TWO SCOOPS TO START YOUR DAY …
— VP MIKE PENCE and HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY raised an astounding $3.2 MILLION for PROTECT THE HOUSE, their joint fundraising committee, last night at a large-scale, big-dollar fundraiser at the Trump Hotel. SPEAKER PAUL RYAN, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE and about three dozen other members of the House were at the event. Protect the House is a committee designed to help vulnerable House Republicans.
— SEAN SPICER’S NEW TRUMP-WORLD GIG. Spicer is the new senior adviser and spokesman for America First Action, the Trump aligned super PAC. Spicer will appear and speak Monday night at the super PAC’s summit at the Trump Hotel. He will continue to consult for other entities, as well, through his newly created firm, Rigwil LLC.
UPDATE … SENIOR HOUSE REPUBLICANS tell us they don’t think any immigration bill will pass the chamber. There are two bills that will come to a vote: Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bill, which is favored by many of the party’s conservatives, and a compromise bill. The vote is likely next Thursday, we’re told.
THE LATEST ON KUDLOW — from MORNING MONEY’s BEN WHITE: “Larry Kudlow, the top White House aide who suffered a mild heart attack on Monday, said he will return to work in the administration. In a text message on Wednesday evening, Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told POLITICO that he would ‘of course’ be back on the job in the coming days.”
Good Thursday morning. The DOJ’s inspector general report about the FBI’s conduct during the 2016 election comes out today. This will be a thick read — hundreds of pages — and will dominate the news cycle. Kyle Cheney and Elana Schor break down the stakes of the report https://politi.co/2t7ammt
ALSO TONIGHT … The Congressional Baseball Game at Nats Park. RACHAEL BADE and KYLE CHENEY: “When Scalise’s animal house went on hiatus” https://politi.co/2laeDC3
HELP WANTED! “Trump White House advertises at a Hill job fair amid staff exodus,” by Annie Karni: “The White House – which has been having trouble filling positions as it bleeds staffers – is now trying to find recruits at a conservative job fair on the Hill. ‘Interested in a job at the White House?’ is the subject line of an email that was blasted out widely to Republicans on the Hill late Wednesday advertising the upcoming event. It promises that ‘representatives from across the Trump administration will be there to meet job seekers of every experience level.’
“A person familiar with the planning said that Johnny DeStefano, who oversees the White House personnel department, and Sean Doocey, a deputy assistant to the president for presidential personnel, are expected to be on hand, among other officials from the West Wing. The flyer lists positions open in the White House as well as a handful of government agencies including Defense, Interior, Commerce, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, NASA, Energy, and Treasury.
“The ‘Executive Branch Job Fair’ is scheduled for Friday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, according to a flyer attached to the email. ‘There are positions currently open and we are looking for the most competent conservatives to recommend,’ the flyer, shared with POLITICO, reads. … A job fair is seen as an unusual step for a White House to take. … A former Obama administration official said it would have been unheard of in the previous administration.” https://politi.co/2JKyFxm
REVOLVING DOOR … “Sarah Sanders, Raj Shah planning to depart the White House,” by CBS News’ Jackie Alemany: “Two of the most visible members of the Trump administration are planning their departures, the latest sign of upheaval in a White House marked by turmoil. Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are both heading for the exits, according to sources inside the White House and close to the administration. Sanders … has told friends that she plans to leave the administration at the end of the year. Shah is also considering his exit, but he has not yet settled on an exact date.” https://cbsn.ws/2ycxbuC
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec): “Does @CBSNews know something I don’t about my plans and my future? I was at my daughter’s year-end Kindergarten event and they ran a story about my ‘plans to leave the WH’ without even talking to me. I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS”.
T.V. LAST NIGHT … VA. SENATE CANDIDATE COREY STEWART talks to CNN’S CHRIS CUOMO: CUOMO: “Forget about the left, forget about Trump. Focus on you, because he picked you. He likes you. He likes what you’re about. And I want to talk about what you are about, because this guy [Paul] Nehlen isn’t the only one in your past, now is he? You also cotton to someone else named Hines. You took his endorsement. This is the guy who took the shot at Nikki Haley, saying our Sikh governor. By the way, she’s not a Sikh. This is the man who took a Confederate flag and marched down saying a statue of Arthur Ashe was offensive to his heritage. You backed him. You have never denied him. Why?”
STEWART: “You know, I don’t agree with any of those things you said.” CUOMO: “It’s all true. … You’re trying to deny your past but it’s there like an ugly shadow.”
STEWART: “Chris, you’re trying to change the topic. You’re always playing the race card.” CUOMO: “No, just the facts.” STEWART: “You’re always trying to divide –”
CUOMO: “That’s you in front of a confederate flag taking his endorsement.” STEWART: “By the way, your own father said anti-Semitic things. Did you condemn him?” CUOMO: “Oh, please. My father is dead and buried and was ten times the man you’ll ever be on your best day. So stay comparing yourself to the bigots that you cotton to.”
THE LATEST IN NORTH KOREA …
— WSJ’S MICHAEL GORDON in Seoul and JESSICA DONATI in D.C.: “U.S. Seeks ‘Major Disarmament’ of North Korea During Trump’s Term”: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the U.S. hopes to achieve ‘major disarmament’ of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during President Donald Trump’s first term in office and would resume joint military exercises with South Korea if the talks stall.
“‘We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the 2½ years,’ he told reporters. Mr. Pompeo, who arrived in Seoul to confer with senior South Korean and Japanese officials, bristled at criticism that the summit declaration signed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim was vague and had failed to secure an explicit commitment from Pyongyang to intrusive verification.” https://on.wsj.com/2lacINR
— TRUMP TALKS TO FOX NEWS’ BRET BAIER via Rebecca Morin: “‘He’s a tough guy,’ the president said during a Fox News interview that aired Wednesday. ‘When you take over a country, a tough country, tough people and you take it over from your father — I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have — if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.’” https://politi.co/2JPgo5j
— “Trump admin expected to suspend August U.S.-S. Korea drill as Pentagon scrambles,” by CNN’s Barbara Starr, Pamela Brown and Ryan Browne: “The Trump administration is expected to announce the formal suspension of planning for major August multilateral military drills on the Korean Peninsula as soon as Thursday, according to several administration officials with knowledge of White House, State Department and Defense Department planning on how to carry out President Donald Trump’s decision announced at the Singapore summit. …
“As the dust settles from the historic summit, some details about how Trump got the idea to offer a suspension of military exercises to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are becoming clearer. A source familiar with the matter pushed back on the idea that Trump got the idea to halt joint exercises from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The source said that, if anything, it’s something that came from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been very vocal about it and has had direct conversations with Trump about the matter. The term ‘war games’ was also a term coined by China and North Korea.” https://cnn.it/2JWqr93
BURGESS EVERETT, “GOP senators’ frustration with Trump — and each other — boils over”: “GOP infighting reached a new level on Wednesday, with Sen. Lindsey Graham berating Sen. Bob Corker for pushing his amendment that would allow Congress to block President Donald Trump’s tariffs, according to attendees and people briefed on the exchange. Corker (R-Tenn.) has been on a rampage this week over the Senate GOP’s reluctance to vote on his amendment.
“And in a private party lunch on Wednesday as most Republicans blamed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for blocking amendments to a defense bill, Corker defended Paul and argued that his blockade was being used as an excuse for the rest of the party to avoid other amendment votes.
“Graham, who has been blocking Paul, then jumped in. The South Carolina senator, who has argued Republicans should give Trump room to negotiate on trade, unloaded on Corker.
“Graham was irked over Corker’s speech in which he said the GOP doesn’t want to ‘do anything that might upset the president,’ according to four sources familiar with the matter. ‘You don’t care about the Republican Party because you’re leaving,’ Graham told Corker, who is retiring. Graham later apologized to Corker, according to Republicans. And Corker told Graham: ‘If you had heard the whole speech you would have been applauding.’” https://politi.co/2JKhmfZ
THE INVESTIGATIONS ….
— “White House counsel McGahn recused his office from Mueller probe,” by Darren Samuelsohn: “White House Counsel Don McGahn recused his entire staff last summer from working on the Russia investigation because many of his office’s lawyers played significant roles in key episodes at the center of the probe, former White House attorney Ty Cobb said on Wednesday.
“McGahn made the decision to halt his staff’s interactions with Special Counsel Robert Mueller because many of his own attorneys ‘had been significant participants’ surrounding the firings of national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James Comey, Cobb said.” https://politi.co/2LMWsxm
TRUMP’S THURSDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule. It is his 72nd birthday.
MEDIAWATCH — “Jeff Zucker Renews at CNN Through the 2020 Election,” by Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo: “I’ve learned that the veteran broadcast executive, who has served as president of Time Warner’s cable news channel since 2013, signed a new deal several months ago that will keep him at CNN through the 2020 election. CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign juiced ratings, and the network’s adversarial coverage of the Trump presidency has infuriated the president, with Trump and his cronies frequently attacking Zucker’s army of journalists.” http://bit.ly/2sTY94W
ISAAC DOVERE, “‘This is the new Republican Party’: The final GOP holdouts to Donald Trump whimper into oblivion”: “Put a blond combover on the elephant. Take down the pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. It’s over. It’s Donald Trump’s GOP. The anti-Trump candidates are fleeing, and the ones who stick around are getting trampled. The chill has gone out among whoever’s left: there’s no more speaking up, and if there is, it’s just for the sake of a speech, a protest quote that quickly disappears. They chalk it up to party loyalty, or staying unified for the midterms. They say they still believe in the principles, but they don’t tend to do more than say the words. Then, when the microphones are off, they confide. They complain.
“They nurse fantasies that there’s a reckoning coming, that maybe this will all end with the Republican Party nominating someone like Eisenhower. Or at least like Paul Ryan. And each time they watch another of their own go down, they wince, try to move on. Don’t look back. Try to forget. ‘This business is a lot like being a professional fighter: Over the course of it, you get a lot of shots to the head, and sooner or later, you’re knocked out,’ said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), mourning fellow Rep. Mark Sanford’s loss in Tuesday’s primary.” https://politi.co/2JH2IWY
— WAPO’S DAVE WEIGEL, BOB COSTA and SEUNG MIN KIM: “Republicans embrace the ‘cult’ of Trump, ignoring warning signs”: “As a result, the Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man, one who defied the odds to win the presidency and who has magnetically drawn the party’s power bases to himself. ‘It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?’ Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee told reporters Wednesday morning. ‘It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cultlike situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of — purportedly — of the same party.’” https://wapo.st/2ybi3xI
PRUITT FILES — “Pruitt’s conservative support cracks,” by Anthony Adragna: “Scott Pruitt drew fire Wednesday from conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, who urged President Donald Trump to dump the scandal-scarred EPA administrator — the latest sign that his support among Republicans is crumbling. Ingraham, the popular radio and Fox News host, is the highest-profile conservative so far to call for Trump to fire Pruitt, who is widely disliked inside the White House after a string of ethical and spending controversies.
“‘PRUITT BAD JUDGMENT HURTING @POTUS, GOTTA GO,’ Ingraham tweeted, while linking to a Washington Post report that Pruitt had pressed his staff to ask GOP donors to help find a job for his wife, Marlyn, who later secured a job at a conservative legal group. The conservative National Review piled on later Wednesday, calling for Pruitt to be replaced.” https://politi.co/2JWELhs … The NR editorial http://bit.ly/2MnEHWu
IMMIGRATION WATCH — “Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children,” by WaPo’s Michael E. Miller in Brownsville, Texas, and Emma Brown and Aaron C. Davis in D.C.: “For more than a year, the old Walmart along the Mexican border here has been a mystery to those driving by on the highway. In place of the supercenter’s trademark logo hangs a curious sign: ‘Casa Padre.’
“But behind the sliding doors is a bustling city unto itself, equipped with classrooms, recreation centers and medical examination rooms. Casa Padre now houses more than 1,400 immigrant boys, dozens of them forcibly separated from their parents at the border by a new Trump administration ‘zero-tolerance’ policy.” https://wapo.st/2JTNdhw
RAHM WATCH … BLOOMBERG: “Elon Musk’s Boring Co. Wins Chicago Airport High-Speed Train Bid”: “Elon Musk’s Boring Co. is the winner in a bid to build a multibillion-dollar high-speed express train to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The result gives the young company a big boost in legitimacy as it tries to get transportation projects underway in Los Angeles and Washington.” https://bloom.bg/2t7a5Qt
BUSINESS BURST – “Comcast Tops Disney With $65 Billion Bid for Fox Assets,” by WSJ’s Shalini Ramachandran and Erich Schwartzel: “Comcast Corp. made an unsolicited offer to buy most of 21st Century Fox Inc. for roughly $65 billion, kicking off a bidding war with Walt Disney Co. as the two media titans jockey for position in a business undergoing tumultuous change. … Neither bid includes Fox News, Fox Sports 1 or the Fox broadcast network and its TV stations, which will be spun off into a new company.” https://on.wsj.com/2HNYsTI
SPOTTED last night at dinner at Cafe Milano in the Garden Room: Gary Cohn, Stephanie Ruhle, Bob Costa, Tammy Haddad, Hilary Rosen, Maureen Dowd and Shailagh Murray.
TRANSITIONS — FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Sarah Rittling is the new executive director of the early childhood education group the First Five Years Fund. An alum of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and former Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), she will lead the bipartisan organization funded by big donors like J.B. Pritzker, George Kaiser and Susie Buffett.
— DOE DEPARTURE LOUNGE — Bob Haus is leaving the Department of Energy on July 6 where he has served as director of public affairs. He’s moving back to Des Moines, Iowa, where he’ll work on state and intergovernmental relations at Corteva, the new agrisciences division of Dow DuPont.
— OBAMA ALUMNI — Derek Mitchell, the former U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar and an Obama DoD alum, will be the new president of the National Democratic Institute.
BIRTHWEEK (was Monday): Wendy Teramoto, COS for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. She celebrated with her kids and a strawberry cake (hat tip: Becca Glover)
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Mack McLarty, chairman of McLarty Associates, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and vice-chair of No Labels. How he got his start in politics: “My Hope High School English teacher encouraged me to run for student council. I later had the privilege to serve as student body president at the University of Arkansas; and, after graduation, ran for the Arkansas state legislature at the age of 23. Representing the good people of Hope and Hempstead county was an honor I still cherish.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2sWiSFD
BIRTHDAYS: President Donald Trump is 72 … Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice and president of Barracks Row Media, is 37 … Dan Schwerin, former director of speechwriting for Hillary Clinton … Tim Lineberger, Trump Labor alum … House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is 79 … Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) is 64 … Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) is 75 … former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is 75 … the U.S. Army is 243 … Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships (h/t Tucker Bounds) … Leonard Blavatnik is 61 … Anthony Zampelli is 26 … Northwestern Mutual’s Christopher Gahan is 44 … Amber Marchand, managing director at Hamilton Place Strategies … Regan Page … Nike’s Danny Gaynor … Kristen Bartoloni … Julia Cohen, a reporting fellow at the Daily Caller News Foundation … Edelman’s Charles Bakaly … Sara Armstrong, VP of political affairs and federation relations at the U.S. Chamber … Andrew Bell, COS for Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), is 3-0 (h/t Ted) …
… Alexandra Veitch, lead for North American GR and policy at Tesla (h/ts Juleanna Glover and Todd Breasseale) … Evan Dixon, deputy press secretary and digital media director for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) (h/t Christina Mandreucci) … Crystal Bowyer, new Washingtonian and president and CEO of the National Children’s Museum (h/t Marc Adelman) … Bruce Rastetter is 62 … Ashley Mae Hunt … Ryan McKenna of the Wilson Center … Chris Bleak … Politico Europe’s Laurens Cerulus … Bill Wasserman of M+R (h/t Jon Haber) … Jon Lentz, EIC at City & State … Pew’s Shomik Sarkar … Sarah Chen … WaPo’s Josh Hicks is 38 … Leslie Ogden … Paige Esterkin … former Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams … Chris Liddell-Westefeld … Carol Apelt … Annie Olson … Brandon Hall is 43 … Rachel Williams Ellis … Ashley Samelson McGuire … Roland Rydstrom … Kenan Block is 64 … Pat Proctor … Bob de Maria .. David Parsons … Andrew Bair … Scot Ross … Dee Simpson … Quinn Johnson … Mary Ann Preskul … Linda Beitelspacher (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)