STRATEGY MEMO … SENATE DEMOCRATS, forced by Republicans to stay in Washington during the August recess, are planning to try to turn the session into a referendum on Republicans’ handling of health-care policy.

— FROM A SENIOR SENATE DEMOCRATIC AIDE: “August will be health care month. Every time they say ‘nominations,’ we’ll say ‘lower premiums.’ When they say ‘appropriations process,’ we’ll say ‘bring down drug prices.’ Health care has been President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ biggest failure, and it’s the issue that’s top of mind for voters. We’re going to be relentless in pushing to prevent the Republican rate hikes that are set to land just before Election Day.”

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THE BEGINNING OF THAT PUSH … ELANA SCHOR: “Schumer to McConnell: Let’s spend August on health care”: “Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to send McConnell (R-Ky.) a letter on Wednesday asking him to set aside August time for votes on five Democratic-backed proposals aimed at expanding and lowering the cost of health care, which he previewed Tuesday after the Kentucky Republican announced plans to ax three of the Senate’s four planned recess weeks during that month.” https://politi.co/2xM6vkl

THE PRESIDENT, at two minutes past midnight this morning: “Mitch McConnell announced he will cancel the Senate’s August Recess. Great, maybe the Democrats will finally get something done other than their acceptance of High Crime and High Taxes. We need Border Security!”

BURGESS EVERETT in RANSON, WEST VIRGINIA: “Manchin goes full MAGA”: “Joe Manchin wants you to know he really likes Donald Trump.

“The West Virginia senator doesn’t put it quite that way. But more than any other Democrat in Congress, he’s positioned himself as a vocal Trump ally. In fact, the senator, up for reelection in a state Trump won by more than 40 points, told POLITICO he isn’t ruling out endorsing Trump for reelection in 2020 — a position practically unheard of for a politician with a ‘D’ next to his name.

“‘I’m open to supporting the person who I think is best for my country and my state,’ Manchin said this week from the driver’s seat of his Grand Cherokee, insisting he’s game to work with any president of either party. ‘If his policies are best, I’ll be right there.’

“Trump’s popularity in West Virginia has Republicans salivating over the prospect of knocking off the legendary 70-year-old senator and former governor this fall. In response, Manchin is sidling up to the president — his policies, his nominees, at times even Trump himself — as the independent-minded Democrat prepares for the toughest race of his career against GOP state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

“The president recently mocked Manchin in front of the Senate GOP caucus as trying to hug him all the time — only a slight exaggeration, by Manchin’s telling. ‘We just kind of do the man-bump type thing. That’s it. And I think he’s pulling me as much as I’m pulling him,’ Manchin said in describing his physical embraces with the president.” https://politi.co/2JeR5dE

Good Wednesday morning. TODAY is the 74th anniversary of D-Day.

AROUND THE PRIMARY HORN …

THE BOTTOM LINE: WHAT NANCY PELOSI AND BEN RAY LUJAN LIKE: Democrats do not appear to be locked out of pivotal races in the state of California, a massive win for the party as they look to take back the House. (Some races will take a few days to decide, however.)

WHAT PAUL RYAN (OR KEVIN MCCARTHY/STEVE SCALISE, ugh let’s not get into this now) and STEVE STIVERS LIKE: Performance of Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) in a district Clinton won by 15. He was up by nearly 30 points over the Democrat. GOP-held Clinton districts are important to watch. Also, Republicans got a gubernatorial candidate, which was not a sure thing for the party.

L.A. TIMES’ SEEMA MEHTA at 3:30 A.M. East Coast time: “Democrats look like they won’t be shut out of critical California House races”: “With most precincts reporting, Democrats seemed to have captured second place in the contests where the threat was most acute.

“The party’s wide, boisterous field of candidates could have locked them out of multiple races due to the state’s unique primary, which advances the two candidates with the most votes regardless of party. However, with a large number of mail ballots still to be counted, it could be days before results are certain.

“The prospect of voters only having a choice between two Republicans in crucial races in November had forced Democratic groups to spend more than $7 million in the closing weeks of the campaign to avert disaster.” https://lat.ms/2LmMTVB

— BY THE WAY: Despite all the noise, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) crushed Kevin de Leon, her primary challenger. And Gavin Newsom and John Cox will face off for governor.

EEK, via Elena Schneider: “More than 118K voters accidentally left off rolls in Los Angeles County” https://politi.co/2JeOQXM

****** A message from PhRMA: New analysis from IHS Markit shows providing access to discounted medicine prices at the pharmacy could save seniors with diabetes more than $350 annually. Sharing negotiated rebates could also save Medicare nearly $1,000 annually for every senior taking diabetes medication, reducing total health care spending by approximately $20B over the next 10 years. https://letstalkaboutmedicare.org/ ******

ROBY V. BRIGHT, PART II … ELENA SCHNEIDER and DANIEL STRAUSS: “Alabama Republican incumbent forced into primary runoff”: “Republican primary voters in Alabama will have to decide which is worse: a vote against Donald Trump, or a vote for Nancy Pelosi.

“That will be the key question in a July primary runoff involving GOP Rep. Martha Roby, who failed to win renomination in her primary Tuesday when she fell below 50 percent of the vote. She will face former Rep. Bobby Bright, an ex-Democrat, in a head-to-head race for the Republican nomination in July.

“Roby spurned Trump in 2016, promising not to vote for him and calling for him to quit the presidential race after the Access Hollywood tape … surfaced in the final weeks of the campaign.

“Roby’s rejection of the president hurt, siphoning votes to a write-in candidate in the 2016 general election and drawing four Republican opponents into this year’s primary. She had 38 percent of the vote with more than three-quarters of precincts reporting, while Bright, a former mayor of Montgomery, had 28 percent. …

“But Bright has his own baggage: a vote for Pelosi as speaker of the House from 2009, at the beginning of Bright’s one and only term in Congress as a Democrat. Roby attacked Bright over the vote when she beat him in a general election eight years ago, and the charge can only be more potent in a Republican primary. … Bright told Buzzfeed that the vote for Pelosi was ‘procedural,’ noting that it was ‘before Nancy Pelosi became so toxic.’” https://politi.co/2HlTCwB

— FOR THE RECORD: There was nothing procedural about Bright’s vote for Pelosi. He supported Pelosi, as did every other Democrat.

NOT GREAT FOR THE SENATOR … MATT FRIEDMAN: “State Democratic primary voters send Menendez a message”: New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob “Menendez — an influential two-term incumbent who survived a six-week corruption trial last year when the jury deadlocked on bribery charges against him — defeated challenger Lisa McCormick, a virtually unknown local newspaper publisher who didn’t even file a campaign finance report with the FEC.

“But with 93 percent of the ballots counted, Menendez led with 62 percent of the vote — an unimpressive showing for the ranking member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee facing a no-name opponent.” https://politi.co/2sJTGkK

SOUTH DAKOTA REP. KRISTI NOEM is the GOP nominee for governor, breaking an embarrassing losing streak for House Republicans seeking higher office. AP story http://bit.ly/2JlcM7H

KOREAN PENINSULA UPDATE …

— WHAT TO EXPECT IN SINGAPORE: BLOOMBERG’S JENNIFER JACOBS: “The White House wants North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to commit to a timetable to surrender his country’s nuclear arsenal when he meets President Donald Trump next week in Singapore, a high-stakes summit that could last as long as two days — or just minutes.

“Trump has been advised not to offer Kim any concessions, as the White House seeks to put the onus on the North Koreans to make the summit a success, one U.S. official said. The president is determined to walk out of the meeting if it doesn’t go well, two officials said. Alternatively, Trump is toying with the idea of offering Kim a follow-up summit at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida — perhaps in the fall — if the two men hit it off. …

“Trump will be joined in Singapore by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton. The U.S. delegation also tentatively includes the CIA’s top Korea expert, Andrew Kim; the National Security Council’s point person on Korea, Allison Hooker; and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, who has negotiated much of the groundwork for the summit with the North Koreans.” https://bloom.bg/2sJeicF

ANECDOTE DU JOUR — AP’s Jonathan Lemire and Eric Tucker: “Trump’s fury with Sessions is so ever-present it has taken to darkening his moods even during otherwise happy moments. On Thursday, Trump was on Air Force One returning from a trip to Texas, reveling in both a successful day of fundraising and the heads-up he had received from economic adviser Larry Kudlow that the next day’s jobs report would be positive.

“But when an aide mentioned Sessions, Trump abruptly ended the conversation and unmuted the television in his office broadcasting Fox News, dismissing the staffer to resume watching cable, according to a person familiar with the exchange.” http://bit.ly/2sK8Rua

PAGING MATT FULLER … THE CONGRESSIONAL WOMEN’S SOFTBALL GAME is in two weeks — everyone go, it’s a totally fun event, and good cause. The organizing committee and Spotify have paired up for a contest: which team has the better walk-up song playlist. Check out the walk up songs http://bit.ly/2Jy9HEOBuy tickets http://bit.ly/2JvF8PW

POWER OF THE PEN … WAPO’s BOB COSTA, JOSH DAWSEY and ASHLEY PARKER: “Trump fixates on pardons, could soon give reprieve to 63-year-old woman after meeting with Kim Kardashian”: “President Trump has become fixated on his ability to issue pardons, asking his aides to compile a list of candidates and stirring dissent in the West Wing with his mercurial and seemingly celebrity-driven decisions. Trump is telling aides that he is now strongly considering pardoning Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman serving a life sentence for a nonviolent crime, after meeting with Kim Kardashian last week to discuss her case — a move being resisted by his chief of staff and a top White House lawyer.

“The presidential pardon holds a special resonance for Trump, representing one area where he has almost unchecked power as other aspects of his presidency — especially special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — remain outside his control, according to his aides and advisers. Trump entered the White House expecting to have few limits on his power — envisioning the presidency as more like his private business than a plodding bureaucracy. He has grown frustrated over what he views as Republican impotence on Capitol Hill, Mueller’s sprawling investigation and a coterie of aides who are at times riven by infighting.” https://wapo.st/2M49308

DON’T CALL IT A TRADE WAR … “Mexico makes good on threats to impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. cheese, pork, and other products,” by WaPo’s Damian Paletta and Steven Mufson: “Mexico said it would impose import duties on $3 billion worth of U.S. products, including cheese, bourbon, pork and others, making good on its threats that it would retaliate for U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.” https://wapo.st/2JeNCvE

— ABC’S TARA PALMERI: “Treasury Secretary urged Trump to exempt Canada from steel and aluminum tariffs: Sources” https://abcn.ws/2sAZOwa

STAT DU JOUR — “Almost seven-in-ten Americans have news fatigue, more among Republicans” – Pew: “68% … feel worn out by the amount of news there is these days, compared with only three-in-ten who say they like the amount of news they get.” https://pewrsr.ch/2xONbmo

YOU’RE INVITED — HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE (R-La.) will sit down with us for his first live D.C. event since the shooting JUNE 12 at the D.C. Bar headquarters (901 4th Street NW). RSVP http://bit.ly/playbookscalise

ANOTHER UP AND COMING HOUSE DEMOCRAT OUT, possibly … NYT’S SHANE GOLDMACHER: “Sean Patrick Maloney Jumps Into New York Attorney General’s Race”: “Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Hudson Valley Democrat and New York’s first openly gay member of Congress, will run for New York attorney general, shaking up the field in what will be a 100-day sprint for one of the state’s most powerful posts. ‘I’ve been down here fighting the Trump administration and playing some pretty good defense but I want to get on offense,’ Mr. Maloney said in a phone interview Tuesday from Washington. ‘This job is an opportunity to do it.’

“Mr. Maloney, a three-term congressman who has $3.15 million in his campaign account, will not as yet abandon his re-election efforts while running for attorney general in the Democratic primary. His entry immediately raises a pair of legal questions: Can he tap those $3 million in congressional funds for a state race? And can he legally seek both seats at the same time, despite a statute seemingly prohibiting that?” https://nyti.ms/2JhxLZ4

GONE — “Kelly Sadler, who joked about McCain’s health, has left White House,” by Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia. https://politi.co/2JlteoC

LATE-NIGHT BEST – CLINTON ON COLBERT — “President Bill Clinton Reconsiders His #MeToo Comments”: “President Bill Clinton watched back his recent TV interview and the backlash that ensued following the first leg of his book tour with James Patterson for ‘The President is Missing.’” 9-min. video http://bit.ly/2sAg3Kd“Bill Clinton Wants Trump To Succeed With North Korea” – 7-min. video http://bit.ly/2xMLRjS

TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY … The president’s first public event of the day is at 12:15 p.m., when he hosts a signing ceremony for a VA bill. At 1:45 p.m., he and first lady Melania Trump go to the FEMA headquarters. At 3:30 p.m., he meets with Republican members of the Senate. At 8:45 p.m., the president hosts an Iftar.

MEDIAWATCH — “Wall Street Journal staffers express relief over editor change,” by Michael Calderone and Jason Schwartz: “When Gerard Baker was named editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal in 2012, owner Rupert Murdoch poured Champagne on his head during a lively newsroom celebration, with News Corp. chief Robert Thomson giddily clapping along. The news Tuesday that Baker was stepping down, to be replaced by executive editor Matt Murray, was low key. Many staffers learned about it when the press release dropped. There were no similar newsroom festivities. Nonetheless, it was an emotional moment for a newspaper that has struggled with a staff exodus and lack of confidence in its leadership.

“The dominant feeling in the Journal newsroom wasn’t Champagne-popping jubilation but relief. The elevation of Murray, a Journal mainstay for almost a quarter century, was greeted favorably among staff after a dramatic past couple years that’s included frustrations over Baker’s perceived unwillingness to go after Donald Trump boiling over publicly, along with high-level departures in New York and a mini-exodus from the Washington bureau. Current and former staffers praised the selection of Murray, characterizing the Journal lifer as a steady hand and more affable presence in the newsroom than Baker, who could be seen as aloof.” https://politi.co/2kSGHd2

POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL … STEVE SHEPARD: “Poll: Few voters think tariffs will help U.S. economy”: “Only 35 percent of voters think raising tariffs on aluminum and steel imports will help the U.S. economy, compared to 45 percent who think raising tariffs will hurt the economy. But 20 percent of voters don’t know or have no opinion.” https://politi.co/2M19wQE

****** A message from PhRMA: For more than 10 years, Medicare has provided prescription drug coverage for seniors. Competition continues to keep premiums low, but seniors are facing higher out-of-pocket spending. Insurers negotiate significant discounts for medicines in Part D. Giving seniors 80% of those discounts at the pharmacy counter could save a senior with diabetes more than $350 per year on their health care costs. The change could also save Medicare nearly $1,000 per year for every senior taking diabetes medication. How? By helping patients afford the drugs they need to stay healthy and stay out of the hospital. Seniors share the cost. They should share the savings. https://letstalkaboutmedicare.org/ ******

HMM – “Facebook Gave Data Access to Chinese Firm Flagged by U.S. Intelligence,” by NYT’s Michael LaForgia and Gabriel J.X. Dance: “Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including a manufacturing giant that has a close relationship with China’s government, the social media company said on Tuesday. The agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL.

“The four partnerships remain in effect, but Facebook officials said in an interview that the company would wind down the Huawei deal by the end of the week. Facebook gave access to the Chinese device makers along with other manufacturers — including Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung — whose agreements were disclosed by The New York Times on Sunday.” https://nyti.ms/2sC8WRl

IT NEVER ENDS — “Scott Pruitt enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife find a job — with Chick-fil-A,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey: “Three months after Scott Pruitt was sworn in as head of the [EPA], his scheduler emailed Dan Cathy, chief executive of the fast-food company Chick-fil-A, with an unusual request: Would Cathy meet with Pruitt to discuss ‘a potential business opportunity’? A call was arranged, then canceled, and Pruitt eventually spoke with someone from the company’s legal department. Only then did he reveal that the ‘opportunity’ on his mind was a job for his wife, Marlyn. ‘The subject of that phone call was an expression of interest in his wife becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee,’ company representative Carrie Kurlander told The Washington Post via email.

“Marlyn Pruitt never opened a restaurant. ‘Administrator Pruitt’s wife started, but did not complete, the Chick-fil-A franchisee application,’ Kurlander said. But the revelation that Pruitt used his official position and EPA staff to try to line up work for his wife appears to open a new chapter in the ongoing saga of his questionable spending and management decisions, which so far have spawned a dozen federal probes.” https://wapo.st/2JmP0IG

SCARY — “White House contractor arrested at checkpoint on attempted murder warrant,” by CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Pamela Brown: “A White House contractor wanted by police on an attempted first-degree murder charge was arrested as he came into work on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said. The contractor was working for the National Security Council, a person familiar with the matter said. It’s not yet clear in what capacity he was working, and the person said his badge access was only to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, not to the West Wing, where the President’s offices are. In a statement, the U.S. Secret Service said it was notified on Monday the contractor, Martese Edwards, was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by Prince George’s County in Maryland.” https://cnn.it/2JkallL

SPOTTED last night at the National Museum of Women in the Arts for a dinner hosted by Roy Pfautch in honor of Japanese Ambassador Shinsuke Sugiyama and his wife: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (pic of her speaking https://politi.co/2JliPZX), Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Abby Blunt, Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Raymond Wagner, former Sen. Bob Kasten (R-Wis.), Reince Priebus, Walt Cronkite, John Negroponte, Charles Rivkin, Fred Ryan, Jonathan Silver and Melissa Moss, Kevin Chaffee, Lisa Barry, Lally Weymouth, James Zumwalt, Masataka Okano, James Rosebush, Andrew Oros, Matthew Kroenig, Megan Whittemore and Caitlin Poling.

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Christopher Rowland, Washington bureau chief for the Boston Globe. An interesting book he’s been reading recently: “I’m reading Jack Farrell’s excellent biography of Nixon. Nixon’s ability to stoke anti-elite anger, even in his early career in California, was such an obvious model for President Trump. Farrell’s book really drives that home. I think as a nation generally, Americans have a crazy chip on their shoulder, and it’s easily exploited for nefarious ends.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2kT1Aoo

BIRTHDAYS: Banker Eric Cantor is 5-5 … Sarah Klein … “Today” show’s Natalie Morales is 46 … Michael Goldfarb … No Labels senior adviser Margaret Kimbrell White (h/ts Nancy Jacobson and Jon Haber) … Max Docksey, political director at the Ohio GOP … Bloomberg White House reporter Justin Sink is 31 (h/t Josh Lederman) … Emily Murry … documentarian Abby Ginzberg … Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is 66 … Anna Epstein, VP at Black Rock Group, is 27 (h/t Carla Frank) … former Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.) is 73 … Ariel Edwards-Levy, polling director for HuffPost … Regina LaBelle … Meredith Barnett … Jocelyn White Martin … Rob Kuhlman … Eli Broad is 85 … Matt Heinz … Politico’s Sarah Frostenson … Kelly Polce … Felicia Sonmez … Snap’s Farrin Jay (h/t Jordan Littlejohn) … AIPAC’s Allie Freedman …

… CNN’s Kevin Liptak … Chris Pack, comms director at SLF and WWE aficionado (h/t Katie Martin) … Heather McGhee (h/t Kelley McCormick) … Jocelyn White Martin, former director of the White House Fellows Program under President George W. Bush (hubby tip: Robin Martin) … Leah Abrams … FTP’s Vanessa Bajko (h/t Jeff Sadosky) … Anja Crowder Morice … Jay Westcott … Josh Taylor … Sarah Gadsden, associate at Eagle Hill Consulting … Edelman’s Matt Cunningham and Graham Hardock … ABC News’ Katherine Faulders (h/t Jordyn Phelps) … Jonathan Kopp … Amanda Muñoz-Temple … Donna Fenn … Kathryn Riccobono … Ben Keesey … Marlene English … Brett Caplice … Ben Holzer … Keith Perine … EY’s Jen Hemmerdinger … Linda Krantz … Karen Campbell … Lester Pines … Carol Guensburg … Katie Visco … Emily Henehan Murry … Reed Werner … AU’s Joshua Rovner … Travis Brock … Jane Caplan … Mary Cory … Bruce Colburn … Anne Sayers (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

****** A message from PhRMA: For more than 10 years, Medicare has provided prescription drug coverage for seniors. Competition continues to keep premiums low, but seniors are facing higher out-of-pocket spending. Insurers negotiate significant discounts for medicines in Part D. Giving seniors 80% of those discounts at the pharmacy counter could save a senior with diabetes more than $350 per year on their health care costs. The change could also save Medicare nearly $1,000 per year for every senior taking diabetes medication. How? By helping patients afford the drugs they need to stay healthy and stay out of the hospital. Seniors share the cost. They should share the savings. https://letstalkaboutmedicare.org/ ******

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