AN OMAROSA OBSERVATION … THIS IS the second time PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has been entangled with a woman who is equally adept at playing the media. First it was Stormy Daniels. Now it seems like Omarosa has gotten in Trump’s head.
OMAROSA IS someone who has known the president for years, and she has gone rogue. She’s publicly said she has betrayed Trump and the White House in the worst way — by surreptitiously recording what seems to be hours of private conversations that she might or might not release depending how events unfold. Oh, and by the way, she said on “Hardball” last night that she’d be glad to pass the tapes over to Robert Mueller should he ask.
SHE IS MAKING it clear that she is in control — not Trump and the White House. Buying her silence didn’t work. John Kelly’s suggestion she go quietly obviously fell flat. The president’s brand is savvy and strength, and Omarosa is putting him back on his heels. In that, Trump risks looking weak.
Good Tuesday morning. THE PRESIDENT on OMAROSA: @realDonaldTrump at 9:50 p.m.: “[email protected] called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up. Look at her MANY recent quotes saying….”
… at 9:57 p.m.: “….such wonderful and powerful things about me — a true Champion of Civil Rights – until she got fired. Omarosa had Zero credibility with the Media (they didn’t want interviews) when she worked in the White House. Now that she says bad about me, they will talk to her. Fake News!”
MORE OMAROSA FALLOUT … ELIANA JOHNSON and ANNIE KARNI, “Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka”: “Jilted ex-‘Apprentice’ star and former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has told friends and associates that she has tapes of private phone calls from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, according to two sources with whom she has discussed the recording.
“She claims her stash of recordings — which she is dribbling out to keep the publicity machine going around the release of her new book, ‘Unhinged’ — includes a condolence call she received from the couple the day after she was fired by chief of staff John Kelly last December. Both Trump and Kushner can be heard wishing Manigault Newman the best and telling her they had no idea her head was on the chopping block, according to the people with whom she has discussed the call.” POLITICO
ABOUT THOSE NDAS … NANCY COOK and ANDREW RESTUCCIA, “Trump tried to ban top aides from penning tell-all books”: “Long before Omarosa Manigault Newman lodged explosive claims against her former boss, President Donald Trump’s White House foresaw the potential problems with ex-staffers’ tell-all books.
“Embedded in the White House’s two-page non-disclosure agreement was a seemingly innocuous clause that prohibited top aides from disclosing confidential information in any form including books, without the express permission of the president, according to a former administration official and an official familiar with the document.
“And if aides violated those terms, the non-disclosure agreement stipulated they would have to forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances or book earnings. It’s not unusual for former administration officials to negotiate with the White House over the anecdotes and insider details of their books.
“But the terms of the White House’s NDA — and even the decision to compel government officials sign an NDA at all — are unprecedented. NDAs are not typically used for federal government workers including White House officials because presumably they are supposed to serve the public and the institution of the president, not any one particular person.” POLITICO
— WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY and ASHLEY PARKER: “‘Everyone signed one’: Trump is aggressive in his use of nondisclosure agreements, even in government”: “Copies of Trump NDAs obtained by The Washington Post or described by current and former aides lay out breathtakingly broad prohibitions on behavior and appear to be drawn heavily from similar contracts used in the past by the Trump Organization, the president’s family firm.
“Under one agreement from the 2016 campaign, signers promised not to ‘demean or disparage publicly’ Trump, his company or any member of his family — and also not to assist any other politician exploring a federal or state office.” WaPo
AN UNLISTED BENEFIT … “Trump offers White House staffers a special perk at his golf club,” by Annie Karni and Eliana Johnson: “There’s an under-the-radar perk being offered to staffers in President Donald Trump’s administration — discounts on Trump-branded merchandise sold at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.
“White House staffers who have a Secret Service hard pin identifying them as administration officials can flash it at the pro shop — where Trump-branded driver headcovers retail for $40 and a Trump golf polo tee sells for $90, according to the online Trump store — and receive the same discount available to club members, who pay a reported $350,000 to join the club.
“Those discounts range from 15 percent off of any merchandise sold in the store, to 70 percent off clearance items, according to two staffers and a receipt reviewed by POLITICO.” POLITICO
MEDIATE: “Ex-Trump Aide Seb Gorka is Giving Out Fake Fox News Business Cards,” by Caleb Ecarma. Mediaite
CUT AND SAVE … PREDICTION ZONE … LARRY KUDLOW to Ben White: “‘These are very good times and the midterms will be a report card on that,’ Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said in an interview, dismissing concerns that relatively flat wages and a soaring deficit will cut into enthusiasm for the economy.
“‘The confidence indices are telling a very important story, and POTUS is polling in the low to mid fifties on the economy,’ Kudlow said just before returning to the White House after some time off. ‘The great blue wall has crashed. I think GOP will lose seats but keep the House.'” POLITICO
TRUMP ON THE ROAD … “Trump Mocks Gillibrand and Cuomo in His First Visit to Upstate N.Y. as President,” by NYT’s Shane Goldmacher and Tyler Pager in Utica, New York: “President Trump returned to his home state of New York on Monday intent on settling old scores with leading Democratic politicians here, mocking Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as ‘just a puppet’ of Senator Chuck Schumer, and saying ‘it’s very sad to see what’s happening with New York’ under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Mr. Trump added that Mr. Cuomo, thought to be a potential 2020 White House candidate, had once told him he would ‘never run for president against’ him. ‘Oh, please do it,’ Mr. Trump goaded Mr. Cuomo.” NYT
— @ShaneGoldmacher: “NEW: I have asked five senior Cuomo advisers if it is true that Cuomo once told Trump he would never run against him, as Trump said today. None of them has responded. … NEW: @RichAzzopardi, Cuomo spox, responds, ‘Oh please, consider the source.’ … (Which isn’t exactly a denial)”.
— “Trump Talks for 28 Minutes on Bill Named for John McCain. Not Mentioned: McCain,” by NYT’s Mike Shear: “If President Trump had wanted to make a gracious mention of John McCain, the ailing Republican senator from Arizona, he could have done it on Monday, when the president signed the $716 billion military spending bill named in Mr. McCain’s honor. He didn’t. Standing in front of soldiers and senior military leaders at Fort Drum in New York, Mr. Trump made no mention of Mr. McCain, 81, who has been one of the president’s fiercest critics but has largely been absent from the Senate as he struggles with advanced brain cancer.
“The president studiously avoided reading the official name of the legislation — which would have meant mentioning Mr. McCain — during the 28-minute speech or during the signing ceremony afterward. (The spending measure is officially called the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.)” NYT
THE MANAFORT TRIAL — “Prosecution rests, Manafort defense starts Tuesday,” by Darren Samuelsohn, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors rested their case against Paul Manafort on Monday afternoon after calling more than two dozen witnesses in their tax- and bank-fraud case against the former Trump campaign chairman. The final round of testimony from Treasury Department senior special agent Paula Liss lasted only five questions.
“It essentially boiled down to Liss stating that she had not found any evidence that Manafort’s international political consulting firms had filed reports with the U.S. government acknowledging they had foreign bank accounts. Failing to file those bank account reports are one prong of Mueller’s case against Manafort, which is set to shift to the defense on Tuesday morning when the trial resumes in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.” POLITICO
— “Manafort Turned to Kushner in Attempt to Get Banker a Trump Job,” by Bloomberg’s David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg: “Paul Manafort turned to Jared Kushner for help in an attempt to secure a Trump administration job for a Chicago banker at the center of Manafort’s fraud trial. Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, got a quick response. ‘On it!’ Kushner replied on Nov. 30, 2016, according to an email submitted by prosecutors into evidence Monday at Manafort’s trial on bank and tax-fraud charges. … The banker who sought the job in Trump’s administration was Stephen Calk, chief executive officer of the Federal Savings Bank, which loaned $16 million to Manafort.” Bloomberg
— @awprokop: “Steve Calk, the bank chairman who pushed for $16M in shady loans to Manafort, also sent him a list of Trump Admin jobs he wanted ‘in rank order.’” The list
THE JUICE …
— THE LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS is launching a $200,000 campaign opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The effort includes a digital ad criticizing his record on the environment. They are also organizing opposition in Nevada, Maine and Alaska. The ad
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president is scheduled to have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
VP MIKE PENCE is headed to Cincinnati for an event boosting Mike DeWine for governor. He then goes to Toledo for Jim Renacci for Senate.
WOMEN RULE — TRACKING THE CANDIDATES — We are launching a three-part series “Women Rule: Tracking the candidates” Wednesday with Anna going behind the scenes looking at what it’s really like for women hitting the campaign trail in 2018. From an Arizona Republican in a key swing district to a mayoral candidate in Chicago who could be the city’s first black female mayor (and could also be the city’s first openly gay mayor), this series will bring listeners real talk from the campaign trail. Subscribe … The trailer
WAPO’S DAVE WEIGEL in ST. LOUIS PARK, MINNESOTA: “Democrats go left, Republicans go to Trump as Minnesota candidates veer to the poles before Tuesday’s primary”
— STEVEN SHEPARD and JAMES ARKIN give us six things to watch in tonight’s primaries. POLITICO
THE INVESTIGATIONS …
— “Mueller Is Examining Roger Stone’s Emails: Investigators are closing in on the longtime Trump adviser,” by Mother Jones’ Dan Friedman: “As special counsel Robert Mueller zeroes in on Roger Stone, prosecutors are looking into seemingly threatening emails the longtime Trump adviser sent to a former radio host, sources say. … A lawyer for Randy Credico, the radio host, confirmed Friday that he received a subpoena from Mueller’s office requesting that Credico testify before a grand jury in Washington on September 7. The attorney, Martin Stolar, said he believes prosecutors want to ask Credico about his contacts with Stone and also potentially about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.” Mother Jones
— “House Democrats seek to interview inflammatory ‘alt-right’ activist Chuck Johnson,” by Ben Schreckinger: “Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have asked to interview Charles Johnson, a controversial self-described ‘alt-right’ activist, as part of their probe of 2016 Russian election interference, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO.
“House Democrats continue to informally investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, even after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, ended his committee’s highly partisan official investigation in April. The Democratic effort is mostly toothless because it relies on voluntary cooperation.
“But if Democrats take the House in November, they will gain subpoena power and be able to compel testimony from Johnson and other witnesses. The Democratic lawmakers want information about Johnson’s work with Republican activist Peter W. Smith during the 2016 presidential campaign to obtain emails allegedly hacked from Hillary Clinton, according to the Monday letter from Shannon Green, a Democratic staffer on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” POLITICO
WASHINGTON INC. — MAY JEONG: “‘EVERYBODY IMMEDIATELY KNEW THAT IT WAS FOR AMAZON’: HAS BEZOS BECOME MORE POWERFUL IN D.C. THAN TRUMP? The deal for an obscure $10 billion Pentagon contract suggests the extent to which Jeff Bezos is gobbling up the swamp—without the guy in the White House even batting an eye”: Vanity Fair
VALLEY TALK — “Elon Musk Met With Saudi Fund About Taking Tesla Private,” by WSJ’s Tim Higgins and Summer Said: “Elon Musk said Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund has approached him several times over nearly two years about providing financial support to take Tesla Inc. private, as the chief executive sought to explain his claim to have funding for a possible deal.
“Mr. Musk’s blog post on Tesla’s website Monday provided new information about what led to his surprise tweet last Tuesday announcing the possible transaction. But the new post also left unanswered a host of big questions including how much capital would be required and whether the Saudi fund is indeed able and willing to provide it.” WSJ
— “Elon Musk’s Tweet on Taking Tesla Private Surprised Even Its Board,” by NYT’s Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Neal E. Boudette, Landon Thomas Jr. and Kate Kelly. NYT
MEDIAWATCH — Jess Bidgood is joining the Boston Globe as the paper’s newest national political reporter and will be based in the Washington bureau. She previously covered New England for the New York Times.
SPOTTED: Tiffany Trump going down the escalator at DC USA, the building in Columbia Heights that houses Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and other stores … Chris Wallace on a midday Southwest flight from Long Island to BWI. “Low key in a cap and blazer. Endured the hour-plus delay with the rest of us,” our tipster said.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Rob Flaherty, creative director at Priorities USA. A fun fact about Rob: “I was a Massachusetts State House (shout out to the Sacred Cod) tour guide and one summer I gave a tour to the Mayor of Harrisburg, Pa. He gave me a tip of $9 in $1 bills and an honorary citizenship to the city. I hope I’m on a plaque somewhere.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: NYT’s Adam Goldman … Boris Epshteyn, chief political analyst at Sinclair Broadcast Group, is 36 (hat tip: Colin Reed) … Elliott Hulse of U.S. Treasury public affairs and a Trump WH alum … Jen Myers, executive director at Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation … Politico’s Peter Canellos … Shoaib Qureshi … Bill Couch … Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner … Lori Montgomery, WaPo deputy national editor … Ian Rayder of Cisco gov’t affairs … Katrin Bennhold, Berlin bureau chief for the NYT (h/t Ben Chang) … David Ellis … Jessica Pavel … Social Security is 83 … Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) is 54 … former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) is 66 … former Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) is 73 … Gary Endicott … Denise Feriozzi, principal at Civitas Public Affairs Group (h/t Jon Haber) … Tiffany Stecker, environment reporter at Bloomberg BNA … Erik Sperling …
… John Meza, VP of comms and gov’t affairs at the Borderplex Alliance and a Beto alum, is 32 … DCCC executive director Dan Sena … Liz Sternby … Paige Decker, director of coalitions and members services for House Ways and Means … Darren Goode, communications director at ClearPath Foundation, is 44 … Sean Miles is 51 (h/t Bo Ollison) … Matt J. Lauer, EVP at Qorvis/MSLGroup, who celebrated with friends at Es Torrent in Ibiza this weekend (pic) (h/t Tim Burger) … Politico Europe’s Maia De La Baume … Paige Decker, director of coalitions and member services for House Ways & Means (h/t Mattie Duppler) … Tori Sachs, campaign manager for John James for Senate in Michigan, is 3-0 (h/t Ted Goodman) … Edelman’s Jere Sullivan … Gray Kinsella … Melissa Johnson … Josh Goldberg … Jeff Krehely … Colby Bermel (h/t brother Nate) … Spike Whitney … Mark Mitchell … Jane Hautanen … Eric Wohlschlegel … Nicole Stickel … Matt Nappe … Alia Awadallah … Jon Hoadley … Jon Selib is 43 … Bill Couch … Josh Freed … Catherine Coleman Flowers.