peter Strzok’s lawyer turned down the House Judiciary Committee’s invitation to allow his client to testify publicly, calling it a “trap.” Karoun Demirjian reports: “[Lawyer Aitan Goelman] strongly suggested he might not let Strzok testify before the committee at all, to avoid a ‘political circus.’ ‘We know what’s in store — in the next hearing they will ask Special Agent Strzok many of the same questions . . . and then seize on any tiny inconsistencies to ‘prove’ that he perjured himself or made false statements,’ Goelman wrote.”

-- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) expressed concern that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s staff is spying on him. “I’ve been told in the past there’s been great concern about who I saw, what I did and that I was being monitored and was even told they know everybody that walks in your office,” Gohmert said in a Fox News interview. But the congressman provided no evidence to support the suspicion. (Washington Examiner)

THE NEW WORLD ORDER:

-- It's not just here: German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached a deal placating immigration hard-liners that would crack down on asylum seekers to save her government. James McAuley and Luisa Beck report: “A clash that lasted weeks ended in an uneasy truce when Merkel and her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), reached a compromise on immigration policy with partner Christian Social Union (CSU). Interior Minister and CSU leader Horst Seehofer backed off his threat to resign and potentially bring down the government. A hard-line stance on immigration and criticism of Merkel’s decision to welcome nearly a million migrants in 2015 have been part of the CSU’s political strategy ahead of regional elections in the fall . . . The deal proposes new screening at the Germany-Austria border to 'prevent asylum seekers whose asylum procedures are the responsibility of other E.U. countries from entering the country.' A network of 'transit centers' will serve as processing points from which ineligible migrants would then be sent back to relevant countries, but only if those countries consent. If those countries do not agree, Germany’s rejected migrants would be sent to Austria, 'on the basis of an agreement.'”

-- “Merkel’s compromise still depends on approval from her other coalition partner, the Social Democrats, or SPD,” James McAuley reports. “Party representatives have said they have ‘many questions’ about the notion of camps along the border. But they appear unlikely to reject the proposal out of hand and trigger a new round of elections, in which they would stand to lose. … [The Austrian government] also said that if Germany approves this plan, Austria would have no choice but to respond with a version of its own, taking ‘measures to protect our southern borders in particular.’ Controls between Germany and Austria, as well between Austria and Italy, where hundreds of thousands of migrants initially arrived, could trigger a domino effect inside an E.U. already on edge over the migrant question.”

-- In advance of his trip to meet them in Europe next week, Trump has warned several NATO allies that they must step up their contributions to the defense alliance. The New York Times’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports: “In [letters sent in June to several leaders of NATO nations], the president hinted that after more than a year of public and private complaints that allies have not done enough to share the burden of collective defense, he may be considering a response, including adjusting the United States’ military presence around the world. ‘As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised,’ Mr. Trump wrote to [Merkel] in a particularly pointed letter … ‘The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us.’”

-- The campaign pledges of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s populist new president-elect, could further complicate U.S.-Mexico relations. Kevin Sieff reports: “Although López Obrador struck a conciliatory tone in his acceptance speech, asking for ‘friendship and mutual respect’ with the United States, he will now face the difficult task of reconciling his promises of compassion for migrants and the peasants drawn into Mexico’s drug trade with his interest in building a constructive relationship with [Trump]. … Trump and López Obrador spoke for about 30 minutes on Monday morning. ‘I proposed a comprehensive deal with development projects that would generate jobs in Mexico and therefore reduce migration and improve security. The tone was respectful and our representatives will talk,’ López Obrador wrote on Twitter. ‘I think the relationship will be a very good one,’ Trump told journalists after the call, adding that the two leaders discussed trade, border security, NAFTA and the possibility of a U.S.-Mexico trade deal.”

