To: Vice President Joe Biden
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:00 AM EDT
Today's Table of Contents
Biden Rips Trump’s Agreement With Kim.
The Washington Times (6/12, Boyer) reports that former Vice President Joe Biden blasted President Trump’s “deal with North Korea on denuclearization Tuesday, saying Mr. Trump got taken to the cleaners by Kim Jong-un. ‘Talking to dictators is one thing; embracing them is another,’ Mr. Biden said” in a statement. He added, “So far, this is not a deal that advantages the United States or makes us safer.” Biden, “who hasn’t ruled out a bid for the presidency in 2020, said Mr. Trump’s deal has ‘reduced our leverage and signaled a weakening of our alliance in return for vague promises to begin nuclear negotiations – the same kind of promises that the North Korean regime has made to American presidents of both parties in the past – and broken repeatedly.’” The Los Angeles Times (6/12, Cloud) also reports Biden’s reaction – in a story headlined “Trump’s Decision To Halt Military Exercises With South Korea Leaves Pentagon And Allies Nervous” – and The Hill (6/12, Anapol) reported that Biden said Trump “gave Kim ‘many sought-after wins up front without getting anything in return.’” Biden “also argued that the deal between Trump and Kim shows an inappropriate embracing of a dictator, and that it does not make the US safer. ‘While we should never refuse to speak with our adversaries, neither can we ignore the horrendous human rights abuses North Korea’s leaders perpetrate against their own people,’ Biden said.”
Mediaite (6/12, Feldman) reported that Biden “is also troubled by the lack of prep Trump said he took in advance of the meeting: ‘By his own admission, the President did not prepare for the Singapore meeting – an inexcusable and irresponsible approach to a high-stakes negotiation. Going forward, I hope that the President and his team will focus on what’s necessary for our safety and security– – the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That is a goal we all share.’” On CNN’s Newsroom (6/12), host Brooke Baldwin read Biden’s statement.
Biden Says Democrats “Better Run Scared” In Midterms.
The Washington Examiner (6/12, Bedard) reported that former Vice President Joe Biden “is putting Democrats on notice that they be
tter ‘run scared’ to keep their jobs in the 2018 elections. ‘Pretend it’s Wednesday, November 7, 2018: the day after this year’s midterm elections. Now, pretend the headlines all say the Republicans held the House and the Senate,’ he said in an email to supporters.” Biden went on to write, “Now, I’m not saying we’re going to lose. But I learned a long time ago that you better run scared if you want to win.” Biden added “that he is confident in his party in the fall elections, but not overly. ‘We have to stay motivated; we better run scared. We won’t win if we don’t,’ he emailed to supporters of his group, American Possibilities.” National Review (6/12, McArdle) similarly reported on Biden’s email.
Beau Biden Recognized For His Work On Protecting Children From Child Abuse.
KYW-TV Philadelphia (6/12) reported that the National Children’s Alliance on Tuesday “recognized the late Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden for his commitment to protecting victims of child abuse. Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted the award in Washington on behalf of his son.” KYW-TV broadcast Biden saying, “It all came down to his passion to protect children. It’s the one thing that drove his public service. And it’s why this matters so much to our family that you recognized it.” WFOR-TV Miami (6/12) broadcast Biden making the same remark, and added that he “also said Americans don’t take enough about preventing sexual abuse, especially in the wake of several prominent sex-abuse scandals.” WSHM-TV Springfield (MA)'s CBS 3 News (6/12) also reported on the award honoring Beau Biden.
Local TV Stations Highlight Biden’s Slated Stop In Charlotte Today.
This morning, WSOC-TV Charlotte, NC (6/13) reports that former Vice President Joe Biden today “will be in Charlotte as part of his ‘American Promise Tour.’ He’ll discuss the biggest political moments of his career, the life altering choices he made and what has helped him get through some of the toughest times. Former Charlotte Mayor and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx will join Biden. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Belk Theatre.” WCNC-TV Charlotte, NC (6/13) and WXII-TV Winston-Salem, NC (6/13) this morning similarly report on Biden’s scheduled stop in Charlotte.
Trump Touts “Great Progress” On North Korea To Media Skepticism, Democratic Criticism.
Following his historic Singapore summit, President Trump tweeted yesterday, “Heading back home from Singapore after a truly amazing visit. Great progress was made on the denuclearization of North Korea. Hostages are back home, will be getting the remains of our great heroes back to their families, no missiles shot, no research happening, sites closing...” He later added, “Got along great with Kim Jong-un who wants to see wonderful things for his country. As I said earlier today: Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace!”
Further, Trump tweeted this morning, “Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” He added in a second tweet this morning, “Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!” In a later tweet this morning, Trump added, “We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!”
The summit, however, sparked widespread skepticism from the media, which criticized the joint statement signed by the leaders as too vague, and generally cast Trump as having accomplished little. In fact, the coverage is so skeptical that Axios (6/12, Shin) ran an analysis pointing out to its readers that “denuclearization could still happen despite Trump’s lack of a plan.” Reuters (6/12, Spetalnick), however, says the summit “appears to have failed to secure any concrete commitments by Pyongyang for dismantling its nuclear arsenal,” while to Bloomberg News (6/12, Talev, Olorunnipa) the meeting “was unquestionably a success – for Kim.” Another Bloomberg News (6/12, Wadhams) analysis says that the “biggest winner” – aside from Kim – was the government of President Xi Jinping. The AP (6/12, Talmadge) reports that “probably even his own surprise,” Kim “got” what he wanted out of Trump “and a whole lot more,” and the Washington Post (6/12, Hudson) cites “experts” who state the North Korea deals brokered by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were far stronger than the agreement and diplomatic process touted by Trump, and that the Administration handed Kim a big win by agreeing to the summit.
Democrats were of the similar mind. As USA Today (6/12, Gaudiano) reports, “Democratic congressional leaders blasted...Trump...for granting concessions to...Kim...in exchange for a deal to work toward ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ that offered scant details on how to achieve it.” Whereas “Republican leaders reacted with cautious optimism,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer said yesterday, “Trump has granted a brutal and repressive dictatorship the international legitimacy it has long craved.” House Minority Leader Pelosi similarly stated, “In his haste to reach an agreement...Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime’s status quo.” Sen. Robert Menendez, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN’s The Lead (6/12), “This is the most anemic communique that has ever come out of a US-North Korea engagement. Very little substance on anything. ... All we got here was a promise for more promises and we’ve been down that road before.”
Townhall (6/12, Brown) highlights the Democratic leaders’ criticism, while Breitbart (6/12, Poor) points out that on CNN’s Inside Politics (6/12), Dana Bash “suggested there is a double standard to the extent there would be a call for impeachment a Democratic president engaging in the style of diplomacy in which Trump has engaged with...Kim.” Said Bash, “There would be a call for impeachment.” Along similar lines, media analyses are uniformly critical both of Trump and of the signed agreement. Mark Landler writes in a New York Times (6/12) analysis that the statement “was as skimpy as the summit was extravagant. It called for the ‘complete denuclearization’ of the Korean Peninsula but provided neither a timeline nor any details about how the North would go about relinquishing its weapons.” The Wall Street Journal (6/12, Bender, Gordon, Cheng) reports that Trump failed to secure specific new commitments from Kim – even as he launched a new phase of personal diplomacy.
NBC Nightly News (6/12, lead story, 5:15, Holt) said “the accomplishments of their first face-to-face meeting are being held up to the light, especially what wasn’t in” the agreement Kim and Trump signed. ABC World News Tonight (6/12, lead story, 4:55, Muir) reported that “Trump headed home today, confident the biggest gamble of his presidency had paid off,” but the agreement he and Kim signed is “short on specifics.” The White House “acknowledges there’s a lot of details to workout.” The CBS Evening News (6/12, lead story, 4:10, Glor) said a “jubilant” Trump left Singapore “with what he said was an historic new relationship with North Korea and a commitment from” Kim “to eventually give up nuclear weapons.” Margaret Brennan said on the CBS Evening News (6/12, story 3, 2:55, Glor) that Trump “gave himself a lot of wiggle room today” by saying, “I may stand up here I six months and say, ‘hey, I was wrong.’” But the President “also gave the North Koreans room to maneuver as well.”
The Washington Post (6/12, Nakamura, Rucker, Fifield, Gearan) says that at “just over a page long,” the statement “was perhaps most notable for its lack of details.” Kim, it says, “made no specific commitment to relinquish his nuclear arms and ballistic missiles and gave no timeline for which he would do so. Rather, he committed solely to abiding by a mostly symbolic agreement he had made during a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April.” Asked why his negotiating team had not locked down specific promises from Pyongyang, Trump replied: “Because there’s no time. I’m here one day ... But the process is now going to take place.”
Under the headline “Trump, Kim Claim Big Summit Success, But Details Are Scant,” the AP (6/12, Miller, Lucey, Lederman, Klug) says the statement “largely amounts to an agreement to continue discussions, echoing previous public statements and commitments.” Still, the two leaders “left Singapore Tuesday, praising their face-to-face progress.” During a press conference after the talks, Trump “acknowledged that denuclearization won’t happen overnight,” but contended, “Once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over.”
The Los Angeles Times (6/12, Kim) characterizes the framework as “a vaguely worded agreement that contained no concrete plan for disarmament.” While the Times concedes the agreement “is no small achievement considering that the two leaders were threatening each other with nuclear war last summer...it was far less than the ambitious arms control deal Trump hoped to gain when he agreed to the summit in March.” CNN (6/11, Liptak) similarly says Tuesday’s “unprecedented” talks “culminated...with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament.” USA Today (6/12, Jackson) notes the agreement “did not provide specifics about what Kim means by ‘denuclearization.’”
The Washington Free Beacon (6/12, Gertz), however, says that while the “historic meeting...failed to produce a dramatic breakthrough,” it did “set the stage for future talks on what was billed as a new relationship.” To the AP (6/12, Lemire, Pennington), moreover, Trump staged “a shift from the nation’s asserted stance as the globe’s moral leader” and “a sharp break from the position of presidents from both parties to set America as the exemplar shining city on a hill for other nations to emulate.” The AP analysis adds that “it has been much the same at home,” as when “he pointedly refused to exclusively blame neo-Nazis and white supremacists for last summer’s deadly clash with anti-racist demonstrators.”
James Hohmann writes in a Washington Post (6/12) analysis that Trump “expressed a bewilderingly high degree of confidence” after Tuesday’s meeting with Kim. Trump told reporters, “My whole life has been deals. I know when somebody wants a deal. … I just feel very strongly – my instinct… – they want to make a deal.” Hohmann, however, says the President “is giving someone the benefit of the doubt who has done little or nothing to earn it.”
Ben Tracy reported on the CBS Evening News (6/12, story 2, 1:20, Glor) that “the front page of the newspaper in North Korea today...is covered with pictures of Kim...with President Trump. And that’s one of the big things that Kim...got out of this. He looks like a confident world leader on the world stage. He doesn’t look like the leader of an isolated nation.”
A USA Today (6/12, Korte) analysis, meanwhile, says Tuesday’s summit “hearkens back to a bygone era of high-risk summits where the outcome is not preordained,” but it “suits” Trump’s “negotiating style: Size up your adversary, establish a rapport and make a deal.” Ted Anthony writes for the AP (6/12) that the summit “is being vigorously debated across the planet for what it did, what it didn’t do and who emerged on top. ... But what if that’s not the whole point? What if, on a sunny tropical morning in Singapore, the spectacle itself was the most substantial thing of all?”
Kim Accepts Trump’s Invite To Washington. The New York Post (6/12, Hicks) reports that “fresh off the Singapore summit,” Kim “has accepted...Trump’s invitation to visit Washington.” The Daily Caller (6/12, Pickrell) reports the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim invited Trump “to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time and Trump invited Kim Jong Un to visit the US. ... The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitation.”
Trump Reiterates Optimism About Denuclearization, US-North Korea Ties. Tru
mp took to Twitter again later on Tuesday, writing, “There is no limit to what NoKo can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce & engagement w/ the world. Chairman Kim has before him the opportunity to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security & prosperity for his citizens!” He later added, “I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting – the first between an American President and a leader of North Korea – proves that real change is possible! ... The World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe! No more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research! The hostages are back home with their families. Thank you to Chairman Kim, our day together was historic!”
During an interview with George Stephanopoulos for ABC’s Good Morning America (6/12) after the summit, moreover, Trump said, “They are going to get rid of their nuclear weapons, and...I think they want to do it relatively quickly. ... I think they will. I really believe that [Kim] will. I’ve gotten to know him well in a short period of time. ... He’s denuking the whole place and he’s going to start very quickly. I think he’s going to start now.” In an interview conducted in Singapore after Tuesday’s summit and aired Tuesday night, Trump said on Fox News’ Hannity (6/12) that without the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, “we could not have had a deal. We want to de-nuke the entire peninsula. We want to de-nuke that whole situation – that is hotbed and you know what has been happening for years and nobody did anything about it. You have to, we have no choice. We had to. The relationship was really good. ... I talked about early on in the relationship and the feeling, well, we had a really good feel right from the beginning and we were able to get something very important done and actually some things happened after that was signed, where we are getting rid of certain missile research areas and certain missile testing sites, we are getting rid of a lot.”
The Washington Times (6/12, Boyer) reports that Trump also told Sean Hannity that “he’s certain that his warlike rhetoric last year against...Kim...convinced Mr. Kim to negotiate over giving up his nuclear weapons.” Trump told Fox News’ Hannity (6/12), “Without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here, I really believe that. We did sanctions and all the things that you would do but I think without the rhetoric, other administrations, I don’t want to get specific on that, but they had a policy of silence. If they said something very bad, very threatening and horrible, just don’t answer. That’s not the answer. That’s not what you have to do. I think that rhetoric, I hated to do it. Sometimes I felt foolish doing it. But we had no choice.”
Trump Called Into Senate GOP Lunch To Discuss Summit. The Hill (6/12, Carney) reports Trump “called into the Senate GOP lunch from Air Force One on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, according to a senator who attended the gathering.” Sen. John Barrasso told reporters after the caucus lunch, “We just got off the phone with the President of the United States from Air Force One on his plane back from Singapore. He sounded confident and upbeat, as he should.”
Republicans Offer “Measured Praise,” Rubio Slams Media “Hypocrisy” Over Summit Coverage. Meanwhile, says the Washington Post (6/12, Wagner, Debonis), “leading Republicans in Congress offered measured praise...of...Trump’s high-profile summit” even as “they emphasized the difficult road” ahead. Along those lines, the AP (6/12, Kellman) notes that Senate Majority Leader McConnell, meanwhile, hailed the meeting as a “major first step.” Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post (6/12) that “Republican lawmakers filled Twitter with applause emojis for Trump after he did the very thing they denounced Obama for even suggesting.” Democrats, “were they inclined to be demagogic, could have attacked Trump for sitting down with a murderous dictator. Most didn’t.” There is an “asymmetrical partisanship in our current politics: Republicans are blithely hypocritical in praising Trump for doing the same thing they blasted Obama for suggesting, but at least some Democrats retain enough integrity not to dismiss diplomacy just because it is being attempted by their opponent.”
The New York Times (6/12, Fandos) reports, however, that “lawmakers from both parties...greeted the joint agreement...coolly on Tuesday,” and “even some Republicans who have largely declined to challenge the president” on this issue saying “it was unclear what, if anything, had been gained by the United States.” The Times backs up that assertion by quoting Sens. Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham, who “called the talks a good ‘first step’ but little more.” Graham told NBC’s Today (6/12, Guthrie), “I don’t think canceling a war game is going to matter over the arc of time,” though “one thing I would violently disagree with is removing our troops. I can’t imagine I would vote for any agreement that requires us to withdraw our forces because that would destabilize Asia.”
The Washington Times (6/12, Chasmar) reports Sen. Marco Rubio “on Tuesday slammed American media for their ‘hypocrisy’ in covering...Trump’s historic meeting with...Kim.” Taking to Twitter, “Rubio said the media’s coverage of the meeting again exposed a double standard in how they cover the Republican president compared to his liberal predecessor, Barack Obama.” Rubio tweeted, “I too have concerns about how all this with #NorthKorea will turn out,” but “I don’t recall all the ‘experts’ criticizing Obama when he met with a brutal dictator in #Cuba who also oversaw a police state & also killed & jailed his opponents. #DoubleStandard” He added, “Presidents meeting with #KJU exposed incredible hypocrisy of many in media. ... When Obama did these things, he was described as enlightened. When Trump does it he is reckless & foolish. 1 yr ago they attacked Trump for leading us towards war, now attack for being too quick for peace.”
Author Paul Brandus writes in USA Today (6/12), “Here’s how hyperpartisan our bizarro world has become: Many of the same folks who, a few years ago, blasted...Obama for going to Cuba and for working with other global powers to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, are gushing over the fact that...Trump just flew 10,000 miles to meet with Kim,” and “conversely, if you praised Obama’s actions then, there’s a good chance you’ve been critical of Trump’s now.”
Sanders, Gabbard Break With Democrats On Summit. In what Breitbart (6/12, Binder) calls “a revolt against the Democratic Party establishment,” Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) “praised Trump’s summit with Kim,” calling it an “important first step” towards peace and a “positive step in de-escalating tensions.”
Editorial Pages Critical Of Trump. Criticism of Trump is also the norm in today’s editorial pages. The Washington Post (6/12) editorializes that the summit “was, without question, a triumph for Kim,” who “was able to parade on the global stage as a legitimate statesman, praised by the president of the United States as ‘very talented’ and worthy of trust.” Washington Post (6/12) columnist Max Boot writes that Kim “won an invaluable propaganda windfall” after being “recognized as an equal by the leader of the world’s sole superpower – not just an equal, indeed, but a valued friend.” The New York Times (6/12) editorializes that “Trump has made major concessions, while Mr. Kim made fewer commitments than North Korea has made to past administrations and merely reaffirmed a goal of ‘denuclearization’ that North Korea first announced in 1992.” And as Trump “gushed about the virtues of the North Korean dictator, just a day after he savaged some of America’s closest democratic allies, he even endorsed the North Korean view of such joint exercises” with South Korea “as ‘provocative.’” To Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times (6/12), meanwhile, “it sure looks as if...Trump was hoodwinked in Singapore.”
The Wall Street Journal (6/12) also expresses skepticism in its editorial, indicating that for all of Trump’s faith in North Korean denuclearization, so far there was been little evidence that Kim is indeed willing to move forward with his commitment.
Less critical was an editorial in the Los Angeles Times (6/12), which says Trump has “de-escalated the rhetoric dramatically” and “may have begun a process that will succeed in reining in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions,” but “for all the spectacle, the meeting was at best a down payment on that change.” Along similar lines, USA Today (6/12) editorializes that that “the world has certainly come a long way since last year,” that the summit was “a welcome relief from all the warmongering,” and that “the agreement signed by Kim and Trump was historic and potentially groundbreaking.” However, “the sense of hopefulness emerging from the summit, however, has to be leavened with a heavy dose of skepticism.”
In a second editorial, the New York Times (6/12) writes that “as a model for diplomacy, the Singapore Summit had its highs and lows. But as a platform for displaying the singular performance art of Donald Trump, it was a solid 10.” The Times adds that “if Mr. Trump can crack this nut, he’ll surely get the adulation – not to mention the Nobel Peace Prize – that he is so desperate for.”
Suspension Of “War Games” Sparks More Criticism. Reports also cast Trump’s decision
to suspend joint US-South Korean “war games” as a concession that took Seoul by surprise. The New York Times (6/12, Landler) reports Trump’s decision to suspend the war games, which it calls “a major concession,” “appeared to take South Korea by surprise.” Reuters (6/12, Holland) calls it “an unexpected concession to the North,” and the AP (6/12, Klug) says the decision “rocked the region with the stunning announcement.” It adds that Trump’s “surprise, almost offhand” remarks “contradicted countless previous declarations by US political and military officials over the years that the drills are routine, defensive and absolutely critical.” The Los Angeles Times (6/12, Kim) reports Trump told reporters that halting the drills would save “a lot of money” and he called them “provocative,” a “complaint North Korea often made.”
The Washington Times (6/12, Boyer) and Politico (6/12, Cook, Nelson, Toosi), among others, similarly report the move, which Politico says caught “South Korea and US military officials by surprise” and drew “criticism that he was giving away too much for little in return.” The New York Times (6/12, Choe) says Trump’s remarks “apparently blindsided South Korea.” The office of President Moon Jae-in and the Defense Ministry in Seoul both said they were scrambling to “figure out the exact meaning and intentions in President Trump’s comments.” ABC World News Tonight (6/12, story 3, 1:30, Muir) too said the South Korean Defense Ministry was “caught off-guard, saying there was a need to discern the exact meaning and intent of President Trump’s comments.” However, a second ABC World News Tonight (6/12, story 11, 1:40, Muir) segment said “there were cheers in South Korea” on Tuesday.
NBC Nightly News (6/12, story 2, 2:05, Holt) reported that Trump “not only surprised the South Koreans but US forces in the region, too.” NBC (Engel) added that American forces in South Korea “said they... received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises.”
Trump told Fox News’ Hannity (6/12) later on Tuesday, “One of the things that I’m very happy about, we are not going to play the war games anymore. You know how expensive that is? We are flying these massive bombers in for practice from Guam? ... I hate to sound like a pure businessman, but I kept saying, what is this costing? I look at them coming in from the sea and bombs exploding, and I said what does this cost? I don’t even want to tell you, but it’s a lot. So we are not going to be doing that as long as we are negotiating in good faith, which I think we will be.”
On CNN’s New Day (6/12), Jim Sciutto said, “There’s a clear imbalance in specifics. The US has made very specific commitments to end the exercises. The President even brought up withdrawing US troops from the peninsula, a security guarantee to...South Korea. That’s very specific.” Sciutto added that, on the other hand, North Korea “gave no specifics on a timeline for denuclearization, [and] no specifics on how that will be verified over time.” Likewise, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe (6/12), Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said that a “concerning” aspect of the framework is that North Korea “talked aspirationally about ‘denuclearization,’” while the US “offered up something tangible, which was the suspension of all military exercises.”
The Washington Post (6/12, Kim), meanwhile, says Trump’s decision to halt the joint military exercises also “touched off confusion on Capitol Hill as an influential GOP senator asserted the exercises would nonetheless continue. That was apparently the message delivered by Vice President Pence to Senate Republicans during a private lunch earlier Tuesday,” according to Sen. Cory Gardner,” although that was immediately disputed by Pence’s office.” Gardner told reporters, “I think what the vice president said today – and we’ll continue to clarify what the President had talked about – exercises will continue with South Korea.”
Gloria Borger said on CNN’s Situation Room (6/12), “You had confusion on Capitol Hill about what this really meant. You had confusion about whether we were, in fact, going to stop exercises or so-called war games. You saw the Vice President trying to talk to Senate Republicans and the Republicans leaving confused about what would actually occur.”
WPost: Japanese Officials “Appeared Satisfied.” The Washington Post (6/12, Murphy, Oda) reports Japan “was left Tuesday without what it wanted most from the Singapore summit: a clear declaration that North Korea would reopen talks over the abductions of Japanese citizens decades ago.” Nevertheless, Japanese officials “appeared satisfied with what they got: President Trump’s public promise that he raised the issue with...Kim...and that the North was ‘working on that.’”
China, Russia Looking To Loosen Sanctions Against North Korea. The CBS Evening News (6/12, story 2, 1:20, Glor) that China – which is “quite happy” about the “cessation of those military exercises” since it’s something Beijing has “asked for for a long time” – is also “floating the idea of easing sanctions on North Korea before there really is big progress.” National security analyst Samantha Vinograd said on CNN’s Situation Room (6/12), “I think it is unknowable right now what the United States will gain, but what we do know is that there were clear winners here. Russia and China won out after the summit because the United States announced we that would be rolling back our military operations in the region, that has been a goal of Russia and China, and that we would engage in the diplomatic process further.”
Trump Showed Kim Video Of Possible Future For North Korea. The New York Times (6/12, Rich) reports Trump used an iPad to show Kim “a slick, bombastic video – essentially a Hollywood-style trailer presenting the North’s possible future, featuring fighter jets and missile launches cut together with images of dancing children, artisanal pizza and time-lapse sunrises over skyscrapers.” The video – “which the White House also showed to the traveling press corps before Mr. Trump answered questions at a rambling news conference – showcased the president’s reality television sensibility.” According to the Washington Times (6/12, Boyer), the video depicted Kim and Trump “as two men who could change the course of history.”
The AP (6/12, Thomas, Miller) reports the video was “reminiscent of a movie trailer” and “shows images of warplanes and artillery while a narrator suggests in English and Korean that ‘a new world can begin today, one of friendship, respect and goodwill.’” Trump said, “We had it made up. I showed it to him today, actually during the meeting, toward the end of the meeting and I think he loved it.” Trump said the video “was played for about eight members of the North Korean delegation, ‘and I thought they were fascinated by it.’” According to the Washington Post (6/12, Selk), reporters who viewed the video initially assumed it was North Korean propaganda.
Trump Instructed US Diplomats To Seek POW Deal. The Washington Post (6/12, Rein, Hudson) reports that “nestled” in Tuesday’s joint statement “was a short bullet point that addresses a long-running concern of US veterans groups: the recovery of the remains of thousands of American troops who were killed or captured in North Korea during the Korean War.” The Post says the statement “represents a significant victory for veterans groups that lobbied forcefully behind the scenes for a renewed effort to recover remains.” Ahead of the summit, Secretary of State Pompeo told his negotiating team, led by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, that the POW issue is important to Trump, and he “instructed Kim to negotiate for it,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
Trump told Fox News’ Hannity (6/12), “One of the things I will to you that I’m most happy about, and as you know is a big sticking point, is bringing back the remains of thousands of soldiers that were killed. ... I said, would it be possible because I get letters all the time from families who lost a son, lost a brother, lots of father in Korea. That was a rough fight. ... I get so many letters from people who lost a loved one in North Korea essentially...and I would say, I am going to try.’ And I brought it up and I tell you what, it was almost immediate. Now in the past, you couldn’t even talk about it. But it was really a nice response.”
Media Analyses: Trump Mostly Mum On Human Rights. NBC Nightly News (6/12, story 3, 2:25, Holt) reported, “One issue that did not receive much discussion during this summit was the brutal reality of life in North Korea.” The Washington Post (6/12, Nakamura) reports that while “galvanizing international condemnation of North Korea last year,” Trump “often invoked the authoritarian nation’s brutal mistreatment of foreign prisoners and its own people.” But on Tuesday, Trump “didn’t mention human rights in his opening remarks” at his press conference, and the issue “wasn’t included in a joint statement signed by the two leaders.” Major Garrett similarly said on the CBS Evening News (6/12, lead story, 4:10, Glor), “Last year, the President called North Korea with its abysmal human rights record ‘wicked and depraved.’ Today, he said he trusts the dynastic young dictator after just one face-to-face meeting.” Trump: “He’s smart. He loves his people. He loves his country. He wants a lot of good things, and that’s why he’s doing this.”
ABC World News Tonight (6/12, story 2, 3:35, Muir) reported on Trump’s interview with George Stephanopoulos, who asked how he can trust a “brutal dictator” like Kim. Trump replied in part: “I can only tell you from my experience, and...I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him. ... I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea.”
Hannity: Summit Exceeded Administration’s Expectations. On Fox News’ Fox & Friends (6/12), Hannity described his interview with Trump last night, and said that after seeing the President, Pompeo, Chief of Staff Kelly, and National Security Adviser Bolton, “it was obvious this had exceeded all of their expectations,” and “it was very obvious everybody felt really good about it, especially the President.”
Commentators Note Change In Tone In US-North Korean Ties. Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group said on CBS This Morning (6/12, O'Donnell), “The biggest win is that six months ago we were talking about the possibility of military preemption against North Korea. It’s almost inconceivable now that there’s a short-term risk of military conflict.” However, Bremmer added, “It’s a very high bar to go from here to ‘complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.’”
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe (6/12), Victor Cha, former Asia director at the National Security Council, said, “If we weren’t doing this we would probably be near an armed conflict. That’s certainly where we were headed in December of 2017. So, in that sense, yes, this is a good first start in terms of the diplomacy, but there’s still a very long way to go. And if you look at the balance sheet, it seems like Kim got a lot more out of this meeting than Trump did.” Appearing on NBC’s Today (6/12, Kotb), Cha said, “What we got was a very broad statement, which will require negotiations to try to put some meat on the bones. But the statements on denuclearization, which we care about the most as Americans, are so broad, you can drive a truck through them.”
Cha also writes today in the New York Times (6/12, Cha) that Trump deserves “credit. Only five months ago, based on my conversations with this administration, I thought we were headed down an inexorable path toward a devastating war.” He says “Trump’s diplomacy, however unconventional, has pierced the isolation bubble of the North Korean leadership, which no previous president could do,” and adds that “despite its many flaws, the Singapore summit represents the start of a diplomatic process that takes us away from the brink of war.”
Gerald F. Seib argues in the Wall Street Journal (6/12) that the prospects for Tuesday’s summit turning into lasting change rest on whether Kim is prepared to shift away from a quest for more powerful arms into a quest for a more powerful economy.
Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, write for USA Today (6/12) that the summit “offers a moment of cautious hope,” but “we should have no illusions that the denuclearization effort would be simple. There is no precedent for a country with a nuclear arsenal and infrastructure as substantial as North Korea’s to give up its nuclear weapons program.” They urge President Trump to “resist the urge to abandon diplomacy and to return to irresponsible threats” if “early results are not fully satisfactory.”
Trump Campaign Manager: CNN’s Acosta Should Lose Credentials. The Washington Post (6/12, Wagner) reports Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, on Tuesday called for CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta to have his media credentials pulled “for asking questions while Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were signing an agreement at their Singapore summit.” Parscale tweeted, “Jim @Acosta should immediately have his press credentials suspended. He is an absolute disgrace!” The Post notes that as Trump and Kim were signing the document in front of a small group of reporters, Acosta asked: “Mr. President, did he agree to denuclearize?”
Politico: Trump Places “Big Midterm Bet” On Trade, North Korea. Politico (6/12, Cadelago, White) says that “to President Donald Trump’s camp, his scorched-earth challenge to key US allies over trade and his valedictory denuclearization pact with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un amount to a compelling midterm pitch.” Politico, however, cautions that the President’s “big moves of the past few days also represent a giant bet that he can keep his negotiating partners at the table between now and November.”
Dan Balz writes for the Washington Post (6/12) that Trump “is now embarked on two ambitious foreign policy initiatives – redrawing the rules of international trade and defanging a nuclear-armed North Korea – that represent significant personal gambles. The question is, can he gain something politically from these efforts in the absence of demonstrable accomplishments?” Balz argues that Trump’s “biggest gamble could be his confidence that his unorthodox approach, regardless of the outcomes, will produce tangible political dividends for 2018 and especially 2020.”
White House Thanks Rodman For Being “Helpful” In North Korea. The New York Post (6/12, Tacopino) reports White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders” thanked Dennis Rodman for his ‘positive’ comments and being ‘helpful’” in bringing Trump and Kim together. In a phone call Monday, Sanders is quoted as telling Rodman, “The President had seen some of your comments over the last several days. He just wanted me to reach out and thank you for some of the positive things you said and appreciate you being helpful in this process.”
USA Today’s Robbins: “Anti-Trump Mania” Driving Media Narrative. James S. Robbins, writing for USA Today (6/12), “Last fall,” Trump and Kim “were trading personal insults and threatening nuclear war. Fast-forward to the Singapore summit, and the two men are smiling and talking on the Island of Tranquility. Just like that, peace broke out.” While “there has been no lack of criticism of the summit...anti-Trump mania drives most of the critical narrative, rather than a reasoned analysis of strategic opportunity.”
Margaret Sullivan, meanwhile, writes for the Washington Post (6/12) that “although every legitimate news organization made efforts, some better than others, to bring context and even a measure of skepticism into their mix of stories, the event overall was a triumph of Trumpian stagecraft. And the media played its accustomed role.” Sullivan says that “to their credit, news organizations tried to bring context to the pageantry, but it was largely lost.”
Trump: Trudeau’s Criticism Of US Tariffs Will “Cost Him A Lot Of Money.”
Pamela Brown reported on CNN’s Situation Room (6/12) that President Trump is “waiving off concerns he’s favoring America’s enemies over allies following discord at the G-7” this weekend. “However,” Brown continued, Trump “did call out Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for criticizing US tariffs” at the end of the G-7 summit, with Trump calling Trudeau “quote, ‘obnoxious.’” CNN also showed Trump telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “I actually like Justin. ... But he shouldn’t have done that. That was a mistake that will cost him a lot of money.” ABC World News Tonight (6/12, story 4, 2:15, Muir) also reported that “just hours after heaping praise on North Korea’s dictator,” Trump “escalated his war of words with...Trudeau, declaring Canadians would pay a price.” On Tuesday though, Trudeau “insisted the President’s tariffs will end up hurting Americans.” Trudeau was shown saying, “This is not in the interest of two countries that have the closest and best trading relationship and alliance in the history of the world. We’re gonna continue to stand for that.” Fox News Special Report (6/12) reported that Navarro “says his language was inappropriate.”
Navarro Apologizes For “Special Place In Hell” Comment. ABC World News Tonight (6/12, story 4, 2:15, Muir) reported that while Trump is “not backing away from this fight,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro “apologized to...Trudeau” after saying this weekend that “there’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with...Trump.” The AP (6/12) reports that Navarro said Tuesday during a Wall Street Journal conference, “Let me correct a mistake I made...In conveying that message I used language that was inappropriate.” Politico (6/12, Cassella) quotes Navarro as adding, “My mission was to send a strong signal of strength. ... The problem is that in conveying that message I used language that was inappropriate.” The New York Times (6/12, Rappeport) notes Navarro also said, “I own that, that was my mistake, those were my words.” The Wall Street Journal (6/12, Mauldin) says Navarro made it clear his remarks referred to Trudeau.
The Hill (6/12, Samuels) says Navarro “apologized” after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said his Sunday remarks were “particularly appropriate or useful,” and after a “number of US lawmakers” and other foreign officials like European Council President Donald Tusk “were quick to condemn” his comments. According to Bloomberg News (6/12, Leonard, Pickert), “Navarro’s apology could ease tensions after Canada’s parliament condemned the personal attack on Trudeau and as Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland gets ready to meet with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday in Washington.” Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the committee, “said on Tuesday that he’s ‘glad’ that Navarro admitted that he misspoke.”
However, Reuters (6/12) reports that “Canada reacted coolly to the apology, with Trudeau declining to answer when reporters asked him whether he accepted it.” The Washington Post (6/12, Wagner) notes that Navarro’s “broadside against Trudeau followed Trump’s decision over the weekend to pull the US endorsement of a Group of Seven economic agreement” after Trump took “umbrage over comments made by Trudeau about the need for Canada to stand up to the United States on trade tariffs.”
Corker Chides GOP Colleagues After His Tariff Measure Is Blocked In Senate. The Hill (6/12, Carney) reports legislation authored by Sen. Bob Corker “reining in President Trump’s tariff authority was blocked from getting a vote in the Senate on Tuesday.” Corker “tried to bring up his bill and schedule a vote but was blocked” by Sen. James Inhofe, “who is managing the defense bill for Republicans.” Inhofe “noted he had talked to members of the House, who were ‘strenuously’ objecting to the inclusion of Corker’s amendment in the defense policy bill.” The Washington Post (6/12, Werner) says “the leadership move, which blocked Corker from including his legislation as an amendment on a pending defense bill, probably killed it for good – and with it, Congress’s best chance of taking any action to confront Trump on trade.”
Bloomberg News (6/12, Litvan) reports that Corker, “who is retiring in January, is increasingly open about his frustrations with Trump’s trade and other policies,” and “on the Senate floor, Corker accused Republicans lawmakers of being afraid to ‘poke the bear’ when they find themselves on the other side of the president.” The AP (6/12, Freking) recounts that “sounding exasperated, Corker said Republican senators overwhelmingly agree with the concept behind his bill, but are afraid of upsetting the president.” Said Corker, “We might poke the bear is the language I’ve been hearing in the hallways. ... The United States Senate right now on June 12th is becoming a body where, well, we’ll do what we can do, but my gosh if the President gets upset with us, then we might not be in the majority, so let’s not doing anything that might upset the President.”
The Washington Examiner (6/12, Weaver) reports that “as his voice went up an octave,” Corker added yesterday, “I can’t believe it!” Reuters (6/12, Zengerle) also says “Corker accused his fellow Republicans of being afraid to stand up to...Trump,” and USA Today (6/12, Collins) that he “chastised his fellow Republicans.”
Trump May Impose China Tariffs As Soon As Friday. Politico (6/12, Behsudi) reports two sources briefed on internal deliberations say that, in a move “sure to further inflame tensions and spark almost immediate retaliation,” Trump “is expected to impose tariffs on Chinese goods as soon as Friday or next week.” This “aggressive stance calls into question the future of talks between the two trade powers.” After the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which “China was seen as playing a key role” in making happen, Trump “said Beijing has not done an adequate job closing its border to trade with North Korea in recent months, which Trump seemed to blame for rising U.S.-China trade tensions.” On Friday, the Administration plans to publish a list of Chinese goods that will be affected by tariffs, and Trump “may choose to use the publication of the list on Friday as the latest shot across China’s bow” instead of actually implementing the tariffs.
Ross: ZTE Legislation Not Guaranteed To Become Law. Bloomberg News (6/12, Shields) reports that at an event in Washington on Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Ross “said ‘we’ll see’ when asked about plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, as the US prepares to reveal its list of final targets this week.” Ross “also said that legislation that would restore penalties on the China’s ZTE Corp. is not a certainty as the measure still needs final approval.” White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett, meanwhile, said President Trump “is ‘very serious’ about China addressing its alleged IP abuses and forced technology transfers.” Reuters (6/12) reports that ZTE “said trading in its shares would resume on Wednesday, ending a two-month suspension, after the Chinese telecommunications giant agreed to pay up to $1.4 billion in penalties to the U.S. government and radically overhaul its management.”
Rouhani Asks Macron For Action To Save Nuclear Deal.
Reuters (6/12, Irish, Sharafedin) reports Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “warned world powers on Tuesday that it was impossible for Tehran to stay in the nuclear deal if it cannot benefit from the accord after the US withdrawal.” In a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Rouhani “said he was satisfied with Europe’s stance, especially French efforts to salvage the 2015 deal,” but that “such statements should be combined with actions and tangible measures.” Iranian state media quoted him as saying, “If Iran cannot benefit from the deal, then it’s practically impossible to stay in the accord.”
State Department: Iranian Official’s Interview Confirms Country Facilitated 9/11 Attacks. The Washington Free Beacon (6/12, Kredo) reports the State Department “is taking a top Iranian official’s explanation of events linked to the travel of the 9/11 terrorist attackers as an admission of guilt in facilitating the” attacks. According to Al Arabiya, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, an international affairs assistant in the Iran’s judiciary, disclosed in Farsi-language remarks “that Iranian intelligence officials secretly helped provide the al Qaeda attackers with passage and gave them refuge in the Islamic Republic.” However, “Iranian officials representing the country’s interests at the United Nations have attempted to recharacterize Larijani’s remarks and said that translations were manipulated by al Arabiya.” A “senior State Department official” told the Free Beacon, “These actions once again confirm the egregious nature of the Iranian regime and are further evidence of the regime’s malign role in the world.”
Israeli Minister: Social Media Monitoring Has Thwarted Hundreds Of Attacks.
The AP (6/12, Federman) reports that Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says his government has “foiled over 200 Palestinian attacks by monitoring social media and sifting through vast amounts of data to identify prospective assailants ahead of time.” According to the AP, “These pre-emptive actions put Israel at the forefront of an increasingly popular – and controversial – trend used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world that use big data technology to track would-be criminals.” Erdan “said Israel’s use of algorithms and other technology has been an important factor in lowering the number of knife and shooting attacks in Israel in recent years.”
Bolton Got $115,000 To Speak At Ukrainian Steel Magnate’s Foundation’s Events.
The Washington Post (6/12, Fahrenthold) reports that according a financial disclosure form released Monday by the White House, National Security Adviser Bolton was paid $115,000 in the last year to take part in two panel discussions sponsored by Ukrainian steel magnate Victor Pinchuk’s foundation --”including one in
Kiev last September, during which Bolton reassured the audience that President Trump would not radically change U.S. foreign policy.” Bolton said, “The notion that [Trump’s election] is going to represent a dramatic break in foreign policy is just wrong. Calm down, for God’s sakes.”
Norway To Invite More US Marines Amid Russia Tensions.
Reuters (6/12, Fouche) reports Norway will ask the US to “more than double the number” of Marines stationed in the country “in a move that could raise tensions” with Russia. Roughly 330 Marines were scheduled to leave Norway at the end of this year, but Oslo has “grown increasingly concerned about Russia following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide, however, “told reporters the decision did not constitute the establishment of a permanent US base in Norway and was not targeted at Russia.”
May Wins Parliament Vote Over Brexit Plans.
Reuters (6/12, Piper) reports British Prime Minister Theresa May “defused a rebellion in parliament over her Brexit plans on Tuesday but only after having to compromise and hand lawmakers more control over Britain’s departure from the European Union.” After winning Tuesday’s vote over changes to a final agreement, May’s agreement to discuss the changes “may mean lawmakers could have more power if she fails to secure a Brexit deal, possibly leading to a softer approach to Britain’s divorce.” The New York Times (6/12, Castle) says the “retreat is only the latest setback for Mrs. May who last week averted the resignation of her Brexit secretary, David Davis, then faced criticism in leaked comments from her foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who accused her government of lacking ‘guts.’”
The AP (6/12, Lawless) says May “staved off defeat by offering concessions to lawmakers who want to soften the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union.” By a vote of 324 to 298, lawmakers “rejected a move to give the House of Commons power to send the government back to the negotiating table if lawmakers don’t like the terms of the Brexit deal struck with the EU.” Bloomberg News (6/12, Donaldson, Hutton) says May won the vote “after last-minute horse-trading, some of it in the open on the floor of the House of Commons – some behind closed doors.”
US Unveils “Unofficial Embassy” In Taiwan.
The New York Times (6/12, Horton) reports the US “unveiled its unofficial embassy in Taiwan’s capital on Tuesday, holding a low-key ceremony that signaled its support for the self-governing island while also trying to avoid a bigger clash with China.” While Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and her predecessor “both attended the dedication of the new, $250 million compound of the American Institute in Taiwan, the highest-ranking attendee from Washington was Marie Royce, the assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.” According to the Times, “there had been speculation that President Trump might make a bolder show of support for Taiwan,” but the “lack of cabinet-level visitors from Washington displayed the Trump administration’s unwillingness to upset China.”
Media Analyses: Court Decision On AT&T-Time Merger A Loss For Trump, DOJ.
Media reports, which included stories on all three major network newscasts, described a court ruling allowing the AT&T-Time Warner merger as a clear loss for President Trump and his Justice Department. The AP (6/12, Swoyer) reports “District Judge Richard Leon announced the decision Tuesday, bringing the biggest antitrust trial in years to an end,” and ABC World News Tonight (6/12, story 6, 0:20, Muir) that “the $85 million deal combines Time Warner’s programming resources, including HBO and CNN, with the distribution reach of AT&T, setting it up to compete with Amazon and Netflix.” The decision, is added, “is a defeat for the White House, that opposed the deal.” NBC Nightly News (6/12, story 5, 1:50, Holt) also referred to “a defeat for the Trump Administration in court,” and the Los Angeles Times (6/12, Puzzanghera) to a “a stinging defeat to the Trump administration.” USA Today (6/12, Baig) reports that “suspense about the outcome has been building since the trial ended April 30,” and that “a new twist emerged in early May with the revelation that AT&T paid...Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen $600,000 for consulting services at the time the company was seeking regulatory approval for the merger.”
Brian Stelter said on CNN’s Situation Room (6/12), “I think this announcement by the judge lends more credence to the suspicion that somehow, some way...Trump had something to do with the DOJ’s action here. This was a strange move by the DOJ to try to block this media merger. ... There was suspicions and theories that somehow Trump’s disdain for CNN was a factor.” There was “not proof of this but it was a widely-held suspicion and it was a cloud over the entire case.” Jeffrey Toobin, also on CNN’s Situation Room (6/12), argued that “this was such a fiasco for the Justice Department it raises the question of why this lawsuit was brought in the first place. Conservatives, Republicans generally don’t believe in stopping mergers. The only thing we know about the origin of this case is that candidate Trump and [President] Donald Trump denounced this merger in advance and also indicated, as we have heard many times, that he hates CNN.”
Under the headline “Trump Gambles And Loses On AT&T,” the New York Times (6/12) editorializes that “Trump’s chilling campaign to politicize the Justice Department ran into a stinging rebuke on Tuesday.” The New York Times (6/12, Kang) also reports that “Trump, while still a candidate, said he would block the deal ‘because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.’” His “comments and his repeated criticism of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner’s unit Turner Broadcasting, raised speculation that Mr. Trump had pushed...the Justice Department to block the deal.”
The Washington Post (6/12, Romm, Fung) reports, meanwhile, that “the decision amounts to a stunning loss for Makan Delrahim,” who is “Trump’s chief antitrust regulator.” DOJ “had not lost an antitrust case since 2004, and since the Nixon administration, the agency had not challenged in court a so-called vertical deal, in which companies in different lines of businesses seek to merge.” In a statement, Delrahim “said he was ‘disappointed’ in the ruling, saying that his division would ‘consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition.’” Politico (6/12, Overly) notes that “speaking to reporters outside the courthouse,” Delrahim also said, “We’re going to have to review the opinion to see what impact it will have on other mergers.” Bloomberg News (6/12, McLaughlin, Harris, Moritz, Larson) reports DOJ “has six days to ask the judge to stay his ruling, though Leon said he hoped the government would have the ‘good judgment, wisdom and the courage’ not to do so.”
The CBS Evening News (6/12, story 4, 1:45, Schlesinger) indicated that “securities lawyers...say this could pave the way for something called...a vertical merger,” which “is the combination of companies that do not produce competing products. In this case, one makes media content, the other distributes it. So health care companies, media, and Telecom companies, they are waiting in the wings,” and “this could have a huge implication for a lot of mergers that are on the horizon.”
The Washington Examiner (6/12, Cohen), The Hill (6/12, Neidig), Reuters (6/12, Bartz) and Wall Street Journal (6/12, Kendall, Fitzgerald), among other news outlets, run similar reports on the court decision. In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal (6/12) praises the judge’s ruling allowing the merger, and urges DOJ to avoid another embarrassing legal defeat but not appealing it.
Rosenstein Threatened To Subpoena House Intelligence Committee.
On its website, Fox News (6/12, Herridge) cites emails which show that in a January 2018 meeting involving senior FBI and Justice Department officials and members of the House Intelligence Committee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “threatened to ‘subpoena’ emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and staff.” The committee’s then-senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel wrote to the House Office of General Counsel that Rosenstein went “so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.” A committee aide backed up the account, writing, “Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening. ... Also, having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to ‘subpoena your calls and emails’ was downright chilling.”
Attorney General Sessions said on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight (6/12) that “the FBI director, th
e senior ethics attorney for the Department of Justice, who was in the room, say that is a mischaracterization, really, of what occurred.” Sessions added, “I’m confident that Deputy Rosenstein, 28 years and the Department of Justice did not improperly threaten anyone on that occasion.”
DOJ To Brief Lawmakers On Mueller Investigation. The Washington Times (6/12, Mordock) reports that DOJ will meet with “top lawmakers” again on Thursday “to review documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and claims U.S. Intelligence spied on President Trump’s 2016 campaign.” According to a DOJ official, the meeting is being held at the request of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes “and will answer questions raised during last months meetings.”
Johnson Questions FBI Redactions In Strzok Texts. The Daily Caller (6/12, Ross) reports that Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson “is asking the FBI about ‘highly questionable’ redactions in text messages exchanged between two bureau officials who worked on the Hillary Clinton and Trump campaign investigations.” In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Johnson “flagged several redactions in text messages, which he said the bureau made ‘without apparent legitimate reasons.’” Among the texts singled out by Johnson were an October 2016 message that “suggested that FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok was locked in a battle with another government official over a secret surveillance warrant.” and a July 2016 text in which “Strzok suggested that the FBI lacked the resources to conduct a thorough investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.”
Mueller Court Filing Says Russian Intelligence Continues To Meddle In US Elections. According to the AP (6/12, Day), Mueller’s prosecutors are “worried that Russian intelligence services will use a criminal case in Washington to gather information about...U.S. intelligence-gathering methods,” and “are asking a federal judge to impose limits on the information that can be shared by attorneys in the first criminal case directly related to Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” The AP says , “So far, only one defendant, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, has appeared in the case, and prosecutors say they’re worried information they provide to the company’s attorneys could end up in the hands of other defendants or Russian spy agencies.”
Bloomberg News (6/12, Voreacos, Harris) reports that Mueller “warned that Russian intelligence services still have active ‘interference operations’ into U.S. elections and that handing over certain evidence in a criminal case could imperil ongoing investigations.” Prosecutors wrote that the evidence “includes between 1.5 and 2 terabytes of data and involves U.S. residents not charged with crimes who the government says were unwittingly recruited by Russians to engage in political activity.” According to prosecutors, “unauthorized disclosure of such evidence would help foreign intelligence services in Russia and elsewhere while undermining U.S. law enforcement and national security investigations.”
Mueller Must Name Those Involved In Manafort’s Alleged Lobbying Campaign For Ukraine. Politico (6/12, Gerstein) reports that in “a rare courtroom win” for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s defense, Judge Amy Berman Jackson “has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to identify by Friday all the individuals and organizations involved in” Manafort’s “alleged scheme to lobby on behalf of Ukraine without registering as a foreign agent under U.S. law.” The people Mueller will be required to identify to the defense include “top European former politicians who took part in the influence campaign, as well as others whose testimony Manafort has been accused of trying to influence in recent months.”
The Washington Post (6/12, Hsu) says that although Jackson “mostly denied Manafort’s challenge to the legal adequacy of his indictment in the District for conspiracy and money laundering,” she “found what she called ‘one minor exception’ in saying Manafort’s legal team should be given the names of the politicians and others to help him prepare for ‘a complex trial with a voluminous record within a relatively short period of time.’” Jackson said Manafort “should not have to be surprised at a later point by the addition of a new name or allegation.”Bloomberg News (6/12) also reports on Jackson’s ruling.
King: DOJ IG’s Report Will “Devastatingly” Show Missteps By Comey, McCabe. The Washington Examiner (6/12, Quinn) reports Rep. Peter King (R) told Fox News (6/12) Tuesday that the report from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will “devastatingly” show “the missteps from former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.” King said, “The [inspector general] report, I think it’s going to show devastatingly, it will show improprieties here by Director Comey and the way he proceeded, and also Andrew McCabe, at the very least, plus the two love b
irds.” The “two love birds” “are FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were engaged in an extramarital affair and were found to have exchanged derogatory messages about President Trump before the 2016 election.”
McCabe Sues FBI, DOJ, IG. The Washington Times (6/12, Swoyer) reports that former FBI Director Andrew McCabe has filed a lawsuit against the FBI, DOJ, and its IG in federal court in Washington, “alleging the Trump administration violated procedures when it fired him in March just hours before his retirement.” McCabe’s attorneys “argue that the Justice Department is refusing to hand over documents relating to the policies and procedures related to Mr. McCabe’s dismissal because it fears further litigation.”
Rivkin, Casey Op-Ed: Trump Has Constitutional Authority To Order Investigations. In an op-ed for the Washington Post (6/12), David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, who served in the Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, write that it is “puzzling to see so much criticism of President Trump’s demand that the Justice Department investigate allegations about his presidential campaign being improperly subjected to an FBI counter intelligence probe” and “his instruction to the Justice Department and the FBI that they should grant congressional requests for information about that matter,” since under the Constitution, the President “has the authority to determine what matters will, and will not, be investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. government.” They conclude that regardless of one’s views on “the wisdom of Trump’s directives, fidelity to the Constitution best protects our democracy in the long run.”
Cohen Expects To Be Indicted Soon. The New York Daily News (6/12, Sommerfeldt) reports that “a person familiar with the matter” said Tuesday that President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen “expects to be put in cuffs any day now, possibly opening up his top client to legal complications.” According to the source, Cohen “has been telling friends he fears he will soon be indicted and arrested over the federal investigation he’s facing in New York.”
Avenatti Says Russian Government Is Trying To Plant Negative Stories About Him. The Daily Caller (6/12, Simonson) reports that Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti told The Daily Beast Tuesday “that he believes the Russian government is trying to plant damaging stories about him in the press, without any evidence to support this claim.” Avenatti, who “claims two members of the media and a ‘high ranking American intelligence official’ informed him of the Russian plot,” said, “They’re doing it because they see me as a threat, a considerable threat. ... If we weren’t a threat, none of this would be happening.” Avenatti added that “members of the Russian government are trying to spread a story that he once traveled to Moscow and had sexual relationships with several women during his trip.”
South Carolina Rep. Sanford’s Loss Among Host Of Primary Results Yesterday.
Voters went to the polls yesterday to decide a number of closely-watched primaries in South Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, North Dakota, and Maine.
In “Startling Upset,” Trump-Critic Sanford Ousted In GOP Primary. SC1 Rep. Mark Sanford (R), a critic of President Trump, on Tuesday was defeated in the GOP primary election by freshman state Rep. Katie Arrington (R). The Columbia (SC) State (6/12) describes the outcome as “a startling upset,” and adds that Arrington’s “campaign strategy was to align herself with...Trump and harp on Sanford’s criticism of the president. She received a last-minute boost from Trump, who endorsed her in a tweet three hours before polls closed.” McClatchy (6/13, Douglas) reports that Sanford was “stunned” by Arrington, “powered by a strong last-minute endorsement from...Trump.” McClatchy adds that “the message from voters was clear. ‘It says the Trump factor matters here,’ Kendra Stewart, a College of Charleston political science professor, said Tuesday night. ‘In South Carolina, it’s very unusual for an incumbent to lose a seat. ... Almost more so than anywhere else, South Carolina likes to elect the known quantity, the person with the most name recognition. Going into this race, that was Mark Sanford.’”
In Tweet Today, Trump Hails Arrington’s Victory, Touts His Support For Her. Trump tweeted this morning, “My political representatives didn’t want me to get involved in the Mark Sanford primary thinking that Sanford would easily win – but with a few hours left I felt that Katie was such a good candidate, and Sanford was so bad, I had to give it a shot. Congrats to Katie Arrington!”
SC4: Primary Candidates In Race To Succeed Gowdy Head To Runoffs. In a report on the race to succeed retiring SC4 Rep. Trey Gowdy (R),
the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier (6/12, Lovegrove) says that ex-state Sen. Lee Bright (R) and state Sen. William Timmons (R) will advance to a GOP primary runoff, “according to unofficial results Tuesday night.” Bright took “about a quarter of the vote by the time most ballots had been counted in the early hours of Wednesday morning.” State Rep. Dan Hamilton (R) trailed “just a few hundred votes behind Timmons, both of whom hovered around 19 percent. That could be within the margin to trigger a recount.” In the Democratic primary, businessman Brandon Brown (D) and accountant Doris Lee Turner (D) also advanced to a runoff.
SC5: Parnell, Who Admitted Beating His Ex-Wife, Wins Democratic Primary. The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier (6/12, Cranney) reports that ex-Goldman Sachs adviser Archie Parnell (D), “who admitted to beating his ex-wife several decades ago, overcame a wave of intense criticism from within his own party to easily win in the Democratic primary Tuesday.” In the general election, Parnell will face off against SC5 Rep. Ralph Norman (R) in a rematch of last year’s special election to succeed now-White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney. The Post and Courier says, “Parnell’s candidacy had been seen by Democrats as an opportunity to flip the” SC5. However, in the wake of reports that Parnell “attacked his ex-wife in a 1970s incident, his chances of” unseating Norman “seem to have greatly diminished.”
Gov. McMaster, Warren Head To GOP Runoff; Smith Wins Democratic Nod. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and businessman John Warren (R) are headed to a June 26 runoff, after finishing first and second, respectively, in Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial primary election. In the general election, the eventual GOP nominee will face off against state Rep. James Smith (D), who won Tuesday’s Democratic primary. The AP (6/13, Kinnard) reports that McMaster, “an early supporter of President Donald Trump,” received the most votes in the GOP primary, “but failed to win the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff.” The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier (6/12, Shain) reports that McMaster “is in a position to win the” GOP “runoff...after receiving a larger-than-expected share of support from voters in Tuesday’s primary.”
Trump-Supporter Stewart Wins Virginia GOP Senate Primary To Face Off Against Kaine. Prince William County Board of Supervisors chief Corey Stewart (R), a vocal supporter of President Trump, on Tuesday won Virginia’s GOP Senate primary, earning the right to face off against Sen. Tim Kaine (D) in November’s election. The AP (6/12, Suderman) reports that Stewart, who defeated state Del. Nick Freitas (R) and minister E.W. Jackson (R), “has promised to run a ‘vicious’ campaign against...Kaine.” The AP adds that Stewart – “who favors keeping Confederate monuments – had long been on the fringe of the state’s GOP; now the win makes him the standard-bearer of a deeply divided party that hasn’t won a statewide race in nearly a decade.” The Washington Times (6/12, Sherfinski) reports that Stewart “rode a pro-Trump message to narrowly win the” GOP primary.’ The Times says, “With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Stewart was at about 45 percent support, with Mr. Freitas at 43 percent and...Jackson at 12 percent.”
The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (6/12, Moomaw) reports, “As Stewart’s hard-right supporters celebrated the victory by a culture warrior who seems to relish poking the party establishment, Republican moderates were worried Stewart’s rise to prominence could cause other Republicans to sink, including a handful of GOP congressional incumbents already facing tough re-election fights in suburban districts.” On its front page, the Washington Post (6/12, A1, Schneider) reports that Stewart’s “presence atop the ticket will cast a shadow over all Virginia congressional races this year. He’s sure to excite the most fervent parts of the Republican base, especially in rural areas, but his identification with Trump also could inspire Democratic voters to come out against him.” CQ Roll Call (DC) (6/12, Pathé) reported, “Inside Elections rates the race Solid Democratic.”
Trump Tweets Congratulations To Stewart, Blasts Kaine On Crime, Borders, Taxes. Trump tweeted this morning,”Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”
Wexton Wins Crowded VA10 Democratic Primary, Setting Up Clash With Comstock. State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D) on Tuesday won the crowded VA10 Democratic primary. In the general election, she’ll face VA10 Rep. Barbara Comstock (R), a top Democratic target this fall. The Washington Post (6/12, Portnoy) reports that the Comstock-Wexton matchup “will be one of the most closely watched midterm elections in the nation.” In the Democratic primary, Wexton “won about 42 percent of the vote, besting her nearest rival, anti-human-trafficking activist Alison Friedman, by almost 20 points.” The Post describes Wexton as “the establishment favorite.” The Winchester (VA) Star (6/12, Castiglia) reports that in the general election, Comstock “has her work cut out for her as she aims to keep her seat in a district that” Hillary Clinton carried “by 10 percentage points in 2016.” CQ Roll Call (DC) (6/12, Pathé) reported that Comstock “was No. 2 on Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable House incumbents last month.”
VA7: Spanberger Cruises To Democratic Primary Win To Challenge Brat. The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (6/12, Wilson) reports that ex-CIA officer Abigail Spanberger (D) “handily defeated” ex-Marine pilot Dan Ward (D) in Tuesday’s VA7 Democratic primary, earning the right to face off against VA7 Rep. Dave Brat (R) in the general election. Spanberger received “more votes Tuesday than any other candidate on the ballot in Virginia’s House primary races.” While the VA7 “leans Republican, Democrats have cited a recent shift among the electorate. They hope to score an upset against Brat.”
Heller-Rosen General Election Battle For Open Nevada Senate Seat Now Set. As expected, Sen. Dean Heller (R) and Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) on Tuesday easily won their respective Senate primaries, setting up what will be a closely watched general election matchup. The AP (6/12) reports that Heller is facing “a tough re-election battle that could help swing control of the Senate. Heller is considered the most vulnerable Republican US senator seeking re-election this year because he’s the only one running in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016.”
Lee, Tarkanian To Face Off In Race To Succeed Rosen In NV3. The Nevada Independent (6/12, Messerly, Snyder, Rindels) reports that businessman Danny Tarkanian (R) on Tuesday won the NV3 GOP primary and will face off in the general election against philanthropist Susie Lee (D), winner of the Democratic primary, in the race to succeed Rosen. The Independent adds that Tarkanian “jumped into the race in March – a day before the filing deadline – after President Donald Trump nudged him out of the US Senate race against Sen. Dean Heller with a tweet.”
NV4: Hardy-Horsford Rematch Set. The Nevada Independent (6/12, Messerly, Snyder, Rindels) reports that ex-Reps. Cresent Hardy (R) and Steven Horsford (D) on Tuesday easily won their respective primaries in the race to succeed retiring NV4 Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D), “who decided not to run for re-election after a series of allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in December.” Hardy unseated Horsford in 2014, but was himself ousted in 2016 by Kihuen.
Laxalt, Sisolak Advance To General Election In Race To Succeed Gov. Sandoval. Clark County Commission chief Steve Sisolak (D) on Tuesday defeated Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani (D) in Nevada’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. In the general election, Sisolak will face state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), who easily won the GOP primary. The candidates are vying to succeed term-limited Gov. Brian Sandoval (R). The Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal (6/12, DeHaven) reports that Sisolak defeated Giunchigliani “by 13 percentage points” in the Democratic primary, “a bigger-than-expected win over his fellow Clark County commissioner. Some 12,000 votes separated the pair after a bruising campaign battle that counted among the most bitter, expensive state primary races in recent memory.”
North Dakota Sen. Heitkamp, Cramer To Battle In General Election. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) will face off against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) this fall. Heitkamp was unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, while Cramer cruised to victory in the GOP contest. The Grand Forks (ND) Herald (6/12, Hageman) reports that Heitkamp is “the only Democrat elected to statewide office in” North Dakota, where President Trump “won easily less than two years ago. North Dakota’s race could help determine which party controls the Senate, where Republicans currently hold a slim majority. Cramer initially opted to seek re-election in the House but jumped to the Senate contest in February after some prodding from Trump.”
ND-AL: Armstrong Wins GOP Primary In Race To Replace Cramer. The AP (6/12) reports that state Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R) on Tuesday “easily won” the GOP primary in the race to succeed Cramer. In the general election, Armstrong will face ex-state Sen. Mac Schneider (D), “who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.” CQ Roll Call (DC) (6/12, Bowman) reported, “Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the House general election Solid Republican.”
Maine Sen. King To Face Republican Brakey, Democrat Ringelstein. The AP (6/12) reports that in his bid for reelection, Sen. Angus King (I) “will face two lesser-known candidates who won uncontested primaries Tuesday but now face a difficult challenge against a popular incumbent.” State Sen. Eric Brakey (R) and teacher Zak Ringelstein (D), both of whom ran unopposed in their respective primaries, will face off against King in the general election.
Moody Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary; Democratic Race Won’t Be Decided Until Next Week. The AP (6/13, Villenueve) reports that businessman Shawn Moody (R) “won Tuesday’s ranked-choice voting [GOP] primary in the race to succeed” term-limited Gov. Paul LePage (R), “while no clear majority winner had emerged in the Democratic primary.” The AP “did not call the Democratic primary as no candidate was close to the majority needed to be declared the outright winner, so more tabulations are required next week under ranked-choice voting. Last-place candidates will be eliminated and votes reallocated until there is a winner, a process that may take more than a week.” In the Democratic contest, state Attorney General Janet Mills (D) and attorney Adam Cote (D) “both had more than 25 percent of the vote with more than 60 percent of the expected vote counted.” The Portland (ME) Press Herald (6/12, Thistle) reports, “With 63 percent of precincts reporting shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday, Moody had 55 percent of the vote.”
Golden Appears Likely To Emerge As ME2 Rep. Poliquin’s Fall Opponent. The AP (6/12) reports that state Rep. Jared Golden (D), who is seeking to take on ME2 Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) this fall, “had the most first-place votes in” Tuesday’s ME2 Democratic primary, “but it’ll take additional tabulations to determine if he’s” advanced to the general election. Golden “had collected about 50 percent of the vote with about two-thirds of the votes counted early Wednesday. If there’s no majority, then the ballots will be shipped to the state capital for additional tabulations next week under ranked-choice voting.” Environmentalist Lucas St. Clair (D) trailed Golden. The Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal (6/12, Collins) reports, “Since it is not clear Golden got more than half the vote, it is possible ranked-choice voting will have to be factored in. But given Golden’s lead, St. Clair has little chance of pulling out a victory.”
Sessions Defends Decision On Restricting Asylum.
Attorney General Sessions was asked on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight (6/12) about his decision to restrict asylum for victims of gang and domestic violence. Sessions said, “Seven years ago, 5,000 people applied for asylum claiming a credible fear of being at home in their home country, and they needed to flee that country. That number jumped to 94,000 in just seven years. It is overwhelming our system. Over 80% of those claims are being denied by the immigration judges as being not meritorious.” Sessions added, “You do not get to come to America if you have a private threat or someone personally attacks you. You do not get to have asylum for that. It’s based on your race, religion or nationality, that you are part of some special identifiable group that has been persecuted in your home country. That’s what it takes to have asylum and we need to get this straight.”
The New York Times (6/12, Robbins) reports that “immigrants and their attorneys” across the nation “were grappling with the precedent-setting decision.” Sessions “effectively narrowed the definition of persecution when he reversed a decision by an appellate board in a 2016 asylum case.”
Immigration Judges Fear Sessions’ Agenda Could Impede Their Work. The New York Times (6/12, Benner) reports that “many” immigration judges say “Sessions’s hard-line immigration agenda is increasingly standing in the way of their ability to mete out justice.” Some “objected to quotas he imposed on them this spring of 700 cases per year, as well as his ban on a bureaucratic tool they used to reduce their caseloads,” while others “expressed concern about the impact his zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration could have on their dockets, and his push for faster rulings.”
Administration May House Child Immigrants In Tent Cities. The Washington Examiner (6/12, Giaritelli) reports that “an administration official” says the Trump Administration “is moving forward on a plan to tentatively house unaccompanied minors in tent cities located on three Texas military bases due to increasing high border apprehensions and a shortage of beds for the underage immigrants.”
The Miami Herald (6/12, Ordoñez) reports that HHS “will visit Fort Bliss, a sprawling Army base near El Paso in the coming weeks to look at a parcel of land where the administration is considering building a tent city to hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the plans.” In addition, HHS officials confirmed that they are looking at “Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo for potential use as temporary shelters.”
�A0 House Republicans To Vote On Two DACA Bills Next Week. Politico (6/12, Bade, Bresnahan, Caygle) reports that House Speaker Ryan’s office said Tuesday that House Republicans will vote on two bills to address the fate of Dreamers next week. One is “a conservative proposal” drafted by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and the other is “a compromise package still being assembled by Ryan in consultation with moderates and conservative Republicans.” The plan “effectively kills the discharge petition campaign, a staggering loss for moderates seeking to pass legislation protecting Dreamers.” USA Today (6/12, Collins) says the plan “means GOP leadership has avoided an embarrassing defeat by rogue moderates of their party and every House Democrat.” The group “was just two signatures away from putting into a play a rare maneuver – known as a discharge petition – to go around the speaker and bring legislation to the floor.”
The New York Times (6/12, Stolberg, Kaplan) reports that House Republican leaders said Tuesday that they are nearing a deal “on a Republican immigration bill.” Following “a closed-door negotiating session,” with conservatives and moderates, House Majority Leader McCarthy said, “We’re close, we’re very close,” but he “would not provide details.” Politico (6/12, McCaskill) says House Majority Whip Scalise “expressed cautious optimism...that GOP leadership, moderates and conservatives could reach an immigration deal and put an end to a weeks-long intra-party impasse.” Scalise is quoted as saying, “We’re not there yet, but I think we’re moving a lot closer. And in exchange we would also make sure there would be no discharge petition.”
Scalise Warns Against Passing Immigration Bill That Does Not Include Border Security. The Washington Post (6/12, Debonis) reports that at a Politico event Tuesday, Scalise “warned...that it would be ‘devastating’ if lawmakers passed bipartisan legislation legalizing young undocumented immigrants just hours before a crucial deadline for a group of renegade Republicans trying to force votes on the issue.” Scalise “said that the Dream Act – which would grant permanent legal status to young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors – ‘threatens national security’ because it would not include accompanying enforcement measures that President Trump and GOP lawmakers are demanding.” Scalise is quoted as saying, “It does not secure the border. There seems to be broad agreement we should secure the border. Well, then, why not go and do it and then address these other problems?”
According to the Washington Examiner (6/12, Weaver) Scalise “predicted Tuesday that House GOP centrists will not get the requisite 218 signatures to move forward with a plan to force three immigration votes at the end of the month.” Breitbart (6/12, Munro) reports that Scalise pointed out today that Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) has announced that he won’t sign the discharge petition. According to Breitbart, “Ross’s exit leaves the discharge group with few possible signatories, such as” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), “a farmer who has pushed the GOP to expand guest-worker programs to help supply more cheap labor to dairy farms and apple orchards.” Breitbart notes that FWD.us, “a pro-immigration lobbying group for Silicon Valley investors, urged DACA supporters to call Newhouse’s office to persuade him to sign the petition.”
DHS Unveils “Strengthened” Northern Border Strategy Amid Growing Tensions With Canada. Newsweek (6/12, Silva) reports that “with tensions” between the US and Canada “on the rise,” DHS announced “a ‘strengthened’ Northern Border Strategy that it claims will help ‘combat terrorism’ and ‘help facilitate travel and trade’ at its border with Canada.” DHS, which says the strategy draws upon the findings from a Northern Border Threat Analysis Report delivered to Congress in summer 2017, said that while the Northern border “remains an area of limited threat in comparison to the U.S. Southern border, safeguarding and securing the northern border presents unique challenges.” It adds, “The most common threat to U.S. public safety along the Northern border continues to be the bi-directional flow of illicit drugs,” though the US also faces “potential terror threats...primarily from homegrown violent extremists in Canada who are not included in the U.S. Government’s consolidated terrorist watch list and could therefore enter the U.S. legally at the Northern Border ports of entry without suspicion.”
USCIS Launching Office To Focus On Citizenship Cheaters. The Washington Times (6/12, Taxin) reports that USCIS “is launching an office that will focus on identifying Americans who are suspected of cheating to get their citizenship and seek to strip them of it.” USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna told the AP “that his agency is hiring several dozen lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of immigrants who were ordered deported and are suspected of using fake identities to later get green cards and citizenship through naturalization.” According to Cissna, such cases would be referred to DOJ, “whose attorneys could then seek to remove the immigrants’ citizenship in civil court proceedings.”
Border Patrol Agent Shot Near Mexican Border In Arizona. The AP (6/12) reports that a US Border Patrol ag
ent “was wounded in a shooting on an Arizona ranch near the US-Mexico border before dawn Tuesday in a remote area known for drug and migrant smuggling.” Jim Chilton, identified as a “fifth-generation Arizona cattleman” and “a well-known Arizona backer of President Donald Trump’s efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico border,” says the Border Patrol “sent him an email saying the agent was alone when he was wounded on the ranch and was struck in the leg and the hand. Several bullets also struck the agent’s protective vest, which probably saved his life, Chilton said.”
The Washington Times (6/12, Dinan) reports that Chilton “said the shooting could have been averted had the government taken border security more seriously.” Chilton said, “President Trump needs to complete the wall and fill the 25-mile gap, and move the Border Patrol to the international boundary rather than be located 80 miles from the boundary.”
Nielsen Inspects Israel’s Border With Egypt For Mexico Wall Ideas. Reuters (6/12, Williams) reports DHS Secretary Nielsen “inspected Israel’s fenced-off border with Egypt on Tuesday for ideas for the US border with Mexico,” where President Trump has pledged to build a wall. A US official who spoke to Reuters confirmed Nielsen’s visit to the Israel-Egypt border.
Azar Says He Wants To Preserve Protections For Preexisting Conditions.
The Washington Post (6/12, Goldstein, McGinley) reports that in testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Tuesday, HHS Secretary Azar said “that he wants to preserve access to affordable insurance for Americans with preexisting medical conditions,” but he “sidestepped grilling on whether he agreed with a legal brief filed last week by Justice Department attorneys stating they would not defend the Affordable Care Act in a federal lawsuit by Texas and 19 other Republican-led states.” Asked by Sen. Maggie Hassan if he would encourage the Administration to change its position that “the ACA’s individual mandate...will become unconstitutional next year – and, with it, the law’s insurance protections for consumers,” Azar said that “we do believe in finding solutions on the matter of preexisting conditions and the matter of affordability regardless of the litigation.”
McConnell, Alexander Voice Support Preexisting Condition Protections. The Hill (6/12, Hellmann) reports that Senate Majority Leader McConnell said in his weekly pres conference Tuesday that “everybody” in the Senate wants to preserve protections for people with preexisting conditions. McConnell said, “Everybody I know in the Senate – everybody – is in favor of maintaining coverage for preexisting conditions. There is no difference in opinion about that whatsoever.” McConnell’s comments comes as the Trump Administration is “seek[ing] to have such protections overturned in court.”
The Washington Times (6/12, Howell) reports that in “the clearest protest yet from the GOP,” Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander said Tuesday, “There’s no way Congress is going to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions who want to buy health insurance. ... Congress specifically repealed the individual mandate penalty, but I didn’t hear a single senator say that they also thought they were repealing protections for people with pre-existing conditions. ... In fact, Republicans are seeking to expand insurance options for Americans with pre-existing conditions through a new Department of Labor rule that will make lower cost employer insurance with patient protections available to the self-employed and more employees of small businesses.”
Azar Lowers Expectations For Large Price Cuts From Dug Makers. Politico (6/12, Karlin-Smith) says HHS Secretary Azar “is lowering expectations that drug companies will soon announce huge price cuts,” despite President Trump’s May 30 claim that some major drug makers would announce “voluntary massive drops in prices” within two weeks. Azar told the Senate panel that although there are “several drug companies that are looking at substantial, material decreases in drug prices,” it could take time for the cuts to occur. Bloomberg News (6/12, Edney) reports that Azar said “it may be time to eliminate the complex system of rebates that drug companies and pharmacy-benefit managers use to negotiate and set prices.” Azar is quoted as saying, “We may need to move toward a system without rebates, where PBMs and drug companies just negotiate fixed-price contracts. Such a system’s incentives, detached from artificial list prices, would likely serve patients far better.”
The New York Times (6/12, Pear) says “Democratic senators blistered” Azar, “telling him that the Trump administration’s efforts to undo health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions made a mockery of the president’s campaign to rein in prescription drug prices.” They argued that “that the effort to lower drug prices and the push to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions contradicted each other. If a federal court accepts the administration’s argument on pre-existing conditions, they said, tens of millions of people with such conditions could lose access to affordable insurance that includes coverage for prescription medicines.”
DOJ Official Resigns After Decision Not To Defend ACA. The Washington Post (6/12, Barrett, Zapotosky) reports that Joel McElvain, who has worked at DOJ for more than 20 years, resigned last week “in the wake of the Trump administration’s move to stop defending a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.” The departure of McElvain, who submitted his resignation the day after Attorney General Sessions notified Congress that DOJ would not defend the ACA against lawsuits filed by GOP-led states, “highlights internal frustration generated by the decision, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Trump Reportedly To Nominate CFPB Head Next Week.
Reuters (6/12) cites a “top US official” who said President Trump “has been reviewing a handful of potential nominees to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and his final pick will be named next week.” The New York Times (6/12, Rappeport) reports that acting CFPB head Mulvaney “has relished curbing the agency’s power – curtailing its enforcement activity, easing up on payday lenders and urging the agency’s career staff to be more humble in their efforts to protect consumers.” In an interview with the Times, Mulvaney “reflected on the future of the C.F.P.B. – or as he calls it, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.” Mulvaney “has succeeded in internally neutering much of the agency’s enforcement power.” In his next budget request, Mulvaney “will be asking for a deep spending cut of about 20 percent. That would bring the bureau’s annual funding down to 2015 levels – or about $480 million.”
The Washington Examiner (6/12, Lawler) reports that a CFPB official said Tuesday that the agency “has started a number of investigations against companies” under Mulvaney. The Examiner says word of the probes “could allay Democratic fears that the conservative Republican has stopped policing markets.”
Trump Nominees Win Backing Of Democrats On Senate Banking Committee. Bloomberg News (6/12) reports that economist Richard Clarida, who was nominated by President Trump to serve as Federal Reserve vice chairman, “won bipartisan support from members of the Senate Banking Committee” today, “signaling he will likely win confirmation in the full chamber.” In addition, Kansas banking commissioner Michelle Bowman, who was nominated to serve as a Fed governor, “also got a thumbs-up from both Republicans and Democrats, meaning two of Trump’s three current Fed nominees appear well on their way to joining the central bank.” Bloomberg notes that Clarida “received support from seven Democrats,” while fiver Democrats voted in favor of Bowman.
Krebs Confirmed To DHS Cybersecurity Post. Axios (6/12, Uchill) reports that in a voice vote Tuesday evening, the Senate confirmed Chris Krebs “to a top Homeland Security cybersecurity and critical infrastructure post by a Senate voice vote.”
Friends Expect Kudlow To Return To Work. The New York Times (6/12, Tankersley) reports that friends who spoke with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow say the expect him “to return to his White House job after recovering from a mild heart attack that landed him in the hospital on Monday.” Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tweeted “that he had spoken with Mr. Kudlow and that he was ‘doing well.’” The Wall Street Journal (6/12, Nicholas, Timiraos) reports that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Kudlow remained hospitalized as a standard precaution, but, “His doctors expect Larry will make a full and speedy recovery.”
Kwame Kilpatrick Asks Trump For Sentence Commutation.
The Detroit Free Press (6/12, Daalder) reports that former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick “has asked for a commutation of his sentence, according to a public Facebook post and records from the Justice Department.” In a message posted on Facebook and the “Free Kwame Project” website, Kilpatrick said that he is “ready (mentally, emotionally, spiritually) to go home!” If the President does not grant Kilpatrick’s commutation, he “will remain in prison until at least 2037.”
Study: AI May Be Better At Identifying Skin Cancer Than Dermatologists.
The Healthline (6/11, Mammoser) reports researchers found in a small study published in the Annals of Oncology “that artificial intelligence can identify skin cancer more accurately than dermatologists.” The authors of an accompanying editorial wrote, “In the future, I think AI will be integrated into practice as a diagnostic aide, particularly in primary care, to support the decision to excise a lesion, refer, or otherwise to reassure that it is benign.” Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD, th
e president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said in a statement, “Although artificial intelligence may be a useful tool in skin cancer diagnosis, no machine can replicate the high-quality, comprehensive skin, hair, and nail care provided by a board-certified dermatologist.” Olbricht added, “While this technology has great promise for the practice of dermatology, more work and research are necessary for that promise to be realized.”
WPost Op-Ed: Dermatologists Can, Should Work With AI Not Compete Against It. Carrie L. Kovarik, an associate professor of dermatology, dermatopathology and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Caroline A. Nelson and John S. Barbieri, chief residents in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, write in an opinion piece in the Washington Post (6/12) that “last month, dermatologists were told they had narrowly lost a competition” against AI at diagnosing melanoma. Kovarik, Nelson, and Barbieri argue that “to optimize the potential benefits of artificial intelligence while preserving the doctor-patient relationship, we believe that collaboration, not competition, is the winning strategy.” The three authors cite the 1960 treatise, “Man-Computer Symbiosis” by J.C.R. Licklider, “which described how the two could have a mutually beneficial relationship.” They conclude, “If artificial intelligence becomes another tool in our toolbox, it will support the time-honored lesson that man with machine is superior to either alone.”
Texas HPV Coalition Launching Education Campaign To Boost Vaccination Rates.
The Austin (TX) American Statesman (6/12, Price) reports that considering about one-third of Texas children have been vaccinated for human papillomavirus (HPV), the Texas HPV Coalition “on Tuesday announced the launch of a new education effort” which aims to “educate physicians and parents to encourage the use of the vaccine.” The coalition aims “to increase vaccination rates to 80 percent by 2026, the 20th anniversary of the vaccine’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” the piece says, adding that with “only 33 percent of children aged 13 to 17” being vaccinated, the state ranks 47th in the nation for vaccination rates.
New York Times.
“Why The North Korea Meeting Was The Trumpiest Moment So Far.” In an editorial, the New York Times (6/12) writes that “as a model for diplomacy, the Singapore Summit had its highs and lows. But as a platform for displaying the singular performance art of Donald Trump, it was a solid 10.” The Times adds that “if Mr. Trump can crack this nut, he’ll surely get the adulation – not to mention the Nobel Peace Prize – that he is so desperate for.”
“Trump Gushes Over North Korea.” The New York Times (6/12) editorializes that President Trump “has made major concessions,” Kim Jong-un “made fewer commitments than North Korea has made to past administrations and merely reaffirmed a goal of ‘denuclearization’ that North Korea first announced in 1992.” And as Trump “gushed about the virtues of the North Korean dictator, just a day after he savaged some of America’s closest democratic allies, he even endorsed the North Korean view of such joint exercises” with South Korea “as ‘provocative.’”
“On The Brink Of Disaster In Yemen.” In an editorial, the New York Times (6/12) criticizes the Administration for “standing by” as its allies “prepare to intensify Yemen’s misery” by a planned attack on the Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah by a coalition led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Times blasts Trump for having “emboldened Saudi and emirati leaders” and now “sending mixed signals” on the planned attack. The Times calls for the Administration to make “clear that an attack on Al Hudaydah would be a disaster and that even considering such action reveals how futile their policy in Yemen has been.” The Times concludes that seeking “a cease-fire and a deal for neutral control of the port could be the first step to a political settlement that is the only hope for peace.”
“Pope Francis At Last Opens His Eyes On Clergy Sex Abuse.” A Washington Post (6/12) editorial.
“The Post’s Endorsements For Prince George’s School Board.” In an editorial, the Washington Post (6/12) lists its endorsements in the nonpartisan primaries to fill four seats on the Prince George’s County, Maryland Board of Education. The Post says incumbent Lupi Grady deserves reelection in District 2. In District 3, Pamela Boozer-Strother is “the most promising” candidate “to fill the seat being vacated by Dinora Hernandez.” The Post endorses board vice chair Carolyn Boston for reelection in District 6, and in District 9, the Post endorses “incumbent Sonya Williams for a second term.”
“No More Concessions.” The Washington Post (6/12) editorializes that the Singapore summit “was, without question, a triumph for” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who “was able to parade on the global stage as a legitimate statesman, praised by the president of the United States as ‘very talented’ and worthy of trust.”