“He only placed one phone call to the White House, newly released records from the agency show. It lasted five minutes.”
The Miami Herald endorsed Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera (R), who is running for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R-FL) seat in the Republican primary, while calling her “a strong candidate in the race with plausible conservative ideas,” The Hill reports.
Rodriguez Aguilera said in a 2009 television interview that she boarded a spaceship occupied by aliens when she was 7 years old.
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, could be charged before the end of the month with bank fraud in his dealings with the taxi industry and with committing other financial crimes, the AP reports.
“Absent a quick resolution, it’s believed that prosecutors would put off a decision on how to go forward with the case until after the election in compliance with an informal Justice Department policy of avoiding bringing prosecutions that could be seen as political and influence voters.”
“Locked in one of the nation’s costliest elections, Gov. Rick Scott (R) is pulling campaign money not only from his own pocket and from major GOP national donors but also from another rich vein of cash,” the Ocala Star Banner reports.
“Well-heeled Floridians appointed by Scott to a number of state boards during his two terms as governor are ponying up to help him unseat three-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).”
“Scott has collected close to $1.4 million from 127 appointees, their spouses and children, who have given either to his Senate campaign or the New Republican PAC supporting his bid.”
A new Monmouth poll finds that just 30% say President Trump hires the “best people,” while a clear majority of 58% say he does not. Another 7% volunteer that the quality of his hiring choices have been mixed.
While 67% of Republicans say that Trump does hire the best people, a sizable minority of his fellow partisans either disagree (18%) or give a mixed response (11%). On the other hand, 93% of Democrats say that Trump does not hire the best people.
Meanwhile, Trump’s overall job rating stands at 43% approve and 50% disapprove.
Adam Entous: “As Trump stepped up his public and private attacks on Obama, some of the new president’s advisers thought that he should take the extraordinary step of denying Obama himself access to intelligence briefings that were made available to all of his living predecessors. Trump was told about the importance of keeping former Presidents, who frequently met with foreign leaders, informed.”
“In the end, Trump decided not to exclude Obama at the urging of H.R. McMaster.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told CNN that he would consider a 2020 presidential run after the midterm elections in November.
Said Swalwell: “I’m going to do all I can first to win my way back to Congress. And then after the midterms I’m going to consider it.”
President Trump “said he expected Jerome Powell to be a cheap-money Fed chairman and lamented to wealthy Republican donors at a Hamptons fundraiser that his nominee instead raised interest rates,” Bloomberg reports.
“The Federal Reserve has raised rates five times since Trump took office, including twice this year under Powell. The president nominates the Fed’s chairman and other governors in Washington, but the agency is independent and historically frustrated presidents by raising interest rates without regard for politics.”
A memo just released by the National Archives reveals that Brett Kavanaugh laid out in explicit language the questions President Clinton should have been asked about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the Washington Post reports.
Among the questions: “If Monica Lewinsky says that you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”
The memo to independent counsel Kenneth Starr also included this: “After reflecting this evening, I am strongly opposed to giving the President any ‘break’ in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship unless he resigns or confesses perjury. He has required the urgent attention of the courts and the Supreme Court for frivolous privilege claims — all to cover up his oral sex from an intern. He has lied to his aides. He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you and the Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.”
Chelsea Clinton has said she has not ruled out running for office one day, describing a move into politics as a “definite no now” but a “definite maybe” in the future, The Guardian reports.
Said Clinton: “While I disagree with the president … I think my family … is being really well represented. But if that were to change, if my city Councillor were to retire, if my congresswoman were to retire, my senators, and I thought that I could make a positive impact, then I think I would really have to ask my answer to that question of whether to run for office.”
Jonathan Chait: “Throughout the Russia scandal, President Trump has acted flamboyantly guilty, most recently by comparing himself implicitly with Richard Nixon during Watergate, and dismissing informants as “rats.” And yet a weekend report in Axios confidently asserted that the president maintains a fully innocent state of mind: ‘Trump himself thought then and thinks now that he personally has nothing to lose because he personally did nothing wrong.'”
“How could reporters know what Trump ‘believes’ deep in his heart? They couldn’t. (Indeed, Axios since corrected the statement to report that it reflects what Trump ‘tells associates,’ rather than claiming definitive insight into his mind.) Yet this practice is extremely common within the news media. While they have dug up an extraordinary amount of incriminating facts about Trump, reporters have also repeatedly leaned into the most exculpatory interpretations of those same facts.”
“There is no question that something is tragically wrong with the president of the United States in his mind.”
— Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), quoted by the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.
David Wasserman: “It’s hard to believe, but true: If every state’s and district’s election results on Nov. 6 were a uniform eight-point swing in the Democrats’ direction from the 2016 presidential result, Democrats would gain 44 House seats — almost twice the 23 they need to control the chamber. But with that same eight-point swing, the party would lose four Senate seats, leaving them six seats short of a majority.”
Michael Avenatti said that President Trump does not want to debate him because Trump is not “intelligent” enough, The Hill reports.
Said Avenatti: “He’s a bully and I think he doesn’t like people that punch back, and I think I would be incredibly effective against him. I don’t think he’s very quick on his feet, I don’t think he’s that intelligent and I think he’d be completely outclassed.”
CBS News: Avenatti visits New Hampshire.
First Read: “For all the attention to Rudy Giuliani’s ‘Truth isn’t truth’ comment… President Trump’s personal lawyer made an even more startling statement on the program. Giuliani declared that the Trump campaign representatives who met with Russians in that June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting (Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner) didn’t know they were representatives of the Russian government.”
“Let’s unpack Giuliani’s comments: One, he admits the purpose of that 2016 meeting was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton (when their original explanation was Russian adoptions). Two, he says any campaign would have taken such a meeting (when past Democratic and Republican campaigns have said they never did). And three, Giuliani declares they didn’t know Natalia Veselnitskaya was connected with the Russian government. But we know that isn’t true.”
“For Giuliani to claim that Donald Trump Jr. — or anyone else associated with the Trump campaign — didn’t know Veselnitskaya and others were connected to the Russian government doesn’t pass the smell test. The facts don’t back it up.”
President Trump stepped up his twitter attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Said Trump: “Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel [sic], only with my approval, for purposes of transparency.”
He added: “Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone … looking for trouble. They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”