In which POTUS Trump rejects Candidate Trump
“See if you can count the number of campaign pledges that Trump reverses in this interview,” challenges Daniel Drezner. As Josh Dawsey tells us, “WSJ editor-in-chief Gerry Baker scores another sit-down with Trump, where the president talks economics.” In that Wall Street Journal interview, Gerard Baker, Michael Bender and Carol Lee report that Trump says the dollar is “getting too strong,” and he won’t label China a currency manipulator. In all, Yaroslav Trofimov says, “Trump reverses three major campaign positions: on China as currency manipulator, Yellen and ExIm Bank.” Eric Lipton’s assessment: “About those campaign promises: Trump as POTUS seems be rejecting Trump as candidate.”
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
“Sigh. Did just everyone associated with the Trump campaign leverage it for personal gain?” asks Lois Romano. Here’s the source of that sigh: Mike McIntire of The New York Times reports that the day Paul Manafort quit the Trump campaign, he formed a shell company that borrowed millions from firms with Trump ties. McIntire tweets, “Summerbreeze (not that 70s song) was name of LLC Manafort used to borrow millions from Trump-connected businesses.” Says Cody Lyon, “This is an intriguing read....and that's putting it lightly…” “But hey,” says Gerry Doyle, “at least the businesses weren't fronts for russian intelligence.” Ivan Lajara puts it best: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Dead Man Walking (the plank)
Yesterday, we told you that Trump won’t definitively say he backs Steve Bannon. Today, Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker of the Washington Post take us Inside Bannon’s struggle: From ‘shadow president’ to Trump’s marked man. Rucker tweets, “Alarm in Bannon World over Trump comments. One friend told us Bannon is like terminally ill patient put into hospice.” And Parker says, “Dead Man Walking.” But Melanie Mason, for one, is “very impressed with Newt's commitment to the pirate analogy here,” referring to this quote from Newt Gingrich in the piece: “Bannon is a brilliant pirate who has had a huge impact. But White Houses, in the end, are like the U.S. Navy – corporate structures and very hard on pirates.” “The pirate metaphor to end all pirate metaphors,” says Phoebe Connelly.
And in The New York Times, Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman write that Trump Undercuts Top Adviser Stephen K. Bannon, Whose Job May Be in Danger. As Zachary Mider tweets, “Trump mega-donor Rebekah Mercer plotting next steps for Bannon should he leave administration.” And Alexander Zalben “*grabs enormous cup of tea*”
The Donald J. Trump Story
And while we’re at it, as Daniel Dale notes, “Trump just told WSJ that Steve Bannon is ‘a guy who works for me.’” In their Wall Street Journal piece, Trump Threatens to Withhold Payments to Insurers to Press Democrats on Health Bill, Michael Bender, Louise Radnofsky and Peter Nicholas also report that, among other things, as Bender tweets, “Trump refers to Bannon as ‘a guy who works for me,’ shrugs off Spicer's Hitler comments as ‘a mistake.’” Trump also weighs in on the United Airlines debacle (“horrible,” but airlines should not be prevented from overselling flights) and calls reports of White House staff infighting "overblown.”
Also reported by Gerard Baker, Michael Bender and Carol Lee at The Wall Street Journal, we learn that Trump Says He Offered China Better Trade Terms in Exchange for Help on North Korea. Says Kristiano Ang, “Diplomatic coup of the decade if he pulls this off?” Getting lots of retweets was this, from Rachel Morris: “‘After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it's not so easy’: The Donald J. Trump Story.”
A monster of a story
“Stop everything and read this monster of a story from the one and only @HayesBrown,” tweets Miriam Elder. In How Russia Hacked Obama's Legacy, BuzzFeed’s Hayes Brown explains, as Brown himself tweets, “The Obama admin seemed hesitant to go after Russia for hacking during the 2016 campaign. Here's the story of why,” adding, “The Obama White House was absolutely petrified of looking in the tank for Hillary as Russia's campaign became clear.” Charlie Warzel calls it a “wonderfully reported story by @HayesBrown on behind the scenes of how the Obama admin grappled with the Russia hack.”
Speaking of Russia, “Well then,” says Martin Belam in response to the new report in The Guardian by Luke Harding, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Nick Hopkins, British spies were first to spot Trump team's links with Russia. Tweets Asaf Ronel, “So this is the source for @realDonaldTrump accusations Obama used British spies against him.” The piece reveals that “GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents.” Tweets Kirchgaessner, “Our exclusive on GCHQ role in Trump campaign probe: The message was: 'Watch out. There’s something not right here.’”
Matthew Haag and William K. Rashbaum report in The New York Times that pioneering New York judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam has been found dead in the Hudson River. Judge Abdus-Salaam was the first-ever female Muslim judge in the U.S. Says Carolyn Ryan, “I'm hearing from so many people in NY legal community - they're all devastated. How terribly sad this news is.”
“Seriously, not literally.” That’s David Weigel clarifying for us the headline of David Nakamura’s piece in the Washington Post, Trump administration moving quickly to build up nationwide deportation force. As Joshua Holland says, Trump “May yet keep his worst promise.”
Ali Vitali, Gabe Gutierrez and Rich Gardella of NBC News write that Trump's Mar-a-Lago Travel Triggers Cost and Ethics Concerns. Bradd Jaffy adds it up: “By Sunday, Trump will have spent 28% of his presidency on Mar-a-Lago trips, with each visit costing up to $3 million.”
Ivana Kottasova and Charles Riley report for CNNMoney that the Daily Mail will pay Melania Trump $2.9 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the first lady after the publisher made false claims about her work as a professional model.
- And finally, Christian Gollayan at the New York Post explains Why hot people aren’t worth dating.