WHAT AMERICA IS READING … ARIZONA REPUBLIC: “Ducey expected to act soon to fill McCain’s seat” … SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: “CONGRESS FACES LONG TO-DO LIST BEFORE MIDTERM ELECTIONS” … HARTFORD COURANT: “Trump Nominee Kavanaugh Did Layups, Not Debates At Yale” …
… DES MOINES REGISTER: “Iowa’s economy is flourishing, wages are growing, but most workers don’t feel like they have more Spending power” … BOSTON GLOBE: “In Trump era, labor is feeling besieged” … DALLAS MORNING NEWS: “‘A real race’ in Cruz vs. O’Rourke” … MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: “Grothman vs. Kohl: No avoiding Trump in House race”
SPOTTED IN EAST HAMPTON at a big end-of-summer party hosted annually by Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav: Oprah Winfrey, Joy Behar, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, George Stephanopoulos, Graydon Carter, Donny Deutsch, Margaret Carlson, Richard Cohen, Bob Balaban, Savannah Guthrie, Paula Zahn, Katie Couric, Caryn Zucker, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Dominic Chu, Lloyd Blankfein, David Solomon, Daryl Roth, Louise Grunwald, Rita Braver, Emily Jane Fox, Nick Pileggi and Alan Patricof.
Good Monday morning. Happy Labor Day! We’re going to keep it short this morning. Enjoy the last day of summer.
WHAT’S ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 8:23 a.m.: “The Worker in America is doing better than ever before. Celebrate Labor Day!”
… at 7:28 a.m.: “Happy Labor Day! Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows. The U.S. has tremendous upside potential as we go about fixing some of the worst Trade Deals ever made by any country in the world. Big progress being made!”
… at 7:15 a.m.: “Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, represented his union poorly on television this weekend. Some of the things he said were so againt [sic] the working men and women of our country, and the success of the U.S. itself, that it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!”
WAPO’S DAVE WEIGEL in SOMERVILLE, MASSACHUSETTS: “‘Any old blue just won’t do’: Insurgents seek to topple more Democratic veterans in September primaries”: “Ayanna Pressley’s rationale for unseating a 20-year incumbent was simple, starting with what Rep. Michael E. Capuano has done right. Yes, the Democratic congressman had voted the right way nearly all of the time. Sure, he’d resisted President Trump.
“‘A progressive voting record in the most progressive seat in the country is not enough,’ Pressley said recently at a small canvass launch that quickly took over most of a coffee shop. ‘This district deserves bold, activist leadership! The only way we can beat the hate coming out from Washington is not with a vote — it’s with a movement!’ … ‘Some people want to snap their fingers and get whatever they want,’ Capuano said in an interview after stopping by a block party organized by mothers of gun violence victims. ‘So do I. But I haven’t had that experience any place in my life.’
“As the primary season winds to an end, with five Northeastern states voting from Sept. 4 to Sept. 13, Massachusetts’s 7th District is one of a dozen battlefields for the Democratic Party’s future.
“In four of September’s five primary states — Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island and New York — efforts are underway to dismantle the party establishment, starting with long-tenured politicians who first took power when compromises with the right were more routine. Democrats who are used to locking up endorsements and rolling into November are being challenged on decades-old votes, or their slowness to embrace reform, or why they haven’t been more visible in the Trump era. The same dynamic is playing out in open seats, where candidates are often debating who can provide the brightest, loudest contrast to Republicans.” WaPo
SCOTUS WATCH — KNOWING WILLIAM BURCK — “A Coveted Lawyer’s Juggling Act May Be Good, and Bad, for Trump,” by NYT’s Mike Shear and Mike Schmidt: “It was a typically hectic day for William A. Burck as he juggled the demands of managing one of Washington’s premier white-collar law firms while he was in Paris for meetings on behalf of a corporate client facing corruption charges. But that was not all he was trying to manage from his room in a hotel near the Champs-Élysées last Wednesday. Part of the time he was on the phone dealing with the legal and political fallout from the abrupt dismissal that day of Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, one of at least a half dozen of his clients who work for President Trump or once did.
“And part of the time he was signing off on the release of a final batch of documents related to the time that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, spent as a senior aide in the George W. Bush White House. Hired by the former president, Mr. Burck supervised a team of lawyers that examined thousands of documents, a process that has been bitterly criticized by Democrats, who say Mr. Burck is an administration ally and longtime Kavanaugh friend who cannot be trusted.” NYT
— “Democrats’ view of Kavanaugh shaped by bitter 2004 hearing,” by WaPo’s Michael Kranish: “As Sen. Charles E. Schumer pondered the judicial nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh, the New York Democrat could barely contain his anger. He viewed the choice as ‘among the most political in history’ and could not think of another nominee ‘more designed to divide us.’ Schumer was not talking about President Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court justice. It was 2004, and Schumer helped lead the Democrats’ questioning of Kavanaugh to move from the George W. Bush White House to a federal circuit judgeship.
“Schumer and his Democratic colleagues cast him as an extreme conservative and were so effective that they blocked Kavanaugh’s nomination for three years. Now, however, as Kavanaugh prepares for his Tuesday confirmation hearing, Democrats are still searching for a strategy that could stop his ascension to the highest court. Schumer said in an interview that his concerns from 2004 ‘are still the case’ and have only grown as a result of Kavanaugh’s judicial rulings for 12 years. ‘He has a very nice smile, but an inch below the surface, he is a hard-right warrior,’ Schumer said in an interview.” WaPo
— “How Brett Kavanaugh Would Transform the Supreme Court,” by NYT’s Adam Liptak: “Most Supreme Court appointments are in a way inconsequential. A conservative replaces a conservative, a liberal replaces a liberal, and the court’s basic direction is unchanged. That is not the case with the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, whose Senate confirmation hearings will begin on Tuesday. … His confirmation would result in a rare replacement of the court’s swing justice, moving Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. — a much more reliably conservative vote than Justice Kennedy — to the court’s ideological center. It has been more than 80 years since a chief justice was the swing vote.
“If Chief Justice Roberts assumes that position, legal scholars said, he will lead a solid five-member conservative majority that would most likely restrict access to abortion, limit the use of race-conscious decisions in areas like college admissions, uphold voting restrictions, expand gun rights, strike down campaign finance regulations and give religion a greater role in public life. ‘John Roberts would be the least swinging swing justice in the post-World War II era,’ said Justin Driver, a law professor at the University of Chicago.” NYT
IAN KULLGREN: “Trump rolls back worker safety rules”: “When President Donald Trump came into office pledging to cut regulations ‘massively,’ he made a point of exempting regulations that protected workers’ health. But almost two years in, the Trump administration has done the opposite, rolling back worker safety protections affecting underground mine safety inspections, offshore oil rigs and line speeds in meat processing plants, among others.
“Trump’s deregulatory moves on worker safety are at odds with his public stance as a champion of working class Americans, but consistent with his naming two management-side attorneys bent on rolling back economic protections for workers to the National Labor Relations Board, which regulates labor unions, and with his nominations of two reliably pro-management jurists to a now-Republican-majority Supreme Court that recently dealt a heavy financial blow to public-employee unions.” POLITICO
MCCAIN’S FINAL RESTING PLACE — “Family, friends say final goodbye to McCain,” by AP’s Susan Walsh in Annapolis, Maryland: “Sen. John McCain’s final journey ended on a grassy hill at the U.S. Naval Academy within view of the Severn River and earshot of midshipmen present and future, and alongside a lifelong friend.
“A horse-drawn caisson carrying the senator’s casket led a procession of mourners from the academy’s chapel to its cemetery Sunday following a private service. The senator’s widow, Cindy, and his children were among those who walked behind the caisson. Joining them were family and friends as well as members of McCain’s Class of 1958 and military leaders.
“The U.S. Navy band played marches along the way and several hundred Naval Academy midshipmen lined the path. A flyover of military aircraft in ‘missing man’ formation honored the Navy pilot who was shot down over Vietnam and held more than five years as a prisoner of war.
“After the American flag was removed from the casket, a grieving Cindy McCain pressed her check to its surface and McCain sons Jimmy and Jack shared a hug. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented flags to Cindy McCain and Roberta McCain, the senator’s 106-year-old mother. … Those offering tributes or readings during the funeral service included Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); McCain sons Jack and Douglas; retired Gen. David Petraeus, former CIA director; and Mark Salter.” AP
PIC DU JOUR — @kenvogel: “HELSINKI SUMMIT UPDATE: We still don’t know exactly what TRUMP & PUTIN agreed to. BUT, I can now report that the White House Communications Agency’s team did in fact produce a challenge coin commemorating the occasion. Alas, it does not feature the faces of Trump & Putin.” Pic
TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule.
ARTICLE OF THE DAY — JEFFREY TOOBIN in The New Yorker, “How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown: The former mayor’s theatrical, combative style of politics anticipated—and perfectly aligns with—the President’s”: “Since joining Trump’s team, Giuliani has greeted every new development as a vindication, even when he’s had to bend and warp the evidence in front of him. … He has, in effect, become the legal auxiliary to Trump’s Twitter feed, peddling the same chaotic mixture of non sequiturs, exaggerations, half-truths, and falsehoods. Giuliani, like the President, is not seeking converts but comforting the converted. This has come at considerable cost to his reputation. …
“In 2001, he claimed that he had just seven thousand dollars in assets. In 2002, he set up a security-consulting business and began giving speeches internationally. By the time he embarked on his disastrous Presidential run, in 2007, he estimated his wealth at more than thirty million dollars. … At one point, I asked Giuliani whether he worried about how this chapter of his life would affect his legacy. ‘I don’t care about my legacy,’ he told me. ‘I’ll be dead.’” New Yorker
HELENA BOTTEMILLER EVICH: “Immigrants, fearing Trump crackdown, drop out of nutrition programs”: “Immigrants are turning down government help to buy infant formula and healthy food for their young children because they’re afraid the Trump administration could bar them from getting a green card if they take federal aid.
“Local health providers say they’ve received panicked phone calls from both documented and undocumented immigrant families demanding to be dropped from the rolls of WIC, a federal nutrition program aimed at pregnant women and children, after news reports that the White House is potentially planning to deny legal status to immigrants who’ve used public benefits. Agencies in at least 18 states say they’ve seen drops of up to 20 percent in enrollment, and they attribute the change largely to fears about the immigration policy.
“The Trump administration hasn’t officially put the policy in place yet, but even without a formal rule, families are already being scared away from using services, health providers say.” POLITICO
— “Companies Say Trump Is Hurting Business by Limiting Legal Immigration,” by NYT’s Nelson D. Schwartz and Steve Lohr: “Hospitals, hotels, technology companies and other businesses say they are now struggling to fill jobs with the foreign workers they need. With foreign hires missing, the employees who remain are being forced to pick up the slack. Seasonal industries like hotels and landscaping are having to turn down customers or provide fewer services. Corporate executives worry about the long-term impact of losing talented engineers and programmers to countries like Canada that are laying out the welcome mat for skilled foreigners.” NYT
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION — “Protester yells ‘shame on you’ as Cardinal Donald Wuerl addresses priest sex abuse” — CBS: “Tensions erupted during a Catholic mass as the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. addressed the clergy sex abuse scandal. A protester interrupted Cardinal Donald Wuerl Sunday as he pleaded for loyalty to Pope Francis. Wuerl has been facing calls to resign since a scathing grand jury report revealed abuses that occurred during his time as head of the Pittsburgh diocese. The heckler was reportedly upset with the Catholic Church’s lack of transparency throughout decades of alleged sexual abuse.
“The disruption came when Cardinal Wuerl asked the congregation to keep Pope Francis in their prayers. ‘Shame on you!’ the protester yelled. After the interruption during his Sunday sermon, Cardinal Wuerl apologized for how he and the Catholic Church handled the clergy sexual abuse scandal … ‘Yes, my brothers and sisters, shame. I wish I could redo everything over these 30 years,’ Wuerl said.” With video CBS
MEDIAWATCH — “Myanmar court jails Reuters reporters for seven years in landmark secrets case,” by Reuters’ Shoon Naing and Aye Min Thant in Yangon: “A Myanmar judge on Monday found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years, in a landmark case seen as a test of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country.” Reuters
GREAT BONUS HOLIDAY WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from Jackson Hole, Wyoming:
— “Winning Is Not Enough,” by Paul Glastris in Washington Monthly: “Democrats are focused on taking back power—but our democracy depends on them keeping it. To do that, they have to start thinking differently.” Washington Monthly
— “Excerpt: ‘Monica’ From Ken Starr’s Forthcoming Memoir ‘Contempt’”: “In his memoir ‘Contempt,’ 20 years later, Ken Starr details his work as independent counsel. This excerpt below, published first by NPR, offers Starr’s reflections on his team’s first encounter with Monica Lewinsky.” NPR … $18.30 on Amazon
— “Humans are a post-truth species,’” by Yuval Noah Harari in The Guardian, in an excerpt of “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” (out Sept. 4): “If you blame Facebook, Trump or Putin for ushering in a new and frightening era of post-truth, remind yourself that centuries ago millions of Christians locked themselves inside a self-reinforcing mythological bubble, never daring to question the factual veracity of the Bible, while millions of Muslims put their unquestioning faith in the Qur’an. For millennia, much of what passed for ‘news’ and ‘facts’ in human social networks were stories about miracles, angels, demons and witches.” Guardian … $20.37 on Amazon
— “The Planet Now Has More Trees Than It Did 35 Years Ago,” by Rhett A. Butler in Pacific Standard magazine: “Tree-cover gain is being driven by agricultural abandonment, warming temperatures, and China’s massive tree planting program.” Pacific Standard
— “‘The Fall Of Wisconsin’ Puts The State’s 2016 Presidential Choice In Context,” by NPR’s Ron Elving, reviewing “The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics” by Dan Kaufman: “Yes, Obama had won there twice, but his wins stood in stark contrast to what was going on in the state during his years in office — a drastic rightward shift in the state’s power arrangements from the top statewide jobs to the local precinct level. Second, Kaufman argues that what’s been happening in Wisconsin has historical significance because it made the state a model for conservative activists who, with corporate backing, were remarkably successful in reversing the state’s deeper tradition of progressive populism that dates from the 1800s.” NPR … $17.67 on Amazon
— “Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone,” by Carrie Battan in Harper’s Bazaar: “Phone obsession can wreak havoc on everything from your relationships to your workouts. But is it really possible to dodge your screen’s toxic pull?” Harper’s Bazaar
WEEKEND WEDDING — Anna Edgerton, reporter for Bloomberg News, on Sunday married James Tinker, manager of corporate measurement at TechnoServe. Pool report: “They met in California about a decade ago when they were both working as teachers and kept in touch until they decided to start dating when they moved to D.C. The wedding was in Black Mountain, N.C., outside Asheville.” Pic … Another pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and senior media correspondent, is 33. A fun fact about Brian: “Growing up, I was such a weather geek that I’d call in snow totals to the local stations. (All of them! WUSA, WJLA, WRC, WTTG.) Weather also inspired the name of our daughter Sunny. I’m hoping to take her tornado chasing someday.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Jessica Ditto, WH deputy communications director (hat tip: Sarah Huckabee Sanders) … Rick Perlstein is 49 … Shawn Sachs, CEO of Sunshine Sachs … John Mercurio of the Bitfury Group … Politico’s Todd Lindeman and Mohana Ravindranath … Kim Rubey, head of social impact and philanthropy at Airbnb … John Zogby is 7-0 … Time EIC Edward Felsenthal is 52 … CBS News’ Erica Brown … Sarah Curran … Lucia Alonzo, COS at Ferox Strategies … WSJ’s Kristina Peterson is 35 … Mari Manoogian, a Democratic candidate for the Michigan House of Reps. … Jonathan Silver, clean energy investor and managing director at Tax Equity Advisors (h/t wife Melissa Moss) … Rita Hite, EVP at the American Forest Foundation (h/t Jon Haber) … Carly Sandstrom (h/t Dale Bishop) … Dominic K. Hawkins of SKDKnickerbocker … Alicia Daugherty (hubby tip: Dan Diamond) … ECB President Mario Draghi is 71 …
… former Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.) is 82 … former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), now a senior policy adviser at Holland & Knight, is 68 … Gary Zaetz … Graeme Crews, comms associate at the Southern Poverty Law Center … NBC News’ Adam Reiss … Tiffany Waddell (h/t Amelia Chasse) … John C. Cleveland … Alex McConnell … Samuel Lea … Hillary Allen … John McDonald … Mara Stark-Alcala … Thomas Caballero … Joshua Gross … Flin Hyre … Kathi Wise … Jon Corley … Bob Simmons … Caroline Lehman (h/t Mallory Howe) … Niki Grant … former Rep. Michael Huffington (R-Calif.) is 71 … Jayne Visser (h/t AshLee Strong) … Lois Kimmel … Jim Gilio … Melinda Warner … Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist … Liz Hitchcock … AFSCME’s Tiffany Ricci … Mohammad Naeem Sidhu … Scott Horwitz … Sophie Pink … Mary Moffitt … Joshua Morin … Adam Ezring … Doug Herman (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)