Ex-CIA chief blasts Trump: Your ‘incompetence’ is ‘seriously damaging our Nation’

Former CIA chief John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanGowdy: IG report ‘certainly helps’ Trump Ex-CIA director blasts Trump for focus on supporters rather than ‘all Americans’ What John Brennan left out MORE on Saturday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTom Arnold claims to have unreleased ‘tapes’ of Trump Cohen distances himself from Tom Arnold, says they did not discuss Trump US military indefinitely suspends two training exercises with South Korea MORE for again criticizing the Russia probe as a “witch hunt.”

Brennan, a frequent and harsh critic of the president, responded on Twitter to Trump’s previous tweet highlighting a poll that shows declining support for the special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.


“Your fear of exposure is palpable,” Brennan wrote. “Your desperation even more so. When will those of conscience among your Cabinet, inner circle, and Republican leadership realize that your unprincipled and unethical behavior as well as your incompetence are seriously damaging our Nation.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked the investigation as a “hoax” and “witch hunt.”

His Saturday morning tweet referred to it as a “scam.”

“With all of the bias, lying and hate by the investigators, people want the investigators investigated,” Trump tweeted. “Much more will come out. A total scam and excuse for the Dems losing the Election!”

The investigation has resulted in the indictments of multiple former Trump campaign figures and a number of Russian nationals.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJudge denies Manafort attempt to dismiss money laundering charge Trump is the GOP’s midterm Katrina Judge denies Manafort request to suppress evidence MORE, who is indicted on a series of criminal financial and obstruction of justice charges, was sent to jail earlier this month pending trial, after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE accused him of witness tampering.


The palace intrigue and backstories on Trump’s week dealing with the border


— ELIANA JOHNSON, ANNIE KARNI and NANCY COOK: “Trump’s quick fix on family separations unleashes internal tensions”: “Facing an unprecedented outpouring of public outrage this week over the separation of migrant families at the border, President Donald Trump did what he usually does when he wants a quick fix: Asked for an executive order.

Story Continued Below

“Trump frequently demands executive orders to carry out policies he wants to implement as a way of circumventing the long process of working with Congress to pass legislation, according to a former administration official – a move he picked up from former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who in the opening months of the Trump presidency, used the directives to carry out his ‘shock and awe’ strategy. …

“The order Trump signed this week, hastily written amid an escalating crisis and rushed to his desk before he left town for a political rally, was the opposite. While it stanched the flow of negative media coverage, beginning the process of reuniting children and parents, the vaguely worded immigration order created a new set of problems for the administration.

“At agencies from the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, which has been asked to help house illegal immigrants and their children, officials say they remain uncertain how to carry out an order they aren’t sure is legal in the first place.” https://politi.co/2tnJUWx

— WAPO’S DEVLIN BARRETT, JOSH DAWSEY and NICK MIROFF: “Arguments, confusion, second-guessing: Inside Trump’s reversal on separating migrant families”: “By Wednesday morning, the president had become convinced that he needed a way to calm the criticism, according to people familiar with the discussions, and he felt confident that Republicans in Congress would push through immigration legislation ending the family separation practice — so he might as well get ahead of it. A vote on the measure was eventually postponed until next week, but it does not appear to have enough votes to pass.

“In private conversations with aides, Trump said he wanted to sign a full immigration bill as part of an executive order, which one administration official described as ‘a pretty insane idea.’ The president was told by government lawyers that he could not change immigration law by fiat, said a person familiar with the discussions.

“Trump then demanded that an executive order be written that would end child detentions in cages, and said he wanted it on his desk for signing by that afternoon, according to people involved in the discussions.

“Given hours to produce a complex legal document, government lawyers crafted one that met the moment’s political demands but only added to confusion within the agencies tasked with implementing it. The order has quieted much, but not all, of the public anger over the family separation issue. On Friday outside the Justice Department, about 100 protesters gathered in the rain chanting ‘Keep Families Together!’” https://wapo.st/2tAOobM

— NYT’S MIKE SHEAR, RON NIXON and KATIE BENNER: “In Tense Meeting, Trump Officials Debate How to Process Migrant Families”: “Tense arguments broke out at the White House over the past two days as top government officials clashed over how to carry out President Trump’s executive order on keeping together immigrant families at the Mexican border, according to four people familiar with the meetings.

“The disputes started Thursday night. They continued Friday as Kevin K. McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, returned to the White House to question how his agency was supposed to detain parents and children together when the law requires that children not be held indefinitely in jail.” https://nyti.ms/2tnH189

L.A. TIMES: “Camp Pendleton is slated to house up to 47,000 migrants in temporary detention, according to report,” by Jeff McDonald and Kate Morrissey: https://lat.ms/2tsRjms

CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER: “Katie Arrington seriously injured in two-car fatal accident Friday night,” by Schuyler Kropf: “Katie Arrington, who two weeks ago won the Republican 1st Congressional District nomination over Mark Sanford, was in a fatal car accident late Friday and taken to Medical University Hospital.

“Reports are that she was seriously injured. Arrington was in a car heading south on U.S. Highway 17 toward Hilton Head Island when the vehicle she was in was struck by another car driving northbound but in the wrong lane. The driver in the other car was killed.” http://bit.ly/2yH1vO2

Good Saturday morning. THE PRESIDENT is going to Las Vegas today for the Nevada Republican Party convention, where he’ll speak. He returns around 9 p.m.

SPOTTED: The Ford family — Mike Ford, former President and House Minority Leader Gerald Ford’s son, and great-grandchildren — visited the Capitol on Friday. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) escorted them on the floor, where they spoke to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Cheney took them to Speaker Paul Ryan’s office, which once belonged to Ford.

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THE BIG PICTURE – NYT’s PETER BAKER, “President Trump, Deal Maker? Not So Fast”: “As he threw in the towel on immigration legislation on Friday, saying that Republicans should give up even trying until after the fall midterm elections, Mr. Trump once again fell short of his promise to make ‘beautiful’ deals that no other president could make. His 17 months in office have in fact been an exercise in futility for the art-of-the-deal president. No deal on immigration. No deal on health care. No deal on gun control. No deal on spending cuts. No deal on Nafta. No deal on China trade. No deal on steel and aluminum imports.

“No deal on Middle East peace. No deal on the Qatar blockade. No deal on Syria. No deal on Russia. No deal on Iran. No deal on climate change. No deal on Pacific trade. Even routine deals sometimes elude Mr. Trump, or he chooses to blow them up. After a Group of 7 summit meeting this month with the world’s leading economic powers, Mr. Trump, expressing pique at Canada’s prime minister, refused to sign the carefully negotiated communiqué that his own team had agreed to. It was the sort of boilerplate agreement that every previous president had made over four decades.” https://nyti.ms/2tlwoTe

WHAT’S ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MIND — (@realDonaldTrump) at 7:15 a.m.: “Steel is coming back fast! U.S. Steel is adding great capacity also. So are others.” (Retweeting a Fox Business story) …

… at 7:33 a.m.: “.@FoxNews Poll numbers plummet on the Democrat inspired and paid for Russian Witch Hunt. With all of the bias, lying and hate by the investigators, people want the investigators investigated. Much more will come out. A total scam and excuse for the Dems losing the Election!” …

… at 7:36 a.m.: “The Russian Witch Hunt is Rigged!”

TARIFF REPORT … NYT’S ANA SWANSON and TIFFANY HSU: “Companies Get First Tariff Waivers, but Many More Are Left in Limbo”: “The Trump administration granted seven companies the first set of exclusions from its metal tariffs this week and rejected requests from 11 other companies, as the Commerce Department began slowly responding to the 20,000 applications that companies have filed for individual products.

“The Commerce Department announced Wednesday that it had granted exclusions from the 25 percent steel tariffs to seven companies that requested an exemption for 42 products sourced from Japan, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and China. The companies included the razor maker Schick Manufacturing and Nachi America, which makes cutting tools, bearings and hydraulics.

“But the department denied 56 products, from companies that included Seneca Foods, a fruit and vegetable producer; Bekaert, a maker of steel wire; and Mills Products, a metal fabricator. Some businesses, such as Primrose Alloys, a metals trading company, and Wright & McGill, a maker of fishing gear, were denied several applications.

“Some applications, like those of Seneca and Mills Products, were rejected because they were deemed incomplete, according to decision memos posted online. But several companies whose applications were denied faced objections from American steel makers.” https://nyti.ms/2Kaj3ab

THE WAY GOVERNMENT WORKS — “Trump administration plans to use Coast Guard money to pay for border enforcement,” by WaPo’s Dan Lamothe: “The Trump administration, facing a growing immigration enforcement mission on the southern U.S. border, is considering a plan to shift money from the U.S. Coast Guard to other parts of the Department of Homeland Security, according to U.S. officials and an internal Coast Guard message obtained by The Washington Post. Most of the funding would go to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which also is part of Homeland Security. The department has the authority to move money around between its components and may also shift other funding to pay for ICE operations.

“The Coast Guard message stated that $77 million could be shifted and that several courses of action have been presented to Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant.” https://wapo.st/2MfweUE

SCOOP — DAN DIAMOND: “HHS creates task force to reunify migrant families”: “HHS on Friday created an “unaccompanied children reunification task force,” a first step toward reunifying thousands of migrant children in the agency’s custody with their families, according to an internal document obtained by POLITICO.

“The task force was established by the assistant secretary for preparedness and response — the arm of the agency that responds to public health disasters, and an indication that the challenge of reunifying thousands of families is likely beyond the capabilities of the refugee office.” https://politi.co/2lv17ZO

— DAN also talked with ANDY SLAVITT, who was tapped in 2013 to fix the broken HealthCare.gov website, at Aspen Ideas Festival’s Spotlight Health. “I wouldn’t sleep until these kids were unified with their parents. And my colleagues wouldn’t sleep,” Slavitt said, adding that HHS Secretary Alex Azar has many “tools and mechanisms” that haven’t been tried — like calling in favors from private-sector experts.” Listen to the full convo https://bit.ly/2yA2q2O

2020 WATCH — JOANNE KENEN, also filing from Aspen, talked 2020 politics with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. She was joined by Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News and Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times for the “What the Health” podcast. Listen to the full convo https://bit.ly/2Ki9tik

— HICKENLOOPER: “My wife and I have been talking about it for a couple of months, and talking to old friends whose opinion we respect and trust … We’re going to try and sort through it this summer. We’re very focused (on Colorado) – 202 days left in this term and we want to finish strong and health care is a big part of what we’re pushing.”

— BULLOCK: “He said he’s got two and a half years left in his term and is ‘certainly focused principally on being governor.’”

THE DOUGH … THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND just dropped another $203,667 aimed at boosting Troy Balderson, a Republican running in a special election for the seat of former Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). … THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE dropped $350,000 on media aimed at boosting Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.).

PAGING THE NRCC!!! … NYT’S NICK CORASANITI in Somers Point, New Jersey: “Candidate for Congress Stands by His Words: Diversity Is ‘Evil’” https://nyti.ms/2Mi1pyxThis is a seat Republicans currently hold

— WAPO’S DAVE WEIGEL in NEW YORK: “Should a felon serve in the House? That’s the question for Staten Island Republicans”: “[Dan] Donovan, who was Staten Island’s longtime district attorney before he went to Congress, argues that [Michael] Grimm is telling a sympathetic story to distract from the truth. After his Saturday rally, Donovan chided reporters for giving Grimm so much attention — ‘I’m sure he’s a great story’ — and unloaded on his challenger for comparing his trials to Trump’s.

“‘There’s nothing similar about them at all,’ he said. ‘The president never committed tax fraud. The president never went to federal prison. [Grimm] said he was prosecuted by a rogue Justice Department in the Obama administration? He’d be prosecuted by Donald Trump’s Justice Department if he did that now.’” https://wapo.st/2KiRZW0


— “Mueller signals outside prosecutors may eventually take over Russian trolls case,” by WaPo’s Devlin Barrett: “A handful of new federal prosecutors have joined one of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s cases — an indication that he is preparing to hand off at least one prosecution to others when his office completes its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. … People familiar with the staffing decision said the new prosecutors are not joining Mueller’s team, but rather are being added to the case so that they could someday take responsibility for it when the special counsel ceases operation.

“The case those prosecutors are joining could drag on for years because the indictment charges a number of Russians who will probably never see the inside of a U.S. courtroom. Russia does not extradite its citizens. The development suggests Mueller is contemplating the end of his work and farming out any potentially outstanding prosecutions to other parts of the Justice Department.” https://wapo.st/2KdRZ6t

— JOSH GERSTEIN: “Mueller seeks September sentencing for Papadopoulos”: “Special counsel Robert Mueller is asking that George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, be sentenced in September on the false-statement felony charge he pleaded guilty to last fall. In a court filing on Friday evening, Mueller’s prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case asked U.S. District Court Judge Randy Moss to set Papadopoulos’ sentencing for Sept. 7, or a date in October if the judge is unavailable.” https://politi.co/2ltLeCM

— “House panel subpoenas FBI agent Peter Strzok for deposition,” by Rebecca Morin: “The House Judiciary Committee on Friday subpoenaed Peter Strzok to appear for a deposition, even though the embattled FBI agent said last week that he would appear voluntarily. … Strzok is expected to testify next Wednesday.” https://politi.co/2lv17ZO

PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW — Join Anna and Jake for a sit-down with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, June 27 at Ajax (1011 4th St. NW). Doors open at 7:50 a.m. RSVP https://bit.ly/2MjxB4x

— WE’RE ALSO HEADED TO FLORIDA … Join us, along with Playbook Florida author Marc Caputo, for a Playbook Elections event Friday at the InterContinental Miami. It’s part of the POLITICO-AARP “Deciders” series. We’ll talk with Nelson Diaz, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, David Richardson and Donna Shalala about their candidacies. Doors open at 8 a.m. RSVP https://bit.ly/2K0E3AN

L.A. TIMES TRACY WILKINSON: “White House team visits Mideast to advance its still-secret Israeli-Palestinian peace plan”: “Details of the plan that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and Jason Greenblatt, the special envoy for the Mideast, are shopping around have not been publicly disclosed except for broad outlines. It is likely to focus on what are called interim issues, such as security and the economy, and not on ‘aspirational’ issues like Palestinian statehood.” https://lat.ms/2MkvPzZ

HMM — “Commerce secretary suggested citizenship question to Justice Dept., according to memo, contradicting his congressional testimony,” by WaPo’s Tara Bahrampour: “In a new twist in the battle over adding a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census, Secretary Wilbur Ross filed an unexpected memo Thursday revealing that he was already considering adding the question when he began his job in February 2017, after hearing from other senior administration officials on the subject.

“The statement contradicts his earlier testimony to Congress saying he explored adding the question in response to a December 2017 request by the Department of Justice.” https://wapo.st/2KhCOfM

— “After Nevada GOP push, Treasury changed lucrative policy benefiting one county,” by WaPo’s Damian Paletta: “The effort was led by Nevada’s governor, Brian Sandoval (R), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who separately spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and pushed for Storey County to win designation as an ‘Opportunity Zone,’ which was established in the law to help distressed areas attract money. Working behind the scenes to help the effort was a Storey County brothel owner and real estate investor, Lance Gilman, who … is also a major GOP donor. … The successful campaign to win this lucrative designation … shows how the new tax law, meant to simplify the tax code when it passed in December, is creating opportunities for gamesmanship.” https://wapo.st/2MeTemu

WILD — “Jogger who accidentally crossed U.S. border from B.C. detained for 2 weeks,” by CBC’s Jon Hernandez: “A visitor from France says she was jogging along the beach south of White Rock, B.C., when she crossed the U.S. border without realizing it. So began a two-week nightmare that landed her in a prison jumpsuit. Cedella Roman, 19, didn’t know it at the time, but as she ran southeast along the beach on the evening of May 21, she crossed a municipal boundary — and, shortly after, an international border. As the tide started to come in, she veered up and onto a dirt path before stopping to take a photo of the picturesque setting. She turned around to head back — and that’s when she was apprehended by two U.S. Border Patrol officers.

“‘An officer stopped me and started telling me I had crossed the border illegally,’ she told CBC News. ‘I told him I had not done it on purpose, and that I didn’t understand what was happening.’ … She said the officers detained her for crossing illegally into Blaine, Wash., and transferred her more than 200 kilometres south to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Centre, run by the Department of Homeland Security.” http://bit.ly/2tm04j1

MEDIAWATCH — “Fox News Was Concerned Chinese Agents Would Bug Sean Hannity’s Phone,” by BuzzFeed’s Steven Perlberg: “As stories have emerged — like one May report from Politico — that Trump finds properly securing his own communications ‘too inconvenient,’ some at Fox have become fearful about their own exposure to hackers when talking with the president, according to people familiar with the matter. That concern came to a head as Fox News prepared to cover the high-profile US summit with North Korea last week. Some at the network worried that Chinese agents might seek to bug Hannity’s phone while he was in Singapore to sweep up his communications with Trump, so the host used a burner phone, according to a person familiar with the matter.” https://bzfd.it/2tq2DAE

****** Presented by ExxonMobil: Natural gas has a growing role in the world’s energy mix. The energy generated from natural gas is fueling an American manufacturing revival and creating jobs, which helps drive economic prosperity. And as one of the world’s largest providers of natural gas, ExxonMobil is committed to its responsible discovery and delivery. Visit the Energy Factor to learn more about the importance of natural gas energy in our world. EnergyFactor.com ******

CLICKER — The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker – 12 keepers https://politi.co/2KfQowT

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:

— “The Trouble With Johnny Depp,” by Stephen Rodrick in Rolling Stone: “One of the most famous actors in the world is now smoking dope with a writer and his lawyer while his cook makes dinner and his bodyguards watch television. There is no one around him who isn’t getting paid.” https://rol.st/2IhWsTZ

— “The End of Civil Rights,” by Vann R. Newkirk in The Atlantic: “Across immigration, policing, criminal justice, and voting rights, the attorney general is pushing an agenda that could erase many of the legal gains of modern America’s defining movement.” https://theatln.tc/2MT6Oxc (h/t Longform.org)

— “A New Revolution in Mexico,” by The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson: “Sick of corruption and of Trump, voters embrace the maverick leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador.” http://bit.ly/2K0w6eJ

— “Masters of Love,” by Emily Esfahani Smith in The Atlantic in June 2014: “Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.” http://bit.ly/2JGatQU

— “It Can Happen Here,” by Cass Sunstein in the N.Y. Review of Books, reviewing “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933–45,” by Milton Mayer and “Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the Twentieth Century,” by Konrad H. Jarausch – per ALDaily.com’s description: “How did Germans see Nazism? Not as we see it. Habituation, confusion, distraction, self-interest, fear, rationalization, and a sense of personal powerlessness made terrible things possible”. http://bit.ly/2MRgFDC

— “How the Case for Voter Fraud Was Tested — and Utterly Failed,” by ProPublica’s Jessica Huseman: “From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent [Kris Kobach] was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.” http://bit.ly/2KeZ0qY (h/t Longform.org)

— “Inside the Crypto World’s Biggest Scandal,” by Gideon Lewis-Kraus on the cover of July’s Wired: “Arthur and Kathleen Breitman thought they held the secret to building a new decentralized utopia. On the way, they plunged into a new kind of hell. A crypto-tragedy in three acts.” http://bit.ly/2IgAbWE

— “The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation,” by Ed Caesar in the New Yorker: “A P.R. company [Bell Pottinger] that worked with dictators and oligarchs deliberately inflamed racial tensions in South Africa—and destroyed itself in the process.” http://bit.ly/2K1SaWF

— “Living alone and liking it,” by Ashley Fetters in Curbed: “More women in the U.S. live alone than ever before, but our conversation about solo-living women has a long history.” http://bit.ly/2KfMpDT (h/t Longreads.com)

— “The Price of Admission,” by Slate’s Aaron Mak: “Asians shouldn’t have to hide their heritage when applying to college. I did—and I’ll always regret it.” https://slate.me/2KgGqii

— “In Staten Island, a remote wilderness is threatened by encroaching development,” by Nathan Kensinger in Curbed: “Touring the urban wilds of the Sharrotts Shoreline on Staten Island’s southern end.” http://bit.ly/2tkKvrR (h/t Longreads.com)

— “The Death of a Once Great City” — Harper’s July issue – per Longreads.com’s description: “Kevin Baker connects the dots between empty penthouses and empty storefronts in New York City, tracing how the rich have transformed what once was a significant cultural entity into ‘the world’s largest gated community.’” http://bit.ly/2Ka5wvH

SPOTTED: Rahm Emanuel yesterday on United flight 765 from LaGuardia to O’Hare

SPOTTED at a George W. Bush Commerce Department alumni reunion at Rare: Pierce Scranton, Tom Michael, Avery Boggs, Dan Nelson, Stephen Replogle, JV Schwan, Elizabeth Dial Pinkerton, Ann Marie Hauser, Colleen Litkenhaus, Bo Ollison, Tatiana Posada, Jay Nelson, David Levey and Pat Thorne.

BIRTHDAYS: Steven Cheung, former special assistant to the president and WH director of rapid response (hat tips: Andy Hemming and Jim Bognet) … Kaelan Dorr, EP of “Bottom Line with Boris” at Sinclair Broadcast Group and a Trump WH alum (h/t Boris Epshteyn) … Paul Tewes … Sylvia Burwell, former HHS secretary and president of American University … Adam Lerner … Amber Moon, comms. director for Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) … Politico Europe’s Kate Day, Etienne Bauvir, and Ali Walker … J.P. Fielder … Josh Lauder … Jeremy Katz, president and COO of D1 Capital Partners and a Trump WH alum (h/t Tevi Troy) … Robert D. Kaplan, CNAS senior fellow and senior adviser at Eurasia Group, is 66 … Pelosi alum Judy Lemons … Ryan Woodbury … Politico’s Ryan Kohl … former Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) is 65 … former Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) is 49 … former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.) is 61 … Atanu Chakravarty, research director for Fred Hubbell for Iowa (h/t Sam Roecker) … Dean Myers … Tyler Anderson … Jeff Carter …

… Louisa Tavlas Atkinson, director of comms at the Niskanen Center … Suzanne Clark, senior EVP of the U.S. Chamber … Bradley Engle … Rick Reynolds … Chris Spanos, co-founder and CEO of Urgent.ly (h/t Jon Haber) … Steven Stombres, partner at Harbinger Strategies … Emma Whitestone, director of operations and digital communications at Jonathan Lewis for Congress (h/t dad Randy) … Sivan Borowich-Ya’ari is 4-0 … real estate developer Jerry Speyer is 78 … Patrick Morris … Brian Pomper … Caitlin Dorman … Mark Leder … Bronagh Finnegan … Walter Sabbath … Andrew Roos … Tom Frechette … Tina Karalekas … Natasha Chambers … Robin Strongin … Greg Hale is 43 … Julie McInerney (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Washington, D.C.

NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) … Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). Panel: Erick Erickson, Stephen Hayes, Kasie Hunt and Heather McGhee

— ABC’s “This Week”: Guests to be announced. Panel: Jonathan Karl, Cecilia Vega, Matthew Dowd, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Donna Brazile

— CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) … Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) … Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) … Anthony Salvanto … Ed O’Keefe. Panel: Leslie Sanchez, Shannon Pettypiece and Paula Reid

— CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) … Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Panel: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Carlos Gutierrez, David Urban and Neera Tanden

— “Fox News Sunday”: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) … Jeh Johnson … Panel: Rich Lowry, Andrew McCarthy, former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Juan Williams. “Power Player of the Week” segment with Federalist Society president Leonard Leo

— Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) … Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.). Panel: Ed Rollins and Mary Kissel

— Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Anthony Scaramucci … Mollie Hemingway … Gillian Turner … Richard Fowler … Sara Fischer

— CNN’s “Inside Politics” with John King: Panel: Jonathan Martin, Manu Raju, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Margaret Talev

CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Zeid Raad Al Hussein. Panel: Linda Chavez, Nicholas Kristof and Reihan Salam … Neil deGrasse Tyson

— CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Panel: Nicole Carroll, Norman Pearlstine and Sarah Ellison … George Takei … Glenn Beck … Tony Schwartz

Univision’s “Al Punto”: Aunt of 6-year-old whose cries were published by ProPublica Alison Valencia Madrid Ligia … Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) … National Autonomous University of Mexico’s John Ackerman … former U.S. Ambassadors to Mexico Roberta Jacobson and Tony Garza … Félix de Bedout

— C-SPAN: “The Communicators”: FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly, questioned by Telecommunications Reports’ Paul Kirby … “Newsmakers”: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), questioned by The Hill’s Bob Cusack and Politico’s Elana Schor … “Q&A”: The University of Pennsylvania’s Amy Wax

— MSNBC’s “Kasie DC”: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) … Anthony Scaramucci … Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) … Emily Jane Fox… Shawna Thomas … Jon Ward … Anita Kumar … Kevin McLaughlin … Andrew Nietor

— Washington Times’ “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak: Dallas Morning News border correspondent Alfredo Corchado.

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Reviewers pounce on online report Virginia restaurant refused to serve Sarah Sanders

Reviewers from both sides of the aisle flooded a Virginia restaurant’s Facebook and Yelp pages with one- and five-star reviews after a server at the restaurant claimed his boss kicked out White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Jaike Foley-Schultz, who says he is a waiter at the Lexington restaurant The Red Hen, posted on Facebook that his boss kicked out the press secretary and her party.

“I just served Sarah huckabee sanders for a total of 2 minutes before my owner kicked her out along with 7 of her other family members,” he wrote.


The post went viral when the director of Clean Virginia, a left-leaning energy focused nonprofit, shared the post on Twitter, along with a handwritten note purportedly from the restaurant that reads, among other things, “86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders.”

“86” is restaurant industry slang meaning “throw out” or “get rid of.”

The Hill has reached out to Sanders for comment.

The Red Hen’s Facebook and Yelp pages were soon bombarded with reviews from people on opposite ends of the political spectrum. While some praised the restaurant for taking a stand against the Trump administration, many others blasted the owner for being “intolerant.”

“If you are a whining liberal feel free to eat here, if you are a TRUE AMERICAN stay away,” wrote one Facebook reviewer, while another wrote: “Thank you for not serving that liar.”

“I won’t spend a dime in this place,” wrote another reviewer. “The owner is a disgusting human being whose absurd liberalism has driven him to lunacy … Let’s hope your ‘moral convictions’ can pay your bills.”

One five-star review on Yelp read: “The best. I’ve heard that they serve crow to those deserving of it.”

The report comes just days after two other members of the Trump administration — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump rips media for not covering ‘permanent separations’ by undocumented immigrants Rubio heckled by protestors outside immigration detention facility MSNBC’s Ruhle fires back at ‘Fox & Friends’ over ‘propaganda’ about migrant children MORE and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller — were forced to leave restaurants due to protests of the administration’s immigration policies.


Seth Rogen: I told Paul Ryan I hate his policies in front of his kids

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen on Friday night recounted his experience meeting GOP Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGeorge Will: Vote against GOP in midterms Trump tweet may doom House GOP effort on immigration On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump floats tariffs on European cars | Nikki Haley slams UN report on US poverty | Will tax law help GOP? It’s a mystery MORE (Wis.), revealing that he turned down a photo with the lawmaker and criticized his policies in front of his kids.

Rogen told CBS late night host Stephen Colbert that he was approached by two of Ryan’s kids after speaking at an event on brain health hosted by Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDem lawmaker: GOP deliberately increased deficits through tax cuts in order to cut social programs Former top Treasury official to head private equity group Romney backs Laura Bush on border: ‘We need a more compassionate answer’ MORE.

Rogen said he took a photo with the kids, assuming they were simply “very nice fans,” until they said their dad wanted to meet him and he saw the Speaker walking toward him.

“My whole body puckered, I tensed up, and I didn’t know what to do,” he said, adding that Ryan came over and “grabbed [his] hand” before asking for a photo together.

“I look over and his kids are standing right there expectantly, clearly fans of mine, and I said, ‘No way, man!’” Rogen said.


Rogen, who is Canadian, said he then went on to lash out at Ryan over his policies, though he felt “conflicted” doing it in front of his children.

“Furthermore, I hate what you’re doing to the country at this moment and I’m counting the days until you no longer have one iota of the power that you currently have,” Rogen said he told Ryan.

“I’m glad I didn’t take a picture with Paul Ryan, I touched him so I don’t know how I feel about that,” he said. “His kids seemed lovely, and very caucasian.”

In the interview with Colbert, Rogen also took the chance to criticize the Trump administration for detaining migrant children at the border, and praised his home country for legalizing recreational marijuana.

“This week Trump made prisons for kids, and Canada legalized recreational marijuana,” Rogen said. I don’t know if there’s an official grading system for the weeks a country has, but that was a good week for Canada.”


Week 57: Mueller Plays Defense as Trump Pounds His Credibility

The manipulation of publicity is lawfare by other means. President Donald Trump didn’t devise that maxim, I did. But he could have. Ever since special counsel Robert S. Mueller III sparked his investigation alive, Trump has been undermining Mueller and the FBI with taunts and insults that if put to a beat could pass for one side of a rap battle. You could call the track “Witch Hunt!”

Trump’s immediate goal, as Abigail Tracy writes for Vanity Fair, is to pollute Paul Manafort’s potential juror pool with a zig-zag of nonsense and hype that will deter them from convicting him or anybody else Mueller prosecutes. (Mueller requested the judge approve a questionnaire to screen jurors for bias, usually a move the defense would make after extensive pretrial publicity.) Secondarily, Trump wants to prejudice the American public in his favor, seeing as they would serve as the defacto jury should Congress decide on bringing articles of impeachment against him. How well is it working? Vanity Fair points to a new CNN poll that shows Mueller has lost a tiny bit of approval from respondents asked about his handling of the probe. It’s down to 41 percent from 48 percent in March (sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points). Whatever Mueller’s failings, he’s murdering Manafort in most pre-trial court appearances, even convincing a federal judge to sent Manafort to jail for while he awaits trial for defying the terms of his parole.

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Compared to the armed combat of Mueller’s investigation, the fight over the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case looks like an adolescent mudball rhubarb—lots of name calling about the FBI having been in the tank for Hillary Clinton, lots of so’s-your-mother about the New York City FBI office having pushed the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

But fed by Inspector General’s thick-as-a-Manhattan-phonebook report on FBI conduct, the commotion has done discernible damage to the image of professionalism and circumspection the FBI has cultivated for itself. Our opportunist in chief in the White House and his Republican allies have distorted the IG report to sketch the FBI as an politicized Washington police force that opposes both his candidacy and the voters who elected him. Trump points to the anti-Trump messages written during the campaign by Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who worked on the Clinton email case. Strzok’s most notorious missive—sent to an FBI attorney (also his lover)—asserted that that “we’ll stop“ Trump from getting elected. Trump has also made use of the fact that Strzok later served on Mueller’s investigative team. (He was dismissed after the IG discovered his messages.)

Clutching the IG report to his bosom, Trump has claimed it “totally exonerates” him and has “totally discredited” Mueller. The only problem with Trump’s exultations is that neither is remotely true. As for his idea that the IG report demonstrates malfeasance at the FBI, that’s bunk, too. The IG explicitly states that political bias had no bearing on the FBI’s handing of the case, no matter what sort of smack agents talked in messages to one another. As is his tendency, the president is making things up. Trump gets caught conjuring again whenever he slams Mueller’s team as being manned by “13 hardened Democrats.” It doesn’t matter how many times it’s pointed out that Mueller himself is a lifelong Republican appointed to his special counsel position by another Republican, or that Republicans and independents also work for him, Trump keeps bringing up the 13 Democrats “leading the Witch Hunt” against him. (See this Washington Post story from March for pocket biographies of Mueller’s team.)

Trump critics come to this fracas well-armed with evidence of their own of FBI prejudices, but prejudices in Trump’s favor. Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum has collected a wealth of evidence of FBI agents tilting toward Trump during the campaign: Agents tipped Rep. Devin Nunes of the existence of Anthony Weiner’s laptop loaded with Clinton emails; the IG reported that then-FBI Director James Comey reopened the Clinton email case because he feared the pro-Trump New York FBI office would leak the existence of the Weiner laptop unless he did; and just days before Comey reopened the case, Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News to promise “a surprise or two…in the next two days,” presumably gleaned from his FBI sources in New York. The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman has more on this score, reminding us that Fox News reported just days before the election that according to an FBI source, Clinton’s private server had been hacked by “five foreign intelligence agencies.” Fox later retracted the report.

This vision of two FBIs operating side-by-side, one plugging for Trump and one pulling for Clinton suggests a film noir cesspool of intrigue, deception, backstabbing and corruption. If only Edgar G. Ulmer were alive to make the movie. Rampant and allegedly partisan FBI leaking to the press during the campaign has encouraged Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s plans to launch a future investigation into “unauthorized media contact by FBI personnel.” The IG has already discovered instances in which “FBI employees improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golf outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.” I can understand drinks, but what media organization is treating FBI agents to basketball or football games? One of the television networks? Name names, Mr. IG!

As has been noted elsewhere and deserves repetition, Trump’s mudballs aim to delegitimize any scrutiny of him as politically biased or as the work of the “deep state.” Where other politicians criticize the outcomes produced by investigators and prosecutors, Trump beelines for the investigators and prosecutors themselves. In his mind, Trump is not just above the law, he is above doubt, too, and will seek to denigrate anybody who dares question his conduct.

Michael Cohen remained the “It Girl” of the investigation this week, and his recruitment of a new defense lawyer supercharged speculation that he would flip on Trump. Former Obama White House Ethics Czar Norm Eisen conjectured that because his new lawyer is a former prosecutor who worked for former New York U.S. Attorneys James Comey and Preet Bharara, he was the perfect man to swing a deal for Cohen. Actor Tom Arnold jumped into the mix on Friday, claiming Cohen was going to help him find incriminating tapes of Trump. He rowed that back, but went on TV to stand by his view that Cohen would “take care of his family and his country first. That’s all you need to know.”

Who will the next “It Girl” be? Will it be Trump ally Roger Stone? The Washington Post reported this week that Stone did meet with a Russian during the 2016 campaign, despite his protests to the contrary, and that the topic was Hillary Clinton dirt for sale, with the price being $2 million. Stone said he passed on the offer and that he had not mentioned in his testimony to the House Committee on Intelligence because he had forgotten it.

Or will it be WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange who, according to the Guardian, met repeatedly with Adam Waldman, the U.S. lobbyist for sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2017? Deripaska, you recall, once employed Manafort and Manafort offered him confidential briefings (which never happened) in the summer of 2016 when he served as Trump’s campaign chief. What could Assange and Waldman have been chatting about? World Cup tickets for FBI agents, perhaps?


Waldman works as Johnny Depp’s lawyer, too! See this Rolling Stone feature on Depp by Stephen Rodrick for more. Might Johnny be the next “It Girl”? Send “It Girl” predictions to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. My email alerts pulled for Trump. My Twitter feed was a hog of Hillary. My RSS feed voted for whatever knucklehead the Libertarian Party put on the ballot.

Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.