THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He says impeachment is going to be great politics for him. He’s talking about new deals with China and Russia, when he hasn’t finalized any of the old deals he’s been working on and he canceled an arms treaty with Moscow. He keeps saying the wall is being built, when in reality Congress hasn’t appropriated new money for fresh miles of barrier, and Mexico is certainly not paying for it. He compares his business dealings to George Washington’s.
He insists Republicans won in 2018 by picking up a few Senate seats, and has yet to accept that Democrats’ retaking of the House fundamentally changed the power dynamics in Washington. He appears to have fabricated an entire quote by his secretary of Defense about Syria, where he insists U.S. troops have already secured oil fields that are not even in working order.
Welcome to the Trump presidency in October 2019.
WHAT THE PRESIDENT TOLD SEAN HANNITY ON FOX NEWS … “Look at North Carolina. Great state. Great people. Two races that were going to be lost, I went in, made a speech, let everybody know I really respect these two guys and they’re going to be great, they both won. They both won by good margins. They both won.”
— REALITY: The president is referring to two special elections in North Carolina, both in GOP seats. One — NC-3 — was a seat Republicans usually win by 12, and Greg Murphy won. That was never in doubt. NC-9 — where Dan Bishop won — was a tough race for the GOP, but it was also a GOP seat.
LEAVING THIS HERE … TRUMP: “But I don’t want to talk about it, because you know, the last time I took on Elizabeth Warren, I thought she was gone. Embers, you know, burning embers down …” HANNITY: “Pocahontas.” TRUMP: … “and — Pocahontas. There’s only one, and it’s not her. So what happened, Sean — and she rose from the ashes, and I give her credit for that, but I don’t like talking about it.”
HOW THE PRESIDENT SEES IMPEACHMENT POLITICS — TRUMP: “So everybody tells me it’s going to be great for us as a Republican Party, if they actually impeach me, because the 40 seats — and there were many more than the 32 — it’s 40, 45 seats, where I won or did really well or very close, that those people are going to get hammered — meaning running in Congress.”
A NEW NUCLEAR PACT? … “I believe that we’re going to get together with Russia and with China, and we’re going to work out our nuclear pact so that we don’t all continue with this craziness. Right now we have the most powerful nuclear force in the world. Russia is second and China is third.
“It’s very costly and very dangerous. It’s very, very dangerous. And we are discussing with Russia, and we’re discussing with China. During the recent trade deal with China, I said, we should all get together and work out something — a cap, have a cap. We don’t need 10,000 weapons, have a cap. And I will say China and Russia are talking about it. Our experience, I’m very excited about it.”
THE BIG PICTURE: America is doing “a great job” generally, he is doing “a great job running the country,” the “head of China” congratulated the president “on the incredible job” and the “job you’ve done with the economy,” his staff came to Washington “to do a great job on health care, on this, on that — on all sorts of things,” America has “great stock markets” and the U.S. is doing “great — we’re beating everybody.” …
… America is making “the most sophisticated weapons ever made. We’re making the greatest missiles, the greatest rockets, the greatest everything ever made.”
READ WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY on Monday’s free-wheeling, 71-minute Cabinet meeting “that was part news conference, part stream-of-consciousness bragging and all about Trump”: “Trump’s Cabinet meetings have become about everything but the business of his Cabinet”
— The official W.H. transcript was 13,022 words (hat tip: WaPo’s Seung Min Kim)
Good Tuesday morning, and happy World Series opening day. Max Scherzer will face the Houston Astros’ Gerrit Cole in Game 1 of the fall classic. The Astros are heavily favored to win the game. But LET’S GO NATS! Read WaPo’s Tom Boswell
SIREN … NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN: “Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?’”: “When a half-dozen Democratic donors gathered at the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan last week, the dinner began with a discussion of which presidential candidates the contributors liked. But as conversations among influential Democrats often go these days, the meeting quickly evolved into a discussion of who was not in the race — but could be lured in.
“Would Hillary Clinton get in, the contributors wondered, and how about Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor? One person even mused whether Michelle Obama would consider a late entry, according to two people who attended the event, which was hosted by the progressive group American Bridge. …
“Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg have both told people privately in recent weeks that if they thought they could win, they would consider entering the primary — but that they were skeptical there would be an opening, according to Democrats who have spoken with them.
“Former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who associates say has wondered aloud about whether he should have run and has found it hard to watch Mr. Biden’s missteps, has also been urged to get in. But he still thinks the former vice president, who was once his longtime Senate colleague, is the party’s best nominee.
“Another Obama administration official who weighed a campaign at the start of the year, former Attorney General Eric Holder, is considering a last-minute entry but has conceded it may be too late, according to a Democrat familiar with his thinking. [Sen. Sherrod] Brown, who nearly entered the race earlier this year, said the pressure on him to reconsider from labor leaders, Democratic officials and donors has ‘become more frequent.’
“And Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, who also weighed a campaign run before deciding not to, said he too has been nudged by friends to reconsider. ‘It’s nice to be rumored about,’ he said, before notably refusing to rule out a last-minute entry. ‘Don’t ask me that question,’ he said.” NYT
TODAY’S MAIN EVENT … BILL TAYLOR, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who pushed back against what he saw as efforts to link aid to dirt on Joe Biden, is scheduled to testify today. AP preview
— “House Democrats zero in on ‘abuse of power’ in Trump impeachment inquiry,” by NBC’s Heidi Przybyla
TRUMP’S UKRAINE BUGABOO — NYT’S PETER BAKER and NICK FANDOS: “Hungary’s Orban Gave Trump Harsh Analysis of Ukraine Before Key Meeting”: “Just 10 days before a key meeting on Ukraine, President Trump met, over the objections of his national security adviser, with one of the former Soviet republic’s most virulent critics, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and heard a sharp assessment that bolstered his hostility toward the country, according to several people informed about the situation.
“Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Orban on May 13 exposed him to a harsh indictment of Ukraine at a time when his personal lawyer was pressing the new government in Kiev to provide damaging information about Democrats. Mr. Trump’s suspicious view of Ukraine set the stage for events that led to the impeachment inquiry against him.” NYT
— THE POST’S VERSION, by Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, John Hudson and Ellen Nakashima: “Putin and Hungary’s Orban helped sour Trump on Ukraine”
— CNN’S MANU RAJU and JEREMY HERB: “Democrats see impeachment proceedings taking longer than some initially expected”
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Pentagon draws up plans for quick Afghanistan withdrawal in case Trump blindsides military,” by NBC’s Carol Lee and Courtney Kube: “The Pentagon recently began drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in case President Donald Trump surprises military leaders by ordering an immediate drawdown as he did in Syria, three current and former defense officials said.
“The contingency planning is ongoing, the officials said, and includes the possibility that Trump orders all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan within weeks. Officials cautioned, however, that the planning is a precaution and there is currently no directive from the White House to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. One of the officials called it ‘prudent planning.’” NBC
THE MULVANEY PILE-ON CONTINUES … “Republicans rip Mick Mulvaney’s ‘rough patch,’” by Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine: “Fighting for President Donald Trump is one thing. But Republicans aren’t eager to defend a struggling White House chief of staff they’ve never really loved. Mick Mulvaney’s two stumbling public appearances over the past week have deepened the president’s Ukraine scandal, undercut a chief GOP talking point and left the party stunned and frustrated as Republican lawmakers look to hold off Democrats’ impeachment drive.
“As Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the most senior GOP senator, put it: Mulvaney is ‘probably somebody that didn’t know what they were talking about.’ It’s been a ‘tough week’ and ‘rough patch for Mick Mulvaney’ that has not aided his credibility, said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) bluntly.
“‘It’s hard to figure out what led him to make some of those statements last week, both in the initial news conference and then the follow-up. I’m glad they walked some of that stuff back but yeah, it’s hard to explain,’ Thune said in an interview. ‘He’s trying to make amends and correct the record, so to speak, so we’ll see. Ultimately he serves at the pleasure of the president.’” POLITICO
2020 WATCH — ALEX ISENSTADT: “Trump dives into red-state races to reverse impeachment slump”: “Donald Trump is going all-in on a trio of Southern governor’s races in November, gambling that a clean sweep will help him regain his political footing at the most perilous moment of his presidency.
“Trump is expected to barnstorm Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana over the next few weeks, while dispatching prominent supporters to help in each contest. And Vice President Mike Pence is planning a bus tour through eastern Kentucky, a pivotal area on the state’s political map that could decide the fate of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.
“Trump badly needs a boost right now, and the White House sees the elections in the conservative states as the best near-term hope of achieving it. With the impeachment inquiry intensifying and congressional Republicans increasingly vocal in their criticism of the president, the elections give Trump the opportunity to demonstrate his political strength and shift a narrative that’s turned sharply against him.
“But the offensive isn’t without risk: Though all three races are in Trump-friendly states, Democrats have a decent shot in at least two of them. A Republican loss in any of the elections could give the president’s detractors ammunition to argue that he’s politically weakened as he heads into a treacherous 2020 campaign.” POLITICO
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 12:45 p.m. in the private dining room.
TRUDEAU WINS — “Justin Trudeau outlasts challengers to gain second term,” by Alexander Panetta, Lauren Gardner and Catherine Boudreau in Montreal and Regina, Sask.: “Justin Trudeau will serve another term as Canada’s prime minister after Liberals won a plurality of seats in Parliament. But the incumbent emerged from Monday’s election weakened as his party lost seats and Trudeau will lead a minority government.
“The quick declaration of Trudeau’s victory came as a surprise after he was deadlocked in the polls with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer during the six-week campaign. Still, with a minority government, Trudeau will need to forge alliances with other parties to advance his priorities.” POLITICO
— “How Justin Trudeau survived,” by Alexander Panetta and Lauren Gardner in Montreal and Regina
THE LATEST ON BREXIT — “Brexit options: Extension or just more tension,” by POLITICO Europe’s Jacopo Barigazzi: “ Boris Johnson’s Brexit extension letters are in, but Brussels is in no hurry to respond. With Westminster still very much in a political fog, the 27 other nations of the European Union are biding their time before replying to the U.K. government’s (reluctant) request to extend the deadline for Britain’s departure beyond October 31.
“If Johnson can get the deal through parliament, along with the necessary domestic legislation, in time for a Halloween exit, then the EU may not need to make a decision at all. But that looks difficult for the prime minister to pull off.” POLITICO Europe
HAPPENING THURSDAY — “Pompeo to Make Another Kansas Visit as GOP Courts Him for Senate,” by WSJ’s Lindsay Wise and Courtney McBride: “Mr. Pompeo will join Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and senior adviser, on a visit to Wichita, which he represented in Congress before joining the Trump administration.
“The official visit—the secretary of state’s third official appearance in the state this year—is seen by Kansas Republicans as the latest sign that Mr. Pompeo hasn’t fully ruled out a 2020 run to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts.” WSJ
— TODAY AT 9 A.M.: Pompeo will give a talk at the Heritage Foundation on “Trump Administration Diplomacy: The Untold Story.”
AFTER ELIJAH CUMMINGS — “Democrats look to dodge Oversight fight to protect impeachment push,” by Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris: “In any other year, the race to lead the House Oversight and Reform Committee would be a full-out caucus brawl. But amid the Democrats’ impeachment push, it could end up being a coronation. Passed over for the top Oversight post nearly a decade ago, New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney could soon become the panel’s permanent chairwoman and a leading face of Democrats’ impeachment probe.
“Maloney, the panel’s most senior Democrat, was tapped last week as interim head after the unexpected death of the beloved chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). A handful of other Democrats both on and off the committee have been floated as potential replacements since then, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Reps. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).
“But several House Democrats are quietly signaling they’re hoping to avoid a messy public grab for the chairmanship that would divert attention away from their impeachment probe and spotlight long-festering fissures within the caucus. And that could put Maloney in prime position to assume the gavel, according to lawmakers and aides.” POLITICO
VALLEY TALK — Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the board of Tsinghua University. MacRumors
MEDIAWATCH — Kathie Obradovich will be Iowa editor-in-chief of States Newsroom, a new nonprofit state government and politics outlet. She is currently an opinion editor and columnist at the Des Moines Register. Details
— Shawna Thomas has left Vice, where she was D.C. bureau chief. Joe Tone is now leading the bureau.
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
SPOTTED: Bill Nye at the Rosslyn Metro station Monday afternoon.
SPOTTED at a launch party Monday night at the University Club for Republic Book Publishers, a new conservative publisher that Al Regnery and Eric Kampmann are starting: HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Jennifer Azar, acting OMB Director Russell Vought and Mary Vought, Jeff Sessions, Scott Garrett, Chris Jacobs, Eric Klein, Joseph Johnston, Sondra Clark …
… Kerri Kupec, Rachel Semmel, Ken Klukowski, Andy Roth and Scott Parkinson, Inez Stepman, Matt Boyle, Haley Smith, Chanel Rion, Phil Wegmann, Jason Russell, Russ Read, Emily Jashinsky, Eddie Scarry, Tripp and Jennifer Baird, Rachel Bovard and Lawrence Stanley, Gabriella Hoffman, Joel Griffith, Brianna Howard, Emily Stewart and Jan Jekielek.
SPOTTED at a party Monday night for Amy Gutmann and Jonathan Moreno’s new book, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die” ($16.51 on Amazon), hosted at Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan’s home: Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), Margaret Carlson, Charlie Cook, Robert Costa, Linda Douglass, John Coale, Patrick Steel and Lee Satterfield, Anne Gearan, Jim Lehrer …
… Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Stephen Burwell, Ruth Marcus and Jon Leibowitz, Fred Hiatt, Maya MacGuineas, Jane Mayer and Bill Hamilton, Walter Pincus, Gerald Rafshoon, Eden Rafshoon, George and Liz Stevens, Pete Williams and David Gardner, Adam and Tracy Bernstein, Nora Dweck McMullen and Michael McMullen, Carole Funger, Marilyn and Michael Glosserman, Larry and Melanie Nussdorf, Joe and Jackie Deal, and Norm Ornstein.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Bobby Jones, a director in Golin’s corporate communications practice, and Katie Jones, a physical therapist at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, welcomed Lily. She joins big sister Abby. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jeff Grappone, deputy staff director for the Senate Republican Conference. What he’s been reading recently: “I just read a biography of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King. Everyone can still learn a lot from Mr. Rogers about how to be a better neighbor. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also recently finished a biography of Kim Jong Un by Anna Fifield. He clearly didn’t watch enough Mr. Rogers.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) is 44 … WSJ’s Warren Strobel … Hilary Rosen (h/t Tim Burger) … Stephanie Cutter, founding partner at Precision Strategies (h/ts Jon Haber) … Adam Parkhomenko … Kris Pratt … Phoebe Kilgour … Sarah Scanlon (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is 72 … Guy Harrison, partner at OnMessage Inc. … Brett O’Donnell … Jonathan Prince, head of strategic comms and senior adviser at Slack, is 52 … Jerry Zremski … Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (h/t Mitchell Rivard) … Jon Reedy … Casey Phillips … Helen Milby … Chris Moore … the Atlantic Council’s Trey Herr … James Walkinshaw … Patrick Dolan … Chris Licht, executive producer/showrunner of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and EVP of special programming at CBS Corp. … FiscalNote’s Mallory Howe …
… Kurt Bardella … POLITICO Europe’s Janosch Delcker … Billy Oorbeek is 45 … Issue One’s Michael Beckel … Allen Fagin … Anne Heiligenstein … Geoffrey Baum … Rebecca Chatterjee … Martha-Elena Lopez … Sandy Smith is 61 … former Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) is 7-0 … former Rep. Ed Feighan (D-Ohio) is 72 … Jethro Lloyd … Jennie Bragg … Zélie Kasten … Ross Barkan … Donovan Harrell … Harrison Price … Miriam Calderone … Samantha (Friedman) Kupferman … Raphael Shepard … Ferdous Al-Faruque … Democratic strategist Mike Ceraso (h/t David Siders) … Scott Price … Tom Basile … Jessica Huff … Amy McCorquodale … Lindsay Kalter … Rachel Petri … Marilyn Machlowitz … Alice Henriques … Bill Farrar … Clint Tanner … Cheryl Clark DeHaan … Tim Murphy … Scott Hennen … Brian Dodge … John Norquist
- Ben Carson Is Back With More Delightfully Halfhearted Trump Defenses
- Melania Trump Condemns Bullying In Harsh Terms Without Getting Into Any Messy Specifics
- Trump Will Continue to Tweet as President, Of Course
- Trump Pushes for Return to Moon As Earth Continues to Crumble
- Eric Trump says millennials admire his dad because he's like Zuckerberg
- Ah, Good, Donald Trump's Butler Refers to Him As 'The King'
- Melania Trump Was Looking Forward to Making Millions Off the First Lady Brand [Updated]
- Man Who Runs Most Powerful Country in the World Rarely Reads Daily Intelligence Briefing
- Ivanka Trump Is Getting an Office in the White House But Still Won't Technically Be Employed There
- Ivanka Trump and Marco Rubio Are Reportedly Working on Republican-Friendly Paid Family Leave
- Trump Supporters Are Either Turning on Him Or Still Love Him—Definitely One of Those
- Judge Declines Media Requests to Unseal Donald and Ivana Trump's Divorce File
- Experts Aren't Buying Into Trump's Proposed Opioid Plan
- Eric Trump's Recent Business Trip Cost Taxpayers Nearly $100K
- Trump Kicked His Old Biographer Off His Golf Course
- Your Guide to Trump's Very White, Very Rich, Very Frightening Cabinet
- The Bullshit Ivanka Trump Rehabilitation Tour Will Look Like This
- Ivanka Trump's Proposal to Speak Out On Climate Change Makes No Sense in About Five Different Ways
- Federal Employees at Not Explicitly Racist Agencies Describe the Personal Hell of Working Under Trump
- Trump Recalls Vicious Putin Confrontation: 'I Said, 'Did You Do It?' And He Said 'No.''
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