THE LATEST MUELLER FALLOUT … DONALD VS. DON — “Giuliani Attacks McGahn’s Account to Mueller,” by NYT’s Mike Schmidt and Maggie Haberman: “President Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, attacked the credibility of a former White House counsel on Friday, saying his account of how Mr. Trump told him to remove the special counsel was inaccurate. Mr. Giuliani’s statement was the most extensive pushback by the president’s lawyers against the former counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, who cooperated extensively with the special counsel’s investigators. The report detailing the findings of the investigation, released on Thursday, also included several damning examples of how Mr. Trump tried to interfere with the investigation, like Mr. McGahn’s account.
“‘It can’t be taken at face value,’ Mr. Giuliani said in an interview. ‘It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.’ Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, pushed back on Mr. Giuliani’s attack. ‘It’s a mystery why Rudy Giuliani feels the need to relitigate incidents the attorney general and deputy attorney general have concluded were not obstruction,’ Mr. Burck said. ‘But they are accurately described in the report.’” NYT
UP NEXT — “After Mueller report, Democrats divided over end game — investigate Trump or impeach,” by WaPo’s Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade: “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report gave House Democrats a road map for investigating President Trump and the cue they were waiting for — but the party was divided Friday over what, ultimately, should be their end game. In one camp, a faction of Democrats determined to pursue impeachment of Trump was emboldened by the report, seizing on Mueller’s detailed findings about 10 potential instances of obstruction of justice to revive calls for delivering the ultimate congressional censure.
“Ramping up the pressure for impeachment Friday were two presidential hopefuls — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration. ‘The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,’ Warren said. ‘That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.’” WaPo
TOP TWEETS — @mj_lee: “Am told that Warren, who was flying back to Boston from Salt Lake City [Thursday], began reading the redacted Mueller report on the plane. She continued reading into the night after getting home, and when she was finished, felt it was her ‘duty’ publicly say what she just tweeted”.
— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti): “Warren just sent out an email to her supporter list explaining her call for Trump’s impeachment. Usually, such an email would end with a big fat DONATE button at the bottom. Not this one.”
THIS IS SIGNIFICANT … WARREN stepping up calls for impeachment comes as SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI and other Democratic leaders have tried to urge caution and tread carefully over whether to pursue impeachment. This will only increase pressure on Democratic leadership to take action.
MEANWHILE … DOWN IN MAR-A-LAGO — @realDonaldTrump at 7:53 a.m.: “Despite the fact that the Mueller Report should not have been authorized in the first place & was written as nastily as possible by 13 (18) Angry Democrats who were true Trump Haters, including highly conflicted Bob Mueller himself, the end result is No Collusion, No Obstruction!”
… at 8:02 a.m.: “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to stir up and anger the pols and as many people as possible seldom mentioning the fact that the Mueller Report had as its principle conclusion the fact that there was NO COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA. The Russia Hoax is dead!”
… at 8:07 a.m.: “United States weekly jobless claims just hit a 50 year low. The economy is doing GREAT!”
… at 8:15 a.m.: “The end result of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history is No Collusion with Russia (and No Obstruction). Pretty Amazing!”
TRUMP has nothing on his public schedule today. He arrived at Trump International Golf Club at 9:04 a.m., per pooler Thomas Howell of the Washington Times.
Good Saturday morning. FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — STEVE CLEMONS has been hired by The Hill to be editor-at-large and help expand the publication’s editorial platforms, particularly their events, write a biweekly column and take The Hill to more of a national level of prominence in the events space, according to two sources familiar with his hiring. He started this past week. He most recently was Washington editor-at-large at The Atlantic. Last month, Clemons was due to start a new job at Axios but didn’t end up joining the company after the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reported that some AtlanticLIVE employees had some “unfortunate interactions” with him.
Clemons is also working on a book project that is looking at the political theater and drama of Washington politics and how Washington really works. He has described it to people as a hybrid of Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” and Eric Redman’s “Dance of Legislation.” Clemons, who does not have a publisher yet, has written a third of the book, which will take another year to complete. He declined to comment.
THE INVESTIGATIONS — NATASHA BERTRAND, “Five unresolved mysteries about Russian meddling in Mueller’s report”: “Did a secret computer link exist between the Trump Organization and Moscow’s Alfa Bank? … Did Cambridge Analytica have ties to Russia or WikiLeaks? … What was the NRA’s relationship with the Trump campaign, and with Russia? … What did WikiLeaks know about the source of the stolen emails? … What about the infamous video tape alleged in the Steele dossier?” POLITICO
— @kyledcheney: “In late sentencing filing, prosecutors say Maria BUTINA should get 18 months for providing information of ‘immense’ value to Russia about how to access high level Republican officials.” The letter
— DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig set for Aug. 12 trial”: “Craig will go on trial Aug. 12 on charges that he lied to and concealed information from the Justice Department about his work for Ukraine, according to a judge’s scheduling order issued Friday.” POLITICO
THE MONEY CHASE — “Joe Biden Begins Taking Money for a 2020 Presidential Campaign,” by NYT’s Alex Burns and Shane Goldmacher: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has begun accepting financial donations for a 2020 presidential campaign, an unambiguous sign that he intends to begin his challenge to President Trump within days. Several Democratic donors and party fund-raisers received emails in recent days encouraging them to write sizable checks to support Mr. Biden’s planned candidacy, and to mail them to a Democratic consulting firm in Northern Virginia.
“Two fund-raising solicitations, circulated by Democratic donors in California and Pennsylvania, said Mr. Biden’s campaign committee would be called ‘Biden for President.’ … In an email to Democratic donors in the Philadelphia area earlier this week, David Cohen, a former party operative who is now a Comcast executive, outlined plans for a major fund-raising event in the city shortly after Mr. Biden’s announcement, likely in the middle of next week, and encouraged potential attendees to mail their checks to Mr. Biden’s operation even before he joins the race.” NYT
— “Biden hires over a dozen senior advisors from Obama administration for 2020 campaign: Sources,” by CNBC’s Brian Schwartz: “Many of these people didn’t work within Biden’s office throughout Obama’s tenure as president, but they have extensive campaign experience ranging from political consulting to communications, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.” CNBC
2020 WATCH … THE BIG QUESTION FOR DEMOCRATS: “Should a White Man Be the Face of the Democratic Party in 2020?” by NYT’s Astead W. Herndon and Matt Flegenheimer in Council Bluffs, Iowa
— “Warren approaches breakout with black voters,” by Laura Barrón-López in Beaufort, S.C.: “When Elizabeth Warren got a question on housing discrimination at a campaign event this week, she went into full wonk mode — and the diverse crowd packed into a middle school auditorium ate it up.
“The Massachusetts senator launched into a brief history lesson on African-American homebuyers getting rejected outside of designated areas, black families getting hit hardest by subprime mortgages and foreclosures during the 2008 crash, and black homeownership still lagging far behind whites. ‘That’s a problem, and it’s a race problem,’ Warren thundered, emphasizing ‘race’ as the crowd erupted into applause. ‘And we need to attack it head on.’
“Warren is stuck in single digits in national polls and is getting overshadowed by white male rivals like Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. But her consistent attention to racial disparities — and her truck-full of policy proposals to fix them across every economic issue — is drawing praise from a critical voting bloc that could eventually pay dividends: African-Americans, and especially African-American women.” POLITICO
— NATASHA KORECKI in Sioux City, Iowa: “‘The Democratic base is angry as hell’: Cory Booker’s message of love falls flat”: “Sen. Cory Booker launched a bid for the White House in February on a message of love and unity, painting himself as an inspirational leader who would help a polarized America find common ground. Just 10 weeks later, Booker is discovering that so far love just isn’t enough.
“Polling in the single digits and lagging top-tier competitors in fundraising, Booker this week sought to reboot his campaign, launching a ‘Justice For All’ two-week, national tour heavy on economic policy proposals and social justice messaging. In Iowa, he rolled out an expansive proposal for a new income tax credit and talked about the need for rural infrastructure investment. In Georgia, he unveiled a voting rights plan, vowing to make Election Day a national holiday and talked about restoring voting rights to ex-felons.
“The recent steps aim to invigorate a presidential bid that has underwhelmed some Democrats who are questioning whether Booker’s message is one that resonates in the Trump era.” POLITICO
THE LATEST ON NOTRE DAME — AP’S NICOLAS VAUX-MONTAGNY and SYLVIE CORBET in Paris: “The cathedral’s rector said a ‘computer glitch’ may have played a role in the rapidly spreading blaze that devastated the 850-year-old architectural masterpiece. Rector Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate on the exact nature of the glitch. ‘We may find out what happened in two or three months,’ he told local business leaders and construction workers.
“Newspaper Le Parisien reported that a computer bug could have misdirected firefighters responding to the initial fire alarm. The unsourced report said investigators are also looking into whether the fire was linked to temporary elevators being used in a renovation that was underway at the time the cathedral caught fire.” AP
NAHAL TOOSI, “‘Washington is a bit hysterical’: French envoy offers advice as he bids adieu: From ‘the ultimate bureaucrat’ Barack Obama to ‘it is what it is’ Donald Trump, the departing French ambassador [Gérard Araud] reflects on navigating D.C.”
FOR YOUR RADAR — NYT’S DAVID KIRKPATRICK: “Trump Endorses an Aspiring Libyan Strongman, Reversing Policy”
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — RENUKA RAYASAM and DAN GOLDBERG: “State Republicans challenge Democrats with ‘born-alive’ bills”: “Republican legislators across the country are rallying behind President Donald Trump’s efforts to link Democrats with ‘infanticide,’ daring Democratic governors to veto ‘born alive’ bills animating the party’s base before the 2020 elections.
“Bills approved by GOP-run legislatures in Montana and North Carolina this week would penalize health care providers for failing to care for an infant who survives an abortion attempt. The measures, which are also winding through legislatures in Texas and elsewhere, are being pushed by anti-abortion groups that quickly seized on bills in New York and Virginia aimed at loosening restrictions on third-trimester abortions.” POLITICO
DEEP DIVE — “Pete Buttigieg Fired South Bend’s Black Police Chief. It Still Stings,” by NYT’s Trip Gabriel and Alex Burns in South Bend, Ind.: “Pete Buttigieg had been mayor just 13 weeks when he faced a leadership crisis. It was March 2012, and 300 residents of South Bend, Ind., solemnly marched to the Martin Luther King Center to protest the killing in Florida of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin. A prominent figure at the demonstration was Darryl Boykins, South Bend’s first black police chief. Admired for teaching tennis and boxing to young people, he had been promoted to chief five years earlier after winning the respect of both black and white officers in a department that sometimes divided along racial lines.
“Mr. Buttigieg addressed the protesters, but seemed not to interact with Mr. Boykins. What no one in the crowd knew was that the police top brass were in turmoil — shaken by allegations that Mr. Boykins had improperly taped phone calls of senior white officers who were said to have used racist language, including about him.” NYT
SPY GAMES — “U.S. authorities make first arrest in mysterious raid of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain,” by WaPo’s John Hudson: “U.S. authorities have made the first arrest related to the mysterious raid of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain in which masked assailants tied up staff, stole computers and fled to the United States, according to two people familiar with the matter. On Thursday, federal authorities arrested Christopher Ahn, a former U.S. Marine and a member of Free Joseon, a group dedicated to the overthrow of North Korea’s Kim Dynasty.
“He appeared in a federal-district court in Los Angeles on Friday where his attorney requested that the case be sealed. The court ruled in the attorney’s favor over the government’s objections, a Justice Department spokesman said. Separately, federal agents raided the apartment of Adrian Hong, the leader of Free Joseon, said people familiar with the incident.” WaPo
MEDIAWATCH — AP: “Northern Irish police arrest 2 over killing of journalist,” by Gregory Katz and Naomi Koppel in London
— WSJ: “After 40 Years, C-Span’s Founder Signs Off,” by Kyle Peterson: “Brian Lamb, the man who put Congress on live television, reflects on the results and explains why the Supreme Court ought to be next.”
— Reid Epstein of the Wall Street Journal and Katie Glueck of McClatchy are joining the politics team at the New York Times.
CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker – 12 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
— “Guantánamo’s Darkest Secret,” by Ben Taub in The New Yorker: “The U.S. military prison’s leadership considered Mohamedou Salahi to be its highest-value detainee. But his guard suspected otherwise.” The New Yorker
— “Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A.,” by Mike Spies in The New Yorker and The Trace: “The organization’s leadership is focussed on external threats, but the real crisis may be internal.” The New Yorker
— “The Church of Living Dangerously: How One of America’s Biggest Pastors Became a Drug Runner for a Mexican Cartel,” by David Kushner in Vanity Fair: “He looked like Sammy Hagar, preached like Billy Graham, and brought a 350-pound tiger to church. Then he shot heroin with his son and was busted at the border for running drugs for a Mexican cartel.” VF
— “The UN and Israel in the Nikki Haley Era,” by Jon Lerner in Commentary: “The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations stood up to the most powerful anti-Israel organization in the world.” Commentary
— “What Cancer Takes Away,” by Anne Boyer in The New Yorker: “When I got sick, I warned my friends: Don’t try to make me stop thinking about death.” The New Yorker
— “Lost at Sea,” by Joe Kloc in Harper’s: “A few miles north of San Francisco, off the coast of Sausalito, is Richardson Bay, a saltwater estuary where roughly one hundred people live out of sight from the world. Known as anchor-outs, they make their homes a quarter mile from the shore, on abandoned and unseaworthy vessels, doing their best, with little or no money, to survive.” Harper’s (h/t Longform.org)
— “This Time Is Different: Why U.S. Foreign Policy Will Never Recover,” by Dan Drezner in Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs
— “Notes on Being Very Tall,” by Nicholas Kulish in Topic: “Being taller is perceived as impressive and imposing. But the benefits taper off in the upper reaches. Longevity gains start to reverse at 6 feet 2 inches: earnings stop increasing at 6 feet 6 inches. I can say with confidence that 6 feet 3 inches is the best height for a man. After that, every inch takes you further away from the attractive, and deeper into the realm of the freakish.” Topic (h/t TheBrowser.com)
— “The Truth About Dentistry,” by Ferris Jabr in May’s Atlantic: “It’s much less scientific—and more prone to gratuitous procedures—than you may think.” The Atlantic
— “The New Revolution in Military Affairs: War’s Sci-Fi Future,” by Chris Brose in Foreign Affairs: “The traditional model of U.S. military power is being disrupted, the way Blockbuster’s business model was amid the rise of Amazon and Netflix. A military made up of small numbers of large, expensive, heavily manned, and hard-to-replace systems will not survive on future battlefields.” Foreign Affairs
— “What’s New About Conspiracy Theories?” by The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert: “Outsiders have always had a weakness for paranoid fantasies. Now our leaders are conspiracists, too.” The New Yorker
— “How a tiny endangered species put a man in prison,” by Paige Blankenbuehler in High Country News – per Longreads.com’s description: “In Death Valley National Park lies Devils Hole: an aquifer-fed pool home to one of the rarest fish species in the world — the Devils Hole pupfish. The pupfish has been the center of controversy between conservationists dedicated to protecting the inch-long fish species and Nevadans who believe the fish isn’t worth sacrificing their right to pump water on their land. Trent Sargent learned about how well the pupfish is protected the hard way.” HCN
— “The Longest Wars: Richard Holbrooke and the Decline of American Power,” by George Packer in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “Holbrooke appears here as a brilliant grasper of political realities overseas, yet a clumsily ineffective operator at home. He alienates President Obama in their first conversation; the generals outflank him; he acquiesces to policies in Afghanistan that he privately thinks are doomed.” Foreign Affairs
SPOTTED: David Bossie walking into a Kenny Chesney concert on Friday at the Anthem theater – pic … French shipping magnate Sandy Safa, former chief of U.S. Naval Operations and four-star Ret. Adm. Gary Roughead and BGR Group founding partner Ed Rogers having dinner on Friday night at Le Tigrr in St. Tropez, France.
SPOTTED at a black tie Passover seder last night in Brookline, Mass. hosted by Romney and Treasury alum Michael Greenwald (pic): Paula Dobriansky, Cofer Black, Kerry Healey, Dana Al Fardan, Farah Pandith, Michelle Kosinski, Suzanne Kianpour, Kent Lucken, Barbara Greenwald, Marisa Greenwald Kenney and Keith Kenney, Stephen and Roxanne Petraeus, Jean Paul Engelen and Will Rich.
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Paul Blest, news editor for Splinter News (hat tip: Andrew Bates)
BIRTHDAYS OF THE DAY: Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent for Fox News. What she’s been reading recently: “‘A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II’ by Sonia Purnell, an excellent book about American spy Virginia Hall, who helped organize the resistance in France. The State Dept. had a rule that amputees could not become ambassadors so she became a spy. Her cover at first was as a reporter for the New York Post.” Playbook Plus Q&A
— Seth Unger, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at Treasury, is 4-0. Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: NBC News’ Carol E. Lee (h/t Anne Schroeder) … Cassidy Dumbauld of the White House … Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith is 53 … Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is 83 … retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is 99 … Marc Rotenberg, president and ED of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, is 59 … Mike Rubino is 28 … Colin Reed, managing director of Definers Public Affairs (h/ts Sarah Dolan and Lizzy Guyton) … Ben Proler (h/t Natalie Boyse) … former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) is 88 … Molly Ball, national political correspondent at TIME and CNN political analyst … Lee Moak … Joanna Coles (h/t Tammy) … The Guardian’s Emily Holden … POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, David Siders, Alix Fues and Liz Parsons … Daniela Plattner is 3-0 … Trevor K. Railey … Kyle Feldscher … Jon Daugherty … Chukwudi Motanya … Emily Rodriguez, director of comms at Bertelsmann Foundation North America … David Beauregard … Lee Ferran (h/t Jason Gorey) … Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) is 54… Josh Delaney …
… Brett McGurk, Payne distinguished lecturer at Stanford and foreign affairs analyst at NBC News and MSNBC, is 46 (h/t Heather Nauert) … Stu Trevelyan, CEO of NGP VAN … Ashley Woolheater … Garnett Decosimo … Ethan Susseles… former Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) is 43 … former Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) is 67 … Eric Bovim, managing director of SIGNAL Group, is 43 … Suzanne Struglinski … Melissa Manson, senior director at Hamilton Place Strategies … Patrick Collins, SVP for finance and administration at LCV … Heather Foster, VP at Widmeyer Communications … Mel Leonor … Edelman’s Chris Chopek … Yaniv Rivlin … Mary Springer Sforza … Karen McAfee … Lindsey Mask … Molly Born is 31 … Manny Ericta … Denise Gitsham … Shane Wolfe … Zachary Baum … Melanie Roe … Michael Layman … Rebecca Kasper … Leon Harris is 58 … Jessica Kamen … Michael Frohlich … Dennis Smith … Steve Brandes … Karen White … Alexa Bradley … Nicholl Caruso (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)
THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Austin:
“Meet the Press”: Rudy Giuliani … Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). Panel: Jonah Goldberg, Hallie Jackson, Joshua Jackson and Amy Walter
“This Week”: Kellyanne Conway … Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) … Mueller Report panel: Terry Moran and Pierre Thomas … panel: Rick Klein, Stephanie Cutter, Sara Fagen and Ayesha Rascoe
“Face the Nation”: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) … Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) (“Our Lost Declaration”) … Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) (taped). Panel: Lynne Olson, Susan Page, Evan Thomas and Robert Caro (guest-host: Bob Schieffer)
“State of the Union”: Rudy Giuliani … Preet Bharara … Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Panel: Barbara Comstock, Jennifer Granholm, Scott Jennings and Symone Sanders
“Fox News Sunday”: Rudy Giuliani … Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Panel: Jason Riley, Jane Harman, Gillian Turner and Bob Woodward
“Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) … Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) … Darrell Issa
“MediaBuzz”: Beverly Hallberg … Buck Sexton … Richard Fowler … Alan Dershowitz … Guy Benson … Sara Fischer
“Inside Politics”: Panel: Michael Shear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Manu Raju and Rachael Bade
“Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Robert S. Bennett and John Yoo … Susan Glasser and Andrey Kortunov … Bill McKibben (“Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”) … Joe Stiglitz (“People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent”)
“Reliable Sources”: Panel: Katie Rogers, Ezra Klein and Tim Naftali … April Ryan … Katelyn Polantz … Jay Rosen and Nicole Hemmer
“Al Punto”: Luis Gutiérrez and Adolfo Franco … Lydia Cacho … Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno … Rafael Fernández de Castro … Carolina Vela
“The Communicators”: Daphne Keller and Peter Fatelnig … “Newsmakers”: Matt Eyles, questioned by Jayne O’Donnell and Christopher Rowland … “Q&A”: High school students from the U.S. Senate Youth program
“Kasie DC”: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) … Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) … Frank Figliuzzi … Joyce Vance … Susan Page … Ken Dilanian … Phil Rucker … Yamiche Alcindor … Kayla Tausche … Brendan Buck
“Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or Stitcher or listen at MackOnPoliticsPodcast.com): David Harsanyi.
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