THE BIG QUESTION: JOHN MCCAIN will be remembered this week in ceremonies in Phoenix and Washington. He’ll lie in state in the capitols in Arizona and Washington. Can PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP manage to avoid controversy for the entire week?
WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY: “Trump rejected plans for a White House statement praising McCain”: “President Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of Sen. John McCain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one Saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late Arizona Republican.
“Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other White House aides advocated for an official statement that gave the decorated Vietnam War POW plaudits for his military and Senate service and called him a ‘hero,’ according to current and former White House aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. …
“The break with precedent of previous presidents — who have typically released effusive official statements for noteworthy Americans upon their death — underscored the bitter relationship between the two men, Trump’s continued anger toward McCain, and the substantive and stylistic differences between them, people close to both men said.” WaPo
WAPO’S TORY NEWMYER: “Arizona governor to wait until after McCain burial to announce Senate successor”
— NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN: “Arizona Governor Faces a Tough Choice: A Senator Made From McCain’s Mold or Trump’s”: “The governor’s appointee will represent the state through most of 2020, when there will be a special election to fill the rest of Mr. McCain’s term, and Republicans close to Mr. Ducey indicated he is likely to pick a replacement who intends to run again rather than a caretaker to temporarily fill the seat. Among the names under consideration, according to Arizona Republicans, are Mr. McCain’s widow, Cindy; a former Arizona senator, Jon Kyl; and two former Arizona House members, John Shadegg and Matt Salmon.
“Other possibilities include Kirk Adams, Mr. Ducey’s top aide and a former state legislator; the state treasurer, Eileen Klein; a member of the state Board of Regents, Karrin Taylor Robson; and Barbara Barrett, a business executive and former United States ambassador to Finland.” NYT
— NYT’S JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: “As a Nation Mourns McCain, Trump Is Conspicuously Absent”: “As leaders of both political parties and foreign dignitaries publicly mourned John McCain on Sunday, President Trump conspicuously avoided a national moment of tribute to a senator whose death seemed to be its own metaphor for the demise of civility and unity in the Trump era.
“The president did not make even the most cursory public show of respect on Sunday for Mr. McCain, against whom he had continued to indulge a personal grievance even as it was apparent that the Arizona Republican was losing his battle with brain cancer. The president spent much of the day golfing and attacking his usual enemies on Twitter.” NYT
— “Trump’s Instagram Tribute To John McCain Featured A Photo Of Himself,” by Bustle’s Joseph D. Lyons.
THE SERVICES … “McCain services set for Phoenix, Washington and Annapolis,” by AP’s Laurie Kellman: “Sen. John McCain’s service to his country began more than six decades ago at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and will end there in a cemetery overlooking Maryland’s Severn River. A private burial service next Sunday will conclude nearly a week of events honoring the Navy aviator, prisoner of war, congressman, longtime senator and presidential contender. The Arizona Republican died of brain cancer Saturday at 81 at his ranch near Sedona.
“Plans taking shape called for McCain to lie in state Wednesday in the Arizona State Capitol on what would have been his 82nd birthday. A funeral will be conducted Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church with former Vice President Joe Biden speaking. In Washington, McCain will lie in state Friday in the Capitol Rotunda with a formal ceremony and time for the public to pay respects.
“On Saturday, a procession will pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and arrive for a funeral at Washington National Cathedral. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to speak at the service. A private funeral is planned for Sunday afternoon at the Naval Academy Chapel followed by a private burial at the academy cemetery. As he wished, McCain will be buried next to a Naval Academy classmate and lifelong friend, Chuck Larson.” AP
POLICY FALLOUT — “John McCain’s Death Leaves Foreign-Policy Void,” by WSJ’s Gordon Lubold: “As a third-generation naval officer and his detention in Vietnam, Mr. McCain had the moral authority and stature to question the executive branch, the Pentagon and its top military officers in a way few others are able or willing to do.
“Now, it is unclear who if anyone, might fill such a role as the U.S. faces national-security challenges including North Korea’s nuclear program, China’s regional and global ambitions, Russia’s cyber incursions and conflicts from the Middle East to South Asia. Adm. Mike Mullen, the retired former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Mr. McCain’s strong advocacy for internationalism—and his willingness to speak up when he saw those values under attack—made his voice critical.” WSJ
— NYT: “John McCain, a Scarred but Happy Warrior”: “With John McCain, you never quite knew. That was a big part of his appeal, one of the things that made him interesting, and also one of the things that drove people who value ideological consistency a bit batty.
“As a professed maverick, Mr. McCain, who died Saturday at the age of 81, was bound to make somebody unhappy. Though for much of his career his votes on the Senate floor were mostly along party lines, his periodic challenges to Republican orthodoxy made him more popular among independents, Democrats and the tattered remnants of his party’s moderate wing than with the absolutists in the party’s base. Five years of torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp appeared to have left him with a pretty good idea of who he was, an ability to think for himself and the capacity to tune out partisan noises.
“He had principles, and he had flaws, from time to time betraying those principles — most grievously in the 2008 presidential campaign. But in a Senate mostly devoid of the kind of commanding figures who once roamed its halls, he was a rare bird. And he could surprise you.” NYT
— ARIZONA REPUBLIC: “John McCain never quit on us. Not on Arizona, the U.S. Senate, America or the world”: “He came from an America that believed in the sun-faded ideals of honor and duty. And so he spent the last months of his three decades as U.S. senator making the case for honorable conduct.
“In one of America’s dark hours, when the country was beset upon itself, McCain used his last great speech to call on the leaders of this country to stop savaging one another, to start working together. Who will ever forget McCain’s return to the U.S. Senate last summer that brought every member of that body to their feet to warmly acknowledge him after doctors broke the news he had little time to live?” AZ Republic
— WSJ: “A Salute to John McCain”: “Most important to McCain’s view of politics was his devout patriotism and unaltering faith in American exceptionalism. Hailing to the service of his grandfather and father, and his own in Vietnam, McCain believed in the rightness of American purposes around the world. This belief caused him in his final years to resist the drift in his own party toward isolationism. This was the principled root of his differences with Donald Trump.
“When McCain received his brain-cancer diagnosis, his daughter called him a ‘warrior at dusk.’ It is an apt description. While the searing experience of Vietnam led so many to lose their faith in America’s goodness, for John McCain it was the opposite. ‘I fell in love with my country,’ he said, ‘when I was a prisoner in someone else’s.’” WSJ
ARIZONA PRIMARY WATCH — JAMES ARKIN in Tucson, Arizona: “‘We’re going to crush it’: McSally turns to November in pivotal Arizona Senate race”: “Republicans hope to put a year of intra-party warfare behind them in Tuesday’s Arizona’s Senate primary, as they defend a vital battleground state that has fueled Democratic hopes of winning the Senate majority.
“Rep. Martha McSally is expected to capture the GOP nomination after leading every public poll of a long and unpredictable primary. Repeated sparring between Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and President Donald Trump in 2017 tanked Flake’s support among state Republicans, threatening his reelection prospects so deeply that he decided to retire instead.
“McSally became the preferred candidate of most Republicans in Washington, but she has been dogged all year by two hardline challengers: former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.” POLITICO
Good Monday morning. WHAT’S ON TRUMP’S MIND … @realDonaldTrump at 8:39 p.m.: “Over 90% approval rating for your all time favorite (I hope) President within the Republican Party and 52% overall. This despite all of the made up stories by the Fake News Media trying endlessly to make me look as bad and evil as possible. Look at the real villains please!”
NYT’S JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, “Gather Round, Everyone. It’s Time to Play ‘Find the Collusion’!”: “Have you heard the one about the collusion? Nobody can seem to find it. It was about halfway through President Trump’s speech to thousands of supporters last week in West Virginia — right after referring to ‘fake news and the Russian witch hunt,’ as if it were an ironically named rock band — that he breezily posed the question. ‘Where,’ Mr. Trump demanded to know, ‘is the collusion?’ Spreading his arms in mock confusion, as if half expecting to find it hidden, like a particularly elusive Easter egg, somewhere near the lectern bearing the presidential seal, Mr. Trump issued the challenge again.
“‘Find some collusion,’ the president bellowed, making the notion of uncovering a conspiracy with a foreign power to sway a presidential election sound more like a scavenger hunt — a kind of ‘Where’s Waldo?’ for undermining American democracy. ‘We want to find the collusion!’ Had his audience in that civic center in Charleston seen it? (A smattering of boos and thumbs jamming downward in response indicated that they had not.)” NYT
FOR YOUR RADAR — “3 dead, including suspect, in mass shooting at Jacksonville Landing” — The Florida Times-Union’s Andrew Pantazi, Joe Daraskevich, Nate Monroe, Teresa Stepzinski and Tessa Duvall: “A 24-year-old Maryland man opened fire Sunday in the middle of a video game tournament at Jacksonville’s waterfront mall, killing two people, injuring 11 more, then killing himself, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said, a chaotic scene at a venue synonymous with downtown.
“The shooting, which happened around 1:30 p.m., was connected to a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament at Chicago Pizza in the Jacksonville Landing. David Katz, from Baltimore, was the lone suspect, using ‘at least one handgun’ on the victims and himself, Williams said. He would not confirm the motive for the killing, though one witness had said the impetus for the shooting was because Katz had lost the tournament.” The Florida Times-Union
2018 WATCH — BURGESS EVERETT and MARC CAPUTO: “Democrats fret Nelson is choking in Florida Senate race”: “When Sen. Claire McCaskill began to choke in a Democratic Caucus lunch in June, Sen. Bill Nelson stepped in to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
“The Florida senator was unable to dislodge the food. That’s when West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stepped in. He broke one of McCaskill’s ribs, but he got the job done. ‘Well, I gave her two of ‘em. And it was really stuck. Joe Manchin reached over, grabbed her, did about five of these,’ Nelson explained later, demonstratively acting out his attempts. ‘He’s taller, but he went at it really hard to the point he really picked her up.’
“Now Democrats worry Nelson is the one who might need assistance. Nelson’s quick response at a fraught moment demonstrates his bona fides as a military veteran and longtime public servant. But his struggles on the Florida campaign trail mirror his difficulties helping McCaskill. Consider: Nelson slightly trails Gov. Rick Scott, even though President Donald Trump barely carried Florida, while Manchin is leading in a state Trump won by 42 points.” POLITICO
THE INVESTIGATIONS — “‘Sleeper’ case could torpedo Mueller report,” by Josh Gerstein: “A little-noticed court case stemming from the apparent murder of a Columbia University professor six decades ago could keep special counsel Robert Mueller from publishing any information about the Trump campaign and Russia that he obtains through a Washington grand jury.
“The substance of the case is entirely unrelated to Mueller’s investigation into whether any of President Donald Trump’s associates aided Russia’s efforts to intervene in the 2016 election. But if a Washington appeals court set to hear the murder-related case next month sides with the Justice Department and rules that judges don’t have the freedom to release grand jury information that is usually kept secret, it could throw a monkey wrench into any plans Mueller has to issue a public report on his probe’s findings, lawyers following the issue said.” POLITICO
TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president is having lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. He and first lady Melania Trump will meet Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his wife, Margaret Kenyatta. Trump and Kenyatta will hold expanded bilateral meetings this afternoon. Tonight, Trump and the first lady will hold a dinner “celebrating Evangelical leadership.”
YOU ARE INVITED — JAKE and ANNA are heading to Philadelphia Friday for a special Playbook Elections event in Pennsylvania to discuss the 2018 midterm cycle and issues shaping the races. Join us at the Ritz-Carlton, where we’ll interview SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA.) and REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R-PA.). RSVP
LAST WEEK TO PLAY! — PLAYBOOK ON THE ROAD — Tweet or send us a photo of you, your friends and companions reading Playbook to @playbookplus using hashtag #PlaybookLoyal or email them to Daniel at [email protected] for the chance to be featured this Friday.
FIRST LOOK … AN EXCERPT FROM MARK LEIBOVICH’S NEW BOOK … “BIG GAME: The NFL in Dangerous Times”: “The Lords of the League can appear overmatched by the moral and cultural moment that confronts them. Roger Goodell, the game’s embattled commissioner, always seems to be presiding over some self-inflicted mess. Under his watch, the NFL has gone from being one of the most unifying institutions in America to the country’s most polarizing sports brand. Goodell himself seems not inclined to accept much blame for this trajectory. ‘I think it’s a little more reflective of how somewhat divided our society is at this stage,’ he told me in his New York office a few weeks before the Super Bowl.
“Pro football might be played by bulked-up exhibits before tens of millions of viewers, but it’s these puffed-up billionaire owners who own the store. These are the freaks, the club that Trump couldn’t crack. Plus, the Membership gets to keep most of the NFL money and none of the brain damage.
“Network cameras focus on the bespoke Caligulas in their owner’s boxes at least once a game. This is a strange NFL custom. We as viewers must always be favored with reaction shots from the owner’s box—their awkward high fives and crestfallen stares. It is as if we could never fully appreciate what we’ve seen on the field unless we also witness its real-time impact upon the presiding plutocrats. The human toll! Do owners in any other sport receive this much TV time during games? Maybe horse racing. There is something distinctly Roman about this.
“I was chatting with Jets owner Woody Johnson at an opening night buffet reception that the league puts on featuring mountains of lobster and crab meat, and more paella than I’d ever seen in my life (the NFL does know how to feed itself). Johnson wore a white Jets baseball cap, a knapsack over both shoulders and a slightly day-dreamy expression that made him look a bit like an overgrown third-grader who collects toy trains and terrible quarterbacks …
“Standing a few feet away was Jane Goodell, the wife of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. I was compelled to ask her how many NFL logos, or iconic ‘Shields’ the commissioner insisted they display around their estate in Bronxville, New York. ‘Only one,’ she said evenly. ‘It’s tattooed on his chest.’ I had heard rumors that Mrs. Goodell had an actual sense of humor, despite her husband being the enemy of lightness in any form.
“The First Lady of the Shield had a friend for life in me at that point, even before she doubled down: ‘I didn’t say anything about the tattoo on his ass,’ she added. I later ran this by the commissioner directly, who denied the characterization. ‘If there’s one thing I can assure you,’ Roger Goodell said sternly, ‘I have zero tattoos.’ (No additional fact-checking would be undertaken.)” $18.30 on Amazon … A longer excerpt
ON THE WORLD STAGE — AP: “Pope on McCarrick claims: I won’t say a word about it,” by Nicole Winfield aboard the Papal Plane: “Pope Francis declined Sunday to confirm or deny claims by the Vatican’s retired ambassador to the United States that he knew in 2013 about sexual misconduct allegations against the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, but rehabilitated him anyway.
“Francis said the 11-page text by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, which reads in part like a homophobic attack on Francis and his allies, ‘speaks for itself’ and that he wouldn’t comment on it.” AP
KNOWING DUNCAN HUNTER — “Hard Partying and a Corruption Scandal: Duncan Hunter’s Political Life Unravels,” by NYT’s Tim Arango, Adam Nagourney and Jose A. Del Real in San Diego: “In Alpine, Calif., a suburban Southern California enclave, Duncan Hunter was a good neighbor. He’d help people do yard work, or move heavy furniture. He drove the same dented-up truck for years. At parties, he’d have a beer, two tops, and he might go off and sneak a cigarette so his wife wouldn’t see. He rarely talked about his job as a congressman. In Washington, Mr. Hunter was a fixture on the bar scene, and spent lavishly — over $400 for 30 tequila shots at a bachelor party, and countless fancy dinners.
“He visited one of his favorite bars sometimes multiple times a day, piling up thousands of dollars in tabs. On occasion, he would get into loud arguments with patrons, once over the choice of music on the jukebox (he hated Celine Dion). Those divergent lives — between the watering holes and halls of power in Washington and the suburban tracts and chain stores of Southern California — intersected for years, prosecutors say, as Mr. Hunter and his wife funded their personal lives with campaign donations, the dimensions of which were revealed in an indictment last week.” NYT
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “Kansans drank contaminated water for years. The state didn’t tell them,” by The Wichita Eagle’s Katherine Burgess: “The state allowed hundreds of residents in two Wichita-area neighborhoods to drink contaminated water for years without telling them, despite warning signs of contamination close to water wells used for drinking, washing and bathing. In 2011, while investigating the possible expansion of a Kwik Shop, the state discovered dry cleaning chemicals had contaminated groundwater at 412 W. Grand in Haysville.
“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment didn’t act for more than six years. It didn’t test private wells less than a mile away. Nor did it notify residents that their drinking wells could be contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals, known as perchloroethylene, so they could test the water themselves.” Wichita Eagle
SPOTTED: Justice Neil Gorsuch in first class on a United flight from Denver to Dulles … Wolf Blitzer at a showing of “Crazy Rich Asians” at AMC Mazza Gallerie … Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Canterbury Woods pool in Annandale, Virginia, on Sunday afternoon.
SPOTTED at a party last night for Rick Wilson’s new book “Everything Trump Touches Dies” at Juleanna Glover’s house ($16.20 on Amazon): Michael Shaffer, Ben Chang, Tammy Haddad, Athena Jones, John Harwood, Matt Cooper, Dana Milbank, Craig Gordon, Adrienne Elrod, Erin McPike, Bill Kristol, Mike Isikoff, Janet Donovan, Josh and Ali Rogin, Nick Massella, Nihal Krishan, Kevin Chaffee, Scott Simon, Ruth Marcus, Jane Mayer, Eric Schultz, Blake Hounshell, Judy Woodruff, Carlos Mark Vera, Will Hackman, Melissa Moss and Jonathan Silver, Indira Lakshmanan, Robert Draper, Josh Gerstein, Lindsay Kolb and Caleb Ecarma.
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Rebekah Jorgensen Hoshiko, deputy press secretary for the House Natural Resources Committee (hat tip: Kristina Baum) … (was Saturday): Jamie Lee Jackson, minority professional staff member for the House Armed Services Committee (h/t Paul Braithwaite)
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large at The Atlantic and an MSNBC contributor. He celebrated with friends at Tsé Fung, the Michelin Star restaurant at La Reserve in Geneva. How he got his start: “I was hired by famed Sovietologist Arnold Horelick and arms control guru Bill Potter to be their grunt and research aide at RAND Corporation’s Center for the Study of Soviet International Behavior. It was there that I found Henry Kissinger’s address in a rolodex on Arnold’s desk and wrote him a letter about one of his Japan-focused L.A. Times pieces. The L.A. Times published my letter, Kissinger wrote me back, and then things took off.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Roger Stone is 66 … Ashley Koerber, booking producer for Fox News’ “Special Report” … Rachel Racusen (h/t Peter Hamby) … former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) is 75 … Jennifer Senior … Mac Abrams … Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is 32 … Josh Mankiewicz, correspondent for NBC’s “Dateline,” is 63 … Politico’s Darius Dixon and Megan Cassella … Jedd Rosche, CNN senior Congress editor … Sarah Gamard … Xavier Pugliese … Peter Sterne, senior reporter and managing editor of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker (h/t Hanna Trudo) … Ben Neal … Blake Sobczak, cybersecurity reporter for E&E News … Danielle Weisberg, co-founder of theSkimm … Josh Paciorek of VP Pence’s office … Morris Jones … Pete Boyle, VP of public affairs at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities … Jim Osman … Christopher Brown of UC Berkeley and alum of EFB Advocacy … August Skamenca … Christine O’Donnell is 49 …
… Ty Matsdorf … Melissa Sellers … Brandt McCool, chief technology officer at New Blue Interactive (h/t father-in-law Randy Samborn) … Benjamin Haas is 32 (h/t Rob Hawkings) … Kelsey Berg … Edelman’s Polly Mingledorff … Francesca McCrary … Sarah Schenning … Peter Rothfeld … former Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) is 67 … Moutray McLaren … New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is 6-0 … Linda McKay … Marilyn Renner … Jon Kinney … Politico Europe’s Pierre H. Teheux … Megan Wilburn, senior associate at Hill+Knowlton Strategies … Donald St. Clair … Nicole Charalambous … Paul Reubens … Bill Hamilton … Jason Houser … Mindy Tucker Fletcher … Sean Healy … Robert Cole … Ruth Harkin … Leah Daughtry … Marcia Frew … Steve Aldrich … Jeannette O’Connor (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)