When the Fixer Is the Problem

Mike Allen: “Michael Cohen has spent his career making Donald Trump’s problems disappear. Now he’s the problem Trump can’t possibly make vanish.”

“Cohen, unlike Ivanka or the other kids, is the only person on earth intertwined in Trump’s professional, political, personal, legal and family life — the man with secrets few others hold. And, thanks to a court ruling yesterday, many of those secrets, reportedly recorded and emailed, are — or soon will be —in the hands of federal investigators.”

Said a former Trump campaign official: “The guys that know Trump best are the most worried. People are very, very worried. Because it’s Michael [effing] Cohen. Who knows what he’s done?”

GOP Candidate Compares McConnell to the Russians

“A brewing fight between West Virginia GOP Senate candidate Don Blankenship and national Republicans spilled into the open Monday when the coal baron compared Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell to Russians interfering in his state’s election,” Politico reports.

Said Blankenship” “McConnell should not be in the U.S. Senate, let alone be the Republican Majority Leader. He is a Swamp captain.”

He added: “The Russians and McConnell should both stop interfering with elections outside their jurisdictions. West Virginians are aware that McConnell cannot vote in their election. They want him to mind his own business and do his job. A job he has not done now for over 30 years. Balance the budget Mitch and stay out of West Virginia.”

Ryan’s PAC Will Spend $50 Million on House Races

“A leading Republican super PAC has booked nearly $50 million in midterm advertising to defend threatened suburban battlegrounds as part of a broader strategy to defend the party’s imperiled House majority,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC affiliated with outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced the advertising commitments on Tuesday, signaling more air cover was on the way as November draws near. The initial investment is directing $38 million in broadcast and cable television to 20 districts threatened with a Democratic takeover, with another $10 million in digital spots flowing to 30 targeted seats.”

Axios: “This is a huge ad spend for an outside group so early on in the election cycle, and the 50 districts targeted reveal which areas across the country that House Republican leadership are most concerned about come November. Most of the targeted districts align with the Cook Political Report’s “Republican Toss-Up” rating.”

Garcetti Holds Up Los Angeles as Example for Nation

“Mayor Eric Garcetti, fresh off a trip to Iowa to test the waters for a presidential run, delivered a State of the City address Monday that billed Los Angeles as a thriving, progressive metropolis that has hiked the minimum wage, snagged the Olympics, invested in its subway system and is tackling big issues such as climate change and gun violence,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Garcetti: “‘I want to say to anyone who wants to understand who Americans are: Don’t look to D.C. — come to L.A.”

GOP Will Push Forward on Pompeo Nomination

“Senate Republican leaders are pressing ahead with plans for a floor vote on CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination as secretary of state as soon as next week, despite the prospect of his getting an unfavorable recommendation in committee,” Politico reports.

“After a confirmation hearing marked by contentious exchanges with Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) — one of 15 members of the minority who backed Pompeo to lead the CIA — became the fifth Democrat on the panel to announce he would vote no. Coupled with opposition from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), unified resistance to Pompeo from the committee’s 10 Democrats would deal him an unfavorable recommendation, but top Republicans are still vowing to ensure his confirmation.”

Crowley Prepares Bid If Pelosi Falls Short

“Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) — buoyed by a caucus thirsty for change and his rising national profile — is angling to become the next House Democratic leader if Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats fall short,” Politico reports.

“Whether Democrats win the House majority or not, the affable Queens party boss and current Democratic Caucus chairman would have to first go through the party’s long-time septuagenarian leaders — Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn — who’ve shown no hurry to head for the exits. In fact, the three have already started sending strong signals that if Democrats take the House they’re prepared to beat back a younger generation clamoring for new leaders.”

GOP Tax Law Is Getting Less Popular

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that the tax-cut law, never broadly popular, has sagged in public esteem lately. Just 27% of Americans call it a good idea, while 36% call it a bad idea and the rest have no opinion.

“Moreover, a majority gives thumbs-down on the plan when asked to consider its potential effects. Just 39% foresee a positive impact from a stronger economy, more jobs and more money in their pockets; 53% foresee a negative impact from higher deficits and disproportionate benefits for the wealthy and big corporations.”

New York Times: No one’s talking about the new tax law.

Judge Rejects Trump Request to Review Seized Files

“A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt by President Trump and his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to block prosecutors in Manhattan from reviewing a trove of materials seized in F.B.I. raids last week on Mr. Cohen’s office, home, hotel room and safe deposit box,” the New York Times reports.

“But feeling her way toward a resolution of the clash involving Mr. Trump and prosecutors investigating Mr. Cohen, the judge, Kimba Wood, signaled that she was considering appointing a special master to assist prosecutors if and when they cull through documents seized in the raids.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Michael never represented me in any matter, I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer, I never received an invoice from Michael, I never paid legal fees to Michael. We definitely had attorney client privilege because I asked him for that but, you know, he never sent me a bill or an invoice or did I actually officially retain him.”

— Sean Hannity, quoted by NBC News, later adding that he “might have” handed Michael Cohen “10 bucks.”

Cohen Also Represented Sean Hannity

Michael Cohen’s attorney revealed in court that Sean Hannity is the mystery third client Cohen alluded to in previous court filings, the New York Times reports.

Before Hannity’s name was revealed, Cohen’s lawyer had argued that the mysterious third client would be “embarrassed” to be identified as a client of Cohen’s.

Bloomberg: “No word yet why Hannity had engaged Cohen. Clearly there’ll be keen interest in the legal side of this matter. Until then the scrutiny may fall on what may have been hidden motivations behind his journalism.”

Trump Halts New Russian Sanctions, Reversing Haley

President Trump “put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as ‘international economic raiding,'” the Washington Post reports.

“The Trump team decided to publicly characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement.”

Every Bestselling Book Has Been About Trump

Since January, each book at the top of the New York Times best-seller list has had one thing in common: President Trump, CNN reports.

Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury held onto the No. 1 spot until Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s Russian Roulette came along in March. It was dethroned by Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World, a book by Jennifer Palmieri, the former communications director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty will surely keep the streak alive.

Democrats In Good Position to Flip New Jersey House Seats

A new Monmouth poll in New Jersey finds Democrats have a 19 point advantage over Republicans in the generic House ballot, 54% to 35%.

“If this result holds, it would mark a substantially better result for Congressional Democrats in New Jersey than in recent elections. Democrats won the statewide House vote by 8 points (53% to 45%) in 2016 and an even smaller 2 points (50% to 48%) in the 2014 midterm. Moreover, the poll finds that the overall swing is coming mainly from GOP-held seats.”

“In the five House seats currently held by a Republican, voter preference is split nearly evenly at 46% for the GOP candidate and 44% for the Democrat. The aggregate vote from these five districts in the past two House elections averaged a sizable 22 point advantage for the Republicans (59% – 38% in 2016 and 61% – 38% in 2014). On the other hand, the poll’s vote share in the seven seats currently held by Democrats – 59% Dem to 28% GOP – is in line with the average 30 point advantage Democrats held in these districts in both 2016 (65% – 32%) and 2014 (62% – 36%).”

Said pollster Patrick Murray: “This is pretty astounding. Not only are New Jersey Democrats doing better on the generic House ballot statewide, but the shift is coming almost entirely from districts currently held by the GOP. If these results hold, we could be down to just one or two – or maybe even zero – Republican members in the state congressional delegation after November.”