THE BIG IDEA:

LAREDO, Texas–Donald Trump’s three-hour trip to this border town yesterday was just as much of a chaotic whirlwind and media circus as you’d expect. More than 100 reporters from around the world chased after him. The police blocked off roads, including the interstate, for his presidential-style motorcade. Trump claimed that he was risking “great danger” to be here, but he would not elaborate on why he thought so. During a joint press conference, the city manager said he does not think the border wall proposed by the Republican presidential hopeful is necessary. Asked if that might change his thinking, Trump said: “Not at all.” Then he denied that he offended anyone with his comment that many Mexicans who come to the United States illegally are drug dealers or rapists. Read my full story for today’s newspaper about Trump’s Texas-sized splash here. See 17 photos I posted to Instagram during the day here.

Notably, Trump made it through the whole day without having to talk even once about John McCain. Because he does not play by the rules of a traditional politician, it is easier for him to weather media firestorms. He’s not dependent on donors to fund his campaign, so he does not need to worry about cash drying up. We’ll see whether upcoming polls show his support dropping off, but there’s nothing to indicate that the media is about to scale back its coverage. That means Trump will continue to have oxygen, and it suggests that saying the Arizona senator is not a war hero may not have been as fatal as some thought at the start of the week.

Trump again showed he can drown out everyone else. Half of all the national conversation about 2016 focused on Trump yesterday, a very, very high share. This graph from our analytics partners at Zignal Labs show just how much he dwarfed everyone else:

Here’s a word cloud of Trump mentions yesterday, suggesting that he actually accomplished what he wanted to: pivoting the narrative away from being under fire over his McCain comments and back toward playing offense on immigration.

Spanish-language media is covering Trump at saturation levels. I was struck by how many of the Latino protesters awaiting him at the airport actually think he either is, or will be, the Republican nominee. A lot of that’s driven by the news coverage they’re seeing. Both major Spanish-language channels led their evening newscasts with Trump’s visit to the border. Univision gave six minutes of coverage to Trump, and Telemundo devoted 9 minutes. No other presidential candidate was even mentioned, according to Ed O’Keefe. Univision later had a story about a Guatemalan immigrant beat up Sunday in Brooklyn by two white guys who haven’t been caught. The victim said in an interview he thinks his attackers were inspired by Trump. Univision’s Pedro Rojas, the network’s correspondent who was with Trump, did a Q&A with PowerPost after he was off deadline last night about how the Spanish-language press covers the real-estate mogul.

Telemundo built this ominous graphic for Trump’s border tour–

— MoveOn staffing up to support Iran deal: Trying to counter the huge money being spent to kill the Iran deal, MoveOn.org is working to shore up Democratic support during the August recess. The group is poised to hire five full-time organizers to mobilize activists to show support for the deal, during town hall meetings and in other high-visibility ways, including their own 8 million members. The primary focus will be pressuring on-the-fence Democrats to get behind President Obama. MoveOn got its start opposing the Iraq war in 2003, and leaders see this deal as a way to stop another future war in the Middle East. In an interview with Dave Weigel and I, MoveOn executive director Anna Galland called it “a historic achievement on the order of President Nixon opening up relations with China.” In that vein, Obama himself spent 90 minutes pitching his Iran deal to a dozen House Democrats in the Situation Room yesterday. A big part of his case was that if they don’t come out in support now, they’re going to get heavily pressured by AIPAC and others trying to kill the deal when they go back home.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Bad headline for Hillary on the front page of today’s New York Times: “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account.Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo report that two inspectors general are requesting the opening of a criminal probe following their assessment that the former Secretary of State’s personal account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” Senior officials tell the paper that the Justice Department has not decided if it will open an investigation.

HRC pushback: “She followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials,” says spokesman Nick Merrill, arguing that “any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”

The Times tweaked the lead of their story after publication to make it clearer that Hillary herself is not necessarily the target, changes pointed to by Merrill in his statement —

  • The initial version said: “Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state…”
  • What it says right now: “Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state…”
  • No explanation was added for the edit.

A gunman opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater last night, killing three and wounding nine before shooting himself: Hazmat crews were on the scene at the Grand Theater, along with Gov. Bobby Jindal, who called for prayer. “The suspect was described by several witnesses as a white, middle-aged male,” per The Advertiser, a local paper. “State Police said the shooter, whose identity was not released late Thursday, was 58 years old.” The Lafayette police chief said the investigation is ongoing: “We don’t know if this was just a random act or whether it was a domestic situation.” The shooting comes the same day that jurors in the trial of convicted Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter James Holmes decided they can consider the death penalty in the sentencing phase, per the Denver Post.

A Mason Dixon poll shows Marco Rubio taking a hit in Florida with the rise of Scott Walker. Jeb Bush leads Rubio 28-16 among registered Republicans, with Walker at 13 percent. In April, Rubio and Bush were statistically tied (31-30).

— Defense Secretary Ash Carter, traveling in the Middle East, announced that a U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed a senior Al-Qaida operational commander, Abu Khalil Al-Sudani.

GET SMART FAST:

  1. The DNC will partially lift its ban on PAC and lobbyist donations related to the national convention, a reflection of Clinton’s influence over the party.
  2. Nearly six in ten Americans think race relations are generally bad, and four in ten think they’re getting worse, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
  3. A Texas prosecutor announced that the results of an autopsy of Sandra Bland were consistent with hanging and suicide.
  4. The GOP-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee voted to ease the travel ban to Cuba, along with two other amendments. It is the first legislation approved by a congressional panel to ease U.S. policy toward Havana.
  5. NASA scientists, using the Kepler space telescope, have discovered 12 new, potentially Earth-like planets in the distant solar system.

POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:

  1. Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) said the tumor in his neck that led to the discovery of his cancer has shrunk considerably after two rounds of chemotherapy. He has lost some of his hair as a result of the treatment and must limit his contact with the public for fear of exposure to germs, he told Ovetta Wiggins during a phone interview (pictured below).
  2. Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker, faces a fresh legal setback, separate from being indicted for lying to the FBI, after a a federal judge revived a lawsuit charging that he misused taxpayer money.
  3. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are both running their presidential campaigns out of row houses on the same block by the Capitol. “One time, Paul’s mail was even delivered to Rubio’s address, and an intern had to awkwardly walk down the street to deliver it,” Colby Itkowitz reports.
  4. Jeb Bush thinks Martin O’Malley was wrong to apologize for saying “white lives matter” at Netroots. Asked in New Hampshire if his Democratic rival was right to walk back the comment, Bush told Yahoo’s Jon Ward: “For crying out loud, no. I mean we’re so uptight and so politically correct now that you apologize for saying lives matter?”
  5. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he used the wrong word when he made a passing reference to liberals’ indifference to “those idiot inner city kids” during a Milwaukee radio interview.

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

— Turkey agrees to allow U.S. military to use its base to attack Islamic State,” by Liz Sly and Karen DeYoung: “The decision to allow U.S. warplanes to use the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey is one element in a broad cooperation plan first broached nine months ago. Additional elements — including expanding U.S. airstrikes into the western part of the border area and using Turkish military ground spotters to guide them — are being discussed and finalized…The Incirlik deal was sealed in a telephone conversation Wednesday between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes,” by Joby Warrick: “Under the Clean Power Plan, states will have to find ways to achieve dramatic cuts in carbon pollution over the next 15 years, with reduction quotas topping 50 percent over 2012 levels for some states. But despite dire warnings and harsh political rhetoric, many states are already on track to meet their targets, even before the EPA formally announces them, interviews and independent studies show.”

How Bob Dole is leading the fight for Ike,” by Peggy McGlone: “Most Saturday mornings, former senator from Kansas Bob Dole greets fellow veterans at the southern entrance of the National World War II Memorial, shaking hands and posing for photos with a steady stream of visitors…Dole led the effort to raise more than $170 million for the privately funded WWII memorial that opened in 2004. Now his mission is to get a memorial built for Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dole served under Ike in Italy, and he considers Eisenhower, a fellow Kansan, “one of the great Americans.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:

Picture of the day:

A view from Trump’s podium in Laredo, Texas. (jameshohmann)

Trump was accompanied by a presidential-length motorcade. (jameshohmann)

Tweets of the day:

Lindsey Graham joked about Trump saying that visiting the border put him in “great danger”:

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) introduced a new granddaughter, Avery Alan Stewart. “Avery is healthy and she & her mother are doing great,” the congresswoman tweeted:

Jeb Bush joked about meeting kids “right out of central casting” in Lancaster, New Hampshire:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) celebrated National Hot Dog Day. “In Alaska though…we prefer reindeer dogs!” she tweeted:

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) tweeted a photo from the 2001 congressional baseball game:

Instagrams of the day:

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) shared a photo of himself riding an elephant at five years old. “Working to tame the GOP since ’63,” he wrote:

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) met Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Capitol Hill:

The Post’s Ben Terris encountered an interesting character at a Jeb Bush town hall meeting:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

The Huffington Post: “MSNBC will once again look like NBC as sweeping changes are expected,” by Michael Calderone: “NBC News Chairman Andy Lack, who took the reins of the broadcast and cable networks in March, is bringing Chuck Todd back to MSNBC for a new weekday politics show that he’ll host in addition to ‘Meet the Press’ Sundays on NBC … Todd’s return to MSNBC is part of a re-NBC-ization of the cable network, which began drifting left in the later years of the Bush administration under former star Keith Olbermann…Lack, a former NBC News president brought in to steady the ship amid the Brian Williams mess, is trying to better integrate the two channels and shifting the focus at MSNBC to more hard news during the day.”

Connecticut Post, “Democrats drop Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson names from annual fundraising dinner,” by Neil Vigdor: “Under pressure from the NAACP, the state Democratic Party will scrub the names of the two presidents from its annual fundraising dinner because of their ties to slavery…Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night in Hartford to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner in the aftermath of last month’s fatal shooting of nine worshipers at a historic black church in Charleston.”

The Wall Street Journal, “Anti-gay sentiment poses dilemma for Obama ahead of Kenya visit,” by Heidi Vogt: “The White House, in response to a question, said the president during his visit would raise the issue of gay rights as a matter of ‘basic universal human rights.’ That prospect has enraged Kenyan conservative groups, who have warned the president not to bring pro-gay rhetoric to the country. One Christian group organized a protest this month…A Kenyan parliamentarian started a Twitter campaign with the same message…While most of Kenya is overjoyed at the visit, the country’s vocal antigay movement is protesting and issuing condemnations. The uproar threatens to upset the government’s delicate balancing act in a country where homosexuality is illegal but starting to become more accepted.”

New York Times, “Cellphone ordinance puts Berkeley at center of radiation debate,” by Carol Pogash: “Leave it to Berkeley: This city, which has led the nation in passing all manner of laws favored by the left, has done it again. This time, the city passed a measure — not actually backed by science — requiring cellphone stores to warn customers that the products could be hazardous to their health, presumably by emitting dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation…Even supporters of the ordinance acknowledge that there is no definitive scientific link between cellphones and cancer, although they argue that it may take years for cancers to develop.”

BUZZING AT THE CAPITOL:

Kansas City Star, “House approves bill banning state and local GMO label laws,” by Lindsay Wise: “A bill that would prevent state and local governments from requiring labels on genetically modified foods passed Thursday in the U.S. House after contentious debate in a 275-150 vote… If enacted into law, it would nullify labeling laws that already have passed but have yet to take effect in three states — Vermont, Connecticut and Maine. At least 15 other states have introduced legislation to impose similar regulations on food made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.”

Washington Post: “House votes to strip funds from sanctuary cities,” by Mike DeBonis: “The 241-to-179 vote, which was backed by Republican leaders and fell largely along party lines, is the most dramatic action taken by Congress after a spate of new attention on illegal immigration sparked by the July 1 killing of a 32-year-old California woman.”

— Politico, “GOP spending chief: Beware long budget stopgaps,” by Rachael Bade: “House Republicans’ top appropriator has a message for GOP leaders weighing a stopgap funding bill: steer clear of a long-term continuing resolution. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said Thursday that a so-called CR, which simply extends last year’s government funding into the next, would erase the hard work his top lieutenants have put into writing spending bills … The message comes just as Boehner told reporters on Thursday that lawmakers will ‘have to do a [continuing resolution] of some sort.'”

HOT ON THE LEFT

Federal appeals court begs Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade. From ThinkProgress: “The big headline arising from a decision handed down by a federal appeals court on Wednesday is that abortion rights in North Dakota are saved … Yet, while the three members of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit that heard MKB Management Corp. v. Stenehjem — all of whom are George W. Bush-appointees — reluctantly concluded that existing Supreme Court precedent requires them to strike down the North Dakota law, they devoted the bulk of their opinion to an extended attack on what remains of Roe v. Wade … The Eighth Circuit’s begrudging decision to strike down North Dakota’s abortion law comes at a time when opponents of abortion may be more emboldened than they have been at any point since Roe.”

HOT ON THE RIGHT

ISIS boy in new video: ‘Give me my weapon.’ From Vocativ: “ISIS’s official media wing in Iraq’s Dijla province released a new video Wednesday that boasts the terror group’s boy fighters and ups the ante of a bellicose propaganda campaign championing child soldiers … [The video] shows children as the clip’s primary speakers. They deliver monologues and recite verses of the Quran, marking the first time the Islamic State has depicted boys—one as young as three—speaking at length directly into the camera. ‘Where are the martrys? Where are the suicide attackers?’ a young boy asks, urging Muslims and Arabs to stop talking and start acting. ‘Give me my weapon,’ he declares as he grabs a gun almost as long as his body. He later fires the rifle.”

DAYBOOK:

–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton will deliver the “corporate governance” policy speech in New York that we previewed earlier in the week. Bernie Sanders holds events in Des Moines and West Des Moines. Martin O’Malley delivers two speeches and attends a meet-and-greet in Des Moines. Ted Cruz will speak at the American Legislative Exchange Council 42nd Annual Meeting in San Diego. Chris Christie, in Iowa, has a town hall and a street fest in Davenport and a hog roast in Camanche. John Kasich will hold a jobs-focused discussion in Summerville, S.C., and a town hall meeting in Des Moines. Carly Fiorina will attend events in Des Moines and Norwalk, Iowa. Rick Santorum will hold a town hall in Concord, N.H. George Pataki will campaign in Contoocook, N.H.

–On the Hill: The Senate will meet at 9 a.m. and resume work on the highway bill (yes, Friday votes). The House is not in session.

–At the White House: President Obama departs Ramstein Air Base, Germany, en route to Nairobi, Kenya. (Sorry we spelled it with two M’s yesterday; that’s the heavy metal band.)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“I think he’s the No. 1 dumpster fire in the country right now.” – Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) on Donald Trump

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

— “Time is running out for our tolerable, less-humid warmth. Mugginess may start to creep back into the region as early as tonight—albeit slowly. Light breezes will help upper 80s to low 90s feel relatively ‘OK.’ Saturday is a good pool or beach opportunity, and we may make it through the whole weekend dry,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts.

The Nationals lost to Pittsburgh 7-3.

— Prominent Washington PR agent David Bass is a suspect in the theft of two bottles of liquor from Café Milano earlier this month, the Reliable Source reports, after D.C. police posted surveillance footage of the heist.

— A three-alarm blaze in the heart of Harper’s Ferry historic district ravaged a trio of buildings, a huge blow for the town of 300. Two residences and at least eight businesses were destroyed, but no one was injured.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Donald Trump ended a recent interview by playing rapper Mac Miller’s “Donald Trump” song:

Watch a recap of Jill Biden’s trip to Vietnam, Laos and Korea: