THE BIG IDEA: President Trump, who declared “I alone can fix it” when he accepted the Republican nomination in 2016, has long believed that his personal instincts mattered more than his personnel choices.
Near the end of his first year in office, Fox News host Laura Ingraham expressed concern about all the senior positions Trump had not filled across the government. She asked whether the president worried that he had enough loyalists to push his vision through. “Let me tell you, the one that matters is me,” he replied. “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.”
Trump has learned the hard way during the intervening 19 months that personnel is policy, and he cannot make every decision at every department. “If you could have one do-over as president,” Chuck Todd asked during an interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday, “what would it be?” Without missing a beat, the president replied: “It would be personnel.”
Asked to elaborate, he mentioned Jeff Sessions. “I would say if I had one do-over, it would be: I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general,” Trump said. “Yeah, that was the biggest mistake.”
Not Helsinki. Not Charlottesville. Not family separations.
Not failing to drain the swamp, end the endless wars or repeal Obamacare.
Not triggering the longest government shutdown in U.S. history in a futile attempt to get funding for a border wall – or subsequently declaring a national emergency to divert money from the military.
Not his quest to expel transgender service members who are willing to die in combat, his mockery of the #MeToo movement nor his demonization of African American athletes.
Not throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans – nor trying to minimize how much federal funding these U.S. citizens get to rebuild their devastated island.
Not firing James Comey as FBI director – or the other nine cases of possible obstruction of justice outlined in Bob Mueller’s report.
Trump believes appointing Sessions, the first senator to endorse him in 2016, was his biggest mistake. Never mind that Sessions dutifully implemented Trump’s policy priorities right up until he got fired after the midterms. The former Alabama senator’s cardinal sin in Trump’s eyes was recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
The president went on to praise Bill Barr, his pick to replace Sessions. “The job he’s done is incredible,” Trump said. “He’s brought sanity back. … I think he feels that what’s happened in this country was a very bad thing and very bad for our country.”
To be sure, it’s not news that Trump thinks hiring Sessions was a mistake. He’s made that crystal clear. Still, Trump is not a man inclined to admit fault or publicly second guess himself. So it is notable when he does. And his willingness to reflect on his appointments like a baseball team manager talks about his roster reflects a growing recognition of how much of an impact the people he surrounds himself can have on policy outcomes.
Later in the interview, for example, Trump criticized Jerome Powell, his pick for Federal Reserve chair, and critiqued monetary policy. “I'm not happy with his actions,” the president said. “No, I don't think he's done a good job.”
But he defended his national security adviser, saying he likes to hear a mix of perspectives from his inner circle. “Yeah, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk,” Trump said. “If it was up to him, he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay? But that doesn't matter because I want both sides.”
No one has ever fully grasped the burdens of the presidency until they got the job, even the sons of former presidents. There’s a Herculean learning curve for any occupant of the Oval Office. But many have been more prepared for the challenges they would face than Trump, the first president in U.S. history with no prior governing or military experience. They got some sense while leading states, or Senate offices, of how to effectively pull the levers of power in the federal government.
-- Trump promised he would hire only “the best people” to work in his administration, but he’s given critics ample cause to question that claim throughout the past two-and-a-half years. When Patrick Shanahan withdrew last week from consideration to be secretary of defense in the face of reports about domestic violence incidents within his family, it raised questions that still have not been answered about why those episodes never came up when he was confirmed to be the No. 2 person at the Pentagon.
This administration has suffered historic turnover, from the senior ranks of the White House to the Cabinet. And there’s lots of people like Ronny Jackson, Andy Puzder and Stephen Moore who never got the jobs Trump wanted to put them up for.
-- Axios obtained nearly 100 internal Trump transition vetting documents. Prepared by researchers at the Republican National Committee after Chris Christie was fired as the head of the transition team immediately after the election, these documents identify a host of “red flags” about officials who went on to get top jobs in the government. Here are some of the most striking nuggets from the leaked documents, per Jonathan Swan, Juliet Bartz, Alayna Treene and Orion Rummler:
“Seema Verma, who Trump appointed as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, had this paragraph near the top of her vetting form: ‘Verma was simultaneously advising Indiana ($3.5 million in contracts) on issues impacting how it would spend Medicaid funds while she was also being paid by a client that received Medicaid funds. Ethics experts have called the arrangement a conflict of interest that potentially put Indiana taxpayers at risk.’
“Sonny Perdue, Trump's pick for Agriculture Secretary, had a vetting form with sections labeled ‘Business conflicts of interest’ and ‘Family conflicts of interest.’ It noted that ‘Perdue is the owner of Houston Fertilizer and Grain, a company that has received contracts from the Department of Agriculture.’ … One heading in the document about Kris Kobach, in the running for Homeland Security Secretary, listed ‘white supremacy’ as a vulnerability. It cited accusations from past political opponents that he had ties to white supremacist groups. …
“Scott Pruitt, who ultimately lost his job as EPA Administrator because of serial ethical abuses and clubbiness with lobbyists, had a section in his vetting form titled ‘allegations of coziness with big energy companies.’ Tom Price, who ultimately resigned as Health and Human Services Secretary after Trump lost confidence in him in part for stories about his use of chartered flights, had sections in his dossier flagging ‘criticisms of management ability’ and ‘Dysfunction And Division Has Haunted Price's Leadership Of The House Budget Committee.’ Mick Mulvaney, who became Trump's Budget Director and is now his acting chief of staff, has a striking assortment of ‘red flags,’ including his assessment that Trump ‘is not a very good person.’
“Traditionally, any would-be top official faces three types of vetting: an FBI background check, a scrub for financial conflicts of interest from the Office of Government Ethics, and a deep dive from the president-elect's political team, which veteran Washington lawyers often handle,” Axios notes. “According to sources on the RNC vetting team, senior Trump officials asked them to do an initial ‘scrub’ of the public record before Trump met the contenders. But in many cases — for example the misguided choice of Puzder as Labor Secretary — this RNC ‘scrub’ of public sources was the only substantial vetting in Trump's possession when he announced his picks.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will propose canceling the entire $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt. Jeff Stein reports: “Sanders is proposing the federal government pay to wipe clean the student debt held by 45 million Americans — including all private and graduate school debt — as part of a package that also would make public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free. Sanders is proposing to pay for these plans with a tax on Wall Street [transactions] that his campaign says will raise more than $2 trillion over 10 years, though some tax experts give lower revenue estimates. … ‘This is truly a revolutionary proposal,’ said Sanders, who is announcing the plan with the support of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and a handful of other House Democrats.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed $640 billion in student debt forgiveness, and former housing secretary Julián Castro introducing a more modest debt forgiveness plan. All these proposals have raised strong objections, including from moderate Democrats, for giving taxpayer subsidies to educated Americans who, on average, have higher earnings than those with only a high school degree.
GET SMART FAST:
- The death of Nipsey Hussle has led to peace talks between the Bloods and the Crips in Los Angeles. Gang leaders met for two hours of negotiations and agreed on a tentative cease-fire after being inspired by the sight of gang rivals coming together to pay tribute to the rapper. (Los Angeles Times)
- The Agriculture Department is refusing to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that show the dangers of climate change. The studies range from a discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle. (Politico)
- Scientists recorded a video of the elusive giant squid, the first time the marine monster has been filmed in U.S. waters. The squid was spotted 749 meters below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. It took a 23-person-crew using specialized equipment to capture the footage. (Kayla Epstein)
- As Republicans in the Oregon state Senate remain in hiding to avoid voting on a bill that would cap greenhouse emissions, a number of right-wing militias showed up at the state capitol in Salem vowing to “protect” the missing lawmakers. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmakers said the senators are not accepting the help of the militias. (The Guardian)
- An Indian city of nearly 5 million people is running out of water. New satellite images show that the bodies of water in Chennai, one of the biggest cities in the country, are quickly running dry. (New York Times)
- A 10th American man died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. The man, a New Yorker, died earlier this month, a U.S. State Department official said. No more details were offered on his identity or the cause of death. (CNN)
- A woman woke up alone on a dark, parked plane after falling asleep while flying from Quebec to Toronto. Air Canada said it is investigating the incident, during which the woman said she woke up “freezing cold” and still strapped to her seat. (BBC)
- A court in England ordered that a mentally disabled woman must have an abortion against her and her mother’s wishes. The unidentified woman, who is 22 weeks pregnant, has the mental capacity of a 6- to 9-year-old child, evidence showed. The judge called the decision “heartbreaking” but said it was made in the best interests of the woman. (New York Times)
- The Toronto Raptors will probably pass on a White House visit. No NBA champion has visited the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, when Barack Obama’s second term was winding down. Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, quickly invited the Raptors, the first team outside the United States to win an NBA title, to Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Cindy Boren)
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- “Trump’s erratic policy moves put national security at risk, experts warn,” by Felicia Sonmez and David J. Lynch: “Trump’s approach on three issues — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, Mexican tariffs and Iran — is politically risky for the president, who is increasingly employing brinkmanship in an effort to achieve key policy goals. … The results of Trump’s strategy on policy have been mixed at best … Trump’s announcement that he had directed ICE agents to conduct mass arrests of migrant families that have received deportation orders — and subsequent two-week delay of the operation — appears to have fallen flat so far. Democrats have responded not by scrambling to the negotiating table but rather by accusing him of government by hostage-taking.”
-- Despite the delay of the ICE raids, immigrant communities are still mobilizing and preparing for potential roundups. Maria Sacchetti, Nick Miroff, Rob Kuznia and Arelis R. Hernández report: “’We’re ready. We’re going to be vigilant,’ said Richard Morales, director of the immigrant rights campaign for Faith in Action, a national faith-based network in more than 20 states. ‘Whether it happens today or it happens in two weeks, our congregation, our clergy, they’re ready to respond.’ … Trump’s threats jarred immigrant communities nationwide in recent days. In the Washington area, five church congregations readied to offer sanctuary to immigrants facing deportation, and advocates lined up volunteers to take their children to doctors’ appointments or summer school. In Chicago, workers canvassed immigrant neighborhoods handing out informational cards, accompanied by the new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who told local media she had a message for Trump: ‘Back off.’”
-- Trump postponed the raids before the launch of a “Trump for Latinos” effort, and some don't think it's a coincidence. From PBS News’s Meredith Lee: “Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to be in Miami, one of the 10 cities where ICE planned to conduct its operations, for the ‘Trump for Latinos’ campaign to embrace Hispanic voters. Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, said while the postponement may provide some ‘reprieve,’ though ‘not a solution,’ he does not doubt the optics of Pence campaigning in Miami while the raids were still happening was ‘likely a factor’ in Trump’s decision to postpone.”
-- Three children and one woman have been found dead near the Rio Grande. Tim Elfrink reports: “The dead included one toddler, two infants and an approximately 20-year-old woman, said Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra in a late-night tweet. The woman and children were found in an area notorious for illegal border crossings and drug trafficking, authorities said. Their cause of death is still under investigation, as are their identities.”
-- A second military service member assigned to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border has died in southern Arizona. From the Arizona Republic: “Officials at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said in a statement that the military service member with the Southwest Border Support Mission was found dead Sunday near Ajo, Arizona. They say the incident is under investigation, but foul play isn't suspected. The name of the military service member wasn't released. … The base previously announced the June 1 death of another military service member near Nogales, Arizona, who also was assigned to the Southwest Border Support Mission. Base officials said foul play wasn't suspected in that death either.”
-- One of the lawyers who interviewed a group of migrant children detained at a Texas facility said the team was so disturbed by what they saw that they decided to go to the media. From The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner: “So, on Wednesday, we received reports from children of a lice outbreak in one of the cells where there were about twenty-five children, and what they told us is that six of the children were found to have lice. And so they were given a lice shampoo, and the other children were given two combs and told to share those two combs, two lice combs, and brush their hair with the same combs, which is something you never do with a lice outbreak. And then what happened was one of the combs was lost, and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children’s blankets and mats. They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb. So you had a whole cell full of kids who had beds and mats at one point, not for everybody but for most of them, who were forced to sleep on the cement.”
-- A doctor who was granted access to the largest CBP detention facility in the country compared conditions there for unaccompanied children to “torture facilities.” ABC News’s Serena Marshall, Lana Zak and Jennifer Metz report: “After assessing 39 children under the age of 18, [Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier] described conditions for unaccompanied minors at the McAllen facility as including ‘extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.’ All the children who were seen showed evidence of trauma, Lucio Sevier reported, and the teens spoke of having no access to hand washing during their entire time in custody. She compared it to being ‘tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.’ In an interview with ABC News, Lucio Sevier said the facility ‘felt worse than jail.’ ‘It just felt, you know, lawless,’ she said. ‘I mean, imagine your own children there. I can't imagine my child being there and not being broken.’”
-- Japanese internment camp survivors protested outside a fortified U.S. Army post at Ft. Sill, the site of a World War II-era detention camp to which the Trump administration wants to send 1,400 migrant children. From the Los Angeles Times: “'We are here today to protest the repetition of history,’ proclaimed camp survivor Satsuki Ina, 75, of San Francisco, one of about two dozen former internees and their descendants in attendance. Met by uniformed military police, the protesters, some in their 80s, were told they did not have permission to congregate and might face arrest. ‘You need to move right now!’ one of the officers shouted. ‘What don’t you understand? It’s English: Get out.’ But the survivors, carrying thousands of origami cranes as a symbol of solidarity, refused to leave until police from adjacent Lawton, Okla., arrived and let them speak. They then moved to a park where a crowd of about 200 was waiting.”
-- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) signed a bill that bans private immigration detention centers in the state. Pritzker said that he won’t allow private companies to profit off Trump’s immigration policies. He also signed a bill banning local police from assisting in federal immigration enforcement. (NBC Chicago)
-- The Michigan Republican Party headquarters was tagged with anti-ICE graffiti this weekend. “The state party believes it may have been a personal attack on Chairwoman Laura Cox, who served a significant portion of her career as an ICE agent," the Detroit News’s Beth LeBlanc reports.
-- A member of a far-right group that privately patrolled southern New Mexico and detained migrants has been charged with allegedly impersonating a federal officer. From the Las Cruces Sun News’s Lucas Peerman: “James Christopher Benvie, 44, of Albany, Minnesota, could face up to three years in prison if convicted on both counts. … Benvie, who has been a spokesperson for at least two ‘patriot’ groups, was arrested this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Logan County Sheriff's Office in Guthrie, Oklahoma. … The United Constitutional Patriots, an armed civilian group patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border in the Sunland Park area, made national headlines after Benvie live-streamed a video on Facebook showing the group's members detaining more than 300 migrants. The video was posted April 16.”
-- The Texas Tribune gathered a list of organizations that are mobilizing to help kids who were separated from their parents at the border, as well as asylum seekers.
-- "I'm a journalist but I didn't fully realize the terrible power of U.S. border officials until they violated my rights and privacy," by the Intercept's Seth Harp: "Austin is where I was born and raised, and I usually get waved through immigration after one or two questions. I’m also a white man. ... This time, when my turn came to show my passport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was more aggressive than usual in his questioning. I told him I’d been in Mexico for seven days for work, that I was a journalist, and that I travel to Mexico often, as he could see from my passport. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He wanted to know the substance of the story I was currently working on, which didn’t sit right with me. I tried to skirt the question, but he came back to it, pointedly. I was going on three hours of sleep, and I hadn’t had anything to eat in the last 12 hours besides some popcorn and peanuts and a Monster energy drink. Had my blood sugar been higher, I might have cheerfully told him. Instead, I muttered something about not having a legal obligation, under the circumstances, to disclose the contents of my reporting. The agent, whose name was Moncivias, said we would see about that. He asked me to follow him into the secondary screening area."
MORE ON 2020:
-- Back home in South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg faced an escalating leadership test during an emotional town hall last night. He's struggling to smooth the city’s pain caused by the killing of a black man by a white police officer. CNN’s Dan Merica and Donald Judd report: “The shooting of Eric Jack Logan, who police alleged was breaking into cars and wielding a knife when he was shot by officer Ryan O'Neill last Sunday, has roiled the Indiana community, putting the spotlight on years of racial tension between the South Bend Police Department and the city's African American residents. … The free-wheeling town hall -- which included a mix of questions, storytelling and protesting from attendees who spoke to the mayor -- focused on how the police department has interacted with the community for years, long before the shooting. … The mayor, sitting on stage with South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski, responded to the heated questions and direct criticism by admitting failure on a number of fronts.”
-- “The emergence of race as a central issue in recent days, on the presidential campaign as well as in Washington, has underscored the increasingly important role the subject is playing in the Democratic Party in the age of Trump and is pressuring the Democratic candidates to demonstrate their awareness and grasp of racial matters,” Annie Linskey reports from Richmond. “Such issues have long played a big role in Democratic politics. But the sense among many black voters that Trump has been particularly dismissive of their concerns, coming directly after the tenure of the first black president, has put racial matters at the forefront of the political discussion, even as Democrats are more keenly aware of their reliance on the African American electorate.
“‘People finally recognize the significance of the black vote,’ said Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus who visited the former capital of the Confederacy on Saturday to celebrate a landmark event: the renaming of a major thoroughfare here for black tennis champion Arthur Ashe. Bass and others said that, while several politicians have fumbled the issue in recent days, they welcome the renewed focus on race. ‘You have race front-and-center in the presidential campaign,’ Bass said. ‘I find that to be helpful, even if they stumble over it, even if they say things that are not particularly helpful. The fact that people know now they have to talk about race is progress, as far as I’m concerned.’”
-- In South Carolina, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is still looking for her political niche. Chelsea Janes reports: “Throughout the weekend, she cast herself as a candidate of action, seeming to embrace the notion that the Harris brand is one built on practicality as much as any sort of sweeping vision. ‘I think it’s important to have grand and broad ideas for how to fix this world,’ Harris told voters at a Friday night meet-and-greet. ‘But it’s also important, and I believe for me it’s a priority, how can I address the things that wake people up in the middle of the night?’ … In a crowded field in which Sanders’s Democratic socialism and Warren’s heavily regulated capitalism are elbowing for supremacy on the far left and Biden is positioning himself as a centrist best positioned to beat Trump, Harris is known more for her prosecutorial performance in Senate hearings than she is for advocating any particular approach to policy. … The result, so far, is a policy portfolio that often seems comprised of one-off announcements that put her largely in line with long-held, mainstream Democratic positions.”
-- Biden laid out his immigration plan in an op-ed for the Miami Herald. In it, he calls on Congress to extend citizenship to "Dreamers," promises investment on border security through improved screening procedures and border technology, and emphasizes the importance of investments and partnerships made throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to address challenges that may increase migration.
-- “How a grieving mom changed Kirsten Gillibrand’s stance on guns,” by Robert Samuels: “Jennifer Pryear waited for her. She held a photograph of her daughter, Nyasia Pryear-Yard. She wasn’t sure she wanted to meet a politician. ‘She’s not from Brooklyn. She’s from upstate. She likes guns,’ Pryear remembered thinking. ‘But then I thought, if I could use my tragedy to make a difference, it would be worth it.’ It was February 2009, two weeks after Gillibrand had been appointed to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate and three weeks since Nyasia, 17, left the house to go to a dance party. Someone started shooting, and a bullet struck Nyasia, killing her. Pryear showed Gillibrand the picture and begged her to support stricter gun-control measures. To Pryear’s surprise, her pleas seemed to work. Gillibrand looked into the mother’s eyes and promised, ‘Your daughter’s death won’t be in vain.’”
-- Former congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) said he is running for president. Felicia Sonmez reports: “Sestak first drew national attention in 2010 when he waged a primary challenge against then-Sen. Arlen Specter, who had switched parties to run for reelection as a Democrat. The Obama White House, in an effort to dissuade Sestak from running, dispatched former president Bill Clinton to offer Sestak an unpaid position on a presidential advisory board if he dropped out of the race. Sestak said no. He bested Specter in the primary and later lost to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. Sestak pursued another Senate bid against Toomey in 2016, during which he walked alone across the state of Pennsylvania.” That time, he lost the Democratic primary.
-- Democrats are not talking about the big health-care worries voters have. Amy Goldstein reports: “The disconnect between those views and candidates’ talking points has left voters such as Democrat Ron Jungling of Raleigh, N.C., eager for a nominee who can defeat President Trump — but feeling his party is not speaking to him on a centrally important issue. ‘I don’t think it’s probably the right time to push Medicare-for-all,’ said Jungling, 57, an electrical engineer whose wife, an insurance broker, has enrolled uninsured clients in Affordable Care Act health plans. His in-laws just went into an assisted-living facility that costs $20,000 a month. ‘Medicare-for-all would be great if we could do the other side of the coin — get the cost down,’ Jungling said. ‘I don’t see that happening here.’”
-- Republicans are launching a new fundraising portal. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports: “WinRed is being billed as the GOP’s answer to the Democratic Party’s ActBlue, which has already amassed over $174 million this year. The new tool is intended to reshape the GOP’s fundraising apparatus by creating a centralized, one-stop shop for online Republican giving, which the party has lacked to this point. … The most unexpected stumbling block surrounded the initial decision to dub the new product ‘Patriot Pass.’ The name was abruptly dropped after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the president that the processor sounded too much like his football team.”
-- The Boston Globe had a great read on its Sunday front page about how high school debate was Elizabeth Warren’s ticket out of Oklahoma. Liz Herring, as she was known then, won the state championship her senior year and got a debate scholarship to George Washington University. She came up with novel arguments to beat the boys who came from money and spent their summers at debate camps. “At the beginning of her junior year, after a summer taking odd sewing jobs and reading Time magazine cover to cover to keep up with the news, Warren faced off with a teammate who had spent the previous weeks prepping at a nearby college debate program. The coach watched closely as Warren ripped Joe Pryor to shreds, snagging his spot on the A team,” Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin write.
“Fellow debaters described Warren’s style as a sort of polished brutality. She could tear her opponents’ ideas apart but managed to do so without ever appearing mean or aggressive — a big ‘don’t’ for female debaters at the time. Warren and [her partner] plopped on her family’s couch three or four nights a week, sometimes late into the night, combing through documents and refining their arguments. They tore through the local libraries, sent off to congressional committees, and once even contacted George Romney — the father of Mitt Romney who served as governor of Michigan and the executive of an automobile company — seeking information to buttress a case. They wrote down useful nuggets on 3x5 note cards, which team members lugged in metal carrying cases so heavy that some wore fur-lined gloves to protect their hands. ‘The top debaters were always in an arms race to get the best information and make the best arguments,’ Warren said. …
“One day while studying together, Warren and (her partner) had a breakthrough, the kind of thrill only a debate nerd can appreciate. They were building a case for requiring compulsory arbitration in labor disputes, which was the topic for all debaters that year. Unions were strong in 1960s America, and the logical path was to form their argument around the idea that arbitration should be required because labor had too much power. But as they did their research, the partners realized the data were leading them somewhere else entirely. Union membership had begun to erode and imports and automation posed a threat to their ranks. A new idea occurred to the duo: What if they argued that compulsory arbitration was needed because management — not labor — had too much power, and needed to be forced to the table? … It was a unique case, a curveball that derailed well-prepared teams … and Warren is still proud of it 50 years later. ‘You’d watch people’s heads snap,’ she said, her eyes lit up.”
-- Warren tapped deep into her academic network to help build her policy agenda. Politico’s Alex Thompson and Theodoric Meyer report: “Leafing through Warren's plans posted on Medium, voters will find links to obscure academic literature from places like the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics, the Upjohn Institute, the Journal of Applied Business and Economics, and the American Journal of Sociology. … Warren is also frequently in touch with an array of academics, including several of her former students — slipping naturally from easily digestible campaign trail rhetoric to her native ivory tower vernacular. … The approach has produced more detailed proposals than any other presidential rival and, to the surprise of even some in Warren-world, become a political asset. Her ‘I have a plan for that’ rallying cry has, improbably, electrified crowds and achieved meme status.”
-- Cue the “Rocky” theme song -- the 2020 field is preparing for the debates. The Times’s Alexander Burns reports: “The debates on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and another two at the end of July, may represent the first, best — and for some, the only — opportunity to stand out from an enormous throng of competitors and build national momentum in the Democratic primary. If these debates are designed to let candidates showcase themselves to a national audience, for some they could end up serving less as a moment of introduction than as a farewell, as they separate the Democrats capable of exciting the imaginations of primary voters from those who lack that gift. More than half of the candidates debating this week risk being blocked from debates starting in September unless they can significantly lift their polling and fund-raising numbers before then.”
-- Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. has some advice for the Democrats in their first debates: “Thursday night is now a big deal, thanks to Biden’s unforced error in hauling his relationships with onetime senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge out of the segregationist past. This was political malpractice. … With some intense face-to-face campaigning in South Carolina and support from prominent African American political leaders, Biden sought to weather the storm over the weekend. He’ll have to work hard in the debate to reinforce his loyalists in the black community while showing all Democrats he has the discipline to go the distance. If you’re in a lower tier, you have to decide on the one thing you really want voters to know about you or the issue you want to push to the fore. For some candidates, that’s relatively easy. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will be talking climate change, while Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke have been more upfront than anyone on immigration.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S WOMEN:
-- Jeanine Pirro, the host of one of Trump’s favorite Fox News shows, has held a decades-long friendship with the president, marked by transactional loyalty. Ever since he landed in the White House, Pirro has become Trump’s lifeline back to the brash New York crowd he once favored. Sarah Ellison reports: “Trump has told aides that in the White House, he has at times felt surrounded by people he cannot trust, people who are aligned with him for their own political purposes. He doesn’t worry about that with Pirro. ‘She is one of the few people who is loyal to him because of their history, not because she wants something from him,’ said a former senior White House official. … ‘They both are New Yorkers, and both speak in a very common-sense conservative way to the American people,’ said David Bossie, an early Trump campaign adviser. ‘Having come from the same world and same generation, they understand each other completely.’ … Pirro’s loyalty to Trump has occasionally caused her problems inside Fox. Alongside fellow host Sean Hannity, she appeared at a Trump rally before the 2018 midterm elections. Fox management warned her against participating in campaign events. But her pro-Trump monologues got only more fervently supportive. Like her friend, she responded to criticism by hitting back harder than ever. …
“Before she was one of Trump's most ardent defenders … Jeanine Pirro was a crusader for crime victims, and especially for women. … In 1993, Pirro was elected Westchester's first female district attorney. … She became more famous than any Westchester district attorney had ever been. On TV, she talked about O.J. Simpson and about Robert Durst, the Westchester millionaire suspected of murdering his wife. … In 2006, Pirro started work as a Fox News legal commentator. … The same year, Ailes gave Pirro her own show: ‘Justice with Judge Jeanine.’ Her ties to Trump boosted the show’s ratings, which have doubled since his election … Since the election, the president has dominated Pirro’s show — as object of her praise, subject of her advice and, at pivotal moments, as a guest. … In the White House and on Fox, Pirro has steadfastly encouraged Trump to press harder on his agenda of disruption and provocation. … Rumors that Trump might bring her inside have mostly cooled. Trump has concluded, associates say, that Pirro, with her full-throated defenses of him on Fox, is of more use there.”
-- A House panel warned Kellyanne Conway, a White House senior adviser, that it could subpoena her testimony if she doesn’t appear at a scheduled hearing this week focused on her alleged violations of the Hatch Act. From Reuters: “The hearing was scheduled after the Office of Special Counsel, a U.S. government watchdog agency, earlier this month recommended Conway be fired for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
-- The White House is expected to block former top aide Annie Donaldson from answering the House Judiciary Committee’s written questions about her time as a deputy to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. Politico’s Andrew Desiderio reports: “Donaldson, who was a central witness in ... Mueller’s investigation, struck a deal with the committee that would allow her to submit written responses instead of showing up for her scheduled public testimony on Monday. Donaldson is pregnant and lives in Alabama, her attorney Sandra Moser said, adding that it’s difficult for her to travel to Washington at this time. … But the White House, which has been involved in the negotiations, is expected to assert its claims that former aides have ‘absolute immunity’ from testifying to Congress about their service in the White House. ... Democrats have said that claim is legally baseless and are vowing to defeat it in federal court.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- North Korea said Kim Jong Un received an “excellent” letter from Trump and he is now seriously considering what the president had to say, weeks after Trump said he received a “beautiful letter” from Kim. Simon Denyer reports: “The White House confirmed a letter had been sent, and there was speculation that the exchange of letters could pave the way for a third summit between the two leaders. Trump will travel to South Korea’s capital, Seoul, June 29-30, and some experts had suggested he might even try to arrange a meeting with Kim at the border between North and South Korea — although that would give the two sides no time to prepare.”
-- Trump brushed off calls to investigate journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death. Kayla Epstein reports: “On ‘Meet the Press,’ Trump revealed that he recently had ‘a great conversation’ with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which he did not raise the issue of the U.N. report or Khashoggi’s killing in October. ‘I think it’s been heavily investigated,’ Trump said, when host Chuck Todd asked whether he would order the FBI to investigate, as the United Nations has recommended. ‘I’ve seen so many different reports.’ … The president said he remained focused on the business and strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia … ‘I’m not like a fool that says, ‘We don’t want to do business with them,’’ he said when pressed about the humanitarian concerns raised against Saudi Arabia’s leadership. ‘Take their money. Take their money, Chuck.’”
-- Mike Pompeo is in Saudi Arabia, and the Iran crisis looms over his trip. Carol Morello reports: “Increasing fears of a military confrontation between the United States and Iran have changed the character and timing of Pompeo’s week-long trip. It initially was built around him discussing trade in India, then joining President Trump in Japan and South Korea, to talk about jump-starting stalled nuclear talks with Pyongyang. But at the last minute, stops were added in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The change reflected the likelihood that the crisis with Iran is not over, even after Trump canceled a military strike on the country. … Pompeo said his talks with the Saudi and UAE rulers will focus on corralling other countries into a coalition that ‘is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.’”
-- The U.S. is planning new sanctions on Iran, as Europe attempts to defuse tensions. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael R. Gordon, Ian Talley and Laurence Norman report: “The U.S. is seeking ultimately to drive the Islamic Republic’s oil exports to zero. It has more recently imposed sanctions on Iran’s industrial-metals sector and announced major sanctions on one of the country’s biggest petrochemical companies. ‘We’ve done very massive sanctions. We’re increasing the sanctions now,’ Mr. Trump told NBC over the weekend. Iran had hoped to spook Mr. Trump and other nations into easing Washington’s financial and economic embargo that has shocked the nation’s economy, U.S. officials and analysts said. Iranian leaders, those people said, are gambling Mr. Trump is so averse to a direct U.S. war with Iran that he will slow the pace of new sanctions, soften global enforcement and compromise on U.S. demands for a nuclear and security deal.”
-- Trump also said on "Meet the Press" that he “may” discuss election interference with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Japan. He disputed the idea that his comments on being willing to accept dirt on potential 2020 opponents from foreign countries were meant to encourage Russia to interfere in the 2020 election as it did during the 2016 race: “Oh, that's not true. That's not true,” he said. (Politico)
-- A Russian intelligence operation is suspected of spreading fake news about Northern Ireland. The campaign has reportedly spread false information about the Real Irish Republican Army and the Democratic Unionists Party. (Irish Times)
-- In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered perhaps the biggest defeat of his political career as his candidate for Istanbul mayor lost in a repeat election. The Times’s Carlotta Gail reports: “The result wrests control over Turkey’s largest city from Mr. Erdogan and ends his party’s 25-year dominance there. Opponents say such a loss cracks the president’s aura of invincibility, showing that his grip on power after 16 years is weakening. … Two hours after polls closed, Mr. Erdogan’s preferred candidate, Binali Yildirim, conceded defeat on national television. Mr. Erdogan acknowledged the result an hour later. … Besides the blow to Mr. Erdogan’s image and prestige, the loss of Istanbul has practical political consequences for him, analysts said. The city is Mr. Erdogan’s home and political base, where he began his political career as mayor.”
-- Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was supposed to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders together during a U.S.-backed investment conference. Neither side is likely to show up. Anne Gearan, Souad Mekhennet and Loveday Morris report: “The investment and development gathering that opens Tuesday in Manama, Bahrain, includes a roster of wealthy and powerful figures from international business and finance … But it is short on regional business leaders, a primary audience for Kushner’s message that local economic empowerment can do more for Palestinians than what he sees as a moribund political leadership fixed on outdated ideas and unrealistic demands. … The lack of Palestinian and Israeli involvement in the conference is the latest illustration of the difficulty that Kushner and the administration are having in establishing any momentum for their peace efforts … Munib al Masri, 85, the billionaire industrialist known for being the wealthiest Palestinian, said he immediately rejected his invitation. ‘Our problem is a political one, not an economic one,’ he said. ‘We have dignity, we have leadership, and they don’t want to go because they believe America is not an honest broker.’”
-- Palestinians want a deal that will get Israel “off our backs.” Al-Jazeera’s Mersiha Gadzo reports: “Diana Buttu a Haifa-based analyst and former legal adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators told Al Jazeera, ‘They've put together this optimal, pie-in-the-sky plan that any person who's involved in economic development would love to see. But it's not applicable to Palestine because they've taken away the political context.’ … The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited rule in some areas of the West Bank, and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have both staunchly rejected the plan. ‘Is Israel ever going to allow for the movement of goods? No. Is Israel going to allow this plan to be implemented? No. Can there be economic development under occupation? Again, the answer is no,’ Buttu said.”
-- Cuba is facing its worst economic setback in years now as stiffening U.S. sanctions choke what remains of the island’s economy. Anthony Faiola reports: “Measures taken by Washington aimed at punishing Cuba for supporting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro are deepening disruptions to foreign supply chains, scaring off some of the Canadian and other banks that have helped finance $2 billion in food imports annually, according to industry and Trump administration officials. Facing a cash and credit crunch, the Cuban government last month reintroduced broad rationing, giving rise to several weeks of what many here describe as the longest food lines since Venezuelan oil and aid began flowing to the island during the early 2000s. Following new U.S. travel restrictions announced this month, cruise ships — the single biggest source of U.S. visitors to Cuba — have begun diverting around Cuban ports, offering passengers alternate routes or refunds. Trump administration officials calculate that their punitive steps will cut the number of Americans visiting Cuba by more than half. Nearly 600,000 visited last year.”
-- Huawei is preparing for a long battle with the U.S. Jeanne Whalen reports: “The mood around Huawei’s headquarters in southern China suggests the company is girding itself for a future in which the United States is more bitter rival than friend. Huawei founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei last week suggested the Trump administration’s recent move to cut off the company’s U.S. suppliers was motivated not by a desire to protect national security, but by a wish to check a fast-growing Chinese rival. ‘We realized when we reached a certain level there would be competition, but it didn’t occur to us the U.S. government would be so determined to take such extreme measures against Huawei,’ said Ren, a former soldier in the People’s Liberation Army, during a panel discussion June 17 at company headquarters."
-- The U.S. is considering requiring that all 5G equipment used domestically be designed and manufactured outside of China. The Wall Street Journal’s Stu Woo and Dustin Volz report: “The conversations are in early and informal stages, they said. The executive order calls for a list of proposed rules and regulations by the 150-day deadline, in October; so, any proposals may take months or years to adopt. The proposals could force the biggest companies that sell equipment to U.S. wireless carriers, Finland’s Nokia Corp. and Sweden’s Ericsson, to move major operations out of China to service the U.S., which is the biggest market in the $250 billion-a-year global industry for telecom equipment and related services and infrastructure. There is no major U.S. manufacturer of cellular equipment.”
-- Ethiopia’s army chief and three other officials were killed in a renegade general’s coup attempt, the government said. Paul Schemm reports: “Gunmen attacked an executive meeting of the Amhara regional state in the city of Bahir Dar on Saturday evening, killing its president, Ambachew Mekonnen, and his top adviser and grievously injuring the regional attorney general. Hours later, in the capital Addis Ababa, the bodyguard of army chief of staff Gen. Seare Mekonnen opened fire on him, killing the general and an associate. Government spokeswoman Bilene Seyoum blamed the attacks on a recently amnestied brigadier general who had been imprisoned for his political views by the previous government several years before.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Mexican authorities were photographed using force to stop migrants from crossing the border:
I don't think I've ever seen the Mexican government stopping migrants from crossing into the United States like this. With military-grade force. https://t.co/XNQMAHKt1n— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) June 22, 2019
Meanwhile, the president's daughter and senior adviser palled around with former administration officials:
In light of the photo, one of our White House reporters remembers:
Trump hired John Bolton largely because he was tired of HR McMaster, who gave didactic lectures. Trump saw Bolton on TV frequently & talked occasionally in Oval. Met with Bolton on day he wanted McMaster out. Aides had to scurry to tell McMaster he was out before POTUS tweeted.— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) June 24, 2019
And the president said he went to church:
Wonderful Church service at Camp David. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2019
Democrats are mad about Trump's latest demands:
President Trump gives millions facing deportation two weeks before his next tweet attack. Their fate depends on whether Congress will allow him to indefinitely jail children. This is America? https://t.co/9mQq1Y0Qtz— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) June 23, 2019
The former speaker of the House blamed the president for failing to address the deficit:
Tonight at @aspenideas, former speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged he was unsuccessful in convincing President Trump to tackle long-term federal spending. But, he added, “We walked him through as many PowerPoint presentations as we could.”— Robert Costa (@costareports) June 24, 2019
The CEO of Tesla introduced his latest project, and people on Twitter were quick to note that this is a picture of the moon:
-- “A.I. May Not Take Your Job, but It Could Become Your Boss,” by the New York Times's Kevin Roose: “For decades, people have fearfully imagined armies of hyper-efficient robots invading offices and factories, gobbling up jobs once done by humans. But in all of the worry about the potential of artificial intelligence to replace rank-and-file workers, we may have overlooked the possibility it will replace the bosses, too. … The goal of automation has always been efficiency, but in this new kind of workplace, A.I. sees humanity itself as the thing to be optimized. Amazon uses complex algorithms to track worker productivity in its fulfillment centers, and can automatically generate the paperwork to fire workers who don’t meet their targets, as The Verge uncovered this year. (Amazon has disputed that it fires workers without human input, saying that managers can intervene in the process.) IBM has used Watson, its A.I. platform, during employee reviews to predict future performance and claims it has a 96 percent accuracy rate.” (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Post.)
-- “She gave her estranged husband’s guns to the cops. They arrested her for theft,” by Katie Mettler: “It had been a day since Courtney Taylor Irby’s husband had been arrested and accused of running her off the road, and now she was testifying that she feared for her safety. Speaking at his June 15 bond hearing by telephone, Irby — who goes by her middle name Taylor — told a judge in Polk County, Fla., that she believed her estranged husband, 35-year-old Joseph Irby, was dangerous. The two had been separated since December, reported the Lakeland community news organization LkldNow. He was facing a domestic violence charge, and Taylor Irby had been granted a temporary restraining order. … Taylor Irby would later tell police that this is when she decided to take matters into her own hands. While Joseph Irby was still in police custody, she drove to his apartment, got past the locked front door and collected the guns she knew he had, according to police records obtained by the Lakeland Ledger. Then the 32-year-old turned the weapons over to police. In return, police arrested her.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
"A Popular Knitting Website Banned Posts Supporting Donald Trump, Accusing Him Of 'Open White Supremacy,'" from BuzzFeed News's Jane Lytvynenko: "Ravelry, a community website for knitters, crocheters, and other textile fans, has banned all content supporting President Trump and his administration in what it described as a stand against white supremacy. In a statement posted to their website, the administrators wrote that posts, projects, patterns, and profiles supporting the president are no longer allowed. The site is the most popular online forum for knitting fans and counts millions of users, as well as 80,000 followers on Instagram and 100,000 on Twitter. ... People who support the Trump administration are still welcome on the website, but are asked to keep their views to themselves, the administrators added. The site said it's not banning anyone for past support of Trump, and users would also not be allowed to antagonize people with conservative views."
HOT ON THE RIGHT
"Trump-Haley in 2020," former president of the New York City Council Andrew Stein (D) writes in an op-ed for today's Wall Street Journal: "I’m proud to have founded the Democrats for Trump movement in 2016. President Trump’s pro-growth policies have revived the stagnating U.S. economy, and he deserves a second term. But to have the best chance of re-election, he should replace Vice President Mike Pence on the ticket with Nikki Haley. I mean no disrespect for Mr. Pence, who’s loyally served the president and the nation. But he’s given Mr. Trump all the help he can. ... Mr. Trump’s greater obstacle to re-election comes from politically moderate suburban women, many of whom see him as divisive. ... It’s too late for Mr. Trump to revamp his political personality. But with the 2016 election in the past, Nikki Haley on the ticket could tamp down the antipathy for Mr. Trump that seems to afflict so many moderate and Republican-leaning women."
Trump will participate in a photo op with the 2019 Presidential Scholars before receiving his intelligence meeting and having lunch with Pence. Later he will sign an executive order on healthcare pricing and transparency.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I have a master’s degree, but I’m working on my PhD in selfies,” Cory Booker said to a group of people asking him for pictures in South Carolina yesterday. (Dave Weigel)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Get ready for the hottest week of the year so far. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “After a beautiful, rain-free weekend with low humidity, the mugginess returns in a big way thanks to a warm front lifting through the region today. That front could set off storms, especially this evening, before hot, steamy air settles in for the balance of the week. Highs most days exceed 90, and not until Sunday might we find some relief.”
-- The Nationals lost 3-4 to the Braves. (Sam Fortier)
-- Washington-area residents said the increased helicopter traffic is giving them nightmares. Hannah Natanson reports: “Following a sharp spike in complaints from D.C.-area residents about the frequency and severity of helicopter noise, local lawmakers in January asked the Government Accountability Office to study the issue. Earlier this month, the GAO accepted the request and will launch the study this fall. … ‘Constituents are asking me why the episodes of helicopter noise are increasing and I can’t explain it, I don’t know why,’ said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), who also requested the GAO study. ‘The study should give us some answers about what is behind the increase in helicopter noise and what can be done to reduce it.’”
-- A new foundation is seeking public support and donations for a Fallen Journalists Memorial to be built in D.C. CNN’s Brian Stelter reports: “The initiative is being announced ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Capital Gazette attack, which left five newspaper employees dead in Annapolis, Maryland last June. Former Congressman David Dreier, the chair of the Capital Gazette's parent company, Tribune Publishing, is chairing a foundation that wants to build the memorial. The foundation ‘will work to enact legislation, raise funds and build a Fallen Journalists Memorial that will pay tribute to the reporters, photojournalists, producers, editors and others who have died while performing their jobs as journalists,’ according to the group's website.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
A video of a man being tased by a Metro officer caused anger online:
This video is sparking outrage on social media, as it shows a Metro Transit Police officer using a taser on a man who was speaking to officers who had detained several juveniles in the U St. Metro. https://t.co/iAr0qnUgWS pic.twitter.com/dSqpJLGNHK— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) June 23, 2019
Trevor Noah took a look at Biden's segregationist senators controversy:
John Oliver explained why climbing Mount Everest has gotten more dangerous:
And Brazil soccer legend Marta delivered a heartwarming speech to the next generation of soccer players after her team was eliminated from the World Cup: