With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve
THE BIG IDEA: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bested actress Cynthia Nixon by an almost two-to-one margin Thursday to win the Democratic primary for a third term. Remarkably, he finished four points higher — with 66 percent of the vote — than he did four years ago against Zephyr Teachout, a then-obscure law professor who raised almost no money and received a tiny fraction of the attention that has been bestowed on the former “Sex and the City” star.
Cuomo’s handpicked candidate, Tish James, also beat Teachout in the four-way primary for attorney general by 10 points. And his running mate, the moderate former congresswoman Kathy Hochul, beat back a strong challenge from New York City councilman Jumaane Williams.
-- This week’s final batch of 2018 primaries ought to temper, at least somewhat, the over-torqued conventional wisdom that a liberal insurgency is taking over the Democratic Party.
On Wednesday in Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo defeated Matt Brown, a former secretary of state who wholeheartedly embraced Bernie Sanders’s platform, by 24 points.
On Tuesday in New Hampshire, former state senator Molly Kelly easily defeated former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand to win the Democratic nomination for governor. Kelly was the establishment favorite, and Marchand called her insufficiently progressive.
Like Kelly, congressional candidate Chris Pappas also had the endorsements of the top elected Democrats in the state, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan. Pappas, a member of the state’s executive council, handily won the Democratic primary Tuesday to replace retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, beating Obama administration alumna Maura Sullivan — who outraised him and had the support of national progressive groups.
Last week in Delaware, despite tons of hype from liberal websites like The Intercept, community organizer and veteran Kerri Evelyn Harris only garnered 35 percent against Sen. Tom Carper (D), who is about as establishmentarian as they come and has held elected office statewide since 1976.
-- Yes, 10-term Democratic congressmen Mike Capuano and Joe Crowley lost their primaries. But Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, the women who slayed them, are more exceptions than the rule.
By wading aggressively into some primaries, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee incensed the professional left. Loud complaints from activists generated untold stories about internecine warfare. But the DCCC finished the primary season 39 for 41 in the primaries where it took sides, a win rate of 95 percent. In fact, more House Republican incumbents have lost primaries this cycle than Democrats.
Besides the incumbents who went down, the DCCC’s only two losses where it picked a favorite were the districts that include Syracuse, N.Y., and Omaha. And it’s possible that those two insurgents can still win the general election in November. While difficult to forecast, the odds are also pretty good that Nancy Pelosi will be speaker of the House next year — despite frustration with her from the left.
Not a single sitting Democratic senator or governor lost a primary this year. Compare Carper coasting in Delaware, for example, to Rep. Mike Castle (R) losing to Christine O’Donnell in the 2010 Senate primary. The late Utah Sen. Bob Bennett and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski both lost GOP primaries that year. Don’t forget Rand Paul beating Mitch McConnell’s guy in Kentucky, Tim Scott beating Strom Thurmond’s son, Ken Buck upsetting Jane Norton and Marco Rubio running so strong that Charlie Crist left the party.
-- To be sure:
1. Cuomo moved to the left to fend off Nixon’s challenge. He came around to endorse decriminalizing marijuana and banning plastic shopping bags, among other things. In her concession speech last night, Nixon claimed credit for shifting the conversation. “We have changed what is expected of a Democratic candidate running in New York and what we can demand from our elected leaders,” she said. “Some have called this the ‘Cynthia effect.’”
2. “Liberals secured an unalloyed victory in state legislative races by appearing to unseat several state senators, elected as Democrats, who had formed an ‘Independent Democratic Conference’ that voted for Republican control of the state Senate,” Mike DeBonis and David Weigel report. “All eight IDC members faced challengers, some of whom were endorsed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other powerful Democrats. With most votes counted Thursday night, six of the eight IDC incumbents had either lost their races … or were trailing more liberal challengers. Another Democrat who was not in the IDC, Martin Dilan, lost to Julia Salazar, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America who received glowing early coverage, then was buffeted by accusations that she had falsely let herself be portrayed as a working-class immigrant.”
-- Democratic strategists say high turnout shows the rank-and-file, across the ideological spectrum, are engaged and energized. Twice as many Democrats voted in the 2018 primary as did in 2014. The surge of new voters mostly came from New York City and the suburbs. Cuomo actually received fewer votes four years ago (361,000) than Nixon did Thursday (512,000, with 99.6 percent of precincts reporting).
-- How it’s playing:
- New York Daily News: “Cuomo vulnerability was more hope than reality.”
- New York Post: “Cuomo performed well across the state and won all five boroughs in the Big Apple.”
- The N.Y. Post’s John Podhoretz: “Democrats really had no good reason to oust Cuomo.”
- New York Times: “Mr. Cuomo had marshaled the support of nearly all of the state and country’s most powerful Democratic brokers — elected officials, party leaders, labor unions and wealthy real estate interests — to defeat Ms. Nixon.”
- Politico: “Cuomo sails to primary victory, with eyes to the White House.”
- Vox: “Cuomo has won himself another term, but his presidential aspirations are dead.”
- Slate: “What [Nixon] Won by Losing.”
- HuffPost: “Progressive Democrats Took A Bite Out Of New York’s Machine.”
- Fox News: “Cuomo handily defeats 'resistance' challenger … as far-left Dems fall in several key races.”
- The Atlantic: “The Establishment Strikes Back in New York.”
- The Hill: “Nixon camp partially blames high turnout for loss.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, bringing powerful winds that have prompted warnings of “life-threatening” storm surge and rainfall. Mark Berman, Antonia Noori Farzan and Kyle Swenson report: “Collapsed roofs and other structures were already reported in the Morehead City and New Bern areas of North Carolina. New Bern was particularly hard hit, with reports of more than 100 people stranded in their homes in need of rescue.” “It cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland through the weekend,” the National Hurricane Center warned in its 5 a.m. update.
-- “Through Thursday evening the storm dumped up to a foot of rain, winds gusted over 105 mph and seawater surged ashore along the Outer Banks, washing over roads,” Jason Samenow reports. “Even though the storm’s category fell from a 4 to a 2 Wednesday and then to 1 Thursday night, forecasters stressed the category is only an indication of the storm’s peak winds in a very narrow core near the center of the storm. The storm’s size and area affected by hazardous winds have actually expanded, and the threat from storm surge and rain-induced flooding ‘have not changed,’ tweeted Rick Knabb, the Weather Channel’s tropical weather expert and former Hurricane Center director.”
-- The Capital Weather Gang has a city-by-city breakdown of what residents in affected areas should expect from Florence. The Post has taken down the paywall for all stories about the storm to ensure everyone can access them.
-- FEMA officials expressed frustration with the disclosure of a DHS inspector general investigation into the agency’s leader, Brock Long, as a major hurricane approached. From William Wan and Nick Miroff: “Long spent part of Thursday deflecting questions about an internal investigation into his use of government vehicles and allegations that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen attempted to force his resignation. … [The news] was initially disclosed by current and former Trump administration officials, fueling the sense of frustration felt by those with ties to the agency. ‘The fact that someone within the administration is taking shots at FEMA in the middle of a hurricane is insane,’ said a [former top FEMA official]. ‘Lives are at stake. People are working around the clock to get resources and assets in place . . . Why would you do that?’ The former FEMA official said that although the investigation was made public on Thursday, its existence has been known for months, making its disclosure in the middle of the storm untimely and bizarre. . . .
“At a media briefing Thursday morning, Long denied doing anything improper . . . A DHS official who knows him said Long is 'crestfallen' by the investigation and that Long refused to step down last week when Nielsen asked him to resign. The official said Nielsen has been trying to push him out for months, 'hounding' him about not being in the office more because he goes back to North Carolina on weekends and that Long believes Nielsen wants to replace him with someone loyal to her. 'This is a guy going to church in Hickory, North Carolina,' the official said. 'He’s a Boy Scout. This is a guy with a young family trying to get home to see his kid’s baseball games on the weekends. This is not a Scott Pruitt-type situation.'”
-- A series of fires and gas explosions tore through the Boston area, forcing mass evacuations and killing at least one person. The Boston Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie, Joshua Miller and Danny McDonald report: “More than 60 fires and at least three gas explosions rocked Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover in a staccato burst of flame and fear late Thursday afternoon, damaging scores of buildings and prompting mass evacuations from homes served by Columbia Gas. State and local emergency workers descended quickly on the three Merrimack Valley communities, knocking down the fires, tending to the injured, and working through the night to inspect and shut off 8,000 gas meters. A Lawrence man died, and at least 25 others were injured in the fires, officials said.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Top U.S. bishops met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss the ongoing sex-abuse crisis, which has ensnared a growing number of church leaders following the release of an explosive Pennsylvania grand jury report. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Texas described the Vatican meeting as a “lengthy, fruitful” exchange but did not say what, if any, concrete steps that leaders agreed on to address the epidemic of abuse. (Julie Zauzmer and William Branigin)
One of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top aides has stepped aside amid sexual assault allegations. David Keyes, the prime minister’s English-language spokesman, announced he would take a leave of absence after several women accused him of coercing or bullying them into sex. (New York Times)
- California passed a new law aimed at making its electricity grid 100 percent free of carbon emissions by the year 2045. More than 70 cities across the country have signed similar pledges in recent months — hoping to rely instead on “green” sources of energy such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. (Steven Mufson)
A massive typhoon is forcing evacuations in the Philippines. Typhoon Mangkhut has been categorized as a super typhoon with winds equivalent to that of a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane. It is expected to make landfall in the Philippines early tomorrow. (AP)
- Emmanuel Macron formally acknowledged the French military’s systemic use of torture in the Algerian War — giving some closure to a shameful chapter in French history as the country continues to grapple with its colonial legacy. (James McAuley)
- The NHL suspended Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson for the first 27 games of the upcoming season, following a domestic violence investigation involving his girlfriend. He previously appeared in an ad to raise awareness about domestic violence. (Matt Bonesteel)
- Incoming Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon is moving quickly to shake up the firm. He tapped veteran investment bankers John Waldron and Stephen Scherr as the firm’s president and CFO, elevating the investment bankers over the traders. This indicates Goldman’s desire to return to serving as a broker for major companies a decade after the financial crisis. (Wall Street Journal)
- Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos announced the creation of a $2 billion “Bezos Day One Fund,” which will help combat homelessness and build out a network of nonprofit, Montessori-inspired preschools in low-income areas. The donation is his largest philanthropic contribution to date, and represents about 1.2 percent of his total net worth. (Bloomberg News)
Bezos criticized Trump’s attacks on the press during a D.C. event. Bezos, who also owns The Post, said at the Economic Club of Washington, “It's really dangerous to demonize the media. It's dangerous to call the media lowlifes. It's dangerous to say they're the 'enemy of the people.'" (Politico)
A local Fox affiliate in Dallas received heavy criticism for highlighting authorities’ discovery of marijuana in the apartment of Botham Jean, the man who was killed by an off-duty police officer in his own home. Some Twitter users accused Fox 4 News of trying to paint a racist portrait of Jean, who was black, as somehow responsible for Officer Amber Guyger’s actions because he had drugs in his home. (BuzzFeed News)
A Louisiana mayor who banned Nike products in his town after the company aired its ad with Colin Kaepernick has backed off his order. Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn said he reconsidered the move after discussions with the town’s attorney. (USA Today)
-- Trump on Thursday diverted attention away from the government’s preparations for Florence toward his personal grievances over last year’s Hurricane Maria by falsely claiming a Democratic conspiracy to inflate the death toll in Puerto Rico. Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey report: “Trump drew immediate rebukes from Democrats as well as some Republicans for denying a sweeping study, which was accepted by Puerto Rican authorities, estimating that there were 2,975 ‘excess deaths’ on the island in the six months after Maria made landfall. … With his Thursday statements, Trump sought to minimize the deaths of thousands of American citizens while appearing to shirk responsibility for the government’s performance in responding to natural disasters. He also sought refuge as he habitually does in conspiracy theories, claiming that a hidden hand was at work to sabotage him.
“In so doing, Trump exposed political vulnerabilities for his party eight weeks before the midterm elections — particularly in Florida, where Puerto Rican immigrants make up a prized voting bloc. Republican candidates in the state’s hotly contested gubernatorial and Senate races distanced themselves from his comments. ‘I disagree with @POTUS,’ tweeted Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a Trump ally running for Senate. ‘I’ve been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand.’
“‘I’m not to blame for this,’ one adviser recalled Trump saying in a private conversation about Maria. In such discussions, the president also has trashed the power company in Puerto Rico and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz … The president also is fixated on polls, an adviser said, telling aides this week that a CNN poll that showed his approval rating falling below 40 percent must have been of only Massachusetts residents."
-- Trump’s attempts to minimize Maria’s destruction have stirred up old resentments about his visit to Puerto Rico last year, when he threw paper towels like basketball balls to a crowd in San Juan. From David Nakamura and Ashley Parker: “The paper-towel moment in particular has come to symbolize what critics say is Trump’s inability to sympathize with others — and his self-absorbed leadership in a time of crisis. 'One could argue it was nothing but then you could argue it was everything,’ said José Andrés, the celebrity chef who oversaw a massive operation to provide meals on the island. ‘It showed such a lack of empathy.’ Trump’s performance reminds some of a Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, who declared ‘mission accomplished’ in May 2003 during a visit to an aircraft carrier supporting troops in the Iraq War — which would slog on eight more years.”
