BREAKING … “FBI agent Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump texts,” by WaPo’s Matt Zapotosky: “Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.” WaPo
THE LATEST FROM OMAROSA — LORDY, THERE ARE MORE TAPES … “Omarosa Manigault Newman reveals recording she made of President Trump day after she was fired,” by NBC’s Adam Edelman: “The tape, which was played exclusively Monday on ‘Today,’ appears to show Trump having no idea that Newman had been dismissed by his Chief of Staff John Kelly.
“‘Omarosa? Omarosa what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?’ Trump is heard saying on the tape, which Newman said was made one day after her termination in December 2017 when Trump called her.” NBC … The full must-watch “Today” show interview
— THE PRESIDENT WEIGHS IN: @realDonaldTrump at 9:27 a.m.: “Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard….”
… at 9:50 a.m.: “…really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!”
… at 10:21 a.m.: “While I know it’s ‘not presidential’ to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!”
… at 12:13 p.m.: “Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!”
— CNN’S BRIAN STELTER (@brianstelter): “Even with all this media attention, Omarosa’s book still has not cracked the top 10 on Amazon’s best-selling books page. Right now it’s at #17… Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’ is at #11, and it’s not out for another month…”
THE ADMINISTRATION — “HUD Moves to Shake Up Fair-Housing Enforcement,” by WSJ’s Laura Kusisto: “The Trump administration wants to shift the way it enforces an aspect of fair housing around the U.S., pivoting away from efforts to integrate lower-income housing into wealthier neighborhoods in favor of promoting more housing development overall.
“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is set to announce the change on Monday.
“HUD will begin holding stakeholder hearings on how to change the way it determines whether communities are enforcing the Fair Housing Act, which requires local governments to institute policies that help break down patterns of housing segregation. HUD stakeholders include nonprofit groups, academic researchers and private businesses.” WSJ
Good Monday afternoon. WHAT ELSE IS ON TRUMP’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 11:12 a.m.: “The very unpopular Governor of Ohio (and failed presidential candidate) @JohnKasich hurt Troy Balderson’s recent win by tamping down enthusiasm for an otherwise great candidate. Even Kasich’s Lt. Governor lost Gov. race because of his unpopularity. Credit to Troy on the BIG WIN!” … In response, Kasich tweeted a gif of Vladimir Putin laughing.
… at 12:04 p.m.: “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!”
… at 12:09 p.m.: “Just fired Agent Strzok, formerly of the FBI, was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation. It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!”
SCOTUS WATCH — “Trump’s Supreme Court pick calls Antonin Scalia a ‘role model’ and a ‘judicial hero,’” by CNN’s Manu Raju and Joan Biskupic: “In his 2016 address at George Mason, Kavanaugh expressed his belief that some of Scalia’s dissenting opinions would one day become the law, including his dissent in a 1988 ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel and in a 2004 case where Scalia pushed for greater protections in certain circumstances for a U.S. citizen being held as an enemy combatant.” CNN
THE INVESTIGATIONS … “Trump-appointed judge upholds Mueller’s legitimacy,” by Kyle Cheney: “A federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump ruled Monday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is constitutional and legitimate, rejecting an effort by a Russian company — accused of financing a massive political influence operation in the United States — to stamp out the ongoing investigation.
“Judge Dabney Friedrich … is the fourth judge to quash efforts to upend Mueller’s legitimacy and cancel his investigation. … Though Friedrich, the first Trump-appointed judge to consider the matter, ultimately supported Mueller’s validity, she left a trail of legal breadcrumbs suggesting she had doubts about some of the special counsel team’s arguments.” POLITICO
— “Hacked Emails Take Us Inside the Billionaires’ Club Around Vladimir Putin,” by The Daily Beast’s James Ball: “[Andrey] Pavlov’s jetset lifestyle embodies the elaborate network of connections between the Russian state and Western elites that special counsel Robert Mueller is now charged with investigating. Like most people in this world, Pavlov has always been a closed book—until now.” The Daily Beast
— “Giuliani: Mueller could have decision on Trump interview this week,” by Rebecca Morin: POLITICO
2018 WATCH — “Democrats look to longshot territory for midterm gains,” by AP’s Dan Sewell and Bill Barrow: “[D]ozens of House contests [are] playing out in districts that have largely been afterthoughts in recent elections. It’s these kinds of races — beyond the 25 districts that elected a Republican member of Congress in 2016 despite Hillary Clinton defeating Donald Trump there — that could determine whether Democrats gain the 23 seats they need to retake the House.
“[Aftab] Pureval is among the Democratic hopefuls looking to reclaim districts that span the nation’s small and midsize cities and their surrounding suburbs and small towns — much of it political territory where Democrats were swept away in Republicans’ 2010 midterm romp.” AP
— DAVID SIDERS: “New group of black execs to spend millions in midterms”: “The group, Black Economic Alliance, is officially nonpartisan, but it is backing four Democrats in its first round of endorsements: Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia and gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Ben Jealous in Maryland and Richard Cordray in Ohio.” POLITICO
— “Wisconsin Primary Shows Waning Power of State’s GOP Leaders,” by WSJ’s Reid Epstein: “Few places in America have a stronger Republican establishment than Wisconsin. But in the Trump-era politics of disruption, the backing of the party and its bigwigs may not be enough.
“Ahead of Tuesday’s Senate GOP primary, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, a longtime ally of Gov. Scott Walker, has all the endorsements that in years past would have made her a shoo-in. But her denunciation of Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential primary has drawn attacks from her opponent, Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson.” WSJ
NYT’S KATHARINE SEELYE in LEWISTON, MAINE: “Paul LePage Was Saying Whatever He Wanted Before That Was a Thing”: “With Mr. LePage, 69, having dominated the state for almost eight years, the [gubernatorial] election is shaping up as a referendum on him. It may also signal how Maine views President Trump, who has much in common with Mr. LePage and who in 2016 beat Hillary Clinton in one of the state’s two congressional districts. …
“Mr. LePage wears his rough-and-tumble ‘tell it like it is’ persona as a badge of honor. But his outsize personality has often overshadowed Maine’s progress.” NYT
SCOOP — “White House Takes Aim At Financial Protections For Military,” by NPR’s Chris Arnold: “NPR has obtained documents that show the White House is proposing changes that critics say would leave service members vulnerable to getting ripped off when they buy cars.” NPR
THREAT ASSESSMENT — “The Pentagon is rethinking its multibillion-dollar relationship with U.S. defense contractors to stress supply chain security,” by WaPo’s Ellen Nakashima: “To base its weapons contract awards on security assessments — not just cost and performance — … would mark a fundamental shift in department culture.
“The goal, based on a strategy called Deliver Uncompromised, comes as American defense firms are increasingly vulnerable to data breaches.” WaPo
KNOWING MARCO RUBIO — “Marco Rubio looks for his place in Trump’s Republican Party,” by AP’s Lisa Mascaro: “The once-rising star used to be criticized for being in too much of a hurry, but now he’s hunkered down in the Senate with nothing, it seems, but time. …
“[P]eople who have observed Rubio during his career see a more mindful, even liberated, politician who no longer carries the weight of being “The Republican Savior,” as Time magazine once called the charismatic young son of immigrants. Instead, the 47-year-old is keeping his head down and doing the grunt work of governing, answering head-on the criticism that he was more flash than substance as a candidate.” AP
IRAN WATCH — “The White House’s next Iran fight,” by Axios’ Jonathan Swan: “On a White House conference call with Iran experts last week, a senior administration official said the Trump administration will reimpose sanctions on financial messaging services later this year. That might sound boring. But the administration official was referring to what could soon become another major fight between the Trump administration and Europe. …
“Following Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, in May, the Europeans have been fighting to keep the deal alive and to make sure that enough money is flowing to placate Iran’s leaders. A big part of that is ensuring that Iranian banks remain plugged into the SWIFT network.” Axios
— “Iran’s Khamenei: ‘No war, no negotiations with the U.S.,’” by Agence France-Presse’s Eric Randolph: AFP
ON THE WORLD STAGE — “Two Koreas plan third summit of Kim, Moon next month,” by Reuters’ Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee in Seoul: “Officials from both sides meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, reached an agreement on a September summit between the countries’ leaders in the North’s capital of Pyongyang.
“No date was announced for what will be the third meeting this year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.” Reuters
— “U.N. human rights chief: Trump’s attacks on press ‘close to incitement of violence,’” by The Guardian’s Julian Borger: The Guardian
THE DAILY BEAST’S LACHLAN MARKAY: “White House: It’s in ‘Public Interest’ for Staff to Skirt Ethics Rules to Meet With Fox News”: “Bill Shine, Trump’s newly minted communications director, and Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economist, have both been excused from provisions of the law, which seeks to prevent administration officials from advancing the financial interests of relatives or former employers. …
“[The waivers] underscore the perceived importance for the White House in working with—and drawing senior staff from—news outlets seen as friendly to the president and his agenda.” The Daily Beast
TRUMP INC. — “In 2014, political spending at Trump properties was $35K. In 2018, it’s $3.5M,” by McClatchy’s Ben Wieder and Anita Kumar: McClatchy
AFTERNOON READ — “How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man,” by Joshua Yaffa in the New Yorker: “In April, 2016, Robert Otto, a top intelligence official at the State Department, wrote in one of many e-mails that were later leaked online, in a hack widely linked to Russia, ‘I am beginning to feel we are all just part of the Browder P.R. machine.’ That machine has been singularly effective, allowing Browder to turn his experiences into a fable for why the West should confront [Vladimir] Putin—a tale he has told as a frequent guest on cable news shows and as a speaker at congressional hearings.
“Browder is obviously nothing like the cartoon villain that Putin portrays him to be, and yet his political influence means that his every move, past and present, has global reverberations. Putin’s actions, too, can seem to prove Browder’s case about the need to combat the Russian state’s corruption and malfeasance. His singling out of Browder in Helsinki, [Michael] McFaul told me, ‘only gives Bill a bigger global platform—it was a huge public-relations coup, which of course Bill will use.’” The New Yorker
HEADS UP — “TSA tests scanners that allow travelers to keep electronics and liquids in their bags when going through airport security,” by WaPo’s Andrea Sachs: “At more than a dozen airports … passengers are hearing a new refrain: Keep your items in your luggage.
“This summer, the agency is amping up its pilot test of new CT scanners … Fifteen airports throughout the country, including Washington Dulles and BWI Marshall, will employ the new technology.” WaPo
DATA DU JOUR — GALLUP: “Democrats More Positive About Socialism Than Capitalism”: “Attitudes toward socialism among Democrats have not changed materially since 2010, with 57% today having a positive view. The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47% positive this year.” Gallup
MEDIAWATCH — Mike Balsamo will cover the Justice Department and federal law enforcement for the AP in Washington. He was previously with the AP in Los Angeles.
TRANSITION — Lauren Devoll is now a public policy associate at Twitter. She previously was digital content director at the RNC.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Liz Minneman, legislative director for Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), on Saturday married Alec Thomas, communications director for Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, and a reception at the John Marshall Ballroom. Pic … Another pic … NYT announcement
— Lewis Myers, who works for Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) and is an alum of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), wed Danielle Wilson, a senior associate at Morgan Stanley, in a ceremony at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The wedding was officiated by Barry Black, chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Pic … Another pic (h/t Kamau Marshall)
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