SCOTUS BATTLES:

-- Trump has begun interviewing candidates to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, intensifying the battle over the court seat. Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez report: “‘I had a very, very interesting morning,’ Trump told reporters . . . He described the candidates as ‘outstanding people’ but did not name them, and added that he expects to meet soon with two or three more prospects. Trump’s remarks — coming one week before his own July 9 deadline for a decision — stirred an already intense political standoff over the future of the high court, with the White House setting up a war room Monday to focus on the confirmation process and top Democrats attacking potential nominees. Trump met Monday with four federal appeals court judges: Brett M. Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Amul R. Thapar and Raymond Kethledge, according to three people briefed on the meetings …

“On Capitol Hill, Republicans, who hold a narrow 51-seat majority in the Senate, braced for challenges from Democrats and within their ranks, regardless of whom Trump taps. ‘I think there will be a big national, campaign rage. But in the end, I’m confident we’ll get the judge confirmed,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at an event in Ashland, Ky. But Sen. [Paul], a Trump ally, made clear to associates that he has reservations about Kavanaugh, whose writing on President Barack Obama’s health-care law has bothered some conservatives.”

-- Barrett landed in the national spotlight last year, due to some controversial questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) during his confirmation hearing to the federal bench. Politico’s Eliana Johnson reports: “As Feinstein pressed her on whether she would be able to render judicial rulings faithful to the law given her deeply held religious beliefs, Barrett became a hero to religious conservatives who believe liberal Democrats target them for their faith. ‘The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that people have fought for years in this country,’ Feinstein told Barrett. … Despite the public push for a Barrett nomination, her selection is not pre-ordained. A former law professor at the University of Notre Dame who became a federal judge just last year, she has a thinner record, as far as legal opinions go, than most of her competitors.”

-- The White House has reshuffled some current staffers to help expedite the confirmation process. Anne Gearan and John Wagner report: “[S]pokesman Raj Shah is taking a leave of absence from his position to work full time on overseeing the communications effort associated with the upcoming Supreme Court pick. Shah, who serves as principal deputy press secretary under [Sarah Huckabee Sanders], ‘will oversee communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies,’ Sanders said in a statement. … The White House also announced Monday that the overall confirmation process would be led by White House counsel Donald McGahn, as it was during the process that led to the successful confirmation last year of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. … [And] a team of lawyers from the White House and Department of Justice are gathering information to assist Trump with the process.”

-- Liberal activists hounded Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) with questions about whether he would be able to line up all Senate Democrats against Trump’s nominee. Edith Honan and Felicia Sonmez report: “‘This is not a fait accompli,’ Schumer said on the conference call. He said that Democrats would have little success in delaying the vote on Trump’s nominee and should focus on driving home the point that the future of abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act depend on the pick. Some of those who had braved the sweltering July heat said they simply wanted to commiserate with other New York liberals after days of unrelentingly bad political news and search for outside-the-box solutions.”

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:

-- Two of Scott Pruitt’s top aides have provided congressional investigators with new details about the EPA chief's spending and management habits at the agency. Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Brady Dennis report: “The Trump administration appointees described an administrator who sought a salary that topped $200,000 for his wife and accepted help from a subordinate in the job search, requested aid from senior EPA officials in a dispute with a Washington landlord and disregarded [first-class travel concerns]. The interviews … shed new light on the EPA administrator’s willingness to leverage his position for his personal benefit and to ignore warnings even from allies about potential ethical issues … Both aides described instances in which their boss pressed to travel first-class or via private jet, while [Samantha Dravis, former associate administrator for the EPA's Office of Policy,] acknowledged that Pruitt asked his subordinates to do non-official work for him …”

  • “[Dravis] … told congressional staffers that Pruitt initially asked her to contact the Republican Attorneys General Association — a group Pruitt had once led and Dravis had worked for … as part of the job search for his wife. Dravis said she declined to make that call to avoid any potential conflicts of interest or possible violations of the Hatch Act[.]”
  •  “Even before Pruitt took the helm of the EPA, however, some of his own associates had tried to head off potential ethics issues … These individuals … said that some of the Republicans tasked with preparing him for Senate confirmation warned Pruitt that he needed to be careful to avoid conflicts of interest or spending decisions [that could be perceived] as a misuse of taxpayer funds …”

-- Since Trump took office, Melania Trump has earned six figures from an agreement with Getty Images, which dictates that her photos be used only in positive coverage. NBC News’s Andrew W. Lehren, Emily R. Siegel and Merritt Enright report. “[Trump’s] most recent financial disclosure reveals that in 2017 the first lady earned at least $100,000 from Getty Images for the use of any of a series of 187 photos of the first family shot between 2010 and 2016 by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux. It's not unheard of for celebrities to earn royalties from photos of themselves, but it's very unusual for the wife of a currently serving elected official. More problematic for the many news organizations that have published or broadcast the images, however, is that Getty's licensing agreement stipulates the pictures can be used in ‘positive stories only.’ According to the revenue statement … Melania Trump earned between $100,000 and $1,000,000 in photo royalties in 2017 from the Getty deal.”

-- Trump’s White House has seen record amounts of turnover in the past year, according to a new AP analysis of White House filings. “According to the most recent filing, 141 staffers who worked for the president at that point last year are gone, with 138 new arrivals. The figures don't include those who arrived and departed during the year — like short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci — or those who departed before June 30, 2017. Some 61 percent of Trump's senior-most aides have left the White House. Only Bill Clinton's 42 percent comes close for the last five administrations.”

THE IMMIGRATION WARS RAGE ON:

-- A federal judge demanded the Trump administration immediately release or grant hearings to a group of detained asylum seekers. Spencer S. Hsu reports: “U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg of Washington said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ignored its own policy stating that asylum applicants who establish a ‘credible fear’ of persecution in their native country must be granted a court hearing within seven days or released. He granted a preliminary injunction preventing the government from carrying out blanket detentions of asylum seekers at five large U.S. field offices, including those currently held, pending resolution of the lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued in March after finding detention rates at the offices surged to 96 percent in the first eight months after President Trump took office in 2017, up from less than 10 percent in 2013.”

-- Trump has changed the face of legal immigration in the United States, according to a Washington Post analysis — with the number of people receiving permanent U.S. visas expected to drop 12 percent in his second year in office. Abigail Hauslohner and Andrew Ba Tran report: “Among the most affected are the Muslim-majority countries on the president’s travel ban list … where the number of new arrivals to the United States is heading toward an 81 percent drop by Sept. 30[.] Legal immigration from all Muslim-majority countries is on track to fall by nearly a third. The Post’s analysis also found immigration declines among nationalities not targeted by Trump’s travel ban, including nearly all of the countries that typically receive the largest number of immigrant visas from the United States. . . . Among the 10 countries that send the highest number of immigrants to the United States annually, only El Salvador is projected to receive more visas under Trump: an increase of 17 percent in his first two fiscal years.”

-- Senate Democrats are seeking detailed information on how the administration is reuniting migrant families who were separated at the border. Elise Viebeck reports: “In a letter Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 10 colleagues asked federal officials for information that would reveal the progress of the reunification efforts. They asked for anonymized lists of all children and adults who were separated from family members at the border; how long they have been detained and where; and whether their family members have been successfully contacted. … The senators asked HHS and DHS for ‘weekly updates and briefings on your progress’ until the reunifications are complete. They gave a deadline of July 6.”

-- Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) was denied access to a detention center for migrant children. McClatchy’s Kate Irby reports: “He knocked on the door and waited about five minutes, alternatively silent, knocking some more and asking the security guard if employees inside were aware he was out there. The guard eventually told him the employees inside had been instructed to not answer the door, not to even speak to him. … The facility, Denham said, was detaining immigrant children ages 13 and younger. He said he was told that there were 25 children inside, and two girls had been separated from their parents. He had been told as recently as Friday that he was cleared to go in, he said, but the facility changed their tune over the weekend.”

THE REST OF TRUMP’S AGENDA:

-- Trump has come to embrace the world of big-dollar fundraising he once proudly eschewed on the campaign trail. Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: “Even as Trump holds court in large arenas filled with thousands of cheering supporters, he also has been giving rich financiers and business executives up-close access, helping cultivate the kind of big-money outfit he once derided. The effort is intended to boost his favored candidates in this year’s midterms — and to bolster his own reelection prospects. The money is flowing to America First, an independent operation stocked with former Trump aides that aims to scoop up $100 million through two entities, with the bulk of the funds so far flowing to a nonprofit arm that is not required to disclose the names of its donors.”

-- The phrase “climate change” was removed from a CDC website before Trump’s inauguration, a new report found. Chris Mooney reports: “The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s ‘Occupational Safety and Health and Climate’ page had its name changed, so as to remove the phrase ‘climate change,’ sometime on or after Nov. 14, 2016, according to a report by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative. The old name was ‘Climate Change and Occupational Safety and Health.’ Multiple other removals of the phrase ‘climate change’ occurred at or around the same time. It’s unclear why the changes were made. In a statement, the CDC described the changes as ‘planned updates.’ … [T]he changes were made before [Trump] took office, meaning his team would not have been in a position yet to change an agency website. Some suspect, however, that the changes were made by agency employees looking to keep the Obama-era, climate-focused program below the radar and avoid drawing a new president’s ire.”

-- New federal figures show the number of Americans who bought Obamacare health plans increased slightly this year. Amy Goldstein reports: “As of February, a month after the start of 2018 coverage, 10.6 million people had paid premiums for ACA health insurance, about 3 percent more than the year before, according to enrollment analyses released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The increase is striking because it happened even though federal health officials last year slashed ACA funding to grass-roots groups that help consumers sign up for coverage, cut advertising and other outreach activities by 90 percent, and shortened the enrollment period by half.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Trump was very active on Twitter this morning. He claimed the North Korea talks are going very well:

(Fact-check: Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick reported Saturday: “U.S. intelligence officials, citing newly obtained evidence, have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile, and instead is considering ways to conceal the number of weapons it has and secret production facilities … ”)

Trump also slammed Democrats’ stance on immigration issues and argued the debate would aid Republicans in the midterms, contradicting some recent polling:

He referenced his meetings with potential Supreme Court picks:

And Trump went after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) again this morning:

(Waters made the “wounded animal” reference in response to the recent death threats against her. “All I have to say is this, if you shoot me you better shoot straight, there’s nothing like a wounded animal,” she said during an immigration rally Saturday.)

The White House's Twitter account went after two Senate Democrats who are seen as likely 2020 candidates:

Harris responded to the criticism:

Harris's press secretary also came to her defense:

An MSNBC host pointed out the White House tweets could violate ethics laws:

A George W. Bush White House alum criticized Democrats' debate over abolishing ICE:

The Senate's top Democrat slammed one of the judges on Trump's SCOTUS shortlist:

A Republican senator defended Barrett's qualifications:

A Time reporter noted this of Barrett:

A Post reporter considered Democrats who have previously voted in favor of judges on Trump's shortlist:

Stormy Daniels's attorney questioned Michael Cohen's motives in sitting down for an interview:

From a former spokesman for Obama's Justice Department:

And a former Democratic congressman marked a historic anniversary:

GOOD READS:

-- “‘This is not a normal time’: A mad hot summer in the capital of the resistance,” by Dan Zak: “Here we [are]. The start of a mad hot American summer in the nation’s capital. A president violating norm after norm. Immigrant children wailing for their mothers. A Supreme Court seat, open like a wound. A midterm election hurtling toward us like an avenging angel, or a killer asteroid. The resistance girding for war, or curdling into hysteria, depending on your view. … Is there ever a normal time? Maybe not. But this one certainly feels abnormal, like a rising fever, or the seconds before a grand-mal seizure. And so the treatment is more extreme. Higher dosages. Adrenaline shots. Defibrillations. … The D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America has been demonstrating outside the private homes of what it calls ‘deportation profiteers’; on Sunday, dozens chanted ‘No ICE, No KKK, No fascist USA!’ outside the Virginia residence of [the] just-retired ICE director … [And activists] are cultivating a network of sources and first responders to spot Trump officials and scramble nonviolent ambushes.”

  • “It’s reached a point of desperation,” says campaign strategist Amanda Werner. “We’ve been civil and having endless debates, and all we’ve seen is the decimation of everything we care about.”

-- Wall Street Journal, “Tech’s ‘Dirty Secret’: The App Developers Sifting Through Your Gmail,” by Douglas MacMillan: “Google said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalize advertisements, saying it wanted users to ‘remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount.’ But the internet giant continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools. Google does little to police those developers, who train their computers—and, in some cases, employees—to read their users’ emails, a Wall Street Journal examination has found.”

-- Politico Magazine, “The Nation That Sits Astride the U.S.-Canada Border,” by Joshua Keating: “The American Indian community that is upending our understanding of borders—and what makes a country in the first place.”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“In U.S., Record-Low 47% Extremely Proud to Be Americans,” from Gallup: “This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup's 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are ‘extremely proud.’ Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003. … The combined 72% who are extremely or very proud to be Americans is also the lowest in Gallup's trend. … Currently, 32% of Democrats -- down from 43% in 2017 and 56% in 2013 -- are extremely proud. The decline preceded the election of Donald Trump but has accelerated in the past year. … Political liberals are even less likely than Democrats to say they are extremely proud -- just 23% do so, compared with 46% of moderates and 65% of conservatives.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Eric Trump rushes into NYC traffic to save ailing woman,” from the Washington Examiner: “An ordinary morning in New York City last week for [Eric Trump] abruptly turned frantic when he rushed to the aid of a woman who passed out near a train station, dodging rush-hour traffic to chase down a passing ambulance. According to an eyewitness account …Trump and his security detail stopped to tend to the unidentified woman … Our tipster [said] Trump then spotted a passing ambulance and rushed to stop it. ‘I watched as Eric looked up, spotted an ambulance slowly passing by on 6th, ran into traffic — almost getting hit by a bicyclist — and shouted at the ambulance to get its attention,’ said the observer. ... '[H]is sense of urgency was clear and he succeeded in getting the paramedics to stop and tend to the woman …’”

 

DAYBOOK:

Trump will have lunch with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later travel to West Virginia to give a speech at the Salute to Service dinner.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“I do not think [Trump] is a fascist. I do think he is the most undemocratic president in modern American history, and that troubles me.” — Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright. (John Wagner)

 

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- Stay hydrated: It will be another very hot and humid day in D.C. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “[H]ighs in the lower to middle 90s and heat indexes roaring into the 100-to-105 range.  Be careful with outdoor activities. Mostly sunny skies could have a few more clouds in the afternoon along with widely scattered thunderstorms. Most of us get missed.” (Washington’s heat index yesterday reached a peak of 108 degrees, the highest of 2018 so far.)

-- The Nationals lost to the Red Sox 4-3. (Chelsea Janes)

-- A panel recommended to Richmond’s mayor that the city remove its statue of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Gregory S. Schneider reports: “Appointed last June by Mayor Levar Stoney, the 10-member Monument Avenue Commission held public meetings, met with small interest groups and gathered thousands of emails from residents in putting together its recommendations. … [T]he commission resisted the call to tear down statues of [Robert E. Lee], Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and Matthew Fontaine Maury. But they said that Davis, the president of the Confederacy, should go. ‘Of all the statues, this one is the most unabashedly Lost Cause in its design and sentiment,’ the commission wrote, adding that ‘Davis was not from Richmond or Virginia.’”

-- The D.C. government asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the city discriminated against poor and working-class black residents in favor of young professionals. Paul Schwartzman reports: “In a motion filed late last month in U.S. District Court, District lawyers argued that the lawsuit ‘failed to support any conspiracy claim’ or provide evidence that District land-use policies devised since the mid-2000’s were intended to cause any group harm.”

-- A Maryland rule intended to end excessive cash bails for the poor is actually keeping more defendants in jail longer, according to a recent report. Judges have instead opted to keep more people in jail without bond, which public defenders and advocates say violates the spirit of the bail reforms. (Lynh Bui)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Trump met with the Dutch prime minister at the White House:

The Champs-Elysees in Paris played host to a massive outdoor movie night:

A convenience store's surveillance footage caught a Canadian couple's very failed attempt to escape police:

And a pet food company is airing an alternative version of the World Cup — with puppies: