With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

THE BIG IDEA: Every election cycle, politicians across the ideological spectrum pay homage to the virtues of the blue-collar, middle-class factory worker and promise to bring back industrial jobs that have been shipped overseas. But such bipartisan bromides obscure a serious branding problem: Most parents don’t want their kids to work in manufacturing when they grow up. As a result, most students in this country aren’t learning the technical know-how necessary to fill the factory jobs of the future.

The National Association of Manufacturers, the industry’s main trade group, plans to unveil a $10 million initiative today that’s aimed at changing public attitudes about its sector to make it seem more modern and to highlight opportunities for upward mobility. The effort, previewed exclusively for The Daily 202 during interviews with four senior officials from the group, has been timed to coincide with the 2020 presidential campaign and the association’s 125th anniversary.

Private polling commissioned recently by NAM found that just 27 percent of parents say they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. Their goal is to get that up to 50 percent by 2025. “It’s the largest campaign that we've ever undertaken of this sort,” said Jay Timmons, the president and chief executive of the trade association. “If we can have one out of every two parents saying, 'Yeah, I'd like to see my child at least entertain the thought of going into manufacturing,’ we'd consider that a huge win.”

With the slogan “Creators Wanted,” the initiative entails a year-long nationwide digital campaign, a mobile road show that will visit between 20 to 25 states over 18 weeks and culminate with a large festival during September 2020 in Cincinnati, where the association was founded in 1895, just as Ohio reemerges as a battleground in the general election. NAM also plans to spend at the major political events of 2020, such as the debates and the party nominating conventions, to showcase individual stories of people who have succeeded in manufacturing, especially rank-and-file workers who got promoted through the ranks to become executives. Money will also go into the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliated 501(c)(3) that focuses on workforce development. That will fund outreach to middle and high schools.

Timmons’s grandfather worked at the main paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, for more than 40 years. There are pictures of that facility prominently displayed in his corner office on the seventh floor of NAM’s headquarters in downtown Washington. “He was very much in a dirty, dark and dangerous environment. Everybody was,” Timmons recalled. “But that's not what manufacturing is today. Our challenge is to make sure that people understand what manufacturing really is: Today it is very technology driven, very sleek, very clean and, also, very collaborative. … You’re not just doing a rote job and standing in one place on an assembly line like it was 10 or 20 years ago. … It's kind of up to us to tell that story.”

Strategists are still finalizing the list of two dozen or so target states, but officials say that the big electoral prizes of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina will definitely make the final cut. Focus groups conducted for NAM have revealed that perceptions of manufacturing differ by region. For example, parents in the industrial Midwest, where there’s been a steady story line of decline for decades, see factory jobs quite differently than their counterparts in the South, who have seen an influx of automobile manufacturing in recent years. Pitches will be customized and tailored accordingly.

NAM’s leaders feel an imperative to change attitudes because they think this is the fastest way to narrow the growing skills gap. A study the association paid for last year from Deloitte found that there were more than 500,000 open jobs in manufacturing because there aren’t enough workers with the necessary skills. Between 2018 and 2028, Deloitte estimated that 2.69 million jobs will open from retirements and another 1.96 million new jobs will be created because of natural growth. But the consultancy predicts that, if the status quo persists, only 2.2 million of those 4.6 million jobs will be filled with qualified workers. They said the problem is that young people aren’t studying the new technologies that are changing how factories work, from robotics to artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

“I travel a lot around the country, and nine out of 10 CEOs I talk to — actually, make that 19 out of 20 — say their number one concern is the skills gap,” said Timmons. “It's really fascinating because it's unexpected.”

NAM has conducted quarterly surveys of its 14,000 member companies since 1997, and the skills gap has consistently been at or near the top for several years. A second-quarter survey conducted last month showed that the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce remained a top concern for 69 percent of executives, far higher than worries about the trade wars or the increasing prices of raw materials.

When Timmons succeeded former Michigan governor John Engler in this job at the start of 2011, during the aftermath of the Great Recession, he said the No. 1 concern was the lack of qualified workers. “Now that we're at full employment, it's gotten even more urgent for our companies,” he said. “We will never be as productive and efficient as an industry as we could be if we don't have the individuals to fill the jobs that are open.”

Ingersoll Rand chief executive Mike Lamach, who recently became the chairman of NAM’s board of directors, says finding “immediate and long-term solutions” to what he calls “the workforce crisis” is a top priority. He’s leading the “Creators Wanted” initiative along with two former chairmen of the board. “We could have simply held traditional celebrations to mark the NAM’s milestone, but our mission is to look to the future and be the best stewards of our members’ investment,” he said in a statement.

In addition to making parents more receptive to their kids going into manufacturing, the men selected three other metrics to measure whether their efforts succeed or fail over the next five years. They’ve set a goal of cutting the skills gap by 600,000 workers by the end of 2025, increasing by 25 percent the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools, and increasing enrollment by the same amount in apprenticeships and reskilling programs.

NAM has long been a reliably Republican-aligned interest group. The group championed the reduction of the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent in the 2017 tax bill signed by President Trump and lobbied successfully to roll back scores of regulations, including many environmental protections. The top legislative priority right now is pushing ratification of the revised NAFTA deal. Timmons spent most of his career as a Republican political operative, including as chief of staff to George Allen when he was Virginia’s governor and senator, plus a term as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

But the association is officially nonpartisan, and Timmons said he’s trying to cultivate deeper relationships with Democrats around shared priorities such as immigration, infrastructure and education. He met with members of the moderate New Democrat Coalition on June 21, for example, to discuss what he called “manufacturers’ post-partisan agenda.” Timmons also noted during our interview that Joe Biden, when he was vice president, spoke at one of their fly-ins for members, and they worked together during the Obama administration to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump withdrew from soon after taking office.

“We have strong relationships with the [Trump] White House … and we are in the process of developing these strong relationships with the Democratic candidates,” he said. “It's what we do every two years. We make sure that whoever is running for office knows … why manufacturing is important.”

Timmons said manufacturing CEOs, regardless of their party, see giving legal status to undocumented immigrants already in the United States as essential to narrowing the skills gap. “You've got 13 million people here [illegally],” he said. “None of them can work in manufacturing. We only hire those we're legally allowed to hire. So there's 13 million people, and I bet you that some of them have the skills that we would love to bring into our workforce.”

He expressed hope that the public outrage over the way migrants are being treated at the southern border might galvanize talks for a broader immigration deal. “We know that’s a tough vote,” Timmons said. “I've been in politics for a long time, and I understand how you can get wrapped around the axle because of what your particular caucus or your political party is saying. But there's no one that can look at the coverage that's happening right now, there's no one that can see these children that are in these horribly dire conditions, and not realize we've got to fix this problem. So I think the business community has an obligation to help lead the way on that.”

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby, but the real show was put on by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson. Alonso defeated Guerrero 23-22 to claim the title, scoring his final homer as the clock ticked down to under 20 seconds. (Dave Sheinin and Sam Fortier)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The families of Sandy Hook victims are increasingly pushing back against conspiracy theorists claiming the shooting never happened. At least nine lawsuits have been filed against hoaxers, and one parent whose son died in the mass shooting won his case last month against the editors of a book claiming no one had been killed at the elementary school. (Susan Svrluga)

  2. British Airways faces a $230 million fine after the personal data of 500,000 customers was stolen online last year. The breach has been blamed on the company’s “poor security arrangements,” according to the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office. (Hannah Denham)

  3. A harmful blue-green algae that can produce toxins causing a number of serious human health problems has taken over Mississippi beaches. At least 21 beaches have been forced to close as the algal bloom proliferates. (Morgan Krakow)

  4. Former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, the Republican who resigned in disgrace because of a sex scandal involving his hair stylist, used a “self-destruct” app that automatically deleted messages he exchanged with staff members. But a judge says this effort to conceal his communications didn’t violate the Show Me State's transparency laws. A lawyer representing the Sunshine and Government Accountability Project had sued the governor and other staffers, saying their use of the app violated the state’s open-records laws. (Eli Rosenberg)

  5. A PAC ostensibly dedicated to raising money for veterans shut down amid reports it spent all its funds on telemarketing, salaries and overhead. Retired Army Maj. Brian Arthur Hampton, the founder and chairman of the Put Vets First! PAC, earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit and its two sister organizations, prompting investigations by officials in New York and Virginia. (Center for Public Integrity)

  6. A toddler from Indiana died after falling 11 stories from a cruise ship window in Puerto Rico. The 1-year-old girl, identified as Kloe Wiegand, was playing with her grandfather at the open window when she slipped from his grasp. (Hannah Knowles and Maite Fernández Simon)

  7. A woman and her husband are suing a fertility clinic for allegedly misplacing their embryos, forcing the woman to carry twin boys who are not biologically hers to term. The couple has relinquished custody of the newborns and filed a federal lawsuit against the clinic and its co-owners, accusing them of medical malpractice, negligence, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Isaac Stanley-Becker)

  8. A Florida principal resigned after he refused to call the Holocaust a “factual, historic event.” William Latson, principal of the Spanish River Community High School in Palm Beach County, has apologized for the comments and will be given a district job, at least temporarily. (Valerie Strauss)

  9. Anwan Glover, the actor who played Slim Charles on “The Wire,” was arrested and faces gun charges in D.C. Glover was arrested after police responded to a report of a driver sticking his gun out of a white Jeep and making lane changes without signaling. (Fox 5)

  10. A video shows a violent family brawl breaking out at Disneyland as horrified bystanders try to separate the fighters. Police responded to the incident and reported the family was “uncooperative.” Now that video footage of the fight has surfaced, detectives will see if any criminal charges can be filed. (Los Angeles Times)

THERE'S STILL A BEAR IN THE WOODS:

-- Trump's lawyers at the White House blocked Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff to ex-White House counsel Don McGahn and a key witness in the Russia investigation, from answering 212 questions related to possible obstruction of justice by the president. Rachael Bade, Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig report: “Donaldson affirmed the accuracy of colorful and striking notes she made while working in the White House — notes that former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III cited 65 times in his report that described 10 episodes that raised concerns about possible obstruction. But Trump administration lawyers barred her from elaborating on her thinking at the time she captured several exchanges between Trump and her boss — including one note in which she scribbled concern that Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as FBI director would trigger the end of his presidency. ... For instance, she confirmed that after Trump fired Comey, she wrote in her notes: ‘Is this the beginning of the end?’ But asked to further explain why she believed Trump’s decision was so problematic, Donaldson indicated that the White House had directed her not to answer the question, due to ‘constitutionally-based executive branch confidentiality interests.’ [Whatever that means.]

Donaldson’s unwillingness to appear in public or buck the White House’s instructions not to respond to certain questions once again denies Democrats another witness they’d hoped would illuminate for the public what they view as abuse of power by the Trump administration. … Democrats have little recourse, unless they are willing to hold Donaldson — who is unable to travel because she is pregnant — in civil contempt and take her to court to try to get a judge to force her to answer questions over the objections of White House officials.”

-- Congressional Democrats are issuing dozens of subpoenas seeking information on Trump’s finances as part of their lawsuit alleging the president’s businesses violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause. Ann E. Marimow and Jonathan O'Connell report: “The demands for detailed information about the president’s closely held finances came on the same day the Trump administration asked an appeals court in Washington to halt the lawsuit and block the subpoenas, saying the case is based on ‘novel and flawed constitutional premises.’ … The 37 subpoenas target information from a wide array of Trump’s businesses, including Trump Tower, his hotels in New York and Washington, and his Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida, according to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the legal group representing the Democrats in the case. The plaintiffs also are seeking information about trademarks granted to Trump’s companies by foreign governments since he entered office and any pending applications for foreign trademarks. Additional subpoenas seek information on tax returns from the president’s companies and the trust where he keeps his businesses while in office.”

-- Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation allowing Congress to review Trump’s state tax returns. Jeff Stein reports: “Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has suggested he will not pursue Trump’s state returns, saying he is focused on obtaining documents held by the Internal Revenue Service. … But the state returns, if obtained, could provide an unprecedented look into Trump’s New York business dealings, his income and a range of other personal financial information, according to legal experts.”

-- Felix Sater, the president’s former business associate who was the chief negotiator for the failed Trump Tower Moscow project, is scheduled to finally testify today before the House Intelligence Committee. Politico’s Natasha Bertrand reports: “The closed-door interview will cap a protracted back-and-forth between Sater and the panel, which has rescheduled his appearance several times since he was first slated to appear in March. Sater failed to appear for a voluntary appearance before the committee last month because he was sick and slept through his alarm, he said at the time.”

THE #METOO RECKONING:

-- The new sex trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein allege the multimillionaire abused dozens of young girls at his Manhattan and Florida homes. Matt Zapotosky, Renae Merle and Devlin Barrett report: “After landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on Saturday, Epstein was taken into custody, held for two nights in the same detention facility that houses the drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, and then marched into federal court Monday in a blue prison uniform and orange shoes. Prosecutors, meanwhile, made public the lurid details of how they say Epstein created a network of girls who would be available for abuse on demand, and investigators seized from his Manhattan mansion what they described as ‘hundreds — and perhaps thousands’ of photos showing nude or partially nude female subjects. Some of the images are believed to be of underage girls.”

The allegations: “In court filings and in public statements, law enforcement officials described Epstein as a man of incredible wealth who was able to pay his victims, some as young as 14, hundreds of dollars to find him others to abuse. They said investigators found photographs in his home when they searched it Saturday — some of them in a locked safe on CDs with handwritten labels such as ‘Misc nudes 1’ and ‘Girl pics nude.’ Prosecutors asserted that Epstein was willing to go to great lengths to cover up his behavior. In his previous case, prosecutors wrote, Epstein’s attorneys contemplated having him plead guilty to an obstruction or witness tampering offense and mentioned to prosecutors an incident in which Epstein apparently hired a private investigator to follow the father of someone involved in the case and force him off the road while driving.

-- Bill Clinton, who once globe-trotted with Epstein, downplayed his relationship with the registered sex offender: “Angel Urena, a spokesman for Clinton, issued a statement asserting the former president ‘knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York.’ He said Clinton took four trips on Epstein’s plane in 2002 and 2003, and staff, supporters and Clinton’s Secret Service detail ‘traveled on every leg of every trip.’ He said Clinton also had one brief meeting with Epstein in his Harlem office in 2002 and made a brief visit to Epstein’s apartment with a staff member and security detail. ‘He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida,’ Urena said.”

-- An attorney for the Trump Organization also claimed the president had “no relationship” with Epstein, even though Trump called him a “terrific guy” who “enjoys his social life” in a 2002 interview. David A. Fahrenthold, Beth Reinhard and Kimberly Kindy report: “Epstein visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and posed for photos there with Trump in 1997 and 2000. Epstein’s voluminous personal address book — leaked by an Epstein employee in 2009 — contained 14 phone numbers for Trump, his wife, Melania, and members of his staff, according to media reports. The relationship, whatever it was, appears to have cooled by 2007. [The Trump Organization attorney] said in an interview Monday that although Epstein was never a member of Mar-a-Lago, Trump prohibited him from visiting the club around that time, as a reaction to criminal charges that had been filed against Epstein.”

-- More icky details: Epstein’s townhouse in New York is one of the largest private homes in Manhattan. Inside, investigators found photos of Clinton, Woody Allen and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. The Times’s Matthew Haag reports: “On the second floor is a mural that Mr. Epstein had commissioned in recent years: a photorealistic prison scene that included barbed wire, corrections officers and a guard station, with Mr. Epstein portrayed in the middle. … [Visitors] were greeted by a tall woman who spoke with an Eastern European accent, who led guests up a marble staircase to a study on another floor. At the base of the stairwell, one of the visitors said, Mr. Epstein had placed a chess board with custom figurines dressed in underwear — each piece, he noted, was modeled after one of his staffers. … Prosecutors say the home is valued at $77 million, but the city’s Department of Finance estimated this year that the mansion was valued closer to $56 million. The 2019 property taxes for the home, which are based on a much lower assessed value, were an estimated $347,000. (The property’s tax bill in 2008 was the fourth-highest-taxed single-family home in New York City.)”

-- The Epstein indictment has reignited questions about the way Alexander Acosta — now Trump’s labor secretary — handled an earlier case against Epstein that resulted in a remarkably lenient sentence. Lisa Rein, Michael Kranish and Josh Dawsey report: “As U.S. attorney in Florida in 2007, Acosta negotiated a plea deal that led to two felony solicitation charges and 13 months in county jail for Epstein, with the billionaire financier allowed to work from his office six days a week. Epstein had been facing the possibility of life in prison. His alleged victims were not told about the deal ...

Officials at the White House, which has not made any public statements about the Epstein indictment, are nervous that Democrats will encourage women allegedly abused by Epstein to testify publicly before Congress, drawing attention to Acosta’s work on the plea deal, according to current and former administration officials. Trump has no immediate plan to force out or fire Acosta, two White House officials said. … A senior White House official said the administration would like to learn the contents of a Justice Department inquiry into Acosta before making any decision.

There was no substantial vetting done on Acosta until after Trump decided to nominate him, according to current and former administration officials. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a tweet Monday evening demanding that Acosta ‘step down,’ said the plea deal Acosta negotiated with Epstein ‘was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet.’ … Despite the scrutiny of the plea deal and calls from several Democrats for him to resign, Acosta has not been summoned to testify before Congress specifically on this matter.

-- Acosta, through a spokesman, declined to comment yesterday. But he wrote a 2011 letter defending himself. In it, he said he settled after facing “a year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors” by “an army of legal superstars.” He also wrote that defense lawyers “investigated individual prosecutors and their families, looking for personal peccadilloes that may provide a basis for disqualification.”

-- Congressional Republicans and even some Democrats who voted for him continue to stand behind Acosta, at least for now. Politico’s Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine report: “On Monday, no senator in either party that supported Acosta’s confirmation as Labor secretary called for the former U.S. Attorney’s ouster … ‘If he made a mistake or a judgment call or something like that, does that affect the way he’s doing his job now? I’m going to basically judge him on what job he’s doing and how he’s doing it,’ said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who voted to confirm Acosta. As far as calls to resign, he said: ‘I’m not getting into that feeding frenzy.’ Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), the chairman of the party’s campaign arm, said she would need to see an internal report from the Justice Department before she could answer whether she regrets supporting him. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said he wasn’t aware of Acosta’s involvement with Epstein and doesn’t ‘have any thoughts about it.’”

-- Catherine Rampell’s column: “Acosta gave a pass to Jeffrey Epstein years ago. He’s still failing victims today.”

-- This time, one of the federal prosecutors assigned to the team that's pursuing Epstein is Maurene Comey, the daughter of the former FBI director, per CNN.

THE IMMIGRATION WARS:

-- The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, said she is “appalled by the conditions” that migrants face in U.S. detention centers at the border. Deanna Paul and Nick Miroff report: “The high commissioner singled out the treatment of migrant children, saying she was ‘deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions.’ … Bachelet said immigration detention — which she noted is never in the best interests of a child — can have a significant effect on a child’s health and development. ‘Consider the damage being done every day by allowing this alarming situation to continue,’ she said.”

-- A 10-year-old Guatemalan child was found hugging his father’s lifeless body in Mexico, where they were detained on their way to the United States in search of a better life. The boy, his father, a cousin and an uncle tried to reach the U.S.-Mexico border, but the four were reportedly kidnapped by a criminal group. (La Hora)

-- Immigration officials are using secretive gang databases run by foreign police and militaries to check whether migrants crossing the southern border have gang affiliations. ProPublica’s Melissa del Bosque reports: “The information is being provided through a new ‘fusion’ intelligence-gathering center in El Salvador that is funded by the State Department and works in tandem with the Department of Homeland Security. But legal experts and human rights advocates say the government has kept the use of databases at the border largely secret, subverting potential challenges to the reliability of the information in them. An attorney in Texas recently discovered that her Salvadoran client had been falsely accused of being in the MS-13 gang based on intelligence from the center. The man was jailed in a maximum-security facility for violent criminals for six months, and his two children were taken away.”

­-- Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote on a new bill meant to address the treatment of migrants at the border. Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim report: “'Legislation is necessary,’ Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to Democrats, pointing to House provisions that were left out of the Senate-negotiated spending bill that ultimately passed last month — including medical care standards for migrants in U.S. custody, a 90-day limit on children’s stays in federal ‘influx shelters’ and guaranteed access to border facilities without notice for members of Congress. Those provisions, however, are unlikely to be taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate and stop short of the full 2020 border spending bill that some Democrats are hoping to pass this month.”

THE CENSUS WARS:

-- Plaintiffs are trying to block the Justice Department from changing its lawyers in the case about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Felicia Sonmez and Matt Zapotosky report: “The Trump administration has not demonstrated that the withdrawals ‘will not cause further disruption, particularly in light of the history of this case and the well-documented need for expeditious resolution,’ attorneys for those challenging the citizenship question said in a court filing in New York. The filing comes in response to a request from the Justice Department attorneys on the case to withdraw. … In asking to withdraw the attorneys from the case, the department argued that it did not expect the move would cause a ‘disruption.’ But those suing said the department should articulate more clear reasons for the attorneys’ attempted withdrawal, arguing that government lawyers had previously made ‘rapidly shifting representations’ to the court.”

-- Attorney General Bill Barr said he’s looking for a way to legally require that census respondents declare whether they are citizens, even though the Supreme Court blocked the question. The AP’s Mike Balsamo reports: “Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census query. Barr would not detail the plans, though a senior official said Trump is expected to issue a memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question on census forms. … It’s unclear what new rationale for asking the question the administration might include in a presidential memorandum.”

-- House Democratic leaders plan on pursuing criminal contempt proceedings against Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas for documents related to the census. Politico’s Andrew Desiderio and John Bresnahan report: “The Justice Department is almost certainly not going to charge the attorney general or another cabinet secretary with a crime. In fact, DOJ has urged officials not to comply with the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s subpoenas, which seek information related to the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. … Pelosi on Monday said the Trump administration was seeking to ‘make America white again,’ and Democrats have accused Ross of lying to Congress about the origins of the citizenship question.”

THE DOMESTIC AGENDA:

-- The government could run out of money to pay its bills by early September if Congress doesn’t rush to raise the debt ceiling, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Damian Paletta and Erica Werner report: “Congressional negotiations to raise the debt ceiling bogged down in recent weeks, with some leaders hoping to package a debt limit increase with a broader budget package. Those talks have faltered amid disagreements with the White House, and it is unclear when they plan to hold a vote. But if lawmakers heed the BPC’s warning about the debt ceiling, they could be forced to raise the borrowing limit before a lengthy break in August. Senior GOP senators said Monday that the new projected timeline could increase pressure on Congress to act. … G. William Hoagland, a senior vice president at the BPC, said tax revenue, particularly money paid by corporations, has lagged far behind estimates and has provided Treasury much less cash than expected.”

-- A federal judge blocked a Trump administration rule to require drug prices to appear in TV ads. This was one of the administration’s key efforts to address rising drug prices. A district judge in D.C. said the policy “very well” could be an effective tool in halting the rising cost of prescription drugs but the Health and Human Services Department cannot enact the rule without Congress’s permission. (Yasmeen Abutaleb)

-- The administration will announce a series of initiatives to encourage more kidney transplants and treatment at home. Trump is also eyeing a possible executive order to shake up the kidney-care market while HHS will announce new payment models intended to shift treatment for patients with chronic kidney disease away from stand-alone clinics. (Politico)

-- The Congressional Budget Office estimated that raising the minimum wage to $15 could result in the loss of 1.3 million jobs but would increase the earnings of 27.3 million workers. Andrew Van Dam reports: “But even the CBO included scenarios in which no jobs would be lost. Economic Policy Institute economist Ben Zipperer says it’s an acknowledgment that raising the minimum wage hasn’t proven to be as dangerous as researchers once feared. He added that the CBO’s median estimate nonetheless appears overly pessimistic. … According to Berkeley economist Michael Reich, the CBO appears to have picked a grab bag of high-quality and now-discredited studies, and weighted them all the same in their analysis.”

-- Trump touted his environmental record, which conservationists call disastrous. Juliet Eilperin and Seung Min Kim report: “Facing Cabinet members, including his Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department chiefs, the president said he had urged his deputies to tackle environmental challenges ‘so we can provide the highest quality of life to all Americans.’ ‘We want the cleanest air, we want crystal clear water. And that’s what we’re doing,’ he said. ‘These are incredible goals that everyone in this country can rally behind, and they are rallying behind.’ … But Trump’s recounting of his accomplishments prompted howls of incredulity from environmentalists, who noted that he had systematically dismantled dozens of policies over the past 2½ years aimed at safeguarding human health and the planet.”

-- Moody’s Analytics estimates that climate change could inflict $69 trillion in damage to the global economy by 2100. Steven Mufson reports: “Moody’s, citing a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says that warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, increasingly seen by scientists as a climate-stabilizing limit, would still cause $54 trillion in damages by the end of the century.”

-- Twenty-three U.S. governors joined California in opposing Trump’s plan to relax vehicle mileage standards. The AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer reports: “The stand by leaders of states and Puerto Rico, nearly all Democrats, comes as the Trump administration moves to freeze tougher mileage standards laid out by former President Barack Obama, in one of the previous administration’s key efforts against climate change. … The governors’ pledge on Tuesday commits to sticking to the pre-Trump mileage goals, a program of annual tightening in mileage standards that reduce climate-changing carbon emissions.”

-- Trump said he will hold another military celebration next year on the Fourth of July. Felicia Sonmez reports: “’It was a wonderful day for all Americans, and based on its tremendous success, we’re just making the decision — and I think I can say, we’ve made the decision — to do it again next year, and maybe, we can say, for the foreseeable future,’ Trump said at an event on environmental protection.”

ONLY THE BEST PEOPLE?

-- “Trump has referred to his Wharton degree as ‘super genius stuff.’ An admissions officer recalls it differently,” by Michael Kranish: “James Nolan was working in the University of Pennsylvania’s admissions office in 1966 when he got a phone call from one of his closest friends, Fred Trump Jr. It was a plea to help Fred’s younger brother Donald Trump get into Penn’s Wharton School. … Soon, Donald Trump arrived at Penn for the interview, accompanied by his father, Fred Trump Sr., who sought to ‘ingratiate’ himself, Nolan said. Nolan, who said he was the only admissions official to talk to Donald Trump, was required to give Trump a rating, and he recalled, ‘It must have been decent enough to support his candidacy.’

“For decades, Trump has cited his attendance at what was then called the Wharton School of Finance as evidence of his intellect. He has said he went to ‘the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,’ calling it ‘super genius stuff.’ … At the time, Nolan said, more than half of applicants to Penn were accepted, and transfer students such as Donald Trump had an even higher acceptance rate based on their college experience. A Penn official said the acceptance rate for 1966 was not available but noted that the school says on its website that the 1980 rate was ‘slightly greater than 40%.’ Today, by comparison, the admissions rate for the incoming Penn class is 7.4 percent, the school recently announced. ‘It was not very difficult,’ Nolan said of the time Trump applied in 1966, adding: ‘I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius. Certainly not a super genius.’”

-- The Senate has confirmed Trump’s judicial nominees to the circuit courts at an unprecedented pace, giving the Republican more than 1 out of every 5 judges on the powerful appellate bench. But not one of the 41 judges is black or Hispanic. Hailey Fuchs reports: “Trump has boasted about his success in remaking the federal judiciary during his 2½ years in office, installing strong conservatives who will serve for years. While his nominees to the circuit courts are predominantly male and white, a handful are Asian American. ... But the absence of any black or Hispanic nominees for the 13 circuit courts has drawn criticism from Democrats and civil rights groups, as the judges make decisions affecting daily life for millions of Americans, ruling in some 60,000 cases a year. … While some Republican senators have talked about the need for diversity, many argue that the most qualified candidates should ultimately be appointed. When asked about concerns regarding racial diversity, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), another Judiciary Committee member, said of Trump, ‘I think he’s nominated really excellent judges, and I hope he keeps it up.’”

-- Breitbart's former White House correspondent is expected to take a job in the White House. Michelle Moons’s move to the Trump administration comes after more than five years with the outlet, which was previously headed by the president’s former senior adviser Steve Bannon. (CNN)

-- Trump’s love-hate relationship with Fox News has soured once again. Paul Farhi reports: On “Sunday night … Trump dashed off a tweetstorm that slammed NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, CNN — and Fox. … Sunday’s rant wasn’t Trump’s first against Fox, which was instrumental in turning the ­reality-TV-show host into a viable political contender. … In June, he tweeted his irritation with a Fox poll that showed him losing to five Democratic candidates in 2020. … He raged, too, in April when Fox produced a town-hall-style program featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) … Fox News’s representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday. But people inside and outside the network see no major break in the Fox-Trump nexus. ‘I think the president still loves Fox News,’ said Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend who is chief executive of the conservative Newsmax news site and TV network, a smaller rival to Fox. ‘He thinks highly of [Fox Corp. chairman] Rupert Murdoch. He just likes to negotiate. He’ll be critical when he thinks they’re not being fair to him. But I don’t think he’s abandoning Fox or trying to undermine them.’”

LAWMAKERS IN THE NEWS:

-- Mitch McConnell's great-great-grandfathers owned 14 slaves, complicating his outspoken opposition to reparations. NBC News’s Corky Semaszko reports: “The two great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama — all but two of them female, according to the county ‘Slave Schedules’ in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. The details about McConnell’s ancestors ... came in the wake of recent hearings on reparations before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Asked about the reparations issue, McConnell, R-Ky., said he was opposed to the idea, arguing it would be hard to figure out whom to compensate. … NBC News, in several phone calls and emails to McConnell’s office, asked if the senator was aware that his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners. The office did not respond to those requests.”

-- Pelosi invited the U.S. women’s World Cup champion team to the Capitol. Pelosi issued a bipartisan invitation to the team, citing its “strength, unity & patriotism.” (Post Staff)

-- Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) resigned from his seat on the House Oversight Committee after quitting the Republican Party. Rachael Bade reports: “In a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the Michigan conservative asked leadership to ‘please accept this letter as a formal notification that I am withdrawing my membership in the House Republican Conference, effective immediately.’ Amash, who tweeted out the letter publicly, went on to cite House rules in also stepping down from the Oversight panel. The announcement came as House Republicans were privately deliberating on a plan to replace Amash on the committee, where he has occasionally voted with Democrats investigating the president … The turn of events is not altogether surprising. While Republican leaders annoyed with Amash after his impeachment tweets in May restrained themselves from taking any retaliatory action, they argue that real consequences for him are in order after he left their ranks.”

-- Mike Pence ripped into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “concentration camp” remarks while speaking to a pro-Israel group. Fox News’s Joseph A. Wulfsohn reports: “Speaking at the Christians United For Israel summit on Monday, Pence slammed Democrats who he said ‘cheapened’ the memory of Holocaust victims by comparing their conditions to those of illegal immigrants at detention centers, although he never referred to Ocasio-Cortez by name. ‘We must never allow the memory of those lost in the Holocaust to be cheapened as a cliché to advance some left-wing political narrative,’ Pence said. ‘Sadly, in recent weeks, that’s exactly what some Democrats have done in the national debate. Last month, a leading Democrat in Congress actually compared our U.S. Customs and Border Protection detection facilities to concentration camps.’”

-- Meanwhile, activists slammed Ocasio-Cortez for “sanitizing” the late Argentine leader Eva Perón, whose husband, former Argentine president Juan Perón, aided and abetted Nazis. Gillian Brockell reports: “Politico writer Tim Alberta claims Trump likened Ocasio-Cortez to Argentine leader Eva ‘Evita’ Perón. If true, it’s possible he meant it as a compliment. In his 2004 book “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” he said the Broadway musical “Evita” was his favorite, and he had seen it six times. Ocasio-Cortez responded with two tweets containing pointed Evita quotes … And yes, the right-wing bloggers typed out their rage posts. But instead of the usual celebratory retweets, Ocasio-Cortez encountered something she may not be accustomed to: criticism from the left. Aura Bogado, an immigration reporter for Reveal, tweeted the word ‘no’ 70 times in a row before explaining, ‘It’s hard to know where to begin with Evita’s horrid legacy but how about the part where she took gold stolen from Jewish families exterminated in actual concentration camps in exchange for allowing Nazi war criminals to live in Argentina? Don’t [expletive] sanitize her.’ Others were more brief in their criticism. Activist Charlene Carruthers said, ‘Yikes.’ And cultural critic Sydette Harry, also known as Blackamazon, tweeted her shock with, ‘What in the entire [expletive]?!’

THE NEW WORLD ORDER:

-- Trump said the U.S. will “no longer deal with” Kim Darroch, the British ambassador who described his White House as “inept” and “dysfunctional.” William Booth and Josh Dawsey report: “Trump tweeted his displeasure on Monday — and more than hinted that he is looking forward to a change: ‘I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him. The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister.’ … A statement from Prime Minister Theresa May’s office Monday said the leaks ‘do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.’ The statement said Darroch retains the prime minister’s ‘full support,’ and a spokesman stressed that May did not share in her ambassador’s critiques. … A senior administration official said Darroch would no longer be invited to U.S. government events.”

-- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the China extradition bill is “dead,” but she still declined to formally withdraw it from the legislative agenda. Shibani Mahtani reports: She also refused to “meet other protester demands, such as an independent inquiry into police use of force in quelling demonstrations. The Hong Kong government has ‘put a stop to’ the legislative process around the bill, she said, dismissing fears that the legislature will restart the process at a later date. ‘I reiterate here, there is no such plan,’ she said. ‘The bill is dead.’ … Lam said her decision to suspend rather than withdraw the bill or meet other demands ‘is nothing to do with my own pride or arrogance,’ but rather ‘practical’ responses that will allow Hong Kong to move ahead. She appealed for Hong Kongers to trust her administration. ‘Give us the time and room for us to take Hong Kong out of the current impasse,’ she said.”

-- The talks between Taliban insurgents and prominent Afghans in Qatar ended with a joint resolution, including an eight-point “road map for peace.” Pamela Constable reports: “All participants agreed that meaningful peace would only be possible through ‘Afghan-inclusive negotiations,' though the Taliban still refuse to negotiate with the government of Afghanistan directly. … Participants preparing to return to Kabul praised the cordial tone of the encounter. They called it a watershed of sorts because it included several Afghan government officials, who were allowed to participate as private citizens. … But some delegates and outside observers raised cautionary notes. They said insurgents at the ‘peace conference’ had expressed no regret for two recent bombings that injured hundreds of Afghan children, that they had not explicitly agreed to negotiate with the government, and that they had not softened their earlier insistence that the country must come under full sharia (Islamic) law.” 

-- “Aboard a U.S. patrol ship in the Persian Gulf, where tensions are spiking,” Loveday Morris reports from off the coast of Bahrain: “A 178-foot patrol boat, the Whirlwind is one of 21 forward deployed ships with the U.S. 5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, which carry out surveillance and operations such as boarding and searching suspicious vessels. The stated aim of the mission is to ensure freedom of navigation and commerce in one of the world’s most vital waterways. Last month, when limpet mines blasted two petrochemical tankers in the Gulf of Oman, forcing both crews to abandon ship as thick plumes of black smoke rose into the air, the U.S. Navy responded to the distress calls. … Despite the drama of the past few months, for the sailors patrolling the waterway, it’s been business as usual.”

-- Europeans have maintained a balancing act between the U.S. and Iran for more than a year. How much longer can that last? James McAuley and Michael Birnbaum report: “After Iran announced Monday that it had surpassed the 2015 accord’s cap on uranium enrichment … European diplomats gave themselves another week to encourage Tehran to come back into compliance. … The European high-wire act could come to an end soon: France, Britain and Germany see higher levels of uranium enrichment as a red line that would leave them little alternative but to start the process of reimposing sanctions and ending the deal. Turning away international inspectors or installing more centrifuges would also be triggers for sanctions, diplomats said.”

-- The State Department approved a potential arms sale to Taiwan estimated at $2.2 billion. From the BBC: “China's foreign ministry has called on the US to 'immediately cancel' the proposed sale. Spokesman Geng Shuang said the action ‘grossly interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests.’ He also accused the US of violating the One China policy, under which the US recognises and has only formal ties with China and not Taiwan.”

-- New scandals are rocking the United States Agency for Global Media, the government’s foreign broadcast service. The Times’s Elizabeth Williamson reports: “In one, Tomás Regalado Jr., a reporter for TV Martí, which broadcasts into Cuba, and a cameraman for the network, Rodolfo Hernandez, were suspended amid allegations that they faked a mortar attack on Mr. Regalado during a broadcast from Managua, Nicaragua, last year. That incident surfaced only days after Haroon Ullah, the former chief strategy officer at the global media agency, which operates Martí and foreign-language networks around the world, pleaded guilty on June 27 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., to stealing government property. … The new problems are unrelated to each other; in the case of Mr. Ullah, the agency said its internal controls flagged the expense fraud. But along with many others over the past two years, the scandals have brought intensified scrutiny and criticism to the agency, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors.”

2020 WATCH:

-- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) dropped out of the Democratic presidential race to focus on holding his House seat. John Wagner and David Weigel report: “Swalwell, who made last month’s debate stage but risked not qualifying to participate in the second debate this month, has not registered over 1 percent in national polling. He will face a primary challenge in his bid to return to his House seat for a fifth term. At a news conference in Dublin, Calif., Swalwell said he is ‘fired up’ to return to Capitol Hill and continue the work he has been doing in Congress. … He maintained that his short-lived presidential run was ‘not a vanity project’ and argued that he had succeeded in pushing the Democratic front-runners to support his plan for an assault weapons buyback program.”

-- Elizabeth Warren announced she raised $19.1 million in the second quarter of 2019, despite shunning fundraisers and wealthy donors. Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: “Warren had $19.7 million in cash on hand, her campaign said, a larger amount than some critics had expected. … Warren’s second-quarter haul showed that she held her own among the other top-tier Democratic White House hopefuls, despite pledging not to solicit big checks at in-person fundraisers and not having an established small-dollar machine like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) does. Warren outraised both Sanders and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) in the second quarter. … In an email to supporters Monday, Warren’s campaign announced that she raised in excess of $19.1 million from more than 384,000 donors in the second quarter, more than 80 percent of whom gave money for the first time. The average contribution was $28, the campaign said.”

“The Massachusetts Democrat’s haul reflects a strong fundraising performance by the Democratic hopefuls in the past three months,” Lee adds. “The five most prominent candidates raised a total of $95.4 million, putting the Democratic field on a pace to exceed the record-breaking $105 million brought in by [Trump] and the Republican National Committee in the second quarter. The cash raised by those five Democrats … eclipsed the $75 million raised by eight Democratic primary candidates in the second quarter of 2007, suggesting an enthusiasm by the party’s rank-and-file.”

-- Warren is taking aim at D.C.’s political consultant industrial complex. Politico’s Alex Thompson reports: “The campaign has gone without an outside polling firm, and says it has no plans to hire one, even though it is standard operating procedure for most serious candidates. Instead of initially stockpiling resources for a home-stretch TV ad blitz, she's amassed a payroll of 300-plus staffers in the early months of the campaign — overhead that could deplete her coffers if her fundraising ever falters. And now, the campaign told Politico that it is shunning the typical model for producing campaign ads, in which outside firms are hired and paid often hefty commissions for their work. Instead, Warren's campaign is producing TV, digital and other media content itself, as well as placing its digital ad buys internally.”

-- Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, said their son Hunter struggles with mental-health challenges during an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, days after the New Yorker published a profile of the presidential candidate's youngest son: "'This kid, I’m telling you, as you know, you knew Beau, Beau is my soul. Hunter is my heart. And Hunter has been through some tough times, but he's fighting. He’s fighting. He's never given up,” the former vice president said. “He's the most honorable, decent person I know. And I read that article and all I could do is think of, my God, he gives me so much credit than I deserve as a dad. ... I knew nothing about that article, nothing about that article, except he told me toward the end he was having this long interview. But it’s a catharsis for him. And, look, everybody has to deal with these issues in a way that is consistent with who they are and what they are. This guy is the most generous, honorable man that I know. And I am confident, confident, he's going to make it. And, look, it's a -- the idea that we treat mental health and, quote, physical health as somehow they're distinct, it's health.” 

Jill Biden said Sen. Kamala Harris's performance in the first presidential debate — and her criticism of the former senator's support for busing — has been the race's "biggest surprise so far": “You know, I think that they were looking at the past. I mean, the one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist,” she said. “He got into politics because of his commitment to civil rights and then to be elected with Barack Obama and then someone is saying, you know, you're a racist. As soon as I heard those words -- I know, but as soon as I heard those words, I thought, uh-oh, what's coming next?”

-- More than 40 years ago, then-South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk defeated antibusing legislation that Biden co-sponsored. “He wanted to kill me,” Abourezk said of Biden, remembering his reaction. The Argus Leader’s Jonathan Ellis reports: “Abourezk started his effort on the first Monday morning when the bill was scheduled to get its hearing. ‘The whole committee was there,’ he said. ‘I said ‘Guys, get comfortable, because we are going to be here for a long time.’ So I started reading out of a book. It was a filibuster in the committee. After about an hour, they all got up and left. So I moved that we adjourn on the grounds there was not a quorum. And the same thing happened Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And by Friday, Biden was so pissed he wanted to kill me.’ But Biden’s wrath was temporary. When they returned to Washington the following Monday, Biden was happy that he was portrayed in the press as battling liberals in the Senate. … But now, with Biden’s commitment to civil rights in question and his ties to anti-civil rights legislation, Abourezk thinks the incident could haunt his presidential aspirations. ‘Well, sure it will,’ Abourezk said. ‘You know, Biden, he and I were seat mates. We went into the Senate together, and we sat together for two years. And you would think he would have been more accommodating.’”

-- “The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand,” by Anna Peele: “The majority of Democratic hopefuls have yet to experience a moment like the surge of interest in Mayor Pete or Beto or Elizabeth Warren, let alone the preexisting support afforded the two candidates approaching their 80th birthdays. But Gillibrand’s lack of anointing seems conspicuous. After all, on paper, she’s set herself up to succeed … Maybe it’s that her recalibration on guns and immigration is often framed as pandering. Maybe it’s because her role in Al Franken’s Senate resignation has been cast as inconvenient for Democrats and convenient for her. Maybe it’s sexism … Or maybe it’s all these things, with one other factor thrown in: At a time when our national cortisol level is tied to the president’s Twitter feed, and when candidates are live-streaming and clapping back and eating salads with hair equipment, it has become unforgivable to be boring. … Gillibrand’s brand — motherly, responsible, pragmatic, experienced — is going to be a tough sell if what we really want, at some level, is for our politicians to entertain us.”

-- “’You are who?’ The lonely presidential campain of John Hickenlooper,” by Holly Bailey: “As one of two dozen Democrats vying for the party nomination, Hickenlooper’s struggle to make a dent is emblematic of how difficult it is for a candidate — even a well-regarded former governor of a pivotal state — to break through in a historically large field in which being a mild-mannered 67-year-old white man hasn’t been the best selling point. In 2016, the buzz around Hickenlooper was loud enough that Hillary Clinton vetted him to be her running mate. But three years later, Hickenlooper often finds himself talking to voters who have no idea who he is. A columnist for the New Hampshire Union-Leader recently likened the efforts of Hickenlooper — a former brewery owner — to ‘a fledgling IPA fighting for a tap in the neighborhood bar.’”

-- Pete Buttigieg is facing a familiar enemy in South Carolina: homophobia. Vice News’s Daniel Newhauser reports: “Aliyah Johnson stood petrified for several long seconds, mouth agape, eyes wide, as Mayor Pete Buttigieg walked in the door. When she finally shook off her paralysis, she barreled into his chest for an embrace before breaking into inconsolable sobs. The 19-year-old Columbia resident had been looking in vain for Buttigieg all over the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention. When he made a surprise appearance at a meet-and-greet with black millennials at a bar called Truth, she knew it would be her chance. She had never met him before, but Johnson needed to tell him her truth: That she had come out as pansexual in May, inspired in part by Buttigieg, who could be the first openly gay president. Her mother, a creationist Baptist, had rejected her completely. ‘I’m proud of you,’ Buttigieg reassured her. ‘Keep going. You’re doing great.’”

-- CNN said it would televise a “live draw” next week to determine which Democratic candidates will appear on each night of the next presidential primary debate. John Wagner reports: “NBC, the host of the first debate, conducted a similar process behind closed doors in Manhattan last month to divide the 20 qualifying hopefuls into two packs, with aides standing in for the candidates. CNN said its process would air July 18 in the 8 p.m. period of its ‘Anderson Cooper 360’ program. … CNN announced Monday that three of its anchors — Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper — will moderate. The network said that the Democratic National Committee will notify the 20 candidates who qualify for the second debate on July 17.”

-- Democratic legislators in Ohio are raising concerns about a Republican proposal to move the state’s presidential primary from March 10 to St. Patrick’s Day. “People who otherwise would have been poll workers may have an annual commitment to help with St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Buildings that otherwise would have served as polling locations may have events planned for the holiday instead,” Democrats wrote in a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. (Dayton Daily News)

-- Some Home Depot shoppers are promising to boycott the store after one of its founders told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’ll donate some of his fortune to Trump’s reelection campaign. Home Depot’s co-founder Bernie Marcus donated $7 million to the Trump 2016 campaign, and, now that he plans to donate to the president’s 2020 bid, customers are urging shoppers to boycott the store and cut up their Home Depot cards. (Business Insider)  

THE CONGRESSIONAL MAP IS TAKING SHAPE:

-- Former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach has filed paperwork to run for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, despite concerns from national Republicans after his unsuccessful bid for governor last year. Mike DeBonis and John Wagner report: “Speaking at an event in Leavenworth, Kobach sounded a defiant tone in pledging loyalty to [Trump] over the wishes of ‘establishment’ Republicans who have sought to keep him out of the race. … There were immediate signs that Kobach, 53, might not have overcome his previous organizational hiccups: His campaign filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that misspelled his name as ‘Chris Kobach.’ The filing was later updated. During his remarks, Kobach cast himself as a steadfast ally of Trump, saying, ‘I will help the president make America great again.’ He described speaking to Trump as recently as Thursday ‘on the subject of illegal immigration,’ although it remains a question whether his run has Trump’s blessing.”

-- The White House said it was unaware of a call between Kobach and Trump. The Wall Street Journal’s Lindsay Wise reports: “Mr. Trump hasn’t expressed any particular interest in a Kobach candidacy, people familiar with the matter said, and it isn’t clear that he would endorse Mr. Kobach in the race if other Republicans run for the seat.”

-- Amy McGrath, a Democrat and retired Marine lieutenant colonel and combat pilot, said she hopes to challenge McConnell for his Senate seat in 2020. LEX 18’s David Nichols reports: “McGrath made her announcement with a YouTube video [and] appeared later on MSNBC's ‘Morning Joe’ to talk about her candidacy. … McGrath jumped into the spotlight less than two years ago with a splashy campaign ad mining her Marine fighter pilot biography as she launched a run against GOP congressman Andy Barr in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District. Despite a strong showing in Fayette County, McGrath fell short and Barr was able to hold onto his seat. … But while the powerful Republican senator is, perhaps, the biggest prize up for grabs in the 2020 election cycle after the presidency, dislodging the self-styled ‘grim reaper’ of Democratic policy initiatives will not be easy.” 

-- As Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) hits the presidential campaign trail, more primary challengers are jumping into the congressional race to unseat him. The Boston Globe’s Liz Goodwin reports: “Lisa Peterson, a financial planner who was first elected to the Salem City Council in 2017, [announced] Monday in a video that she intends to battle Moulton for the nomination in the district, which includes the North Shore and parts of Essex and Middlesex counties. Moulton’s presidential ambitions are front and center in Peterson’s case for why she would be a better representative for the Sixth District. ‘It’s clear he’s moved on from the district,’ said Peterson, 41, in an interview. ‘I mean, obviously he’s running for president so he’s not here, he’s not representing us. I think we can do so much better.’”

-- The North Carolina runoff is a test of women’s standing within the Republican Party. Paul Kane reports: “Tuesday’s race pitting Joan Perry, a pediatrician who never ran for office, against Greg Murphy, a state representative, is about much more than determining who is likely to represent the conservative district for years to come. Instead, this North Carolina special election has turned into a significant test of Republican women’s standing, particularly among GOP primary voters, just months after the disastrous 2018 midterm elections cratered female GOP ranks in Congress. From their office in Georgetown, a small but well-financed group of Republican women will be watching to find out whether their roughly $1 million investment in Perry moved the needle to victory. And, win or lose, they will be studying the outcome to divine lessons they can use to boost other female GOP candidates next year.”

-- Republican Scott Taylor, a former congressman who lost in November, said he will try to break the Democrats’ control on statewide offices in Virginia by challenging Sen. Mark Warner. Jenna Portnoy reports: “An ex-Navy SEAL who last year lost his Virginia Beach district to a Democrat, Taylor called himself an underdog in the race and acknowledged he cannot match the fundraising muscle of Warner. … Warner is seeking a third term on the strength of his reputation as a bipartisan centrist and popular former Virginia governor who has investigated Russian interference in U.S. elections as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee … Taylor called himself an underdog in the Senate race and referred to taxes and regulation, immigration policy and abortion.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft sat at the same table as Trump during a dinner last night:

It's not just Kraft. The table was male-dominated:

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called on Trump's labor secretary to resign for his role in giving Epstein a lenient plea deal a decade ago. Kaine had pressed on this issue during Acosta's confirmation hearing, as well:

Biden commended Swalwell after he dropped out, even though the California congressman went after him in the first debate:

McConnell ridiculed Swalwell for saying recently that the majority leader won't be in the Senate in 2021.

The Post's book critic teased Swalwell about flip-flopping on running for reelection to his House seat by invoking the trope he used in the debate:

A New York Times reporter likened Swalwell to West Virginia Democratic populist Richard Ojeda, who also abandoned his bid after less than three months:

A Post reporter flagged this interaction with the California Democrat from Sunday:

He also analyzed candidates' fundraising numbers:

One 2020 Democrat found the flash flooding in D.C., which spread to the White House, quite ironic:

Other images from the D.C. flooding showed commuters stranded and roads transformed into rivers:

And a Republican senator complained about his travel woes:

GOOD READS:

-- NPR, “Motorcycle crash shows bioethicist the dark side of quitting opioids alone,” by Terry Gross: “In 2015, Travis Rieder, a medical bioethicist with Johns Hopkins University's Berman Institute of Bioethics, was involved in a motorcycle accident that crushed his left foot. In the months that followed, he underwent six different surgeries as doctors struggled first to save his foot and then to reconstruct it. … Doctors tried to mitigate the pain by prescribing large doses of opioids, including morphine, fentanyl, Dilaudid, oxycodone and OxyContin. But when it came time to taper off the drugs, Rieder found it nearly impossible to get good advice from any of the clinicians who had treated him. … Eventually Rieder was able to wean himself off the drugs, but not before receiving bad advice and going through intense periods of withdrawal. He shares his insights as both a patient and a bioethicist in a new book, ‘In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With Opioids.’”

-- Bloomberg News, “How Facebook Fought Fake News About Facebook,” by Mark Bergen and Kurt Wagner: “Since 2016, Facebook employees have used Stormchaser to track many viral posts, including a popular conspiracy that the company listens to users through their phone’s microphone, according to three former employees. Other topics ranged from bitter protests (the #deleteFB movement) to ludicrous jokes (that Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is an alien), according to one former employee. In some cases, like the copy-and-paste hoax, the social network took active steps to snuff them out. Staff prepared messages debunking assertions about Facebook, then ran them in front of users who shared the content, according to documents viewed by Bloomberg News and four people familiar with the matter.”

-- New York Times, “As Cameras Track Detroit’s Residents, a Debate Ensues Over Racial Bias,” by Amy Harmon: “The surveillance program, which began in 2016, is the opposite of covert. A flashing green light marks each participating location, and the point of the popular initiative, known as Project Green Light, has been for the cameras to be noticed and help deter crime. Detroit’s mayor, Mike Duggan, received applause when he promised at his State of the City address earlier this year that expanding the network to include several hundred traffic light cameras would allow the police to ‘track any shooter or carjacker across the city.’ But in recent weeks, a public outcry has erupted over a less-touted tool employed in conjunction with the cameras: software that can, in a matter of seconds, suggest the identities of the anonymous people captured on video.”

-- “A child touched an electrified railing at MGM National Harbor resort, and lives changed,” by Keith L. Alexander and Lynh Bui: “Nearby, [Carlos Green’s] once-lively 7-year-daughter Zynae Green sits in her black wheelchair with a slight grin and widening gaze as ‘Frozen’ — one of the films that now fills her day — pops up on the television. A throat tube helps her breathe, a stomach tube helps feed her, and she communicates in smiles, blinks and frowns. ‘I cry about that right now,’ Green says. ‘She called my phone about everything. ‘Dad, dad dad.’ That’s just what I want to hear. I just want to hear my baby’s voice. ‘ It has been a year since Zynae could talk, her voice silenced after she breezily grasped a lighted handrail on a warm June evening on a plaza at the MGM National Harbor resort. … Zynae went into cardiac arrest, was resuscitated and suffered a traumatic brain injury.”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Trump Tweets Fake, Self-Aggrandizing Ronald Reagan Quote, Calls It ‘Cute!’” from HuffPost: “Trump shared a tweet featuring a fake quote by former President Ronald Reagan and called it ‘cute.’ The tweet also addressed ‘weak conservatives’ and insisted that they ‘never forget’ that they are ‘no match’ for Trump. On Monday, the president quote-tweeted a post from the account ‘The Reagan Battalion’ from February 2017 that featured a photograph of himself and Reagan from 1987. Superimposed over the image is a quote that reads: ‘For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president.’ According to Snopes, this particular image has been circulating since 2016 and while the photograph, taken at a 1987 White House reception, is very real, the quote doesn’t seem to be. … [P]rior to the account being suspended on Monday morning, it had only accumulated a mere 402 followers." (I wrote in June 2016 about how the Reagan White House viewed Trump with disdain.)

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Democratic congresswoman unlikely to return contribution from accused child molester Jeffrey Epstein,” from CNBC: “Epstein contributed directly to Democratic Rep. Stacey Plaskett’s last two campaigns for Congress. The U.S. Virgin Islands lawmaker has decided she will be keeping the cash, even after Epstein’s arrest in New York, at least for now. Mike McQueery, a spokesman for Plaskett’s office, [said] she has no immediate plans to refund the donation. ‘I’m pretty sure she’s not,’ he said and later confirmed, in a follow-up phone call to verify her position, that his boss is unlikely to return the contribution. He declined to comment further about the investigation and how Plaskett knew Epstein. … Plaskett appears to be one of the few candidates that received a donation from Epstein last cycle. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee saw a $10,000 check from him in October but immediately sent it back.”

 

DAYBOOK:

Trump will meet with the emir of Qatar at the White House and later participate in a commercial signing ceremonies viewing. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

"I’m not sure what purpose is served by dragging him up there and trying to grill him ... I don’t think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn’t want to," Attorney General Bill Barr on Bob Mueller's upcoming testimony to Congress. (AP

 

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

-- No flotation devices will be needed today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “High pressure delivers a drying cycle today and tomorrow with at least somewhat lower humidity and bright, sunny skies. Temperatures only peak in the 80s today before getting closer to 90 tomorrow, before we return to the heat and humidity by Thursday. A cool front should trigger more storms Thursday afternoon into early Friday. While the weekend leans hotter again, it seems as though it might actually stay dry.”

-- Washington-area residents are beginning to clean up and dry out from the extreme flash flooding that hit the region yesterday. Dana Hedgpeth, Luz Lazo and Michael E. Ruane report: “It was an epic rainstorm that drenched the Washington area Monday. And water, which had no place to go, went where it would. It gathered force and crashed through roadway retaining walls. It gushed through the ceiling of a Metro station, showering passing rail cars. It crept into the basement of the National Archives, which had to be closed down. It carried away tree stumps and garbage. It was a month’s worth of rain in a single hour, according to Jason Samenow of The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. … Heavy as the rain was, no one was reported to have been killed or injured. Waters had receded in most places by the afternoon, and waterlogged cars had been towed to safety.”

-- The contract to manage a sports betting system and lottery found shaky support in the D.C. Council ahead of a vote today. Steve Thompson, Peter Jamison and Cortlynn Stark report: “Seven of the 13 council members expressed a range of concerns and said they would not approve the $215 million proposal in its current form. But at least two, Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) and Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large), left open the possibility of voting for an amended bill. Gray, who has long called for the sports betting revenue to go toward violence prevention and early-childhood education, has said he could support the contract if those provisions are established. … White said he hadn’t made a final decision but was leaning against the contract, which has become mired in an ethics scandal involving its chief champion, council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2).”

-- The man who helped Arlington land the Amazon contract, Victor Hoskins, will become Fairfax County’s economic development chief. Antonio Olivo reports: “Hoskins, who directed Arlington County’s economic development authority for nearly five years, will succeed Gerald L. Gordon as head of Fairfax’s economic development authority, starting Aug. 5, Fairfax officials said. Gordon stepped down from his job in Fairfax last year after overseeing new development for Virginia’s chief economic engine for 35 years. Hoskins, 61, said he plans to focus on creating more destination-type places near Metro stations in Fairfax — popular spots to live, shop and eat, akin to the Wharf or Union Market in the District. ‘You create these places, but you have to do them with purpose,’ he said.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

"The Daily Show” took a look into the “Foxhole”: 

Washington locals captured some of the most dramatic scenes of yesterday's flash floods:

And the U.S. women's soccer team returned to the U.S., World Cup trophy in hand:

A statue of Melania Trump was unveiled in Slovenia:

A man scaled the outside of the Shard, London’s tallest building, on Monday, as commuters and emergency service workers watched from hundreds of feet below: