Politico: “Three House Judiciary Committee lawmakers exiting the closed-door interview said a White House lawyer repeatedly claimed Hicks had blanket immunity from discussing her time in the White House. They said she wouldn’t answer questions as basic as where she sat in the West Wing or whether she told the truth to Mueller.”
New York Times: “Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.”
“Statements tying Iran and Al Qaeda by Mr. Pompeo and other officials point to the potential for the administration to justify invoking the 2001 authorization… And when asked in recent weeks by lawmakers and journalists whether the administration would use the 2001 authorization, Mr. Pompeo has deflected the questions.”
A new Monmouth poll find Joe Biden leading the Democratic presidential race with 33%, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 15%, Bernie Sanders at 14%, Kamala Harris at 8%, Pete Buttigieg at 5% Beto O’Rourke at 3%, Cory Booker at 2% and Andrew Yang at 2%.
Said pollster Patrick Murray: “Biden maintains his lead but there is plenty percolating in the tier right below him. Next week will provide the first opportunity for voters to see these candidates side by side. Well, at least they’ll see some of them side by side.”
“The creation of the Trump Leadership Council back in 2016 went almost entirely unnoticed at the time. Until now, the members of the council have not been made public. But Rolling Stone obtained a complete list of the members and interviewed half a dozen people who attended and organized the council.”
“Together, they form a lost chapter in the story of how Trump’s pro-industry, anti-regulation America First agenda became a reality.”
The Atlantic: “Trump started the trade war by levying new taxes on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports. China retaliated both by increasing the duties Americans face and by decreasing the tariffs that confront everyone else: It has cut tariffs on thousands of products from the rest of the world’s fisheries, farmers, and firms.”
“Even as Tariff Man, as Trump likes to refer to himself, focuses only on disruption, Beijing is evidently operating on a higher level. China is outplaying the United States on two fronts.”
“First, while Trump is on the verge of slapping tariffs on almost everything the U.S. imports from China, Beijing is picking and choosing wisely… Second, Trump has no real mitigation strategy to help the Americans facing the entirely foreseeable costs of his policies.”
President Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom today to economist Arthur Laffer, a former top Ronald Reagan adviser and the father of supply-side economics, the Washington Post reports.
A new Economist/YouGov poll finds Democrats with an 8-point edge over Republicans in the generic 2020 congressional ballot, 47% to 39%.
Amy Walter notes the consensus explanation for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “rise from the ashes is that her embrace of policy and substance and her ‘grind-it-out’ attitude is paying off.” But, she notes, there are several other reasons for her rehabilitation:
- Her biggest liability — the controversy over her decision to take a DNA test to prove her Cherokee ancestry — is no longer part of the daily political conversation.
- The more that Sanders leans into democratic socialism, the more Warren is able to position herself as a more ‘palatable’ disruptor; one who wants to expand government, but who also calls herself a capitalist.
- Finally, in a party where more than 55 percent of the electorate is female, it was only a matter of time before a woman broke into the top-tier.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Laura Ingraham in an interview that he did not support giving statehood to the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico, the Washington Post reports.
Said McConnell: “They plan to make the District of Columbia a state — that would give them two new Democratic senators — Puerto Rico a state, that would give them two more new Democratic senators, and as a former Supreme Court clerk yourself, you’ve surely noticed that they plan to expand the Supreme Court.”
He added: “This is full-bore socialism on the march in the House. And yeah, as long as I’m the majority leader of the Senate, none of that stuff is going anywhere.”
A RNC official told ABC News that President Trump’s re-election effort had raised $24.8 million “in less than 24 hours.”
Associated Press: “Over the last two years the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data shows. While it remains unclear whether this is the beginning of a trend, health experts say it’s troubling to see air quality progress stagnate.”
“There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.”
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) plans to announce his plans for U.S. Senate on Thursday, a decision that could shape the Republican field for the next nine months of the primary race, USA Today reports.
CNN: “Once the President’s closest West Wing confidante — the recipient of his repeated phone calls, the witness to his angriest moments, and according to other campaign aides, the person who steamed wrinkles out of his pants — sources now say their relationship has changed. Instead of carrying out a near-constant conversation, they rarely speak.”
“The once-close pair’s communication first slowed, then came to a virtual halt, after she left the White House. She told those around her that it wasn’t a representation of her feelings toward the man she worked for, but a desire to distance herself from the orbit she had occupied for so long: his. There were several times when she didn’t return Trump’s call. According to two people familiar with his remark, Trump asked on multiple occasions, ‘What happened to Hope?'”
“The thing that keeps me up at night is that President Trump is outspending us by a devastating amount of money in the battleground states doing exactly what we did in 2011 on driving an economic message. The winner of the last six presidential races has been the person who wins the single question: Who’s better on the economy? … I promise you we will be sitting there on Election Day not sure who is going to win.”
— Former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, quoted by the Washington Post.
“The Trump administration finalized a package of new rules to replace the Clean Power Plan, former President Obama’s signature effort to reduce planet-warming emissions from coal plants,” the New York Times reports.
“The new measure, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, will very likely prompt a flurry of legal challenges from environmental groups that could have far-reaching implications for global warming. If the Supreme Court ultimately upholds the rule’s approach to the regulation of pollution, it would be difficult or impossible for future presidents to tackle climate change through the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The Orlando Sentinel has video of a Trump supporter being arrested after smacking a reporter’s phone outside the arena where President Trump was speaking inside.
Ron Brownstein: “Should Biden prevail next year, he would become the Democratic nominee exactly 50 years after he won his first elected office, to the New Castle County Council in Delaware in 1970. It would be 48 years after Biden first won a federal office by capturing a US Senate seat from Delaware in 1972.”
“No candidate from any major party has captured a presidential nomination for the first time that many years after he or she first won elected office since the formation of the modern party system in 1828, according to a review I conducted of presidential races stretching back to then.”
Daniel Dale notes that in President Trump’s 76-minute speech last night kicking off his re-election campaign, he made more than 15 false statements, many of them ones that he’s repeated frequently in the past.