with Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

THE BIG IDEA: Justice Clarence Thomas opened a 20-page concurring opinion, in which he likened not just abortion but also birth control to eugenics, by taking shots at his Supreme Court colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Justice Ginsburg's dissent from this holding makes little sense,” wrote Thomas, 70. “It is not a ‘waste’ of our resources to summarily reverse an incorrect decision that created a Circuit split.”

“Justice Thomas’ footnote ... displays more heat than light,” replied Ginsburg, 86. “The note overlooks many things: ‘This Court reviews judgments, not statements in opinions’ [and] a woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a ‘mother.’”

The two longest-serving justices were sniping at each other over a compromise decision on an Indiana law that essentially punted the battle royal over Roe v. Wade to the next term at the earliest. On a 7-to-2 vote, the high court overturned the 7th Circuit and upheld the state’s mandate that the “remains” of an abortion or miscarriage be buried or cremated, as required of other human remains. But the justices left intact the appellate court’s decision that blocked another part of the same law from going into effect. That provision would have prohibited women from choosing abortions after a diagnosis or “potential diagnosis” of Down syndrome or “any other disability,” or because of the fetus’s gender or race.

The three-page, unsigned decision in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky emphasizes that the court is not taking a position one way or another on “whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex-, race-, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers.”

Thomas said the Supreme Court cannot continue kicking that can down the road. “Although the court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever,” he wrote. “Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is dutybound to address its scope.”

The justices have been grappling since January with the Indiana law, signed by Mike Pence in 2016 when he was governor, and there were several hints of behind-the-scenes machinations. While Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have let both lower-court decisions remain in place, their fellow liberals Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan said nothing.

Thomas is the only justice remaining on the court who participated in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case in 1992. He was one of four justices who said they would have effectively overturned Roe if they could. Thomas has often made clear that he believes Roe was a mistake. As part of the compromise 27 years ago to get Anthony Kennedy’s vote for saving Roe, the court created a new standard: Restrictions on abortion could not impose an “undue burden” for women. What constitutes an undue burden has been up for debate ever since.

This was one of the flash points in Tuesday’s squabbling between Thomas and Ginsburg, who argued that compelling a woman to bury the remains of an aborted fetus could be traumatizing. “The cost of, and trauma potentially induced by, a post-procedure requirement may well constitute an undue burden,” she wrote.

Thomas noted that Planned Parenthood didn’t make that argument before the lower court. “This argument is difficult to understand, to say the least—which may explain why even respondent Planned Parenthood did not make it,” he wrote. “The argument also lacks evidentiary support.”

“Under the rational-basis standard,” Ginsburg replied, “Planned Parenthood … had no need to marshal evidence that Indiana’s law posed an undue burden.”

At least 20 cases related to abortion are in the pipeline, any of which could be used by the five conservative justices to upend or otherwise roll back the core holding of Roe. “The court almost surely will consider during the term that begins in October a Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on doctors who perform abortions there,” Robert Barnes reports. “A challenge to a separate Indiana law requiring a waiting period for an abortion after a woman has a sonogram is awaiting action at the court, as is a restriction on a commonly used procedure in second-trimester abortions. Even more restrictive laws, such as an Alabama measure that would virtually outlaw abortion there, are unlikely to reach the Supreme Court anytime soon.”

Thomas’s opinion repeatedly cited a book by Adam Cohen on the Supreme Court’s 8-to-1 ruling in Buck v. Bell in 1927 to uphold forced sterilization. But Cohen, the author of “Imbeciles,” said the justice’s interpretation of his work is “not quite in line with history,” especially his attempts to link abortion and birth control to eugenics. “Sterilization laws were about the government deciding, while abortion laws are about the woman deciding,” Cohen told the Wall Street Journal. “She is not thinking about the future of the race, she is thinking about whether to have a particular child.”

Many conservatives celebrated Thomas’s concurrence. The vice president singled out the justice for praise:

A former spokesman for Hillary Clinton had this takeaway:


-- Missouri could become the first state without a clinic that performs abortions, Planned Parenthood officials warned, suing the state yesterday to allow its clinic in St. Louis to continue offering the procedure past the end of this week. “Planned Parenthood officials said the state’s health department is threatening not to renew the organization’s license to offer abortions in St. Louis, the only place in Missouri that provides the procedure,” Marisa Iati reports. “The license expires Friday, and if it isn’t renewed, Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen said, ‘this will be the first time since 1974 that safe, legal abortion care will be inaccessible to people in an entire state.’ … The nonprofit said the clinic 'has maintained 100 percent compliance' with the law. …

“Although five clinics in Missouri performed abortions in 2008, that number fell to two by 2018. It dropped to one facility in October after Planned Parenthood’s Columbia Health Center could not meet new state requirements that abortion providers receive admitting privileges at hospitals within 15 minutes of their clinics, according to NPR. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion access, five other states have just one clinic that performs abortions: Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a bill last week that criminalizes abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, when some women do not even realize they’re pregnant. There are no exceptions in the new law for rape or incest.

-- To prepare for a possible post-Roe world, several blue states are expanding abortion rights: Democrats in the Illinois House advanced a bill last night to remove restrictions on certain late-term abortions and scrap criminal penalties for doctors arising from a 1975 law whose enforcement has been blocked by the courts. The bill advanced on a 64-to-50 vote, with six Democrats in opposition. It now goes to the Democratic-controlled state Senate, and the Democratic governor is expected to sign it.

“Last week, lawmakers in Maine advanced legislation expanding abortion providers. Meanwhile, the majority-female Nevada Assembly approved a bill doing away with the requirement that doctors inform women of the ‘emotional implications’ of an abortion. Legislation is pending in additional Democratic-controlled states, such as Massachusetts, where the ROE Act would authorize abortion after 24 weeks in certain situations,” Isaac Stanley-Becker reports. “In Vermont, both houses of the state’s General Assembly endorsed a measure earlier this month that recognizes reproductive choice as a ‘fundamental right.’ The state’s Republican governor, Phil Scott, has pledged not to veto the measure.”

-- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) proposed a Reproductive Rights Act that mimics the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by forcing states to get clearance for any new abortion restrictions from the Justice Department. (BuzzFeed)

-- Netflix became the first major movie studio to speak out against the restrictive abortion law passed in Georgia. Many of Hollywood’s most powerful production companies shoot there thanks to generous tax incentives, but only Netflix has taken a stand. That said, the company said it will continue to film in the state because the legislation has not yet gone into effect. “Some celebrities have vowed to boycott Georgia if the law is officially implemented in January, while others will instead donate earnings to organizations fighting against it,” per Sonia Rao. “Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos declared that while the streaming giant wouldn’t yet refrain from working in Georgia, it would partner with organizations in the legal fight against the law.”

-- Fact Checker Glenn Kessler gives Four Pinocchios to a claim by Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen that thousands of women died every year from botched abortions before Roe was handed down in 1973: “They should know better than to peddle statistics based on data that predates the advent of antibiotics. Even given the fuzzy nature of the data and estimates, there is no evidence that in the years immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s decision, thousands of women died every year in the United States from illegal abortions. Wen’s repeated use of this number reminds us of the shoddy data used by human trafficking opponents. Unsafe abortion is certainly a serious issue, especially in countries with inadequate medical facilities. But advocates hurt their cause when they use figures that do not withstand scrutiny. These numbers were debunked in 1969 — 50 years ago — by a statistician celebrated by Planned Parenthood. There’s no reason to use them today.”


-- The Supreme Court left in place a Pennsylvania school district’s policy allowing transgender students to use facilities matching their gender identities. The justices declined to review an appeals court ruling upholding the Boyertown Area School District policy, which a group of current and former students complained violated the privacy rights of students who are not transgender. (Barnes and Moriah Balingit)

-- The court ruled against an Alaska man who claimed police retaliated against him for exercising his free speech rights, making it harder for those who make similar allegations to bring lawsuits against arresting officers. Barnes reports: “If there was probable cause to make the arrest, [Chief Justice John Roberts] wrote for the court, that generally will be enough to keep a lawsuit from moving forward. Otherwise, ‘policing certain events like an unruly protest would pose overwhelming litigation risks,’ Roberts wrote. ‘Any inartful turn of phrase or perceived slight during a legitimate arrest could land an officer in years of litigation.’ But Roberts said the key word is generally. Reflecting a worry expressed at oral argument in the case, the majority carved out an exception if an arrested person can demonstrate that police are using a usually unenforced law to harass.”

-- The court will hear a case about whether the families of Mexican teenagers killed by border agents can sue in U.S. courts. Barnes reports: “The justices failed to settle the issue once before. Their renewed involvement was necessitated by contradictory lower court decisions in cases from Arizona and Texas. At issue is whether congressional approval is needed before families can sue on behalf of foreign victims who were injured on foreign soil. The court took the case from Texas, but its outcome will influence the Arizona case. It will be argued during the term that begins in October.”


-- It was always about power, not precedent: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted in Kentucky yesterday that he’d push through any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court if a vacancy opens in 2020. In 2016, he refused to even consider Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia, on the grounds that it was an election year. The senator responded to a hypothetical question at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Paducah, Ky. “We’d fill it,” he said with a smile.

McConnell spokesman David Popp said the standard that the leader laid out in 2016 was that a justice shouldn’t be confirmed when the Senate and the White House are controlled by different parties, but that it doesn’t apply because Republicans hold both.

At the Chamber event, McConnell explained that confirming conservative judges will be the most important long-term legacy of this period. “Everything else changes,” he said. “What can’t be undone is a lifetime appointment … That’s the most important thing we’ve done in the country, which cannot be undone.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused his GOP counterpart of hypocrisy:

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-- Special counsel Bob Mueller will make a public statement at 11 a.m. on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Felicia Sonmez and Matt Zapotosky report: “There will be no question-and-answer session following Mueller’s statement, according to the Department of Justice. A person familiar with the matter said Mueller will deliver a ‘substantial’ statement, but declined to provide more details. ... The appearance will mark the first time Mueller has spoken publicly following the release last month of his 448-page report. The White House was notified Tuesday night that Mueller planned to make a statement on Wednesday, according to a senior White House official.”

-- The Democratic National Committee announced stricter new criteria this morning to qualify for the presidential debate that will take place in September, which could dramatically winnow the field of 23 candidates. Michael Scherer reports: “To appear in the party’s third debate, which will be broadcast by ABC News and Univision, candidates will have to earn 2 percent support in four party-sanctioned polls between late June and August. In addition, they will have to show they’ve attracted at least 130,000 donors since the start of the campaign, including at least 400 from 20 different states. That third debate will be held on Sept. 12, with the possibility of a second session on Sept. 13 if there are enough qualifying candidates to require two stages. As the race now stands, only eight candidates in the field would meet the 2 percent threshold in recent party-sanctioned polls, according to an assessment by FiveThirtyEight. ... Many are also struggling to reach the donor requirements.”

-- Severe weather continues to hammer the Midwest. A large tornado carved a path of destruction through parts of northeastern Kansas last night. No fatalities have been reported. At least 12 people were injured. (Allyson Chiu)

  • The tornadoes that ripped through Ohio on Monday night killed at least one. The mayor of Celina, about 60 miles north of Dayton, said an 81-year-old died after a twister sent a vehicle through his home. Another three residents suffered injuries that the mayor categorized as “serious.” (Timothy Bella and Kayla Epstein)
  • May is already the fourth worst month for tornadoes ever recorded and the threat continues with watches and warnings posted in half-a-dozen states from Oklahoma to New Jersey. More than 500 tornadoes have been reported,” per CBS News.


  1. Lawyers for the state of Oklahoma argued on the first day of a trial against Johnson & Johnson that the company and its subsidiaries, motivated by greed, deliberately flooded the market with prescription painkillers, deceptively promoted them and stood by as the opioid epidemic flourished. The company countered that its products make up a tiny portion of the painkillers that have been consumed and said its business is closely regulated by federal and state agencies. (Lenny Bernstein is in Norman, Okla.)

  2. The Vatican imposed, but didn’t enforce, restrictions on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Newly released private letters show McCarrick ignoring the church’s restrictions almost as quickly as they were put in place. (Chico Harlan)

  3. Oregon schools will be required to teach about the Holocaust and the concept of genocide under a new bill. If Gov. Kate Brown (D) signs the measure, schools must “prepare” students to confront the “immorality of the Holocaust, genocide and other acts of mass violence.” The bill is the result of work by Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener and high school freshman Claire Sarnowski, who heard him speak as a fourth-grader. (Eli Rosenberg)  

  4. Michigan agreed to pay $860,000 to the family of Janika Edmond after a lawsuit claimed that prison guards failed to intervene in her 2015 suicide, even placing bets on when she would become suicidal. Videos showed that after Edmond requested an anti-suicidal smock, one guard yelled in celebration, “Somebody owes me lunch!” Minutes later, choking sounds were heard from the prison showers, and no one intervened. Edmond was later found with a bra around her neck. (Isaac Stanley-Becker)

  5. A college freshman managed to make his way into Mar-a-Lago over last year’s Thanksgiving break while Trump was staying there. The University of Wisconsin student walked down the beach that Mar-a-Lago shares with the nearby Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club, went through the Secret Service security check as club members do and wandered the grounds of Trump’s Florida resort for 20 minutes before getting arrested. (Palm Beach Post)

  6. Colorado attorney Christopher Kulish died after reaching the peak of Mount Everest, achieving his goal of climbing the highest summit on every continent. The 62-year-old became the second American to die in the past week after climbing Everest during a particularly deadly season on the mountain. (Paulina Firozi)

  7. Texas lawmakers made it possible for every person in the state to call themselves a plumber. Legislators got rid of the state's plumbing code and the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, making it possible for anyone to call themselves a plumber without completing the agency-required education and tests. (Texas Tribune

  8. A man traveling from Colombia to Japan died mid-flight after ingesting 246 bags of cocaine. The man began having seizures, prompting an emergency landing in Mexico, where he was pronounced dead. (Lindsey Bever)

  9. A Lyft driver was attacked by a passenger in New York because he wasn’t driving fast enough. A video of the incident shows a male passenger getting irritated at the driver in traffic before punching him and getting out of the car. (Business Insider)

  10. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz died at 60. Horwitz wrote several acclaimed nonfiction books, including “Confederates in the Attic,” about the legacy of the Civil War in the South, and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 while covering low-paying jobs in Southern chicken-packing plants for the Wall Street Journal. (Matt Schudel)


--House subpoenas for Trump’s bank records were put on hold by a federal judge in Manhattan, pending the president's appeal. Renae Merle reports: “Trump and attorneys for the House committees that ordered Deutsche Bank, the president’s biggest creditor, and Capital One to turn over years of the president’s financial information jointly asked Southern District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos to delay enforcement of the subpoenas while an appeal is expedited through the courts. Ramos agreed to the request on Monday. … In the case involving Deutsche Bank and Capital One, Trump’s attorneys said the information being requested by the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees is too broad and would violate the president’s privacy. Ramos rejected Trump’s motion for a preliminary injunction and ruled that the president and his family ‘are unlikely to succeed on merits of their claims.’

-- Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) defended his decision to call for Trump’s impeachment during a packed town hall in his congressional district. David Weigel and John Wagner report: “‘Congress has a duty to keep the president in check,’ he said to hundreds of people crowded into an auditorium at Grand Rapids Christian High School. … During a two-hour meeting — one hour more than scheduled, Amash faced both supporters and opponents of his challenge to Trump — and even was pressed on why he remained a Republican. Asked why he did not leave the party and become an independent, Amash said that Michigan election law made it hard for independents to win; asked if he would run for president as a libertarian, Amash did not rule it out though he said, ‘If I were trying to roll out something like that, this is not how I’d do it.’ … In a series of Tuesday tweets, Amash wrote that Attorney General William P. Barr had deliberately misrepresented key aspects of Mueller’s report ‘to further the president’s false narrative about the investigation.’”

-- Christopher Steele, the former British spy who created the dossier describing alleged links between Trump and Russia, will not talk to prosecutor John Durham, who was assigned by the attorney general to review how the investigations into Trump and his 2016 campaign began. Reuters’s Mark Hosenball reports: “The source close to Steele’s company said Steele would not cooperate with Durham’s probe but might cooperate with a parallel inquiry by the Justice Department’s Inspector General into how U.S. law enforcement agencies handled pre-election investigations into both Trump and Clinton. Steele also cooperated with Mueller’s investigative team, voluntarily submitting to two interviews in September 2017. He also gave written testimony to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in August 2018, the source said.”

-- In an op-ed for The Post, Jim Comey accuses Trump of telling “dumb lies” about the FBI's investigation into the president’s campaign. The ousted director writes: “There is a reason the non-fringe media doesn’t spend much time on this ‘treason’ and ‘corruption’ business. The conspiracy theory makes no sense. The FBI wasn’t out to get Donald Trump. It also wasn’t out to get Hillary Clinton. It was out to do its best to investigate serious matters while walking through a vicious political minefield. But go ahead, investigate the investigators, if you must. When those investigations are over, you will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations. There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that. There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances.”

-- Hillary Clinton originally cheered when Trump fired Comey, according to a new book by Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief at the Intercept. The Daily Beast’s Hanna Trudo reports: “In the aftermath of that decision, the former Democratic nominee, Grim reports, was ‘ecstatic’ and had to be talked out of applauding it publicly. Clinton’s instinctive response was driven by what she felt was Comey’s out-of-line treatment of her presidential candidacy. … When the news broke, Clinton was at her home in Chappaqua, New York, and ... felt vindication. … Grim interviewed Brian Fallon, one of Clinton’s top campaign advisers and her former spokesperson, who suggested there was an initial sense of confusion over how the team should address the news. … Clinton’s euphoria did not last long. She was ‘ultimately dissuaded by advisers from issuing a statement applauding the move,’ Grim writes.”

-- DOJ agreed to make public a list of miscellaneous court actions related to Mueller’s investigation. CNN’s Katelyn Polantz reports: “The unsealing would not necessarily reveal the details of the court filings, but instead give the public a broader overview of how, when and for what Mueller was going to the federal court to gather evidence. Mueller said in his final report that his team had received almost 800 search, seizure and communications warrants from federal courts in the investigation, yet his office wouldn't give more detail. It's still unknown exactly how many of those were approved by judges in federal court in DC.”

-- Mueller’s spokesman denied a claim from “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff that obstruction of justice charges were drawn up against Trump. The Guardian’s Edward Helmore reports: The allegation “is contained in Siege: Trump Under Fire, which will be published a week from now ... It is the sequel to Fire and Fury, Wolff’s bestseller on the first year of the Trump presidency. … In an author’s note, Wolff states that his findings on the Mueller investigation are ‘based on internal documents given to me by sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel’. But Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, [said]: ‘The documents that you’ve described do not exist.’”


-- The crush of children arriving at Arizona’s border has shattered a multibillion-dollar system that Congress and the White House built over the past 20 years to effectively catch and deport migrants. Maria Sacchetti reports from Yuma, Ariz.: “Nearly 169,000 youths have surrendered at the southern border in the first seven months of this fiscal year, and more than half are ages 12 and under, according to federal records and officials familiar with Customs and Border Protection statistics. Minors now account for nearly 37 percent of all crossings — far above previous eras, when most underage migrants were teenagers and accounted for 10 percent to 20 percent of all crossings. ‘I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything near this,’ said John Sandweg, an acting director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration. … Border scenes involving children have been surreal: One boy recently surrendered in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume, a girl carried a pink-clad doll, and border agents are feeding formula to newly apprehended babies. Migrants say they are coming to the United States because droughts are frying Central American harvests, they can’t pay their bills, and gangs are recruiting children.”

-- The Trump administration is targeting people who help migrants at the border. Arrests have been on the rise since 2017. NPR’s Lorne Matalon reports: “Scott Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor from Ajo, Ariz., works with a group called No More Deaths or No Mas Muertes. The group's volunteers leave water and food for migrants traversing the Arizona desert. Warren was arrested in 2017 and faces three felony counts including conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants. In its complaint, the government claims Warren was seen talking to two migrants who sheltered in Ajo. He denies being part of any sheltering plan. ‘It is scary to be intimidated like this and to be targeted but there really is no choice,’ said Warren … He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all three felony counts, a prospect he can't even contemplate.”

-- Officials in New Mexico said a privately built portion of the border wall, paid for with money collected from an online fundraiser, did not have the proper permits to be built. Leaders of the pro-Trump group We Build the Wall have received a cease-and-desist order over the construction of a new fence that authorities allege does not have the proper permits. (KTSM)

-- Trump’s pick to lead ICE, former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, made himself relevant again with a series of Fox News appearances in which he showered praise on the president. Politico’s Gabby Orr and Daniel Lippman report: “But while the segments won Trump over, Morgan remains an unwelcome figure to some White House allies and to some of the immigration officials he is set to lead. While Morgan’s defenders point to his law enforcement background and say he is respectful and highly capable, the early grumbling about his appointment underscores the intense pressure Trump officials continue to face on the highly politicized issue of immigration. … Many aren’t convinced Morgan is a genuine immigration hardliner and that his Fox News hits were merely opportunism. … ‘I have never seen a person do a 180 so quickly,’ a former ICE official said of Morgan’s comments on Fox. ‘If you look at the public statements he was making when he first came on as head of [the Border Patrol], and you look at the stuff he’s been saying on Fox News you’re like, where did this guy come from?’”


-- Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has seized power over the Labor Department’s rulemaking process because of frustration over the pace of deregulation procedures under Secretary Alexander Acosta. Bloomberg Law’s Ben Penn reports: “Upon arriving at the West Wing in January, Mulvaney instituted a formalized system for settling regulatory policy and timeline disputes between White House assistants and Acosta’s top aides .... Conflicts are elevated to Mulvaney for a final decision … Acosta and his staff have been losing these decisions so often that they’ve stopped bothering to appeal, said current and former DOL officials. This has led to an acceleration of previously languishing rules on overtime pay, job training, and workplace safety that businesses have sought during the first two years of Trump’s administration. The White House intervention also signals more contentious regulations—such as rules to bolster union oversight or restrict workers from taking medical leave—could now be in the pipeline at a department that appears less likely to embody its secretary’s risk-averse style for the remainder of Trump’s presidency.”

-- Trump keeps complaining about John Bolton, his national security adviser. The growing rift between them was on public display this weekend in Japan, as the president contradicted Bolton on both North Korea and Iran. The New York Times’s Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman report: “The president declared that, unlike his national security adviser, he was not seeking regime change in Iran and he asserted that, contrary to what Mr. Bolton had said, recent North Korean missile tests did not violate United Nations resolutions. … Speculation arose when the national security adviser skipped the state dinner, although it was not clear why. But rather than fly home with the president, as an aide worried about his position might do, Mr. Bolton flew directly to the United Arab Emirates for meetings, a sign to his allies of the confidence he has in his relationship with Mr. Trump.”

-- Ahead of a meeting with Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Bolton said the White House isn’t planning a military offensive in response to an assessment that Iran was behind recent attacks on American tankers. The Wall Street Journal’s Rory Jones reports: “The White House is ‘trying to be prudent and responsible’ in attempting to avoid war with Tehran, Mr. Bolton told reporters on a visit to the U.A.E. capital of Abu Dhabi. ‘The point is to make it clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of actions risk a very strong response from the United States,’ he said.”

-- The State Department’s regular news briefing is coming back with a new spokeswoman. Carol Morello reports: “Morgan Ortagus had some dismissive words for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the Iranian regime. She referred questions about a Middle East peace plan to the White House. She called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo 'incredibly supportive' of President Trump and his foreign policy agenda. Nothing Ortagus said was particularly groundbreaking. But the fact she was answering reporters’ questions at all was news in itself. … The Defense Department has gone almost a year without a press-secretary briefing, though Kiss frontman Gene Simmons and actor Gerard Butler have both done star turns on the Pentagon podium. … The State Department used to brief daily. But in the Trump administration, the timetable shrank to no more than twice a week, and often less.”

-- Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will attend this year’s secretive Bilderberg meeting in Switzerland. CNBC’s David Reid reports: “Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg Meeting was designed to foster warmer relations between the United States and Europe. The annual talk fest is considered secretive because guests are not allowed to reveal who said what at the meeting. The Bilderberg guest list typically includes top politicians, business leaders, financiers, academics and influential members of the media. The event’s website said Tuesday that about 130 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance this year. Aside from Kushner, this year’s list of attendees features French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, Credit-Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.”


-- Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) derailed a $19.1 billion disaster aid package that was already sidelined once by another House Republican. Jeff Stein reports: “Massie followed Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.), who was the lone representative to object Friday when House leaders made their first attempt at passing the measure. Massie and Roy have said they objected because of the effect of the aid on the national debt and because lawmakers left out the funding that [Trump] had requested for operations along the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite the lack of border funding, Trump said the Senate had his support when it overwhelmingly voted to advance the measure Thursday. … The objections to the disaster aid bill further delays legislation that would send assistance to victims of Western wildfires, Midwestern flooding and hurricanes that hit the Southeast and Puerto Rico, as well as to other disaster-affected areas of the country.”

-- Trump appointees at the EPA overruled career scientists, who were alarmed about air pollution, to ease the way for the construction of a Foxconn flat-screen factory that is politically important to the president. From Reuters’s Timothy Gardner: “Racine County has suffered some of the state’s worst cases of smog, also known as ozone, pollution that causes premature deaths from lung and heart complications.The emails obtained by the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin under a freedom of information request show Trump administration officials, including then-administrator Scott Pruitt, overruled career EPA scientists to exempt Racine County from a list of counties that break smog standards. That has freed Foxconn from having to make millions of dollars in pollution control devices, if the project is eventually built.”

-- Civil rights groups sued the Department of Health and Human Services over a new rule allowing health providers, insurers and others to refuse to provide or pay for services they say violate their religious beliefs. Ariana Eunjung Cha reports: “The plaintiffs represent a diverse group of health-care providers, community centers and LGBTQ and women’s rights groups across the country — from Seattle and Los Angeles to Allentown, Pa., and Washington, D.C. They emphasized that while transgender individuals may be most vulnerable to discrimination under the rule, it would affect all Americans.”

2020 WATCH:

-- Joe Biden unveiled a massive education proposal, the first major policy plan of his presidential campaign. Felicia Sonmez reports: “The proposal came as Biden addressed a town hall in Houston hosted by the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union in the country … In the plan, he pledged to triple Title I funding, which goes toward school districts with a high proportion of children from low-income backgrounds. Biden also promised to reform the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to help public school teachers pay off their student loan debt. He called for doubling the number of school psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses and other health professionals; ensuring federal funding for children with disabilities; and banning assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. And he threw his support behind universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds.”

-- Trump joined Democrats in criticizing Biden for his role in the passage of the 1994 crime bill, demonstrating how radically the politics around criminal justice have shifted in recent years. Seung Min Kim and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. report: “As he prepared to leave Tokyo on Tuesday, Trump eviscerated Biden over his efforts behind the Bill Clinton-era law … Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, amplified that argument hours later Tuesday afternoon, ticking off several reasons the 1994 bill … was a ‘TERRIBLE mistake,’ including its disparities in sentencing guidelines for crack and powder cocaine offenses and its role in increasing incarceration rates. … The latest volley from Trump toward Biden illustrates just how much criminal justice issues have scrambled political alliances on the campaign trail, with Trump signing a bill that was written by a potential 2020 rival (Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey) while echoing Democratic candidates’ criticisms of one of Biden’s signature legislative achievements from his decades in office.”

-- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed two policies meant to give millions of workers more of an ownership stake in companies. Jeff Stein reports: “Sanders said his campaign is working on a plan to require large businesses to regularly contribute a portion of their stocks to a fund controlled by employees, which would pay out a regular dividend to the workers. … Sanders also said he will introduce a plan to force corporations to give workers a share of the seats on their boards of directors. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) proposed a similar idea last year. Both ideas are expected to face significant opposition from the business community.”

-- Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a Marine veteran running for president, said he sought treatment for PTSD after his deployments during the Iraq War and introduced a plan to expand military mental-health services. Politico’s Alex Thompson reports: “’I had some particular experiences or regrets from the war that I just thought about every day, and occasionally I’d have bad dreams or wake up in a cold sweat,’ the Massachusetts Democrat [said] ... ‘But because these experiences weren’t debilitating — I didn’t feel suicidal or completely withdrawn, and I was doing fine in school — it took me a while to appreciate that I was dealing with post-traumatic stress and I was dealing with an experience that a lot of other veterans have.’ … His policy proposal would require ‘mental health checkups’ in addition to annual physicals for active-duty military and veterans. It would also mandate a counseling session for all troops within two weeks of their return from a combat deployment. And it would provide money for yearly mental health screenings for every high schooler in the country. The campaign proposal has not yet been set in legislative text.”

-- The more moderate members of the House Democratic freshman class, such as Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Va.), are working to separate themselves from their more liberal counterparts. Jenna Portnoy reports: “These members will have to win reelection if the party is to hold the chamber in 2020. They face a double challenge: Not only do they have to strike a balance between loyalty to the Democratic Party and fidelity to their more conservative districts, but they also have to fight the leftward tug of progressives who want universal health care, impeachment of [Trump] and a Green New Deal. … As she fights the pull of the progressives and learns her way around Congress, Spanberger already faces a Republican opponent — Tina Ramirez, a Hispanic single mother and activist in the cause of religious freedom.”


-- The Trump administration is pushing for Europe to ban Huawei products, but the Chinese telecommunications giant is offering nearly unbeatable prices. Ellen Nakashima reports: “Last month, the Netherlands’ leading wireless carrier chose Huawei to provide equipment for its next-generation 5G wireless network. The carrier, KPN, insisted the choice was based on quality. But Huawei had another advantage: price. Huawei underbid the existing vendor … offering a price that wouldn’t even cover the cost of parts. The company can afford to provide such steep discounts in part because it has a silent partner: the Chinese government. Huawei gets hundreds of millions of dollars in annual subsidies. … Over the past decade, Huawei has made similar inroads in Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and throughout the developing world, offering good products at prices telecom carriers can’t resist and with which rivals can’t compete. But despite Washington’s warnings that Huawei equipment could be used to aid Chinese espionage or sabotage, in Europe the company is moving to expand its foothold in the 5G landscape.”

-- Huawei filed a legal motion to block the Trump administration’s efforts to ban its equipment in the United States, calling it an affront to global human rights. Anna Fifield reports: “‘Politicians in the U.S. are using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company,’ Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, said Wednesday at its corporate headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. ‘They are using every tool they have, including legislative, administrative and diplomatic channels. They want to put us out of business. This is not normal,’ he said. ‘The fact is the U.S. government has provided no evidence to show that Huawei is a security threat. There is no gun, no smoke. Only speculation.’”

-- Chinese Communists were disciplined after a statue of Mao Zedong was photographed toppled over by strong winds. The party chief of the village where the statue was found was given a “serious warning” for failing to protect it. (South China Morning Post)

-- Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar has emerged as the new public face of the group during Moscow peace talks. Amie Ferris-Rotman reports: “Baradar’s comments showed that the insurgency’s leadership was willing to advance peace talks and signaled that efforts to end the protracted U.S.-led war in Afghanistan could be gaining momentum despite continued deadly attacks by the Taliban across the country. … Sitting near Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a large round table in a central Moscow hotel, Baradar addressed a room full of Afghan power brokers, many of whom are political rivals of President Ashraf Ghani. As with previous meetings involving the Taliban, no members of the government in Kabul, whom the Taliban views as American ‘puppets,’ attended.”

-- The U.S. sent at least 30 Islamic State suspects captured in Syria to Iraq, where they will stand trial. Reuters’s Raya Jalabi and Alissa de Carbonnel report: “Three of the men have been convicted of [Islamic State] membership and sentenced to death by Iraqi courts, while five have been given life sentences. Four of them told Reuters they were tortured in prison, a claim Reuters was unable to verify.”

-- A rape case is dividing a Russian city, stirring a rare debate in the country on feminism, justice and the #MeToo movement. Amie Ferris-Rotman reports: “A 23-year-old police investigator accused three of her colleagues of gang-raping her during a party after hours at work. The policemen were arrested, and a criminal probe was launched. That alone was a rare step. In a country where rape is the least-registered crime and where some forms of domestic violence were decriminalized two years ago in a law passed by President Vladi­mir Putin, a rape case involving high-ranking police officers playing out in the courts is virtually unprecedented. … In an anomaly for Russia, all three men accused in the case — who range in age from 34 to 51 — were immediately fired after the alleged rape in late October. The accuser also lost her job. The men were then sent to a grim detention center where they spent months. They are now under house arrest.”

-- Facebook and Twitter disabled a sprawling disinformation campaign that seems to have originated in Iran. Tony Romm reports: “Some of the disabled accounts appeared to target their propaganda at specific journalists, policymakers, dissidents and other influential U.S. figures online. … Twitter said it had removed about 2,800 accounts originating in Iran at the beginning of May, but it did not tie the accounts to the country’s government.”

-- At least 55 prisoners were strangled or stabbed to death in fights at four Brazilian jails. Marina Lopes reports: “The killings, which appear to stem from a power struggle within the Northern Family, Brazil’s third-most powerful gang, began Sunday at the Anísio Jobim penitentiary complex in Brazil’s northwestern Amazonas state. Authorities say inmates stabbed rivals with sharpened toothbrushes and choked them to death in front of visiting family members. Forty more inmates were killed in three other Amazonas state prisons on Monday.”

-- Mexico issued an arrest warrant for Emilio Lozoya, the former head of the state-run oil company Pemex, on corruption charges. Kevin Sieff reports: “Lozoya’s arrest would be significant. Pemex is the second largest enterprise in Latin America, after the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, and Lozoya was a prominent member of [former president Enrique] Peña Nieto’s inner circle.”

-- Venezuela is at risk of losing an entire generation. Arelis R. Hernández and Mariana Zuñiga report from Caracas: “Here in the capital on any given afternoon, emaciated teens pick through rotting garbage for food. Children have been abandoned to extended family or orphanages by parents who can no longer afford to keep them. Newborns have been discarded in dumpsters. … An estimated 840,000 children have lost at least one parent to emigration, the child advocacy group Cecodap reports. School attendance has fallen by half in the past two years, according to Fe y Alegria, a network of Jesuit schools that serve the nation’s poorest neighborhoods. Infant mortality spiked to 11,466 deaths in 2016, a 30 percent increase from the year before, the Ministry of Health reported in 2017. The health minister who published that information was fired days after its release; the government hasn’t provided data on children’s health since.”


Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), who is running for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, said he expects Roy Moore will enter the race in June. The former state Supreme Court chief justice responded that he could beat the incumbent in a rematch:

The president's eldest son pushed back forcefully:

The president himself then weighed in this morning:

Trump offered an odd defense of his attacks on Biden while overseas:

Biden responded to Trump's attacks after the president returned to the United States:

A contributing editor at Marie Claire decried Thomas’s concurrence on the Indiana case:

Other feminists expressed concern that access to birth control is in jeopardy, not just abortion rights:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) lamented the fact that women in Missouri might not be able to legally access abortion after this week:

Out on the the trail, Gillibrand has taken kissing babies to the next level:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) shared the spotlight with a baby, as well:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) offered a glimpse into the life of her dog, Bailey:

And George H.W. Bush's former service dog honored his late owner:


-- Former senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) appears to be trying to stage a slow comeback into “the fray” with his podcast as he vents to friends about what was “taken away” from him. Ben Terris reports: “Franken, 68, is talking, but only on his terms: into a microphone, in the studio, where he gets to set the agenda during the interviews and exercise editorial discretion afterward. … Notably absent, however, from the first batch of recordings has been any discussion of what happened; of why Franken spends his Fridays in a tucked-away recording studio instead of debating legislation on the Senate floor. … After leaving the Senate, Franken has avoided talking about the subject in public. In private, though, according to friends and colleagues, he often can’t shut up about it. Even with months to reflect, it would appear his feelings haven’t much changed.”

-- Politico Magazine, “The Spy Case That Made Adam Schiff a Russia Hawk,” by Zach Dorfman: “Today, Schiff is more familiar as the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and one of the country’s most vocal critics of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia-connected figures during the 2016 presidential race—entanglements Schiff called, in a phone interview, ‘deeply unethical’ and in some cases ‘fundamentally compromising.’ To some observers, Schiff’s vehemence—he frequently appears on TV, and often gets attacked by [Trump] on Twitter—seems politically opportunistic, or misplaced. But his toughness on Russia and his wariness of Moscow’s intelligence apparatus far predate Trump. In key ways, Schiff’s perspective on Russia was shaped decades earlier, during his prosecution of Richard Miller.”

-- “It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?” by Geoffrey A. Fowler: “On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. … IPhone apps I discovered tracking me by passing information to third parties — just while I was asleep — include Microsoft OneDrive, Intuit’s Mint, Nike, Spotify, The Washington Post and IBM’s the Weather Channel. One app, the crime-alert service Citizen, shared personally identifiable information in violation of its published privacy policy. And your iPhone doesn’t only feed data trackers while you sleep. In a single week, I encountered over 5,400 trackers, mostly in apps.”


“Ocasio-Cortez responds to baseball team’s ‘enemies of freedom’ Memorial Day video,” from Marisa Iati and Reis Thebault: “Among the ‘enemies of freedom’ portrayed in a Memorial Day tribute video at a minor league baseball game: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, former Cuban president Fidel Castro and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The video, shown between games of the Fresno Grizzlies’ doubleheader Monday, displayed President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address on top of patriotic photos and images honoring veterans. A Fresno Bee reporter first pointed out the video on Twitter. ‘As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people,’ Reagan said as a photo of Ocasio-Cortez flashed across the screen between photos of dictators. … On Tuesday evening, Ocasio-Cortez issued an emphatic response, writing on Twitter that messages like the one in the baseball team’s video are the reason she’s bombarded with death threats and hate-filled calls, emails and social media posts.”



“Jeffries, the No. 5 Democrat in the House, derides Trump as the ‘fake leader of the free world,’” from John Wagner: “Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House, derided [the president] on Tuesday as the ‘fake leader of the free world’ as Trump traveled back to the United States from a trip to Japan. The comment by Jeffries (N.Y.) came in a tweet in which he sought to highlight the silence of many Republicans in response to Trump saying over the weekend that he agrees with the assessment of North Korean state media that [Biden] is a ‘fool of low IQ.’ ‘Many House Republicans wrap themselves in the flag and patriotic rhetoric,’ Jeffries wrote on Twitter. ‘But they have nothing to say when fake leader of the free world blatantly sides with a Communist North Korean Dictator? PHONIES.’ … During an appearance Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ [Jeffries] called Trump ‘functionally a studio gangster,’ saying he ‘pretends to be a tough guy, but he is really just playing that role on TV.’”



Trump will receive his intelligence briefing before participating in the swearing-in of the president and board chairman of the Export-Import Bank with Pence. They will later have lunch before meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


Former defense secretary Jim Mattis said his forthcoming book, which will be released July 16, will not be a tell-all about his tenure in the Trump administration: “I’m old-fashioned: I don’t write about sitting presidents, so those looking for a tell-all will be disappointed. I want to pass on the lessons and experiences that prepared me for challenges I could not anticipate, not take up the hot political rhetoric of our day.” (AP)



-- Don’t forget to hydrate as a heat wave hits us today and tomorrow. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “The season’s first true heat wave is a two-day affair today and tomorrow, with humid temperatures in the 90s and some hit-or-miss summertime thunderstorms possible. A cold front delivers much nicer conditions by Friday, followed by what should be a decent weekend, despite the potential for showers and storms, especially on Sunday.”

-- The Nats beat the Braves 5-4. (Jesse Dougherty)

-- Lonnie G. Bunch III was named secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, becoming its first African American leader. Bunch, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, takes the helm of the 173-year-old institution as it faces numerous challenges — including technological setbacks and a costly maintenance backlog. (Peggy McGlone)

-- The FBI targeted prostitution bosses in D.C.’s Logan and Thomas circles. Peter Hermann and Spencer S. Hsu report: “What at first glance appears to be freelance sex workers hustling the streets often is, according to authorities, the more visible end of a shadowy array of competing criminal enterprises linked to drugs and guns. The activity stretches from Shaw to Dupont Circle, centered roughly in the dozen square blocks bounded by 11th and 13th and K and O streets. The area is so notorious it is referred to as ‘the Blade’ or ‘the Track,’ according to court documents. Of the 110 prostitution arrests made by police last year in a patrol area from Columbia Heights to Thomas Circle, 62 were on a single block — 12th Street between L and M streets, bisected by Massachusetts Avenue. … In raw conversations intercepted by investigators, the suspected pimps bragged that the street work was the low end of bigger business ventures with ties to strip clubs and other adult-entertainment venues. One boasted of investing proceeds from sex work in his own clothing line.”


Stephen Colbert shared his thoughts on Trump's plans to take over D.C.'s Fourth of July celebrations:

Trevor Noah thinks Trump might like Japan's Shinzo Abe, but not as much as he likes North Korea's Kim Jong Un:

A new ad for Gillette shows a father teaching his transgender son how to shave:

"The spot features transgender activist Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, who stands before a bathroom mirror, razor in hand, as his father guides him through the process. 'Don’t be scared,' the older man says. 'Shaving is about being confident.'" (Hamza Shaban)

And the White Sox shared what might be one of the worst first pitches in history:

“The camera is okay. I’m okay. I’m just shocked,” the photographer said, adding, “I honestly didn’t even see it coming.” (Des Bieler)