With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

THE BIG IDEA: Just like President Trump, James Buchanan complained of “harassment” by Congress.

A federal judge on Monday drew a parallel between the two presidents as he rejected an effort by Trump’s lawyers to quash a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee for records from the president’s accounting firm. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of the District of Columbia opened his 41-page opinion with a lengthy quote from Buchanan complaining, in 1860, about the House opening an investigation into him.

“He maintained that the House of Representatives possessed no general powers to investigate him, except when sitting as an impeaching body,” Mehta noted. “Buchanan feared that, if the House were to exercise such authority, it ‘would establish a precedent dangerous and embarrassing to all my successors, to whatever political party they might be attached.’ Some 160 years later, President Donald J. Trump has taken up the fight of his predecessor.”

For Mehta to lead with Buchanan, and such an explicit comparison to the current occupant of the Oval Office, is the judicial equivalent of what kids call a sick burn. Mehta’s opinion goes on to offer a meaty history lesson for a president who has never cared much for the discipline. The judge cites Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as he outlines why the House is entitled to the records it seeks. After recounting the Whitewater, Watergate and Teapot Dome investigations, Mehta concludes: “This court is not prepared to roll back the tide of history.”

-- By any metric, Buchanan was one of our worst presidents. He was elected president in 1856. In the 1858 midterms, Republicans won functional control of the House with a plurality. But Democrats still held the Senate and the White House and controlled the Supreme Court. Washington descended into a gridlock far worse than what we know now. Sectional differences splintered Democrats between the North and South. Faced with Abraham Lincoln’s likely victory in 1860, the proslavery “fire-eaters” advocated secession. Buchanan took the position that states didn’t have the legal right to secede, but that there was nothing the federal government could do legally to stop them. He allowed the country to fall apart with a policy of inactivity during the transition. It took Lincoln’s heroic leadership, four years and countless casualties to put down the rebellion.

-- In addition to being feckless, the Buchanan administration was corrupt. Jasmin Bath, a historian of 19th-century political and economic culture, wrote a piece for the Outlook section last week about the committee that Buchanan was so angry about: “Without Pennsylvania, Buchanan would not have gained enough electoral votes to win. Knowing this, state Democrats did what they could to get Buchanan into the White House, including using federal funds to finance their campaign. Although this was not uncovered until four years later, suspicions of payoffs and fraud tainted Buchanan’s victory. …

In March 1860, a congressional committee made up of three Republicans and two Democrats began investigating. Nicknamed the Covode Committee after its chairman, John Covode, it produced a detailed majority report that exposed the crimes of the Democratic Party and the president himself. The sheer volume of corruption uncovered was startling. Although there was not enough evidence to impeach Buchanan, the report exposed extensive corruption that took place during his presidency: bribery, the disfranchisement of some voters in federal elections, abuses of printing contracts, subsidies for partisan presses from public accounts. The list went on and on.

The committee’s findings were released to the public in June 1860, just months before the presidential election, and proved to be incredibly damaging to the Democratic Party’s reputation, even though Buchanan was not running again. Its detailed accounts of the misdeeds of the Democratic administration, which circulated throughout the North, gave the Republican Party substantial evidence with which to persuade the public that the United States could not afford the continued reign of the ‘rotten and dishonest’ Democratic politicians.

Many contemporaries believed the Covode report had an impact on the results of the election. According to one Democratic campaign manager, August Belmont, ‘the country at large had become disgusted with the misrule of Mr. Buchanan, and the corruption which disgraced his Administration’ and the ‘Democratic party was made answerable for [Buchanan’s] misdeeds, and change was ardently desired by thousands of conservative men out of politics.’ Even Southerners agreed. One slaver owner, Sidney George Fisher, argued that ‘the corruptions and excesses of the administration were very influential in producing Republican victory.’”

-- Mehta outlined how reviewing financial records fits “comfortably” within Congress’s broad powers. He said the legislative branch serves an “informing function” that boils down to the ability to expose corruption in the other branches. “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry,” wrote Mehta, who was appointed by Barack Obama.

-- Trump called the decision “crazy” and promised to challenge it. “We think it’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge,” he told reporters.

-- The judge gave Trump one week to formally appeal. “The President is subject to the same legal standard as any other litigant that does not prevail,” he noted.

-- The ruling came down shortly after the White House officially blocked former counsel Don McGahn from testifying to Congress, releasing a memo from a Trump appointee at the Justice Department to justify the decision. “The 15-page legal opinion written by Assistant Attorney General Steven A. Engel argues McGahn cannot be compelled to testify before the committee, based on past Justice Department legal opinions regarding the president’s close advisers,” Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett report. “The memo says McGahn’s immunity from congressional testimony is separate and broader than a claim of executive privilege. …

As a private citizen no longer in the government, McGahn is not necessarily bound by the White House directive … [but his] lawyer, William A. Burck, said the former counsel would not testify. ‘Mr. McGahn remains obligated to maintain the status quo and will respect the President’s instruction,’ Burck wrote. Testifying could jeopardize business and professional standing for McGahn, who works for Jones Day, a Republican law firm with close ties to the Trump campaign and electoral politics. Jones Day will still be involved in the reelection campaign but will have a reduced role from 2016, campaign officials say, when they were the main firm.”

-- Nancy Pelosi repeatedly cited Mehta’s opinion last night during private sessions aimed at discouraging members of her own leadership team from breaking with her publicly on impeachment in the face of Trump’s stonewalling vis-a-vis McGahn. “Today we won our first case,” she told a group of House Democrats, according to someone in the room. “We’ve been in this thing for almost five months, and now we’re getting some results. … We still have unexhausted avenues here.”

After meeting privately with Pelosi last night, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler also mentioned Mehta’s ruling as a reason not to jump the gun on impeachment. “We have to enforce the right to our testimony through the courts, which is the only way you can do it,” the New York Democrat told reporters staking out the speaker’s office. “And, right now, we’re having very good success with it.”

But at least five members of Pelosi’s leadership team — four of whom also sit on the House Judiciary Committee — pressed Pelosi in a closed-door leadership meeting to allow the panel to start an inquiry. Bade and Mike DeBonis report: “The meeting marks the first time a chairman and top rank-and-file lawmakers … have lobbied her to change her long-held position on impeachment. Judiciary Committee members for days have discussed how to move the speaker toward their thinking, but few have been willing to break with her publicly. However, a core group of Judiciary Democrats plans to begin calling Tuesday for an impeachment inquiry if [McGahn] does not show for subpoenaed testimony. …

 “During the Monday night leadership meeting, Pelosi spoke about how Democrats’ messaging isn’t breaking through because everyone is talking about corruption, [Bob] Mueller’s report and impeachment. She bemoaned the fact that last week the investigations were making page one news while the House’s passage of the Equality Act — a bill aimed at ensuring that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are not discriminated against — was on ‘Page 26.’ That’s when Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee, jumped in to tell Pelosi that it amounted to a good case for launching an impeachment inquiry … Raskin argued that such an inquiry would allow leadership to streamline and centralize all of the investigations into one. … ‘You want to tell Elijah Cummings to go home?’ Pelosi said, referring to the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman. …

“During the leadership meeting, three other Judiciary Committee members — [Rep. David] Cicilline (D-R.I.), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and freshman Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) — backed Raskin. … Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), a fierce Pelosi defender and ally, grew angry and scolded the lawmakers that an impeachment inquiry would further distract from legislating. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (Ill.) — who has argued before that legislators should move on from impeachment talk — pushed back as well, noting that when the DCCC asked voters in focus groups what topics they cared about, Mueller’s inquiry ranked near the bottom.”

-- Trump relishes a fight and loves a good foil. House Democrats give him both. With his refusal to give an inch, Trump seems to be trying to goad Democrats into taking the next step. The White House is currently blocking more than 20 Democratic investigations into Trump, his finances or his policies.

-- Even if House Democrats do decide to begin impeachment proceedings, a key factor that protects the president from being removed from office is that only one Republican in either chamber of Congress appears anywhere close to advocating his removal from office. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) drew a primary challenger yesterday after he became the first Republican member of Congress to say publicly that Trump has committed impeachable offenses. The Detroit Free Press’s Todd Spangler reports: “State Rep. Jim Lower, R-Greenville, announced that he would run for the 3rd Congressional District seat Amash has held since 2011 and would forgo a race for a third term in the state House. Lower said he had been planning to run for some time and had expected to make an announcement closer to July 4.”

-- Amash has put his fellow congressional Republicans in a pickle. DeBonis and Bade report: “Top Republican lawmakers and aides said Monday that kicking Amash out of the GOP conference or off his committee would only draw more attention to his apostasy. Instead, they have focused on isolating Amash and portraying him as an outlier. The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of which Amash is a member, also took a position Monday night ‘strongly disagreeing’ with Amash’s comments.”

-- Harry Reid, battling pancreatic cancer in Las Vegas, said he shares Pelosi’s concerns about political backlash from impeachment. “Because you don’t have to go very far to remember what happened. I mean, Clinton was impeached — it helped him. I’ve been saying that for several months,” the former Senate majority leader told the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin. He narrowly held off a challenge in 1998 from John Ensign by 428 votes, perhaps thanks to voter unease with the GOP impeaching Clinton.

“I believe Jerry Nadler is handling things the right way,” the 79-year-old added. “I think the Mueller report deserves a full airing, I think that there should be witnesses, and I think that Trump better be very careful. Because if they’re going to order McGahn and Mueller and others not to testify, I think that opens the door to impeachment. … [The] trigger point is if they try to not allow people to come forward and testify.”

THE CASE IS NOT CLOSED:

-- Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, told a House panel earlier this year that Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow encouraged him to lie under oath and claim that negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow ended in January 2016. Tom Hamburger, Ellen Nakashima and Karoun Demirjian report: “In fact, Cohen later admitted, discussions on the Moscow tower continued into June of the presidential election year, after it was clear Trump would be the GOP nominee. …

House Democrats are now scrutinizing whether Sekulow or other Trump attorneys played a role in shaping Cohen’s 2017 testimony to Congress. … Attorneys for Sekulow said in a statement that ‘Cohen’s alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen’s ‘instinct to blame others is strong.’ …

“Cohen also said he spoke to Sekulow about a potential pardon ‘quite a few’ times ‘before and after’ his testimony to the committee. He said Sekulow didn’t say directly that the president was considering giving him a pardon, but rather said ‘there’s always the possibility of a pre-pardon.’”

-- New York prosecutors are scrutinizing thousands of documents relating to Trump’s inauguration. CNN’s Kara Scannell reports: “The President's Inaugural Committee handed over the cache of documents over the course of several weeks in response to a wide-ranging subpoena seeking documents, records, and communications concerning the inaugural's finances, vendors, and donors sent in February by the US attorney's office with the Southern District of New York. The last set of documents was produced within the last month. The end of the document production indicates the investigation is moving into the next stage.”

-- Sweden formally issued an extradition request for Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder is serving time in Britain for skipping bail, but he's wanted in Stockholm to face sexual assault charges. This could set off a tug of war between Sweden and the United States, which wants Assange extradited on allegations of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. (AP)

-- Russians seeking to interfere in U.S. elections strategized about how to sow racial discord here as recently as last year, according to newly obtained documents. NBC News’s Richard Engel, Kate Benyon-Tinker and Kennett Werner report: “Communications between associates of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-linked oligarch indicted by [Mueller] for previous influence operations against the U.S. … laid out a new plot to manipulate and radicalize African-Americans. The plans show that Prigozhin’s circle has sought to exploit racial tensions well beyond Russia’s social media and misinformation efforts tied to the 2016 election. … One document said that [Trump’s] election had ‘deepened conflicts in American society’ and suggested that, if successful, the influence project would ‘undermine the country’s territorial integrity and military and economic potential.’”

THE RULE OF LAW:

-- At a rally in Pennsylvania last night, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton. When the crowd began chanting “Lock her up,” the president replied: “We have a great new attorney general who’s going to give it a very fair look.”

-- That attorney general, Bill Barr, insisted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he’s fighting more to protect the institution of the presidency than Trump personally. The Journal’s Sadie Gurman reports: “‘I felt the rules were being changed to hurt Trump, and I thought it was damaging for the presidency over the long haul,’ Mr. Barr said. … ‘At every grave juncture the presidency has done what it is supposed to do, which is to provide leadership and direction,’ he said in an interview. ‘If you destroy the presidency and make it an errand boy for Congress, we’re going to be a much weaker and more divided nation.’ … Many current and former law-enforcement officials have come to view Mr. Barr skeptically, citing his newly launched review of the investigation’s origins and what he termed ‘spying’ on Trump campaign associates over ties to Russians. He hasn’t explained what specifically prompted his concerns.”

-- Trump also called for the government to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, over his business deals in China during an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News. It’s a fresh illustration of the president’s personal disdain for the rule of law. The Times’s Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, Ken Vogel and Katie Benner report: “It was the latest in a long series of statements by Mr. Trump suggesting he would like to see criminal investigations of opponents including Clinton, John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee, and it came as the president seems particularly preoccupied by Mr. Biden’s candidacy. … ‘It’s a terrible breach of norms for the president to publicly advocate prosecutions of his opponents,’ said Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School who was an assistant attorney general during President George W. Bush’s first term.”

The Daily 202's BIG IDEA> Get James' insight into Washington every weekday on your smart speaker or favorite podcast player.
Subscribe on Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and other podcast players.
 
Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning briefing for decision-makers.
Sign up to receive the newsletter.

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Anti-vaxxers are taking their dangerous message directly to the communities most impacted by recent measles outbreaks. Well known anti-vaxxer Del Bigtree addressed hundreds of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews in Rockland County, N.Y., which has seen hundreds of measles cases since last fall. (Lena H. Sun and Ben Guarino)

  2. The Internal Revenue Service’s audit rate dropped again for the seventh year in a row as the agency examined fewer high-income households with suspicious returns. The IRS audited just 0.59 percent of individual tax returns last year. Congressional Republicans have starved the agency of funding for years, especially for enforcement and technology. Adjusted for inflation, the 2019 IRS budget is smaller than in 2000 and is 19 percent below 2010. The agency’s workforce is 21 percent smaller than it was eight years ago, and the number of examiners that perform audits shrunk 38 percent from 2010 to 2017. (Wall Street Journal)

  3. The lingering impact of the foreclosure crisis is being felt the strongest among Hispanic and black communities. Nationally, 19.4 percent of all foreclosures between 2007 and 2016 were in Hispanic communities, while 12.7 percent of foreclosures during those years happened in black communities. (Michele Lerner)

  4. A conference of local government officials in California turned violent when several attendees started throwing punches. Police officers were unable to identify those involved because “none of them were cooperative,” but they noted that one man was hospitalized for minor injuries. City of Commerce Mayor John Soria said he intended to press charges after he and a councilman were attacked “from behind by two individuals.” (Los Angeles Times)

  5. The New York attorney general’s office opened an inquiry into reckless loans given to taxi drivers that have left them crushed by debt. The city's mayor ordered a separate investigation into brokers who arranged the devastating loans. (New York Times)

  6. Stephen Curry won the Golden State Warriors a ticket to their fifth straight NBA finals. Led by the two-time MVP, the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-117 in overtime. (Ben Golliver)

  7. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said viewers don’t want the sports channel to cover politics. He has pushed his network’s talent not to discuss politics on-air or on social media. Throwing shade at his predecessor, Pitaro said he believes some of ESPN’s commentators were “confused on what was expected of them.” (Los Angeles Times)

  8. Alabama Public Television is refusing to air an episode of the PBS show “Arthur” because it features a gay wedding. Arthur and his friends attend the wedding of their teacher Mr. Ratburn. It aired nationwide last week, but the Alabama affiliate aired a rerun of the popular kids show instead. (Birmingham News)

  9. “Jeopardy!” champion James Holzhauer has become the new face of professional sports gambling. The Las Vegas resident has won more than $1.6 million on the game show. (Adam Kilgore)

  10. Billionaire Robert F. Smith said he'll pay off the student loan debt of Morehouse College's Class of 2019, but it turns out that’s harder than you'd think. Student loan repayment is a complicated business, involving a lot of paperwork and people to go through before graduates are debt-free. It's a task Smith left to Morehouse officials, who must now figure out the logistics and calculate the exact amount of debt that will be erased. (Danielle Douglas-Gabriel and Keith L. Alexander)

  11. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is expected to run for reelection next year. Top Republicans are confident Sasse has every intention of running for his seat, despite intense speculation to the contrary. While the senator claims no final decision has been made, most GOP operatives believe this is a strategic ploy to buy time. (Politico)

  12. Former Democratic leaders Tom Daschle and Joe Crowley joined the advisory board of a company pushing for marijuana legalization. Northern Swan said Crowley (N.Y.) and Daschle (S.D.) will help the company gain regulatory approval to export medical marijuana. (Bloomberg News)

  13. Little Caesars has debuted a new pizza topping: meatless sausage crumbles. Impossible Foods is known for its meatless burger patty and will sell the new sausage to Little Caesars, which is testing the $12 pizza at 58 restaurants in Florida, Washington state and New Mexico. (AP)

  14. A federal inmate ended up being assigned to the same cell as another prisoner who threatened him for being gay. The man then suffered brutal beatings and multiple rapes by the other inmate and is now at the center of a civil rights claim made against the federal government. (Eli Rosenberg)  

  15. A man who illegally climbed the Eiffel Tower is in custody. The climber entered the monument normally before climbing over a security fence and reaching the upper heights of the French landmark before authorities got to him. His daring feat led to a temporary closure of the tower. (Reuters)

TRUMP IN CAMPAIGN MODE:

-- At his rally in Pennsylvania last night, Trump prosecuted an economic case against Joe Biden. Anne Gearan reports from Montoursville, Pa.: “The president touted an economic turnaround on his watch, saying Pennsylvania now has historically low unemployment that no political competitor could best. ‘Sleepy Joe said that he’s running to, quote, “save the world,”’ Trump said to laughter from supporters. ‘Well, he was: He was going to save every country but ours!’ Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ rally at an airport hangar in this small north-central Pennsylvania town was nominally a show of support for Republican state Rep. Fred Keller, the heavy favorite in a special election Tuesday to fill the congressional seat vacated in January by Tom Marino, a Republican who had just been reelected to his fifth term. …

Trump called a pan-Asia trade deal backed by Biden ‘a disaster’ for Pennsylvania and singled out remarks Biden recently made about charting a new course with China. Biden has staked much of his early campaign message on the theory that he can deny Trump a repeat victory here. A native of working-class Scranton, more than an hour to the east, Biden inaugurated his 2020 campaign in Pennsylvania and is using Philadelphia as his campaign headquarters. ‘Biden deserted you,’ Trump said. ‘I guess he was born here, but he left you, he left you for another state.’”

-- Trump remains incredibly popular among blue-collar white workers in northeast Ohio, even though his presidency has not reversed the region’s economic decline. The Times’s Trip Gabriel has great reporting from the ground: “The loss of 1,600 jobs in March at a General Motors plant in Lordstown, despite Mr. Trump’s visible efforts to save them, was the latest blow. But even though stresses on families and communities are already acute, Mr. Trump appears to have lost little of his blue-collar support here. It is a sign of how tight a bond he has with voters who were once staunch Democrats, in an allegiance as much cultural as economic. But it also undermines the argument of [Biden] that he would be the best nominee to win back Midwest states because of his own appeal to working-class voters.”

-- Trump is preparing for a jet-setting summer of international travel to show stature on the world stage. The AP’s Zeke Miller and Jill Colvin report: “Four days in Tokyo. Then it’s off to see Queen Elizabeth before a jaunt to Normandy, France, and perhaps time in Ireland. A return trip to Japan? Why not. And throw in Seoul. Then it’s back to France for Trump for a summit with world leaders. … The flurry of international travel is a marked change of pace for a president who likes to sleep in his own bed and rarely strays far from the White House unless it’s to his own properties. The packed calendar is the product of both a concerted attempt by Trump to wrap himself in the trappings of the presidency heading into re-election season and a fluke of the global summit calendar.”

-- Despite his role as commander in chief, Trump continues to tweet out his thoughts about the 2020 Democrats like the country’s “narrator in chief.” Ashley Parker and Robert Costa have a smart piece on how the president is always in your head, no matter if you love him or hate him: “Trump in recent weeks has weighed in on actor Jussie Smollett’s case in Chicago (‘It is an embarrassment to our Nation!’), instructed the French government on how to fight the fire that engulfed Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral (‘flying water tankers’), and disparaged what he viewed as the ‘political correctness’ of the Kentucky Derby (‘It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track’). … Trump’s naked eagerness to make any story or occasion about himself stems from his self-conception as both a star and a producer, a director and a writer, according to friends, advisers and critics. And now, they say, he is able to deploy the platform of the presidency to amplify that vision of himself as a leading man.”

EARTH IN THE BALANCE:

-- The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to change the way it calculates the health risks of air pollution, which would make it easier to roll back key climate change rules. The Times’s Lisa Friedman reports: “The new analytical model would significantly reduce that number and would most likely be used by the Trump administration to defend further rollbacks of air pollution rules if it is formally adopted. … The five people familiar with the plan, all current or former E.P.A. officials, said the new modeling method would appear in the agency’s analysis of the final version of the replacement regulation, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which is expected to be made public in June.”

-- The EPA is also cutting off funding for several research centers that study the effects of pollution on childhood development. Greenwire’s Corbin Hiar and Ariel Wittenberg report: “The move, critics say, is part of a broader effort by [Trump] to downplay science that could lead to stricter regulations on polluting industries. At issue are 13 Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers located at institutions across the country.”

-- The U.S. government put nuclear waste under a dome in the Marshall Islands. It is now cracking open. The president of the islands, Hilda Heine, is concerned that there’s a risk of radioactive materials leaking. (Kyle Swenson)

-- Bayer, Monsanto’s new parent company, is facing thousands of new Roundup cancer lawsuits after a $2 billion judgment. Bayer plans on appealing the verdict, which awarded $1 billion each to a couple diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after they used the Roundup herbicide for years. (NBC News)

THE CHINA THREAT:

-- Chinese leaders are preparing their citizens for a drawn-out trade war with Trump by evoking past battles with the Americans, including their assistance to North Korea during the 1950s. Anna Fifield reports: Chinese President Xi Jinping, “accompanied by his top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, on Monday placed a floral basket at a monument in Jiangxi province commemorating the start of the Long March in 1934. In the 4,000-mile, year-long trek, the Communists broke through Nationalist lines, eventually ousting them and installing Mao Zedong as leader of China. Meanwhile, China’s main movie channel, CCTV-6, has scrapped its regular programming in favor of films about the Korean War, which ended in a draw after China intervened to fight back the Americans.”

-- U.S. technology companies started curbing sales to the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Jeanne Whalen, Greg Bensinger, Ellen Nakashima and Hamza Shaban report: “Google said it would restrict Huawei’s access to future updates of its Android operating software, which powers many of Huawei’s phones. Other U.S. manufacturers also began suspending business dealings with the Chinese firm. The markets punished many of those suppliers Monday, including Intel, Broadcom and Qualcomm, as well as Micron and semiconductor manufacturer Cypress. … On Monday evening, the Commerce Department slightly eased the timing of the restrictions, saying it would allow some transactions to continue for 90 days, to facilitate ‘certain activities necessary to the continued operations of existing networks and to support existing mobile services.’”

-- Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the confrontation between the U.S. and China that he's been caught up in was “inevitable.” He also said U.S. trade restrictions will not deter Huawei’s 5G expansion plans. (South China Morning Post)

-- Morgan Stanley said the collapse of U.S.-Chinese trade talks could push the global economy toward a recession. “If talks stall, no deal is agreed upon and the U.S. imposes 25% tariffs on the remaining circa $300 billion of imports from China, we see the global economy heading towards recession,” the bank’s analysts said in a note. They added that such circumstances would force the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates back to zero within a year. (Reuters)

-- A Ukrainian aircraft engine factory has become the Chinese military’s new cash-hungry partner. Anton Troianovski reports: “The president of a top Ukrainian aerospace company says its new Chinese investors often ask the staff for ‘little conversations.’ They want to know about record-keeping and planning, the setup of production lines and the interplay between workshops. ‘They’ll talk for three hours, and the next day, a totally different group of people will come,’ said Vyacheslav Boguslayev, whose sprawling Soviet-era company, Motor Sich, is one of the most advanced military aircraft engine manufacturers in the world. … Racing to upgrade its military, China has been turning to Ukraine. And Ukraine — with its economy scrambled by hostilities with Russia — has been willing to accept China’s embrace.

-- The Department of Homeland Security warned that Chinese-made drones may be sharing sensitive flight data with their manufacturers. An alert from DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warns that the drones “contain components that can compromise your data and share your information on a server accessed beyond the company itself.” (CNN)

-- Detainees in China’s reeducation camps for Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang are given an hour or so to cry every two weeks, according to a woman who was held at one of the facilities. From Radio Free Asia: “Since April 2017, authorities in the XUAR have held an estimated 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring ‘strong religious views’ and ‘politically incorrect’ ideas in the camps … Reporting ... has shown that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination [and] routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers … Guzire Awulqanqizi, a Kazakh woman who was held at the Dongmehle Re-education Camp [said] that detainees dealing with the stress of 14-hour days of political study are given a ‘crying session’ every two weeks.”

THE IMMIGRATION WARS:

-- Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who blew a totally winnable governor's race last fall because of his polarizing approach, gave the White House a detailed list of 10 demands for him to become Trump's “immigration czar.” The Times’s Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni scoop: “Access to a government jet 24 hours a day. An office in the West Wing, plus guaranteed weekends off for family time. And an assurance of being made secretary of homeland security by November. Those were among a list of 10 conditions ... Kobach also said he would need to be the main television spokesman for the Trump administration on immigration policy. And he said he wanted a guarantee that cabinet secretaries whose portfolios relate to immigration would defer to him, with the president mediating disputes if need be. The list was submitted by Mr. Kobach in recent weeks as he discussed his interest in the job. Other conditions included having a staff of seven reporting to him, 'walk in' privileges to the Oval Office, a security detail if deemed necessary and the title of assistant to the president. ... The existence of the list has become known among officials in the Trump administration, some of whom were taken aback by what they regard as its presumptuousness. Mr. Trump has also been considering others for the role, and he is said to be leaning toward Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the former Virginia attorney general. Mr. Cucinelli has made his own requests related to the job, such as a security detail and transportation to work.”

-- A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy detained at the southern border died while in U.S. custody in Texas. Abigail Hauslohner reports: “Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez was found unresponsive in his detention cell ‘during a welfare check’ Monday, a day after a nurse practitioner had diagnosed him with Influenza A and Border Patrol officials had moved to isolate him from other detained migrants, a CBP official told reporters during a conference call. … He is the fifth migrant child since December to die after being taken into custody at the southern border by federal immigration authorities.”

-- New documents show that immigrants detained by ICE are sometimes placed in solitary confinement for reasons unrelated to rule violations. NBC News’s Hannah Rappleye, Andrew W. Lehren, Spencer Woodman and Vanessa Swales report: “The newly-obtained documents paint a disturbing portrait of a system where detainees are sometimes forced into extended periods of isolation for reasons that have nothing to do with violating any rules. … Only half of the cases involved punishment for rule violations. The other half were unrelated to disciplinary concerns — they involve the mentally ill, the disabled or others who were sent to solitary largely for what ICE described as safety reasons.”

-- Meanwhile, down under, Australia’s reelection of its conservative government has triggered a spate of suicide attempts among the country’s refugees. From France 24: “Many had prayed for a more lenient policy from Labor, who had been strongly tipped to win. But an unexpected victory by Scott Morrison's centre-right coalition … dashed hopes and set off a wave of self-harm including several hospitalisations.”

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:

-- George Papadopoulos, a member of Trump’s 2016 campaign, is a perfect metaphor for 2019. T.A. Frank profiles him for this Sunday's Washington Post Magazine: “I first met George Papadopoulos, the unlikely trigger of an investigation that many thought would take down Donald Trump, on a balmy California day in December 2018, less than a week after his release from federal prison. … His 12 days in prison, he said, were worst before the fact. The reality of minimum-security confinement came as a relief. ‘You’re expecting you’re going in to get raped and killed,’ he said. ‘I get inside the prison, and the guards are basically mocking my sentence: ‘You’re more trouble for us than we are for you.’ ’ … In person, he came across as warm, oddly guileless and eager to please. He made boastful claims. (‘I was on a first-name basis with Netanyahu for four years.’) He made ingratiating claims. (‘As an individual I’m more comfortable with Washington Post people like you than with, I dunno, the Daily Caller.’) And then there was his central claim: that the entire federal investigation of Trump had its origins in dirty tricks masterminded by a group of foreign and U.S. intelligence entities.”

-- “Fox & Friends” co-host Pete Hegseth privately lobbied Trump to pardon U.S. servicemen accused and convicted of war crimes. Hegseth, an Iraq War veteran, has pressed the president to pardon the men since as early as January. (The Daily Beast)

-- Former Trump associate Roger Stone wants a judge’s permission to appear at a strip club in Tennessee where he is scheduled to judge a national exotic dancer competition. Mother Jones’s Dan Friedman reports: “On Thursday, lawyers for Roger Stone, whose travel is restricted ahead of his November trial on obstruction of justice and perjury charges, requested a judge’s permission to visit Tennessee and Illinois ‘for business opportunities.’ … In a Facebook post, the club said Stone will judge dancers alongside Kristin Davis, who is known as the ‘Manhattan Madam’ for her role running a high-end prostitution ring in New York City in the early 2000s. Stone has previously employed Davis, and they are close friends. … Last week, he launched a ‘Family Support Fund’ to seek donations to cover ‘rent, food, medical expenses, insurance, gasoline, and the most basic of living expenses’ for him and his wife. Strip-club appearance fees may be an emerging source of income for the cash-strapped dirty trickster.”

-- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos used her personal email to conduct government business. Laura Meckler reports: “The report found fewer than 100 emails sent or received to personal accounts between Jan. 20, 2017 ... and April 10, 2018. It said most messages were in the first six months of 2017, from a single writer offering advice on potential candidates for agency positions. The writer, who was not identified, also included other department employees on his or her messages, using their official government email addresses. … The report also flagged the department’s failure to produce emails from DeVos’s private accounts in response to one request under the Freedom of Information Act. … A department spokeswoman, Liz Hill, did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but she said on Twitter that any coverage of the matter was overblown.”

THE NEW WORLD ORDER:

-- Iran has quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity. The AP’s Nasser Karimi and Jon Gambrell report: “Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what’s needed for an atomic weapon. But by increasing production, Iran soon will exceed the stockpile limitations set by the accord. Tehran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to set new terms for the deal, or it will enrich closer to weapons-grade levels in a Middle East already on edge.”

-- Trump said there’s “no indication” of threatening actions by Tehran, playing down tensions with Iran. Felicia Sonmez reports: “‘We have no indication that anything’s happened or will happen, but if it does, it will be met, obviously, with great force. We will have no choice,’ [he said]. Trump’s description of Iran’s recent actions stood somewhat in contrast with the portrayal given by his national security team. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a tweet earlier Monday that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, had warned about ‘escalating tensions’ with Iran.”

-- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed Trump’s “genocidal taunts." From the BBC: “Mr Zarif said the US president should look to history. ‘Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone... Try respect - it works!’ … Writing on Twitter on Monday, Iran's foreign minister said the US president was being ‘goaded’ by what he called the ‘B Team’ -- a reference to [Bolton], Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

-- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that, while he favors talks and diplomacy, the current conditions do not allow for them. “Today’s situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only,” the Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying. (Reuters)

-- Another senior Iranian official called Trump a “crazy president” while slamming his mixed messages over any potential conflict. CNN’s Nicole Gaouette reports: “Iran's director of foreign affairs for the country's parliament, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian … pointed to the US leader's ongoing campaign to strangle Iran's economy on the one hand and his requests for Iran to talk on the other. ‘In his mind, Trump thinks he has a gun to Iran's head with sanctions and he is trying to shut down our economy,’ Amir-Abdollahian told CNN's Fred Pleitgen. ‘This is all in his imagination. Now he wants us to call him? This is a crazy president!’”

-- Swamp watch: The Libyan National Army, a militia group led by Khalifa Haftar, has hired its own Washington lobbyist. From Politico’s Theodoric Meyer: “Stephen Payne and Brian Ettinger of Linden Government Solutions will lobby in Washington on behalf of Haftar’s forces as well as assist with 'international coalition building' and public relations. ... The one-year contract, which will be filed with the Justice Department, is worth $2 million. Libya’s United Nations-backed government, which Haftar is fighting, recently hired its own lobbying firm, Mercury, on a one-year contract worth $1.8 million, plus $200,000 for expenses.”

2020 WATCH:

-- “Increasingly, Fox News is the star of the Democratic race,” Sarah Ellison writes after a string of recent town halls with Democratic presidential candidates. “After years of playing the culture wars, the cable news network has become a key flash point in the 2020 race. And the candidates are in the same position as the rest of the country, not to mention the Murdoch family who controls the network, and even the president of the United States: What to do about Fox News? … Trump does his best to support the Fox News hosts who support him. … Meanwhile, Democratic candidates have taken very different approaches to the network. In March, the Democratic National Committee barred Fox News from hosting a Democratic primary. But many candidates, such as [Pete] Buttigieg, are breaking from the party line and going on Fox, each in his or her own way.”

-- A host of “Fox & Friends” slammed Buttigieg for criticizing Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. The Times’s Michael M. Grynbaum reports: “Mr. Buttigieg’s hourlong appearance spawned headlines, solid ratings, and kudos from liberals pleased to see the South Bend, Ind., mayor calling out Fox News pundits on their own network. The reaction was chillier among some of the network’s core conservative viewers … On Monday’s ‘Fox & Friends,’ the host Brian Kilmeade scolded Mr. Buttigieg for criticizing his fellow commentators. ... ‘Don’t hop on our channel and continue to put down the other hosts on the channel,’ Mr. Kilmeade said. ‘If you feel that negative about it, don’t come. For him to go out there and take shots on our prime-time lineup, without going on our prime-time lineup, shows to me absolutely no courage.’”

-- Black voters say they are struggling with cynicism toward the field of candidates after they've been let down so many times. Cleve R. Wootson Jr. reports: “Interviews with dozens of black voters in three competitive states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina — found deep divisions beneath that party loyalty about the best way to wield the power they bring to the ballot box, and a sense that past political engagement has been met with broken promises and little progress for struggling communities. In addition to regional and generational divides, voters’ perceptions are further muddied by the fact that there are nearly two dozen major candidates, including six women and two black senators — minority candidates who have to contend with the disappointment of some black voters who feel the first black president didn’t do enough for them.”

-- Walmart employees brought a surprise guest to their company’s annual meeting as they continue fighting for higher wages and better benefits: Bernie Sanders. Abha Bhattarai reports: “The presidential candidate, who has repeatedly called on Walmart to improve its working conditions, is heading to Bentonville, Ark., on June 5 to introduce a shareholders’ proposal that would give hourly Walmart workers a seat on the company’s board. ‘These workers need and deserve a seat at the table,’ Sanders (I-Vt.) told The Washington Post. ‘If hourly workers at Walmart were well represented on its board, I doubt you would see the CEO of Walmart making over a thousand times more than its average worker.’”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Amash is not backing down. After drawing a Trumpian primary challenger, the Michigan GOP congressman elaborated on why he thinks the president has committed impeachable offenses:

A CNBC reporter drew a connection between the money that McGahn's firm is getting and his decision to not appear today:

Harry Reid has a framed letter Trump sent him after he got reelected in 2010 hanging in his office:

One 2020 Democrat poked fun at his relatively low name recognition:

Buttigieg's communications adviser compared her candidate with the president:

Elizabeth Warren’s dog Bailey is also making the campaign rounds:

A Toronto Star reporter noted this about Trump’s crowd size estimations:

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said goodbye to her host country after the Trump administration ended her tenure early:

A CNN host got the numbers for the viewership of the final “Game of Thrones” episode:

“Hamilton,” the popular Broadway show, broke a record:

And Florida outdid itself:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

-- The Atlantic, “My Chicago Synagogue Was Firebombed—But We’re Not Leaving,” by Leah Sarna: “These types of attacks are becoming common: Synagogues, mosques, and black churches around the country and the world have faced violence in the past few months. It’s easy to assume that the solution is to wall ourselves off, to draw apart. If, ultimately, other people pose the greatest threat to my person and my property, perhaps I should distance myself from them. Jewish legal sources—including the Mishnah, and the later rabbinic elaborations in the Talmud—have a lot to say about restitution for damages. Nowhere, however, does Jewish law recommend living in isolation. Community is essential to being a Jew, because community is essential to being a human. We need one another. When we live in close proximity, we will inevitably cause damage to our neighbors, whether with our words or our actions, and we lay ourselves open to being damaged in turn. But the implicit message of Bava Kamma is: The risk is worth it.”

-- The New Yorker, “How Legalization Changed Humboldt County Marijuana,” by Emily Witt: “In 2016, operating under California’s medical-marijuana laws, Humboldt County officials began to try to license their half-hidden industry for the first time. Farmers who had been hiding from law enforcement for years were asked to present themselves to authorities and to comply with new commercial-growing ordinances. ... Before legalization, people grew cannabis however they could and developed methods to avoid getting caught by law enforcement. Regulation demands a different set of skills. Instead of burning records, farmers must now practice accounting. ... Legalization brings with it the costs of taxes, permitting, compliance, and new competitors. It has also occasioned a rapid drop in price. Now Humboldt County is experiencing not only an economic crisis but also an existential one. What happens to a group of people whose anti-government ethos was sustained by an illegal plant that is now the most regulated crop in California?” 

-- The Economist, “Europe’s hard-right is pitching voters a contradictory fantasy”: “Europe's right-wing populists will take votes off an array of mainstream rivals at next weekend’s election to the European Parliament. But what exactly do they want? To that, the nationalists provided answers of sorts at their big end-of-campaign rally in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo today. Under sporadic rain showers in the shadow of the city’s cathedral, right-populist leaders from eleven EU countries demanded a 'revolution' to overthrow the existing order in Brussels and build a 'Europe of nations'. They were confident. They were loud. They reaped the applause of thousands of supporters of Italy’s hard-right Lega, the host party, gathered in the square waving giant flags in the drizzle. They were also incoherent to the point of parody.”

HOT ON THE LEFT

“How extremists are reasserting themselves in mainstream GOP politics in Arizona,” from the Arizona Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez: “Following the death of longtime U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and with statewide GOP leaders such as Gov. Doug Ducey and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., hesitant to stand up against it, the party’s fringe is resurgent. With nativism rising in the U.S., Arizona’s far-right, enamored with conspiracies and comfortable among bigots and nationalists, is mobilizing after years of feeling alienated by the state GOP. They are motivated by a president and state party leader who are voicing action for a pro-Trump ‘America First’ agenda they support and the state’s rapidly changing demography towards a younger, more diverse population, experts say. ‘It’s not necessarily just how widespread support may be for a particular leader or policy, but how deep it is within certain pockets,’ said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

“These Illinois Republicans are rallying around a bill to kick deep-blue Chicago out of the state,” from Liz Weber: “If [Republican state lawmaker Brad] Halbrook and his supporters have their way, the 51st state would not be the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico. It will be the Windy City. Halbrook, who represents a district east of Springfield, Ill., reintroduced a bill in February to create a new state around Chicago. According to Halbrook, there are eight co-sponsors, up from three when it was introduced last year. The bill has a long way to go; it needs at least 60 votes to pass the Illinois House of Representatives, to say nothing of the state Senate or the governor. And yet the bill’s supporters are hopeful, pointing to a rising tide of frustration toward what they see as Chicago’s overstated influence in Illinois politics, namely around issues of gun rights, debt, immigration and abortion.”

 

DAYBOOK:

Trump will have lunch with Pence before participating in a meeting with the leaders of the Freely Associated States. 

Before joining the president for lunch and the Freely Associated States meeting, Pence will participate in a farewell ceremony for U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“I think that we have created this culture of non-sleep, where people literally brag about these things. And I see parents now and work environments that is driving people to sleep less and less and less, and I think it is so unhealthy. … I do think that we should be talking much more as a society about health and well-being.” — Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on a New Hampshire political podcast.

 

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

-- We know it just started getting warm, but the heat is in retreat — at least for now. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Our recent summery steamroller is derailed for a couple days by very pleasant late-spring conditions with low humidity and sunny skies. Warmth and humidity slowly regain a foothold by Thursday, along with some chances of thunderstorms. The warm, muggy air hangs around through the holiday weekend with frequent 80s for highs, and we may even make a run at 90.”

-- D.C. hit 90 degrees for the first time in 2019 on Monday. Martin Weil reports: "That 90-degree reading was made at 3:01 p.m. at Reagan National Airport, where the National Weather Service makes the official readings for the nation’s capital. It apparently stayed at 90 for about an hour, lest it be thought that this was a momentary phenomenon, a mere quirk of nature, rather than a plausible candidate for the day that started summer."

-- The Nationals lost 5-3 to the Mets. (Jesse Dougherty)

-- A court case seeking to overturn four state laws that restrict abortions opened in Virginia. Laura Vozzella reports: “While a spate of states have recently made access to abortion more difficult, advocates in Virginia are trying to make it easier. The case is being heard in an election year when Republicans are trying to hold onto their razor-thin control of the legislature and when abortion politics — dormant for the past few cycles — probably will be prominent. ... The case in federal court in Richmond comes after Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio banned abortions after doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat ... The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of abortion rights groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood and several abortion clinics across the state. The state Department of Health and the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) are defending the rules. The case has put Herring in an awkward position as both an advocate for abortion rights and the state official tasked with defending Virginia law. He did not formally recuse his office from the case but hired a private firm, Hirschler Law, saying he did not have enough staff to handle it.” 

-- A series of shootings in Columbia Heights led to a school lockdown. Peter Hermann reports: “Liane Carrascoso was headed to pick up her 5-year-old son at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights on Friday when she saw police officers urgently closing down nearby streets. Two men had been shot less than 400 feet from the school’s front door, and officers were searching for three possible shooters. Classes had ended about an hour earlier, but children still mingled on the playground in an aftercare program, waiting to be picked up. Carrascoso said teachers told her that one of the shooters had run right by the playground. 'I saw his teachers, and they looked worried,' she said. 'They told me the kids were vulnerable at that moment.'”

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

The White House has tried to have “infrastructure week” half a dozen times over the past two years, but it's always derailed because of Trump's scandals, staff issues and off-message tweets:

For Stephen Colbert, the biggest event on TV this past weekend was Buttigieg's Fox News town hall:

Seth Meyers said it is now a matter of national security to make sure Trump spends “as much time on the golf course as possible”: 

Hasan Minhaj took a look into the National Rifle Association's global impact: 

A Fox News reporter struggled to interact with New Yorkers on the street:

Lori Lightfoot, Chicago's first gay, black female mayor, was inaugurated:

And a protester threw a milkshake at Brexit booster Nigel Farage:

Farage was the latest victim of “milkshaking,” an action by British protesters angry at their politicians. (New York Daily News)