With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Erin Murphy is the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s nominee for governor. Erin Murphy is crisscrossing her state with other DFL candidates, at DFL offices and with DFL funds.

And if they’re honest, Minnesota Democrats will tell you: Erin Murphy probably won’t be their candidate in November. 

For the second time this decade, Minnesota looks set for a primary in which voters will pick a DFL nominee who lost the party’s endorsement at its summer convention. Matt Pelikan, a young attorney who bested longtime Attorney General Lori Swanson at that convention, is also expected to lose. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), while hit by an 11th hour allegation that he abused an ex-girlfriend, reacted to Swanson’s defeat by jumping into the race, immediately becoming the front-runner. (Ellison has firmly denied the allegation.)

“The DFL brings tremendous infrastructure with it,” Murphy said in an interview, after rallying with other DFL-endorsed candidates outside the state capitol. “It brings tremendous prestige. It’s something Minnesotans rely on, and count on.”

But party endorsements — as opposed to actual party nominations — don’t mean as much as they used to. In a number of states this year, party activists have crowded into conventions, picked candidates and then watched them get turfed at the polls.

In Utah, Republican activists selected little-known state legislator Mike Kennedy as their choice for U.S. Senate candidate; he lost handily to Mitt Romney in the primary. In Colorado, the “Democratic Assembly” endorsed Cary Kennedy for governor by 30 points; she lost to Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

In California, two candidates in closely watched Orange County House races won the party endorsements and plastered them on literature. Democrats Dave Min and Hans Keirstead then lost their primaries to Katie Porter (who ran as a protege of Sen. Elizabeth Warren) and Harley Rouda (who was backed by national Democrats).

It’s not necessarily a new trend, but it’s accelerating. Political parties themselves simply do not have the clout that they once did — something evident in the declining number of people who identify as Republicans or Democrats.

Supporters of centrist candidates and third parties say that this is going to auger in a new, post-“duopoly” era. But centrist candidates are invisible in the polls, while turnout in both parties’ primaries is generally up — for Democrats, it’s nearly doubled from the last midterm primaries in 2014.

What gives? One, donors are giving, and they don’t much care about party leadership. The ongoing rise of small dollar and online donations has weakened the bonds between candidates and party bosses. In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned her lack of party support into a strength in her race against Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), arguing — correctly — that a coalition of ambitious left-wing groups could outwork the Queens Democratic Party. 

Two, the 2016 election happened. (In some ways, we’ve never stopped living through it.) While the Republican National Committee has thrived by becoming an appendage of the Trump reelection campaign, the Democratic National Committee has simply not recovered from the email hacks that forced Debbie Wasserman Schultz to leave her chairmanship, or from the perception, preceding the hacks, that the party favored Hillary Clinton to win the nomination.

Had Clinton won in November, she likely would have quieted the dissenters. She did not win, and that gave every Democratic insurgent, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on down, an argument for saving liberal politics from its old owners.

Three, the party’s establishment has not always welcomed the new kids. That’s been most painful for Democrats in Maryland, where Ben Jealous’s victory in the June 26 gubernatorial primary did not stop some powerful Democrats from staying neutral on his matchup with Gov. Larry Hogan (R) — and did stop others from flat-out endorsing Hogan.

Party endorsements aren’t meaningless, and party leaders can hold real sway. The president boasts, with reason, that he has endorsed winners in every Republican primary so far this year, pending the results in Kansas. But where he has crossed local party leaders — most notably in Georgia’s race for governor — the party brand has proved to be flimsy.

Here’s the irony: The politician doing the most to keep left-wing politics inside the party is likely Sanders, who has never joined the Democratic Party, but has also turned away people who want to start a new one. He has, instead, convinced supporters that the organs of the party can be taken over, and celebrated when it’s happened, whether he has endorsed the coup leader (Jealous) or whether he hasn’t (Ocasio-Cortez).

When it comes to the conventions and endorsement lineups that used to decide primaries, voters have come to agree with Sanders — it’s easier to crash the gates than to own the house.

Correction: The original version of this piece misidentified a candidate from California. Her name is Katie Porter, not Karen Porter.

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- North and South Korean officials announced plans to hold a summit in Pyongyang next month. Simon Denyer and Min Joo Kim report: “It will be the third [summit] between South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un this year and only the third time that a South Korean leader has traveled to the North Korean capital for such a meeting. The Trump administration appears to have run into slightly rougher waters in its attempts to convince North Korea to denuclearize in recent weeks, but in Korea the two sides appear to be making more progress in their gradual rapprochement — even if the issue of North Korea’s denuclearization remains far from clear.”

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said he would allow FBI agents to enter his country to help investigate an alleged “drone assassination” attempt against him last week. But it is not known whether the FBI has actually offered to visit. Maduro has accused “terrorist” cells in Florida of masterminding the plot.  (BBC)  
  2. Taliban fighters held on to parts of the city of Ghazni for a third day, despite efforts from U.S.-backed Afghan forces to clear them out of the key city. (Pamela Constable)

  3. Google services track smartphone users’ locations even when they have used privacy settings to prevent that information from being shared, according to an AP investigation. The revelation affects roughly 2 billion Android users and hundreds of millions of iPhone users worldwide.

  4. A civil rights organization is suing FEMA over its decision to end its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for Hurricane Maria victims. The group LatinoJustice argues the agency’s decision will render low-income U.S. citizens homeless when the assistance runs out. (Arelis R. Hernández)

  5. The Twitter account of NBC correspondent Peter Alexander was seemingly hijacked by a group of Turkish hackers claiming to represent Ankara’s “cyber army” — and who posted a near-constant stream of Trump threats and nationalist propaganda before being booted from the page. A Twitter user named Ayyildiz Tim later claimed responsibility for the hacks. (Kristine Phillips
  6. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was launched into space, where it will embark on a loop around Venus before inching closer and closer to the Sun’s atmosphere. It’s all part of a mission to understand “space weather,” or the looming natural disaster that scientists warn could cause more damage than Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Sandy combined. (Sarah Kaplan and Ben Guarino)
  7. An orca who carried her dead calf for at least 17 days through the Pacific Ocean has released the body. “Her tour of grief is now over and her behavior is remarkably frisky,” researchers wrote in a website update. (Avi Selk)

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN AND WOMEN:

-- Omarosa Manigault Newman released an audio recording she says was from her firing last year — in the White House Situation Room. The audio was first played on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday and comes as Omarosa shops her new “tell-all” memoir about the administration. Stephanie McCrummen and Josh Dawsey report: “In the purported recording, which would constitute a serious breach of White House security, [White House Chief of Staff John] Kelly is heard complaining about her ‘significant integrity issues’ and saying he wants to make her departure ‘friendly’ and without 'any difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.’ . . .

"[The Post] reported Friday that after being fired, Manigault Newman declined a $15,000-a-month job offer with [Trump’s] campaign, which came with a ‘companion agreement’ including nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions. [Manigault Newman] said she considered the offer an attempt to buy her silence. ‘They were not offering a real job,’ she said. ‘They told me I could work from home, if I wanted to work. They didn’t care if I showed up.’” (Read the proposed agreements that Manigault Newman said Trump’s campaign offered her here.)

-- The recordings represent an extraordinary breach of security protocol — “especially the Situation Room, which is supposed to be one of the most secure locations on Earth,” Stephanie and Josh write. “The Situation Room ‘is the inner sanctum within an already-secure facility where the most sensitive of the most sensitive information is discussed,’ [Obama-era NSC spokesman Ned Price said]. ‘It’s where negotiations with Iran were hashed out. It’s where contingency plans for nuclear launches have been developed. The fact that she was recording a conversation in there really raises alarm bells in the minds of people who have worked in that room.’”

-- The backstory: “Going into the conversation, [Kelly anticipated a fight],” Politico’s Eliana Johnson reports. “And rumors had also begun to spread through the White House that [Manigault] was recording conversations … Those people said that’s why Kelly took Manigault Newman into the Situation Room[.] Staffers are barred from bringing [electronic] devices into the Situation Room, where the most sensitive national security discussions are held, because they pose hacking risks.”

-- In a statement late Sunday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the [Situation Room] shows a blatant disregard for our national security — and then to brag about it on national television further proves [a] lack of character and integrity.”

-- Manigault Newman also claimed she heard a tape of Trump using the n-word during the filming of “The Apprentice.” From NBC News’s Ben Kamisar: “In [her] book, Newman describes hearing about the tape but not hearing it herself. She said Sunday that she personally listened to it after her book had gone to press. She said she had ‘heard for two years that it existed, and once I heard it for myself, it was confirmed, what I feared the most: That Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities.’ She added: ‘But when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist.’”

-- Inside the West Wing: Omarosa’s former White House colleagues are now looking into legal options in an effort to halt the release of more tapes. ABC News’s Meredith McGraw and Tara Palmeri report: “’People now understand that she has a lot,’ a former [official] said. ‘It's stopping people from punching back.’ … While many say they guarded themselves from Manigault Newman, some fear their tangles with her will be broadcast, and they're unsure of just how many tapes she has in possession. ‘If you pissed off Omarosa, buckle up — it's going to be a tough couple of weeks,’ said one former official.”

Asked by Chuck Todd how often she made secret recordings while serving in Trump’s White House, Omarosa said: “This is a White House where everybody lies . . . you have to have your own back.” 

-- Sarah Ellison and Philip Rucker report on the journey of Bill Shine — the longtime Roger Ailes deputy who worked for 20 years at Fox News — before landing a top job serving the president. “The two worlds have merged into one universe: the Fox News White House. If Donald Trump is running his own touch-and-go reality show from Pennsylvania Avenue, he has finally found in Shine his executive producer. As the White House’s deputy chief of staff for communications, he has been given a broad mandate to create a cohesive message for an administration in which the president’s whims and missives often make such unity impossible. And with Trump stepping up his campaigning ahead of the [midterms], message discipline is all the more crucial … The challenge is formidable[:] Trump is known, among other things, as the most unmanageable president in modern American history. But Trump is also obsessed with his own image, and Shine has an eye for television optics.” “Shine learned from Roger Ailes that two things get media attention: pictures and problems,” said a senior White House official. “He looks at things visually, which is how Trump sees things.”

DIVIDED AMERICA:

-- A group of white supremacists in downtown D.C. found themselves vastly outnumbered by counterprotesters on Sunday as they massed near the White House exactly one year after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Joe Heim, Reis Thebault and Marissa Lang report on their protest for what they called “white civil rights”: “That message, delivered in an overwhelmingly liberal city where African Americans outnumbered whites at the time of the last Census count, was angrily denounced by those who flocked to Lafayette Park. A brief speech by rally organizer Jason Kessler — also one of the lead organizers of the [Charlottesville rally]— was drowned out by the cries of those massed around him … where the tiny band of ‘Unite the Right 2’ demonstrators took a stand behind a police phalanx … [and walked] from the Foggy Bottom Metro station to Lafayette Park across the street from the White House[.] … The turnout for Unite the Right 2 was far fewer than 400 people than [Kessler] said would take part.”

When asked if he had anything to say to the mother of counterprotester Heather Heyer, who was killed last year in Charlottesville when a man who apparently self-identified as a Nazi drove a car into a crowd, Kessler offered his “condolences” but said local police “should have blocked off the street where she was killed.” 

-- “Inside Jason Kessler’s hate-fueled rise,” from Ian Shapira: “In the year since Kessler [organized the Charlottesville rally] that ended in bloodshed, the University of Virginia graduate has faced crushing criticism from within and outside his movement. Prominent racists have broken ties with him. Friends have also parted ways, saying they don’t recognize the man they once knew as an Obama supporter. His father, in his first interview, told The Washington Post that he vehemently disapproves of Kessler’s actions and has tried to persuade him to stop. … Kessler didn’t seem destined for a career in uniting the right. … [But] by the time Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2016, Kessler’s political conversion was complete.”

-- Trump took to Twitter the day before the rally to condemn “all types of racism and acts of violence.” “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation,” Trump wrote. “I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”

-- Some D.C. officials accused Metro of granting “special treatment” to the rally participants by transporting them on what they described as a “private” car. From Martine Powers: “What transpired on Sunday was not a ‘private train’ per se, although it wasn’t completely public, either. Kessler and other march participants arrived at Vienna Metro station at 2 p.m. and were given a police escort as they boarded the rear car of an Orange Line train headed to Foggy Bottom. For a few minutes, as the group was escorted, police temporarily blocked people from entering the station. Nevertheless, the car carrying Kessler — the last car of the train — was not completely private, as a gaggle of journalists managed to board alongside the rallygoers.”

-- The city of Charlottesville marked the anniversary of the day when “the Charlottesville that once was ended and the Charlottesville of today began,” Terrence McCoy writes. “There were more than 100 mostly young protesters, some who had come from other states, calling for an end to white supremacist groups. There was an overwhelming police presence that some demonstrators called symptomatic of an over-policing of minority communities in America. And there was a mother who had come to the exact spot where her daughter, Heather Heyer, was killed last year.”

-- Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said the city has “absolutely not” healed from the violence of that day. “Oh a year isn't long enough. We're talking about issues that have been going on here for centuries,” Walker, the city’s first African American mayor who was elected in the wake of the deadly rally, said on “Face the Nation.”  She added, “And while people don't want alt-right white men in khaki pants and polo shirts, you know, walking through town, and they want to make it clear that they don't identify there, they have been very comfortable with racism and how it plagues the community.” (CBS News)

THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:

-- Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the president would not sit down for an interview with Mueller after Sept. 1, so as not to affect the midterm elections. The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas reports: “‘We certainly won’t do [an interview] after Sept. 1, because we’re not going to be the ones to interfere with the election,’ Mr. Giuliani said. ‘Let him [Mr. Mueller] get all the bad publicity and the attacks for that.’ … Should Mr. Mueller issue a report on the president’s actions, even a critical one, Mr. Giuliani said, ‘I’d take that.’ ‘A negative report gets it over with. We can answer it with, I think, a better report from us, and then we get to wait and see what happens in Congress.’”

-- Ahead of this year’s midterms, Donald Trump Jr. has emerged as one of the most highly sought-after campaign surrogates. He's been tasked with energizing deep-red districts, where voters are either unfazed by his Russia baggage or see him as an unwitting victim. Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker report: “Trump is determined to be the central Republican force in the fall campaign, and Trump Jr. is poised to be a key player in a strategy aimed at galvanizing the president’s most ardent supporters. And for many in Trump’s political base, seeing Trump Jr. in the crosshairs of [Robert Mueller] may be more of a benefit than a drawback[:] ‘In a normal Republican universe … a guy like Don Jr., with all that baggage, would be very problematical,’ said [GOP strategist Mike Murphy]. ‘But in the new Trump universe, with different laws of gravity . . . it’s all Trump all the time.’ Another plus, according to some Trump allies, is that Trump Jr. serves as a physical reminder to Trump voters that failure in November raises the specter of impeachment.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s eldest son is planning an “aggressive fall schedule of appearances” in an effort to help maintain a GOP majority in Congress this fall. “Trump Jr. intends [to stump for Montana Senate candidate Matt Rosendale in September], and also is making plans to campaign next month with Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas as well as with Senate candidates Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee, Kevin Cramer in North Dakota and Josh Hawley in Missouri,” our colleagues report. In August, he’s slated to headline New York fundraisers for Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Mike Braun, the Republican Senate nominee in Indiana.

-- “The Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort: Greed, Deception and Ego,” by the New York Times’s Sharon LaFraniere, Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman: “The whole trajectory of Mr. Manafort’s life — from the son of a blue-collar, small-town mayor to a jet-setting international political consultant to Trump campaign chairman and now to prisoner in an Alexandria, Va., jail awaiting a jury verdict — is a tale of greed, deception and ego. His trial on 18 charges of bank and tax fraud has ripped away the elaborate facade of a man who, the story went, had moved the swimming pool at one of his eight homes a few feet to catch the perfect combination of sun and shade, and who worked for the Trump campaign at no charge to intimate that for a man of his fabulous wealth, a salary was trivial.”

-- Jared Kushner’s connection to a Russia-friendly think tank, which helped raise Kushner’s profile on his father-in-law’s campaign, began with an event where Henry Kissinger delivered remarks. Bloomberg News’s Caleb Melby, David Kocieniewski and Gerry Smith report: “The [March 2016] meeting at Manhattan’s Time Warner Center … would prove significant for the Center for the National Interest and Kushner, who was still a little-known figure in the Trump campaign. … A partnership with the center would help catapult Kushner to his role as a key diplomat in the White House. He and [the center’s president, Dimitri Simes] organized Trump’s ‘America First’ speech at the Mayflower Hotel the next month, with writing input and a guest list from the center. It was at the Mayflower that Kushner first met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.”

-- “Inside the Poisoning of a Russian Double Agent,” by GQ’s Tom Lamont: “On March 14, the U.N. Security Council held a special meeting to discuss the attack, and it was there that the Russian ambassador asked the lingering question: But why? What motive should the Russian state have to eliminate a retired, redundant spy, ‘who after his prosecution, sentencing, prison term, pardon, and handover to the British authorities no longer posed any kind of threat to my country?’ Everybody in the West seemed to have a theory. … A well-informed source affiliated with the [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], not British or Russian, told me they felt the incident must be about the novichok itself — a lid-lifting on this still mysterious weapon, something like a product unveiling after its 30-some years in development.”

-- Despite his other successes, Vladimir Putin has failed to convince Western nations to lift their effective sanctions against Russia. The New York Times’s Neil MacFarquhar reports: “In fact, the State Department threatened last week to enact yet another round of such measures, just days after the United States Senate brandished its own. The European Union, some of whose members had signaled in the past few years that they were ready to consider granting Moscow some relief, has held tough on sanctions, especially in the wake of the British government’s finding that Russia was responsible for an attempted assassination on British soil using a banned nerve agent. … [T]he failure to make progress in freeing the Russian economy from the sanctions is a setback for Mr. Putin both domestically and globally.”

THE SUPREME COURT:

-- A review of 88,000 pages of documents on Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House revealed no obvious bombshells for the Supreme Court nominee. Stephanie McCrummen reports: “Some of the documents released Sunday show Kavanaugh dealing with issues that arose in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, while others show him being invited to conservative think tank events or being asked about minor issues such as parking. The new batch contains thousands of copies of the same documents and lengthy press releases and clips sent to his attention. … But Senate Democrats have taken issue with the fact that the committee as of Sunday has released to the public only half of the 175,000 pages it has received since early August related to Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush administration.”

-- The Trump administration appears hopeful that, as a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh will help curtail federal regulation. Robert Barnes and Steven Mufson report: “Kavanaugh, 53, for years has been an influential judicial voice questioning the administrative state, with a string of opinions that would sharply limit the power of federal agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. The decisions concern a long list of topics — mortgage abuse, greenhouse gases, even protecting employees from killer whales. His nomination concerns some who say the agencies’ rulemaking powers protect the public. ‘This is the end of the regulatory state as we know it,’ said Rena Steinzor, a University of Maryland law professor who specializes in administrative law.”

THE MIDTERMS:

-- A crowded field of Democrats will face off tomorrow in a Wisconsin primary for a chance to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R), who is struggling to define himself in the Trump era. Tim Craig reports: “Lately, Walker has taken to billing himself as the ‘education governor,’ provoking outrage from Democrats who note he oversaw years of stagnant funding for public schools. He has largely abandoned his slams on former president Barack Obama’s health-care law. And he rarely mentions one of his signature achievements — passage of the controversial 2011 law that shattered public employees’ union powers. … Walker, nonetheless, must overcome a sense here that voters have grown concerned about whether the state needs to do more to fix struggling schools and roads.”

-- Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) staved off a high-profile primary challenge from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa — delivering a fresh blow to the party’s liberal insurgency just months ahead of the November elections. Sean Sullivan reports: “The gubernatorial contest, which included two well-known politicians and carved a divide in the Democratic Party, was the feature race. With nearly all of the vote tallied, Ige led Hanabusa by about seven points. … While [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez shocked the nation with her primary defeat of New York Rep. Joseph Crowley …  others who have campaigned on similar platforms have suffered recent defeats. … [Now], Ige will face state House Minority Leader Andria Tupola, who won the Republican nomination.”

  • “Down the ballot, former congressman Ed Case, a centrist Democrat who supported the Iraq War, [declared victory] in the state’s 1st Congressional District. In the 2nd Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard won renomination by a wide margin. Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, meanwhile, was unopposed.” All are widely favored to win November’s election.

-- The GOP primary in Kansas’s gubernatorial race will largely come down to the decision-making of county officials this week as they rule on whether to consider provisional ballots in the extremely narrow race. The Kansas City Star’s Bryan Lowry, Allison Kite, Lynn Horsley and Hunter Woodall report: “The roughly 9,000 provisional ballots, awaiting rulings from county officials across the state, will likely decide whether Gov. Jeff Colyer or Secretary of State Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP’s standard-bearer in the fall. More than 40 percent of the provisional ballots were cast in the state’s two most populous counties, Johnson and Sedgwick. The ballots have the power to swing the Kansas race in Colyer’s favor or solidify a victory for Kobach. … Colyer’s campaign plans to send representatives to all 105 canvassing board meetings to ensure the governor receives every possible vote. The candidates went into the weekend separated by a mere 110 votes.”

-- Stormy Daniels’s attorney Michael Avenatti said he plans to visit New Hampshire in the next month as he mulls a 2020 presidential bid. “I plan to visit within the next month. I’m in the process of setting up a number of meetings in New Hampshire,” Avenatti told the Concord Monitor.

-- Candidates’ stances on accepting PAC money have received far more attention this election cycle, particularly on the Democratic side. The New York Times’s Farah Stockman reports: “Campaign finance was once famously dismissed by [Mitch McConnell] as being of no greater concern to American voters than ‘static cling.’ But since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 opened the floodgates for unrestricted political spending, polls have shown that voters are growing increasingly bitter about the role of money in politics. The issue is now emerging in midterm races around the country, with dozens of Democrats rejecting donations from political action committees, or PACs, that are sponsored by corporations or industry groups. A handful of candidates … are going a step further and refusing to take any PAC money at all, even if it comes from labor unions or fellow Democrats.”

THE REST OF TRUMP'S AGENDA:

-- “Under Trump, the rare act of denaturalizing U.S. citizens on the rise,” from the LA Times’s Brittny Mejia: “Working a Saturday shift in the stuffy Immigration and Naturalization Service office in downtown Los Angeles in the 1970s, Carl Shusterman came across a rap sheet. A man recently sworn in as a United States citizen had failed to disclose on his naturalization application that he had been arrested, but not convicted, in California … Shusterman, then a naturalization attorney, embarked on a months-long effort to do something that rarely happened: strip someone of their American citizenship. ‘We had to look it up to find out how to do this,’ he said. ‘We’d never even heard of it.’ Forty years later, denaturalization — a complex process once primarily reserved for Nazi war criminals and human rights violators — is on the rise under the Trump administration. A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services team in Los Angeles has been reviewing more than 2,500 naturalization files for possible denaturalization … More than 100 cases have been referred to the [DOJ] for possible action.”

-- The Justice Department under Trump often sides with states in their attempts to restrict people's ability to vote, the New York Times’s Michael Wines reports: “Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the department has filed legal briefs in support of states that are resisting court orders to rein in voter ID requirements, stop aggressive purges of voter rolls and redraw political boundaries that have unfairly diluted minority voting power — all practices that were opposed under [Obama’s] attorneys general. The Sessions department’s most prominent voting-rights lawsuit so far forced Kentucky state officials last month to step up the culling from registration rolls of voters who have moved. … The Justice Department’s recent actions point to a decided shift in policy at the federal level: toward an agenda embraced by conservatives who say they want to prevent voter fraud.”

-- Trump encouraged consumers to boycott Harley-Davidson over its proposal to move some of its motorcycle production overseas. “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great!" the president wrote on Twitter. "Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better." CNN’s Jackie Wattles reports: “Trump's remark came after the President hosted ‘Bikers for Trump’ supporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, over the weekend. Dozens of bikers descended on the posh club house, where Trump shook hands, posed for selfies and delivered an enemy-bashing speech to a cheering crowd.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Omarosa's media appearances caused this 2015 Trump tweet recirculate:

The RNC dismissed the former White House adviser:

An American Urban Radio Networks reporter lambasted Omarosa:

From an NBC News reporter:

From Obama's former NSC spokesman and a Crooked Media founder:

A Post reporter questioned Sean Spicer's criticism of his former colleague:

A New York magazine contributor retweeted this photo in light of the Omarosa news:

A pair of D.C. council members slammed Metro for its handling of the Unite the Right anniversary rally:

An Atlantic editor weighed in:

A Post reporter mocked the rally's low attendance:

Bobby Goodlatte tweeted in support of a Democrat running against his father, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.):

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the most senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanded more documents on Trump's Supreme Court nominee:

A CNN reporter noted Robert Mueller's military service:

A “Fox and Friends” host left the show to join “The View”:

And a Washington Examiner reporter encountered pity abroad:

GOOD READS:

-- Politico, “Trump’s diplomatic learning curve: Time zones, ‘Nambia’ and ‘Nipple,’” by Daniel Lippman: “Several times in the first year of his administration, [Trump] wanted to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the afternoon. But there was a problem. Midafternoon in Washington is the middle of the night in Tokyo — when Abe would be fast asleep. Trump’s aides had to explain the issue, which one diplomatic source said came up on ‘a constant basis,’ but it wasn’t easy. … Sometimes [Trump’s diplomatic faux pas] have been contained within the White House. In one case, Trump, while studying a briefer’s map of South Asia ahead of a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister, mispronounced Nepal as ‘nipple’ and laughingly referred to Bhutan as ‘button’ … ”

-- “New wave of sex-abuse scandals threatens to stain Francis’s papacy,” by Chico Harlan: “With revelation after revelation, a new wave of sexual abuse scandals is rocking the Roman Catholic Church and presenting Pope Francis with the greatest crisis of his papacy. In Chile, prosecutors have raided church offices, seized documents and accused leaders of a coverup. In Australia, top church figures are facing detention and trials. And in the United States, after the resignation of a cardinal, questions are swirling about a hierarchy that looked the other way and protected him for years. The church has had more than three decades … to safeguard victims, and itself, against such system failures. And, in the past five years, many Catholics have looked to Francis as a figure who could modernize the church and help it regain its credibility. But Francis’s track record in handling abuse is mixed, something some outsiders attribute to his learning curve or shortcomings and others chalk up to resistance from a notoriously change-averse institution …”

-- “Online activists hit hatemongers like Alex Jones where it hurts the most — in the wallet,” by Margaret Sullivan: “[Matt Rivitz] wanted to do something about what he viewed as obvious racism. And as someone who had spent two decades in the advertising industry, he knew just how. So, working anonymously, the San Francisco resident founded Sleeping Giants. The name may sound daunting, but at first it was little more than a Twitter account that publicly notified companies when their ads appeared on Breitbart, asking if they really wanted to support the content there. Hundreds of them eventually decided to pull their ads from the site.”

-- New York Times, “The Iraqi Spy Who Infiltrated ISIS,” by Margaret Coker: “The driver was sweating as his white Kia pickup truck sped along a rain-slicked Baghdad highway … With every jolt and turn, his pulse quickened. Hidden in the truck’s chassis was 1,100 pounds of military-grade explosives that [ISIS] planned to use in an audacious attack on New Year’s Eve shoppers in the Iraqi capital. … But there was another reason he was afraid. The driver, Capt. Harith al-Sudani, was a spy.  For the past 16 months, he had worked as a mole, posing as a militant jihadist in the Islamic State while passing critical information to a secret branch of Iraq’s national intelligence agency. His record was stunning: He had foiled 30 planned vehicle-bomb attacks and 18 suicide bombers … [and] gave the agency a direct line to some of the Islamic State’s senior commanders in Mosul. A 36-year-old former computer tech, he was … perhaps Iraq’s greatest spy, one of a few in the world to have infiltrated the upper reaches of the Islamic State …”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake,” from Kristine Phillips: “The political kerfuffle around Melissa Howard began when a news site reported that the Florida state House hopeful is not a college graduate, as she claims to be. To prove the story wrong, Howard (R) reportedly flew to her proclaimed alma mater, Ohio’s Miami University, to get a copy of her college transcript[.] … [But] in an email … Miami University revealed that not only did Howard not graduate from the school … the diploma that she touted was fake. An email from the university’s general counsel suggested that Howard also had not been truthful about when she supposedly graduated, what degree she supposedly obtained, and what major she supposedly studied …” When asked for response, a spokesman said only that Howard’s husband was being hospitalized, and that she is “focused on him right now” and not on “fake news.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

“De Blasio lets security haul away Post reporter for asking question,” from the New York Post: “Mayor de Blasio is a such a big believer in the free press that he let two bodyguards physically remove a credentialed Post reporter who had the temerity to ask him a question in public on Sunday. The unusual muzzling unfolded at the start of the annual Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan, where the reporter sought de Blasio’s reaction to The Post’s front page story about his administration’s many meetings with lobbyists. … [A]fter de Blasio cut a ribbon to kick off the parade and was posing for photos near West 37th Street and Sixth Avenue, the reporter asked him to comment on the ‘CITY FOR SALE’ Page One story. Instead of answering or even declining to answer the question, the mayor watched as two members of his NYPD security detail approached the reporter — who was wearing a police-issued press pass around his neck — with one grabbing his shoulder and leading him away from the mayor.”

 

DAYBOOK:

Trump will travel to Upstate New York today to participate in a signing ceremony for the defense reauthorization act. He will also host a roundtable with supporters and give a speech at a joint fundraising committee reception before traveling back to the White House.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“Whether it's thirty pieces of silver or a seven-figure book advance for you, your publicist, your ghost-writers and others, all that’s changed is this book deal and her being fired, so I think he probably feels very betrayed.” — Kellyanne Conway, comparing Omarosa’s forthcoming book to the money Judas received to betray Jesus. (Fox News)

 

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

-- Washingtonians should expect thunderstorms to start in the afternoon today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Mixed sky cover in the morning with some periods of sunshine. Clouds build in the afternoon with scattered showers and thunderstorms returning. Thunderstorms with heavy downpours could lead to flash flooding. Highs range through the 80s with moderate mugginess levels.  Mostly light winds except gusty around thunderstorms. Rain totals range from just a trace to a half-inch, but locally heavier if you get one of those bigger, slower-moving downpours.”

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

-- Local residents are pushing back against Pepco’s plans to build an electrical substation in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood. Perry Stein reports: “The project has been in the works for about three years, and a small group of parents, churchgoers and neighborhood residents organized protests last week, saying the proposed substation represents the latest example of the city catering to new, wealthier residents at the expense of longtime Washingtonians. The Walker-Jones Education Campus, which is separated from the Pepco property by a parking lot and street, serves children who mostly come from low-income families.”

-- A pair of D.C. police officers were suspended for allegedly failing to offer help to a group of people who complained about a man’s threats shortly before he fatally shot someone. One person told police that the man, who was facing eviction, had displayed a gun and said, “If I can’t live here, can’t nobody live here.” Shortly afterward, 47-year-old Andre Hakim Young was killed while trying to mediate a dispute at the property. (Peter Hermann and Keith L. Alexander)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

John Oliver went after corporations who create groups that appear to be grassroots-led as they fight regulation:

A Baltimore police officer resigned after a viral video showed him pummeling a man: 

A CNN host offered his take on the significance of Omarosa's new book and the allegations in it:

And a camera-friendly whale delighted police officers in Australia: