With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro
THE BIG IDEA: Oral arguments in New Orleans on Tuesday over the future of the Affordable Care Act foreshadowed the massive impact that President Trump’s free rein to fill the courts with like-minded judges will probably have on American jurisprudence over the next generation.
For now, Trump continues to suffer legal setbacks. In a case involving his push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a district court judge rejected the Justice Department’s request to change out its team of lawyers. Separately, an appellate court in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that it is unconstitutional for Trump to block critics on Twitter because he’s a public official who uses the platform to communicate with constituents.
But the balance of power is changing on the courts each week to become more favorable to Trump, and it sure sounded like the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit might be ready to uphold at least parts of a federal district judge’s decision in Texas that the entire 2010 health-care law is unconstitutional because the 2017 GOP tax bill got rid of the individual mandate to buy insurance. Two of the three judges on the panel expressed skepticism during the oral arguments that Obamacare can remain intact since the mandate was how Chief Justice John Roberts justified upholding the law in 2012.
Judge Kurt Engelhardt, whom Trump put on the bench just last year, was the more outspoken of the two. He repeatedly noted that the law was written without an explicit feature guaranteeing that if one part were ever removed by Congress or the courts, the rest would remain in place. He suggested that it’s the job of Congress to forge a solution. He questioned whether the courts should be “taxidermist for every legislative big-game accomplishment that Congress achieves.” The judge who seemed to largely agree with him was appointed by George W. Bush. A third judge, appointed by Jimmy Carter, stayed silent during the 90-minute hearing, per Amy Goldstein, who was in the courtroom for us.
Engelhardt was grilling attorneys representing Democratic attorneys general and the Democratic House. Normally it would have been Justice Department lawyers defending a federal law, but the Trump administration is refusing to do so and told the 5th Circuit this spring that the administration agrees with the plaintiffs that it should be struck down.
If Trump gets what he’s hoping for in New Orleans, there’s a strong argument to be made that the president will be like the proverbial dog that catches up with the truck. Health care – the issue that dogged Republican candidates in the 2018 midterms more than any other – would almost certainly take a starring role in the 2020 campaign. The Supreme Court would probably then hear an appeal, in which Roberts would probably again cast a deciding vote – one way or another – in June of an election year.
-- Here are three telling illustrations of how the 5th Circuit could hand Trump a Pyrrhic victory:
1) Despite a decade of efforts to kill Obamacare, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to say yesterday whether he supports the suit to invalidate the law. “I think the important thing for the public to know is there is nobody in the Senate not in favor of covering preexisting conditions,” he said at his weekly news conference. “And if it were, under any of these scenarios, to go away, we would act quickly on a bipartisan basis to restore it.”
Trump has had a historically large number of judicial vacancies to fill during his first two-and-a-half years largely because McConnell blocked consideration of so many of Barack Obama’s nominees once he seized control of the Senate in 2015. It was not just Merrick Garland.
2) Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who cast a key vote for the tax bill that could be used as a pretext by judicial activists to repeal Obamacare, is trying to distance herself from the lawsuit challenging the ACA. She also voted to confirm Engelhardt to the 5th Circuit, in addition to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. These votes could imperil her reelection next year. She issued a statement saying she opposes Trump’s decision not to defend the health-care law in court. “The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, and it is the Department of Justice’s duty to defend it,” Collins said.
3) “Democrats are savoring the moment,” Paige Winfield Cunningham reports in the Health 202. “They're spending the week bludgeoning Republicans over the high-stakes lawsuit, which they well know is prime fodder for 2020 attacks. The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing this morning dubbed ‘The Trump Administration's Attack on the ACA: Reversal in Court Case Threatens Health Care for Millions of Americans,’ where a number of patients and consumers advocates will testify. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Attorneys General Association and the Democrat-affiliated group Protect Our Care launched hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of print and digital ads around the country. Democrats in Congress delivered floor speeches castigating their GOP colleagues. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he's also planning a hearing on the lawsuit.”
-- As the judges in Louisiana considered the fate of health care for millions of people, the Senate voted 53 to 45 on party lines to confirm another controversial Trump nominee to the 9th Circuit, the court of appeals that has most often drawn the president’s ire. Hailey Fuchs notes that Daniel Bress’s confirmation gives Trump his seventh judge on the historically liberal bench, which now has 16 judges nominated by Democratic presidents and 12 by Republicans. The court still has one vacancy that Trump plans to fill. Bress, who once clerked for the late Antonin Scalia, was nominated to fill the vacancy left by Alex Kozinski, whom Kavanaugh once clerked for and who resigned in December 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- British Ambassador Kim Darroch resigned from his post this morning after three days of public attacks from Trump, who was angry about leaked cables that showed the diplomat privately described the president as “inept” and “insecure.” Jennifer Hassan reports: “Trump blasted Darroch in a series of tweets this week, calling him ‘a pompous fool’ and said his administration would not work with him.” In his resignation letter, Darroch said the “current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like. Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.”
-- Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has two messages for Congress this morning: Central bank independence is critical, and an interest-rate cut is likely at the end of July. Heather Long got a first look at his prepared testimony before the House Financial Services Committee: “Since [June], it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook. Inflation pressures remain muted,” Powell will say. The U.S. economy is doing “reasonably well,” Powell will add, but he notes that business investment has “slowed notably,” probably because of the uncertainty around trade and global growth. He will also stress that the economic gains have not been shared evenly by everyone. Hispanics, African Americans and people in rural communities are continuing to have a harder time finding jobs that pay well.
-- Reader feedback: Many of you, on the left and right, emailed in response to yesterday’s Big Idea to say that manufacturers should keep raising wages for workers if they want to make their industry more appealing to young people and close the skills gap. Readers wrote that higher salaries would have a bigger impact than any marketing campaign from a trade association in making the sector more appealing.
-- Support for legal abortion has hit a 24-year high as more states pass severe restrictions on the procedure, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Emily Guskin and Scott Clement report: “The Post-ABC poll finds a 60 percent majority who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 55 percent in a 2013 Post-ABC poll, and tying the record high level of support from 1995. The latest survey finds 36 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, also tying a record low. A 41 percent plurality of Americans want their own state to avoid making it either harder or easier for women to have access to abortion. Fewer, 32 percent, say their states should make it easier and fewer still, 24 percent say their states should make it harder for women to have access to abortion. … Even within party ranks, allowing or banning abortion in all cases is a minority position. Among Democrats, 77 percent say abortion should be at least mostly legal, but just over 4 in 10 (42 percent) say it should be legal in all cases. Among Republicans, 52 percent say it should be at least mostly illegal, but fewer than a quarter, 22 percent, want it to be illegal in all cases.”
-- North Carolina state Rep. Greg Murphy won the Republican primary for the state’s reliably red 3rd Congressional District, besting pediatrician Joan Perry by 20 points in a special election. Felicia Sonmez reports: “The race had been viewed by some as a test of women’s standing within the Republican Party. Perry had won the endorsements of all 13 House Republican women and received nearly $1 million in support from an outside group created to boost female Republican House candidates. But in the end, she was outflanked by Murphy, who was backed by several House Republican heavyweights, including Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Mark Meadows (N.C.).”
-- Cashing in: Joe Biden, who continues calling himself “Middle Class Joe” on the campaign trail, earned $15.6 million over the past two years. Matt Viser and Anu Narayanswamy: “The vast majority of the former vice president’s income — which totaled $11 million in 2017 and $4.6 million in 2018 — came from book payments and speaking fees, according to newly released tax returns and financial disclosure forms required of federal office-seekers. All told, the Bidens made nearly five times more in the past two years than the next- highest earner, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who with her husband earned $3.3 million. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) each took in about $1.7 million in family income. … Since leaving office, he has benefited from an explosion of wealth. He gave 47 speeches, according to the new filings, with fees as high as $234,000. His speaking fees and book payments amounted to $10 million in 2017 and $3.2 million in 2018. Biden was also a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was paid $371,159 in 2017 and $405,368 in 2018.”
-- On the strength of its pitchers, the American League will get home-field advantage in the World Series after a 4-3 win in the All-Star Game. Dave Sheinen reports from Cleveland: “Perhaps someone sneaked into the bowels of Progressive Field on Tuesday and replaced the regular, turbocharged 2019 baseballs with century-old versions from the Dead Ball Era. How else to explain — in the midst of the biggest home run binge in the history of the sport, one year after the most homers ever hit in an All-Star Game and one night after the most electrifying performance in the history of the Home Run Derby — the relatively pedestrian showing in this year’s Midsummer Classic? There is one other possible explanation, of course, and it is the one, conspiracy theories aside, that will have to suffice: There are great pitchers scattered across this game (shellshocked as they may be by the nightly home run binges), and on Tuesday night they shone brightest. ... The victory was the seventh in a row by the AL, its 14th in the past 17 and 19th in the past 23 All-Star Games.”
-- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred denied yesterday that the league has knowingly “juiced” baseballs to increase the number of home runs this season, despite mounting complaints from pitchers. Manfred attributed the spike in homers to naturally occurring variances in manufacturing baseballs and vowed transparency as officials move to correct the problem, per Sheinin.
GET SMART FAST:
Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire who waged two unsuccessful bids for president as an independent, died at 89. Perot was lauded for starting two software companies that later sold for billions, and his reputation as a successful entrepreneur helped him attract nearly 20 million votes in 1992 — marking the highest vote share for an independent or third-party bid since Theodore Roosevelt and ultimately contributing to Bill Clinton’s victory. (Donald P. Baker)
Virginia’s GOP-controlled General Assembly ended a special session on gun legislation after about 90 minutes. The Virginia Senate voted along party lines to adjourn until after the state legislative elections this November, and the House quickly followed suit. The Republican House speaker accused Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam (D) of an “election-year stunt” for ordering the special session shortly after the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach. (Gregory S. Schneider, Laura Vozzella and Antonio Olivo)
Democratic megadonor Ed Buck is facing allegations of human trafficking and revenge porn months after he came under fire when two black men died from overdoses in his home. Buck is now facing two more charges in an ongoing case brought by the mother of one of the two men who died in his West Hollywood apartment. (The Daily Beast)
- A Republican candidate for Mississippi governor, Robert Foster, refused to allow a female reporter to travel with him alone because of her gender. Foster’s campaign told journalist Larrison Campbell she would need to be accompanied by a male colleague if she wanted to go on a 15-hour trip with the candidate, saying the “optics” of the candidate with a woman could be used to insinuate an extramarital affair. (Mississippi Today)
A Senate bill would block federal funding for the 2026 World Cup until the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to give the national women’s and men’s teams the same compensation. The proposal by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) comes after the women won the World Cup this weekend as the crowd chanted, “Equal pay!” (Des Bieler)
An inspector general report accuses the hospice industry of repeatedly ignoring patients’ pain and needs. One particularly grisly example recounted how a patient in Missouri was so neglected that his family had to make a trip to the emergency room to treat a “maggot infestation” where his feeding tube entered his abdomen. (Chris Rowland)
Electric scooters have spread to several European capitals, where they are sparking the same complaints heard on this side of the Atlantic. The mayor of Paris condemned the scooters as causing “not far from anarchy” on the city’s roads, and residents of Berlin have complained of drunk riders and at least one instance of a man trying to access a high-speed motorway on his e-scooter. (Rick Noack)
Pig-ear dog treats were recalled in 33 states because of a potential salmonella contamination, the FDA announced. The treats, which were sold in bins at Pet Supplies Plus stores in the states, are believed to be linked to an outbreak of human salmonella infections. (USA Today)
A rare polio-like illness marked by muscle weakness or paralysis affected 233 people in 2018, the majority of them children. The CDC said the number of recorded acute flaccid myelitis cases last year made it the worst year since the government started tracking the illness in 2014. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- A man who was swept over the largest waterfall at Niagara Falls survived. Reports of the incident sent Niagara Parks Police scrambling to get to the waterfalls early Tuesday morning, where they found the man with non-life-threatening injuries. (Allyson Chiu)
THE #METOO RECKONING:
-- Trump is standing by his embattled labor secretary, saying he feels “very badly” for Alex Acosta, as Democratic calls mounted for Acosta’s resignation over the generous plea deal he struck with financier Jeffrey Epstein when he was a federal prosecutor. Trump said the White House will look closely at the circumstances surrounding the sex-charges deal negotiated by Acosta. “I feel very badly, actually, for Secretary Acosta because I’ve known him as being somebody who works so hard and has done such a good job,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office.
-- Acosta broke his silence and defended himself on Twitter: “The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” he wrote, suggesting that prosecutors have new evidence he did not when he was Miami’s U.S. attorney.
-- Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi called on Acosta to step down, as did most of the 2020 Democratic candidates. “Congressional Republicans supported Acosta, saying issues about the plea deal were vetted at his confirmation hearing in 2017. Acosta’s critics said he was not fit to lead an agency that has oversight over human trafficking offenses,” John Wagner and Lisa Rein report. “Some attorneys for victims questioned Acosta’s tweet saying the evidence was new.”
-- Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is privately urging Trump to dump Acosta, Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Burgess Everett report: “Acosta critics, including Mulvaney, have argued that he has not been aggressive enough in stamping out Obama-era workplace regulations and employment discrimination lawsuits, and they are using the Epstein lawsuit to push him out the door. Mulvaney on Tuesday acknowledged the tension with Acosta but said it was merely part of the job. ‘I push all of the Cabinet Secretaries on the deregulatory agenda, as it is a top priority of the President,’ Mulvaney said in a statement. … One move that has particularly rankled conservatives is Acosta's decision to allow an employment discrimination lawsuit to proceed against Oracle, the rare Silicon Valley company that is not entirely hostile to the GOP.”
-- The Justice Department said Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from the current prosecution of Epstein, but he will not engage in “any retrospective review” of the 2008 plea deal. Matt Zapotosky reports: “Barr had telegraphed at his confirmation hearing in January that he might have to step aside from any Justice Department reviews of Epstein’s case, because another lawyer at his then-firm, Kirkland & Ellis, had represented the wealthy financier. The other lawyer, Jay P. Lefkowitz, helped secure [the previous deal]. The split nature of Barr’s recusal suggests that federal prosecutors in New York — who unsealed new sex trafficking charges against Epstein on Monday — might not be investigating authorities’ handling of the previous allegations. The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has been reviewing the handling of Epstein’s 2008 plea deal for possible misconduct, and Barr is recused from that.”
-- The Miami Herald has reported that Lefkowitz, Barr’s colleague at the time, had a one-on-one meeting with Acosta at which the then-U.S. attorney agreed not to prosecute Epstein in federal court.
-- Epstein amassed a network of powerful connections as authorities say that he was simultaneously abusing dozens of young girls. Marc Fisher reports: “Even as dozens of women were looking to police, prosecutors and courts to hold Epstein to account for his alleged sexual abuses, he was amassing a stunning list of contacts and, in some cases, defenders across the worlds of Hollywood moviemaking, medical research, diplomacy, finance, politics and law. … He donated large sums toward neuroscience research at Harvard and a California lab. He invited researchers to his New York house and talked math with them over equations scrawled on a blackboard in his dining room. He flew former president Bill Clinton and actor Kevin Spacey to Africa to promote AIDS awareness. He was a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.”
-- The criminal case against Epstein had gone cold, but Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown kept pursuing the story and forced authorities to pay attention. The Times’s Tiffany Hsu reports: “Months ago, she published a meticulously researched series of articles about the secret plea deal. ... Her work identified some 80 alleged victims … She worked on the award-winning series with Emily Michot, a visual journalist at The Herald. While Mr. Epstein moved about freely, reportedly building a new compound in the Virgin Islands, Ms. Brown continued to dig, accumulating enough documentation to fill a spare bedroom in her Florida home. … Geoffrey Berman, a federal prosecutor, said at a news conference that his team had been ‘assisted by some excellent investigative journalism.’”
-- Trump once threw a party with "28 girls” at Mar-a-Lago. He and Epstein were the only men there. The Times’s Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman dig into the relationship: “The year was 1992 and the event was a ‘calendar girl’ competition, something that George Houraney, a Florida-based businessman who ran American Dream Enterprise, had organized at Mr. Trump’s request. ‘I arranged to have some contestants fly in,’ Mr. Houraney recalled in an interview on Monday. ‘At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein.’ Mr. Houraney, who had just partnered with Mr. Trump to host events at his casinos, said he was surprised. ‘I said, ‘Donald, this is supposed to be a party with V.I.P.s. You’re telling me it’s you and Epstein?’’ In fact, that was the case, an indication of a yearslong friendship between the president and Mr. Epstein that some say ended only after a failed business arrangement between them. ...
“The full nature of their eventual falling out is not clear. ... The relationship with Mr. Trump turned so toxic that Mr. Epstein at one point told friends that he blamed Mr. Trump for his legal problems with the Palm Beach County police. But while Mr. Trump has dismissed the relationship, Mr. Epstein, since the election, has played it up, claiming to people that he was the one who introduced Mr. Trump to his third wife, Melania Trump, though neither of the Trumps has ever mentioned Mr. Epstein playing a role in their meeting.”
-- Trump has a pattern of quickly minimizing ties with people who criticize him or who find themselves facing an onslaught of negative attention that reflects poorly on him. Epstein and Darroch are only the two latest examples. Josh Dawsey reports: “Trump sat across from Darroch during the annual St. Patrick’s Day lunch on Capitol Hill in March, inquiring about Brexit and bragging of his strong political standing. … Trump interacted with Darroch on a number of occasions in London and Washington. … But after leaked cables showed Darroch criticizing Trump’s administration as ‘inept’ and the president as ‘insecure,’ the president seemed to have a memory lapse. ‘I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool,’ Trump wrote Tuesday on Twitter. … Asked Tuesday about Epstein, Trump said that he was ‘not a fan’ of his. … ‘I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years,’ Trump said. In a 2002 interview with New York Magazine before Epstein was in trouble, Trump sang a different tune. ‘I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side,’ Trump said. ...
“Among those who have gotten the ‘I barely know the guy’ treatment: Former acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, former lawyer Michael Cohen, fired FBI director James B. Comey, former senior White House aide Stephen K. Bannon, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former State Department official Brett McGurk, longtime adviser Roger Stone, former White House aide Cliff Sims, former campaign aide George Papadopoulos and even the rapper Lil Jon, who starred on Trump’s reality TV show ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ The people change, but the comments are eerily similar — and are something of a joke among some Trump advisers.”
-- He is the do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do president: Trump attacked the “Radical Left” last night for encouraging boycotts against companies whose owners support him, even though he has repeatedly advocated the exact same tactic in the past against his perceived critics. Trump was rallying to the defense of Home Depot and its co-founder, Bernard Marcus, who have been at the center of a boycott from liberal customers after the billionaire said he plans to spend part of his fortune supporting Trump's 2020 campaign.
“Among the companies he has targeted are Macy’s, which once carried his clothing line but abandoned him after he called Mexicans ‘rapists’ in his campaign kickoff speech in 2015, and Apple, which he urged to release the cellphone information of the perpetrators of the 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.," Isaac Stanley-Becker recalls. “Last year, he celebrated plans to boycott Harley-Davidson when the motorcycle company said it would move some production overseas because of steel tariffs imposed by the president. He has also implored his Twitter followers to boycott Megyn Kelly’s show on Fox News and suggested that dropping AT&T could compel CNN to improve its coverage of him. … The president has argued that Nike and the NFL would encounter ‘anger and boycotts’ as long as they support players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. He struck a different tone on Tuesday, saying it was unfair to penalize a company because one of its co-founders supported ‘your favorite President, me!’”
THERE’S STILL A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- A congressional panel grilled former Trump associate Felix Sater for more details on the president’s failed Moscow project. Karoun Demirjian and Tom Hamburger report: “Sater met privately with House Intelligence Committee staffers investigating interference in the 2016 presidential election and questions surrounding Trump’s business interests in Russia in 2016. At issue is Michael Cohen’s false testimony before the same committee in 2017 and whether Trump was compromised by his organization’s effort to build in Moscow. When pressed Tuesday to provide information about his knowledge of Cohen’s testimony, Sater at one point cited lawyer-client privilege and declined to respond, according to accounts of the exchange described by Sater’s attorney and a spokesman for the committee.”
-- Federal prosecutors no longer want Michael Flynn to testify against his former partner because they doubt his version of events, according to a court filing. Rachel Weiner reports: “The move could have implications for Flynn in D.C. federal court, where he is awaiting sentencing in a case brought by the special counsel. … Flynn had been expected to be a key witness in the Virginia trial of Bijan Rafiekian, with whom he ran a consulting business. A court filing from Rafiekian’s attorneys includes an email that Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis ended by saying prosecutors ‘do not necessarily agree’ with Flynn’s ‘characterizations’ of how he came to make an inaccurate filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act for an influence campaign that benefited the Turkish government. According to the email, Flynn says he did not provide false information to his attorneys at the time, did not read the FARA filing before signing it and was not aware that it contained falsehoods. In their filing, Rafiekian’s lawyers say they 'interpreted the email’s final sentence as a euphemism for, ‘we’ve concluded [Flynn] is lying.’
“The decision by prosecutors could imperil Flynn’s ability to avoid incarceration for lying to the FBI unless he is pardoned by Trump. Flynn’s defense attorney, Sidney Powell, said in a statement that 'General Flynn is still cooperating with the government even if they don’t call him as a witness.'”
-- The Justice Department directed two former members of Mueller’s team, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles, not to testify before Congress. The Times’s Nicholas Fandos and Katie Benner report: “It is unclear what effect the Justice Department’s intervention will have on the men’s eventual appearances, but it raises the prospect that a deal lawmakers thought they had struck last month for testimony from Mr. Mueller, the former special counsel, and the two prosecutors could still unravel. Both Mr. Zebley and Mr. Quarles have left the Justice Department and are now private citizens, meaning that the department most likely cannot actually block their testimony. But the department’s view — depending on how strongly it is expressed — could have a chilling effect on two longtime employees and give them cover to avoid testifying.”
-- The House Judiciary Committee will vote tomorrow on whether to subpoena 12 individuals with connections to Trump, including Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions, for their investigation on whether the president obstructed justice. Colby Itkowitz reports: “The panel will also vote to subpoena documents related to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy on migrants entering the country illegally, which led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents in 2018. … In addition to seeking subpoenas for Kushner and Sessions, the committee will vote to subpoena former White House chief of staff John Kelly; [Flynn]; former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski; former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein; former White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn; assistant attorney general Jody Hunt; former White House staff secretary Rob Porter; National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard; American Media Inc. chief executive David Pecker; and Keith Davidson, former attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels.”
-- Ahead of the former special counsel's testimony next week, many lawmakers admit that they have not read Mueller’s report in full. Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn reports: “Trump can’t give a straight answer about the subject. More than a dozen members of Congress readily admitted … that they too have skipped around rather than studying every one of the special counsel report’s 448 pages. And despite the report technically ranking as a best-seller, only a tiny fraction of the American public has actually cracked the cover and really dived in. ‘What’s the point?’ said Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). … The result, say lawmakers, historians and cultural critics, is a giant literacy gap in the country when it comes to the most authoritative examination into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump obstructed that investigation.”
-- Pelosi said she will not address “anything more that [Barr] has to say” because he “has lied to Congress.” Pelosi’s comments came a day after the attorney general accused Democrats of trying “to create some kind of public spectacle” by calling for Mueller to publicly testify next week. “I don’t even want to address him,” Pelosi said in response. “He has lied to Congress as the attorney general of the United States. He’s lied under oath. I’m not speaking to anything more that he has to say.” (John Wagner)
-- Russian intelligence agents appear to have been the first people to promote the conspiracy theory that DNC staffer Seth Rich was killed by assassins working for Hillary Clinton. Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff reports: “Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, first circulated a phony ‘bulletin’ — disguised to read as a real intelligence report —about the alleged murder of the former DNC staffer on July 13, 2016, according to the U.S. federal prosecutor who was in charge of the Rich case. That was just three days after Rich, 27, was killed in what police believed was a botched robbery while walking home to his group house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., about 30 blocks north of the Capitol. … In a graphic example of how fake news infects the internet, those precise details popped up the same day on an obscure website, whatdoesitmean.com, that is a frequent vehicle for Russian propaganda. The website’s article, which attributed its claims to ‘Russian intelligence,’ was the first known instance of Rich’s murder being publicly linked to a political conspiracy.”
-- Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, was interviewed for 16 hours last month as part of the investigation by Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general. Politico’s Natasha Bertrand reports: “The extensive, two-day interview took place in London while Trump was in Britain for a state visit, [two] sources said, and delved into Steele’s extensive work on Russian interference efforts globally, his intelligence-collection methods and his findings about Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who the FBI ultimately surveilled. … The interview was contentious at first, the sources added, but investigators ultimately found Steele’s testimony credible and even surprising. The takeaway has irked some U.S. officials interviewed as part of the probe — they argue that it shouldn’t have taken a foreign national to convince the inspector general that the FBI acted properly in 2016.”
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- Border arrests are dropping as Mexico’s crackdown on migrants takes effect. Nick Miroff reports: “The number of people taken into custody along the U.S. southern border fell 28 percent in June, a drop that U.S. authorities say reflects the early impact of Mexico’s crackdown on Central American migration. Border crossings typically rise in the spring and slump during the scorching summer months, but the drop registered from May to June was significantly larger than in previous years, according to Homeland Security statistics.”
-- Migrant children in an overcrowded detention center in Yuma, Ariz., are making sexual assault allegations and saying they fear retaliation from U.S. agents when they complain about poor treatment. NBC News’s Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley report: “A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy held in Yuma, Arizona, said he and others in his cell complained about the taste of the water and food they were given. The Customs and Border Protection agents took the mats out of their cell in retaliation, forcing them to sleep on hard concrete. A 15-year-old girl from Honduras described a large, bearded officer putting his hands inside her bra, pulling down her underwear and groping her as part of what was meant to be a routine pat down in front of other immigrants and officers. The girl said ‘she felt embarrassed as the officer was speaking in English to other officers and laughing’ during the entire process, according to a report of her account.”
-- California became the first state to offer health benefits to adult undocumented immigrants. NPR’s Bobby Allyn reports: “The measure signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday extends coverage to low-income, undocumented adults age 25 and younger for the state's Medicaid program. Since 2016, California has allowed children under 18 to receive taxpayer-backed healthcare despite immigration status. And, state officials expect that the plan will cover roughly 90,000 people. … In California, extending health benefits to undocumented immigrants is widely popular. A March survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that almost two-thirds of state residents support providing coverage to young adults who are not legally authorized to live in the country.”
-- Two active-duty Marines were arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle three undocumented Mexican immigrants through California. Meagan Flynn reports: “Lance Cpls. Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero, based in Camp Pendleton, Calif., were arraigned Monday in federal court on charges of transporting undocumented immigrants ‘for financial gain,’ accused of taking jobs from ‘recruiters’ and following instructions from unknown people in Mexico to make extra cash on the side. They are among several active-duty U.S. troops charged or convicted in recent years of helping immigrants cross the border in exchange for money, highlighting how smugglers have sought to offer the shield of a uniform or credentials to assist desperate immigrants on the journey north.”
THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA:
-- “A black principal, four white teens and the ‘senior prank’ that became a hate crime,” by Jessica Contrera: “This was the last day of the year for the class of 2018 at Glenelg High School. There was going to be an awards ceremony, a picnic, that end-of-a-journey feeling that always made [Principal David Burton] so proud of his job. But as he was on his way to work at 6:25 a.m., the assistant principal had called, agitated and yelling about graffiti. ‘It’s everywhere,’ he kept saying, so Burton had leaned on the gas and rushed the last few miles. … He turned a corner and saw something written in large capital letters on the sidewalk: ‘BURTON IS A NIGGER.’ He paused only for a moment, looking at the words, trying to comprehend that all of this was real. Later, school district officials, county administrators and prosecutors would have a name for what happened here. They would repeat it, condemn it and vow to prevent it from occurring again. Hate crime.”
-- A white man who called 911 on a black man in his building apologized for his actions, explaining that they were informed by a tragic family history — his father was murdered after confronting a mentally ill man who showed up on his driveway. The man, Christopher Cukor, called the cops on Wesly Michel, a man who was going up to a friend’s apartment in the same building without using the call box. The video of their encounter went viral online. (Eli Rosenberg)
-- Elijah Al-Amin, a black teenager, was stabbed to death at a convenience store in Arizona by a white man, allegedly because he was playing rap music in his car. The man, Michael Adams, stabbed the 17-year-old two days after Adams was released from prison, where he had completed a sentence for assault and theft. (NBC News)
-- The Chicago Defender, the legendary newspaper read by generations of black Americans, printed its final copy. The newspaper will cease its print editions after today but will continue its digital operation. (New York Times)
-- A graphic artist who went viral for calling out Google’s lack of a doodle celebrating Juneteenth was contacted by the search giant about a job. Davian Chester created his own Google doodle to celebrate the holiday marking the end of slavery, which quickly spread across social media and attracted the company’s interest. Chester said he is still in talks with Google about the job, but in the meantime, his hometown of Columbus, Ga., has put up a billboard of the doodle. (Allison Klein)
-- Billionaire activist Tom Steyer formally entered the Democratic presidential primary with an announcement video outlining his pledges to reduce corporations’ political influence and address climate change. Chelsea Janes reports: “In January, when he announced he would not run for president, Steyer said that rather than entering the race he would turn his attention fully to pressuring members of Congress to start impeachment proceedings against [Trump]. … On Tuesday, as he announced his presidential bid, Steyer did not mention impeachment or Trump, although the president was briefly seen in the video. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was also seen in the video being led down a hallway in handcuffs. … Steyer will have one week to accumulate 65,000 donors to qualify for the second Democratic debate, which will take place at the end of the month.”
-- Biden told a voter he’ll “go further” than cutting incarceration by 50 percent. BuzzFeed News’s Katherine Miller reports: “In a video shared ... by the ACLU, Biden tells a man, Keith Albert, who identifies himself as an ACLU voter, that he’d ‘go further than’ cutting incarceration by half. ‘Would you commit to cutting incarceration by 50%?’ Albert asks Biden. ‘More than that. We can do it more than that,’ he responds. Last month in Concord, New Hampshire, another self-identified ACLU voter asked if Biden would ‘commit to cutting the prison population overall, and specifically the federal prison population, in half’ — a slightly different wording.”
-- CNN announced its rules for the next Democratic presidential debates. From CNN’s Mark Preston: “The upcoming Democratic presidential debates will feature opening and closing statements and two hours of debate time each night … While candidates will not officially learn if they make the Detroit stage until July 17, Tuesday's call with the 20-plus Democratic campaigns was held to help them prepare for the debate should their respective candidates qualify, a CNN spokesperson said.” The rules include:
- Colored lights will be used to help candidates manage their remaining response times.
- A candidate attacked by name by another candidate will be given 30 seconds to respond.
- There will be no show of hands or one-word questions.
- A candidate who constantly interrupts others will have their time reduced.
- Questions posed by moderators will appear on the screen for viewers.
-- The DNC announced that the third debate, which will be hosted by ABC News and Univision, will be held in Houston.
-- Democrats are increasingly focused on portraying Mitch McConnell as a villain in a bid to win back the Senate and energize liberals. Robert Costa reports: “That effort gained new momentum on Tuesday as Amy McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and combat pilot, announced she would challenge McConnell (R-Ky.) and blamed him for turning Washington into ‘something we despise’ in a campaign video that drew millions of views. While McGrath faces a steep climb against McConnell in ruby-red Kentucky, which President Trump carried by 30 percentage points in 2016, she is expected to raise significant funds from national Democrats and provide the party with a relentless and high-profile opponent.”
-- Though Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) won’t make an endorsement in the Republican primary race to replace him, he said former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach faces a “very difficult” path to the Senate. The Kansas City Star’s Bryan Lowry reports: “’It seems to me if you have just lost a statewide race, that the chances of you winning another statewide race would be very difficult,’ Roberts told reporters. ‘I have not talked to Kris about this. I did talk to him earlier, but that was all about allegedly being the head of DHS. But the votes weren’t there.’ … Kobach’s campaign manager Steve Drake rejected Roberts’ analysis of the race and also hit back against the criticism from national Republicans. … Kobach’s entry could ramp up efforts to recruit Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into the race.”
-- The RNC is threatening to withhold support from candidates who refuse to use the party’s newly established online fundraising tool, WinRed, as tensions over the future of the party’s grass-roots fundraising efforts reach a breaking point. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports: “The moves illustrate how Republican leaders are waging a determined campaign to make WinRed the sole provider of its small donor infrastructure — and to torpedo any competitors. On Monday, the RNC sent an eight-page cease-and-desist letter to Paul Dietzel, a Republican digital strategist who earlier this month launched Give.GOP, a fundraising platform that includes a directory through which donors can give to party candidates and organizations. In the letter, RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer writes that while Give.GOP has a page inviting donors to give to the RNC, the committee hasn’t yet received any funds from the platform or received any outreach from it. Riemer also accuses Dietzel of using the committee’s trademark and logo without its permission.”
-- Sarah McBride, a transgender activist who made waves after speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, is now running for Delaware state Senate. Deanna Paul reports: “If she wins the 2020 race to succeed Sen. Harris McDowell, who is retiring at the end of his term, McBride will be the state’s first elected transgender senator. … Now serving as national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGTBQ lobbying group, she has continued to be a force for the movement through the Trump-Pence administration, which she called ‘one of the most explicitly anti-LGBTQ administrations in history’ during a 2018 interview.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Mexican Finance Minister Carlos Urzúa abruptly resigned, dealing a major blow to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government. Mary Beth Sheridan reports: Urzúa quit after accusing López Obrador’s government of making decisions “that were not grounded in evidence and of naming officials who were ignorant of economics. … López Obrador has sought to woo the business community by pledging a balanced budget and a stable peso, even as he has launched ambitious social programs to help youth and the poor. But the peso immediately slid after Urzúa announced his resignation on Twitter, falling more than 2 percent, to about 19.3 pesos to the dollar. It later recovered some ground after López Obrador named a U.S.-educated technocrat, Arturo Herrera, as Urzúa’s replacement.”
-- Iran’s release after four years in prison of a Lebanese businessman was meant to be seen as an opening for U.S.-Iranian talks. But the gesture wasn’t enough for Washington. Reuters’s Lesley Wroughton, Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed report: ““It was a missed opportunity,” one U.S. source said of Nizar Zakka’s June 11 release and the U.S. decision not to pursue talks. ‘We should have explored whether there was something there.’ A second source — who is familiar with Iran’s thinking and spoke on condition of anonymity — said Iran freed Zakka as a signal it wanted to cool tensions that have fueled fears of a war, and described his release as ‘a goodwill gesture.’ … Iranian officials declined to discuss whether it was an overture, or what concessions Tehran wants from Washington.”
-- The Pentagon’s transition plan underscores an upheaval in leadership. Missy Ryan reports: “Mark Esper, who became acting defense secretary on June 24 after his predecessor, then-acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan, abruptly stepped aside, is expected to hand over to a third acting secretary, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, when the White House formally submits Esper’s nomination to the Senate for confirmation. Under a federal law known as the Vacancies Act, Esper, who has been serving as Army secretary since 2017, is required to step aside while the Senate considers his nomination for the top Pentagon job. When he will do so is not clear, as the requirement will be activated only when the White House officially transmits his nomination to the Senate. Pentagon chief of staff Eric Chewning, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, said the White House was expected to convey Esper’s nomination ‘shortly.’”
-- The Pentagon said it spent at least $1.2 million on Trump’s Fourth of July celebrations. CBS News’s Kathryn Watson reports: “That figure does not represent the full cost of the event to taxpayers, but it does include the cost of flying hours and transportation for tanks and fighting vehicle platforms. Funding for the demonstrations, a Pentagon spokesman says, came from the services' training budgets for flying hours, and additional funds were used for the transportation of equipment. The Pentagon noted it's spent comparable amounts, if not more, on other events. The Pentagon noted that San Francisco Fleet Week cost $1.8 million in 2017, and Los Angeles Fleet Week cost $1.6 million.”
NEVER FORGET JAMAL KHASHOGGI:
-- After journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a number of lobbying firms and think tanks in Washington began making a rare move: They publicly severed ties with Saudi Arabia. Months later, however, the country’s efforts to continue influencing U.S. policy remain strong. Beth Reinhard, Jonathan O’Connell and Tom Hamburger report: “Since fall 2018, high-powered lobbyists and lawyers have reaped millions of dollars for assisting the kingdom as it works to develop nuclear power, buy American-made weapons and prolong U.S. assistance to the Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen, foreign lobbying records show. One Washington-based communications firm — whose parent company initially expressed concern when Khashoggi disappeared — recently reported collecting nearly $19 million for what it says was several years of work for the Saudi government. A New York-based public relations firm run by a former Clinton administration appointee signed on in February to represent a Saudi interest for as much as $120,000 a month, filings show. The firms representing the kingdom operate under wide political cover provided by Trump. …
“Saudi Arabia is one of the highest-spending countries seeking to influence U.S. policy, ranking ninth in an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics that reviewed the flow of foreign money from 2017 to the present. Roughly 20 firms are registered to lobby for Saudi interests, compared with more than 25 before Khashoggi’s death, foreign lobbying filings show. … At least five firms did end up cutting business ties with Saudi interests in the fall: Glover Park Group, BGR Group, Harbour Group, CGCN Group and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, filings show. Among the lobbying firms still representing Saudi interests are Hogan Lovells, which has been paid $1.6 million since fall; and McKeon Group, led by Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon, a former Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, which has received $600,000. Two law firms are offering advice on the kingdom’s efforts to build nuclear power plants: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, which got nearly $1.9 million between August 2018 and January; and King & Spalding, which received $946,000 in November.”
-- Saudi Arabia invited Reporters without Borders, a global press freedom group, to the kingdom. Kareem Fahim reports: “The four-person delegation visited in April and met with senior Saudi officials, including the public prosecutor and the minister of justice, according to Christophe Deloire, who spoke publicly about the visit for the first time. The delegation’s members demanded a thorough investigation of the killing of Khashoggi and pressed for the ‘unconditional and immediate release’ of at least 30 journalists that Reporters without Borders says are unfairly imprisoned in the kingdom, Deloire said. The invitation was the first from the Saudi government to RSF and the level of access the delegation was given was extremely rare, he said.”
-- The Saudi princess who has been accused of ordering her bodyguard to assault a workman in Paris has gone on trial in absentia. From the BBC: “Princess Hassa bint Salman - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's sister - faces charges of complicity to violence with a weapon and complicity to kidnap. Her bodyguard … is also on trial. … [Both] deny wrongdoing. … Egyptian workman Ashraf Eid told police that, in September 2016, he was working in the Saudi king's apartment on the exclusive Avenue Foch in Paris when he went to take pictures of the bathroom on his mobile phone so that he could remember where items were placed before he started. However, the princess suspected him of wanting to sell images he had taken of her in the mirror and called the guard, French reports say. … According to one French account, the workman accused the princess of saying: ‘This dog must be killed, he doesn't deserve to live. You'll see how you speak to a princess, how you speak to the royal family.’ Mr Eid told police the bodyguard beat him up, binding his hands and forcing him to kiss the princess's feet.”
-- Nicki Minaj canceled a concert in Saudi Arabia after better “educating herself on the issues.” Helena Andrews-Dyer reports: “Just one week after her performance at the Jeddah World Fest was announced, Minaj said in a statement that ‘after careful consideration’ she could no longer participate. ‘While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression,’ Minaj said in a statement Tuesday to the Associated Press.”
THE BRAVE NEW WORLD, BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIG TECH:
-- Trump summoned Republican lawmakers, political strategists and social media stars to the White House to discuss the “opportunities” of the Web in a summit that critics said could empower online provocateurs. Tony Romm, Michael Scherer and Amy B Wang report: “The high-profile gathering follows months of attacks from Trump claiming that Facebook, Google and Twitter ... secretly censor right-leaning users, websites and other content online, a charge of political bias that the tech giants strongly deny.. … But Trump hasn’t invited any of the major tech companies, people familiar with the White House plans say, opting instead to grant a powerful stage to people who have a track record of sending inflammatory tweets and videos and posting other troubling content that social media sites increasingly are under pressure to remove. Among the expected attendees are James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, which has released secretly recorded videos of subjects, including a Google executive, in an attempt to paint them as politically biased. Another invitee, Ben Garrison, has published cartoons that have drawn sharp rebukes from the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center for including hateful text and imagery.”
-- Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google executives will testify to Congress next week as part of the House’s antitrust investigation. Tony Romm reports: “The hearing, scheduled for July 16 in front of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee that deals with antitrust, will bring simmering Democratic and Republican frustrations with Silicon Valley into public view, potentially setting the stage for further scrutiny — or regulation — of an industry that has long insisted that its size doesn’t harm rivals or consumers.” (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)
-- Twitter will ban posts that dehumanize people based on their religion. Hamza Shaban reports: “The update builds on Twitter’s existing policies that bar the promotion of violence, threats and harassment against people in protected groups. But the company has acknowledged that what many people consider abusive tweets may not actually violate Twitter’s rules. New policies banning dehumanizing language are an attempt to close that gap, Twitter said. … Twitter won’t automatically flag offending posts, but will review them when they are reported by users. The company said it will require that dehumanizing posts are removed from the platform, starting Tuesday.”
-- Netflix has lost two of its most popular shows — “Friends” and “The Office” — as old media companies begin to flex their streaming muscles. CNBC’s Alex Sherman reports: “Disney, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal are all launching direct-to-consumer streaming services by the first quarter of 2020. And they’re all coming after Netflix. Sure, there will be enough consumer dollars to go around for Netflix to keep its massive subscriber base, 155 million globally, growing. But there’s little doubt that part of the motivation of legacy media companies embracing subscription streaming services is to capture some of Netflix’s valuation — or bring CEO Reed Hastings’ behemoth back down to earth.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
One of Trump's senior advisers mocked the House speaker's conflict with some of the freshman members of her caucus:
One of those freshman Democrats replied to Conway:
.@KellyannePolls oh hi Distraction Becky. Remember that time your boss tore babies from their mothers’ arms and threw them in cages? Yeah take a seat and keep my name out of your lying mouth. https://t.co/dS8saIssX8— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 9, 2019
Virginia's Democratic governor slammed Republican legislators for adjourning a special session on gun legislation after less than two hours:
It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives. I expected better of them. Virginians expect better of them.— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) July 9, 2019
My full statement on the special session adjournment: https://t.co/OG7MXWmRzB
John Hickenlooper reacted to another Onion article about his presidential campaign:
Thanks for sharing. Since you published, we've already met our goal and we are on track to do more. The race is wide open. #Hickenlooper2020— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) July 9, 2019
A Post reporter drew attention to how much money politicians make from books:
Political book industry is just ... wow. Bidens made $13.2 million for their books in 2017 & 2018 ... the Obamas got a reported $65 million advance for their books. Bush 43 got $7m.— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) July 9, 2019
Publishers need to sell 650,000 Biden books (at $20) to recoup $13m.https://t.co/3VnBdFLM9N
Former Florida congressman Mark Foley is reportedly ready to run for Congress again, causing a Politico editor to share a reminder of his past:
Yes, in the of wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, the #MeToo movement, and the Dennis Hastert scandal, what Congress needs is someone who made sexual advances on teenage congressional interns.... https://t.co/p99JkpQj3F— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) July 9, 2019
Al Gore offered his condolences to the family of Ross Perot, even though Perot endorsed George W. Bush in the 2000 election:
I’ve always had the utmost respect for Ross Perot, for his patriotism, love of country, and extraordinary commitment to our veterans. I send my deepest condolences to his family and to everyone who loved and admired him.— Al Gore (@algore) July 9, 2019
George W. Bush also reflected kindly upon Perot, his father's former political rival:
Of the death of Ross Perot, former Pres George W Bush says "Texas and America have lost a strong patriot." And though Perot may have cost George H.W. Bush re-election, Bush/43 says he and Laura offer their "heartfelt condolences" to Perot's family.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 9, 2019
Many remembered Dana Carvey's impression of Perot upon learning of his passing:
As a kid of the 90s, when I see the name Ross Perot, I immediately think of Dana Carvey pic.twitter.com/K6L4qbOWEe— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) July 9, 2019
Model Chrissy Teigen reacted to a court ruling that said Trump can't block his critics on Twitter:
I'm still blocked by trump. is he gonna honor this ruling? what if, of the 1000 despicable things, not unblocking people gets him impeached. for the record I am blocking him immediately after being unblocked— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 9, 2019
GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Politico, “Ross Perot — the father of Trump,” by John F. Harris: “Ross Perot died early Tuesday morning at 89, an event that surely left many Americans with an embarrassed thought: Wait, what? ... I am pretty sure I thought he was already dead. The contrast between the quietude of Perot’s last aging years and the blaring trumpets of his 20th-century business and political career is so stark it takes some effort now to recall how large this cocksure Texas bantam once loomed. … But for people who on occasion (perhaps several times a week) respond to the news in the Trump era by thinking to themselves, I can’t believe this is happening, Perot’s story is a useful reminder that norm-shattering, cult-of-personality politics is not an exclusively recent phenomenon.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Strip club to host golf tournament at Trump resort in South Florida,” from David A. Fahrenthold: “Trump’s golf resort in Doral, Fla., is scheduled to host a golf tournament Saturday put on by a Miami-area strip club, which will allow golfers to pay for a dancer to serve as their ‘caddy girl’ while they play at the president’s club. The ‘Shadow All Star Tournament’ is organized by the Shadow Cabaret, a strip club in Hialeah, Fla. Emanuele Mancuso, Shadow Cabaret’s marketing director, said in a telephone interview that this was the first time the club had held a tournament at Trump Doral. The Trump name and family crest are displayed prominently in the strip club’s advertising materials, which offer golfers the ‘caddy girl of your choice.’ Mancuso said the strip club did not intend to send a political statement by choosing Trump’s resort. Rather, he said, the choice was for luxury.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Democrats have moved ‘too far to the left,’ says BET network founder Bob Johnson,” from CNBC: “America’s political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become ‘very wicked and very mean,’ said entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson, who added that the Democratic Party has become too liberal for his liking. ‘The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,’ Johnson, the founder of cable network BET and RLJ Companies business network, [said] Tuesday. ‘And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time,’ he said. … Johnson described himself as a long-time centrist and Democrat. He publicly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. However, he has since expressed admiration for some of [Trump’s] policies, particularly those related to the economy.”
Trump will give a speech and sign an executive order on “Advancing American Kidney Health” at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Pence will deliver remarks at a Trump Victory event in California before visiting the Vandenberg Air Force Base.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama. We both opposed reparations, and we both are the descendants of slave-owners.” — Mitch McConnell responding to a report about his ancestors owning slaves.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- It will be dry again today, but prepare for high humidity. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Our brief respite from high humidity continues today as we extend our break from showers and storms as well. We do trend a touch hotter today, before the humidity and storm chances come roaring back tomorrow. A few showers or storms may linger Friday, with a hot but mostly dry weekend the way it looks now.”
-- Residents assessed the damage left behind by the storm that rocked the city on Monday. Fredrick Kunkle and Cortlynn Stark report: “A day later, things returned to normal except for a few isolated spots, with officials saying most of the mayhem had been short-lived. But for some, the work was just beginning. Ayers Variety & Hardware was open, drawing enough power from a generator to make the cash register work. An employee escorted customers through the dimly lit store to help them find what they needed. … In Montgomery County, officials were making arrangements for permanent repairs to a giant sinkhole that opened on Belfast Road in the Woodrock neighborhood of Potomac. … In Arlington, 20th Street North and 18th Street remain closed as officials work to make repairs there. They are expected to be fixed by end of the week.”
-- The D.C. Council stripped Jack Evans of his chairmanship on the Committee on Finance and Revenue and said it will hire a law firm to investigate him. Steve Thompson reports: “The council stopped short of stripping Evans of other committee assignments — with the embattled, longtime lawmaker casting a deciding vote. … Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), who voted in favor of taking away all of Evans’s committee assignments, said the lawmaker’s situation has already left voters in his ward disenfranchised. … Evans spoke few words during Tuesday’s discussions, looking tired and occasionally puffing his cheeks as he exhaled.”
-- Phil Freelon, the architect who helped design the African American Museum, died at 66. Matt Schudel reports: “He had complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, said a son, Deen Freelon. Since 1990, Mr. Freelon led an architectural firm in Durham that specialized in designing public buildings, including other cultural centers devoted to African American life in Baltimore, Atlanta, Charlotte, San Francisco and Greensboro, N.C. He led a consortium of several architectural firms — formally known as the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup — that won the design competition for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2009. Their proposal was chosen, in a unanimous vote, over submissions from such renowned architects as Richard Meier, I.M. Pei and Norman Foster.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Prince George’s County police in Maryland launched training efforts in July that prohibit officers from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to enforce civil deportation orders.
Watch a time-lapse of earthquakes and aftershocks in California:
And Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the U.S. women's soccer team, had a message for Trump:
"Your message is excluding people. You're excluding me. You're excluding people that look like me. You're excluding people of color. You're excluding... Americans that maybe support you."— CNN (@CNN) July 10, 2019
USWNT co-captain Megan Rapinoe's message to Pres. Trump. https://t.co/MME9lAZEp9 pic.twitter.com/YMRZKe4538