-- Trump's claim was also rejected by Puerto Rico’s only representative in Congress — a Republican who has repeatedly praised his actions until now. “I need to respectfully disagree on [Trump’s stated death toll] because that’s not the reality,” Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón told The Post. “I think he’s not getting the information correctly.”
Retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) went further, telling reporters that she would support a probe into Trump's response to Maria. “What kind of mind twists that statistic into ‘Oh, fake news is trying to hurt my image,’” she said. “How can you be so self-centered and try to distort the truth so much? It’s mind boggling.”
-- Congressional Democrats released emails from first responders to Maria challenging Trump’s claim. From Politico’s Colin Wilhelm: “In one email, dated Sept. 29, 2017, a first responder — whose name has been redacted — describes ‘finding mass graves in mud slide areas,’ and requests counseling support for federal first responders in the area. An unnamed Army National Guard general is included in the correspondence. … The emails were released as part of a call from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for a full congressional investigation into the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and federal government’s response to the disaster.”
-- The Post’s Fact Checker gives Trump four Pinocchios for his false claims about the Maria death toll figures. “Even the most conservative estimate, looking just at the excess deaths through October, is above 1,000,” Glenn Kessler writes.
-- “Another effort from researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center using a different methodology came up with an estimate of more than 4,000 deaths,” Philip Bump notes. “That investigation included a survey of nearly 3,300 households in which 38 people had died. Of those 38 deaths, a third were attributed to either interruption of medical services … or complications from an injury or illness related to the hurricane.”
THE SUPREME COURT:
-- The top Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), said that she referred a letter about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the FBI — but declined to give additional details, citing confidentiality. Seung Min Kim and Elise Viebeck report: “The information came in a letter, which describes an alleged episode of sexual misconduct involving Kavanaugh when he was in high school . . . The [information] had been relayed to [Feinstein] by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) … ‘That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision,’ Feinstein said in a statement. … According to a person familiar with the matter, the FBI does not now plan to launch a criminal investigation of the matter, which would normally be handled by local authorities, if it was within the statute of limitations. The FBI instead passed the material to the White House, as an update to Kavanaugh's background check … The move is similar to what the bureau did when allegations were leveled against former White House aide Rob Porter.”
-- The White House dismissed the letter Thursday as an “11th hour attempt to delay [Kavanaugh’s] confirmation.” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters that he had not seen the letter, but later said through a spokesman that there is “no plan to change the committee’s consideration of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
-- Unrelated to the letter, the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed its vote to advance Kavanaugh until next week. From Kim: “The move was expected — senators routinely delay committee business for one week, which is allowed under the panel’s rules. The Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 10 on Thursday to hold the vote at 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 20, and [Mitch McConnell] is expected to set full Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the final week of September.”
-- “Top Senate Republicans said Kavanaugh’s nomination remains on track, but two swing GOP votes — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have not announced their positions and face intense pressure at home to oppose Kavanaugh,” Kim and Viebeck report.
“Collins said she had lingering questions and plans to speak to Kavanaugh on Friday. When asked whether she wanted to see the letter that began the swirl of controversy on Thursday, Collins declined to respond, saying she would not make any more public comments until she was ready to announce her position. … Collins had already been the target of a crowdfunding campaign that topped $1 million from anti-Kavanaugh activists, who pledged to donate that money to a Collins challenger during her reelection bid in 2020 if she voted to confirm him. A spokeswoman for Collins called it an attempt at extortion. …
“Meanwhile, in a clear attempt to influence Murkowski, the influential Alaska Federation of Natives said Kavanaugh’s legal views on Indian rights are ‘troubling’ and would be bad for ‘for Native peoples, particularly Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.’ … As she walked into the Judiciary Committee offices Thursday, Murkowski said she had no update on her thinking on Kavanaugh.
“Among Democrats, three moderate senators who are seen as the most likely to vote in favor of Kavanaugh had also yet to make up their minds. Sens. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) continued to deliberate Thursday, and Manchin was seeking a second sit-down meeting with Kavanaugh.”
-- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has an op-ed for today’s newspaper: “Kavanaugh misled the Senate under oath. I cannot support his nomination.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- A federal judge again delayed a pretrial hearing for Paul Manafort, amid reports that he is nearing a plea deal with Robert Mueller ahead of a second federal trial on charges of money laundering and lobbying violations. Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn report: “[Manafort’s lawyers were spotted] arriving at Mueller’s Washington office [on Thursday] and stayed more than four hours before emerging … Details of Manafort’s potential plea were not immediately clear. One key question is whether any agreement would require him to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation and offer testimony to the special counsel, particularly on the core question of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“Numerous aides to the president have said they believe Trump is likely to grant Manafort a pardon that would effectively wipe out any guilty pleas … as well as eight charges he was convicted of [in Alexandria last month]. Under sentencing guidelines, Manafort faces a likely sentence of eight to 10 years on [those charges], although a judge can deviate from that range. Prior to any plea deal, lawyers said, Manafort was exposed to a sentence of a decade or more if convicted on the Washington charges[.]”
-- Worth noting: Manafort and Trump are part of a joint-defense agreement, which allows them to share confidential information about the Russia investigation under the “protection of attorney-client privilege,” The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand reports. “Trump’s and Manafort’s lawyers can share as much or as little as they’d like under the agreement, which can be either written or unwritten … Former federal prosecutors turned [said] that such agreements are indeed common in multi-defendant cases like [Mueller’s probe]. Essentially, they said, these agreements allow defendants to get their stories straight — and could help Manafort if he’s looking for an eventual pardon. … The recently revealed agreement ‘is an indication by both Trump and Manafort that their interests are aligned,’ explained [former U.S. prosecutor] Jeffrey Cramer. It may also give Manafort ‘another way to demonstrate his loyalty to Team Trump,’ said Patrick Cotter, [who helped convict] the Gambino crime boss John Gotti. It ‘suggests that Manafort may be signaling to the Trump team that he wants to still be thought of as one of them, and so is willing to share the evidence he gets to see as he prepares for his trials.’”
-- FBI Director Christopher Wray declined to say whether the bureau will investigate the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed, who claimed to be a senior Trump official actively working to thwart his agenda. John Wagner and Matt Zapotosky report: “During an interview on ‘CBS This Morning,’ Wray flatly denied being the author and declined to say whether Trump’s request would meet a threshold to investigate. ‘First off, I can tell you I didn’t write it. I didn’t have anything to do with it’ Wray said. ‘Second, I would tell you we’re not really in the practice of confirming or discussing whether we’re going to be conducting a particular investigation. I would tell you that we’re going to make decisions about that kind of thing based on all the factors we normally do, which is whether or not we have sufficient evidence of federal crime.’ Wray’s … hint that the FBI needs to find evidence of a crime might be read as a gentle way of saying no to Trump’s demand.”
-- Retired Navy admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid on Osama bin Laden, resigned from the Pentagon’s technology advisory board days after publishing a scathing op-ed about Trump in The Post. Defense News’s Aaron Mehta reports: “McRaven resigned from the Defense Innovation Board, a group of technology leaders and innovators tasked with advising the secretary of defense on pertinent issues, on Aug. 20, four days after he posted [the op-ed] calling out Trump for revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan. ‘Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,’ McRaven wrote to Trump in the Post.”
-- Trump has grown increasingly suspicious of his staff after the publication of the Times op-ed — trusting only his family and senior adviser Stephen Miller, according to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman. “Ivanka Trump is even worried about impeachment, a source close to her told me. … Sources told me Trump is ‘obsessed,’ ‘lathered,’ and ‘freaked out’ that the leaker is still in his midst. His son Don Jr. has told people he’s worried Trump isn’t sleeping because of it, a source said. Meetings have been derailed by Trump’s suspicion. ‘If you look at him the wrong way, he’ll spend the next hour thinking you wrote it,’ a Republican close to the White House said. … Besides family, one of the only people Trump continues to trust is Stephen Miller. ‘The op-ed has validated Miller’s view, which was also Steve Bannon’s, that there’s an ‘administrative state’ out to get Trump,’ a Republican close to the White House said.”
-- The State Department spent over $50,000 on customized curtains for U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s official New York residence. The New York Times’s Gardiner Harris reports: “A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said. The curtains themselves cost $29,900, while the motors and hardware needed to open and close them automatically cost $22,801, according to the contracts. Installation took place from March to August of last year, during Ms. Haley’s tenure as ambassador. … While Ms. Haley’s curtains were being ordered and installed, Rex W. Tillerson, the administration’s first secretary of state, had frozen hiring, pushed out many of the department’s most senior diplomats and proposed cutting the department’s budget by 31 percent.”
-- Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is slated to appear this weekend at a conference hosted by the Gateway Pundit — where he will be joined by “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorists and leaders of Europe’s far-right AfD political party. Flynn will also be honored at the event with an “Award for Service to America.” The Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill reports: “Flynn is scheduled to appear Friday night, following a series of speeches on why ‘President Trump Is #Winning.’ … The outlet’s conference is shaping up to be just as conservative and conspiratorial. The three-day lineup includes Pizzagate pushers Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, conservative sting videomaker James O’Keefe, Turning Point USA talking heads Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk, and … YouTuber Stefan Molyneux, who has been accused of luring followers into a ‘cult’ that encouraged them to cut ties with their families ...” Flynn is currently awaiting sentencing for lying the FBI about his contacts with Russia.
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- ICE is “aggressively lobbying” for a $1 billion funding boost, which it says it needs to meet Trump’s aggressive goals for deportation. Maria Sacchetti reports: “The agency urged Congress last month to include the extra funds in a stopgap spending measure that lawmakers must pass to avoid a government shutdown … In the funding request, officials said they anticipated deporting more than 253,000 immigrants during the next fiscal year, which goes from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2019. That would be the government’s highest target since 2014 … Without the extra money, officials warned in the request, they may be forced to suspend arrests and deportations of people deemed ‘threats to public safety’ until Congress passes a full spending bill. Officials also said that thousands of immigrants detained in federal custody may suffer ‘reductions in services’ if Congress denies the funding, though they did not provide specifics.”
-- Congressional leaders finalized a plan to help avert a government shutdown over Trump’s demands for border wall funding. Erica Werner reports: “The bipartisan pact, announced [by] Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), reflects the desire of Republican leaders to avoid a nasty shutdown fight weeks before the midterm elections — even if it means sacrificing, at least for now, one of Trump’s most prominent policy goals. House GOP leadership aides say they believe the White House is on board with their approach, but no one can be sure what Trump ultimately will do. GOP leaders have been pushing Trump to back off rhetoric about shutting down the government, but he has vacillated, suggesting it could be good politics to force a shutdown Oct. 1 to try to get the money he wants for his wall. … [And while the announcement] reduces the odds of a shutdown, midterm politics or the Freedom Caucus … could always throw a curveball.”
-- Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, sent a letter rejecting Trump’s invitation to a White House reception for Hispanic Heritage Month, claiming his “administration’s policies, actions, and rhetoric betray the values upon which it was founded.” Specifically addressing the “dreamers,” Lujan Grisham wrote, “Your administration chose to abruptly eliminate the program that ensured that these young people can continue to live, work hard, and contribute to the country that they love. They have a diverse heritage from many of the countries we honor this month, and they share our common values and dreams. Protecting and nurturing those dreams has been the primary focus of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus since you rescinded DACA two weeks before Hispanic Heritage Month last year.”
THE REST OF TRUMP’S AGENDA:
-- A second round of Republican tax cuts would add an additional $3.2 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, according to a newly released report from the centrist Tax Policy Center. Jeff Stein reports: “The package was taken up by a House committee on Thursday and is expected to head to a vote on the floor later this month. The GOP’s ‘tax reform 2.0’ would make permanent many of the individual and estate tax provisions in the tax law Republicans passed last fall, which the [CBO] said would already add about $1.9 trillion to the deficit … The second round of cuts would cost $631 billion before 2028 and an additional $3.15 trillion in the decade after that, [according to the report]. … TPC also found that the law would give a substantially bigger tax breaks to the richest families over those in the middle class. The richest 1 percent of filers would see an average tax cut of $40,000, while those in the middle 20 percent of earners would see an average cut of $980, TPC said. … The Senate is not expected to take up the bill this year, but it could provide a blueprint for Republicans' agenda should they retain control of Congress this November.”
-- A bipartisan group of female lawmakers introduced a bill that would outlaw the shackling of pregnant inmates in federal prisons. “The legislation … would also establish minimum standards of care for pregnant inmates and their babies, create training programs for guards handling expectant mothers, and set up a study to examine the care of pregnant women behind bars,” Justin Jouvenal reports.
-- Trump told GOP donors this week that he plans to rebrand NAFTA as the “USMC” pact — standing for the U.S., Mexico, and Canada — but said he will drop the “C” if Canada does not agree to the changes he is seeking in the pact. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael C. Bender reports: “Mr. Trump groused about Canada during a private meeting with about a dozen supporters, complaining that officials from the U.S.’s northern neighbor describe themselves as good friends to America while imposing tariffs of more than 200% on some American dairy exports, these people said. The president was described as jovial during the event — ‘He was in fine form,’ one Republican said[.]”
-- Trump’s changes to the U.S. tax code are helping business executives score a major new perk: the opportunity to deduct 100% percent of a corporate jet purchase. The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Feintzeig reports: “That is a major change. Before, buyers of new planes could generally deduct at least 50% of the cost of an aircraft in the first year. Buyers of used airplanes had to take those deductions more slowly. Marcus Adolfsson, [CEO of online tech] publisher Mobile Nations, bought a used Embraer Phenom 100 for just under $2 million at the end of December, right as the new tax law was going into effect. The rule allowing owners to deduct 100% on used equipment was retroactive to late September … Mr. Adolfsson, a CEO and licensed pilot in St. Petersburg, Fla., has used his jet to skip the hassle of commercial flights, flying to New York to meet with advertising partners and taking jaunts to Miami and Winnipeg to visit his remote employees. He lovingly compares the plane to a minivan: less sexy than some smaller planes, but a comfortable time saver. ‘It’s kind of my office on the road,’ he said, adding that he can lease it out for $1,300 an hour when he isn’t using it.”
MORE ON THE MIDTERMS:
-- National Democrats are seizing upon an anti-corruption message ahead of this year’s midterm elections, and are spending big on ads that they say highlight the GOP’s “culture of corruption.” Mike DeBonis reports: “On Friday, the DCCC will begin a $900,000 joint ad blitz with candidate David Shapiro, who is running against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) in Florida’s 16th Congressional District. The spot highlights Buchanan’s purchase of a pricey yacht on the same day the House voted to pass a tax bill that benefited business owners such as him. Earlier this month, the DCCC started airing ads highlighting a petition-gathering scandal that has ensnared Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) and allegations of improper business dealings by GOP candidate Yvette Herrell … On Thursday, the DCCC’s chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), rattled off those brewing scandals — as well as the criminal indictments of [Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter]— as an inflection point.
“National Democrats have entirely avoided airing any ads highlighting the many controversies that have enveloped [Trump] personally … [which] Luján said … will continue. 'Our candidates don’t have to talk about him, because he’s going to talk about himself for us,' he said. 'He’ll remind the American people of every investigation he’s involved with, of every disgusting tweet that is out there, of all the positions the Trump administration has taken.'”
-- Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) unveiled his own ethics overhaul package that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns and institute a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists. From the Lincoln Journal Star’s Don Walton: “Sasse's proposals would also prohibit cabinet members and their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources and prohibit members of Congress from buying or selling stocks during their time in office. Another bill would create a public database of congressional human resources settlements, requiring transparency when accusations of improper conduct are settled. In pointing to his tax return disclosure proposal, Sasse said ‘voters deserve basic information about the financial situation of their potential chief executive.’”
-- GOP strategists say one of the largest problems they face in defending the House is the unusually high number of Republican retirements. From Politico’s Elena Schneider: “Of the 44 districts left open by incumbents who are retiring, resigning or seeking higher office, Democrats are targeting almost half of them. They need to gain 23 seats to win the House majority. The open seats may be an overlooked factor in an election season dominated by GOP angst over a potential voter backlash against [Trump]. Recent history explains why Republicans are so concerned: In the past six midterm elections, the president’s party has not retained a single open seat he failed to carry two years prior, according to an analysis by the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman.”
-- Paul Ryan encouraged House Republicans to tune out the D.C. drama and to “hyper-focus” on selling economic gains back home instead. Politico’s Rachael Bade reports: “For months now, Republican leaders have been hammering rank-and-file members to weather the storm by shouting their legislative victories — tax reform, repeal of the individual mandate, rebuilding the military, opioid relief — at the top of their lungs. And on Thursday, [NRSC] Chairman Steve Stivers reiterated those same points in a ‘what you should be doing’ presentation at the political huddle. … Ryan told colleagues to ‘be focused in on the issues that matter to voters and the success of the economy’ — and, of course, paint Democrats as too extreme. Whether that can stifle the allure of Democrats promising to be a check on Trump’s White House is another thing entirely, however.”
-- New audio from Montana Senate candidate Matt Rosendale has revealed potentially illegal coordination between his campaign and the NRA. The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay reports: “Before the [NRA] dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to flip a competitive, Democratic-held Senate seat, the gun-rights group’s chief lobbyist apparently gave the race’s Republican challenger a heads-up. Chris Cox, the top political strategist for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action …. assured [Rosendale] that the group would spend heavily to support his bid to unseat Sen. Jon Tester, Rosendale told attendees at a July event in Washington. … Early this month, the group spent more than $400,000 on ads hitting Tester over the precise issue that Rosendale mentioned — the senator’s votes on Supreme Court nominations. … Rosendale’s remarks are potentially problematic, as the NRA-ILA, a 501(c)(4) ‘dark-money’ group, is legally barred from coordinating its ad buys with a federal campaign.”
-- A new website with ties to a major GOP political firm resurfaced decades-old domestic-abuse allegations against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Andrew J. Tobias reports: “The website, www.metooohio.com, includes a 60-second video that references court records from Brown's divorce with his then-wife, Larke Recchie, as well as excerpts from the records themselves. The ugly divorce, which included allegations that Brown ‘bullied’ and shoved Recchie, has come up in many of Brown's campaigns, including his 1992 race for Congress and his 2012 re-election campaign to the U.S. Senate. Recchie is now a political supporter of Brown's and has described ‘angry words’ that surrounded their divorce. The website, anonymously registered earlier this month, has the hallmarks of a ‘dark money’ political group -- in other words, it was designed to obscure who created it. However, there is a trail of digital footprints that tie the site to Majority Strategies, a prominent Republican political firm that has done hundreds of thousands of dollars work for a Super PAC supporting U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, Brown's opponent in the November election, the Renacci campaign and the Ohio Republican Party.”
Columnist Connie Schultz, who is married to Brown, shared a photo of the two with Brown's ex-wife as the allegations reemerged:
Going after our family, which includes Larke & Joe, is a despicable act by a desperate candidate. Thank you for the flood of kindness via social media, calls, emails & texts. Thanks, too, for supporting Sherrod & caring so much about our kids & grandchildren. You keep us strong. pic.twitter.com/5IpERsU08F— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) September 14, 2018
-- Barack Obama appeared at a campaign event for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray and mocked Republicans as “still mad” even after winning control of Congress. From Felicia Sonmez: “‘Even the folks who won don’t seem happy. Have you noticed that?’ Obama told the Cleveland crowd, decrying the country’s ‘broken’ politics. Republicans won the presidency, House and Senate, he said, but ‘they’re still mad, which is interesting.’ He went on to criticize the ‘forces of retrenchment and backlash and anger’ as well as ‘some media outlets that like to do the fanning,’ without naming any names. … He also took Republicans to task for all but abandoning their focus on deficit reduction once they won the White House in 2016 … ”
-- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) bought TV ad time on CBS to overlap with his opponent Beto O’Rourke’s appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” “That meant viewers in Amarillo, San Antonio, Waco and El Paso who tuned in to see O’Rourke also got to see Cruz’s face,” Cleve R. Wootson Jr. explains. “The ad buy was not lost on Colbert, who spent four minutes of airtime taunting Cruz about it. ‘Beto is running in Texas against incumbent senator and man whose campaign staff is definitely watching this show right now, Ted Cruz, because it is close, which is scaring the Republicans,’ Colbert told his audience. ‘Here’s how scared Ted Cruz is of Beto O’Rourke. He bought ads on my show tonight to counter his interview.’”
-- Facebook said it will begin scanning images and video on its platform for evidence of “manipulation” — ramping up efforts to combat disinformation after lawmakers sounded alarms about the rise of fake visual content. Tony Romm and Drew Harwell report: “In 17 countries, including the United States, Facebook said it has deployed its powerful algorithms to ‘identify potentially false’ images and videos, then send those flagged posts to outside fact-checkers for further review. Facebook said it’s trying to stamp out content that has been doctored, taken out of context or accompanied by misleading text. Facebook’s announcement is part of several changes designed to stop the spread of misinformation … But photos and videos represent one of the toughest challenges facing Facebook and its tech peers[.] The site’s 2 billion monthly active users upload 350 million images every day, Facebook has said, and finding and combating manipulated images and videos is tougher than it is with plain text. Social media sites must also grapple with the rise of new disinformation techniques, such as ‘deepfakes’ — or videos that can harness the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to make a person appear to say or do something that never occurred.”
-- “She Was a Refugee From Afghanistan. She May Soon Enter the New Hampshire Legislature,” by the New York Times’s Katharine Q. Seelye: “It was a mere state house race, below the radar, with fewer than 500 votes cast. But Safiya Wazir’s upset victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday is yet one more striking example of how nontraditional candidates are upending expectations in this extraordinary election season. Ms. Wazir, just 27 and a refugee from Afghanistan, toppled a four-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for state representative in a blue-collar neighborhood of Concord, the state capital. … It was a stunning upset, not just because Ms. Wazir is so young, a woman and new to politics — not to mention relatively new to this country — but because New Hampshire is 94 percent white.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- The two men named by U.K. officials as suspects in the Salisbury nerve-agent attack said in a bizarre interview that they visited Britain as tourists. From Amie Ferris-Rotman: “In Thursday’s interview with the Kremlin-funded RT channel, the suspects, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, said they were simply tourists catching the sights in Salisbury about the same time as the attack.” The interview also included “indirect questions about their sexual orientation, awkward stares, and accounts of the weather in the quaint English town of Salisbury in early March,” when the attack occurred.
-- American intelligence officials are reevaluating the threat posed to former Russian spies living in the United States after the Salisbury attack. The New York Times’s Adam Goldman, Julian E. Barnes, Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo report: “Moscow’s intelligence agencies have in recent years tracked down several Russians who secretly served as C.I.A. informants and were resettled in the United States through a highly secret agency program to protect former spies, according to the current and former officials. Counterintelligence officials have done a wide-reaching review of every former Russian informant now in the United States, according to an American official. They have examined security measures to protect the former spies and searched for potential liabilities. Intelligence agents have tried to assess how easy it would be to find the informants through social media accounts, information shared with relatives and other clues.”
-- An associate of the anti-Kremlin group Pussy Riot was hospitalized this week after a suspected poisoning attack caused him to lose his sight and ability to speak. The group said Pyotr Verzilov remained in serious condition, and is being treated in the toxicology wing of a Moscow hospital. (Adam Taylor)
-- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is slow-walking the decision-making process on increasing financial sanctions on Iran, Josh Rogin writes. “One key tool Trump is considering is to force Iranian banks off SWIFT, the international system that clears trans-border financial transactions. … Iran rejoined SWIFT in 2016 as part of the nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from this year. Now, other top Trump administration officials and lawmakers want SWIFT to banish Iran again, but Mnuchin and his department are internally opposed to using pressure to force SWIFT to take action, three senior administration officials said. … Following a July 26 Principals Committee meeting on Iran, the Treasury Department was tasked with producing an options memo laying out possible sanctions on SWIFT, its board members or their banks. Almost two months later, the document is missing in action — which prevents Trump from making a decision.”
-- Jared Kushner maintained the administration’s decision to evict the Palestine Liberation Organization from its Washington offices would not affect the chances of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. The New York Times’s Mark Landler reports: “Speaking on Thursday, 25 years to the day after the Oslo peace accords were signed on the White House lawn not far from his West Wing office, Mr. Kushner said President Trump had actually improved the chances for peace by stripping away the ‘false realities’ that surround Middle East peacemaking. ‘There were too many false realities that were created — that people worship — that I think needed to be changed,’ he said in an interview. ‘All we’re doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace.’”
-- North Korea accused the United States of perpetuating “preposterous falsehoods” in connection to the DOJ’s recent charges against a North Korean hacker allegedly responsible for a string of major cyberattacks. Simon Denyer reports: “The angry rhetoric against Washington came in stark contrast to the latest sign of warming ties between North and South Korea as they opened a new liaison office near the border. The North Korean statement, signed by a researcher at a Foreign Ministry institute, said the charges could undermine the implementation of agreements reached between [Trump] and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June.”
-- Economic analysts say Trump’s hope that his trade war will put pressure on China and force them to the negotiating table is misplaced. From David J. Lynch: “The Shanghai Composite Index, China’s main stocks gauge, is down 23 percent this year, making it the world’s worst-performing major exchange. But unlike in the United States, the ups and downs of the Chinese stock market affect relatively few people, meaning sell-offs are unlikely to translate into pressure on Chinese leaders. Less than 10 percent of China’s adult population owns shares, according to Fraser Howie, the Singapore-based author of three books on the Chinese financial system. In the United States, the comparable figure is more than half, according to Gallup.”
-- U.S.-backed forces in Yemen have renewed an offensive to wrest control of the strategic port city of Hodeida this week — even as the United Nations warned of an “incalculable human cost” that could affect hundreds of thousands of people. The offensive comes after the collapse of U.N.-sponsored peace talks last week in Geneva. Ali Al Mujahed and Sudarsan Raghavan report: “The renewed push by the coalition comes as the Trump administration on Wednesday said it stood behind the coalition, which includes forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, despite mounting international criticism that their airstrikes have killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Tucker Carlson's show offered this unflattering description of Stormy Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti when he appeared on the program last night for a contentious interview:
I swear to God I did not photoshop this chyron pic.twitter.com/nOIgGezhJB— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) September 14, 2018
Avenatti lambasted the network:
The extent there was any doubt as to the lack of professionalism of @TuckerCarlson or @FoxNews before tonight, there is no longer. What happened with the chyron tonight was a disgrace. Complete garbage - trash television. A new low.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 14, 2018
Floridians of both parties responded with disgust to Trump peddling his Maria conspiracy theory. From a prominent Republican donor who appointed by Rick Scott to Florida’s university governing board:
Mr. President. SHUT UP. Any death, whether one or 3,000 is a tragedy. That doesn’t mean you caused it, and its not about you. Show compassion for the families. Learn what we can so future response can improve. Honestly....— Alan Levine (@alevine014) September 13, 2018
A former governor of Florida admonished his former presidential primary rival:
Incredibly disheartening comments from our President https://t.co/0okJev2k2W— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) September 13, 2018
Florida's Democratic senator also slammed Trump's comments:
The president’s comments on the nearly 3,000 American lives lost in Puerto Rico are shameful. We deserve and expect more from someone who holds the highest office in our country.— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) September 13, 2018
Trump retweeted Fox host Lou Dobbs's defense of his tweet:
#FakeNews- The Hurricane Maria death tolls have been inflated & President @realDonaldTrump was right to call out organizations who threw out science and statistics to try to discredit his administration. #MAGA #TrumpTrain #Dobbs pic.twitter.com/xXjF3dfgcH— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) September 14, 2018
But at least one Republican senator, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ducked a question about Trump's tweet from a CNN reporter:
Hatch, asked about Trump accusing Democrats of doctoring the Puerto Rico death toll numbers, pauses for several seconds and then says he can’t comment on it because he hasn’t seen the tweet— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 13, 2018
The editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight provided this stark assessment:
I know there's a lot of competition but this is the worst thing he's ever tweeted. https://t.co/szjPKKxzhK— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) September 13, 2018
A Post reporter noted this from her experiences in Puerto Rico:
Nowhere in the months I spent reporting/living in Puerto Rico did I not encounter reports of the dead/dying. The destruction's magnitude, prolonged humanitarian crisis and suffering I witnessed was a testament to Maria’s deadliness. The people knew. Gravediggers knew. Gov't knew.— Arelis R. Hernández (@arelisrhdz) September 13, 2018
A reporter for Raleigh's NBC affiliate shared this startling image:
A new book from CBS News’s Major Garrett connects Stephen Miller to James Comey’s firing:
In @MajorCBS's book "Mr. Trump's Wild Ride" (out next week), Ty Cobb says Stephen Miller is a key figure in Comey firing.— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) September 13, 2018
Cobb says Mueller has "all the handwriting" — lots of back and forth notes between Trump and Miller. pic.twitter.com/5fhGI6ODQl
Trump accused the former secretary of state, who has been criticizing him on a media tour to promote his new book, of having illegal meetings with Iranian officials:
John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2018
(Kerry acknowledged earlier this week that he met with European and Iranian diplomats but insisted the talks were not aimed at undermining Trump's agenda.)
Obama's former ethics czar mocked Trump's tweet about Kerry:
A mind is a terrible thing to lose https://t.co/8RlBomu89k— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) September 14, 2018
A Democratic senator proposed this:
Hey we should do oversight.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 13, 2018
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee accused appropriators of bowing to the influence of pharmaceutical companies:
Hearing rumors my bipartisan Durbin/Grassley legis to make drug companies list prices on TV ads is out of spending bill It is EMBARRASSING to bow to BIG PHARMA at expense of consumers Policy is supported by Pres Trump AARP Dem&GOP Sens If we can agree why are lobbyists fighting?— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 13, 2018
A Post reporter highlighted this quote from a Democratic senator:
Chris Coons tells @hughhewitt that the senate should have a "real conversation about restoring" filibusters on judges. Not *at all* what the Dem base wants to hear after McConnell uses the current rules to put the Federalist Society's entire rugby team on the bench pic.twitter.com/QDnOQHTHzq— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 13, 2018
A former top aide to Hillary Clinton replied, with a reference to Coons's 2010 GOP opponent Christine O'Donnell:
We would be better off if the witch had won.https://t.co/gnwnzWkPJW— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) September 13, 2018
The new cover of Time magazine focused on teachers' low pay:
Actress Amy Schumer flip-flopped back to supporting Cynthia Nixon in New York's gubernatorial primary:
View this post on Instagram
We voted. And we voted for @cynthiaenixon couldn’t help it. And for @zephyrteachout and @jumaane.williams voted with my heart 💜 thanks to the women who took their time to talk to me about it. When someone disagrees with you be patient and have a conversation. It’s most productive. 😊🤞
And Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) issued a request for donations as one of her aides faces cancer:
My Press Secretary @TyroneGayle has been by my side since I took office — and is always running around in the halls or on the track. Now Tyrone’s friend is running the @ChiMarathon to help raise funds for him as he fights cancer. Help out if you can.https://t.co/67hQbxhJlA— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 13, 2018
-- New York Times, “The Great Recession Knocked Them Down. Only Some Got Up Again,” by Ben Casselman, Patricia Cohen and Doris Burke: “New York Times reporters interviewed hundreds of people during the Great Recession, many of them in the midst of their darkest days. … There was the former factory worker thumbing her Bible looking for hope amid a fruitless job search; the recent college graduate considering his options in a barren job market; the Florida homeowner praying a government stimulus check could save him from foreclosure. In recent weeks, we returned to them to find out what happened next. A few have thrived, overcoming the recession or even using it as a springboard to success. … For others, the recession was the moment when it all fell apart. Many seemed to disappear entirely, leaving a trail of disconnected phones, outdated addresses and abandoned Facebook profiles.”
-- Politico Magazine, “How Obama Made It Easier for Trump to Launch a Nuke,” by Marc Ambinder: “Thanks to upgrades to our nuclear systems under [Obama], and recent shifts in Pentagon protocol, it has never been easier for an American president to launch a tactical nuclear attack anywhere on the globe. We know that our current nuclear war plans — OPLAN 8010-12—specifically envision a scenario where the president orders a limited nuclear strike to deter proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. Sarin gas qualifies. So, the Syria crisis is one of the scenarios in which that might happen.”
-- “Buried under bodies: Even with murder rates falling, big-city detectives face daunting caseloads,” by Kimbriell Kelly, Wesley Lowery and Steven Rich: “Since 2012, someone has been murdered nearly every 24 hours in Detroit … [And] despite sweeping changes to make the homicide division more efficient, police arrest suspects in fewer than half of all killings. [Detroit homicide Lt. Michael Russell] said the explanation is simple: There are too many murders and too few detectives. Over a five-year period, each detective in Detroit has been tasked with solving an average of about eight new slayings annually — a caseload exceeding what policing experts [recommend]. Major police departments that are successful at making arrests in homicides generally assign detectives fewer than five cases annually, according to a Washington Post analysis of homicide caseloads in 48 cities … The Post study found that departments with lower caseloads tended to have higher arrest rates, while departments with higher caseloads tended to have lower arrest rates — 39 of the 48 departments fell within that pattern.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Trump Adviser Gina Loudon’s Book Claims She Has a Ph.D. in Psychology. She Doesn’t,” from The Daily Beast: “Gina Loudon, the Republican commentator and author, recently declared that she has scientific evidence that Donald Trump might be the ‘most sound-minded’ president in history. It’s a claim that might carry more weight if her new book didn’t falsely describe her as having a doctorate in psychology. Loudon, who worked as a surrogate for the Trump campaign and frequently appears on the airwaves to defend the president … does not have a psychology degree or license. [Last week, she appeared on-air to tell Sean Hannity] that the anonymous ‘senior official’ who wrote [the explosive NYT op-ed] was an example of what she calls ‘Trump derangement syndrome.’ ‘But my book actually uses science and real data and true psychological theory to explain why it is quite possible that this president is the most sound-minded person to ever occupy the White House,’ she said. Hannity interjected: ‘Literally, liberals’ heads are going to explode at what you said!’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Willie Nelson fans furious over announcement that he'll headline a rally for a Dem candidate,” from Fox News: “Willie Nelson fans are upset with the singer over the news that he’s not only supporting a Democratic Senate contender, but is headlining a rally in Texas for him. Nelson announced on his Facebook page that he’ll be headlining the Turn Out For Texas rally for candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Sen. Ted Cruz. … Despite clearly being in favor of the Democratic candidate, Nelson’s fans were taken aback by the news that he’s supporting a candidate whose politics they don’t agree with. ‘If that’s true im done after 45 years with the Red Headed Stranger, by [sic] Willy,’ one user commented on the Facebook announcement. ‘Willie I have always loved you and I played your music on the local country station when I was in high school. I've always thought you were a patriot but you have jumped the shark my friend,’ another user commented. ‘Beto O'toole aka commrade O'Rourke is a step too far. Let me know when you come back from your bad acid trip. That is all.’”
Trump will receive his intelligence briefing and an emergency preparedness update. He has no other events on his public schedule.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’m clearly not as smart as Trump, the smartest man in the world. But I have a relatively high IQ.” — Former vice president Joe Biden, mocking Trump’s repeated claims that he has “one of the highest” IQs. (Felicia Sonmez)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Washingtonians may see showers or a possible storm today, but rain chances have decreased for the rest of the weekend. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Periodic showers could roam the region, especially later this morning and during the afternoon. Afternoon, thunderstorms could pop as well, especially south of town. So you may want to carry that small umbrella around. Despite mostly cloudy skies, we still should feel warm with highs in the upper 70s to around 80, and muggy dew points above 70.”
-- The Nationals lost to the Cubs 4-3 in 10 innings. (Jesse Dougherty)
-- D.C. household incomes increased dramatically last year, but the benefits were unevenly distributed among racial groups. From Tara Bahrampour: “Median household income for the city in 2017 was $82,372, 9.1 percent higher than in 2016, according to new data from the [Census Bureau’s] annual American Community Survey. … Among racial groups in large cities for 2017, the District ranked second for whites, 18th for blacks, first for Hispanics and second for Asians. The median household income for blacks in the city was $42,161 while for whites it was $134,358. For Asians it was $96,394, and for Hispanics it was $84,728 — the highest for Hispanics in the nation’s largest 50 cities.”
-- Metro has proposed charging rush-hour prices during major events to help offset the cost of heightened service. Martine Powers reports: “Those events would potentially include major protests, high-ridership holidays such as Independence Day and events that draw huge crowds, such as the pope’s visit to Washington in 2015.”
-- The Inn at Little Washington became the first restaurant in the D.C. region to earn a rare third Michelin star. From Maura Judkis: “José Andrés’s Minibar and Aaron Silverman’s Pineapple and Pearls kept their two-star ratings. There were two new additions to the one-star list: Chef Ryan Ratino’s Bresca and Robert Wiedmaier’s Siren, the latter with a kitchen led by executive chef and partner Brian McBride. They are the first Michelin stars for all three chefs. Bresca and Siren joined the previous list of one-star restaurants, all of which maintained their stars: Komi, Métier, Blue Duck Tavern, the Dabney, Fiola, Kinship, Masseria, Plume, Rose’s Luxury, Sushi Taro and Tail Up Goat.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Stephen Colbert expressed shock at Trump's tweet about Hurricane Maria:
The Weather Channel captured the fierce winds Hurricane Florence is unleashing on the Carolinas:
A Democratic congressional candidate in Michigan highlighted her mother’s battle with cancer in a new campaign ad:
My mom, who died in 2011 of ovarian cancer, had breast cancer many years before. When I saw @RepMikeBishop smiling at the White House after voting to gut protections for pre-existing conditions, something inside me broke. And it's why I'm running for Congress. pic.twitter.com/kI5WvoyooD— Elissa Slotkin (@ElissaSlotkin) September 13, 2018
(I wrote about Democratic candidates’ focus on guaranteeing protections for those with preexisting conditions in yesterday’s 202.)
Democrat Andrew Gillum's gubernatorial campaign in Florida is launching a seven-figure television ad buy today:
Wisconsin's GOP slammed the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee over his comments about Obama-Trump voters:
And The Post captured the moment when chef Patrick O’Connell of the Inn at Little Washington learned he had earned his coveted third Michelin star: