BULLETIN — @jongambrellAP at 5:44 a.m.: “TEHRAN, Iran (@AP) — A semi-official news agency in Iran is reporting that protesters have swarmed Tehran’s Grand Bazaar amid nationwide anger over the country’s troubled economy.”
CONGRESS has one week before it sends lawmakers home for the July 4 recess, and it is still wrestling with whether it can address the tumultuous situation at the southern border.
Story Continued Below
LAST WEEK, House Republicans shelved plans to vote on immigration, hoping to regroup this week for a vote on a bill the Senate will ignore. President Donald Trump has expressed skepticism about the House’s work, asking, “What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate.” Yesterday he tweeted: “House Republicans could easily pass a Bill on Strong Border Security but remember, it still has to pass in the Senate, and for that we need 10 Democrat votes, and all they do is RESIST.”
WE WILL SEE THIS WEEK how easy it will be.
PRUITT’S PROBLEMS … AND THERE’S MORE! NYT’S LISA FRIEDMAN and HIROKO TABUCHI: “New Emails Suggest Scott Pruitt Discussed Hiring a Friend of Lobbyist Landlord”: “Pruitt, the head of the [EPA], discussed hiring a friend of a lobbyist family that owned a condominium he was renting for $50 a night, newly released emails suggest. The files also show communications involving the lobbyist’s client interests that have not previously been disclosed, suggesting a closer relationship between the lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, and the agency than previously known. …
“The potential hiring of Mr. Hart’s family friend was discussed in emails between Mr. Pruitt’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, and Mr. Hart, who was chairman of the Washington lobbying firm Williams & Jensen and whose wife, Vicki Hart, rented the condo to Mr. Pruitt. Other subjects discussed during and after Mr. Pruitt rented Ms. Hart’s condo included refrigerant chemicals, which was raised on behalf of Coca-Cola, and the Paris Agreement — the global climate pact to address climate change — discussed on behalf of the global bank HSBC.
“The emails also show that Mr. Hart suggested other potential hires to the E.P.A., including one person who he emphasized was a Republican and an African-American, on behalf of an executive of the philanthropic arm of the pork giant Smithfield Foods.” https://nyti.ms/2MkRUOY
— “Pruitt faces another probe for employee retaliation allegations,” by Emily Holden: “The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is reviewing claims that [EPA] Administrator Scott Pruitt retaliated against a handful of employees who pushed back against his spending and management, according to three people familiar with the process. At least six current and former agency officials were reportedly fired or reassigned to new jobs, allegedly for questioning Pruitt’s need for a 24-hour security protection — which has now cost at least $4.6 million — as well as his other spending and practices.” https://politi.co/2K9C5Oo
SPOTTED: Larry Kudlow on the Amtrak Acela from NYC to D.C. Sunday evening, wearing a sweater and a polo.
Good Monday morning. TOP TALKER … “How an Affair Between a Reporter and a Security Aide Has Rattled Washington Media,” by NYT’s Mike Grynbaum, Scott Shane and Emily Flitter: https://nyti.ms/2yBAADC
THE POST AND COURIER: “Katie Arrington expected to make full recovery after car crash: ‘She’s a fighter’,” by Caitlin Byrd: https://bit.ly/2yEkV6n
WHAT’S ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 8:01 p.m.: “[email protected] is now whimpering to all that he did the famous ‘hair show’ with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have ‘humanized’ me-he is taking heat. He called & said ‘monster ratings.’ ’Be a man Jimmy!”
THE BORDER TALES …
— WAPO’S MARIA SACCHETTI, KEVIN SIEFF and MARC FISHER: “Separated immigrant children are all over the U.S. now, far from parents who don’t know where they are”: “Their mothers are missing, their fathers far away. They get pizza, maybe cold cuts. They are exhausted; they cannot sleep. There are other children around, but they had never seen those kids before, and those kids are crying or screaming or rocking or spreading the feeling that everything is not okay.
“The children who were forcibly separated from their parents at the border by the United States government are all over the country now, in Michigan and Maryland, in foster homes in California and shelters in Virginia, in cold, institutional settings with adults who are not permitted to touch them or with foster parents who do not speak Spanish but who hug them when they cry.
“The separations have stopped and the Trump administration has said that it is executing a plan to reunify the children with their parents before deporting them. Still, more than 2,000 children remain spread around the United States, far from their parents — many of whom have no idea where their sons and daughters have been taken.” https://wapo.st/2lvyZFR
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— YIKES: “Teenager Is Missing After Walking Away From Migrant Children’s Center in Texas,” by NYT’s Mihir Zaveri and Manny Fernandez: “A 15-year-old migrant boy who was housed in a large shelter near the southern tip of Texas walked off its premises on Saturday and disappeared into the borderland, officials said. …
“On Sunday, the nonprofit group Southwest Key Programs, which operates the center known as Casa Padre, confirmed that the teenager was missing. A spokesman for Southwest Key, Jeff Eller, said on Sunday it could not legally require children to stay on the premises if they sought to leave, and that ‘from time to time’ children had left several of its 27 shelters for immigrant children.
“‘We are not a detention center,’ Mr. Eller said in a statement. ‘We talk to them and try to get them to stay. If they leave the property, we call law enforcement.’ Federal officials echoed that position, saying they could not stop a child who attempted to leave. The officials did not respond to a question about how many children had walked away from migrant centers nationwide.” https://nyti.ms/2MnLC1k
— “Kids in exchange for deportation: Detained migrants say they were told they could get kids back on way out of U.S.,” by Texas Tribune’s Jay Root and Shannon Najmabadi: “A Honduran man who spoke to The Texas Tribune Saturday estimated that 20 to 25 men who have been separated from their children are being housed at the IAH Polk County Secure Adult Detention Center, a privately-operated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility for men located 75 miles outside Houston. He said the majority of those detainees had received the same offer of reunification in exchange for voluntary deportation.” http://bit.ly/2KjQXWH
TOP-ED – MITT ROMNEY in the Salt Lake Tribune, “Where I stand on the Trump agenda: I appreciate the argument made by those who believe we should stay silent, but I cannot subscribe to it”: “I have and will continue to speak out when the president says or does something which is divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions. I do not make this a daily commentary; I express contrary views only when I believe it is a matter of substantial significance.” http://bit.ly/2Knci1C
THE ADMINISTRATION …
— NBC’S CAROL LEE and COURTNEY KUBE: MATTIS’ STOCK FALLING: “Exclusive: Mattis is out of the loop and Trump doesn’t listen to him, say officials”: “Defense Secretary James Mattis learned in May from a colleague that President Donald Trump had made the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, and scrambled to get his boss on the phone before a formal announcement was made. It wouldn’t be the last time he was caught off guard by a presidential announcement. A month later, Mattis was informed that Trump had ordered a pause in U.S. military exercises with South Korea only after the president had already promised the concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Last week, Trump again blindsided and overruled his defense secretary by publicly directing the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch overseeing operations in space. The way these recent presidential decisions on major national security issues have played out, as detailed by current and former White House and defense officials, underscores a significant change in Mattis’s role in recent months.
“The president is relying less and less on the advice of one of the longest-serving members of his cabinet, the officials said. ‘They don’t really see eye to eye,’ said a former senior White House official who has closely observed the relationship. … Asked for comment on NBC’s reporting, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said, ‘This is pure silliness.’” https://nbcnews.to/2MTvwxf
WAPO’S MICHAEL BIRNBAUM in SUWALKI, POLAND: “If they needed to fend off war with Russia, U.S. military leaders worry they might not get there in time”: “U.S. commanders are worried that if they had to head off a conflict with Russia, the most powerful military in the world could get stuck in a traffic jam.
“Humvees could snarl behind plodding semis on narrow roads as they made their way east across Europe. U.S. tanks could crush rusting bridges too weak to hold their weight. Troops could be held up by officious passport-checkers and stubborn railway companies.
“Although many barriers would drop away if there were a declaration of war, the hazy period before a military engagement would present a major problem. NATO has just a skeleton force deployed to its member countries that share a border with Russia. Backup forces would need to traverse hundreds of miles. And the delays — a mixture of bureaucracy, bad planning and decaying infrastructure — could enable Russia to seize NATO territory in the Baltics while U.S. Army planners were still filling out the 17 forms needed to cross Germany and into Poland.
“During at least one White House exercise that gamed out a European war with Russia, the logistical stumbles contributed to a NATO loss.” https://wapo.st/2yEhcFP
THE LATEST ON TRADE — DOUG PALMER and ADAM BEHSUDI: “Trump gets ready to slap China with investment restrictions, export controls”: “Round two of President Donald Trump’s trade assault on Beijing is expected by the end of this week, when the Treasury Department rolls out new restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States and on the technologies that can be sold to China. …
“Like the tariffs that Trump imposed on $50 billion in Chinese imports — and those he has threatened to impose on $400 billion more if Beijing retaliates — the new investment restrictions and export controls are intended to pressure China to stop unfair trade practices that threaten the United States’ technological leadership. Trump is expected to invoke his emergency powers to protect national and economic security to put the restrictions in place.” https://politi.co/2lvuM51
— @realDonaldTrump at 4:12 p.m.: “The United States is insisting that all countries that have placed artificial Trade Barriers and Tariffs on goods going into their country, remove those Barriers & Tariffs or be met with more than Reciprocity by the U.S.A. Trade must be fair and no longer a one way street!”
— NATASHA KORECKI in DES MOINES: “‘We’re riding a tiger’: The Iowa GOP bets it all on Trump”: “Donald Trump’s trade war with China could cost Iowa farmers hundreds of millions of dollars and do untold damage to the state economy.
“But you’d never know it from talking to Republicans at the recent state GOP convention here. When Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann asked more than 1,100 delegates a defining question — who was still behind President Donald Trump? — there was no hesitation. In an exuberant display of unity, more than 1,100 delegates sprang to their feet, whistling, cheering and offering prolonged applause.
“Far from being panic-stricken, Iowa Republicans remain committed to the president as negotiator-in-chief. They’re convinced they have a direct line to the administration, the result of 18 months of careful White House cultivation in this early presidential state.” https://politi.co/2lvCCf1
THE INVESTIGATIONS … “U.S. prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe,” by AP’s Michael Balsamo and Catherine Lucey: “Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their investigation into President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, but the meeting was abruptly cancelled late Sunday after it was reported by news organizations, her attorney said. …
“Avenatti offered to move the meeting to another location and reiterated that Daniels — who he says has been cooperating with prosecutors for months — was ready to go forward with the meeting, but they called back to cancel it, he said. The meeting has not been rescheduled and prosecutors offered no other explanation for the cancellation, he said.” https://bit.ly/2MnAhOu
N.Y. MAG’S GABE DEBENEDETTI in his cover debut: “Where Is Barack Obama? The most popular American, whose legacy is the primary target of Donald Trump, has, for now, virtually disappeared from public life”: “Where is Obama? It is a question much of the country has been asking over the last two years, sometimes plaintively. ‘Come back, Barack,’ Chance the Rapper sang in a Saturday Night Live sketch. ‘We all miss him,’ Kobe Bryant said, speaking for other athletes.
“Even former FBI director James Comey admitted to German interviewers this spring that he misses Obama. Beyond the anguish is, often, simply bafflement: How did the most ubiquitous man in America for eight years virtually disappear? Over the course of his presidency, Obama cast himself as the country’s secular minister as much as its commander-in-chief, someone who understood the moral core of the nation and felt compelled to insist that we live up to it. What explains his near absence from the political stage, where he might argue publicly against the reversals of his policy accomplishments, and also from American life more broadly?
“What is keeping him from speaking more frequently about the need to protect democratic norms and the rule of law, to be decent people? Where is the man who cried after Sandy Hook and sang in Charleston, who after each mass shooting tried to soothe an outraged nation, who spoke of American values in his travels across the globe? And, tactically, what is behind the relative silence of one of the most popular figures alive just as American politics appears to so many to be on the brink of breaking?” https://nym.ag/2yGUqgK
NYT’s PETER BAKER, “Postcards From Another Era: Obama Team Memoirs Flood the Stores”: “Nearly a year and a half after Mr. Obama left office, his team is back in the arena, or at least in the bookstores, with a blitz of roughly two dozen memoirs of their time in the White House, telling tales, settling scores, justifying mistakes, selling nostalgia, setting the record straight, attacking successors and spinning history.
“Everyone who ever spent even a few minutes with Mr. Obama, it seems, has penned a volume of reminiscences, postcards from a less head-spinning era. The authors include his top foreign policy advisers, his communications gurus, his intelligence chief, his photographer and even the stenographer who recorded his every public utterance. All of that before the former president and first lady weigh in with their own well-compensated autobiographies.” https://nyti.ms/2lyLSPC
2020 WATCH — KASIE HUNT speaks to SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CALIF.) on MSNBC’S “KASIE D.C.”: HUNT: “Your colleague — Cory Booker, was asked about his presidential ambitions — recently, and he said that after 2018, he’ll give it a look. Are you in that same place?” HARRIS: “I’m focused on 2018. And –”
HUNT: “Would you give it a look after 2018?” HARRIS: “I’m lookin’ all around. I’m lookin’ at all these fabulous people out here. Hi, guys.” HUNT: “But not lookin’ at the White House?” HARRIS: “I mean, listen, right now — I’m focused on — on this. I’m focused on a lot of other things as — as a higher priority.” HUNT: “But you’re not ruling it out?” HARRIS: “I mean, you know, I — I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not ruling it out. No.”
THE JUICE …
— THE RNC held its summer retreat at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles this weekend with RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith. Senate candidates onhand included Josh Hawley, Mike Braun, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). SPOTTED: Brian Ballard, David Tamasi, Chris Applegate and Chris Hansen.
TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president is meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the morning. In the afternoon, he and first lady Melania Trump will meet with King Abdullah of Jordan and his wife. Trump and King Abdullah will participate in expanded bilateral meetings. Later, Trump will head to West Columbia, South Carolina, where he will participate in a rally for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. He will then return to Washington.
PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW — Join Anna and Jake for a sit-down with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on WEDNESDAY at Ajax (1011 4th St. NW). Doors open at 7:50 a.m. RSVP https://bit.ly/2MjxB4x
— WE’RE ALSO HEADED TO FLORIDA … Join us, along with Playbook Florida author Marc Caputo, for a Playbook Elections event Friday at the InterContinental Miami. It’s part of the POLITICO-AARP “Deciders” series. We’ll talk with Nelson Diaz, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, David Richardson and Donna Shalala about their candidacies. Doors open at 8 a.m. RSVP https://bit.ly/2K0E3AN
ROLLING STONES’ TIM DICKINSON — “The Power of Nancy Pelosi: Can the Democrats’ polarizing leader chart a path to victory in the 2018 midterm elections?” https://rol.st/2tCpmJ2
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Turkey’s Erdogan emerges victorious, setting him up for tighter grip on power,” by Reuters’ David Dolan in Istanbul: “Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan emerged victorious on Monday from his biggest electoral challenge in a decade and a half, giving him the sweeping, executive powers he has long sought and extending his grip on the nation of 81 million until at least 2023. The most popular — yet divisive — leader in modern Turkish history, Erdogan pledged there would be no retreat from his drive to transform Turkey, a deeply polarized nation that is both a NATO member and, at least nominally, a candidate to join the European Union. … He took 52.5 percent of the vote in the presidential race.” https://reut.rs/2KkHZIL
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CULT HERO, OR POLITICAL LEADER … “Bernie Sanders Is Winning Converts. But Primary Victories Remain Elusive,” by NYT’s Sydney Ember in Silver Spring and Alex Burns in NYC: “[T]he race in Maryland [governor] has also become a critical test of Mr. Sanders’s ability to sway elections. If his policy agenda has caught on widely among Democratic candidates, and succeeded in moving the party to the left, Mr. Sanders himself has struggled so far to expand his political base and propel his personal allies to victory in Democratic primaries. He has endorsed only a handful of candidates in contested primaries, and three of them have recently lost difficult races in Iowa and Pennsylvania.
“In addition, an advocacy organization aligned with Mr. Sanders, Our Revolution, has had only marginal success. Though it has touted its electoral victories in recent primaries, fewer than 50 percent of the more than 80 candidates it has endorsed have won elections this year.” https://nyti.ms/2In9XBZ
MARC CAPUTO and DANIEL LIPPMAN: “The left loses its cool: ‘When you’re violent and cursing and screaming and blocking me from walking into a movie, there’s something wrong,’ said one top GOP official”: “Presidential historian Michael Beschloss lamented that the flare-ups are ‘a new disheartening sign of a country that is becoming more divided by the hour. It is almost beginning to sound like some of the things that happened before the Civil War … It’s a polarized country. But it is an extremely polarizing president.’
“Former Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello … said … Trump is to blame for the coarsening of public discourse and for ‘having torn up and jumped on so many social and political norms.’ ‘What we’re dealing with is an administration taking positions so extreme and dehumanizing that it’s almost required in polite society to distance yourself from people tearing families apart,’ said Perriello.” https://politi.co/2Kjk93e
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: CNN’s Betsy Klein. A trend she thinks deserves more attention: “The crisis of rhinoceros poaching in South Africa. I just got back from a safari earlier this month where I had the great privilege of watching this magnificent animal up close. 1028 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2017, a number that is down slightly from the year before, but it’s still too high and the trend is growing around the continent. The fact that this beautiful animal is being slaughtered to display wealth makes me so angry.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2yEGjZb
BIRTHDAYS: Josh Lahey, founding partner at Lot Sixteen … Kamran Daravi of HHS … Justice Sonia Sotomayor is 64 … civil rights activist James Meredith is 85 … Jeremy Bearer-Friend, acting assistant professor of tax law at NYU School of Law … Carlos Muñiz, general counsel at the Department of Education (hat tip: Natalie Boyse) … Laurent Crenshaw, senior director of government affairs at cannabis technology delivery company Eaze, is 38 … Politico’s Patrick Temple-West … CGCN Group’s Patrick O’Connor is 42 … N.Y. Post’s Reuven Fenton … Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) is 66 … Dan Meyers, senior director of public affairs and head of advocacy at APCO Worldwide (h/ts Tammy Haddad and Kelley McCormick) … John Randall, VP of digital at CRAFT … Robert Harvey … Jackie Bradford, president and GM of NBC4 in DC … Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones … Danielle Doheny … Corbett Daly … AP alum John Heilprin, now founder and EIC of Arête News … Johannes Behrends … Jon Carson …
… Trice Jacobson of the Charles Koch Institute (h/t her favorite sister, Laura Whitefield) … Ambassador Melanne Verveer … Taylor Haulsee, communications director for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Senate HELP Committee, is 29. He celebrated with friends at Pearl Dive (h/ts wife Katie Delzell and Blake Waggoner) … Tita Freeman … Alan McQuinn … former Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) is 73 … Michael Napolitano … Scott Zumwalt, senior director at Bully Pulpit Interactive, is 34. He celebrated his birthday early last week with a Yankees win at Nats Park (h/t Scott’s partner, Mitchell Rivard) … Alan McQuinn … JR Thornton, author of “Beautiful Country,” is 27 … Ted Pease … Eric Litmer … Alberto Cardenas of Vinson & Elkins … Abbie Sorrendino of Senate Rules … Gretchen Yelmini … Bryan Bernys … John Alexander Nicholson … Mike Gehrke … James Michael Thornberry … Hank Greenwald … Summer Oesch … Jason Stephany … Martha Vukelich-Austin … Marc Caplan … Mora Segal … Heidi Johnson (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)
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