ATTN. WEST WING … BULLETIN, at 4:16 a.m., from AP (@AP): “BREAKING: Turkish media: court rejects appeal for American pastor’s release from detention.”
— WSJ: “Turkey Raises Tariffs on a Number of U.S. Products: List includes rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics,” by Yeliz Candemir in Istanbul: “Turkey sharply raised tariffs Wednesday on some U.S. imports in response to U.S. sanctions on Ankara, the latest spat between the two NATO allies that has led to a currency crisis.
“A decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has raised tariffs on U.S. goods including alcoholic beverages, passenger cars, tobacco, cosmetics, rice and coal. ‘In response to the U.S. administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy, under the principle of reciprocity, the import duties on some products have been raised,’ Vice President Fuat Oktay said Wednesday on his official Twitter account.” WSJ
IS OMAROSA NEWSWORTHY? YES. … There’s a debate raging among Trump supporters and some reporters about whether the media should cover Omarosa Manigault Newman. Trump supporters argue that she has no credibility and should be ignored. Some in the media also say that she has no credibility and is merely trying to sell books.
RIGHT NOW, she seems to be one of the only people who worked in the White House who has not signed a non-disclosure agreement, and therefore can speak honestly about the administration. She might not have credibility, but she does have (possibly illegal, definitely deceitful and certainly unprincipled) tapes. She’s giving a nearly unprecedented view into a White House that has been prone to obfuscating.
THE PRESIDENT AND WHITE HOUSE’S RETORT, that Omarosa had previously been nice to Trump, falls flat. Trump said lots of nice things about Jeff Sessions, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton … and Omarosa, for that matter. And she’s in it for the money and publicity? Well, yeah, that’s probably true too.
THE WASHINGTON CROWD doesn’t like her, because she’s further amplifying the reality show melodrama Washington has become.
Good Wednesday morning. The president has nothing on his public calendar except an intel briefing at 11:30 a.m. NATS UPDATE: Online headline in WaPo: “Gio Gonzalez struggles again, and the Nationals are a .500 team after 120 games”
ANNIE KARNI, “‘People are terrified’: Trump staffers live in fear of Omarosa’s next tape”: “A daily trickle of revealing internal conversations between staffers. Growing anxiety about what one might have once said. No sense of how long it will go on. Omarosa Manigault Newman’s slow release of secretly taped conversations from inside the Trump campaign and White House is having the same effect on staffers as the daily dumps from WikiLeaks had on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, when chairman John Podesta’s emails were trickled out during the final stretch of the race.
“‘People are terrified,’ one former Trump aide said of the tapes. ‘Absolutely terrified.’ On Tuesday, the fifth day of her one-woman news cycle, Manigault Newman released a taped conversation from the 2016 campaign, in which former spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and another African-American Trump adviser, Lynne Patton, discussed the possible existence of an N-word tape. ‘He’s said it,’ Pierson says on the recording. ‘He’s embarrassed.’” POLITICO
EXCHANGE OF THE DAY — @MSNBC: “.@kwelkernbc: ‘Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they’ll never hear Donald Trump utter ‘the n word’ on a recording, in any context?’ Sarah Sanders: ‘I can’t guarantee anything… I can tell you I’ve never heard it.’” Video
— “Huckabee Sanders apologizes for false statement about black employment,” by WaPo’s Jeff Stein: WaPo
MORE OMAROSA FALLOUT — “Trump Knew About Democratic Emails Stolen by Russia, Ex-Aide Says,” by WSJ’s Peter Nicholas: “President Trump knew about Democratic campaign emails stolen by Russian hackers before they were made public during the 2016 presidential race, Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former top White House aide who was fired in December, claimed Tuesday. …
“Speaking [to Katy Tur on] MSNBC, Ms. Manigault Newman was asked if Mr. Trump knew about the emails before WikiLeaks began releasing them in the summer of 2016. ‘Absolutely,’ she said.” WSJ
— “Omarosa: DeVos said black college students lack the ‘capacity to understand’ her agenda,” by Ben Wermund: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos allegedly said the students who booed her May 2017 commencement speech at a historically black college didn’t have the ‘capacity to understand’ what she wants to accomplish, according to the tell-all book by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. Manigault Newman describes DeVos’ comments during a conversation with her after the May address at Florida’s Bethune-Cookman University as ‘meaning, all those black students were too stupid to understand her agenda.’” POLITICO
TOP TAKEAWAYS FROM TUESDAY’S PRIMARY RESULTS — STEVEN SHEPARD: “Democrats bet on boring in the Midwest … Scott Walker’s machine remains a force … Voters aren’t keen on D.C. lobbyists … A historic night for Democrats.” POLITICO
— ELENA SCHNEIDER: “Democrats post a night of firsts in Tuesday primaries”: “Democratic voters selected a diverse array of history-making candidates in primaries across four states Tuesday, including nominating a transgender woman for governor of Vermont.
Christine Hallquist, a former energy executive, would be the first openly transgender governor in America if she defeats GOP Gov. Phil Scott in November.
“Meanwhile, Connecticut teacher Jahana Hayes is poised to become the first African-American Democrat to represent the state in Congress after winning her primary in the 5th District, and in Minnesota, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) could become the first Muslim attorney general in the U.S. after winning his primary — days after facing allegations of abuse from the son of an ex-girlfriend, which Ellison denied.” POLITICO
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND has cut a minute-long radio ad highlighting RANDY BRYCE’S nine arrests. Bryce is the Democratic nominee in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district — the seat Paul Ryan is vacating.
— SCRIPT: DISPATCH: “Squad Car 5-8-0. We have reports of a swerving vehicle. Do you read?” POLICE OFFICER: “This is Squad Car 5-8-0. We’re on the scene. We have a drunk driver in custody.” DISPATCH: “Can we get an ID on him?” POLICE OFFICER: “Yeah, his name is Randy Bryce. Repeat offender.”
NARRATOR: “Randy Bryce has been arrested nine times. Driving while under the influence. Driving on a suspended license. Drug possession. Property Damage. Theft. Randy Bryce has been arrested nine times.”
POLICE OFFICER: “We have a drunk driver in custody.” DISPATCH: “Can we get an ID on him?” POLICE OFFICER: “His name is Randy Bryce. Repeat offender.”
NARRATOR: “Nine arrests? Randy Bryce has no business making the laws. He’s spent his life breaking the law.” The spot … Bryce was arrested and pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 1998.
— KANSAS CITY STAR: “Kobach is Republican nominee for Kansas governor after Colyer concedes”
WAPO’S SEAN SULLIVAN and MIKE DEBONIS: “With little fanfare, Trump and McConnell reshape the nation’s circuit courts”
MANAFORT TRIAL PREVIEW … DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “Day 12 starts at 9:30 a.m. with closing arguments. The special counsel’s team has requested at least two hours to wrap up their case — which revolves around hundreds of pieces of evidence and 18 criminal counts — but Judge Ellis has also warned them that could be ‘excessive.’
“‘It’s very, very hard for anybody, any jurors, to pay attention for two straight hours,’ the judge said in court on Tuesday in urging them to at least aim for a 90-minute closing. Manafort’s attorneys on Tuesday assured the judge they could make their final appeal in an hour and a half.
“Then we’ll move to jury instructions – with Ellis planning to real aloud about 80 of them in all, covering everything from what they need to consider when determining Manafort’s guilt or innocence and things like ignoring the judge’s frequent asides during the trial.
“Ellis has said he won’t be putting the instructions down on paper but will provide the jury with an audio recording in case they want to go back and listen to them again as they consider the charges. He’s also proposed that the jury only be allowed to take into their deliberations the portions of the 37-page Manafort indictment that deal directly with the charges they’re debating.”
VERDICT WATCH: “Bring a book Thursday (and maybe Friday?). Manafort’s lawyers were overheard discussing with Kathleen Manafort and friends that they shouldn’t wander more than 10 minutes from the courthouse if they want to get back into the building in time for an announcement. As far as timing goes, Ellis said he won’t be putting any restrictions on the jury: ‘I’ll tell them deliberate as long or as little as they like,’ he said in open court on Tuesday. ‘It’s entirely up to them.’”
— JOSH GERSTEIN: “Manafort defense hopes to gain from missing witnesses’ absence”: “‘It’s a little odd that they didn’t call people who were right there’ in events at the heart of the prosecution’s case, said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor now with Berkeley Research Group. ‘You’re going to hear this from the defense.’ …
“Because of witnesses’ 5th Amendment rights not to incriminate themselves, prosecutors are often forced to pick their poison. On one hand, they can grant immunity to a witness and face questions about why a potentially guilty party got a free pass. Alternately, they can leave the witness out and risk the defense highlighting the omission as suspicious or an effort to conceal something. With some key players, Mueller’s team appears to have chosen the latter burden.” POLITICO
AT THE PENTAGON — “Exclusive: Pentagon spokeswoman under investigation for misusing staff, retaliating against complaints,” by CNN’s Barbara Starr: “One of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ most senior civilian advisers is being investigated by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General for allegedly retaliating against staff members after she used some of them to conduct her personal errands and business matters, according to four sources familiar with the probe.
“Dana White, the Trump administration political appointee who serves as the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, has been under investigation for several weeks after multiple complaints were filed against her. White is alleged to have misused support staff, asking them, among other things, to fetch her drycleaning, run to the pharmacy for her and work on her mortgage paperwork. Staffers also charge that she inappropriately transferred personnel after they filed complaints about her.” CNN
LEADERSHIP WATCH — “As speaker, Jim Clyburn says he would ‘transform’ Democratic Party,” by Emma Dumain and Bill Douglas in McClatchy: “As speaker of the House, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn says he would be a ‘transitional’ leader but not ‘custodial.’ The South Carolina Democrat says he would work to ‘transform’ the Democratic Caucus to make the party more appealing ‘to young African Americans who still feel … take(n) for granted.’ …
“Surrounded by allies and supporters at the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s annual policy forum in Tunica, Miss., last weekend, Clyburn spoke more frankly and openly than he had before about how he would approach the top job in the House’s leadership.
“Clyburn also made clear he was ready for the challenge — and ready to make history as the first African-American speaker of the House — rather than demure that the decision was not up to him. ‘I’m very much up for it,’ Clyburn said in an interview with McClatchy during a break from conference activities.” McClatchy
PLAYBOOK ON THE ROAD — Tweet or send us a photo of you, your friends and companions reading Playbook this August to @playbookplus using hashtag #PlaybookLoyal or email them to Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be featured on Friday each week this month.
WEDNESDAY LISTEN — ANNA interviewed LORI LIGHTFOOT, who is challenging Rahm Emanuel in the Chicago mayoral race, to kick off the three-part podcast series “Women Rule: Tracking the Candidate.” Lightfoot could be a lot of firsts for the city — the first female black mayor and the first openly gay mayor.
Listen in to hear more about why these candidates decided to run, what challenges they’ve faced on the campaign trail and in their personal lives, and what lessons women can take from their campaigns. Subscribe
THE INVESTIGATIONS … “Senate Intel Wants To Follow The Money In The Russia Probe. But Treasury Isn’t Making That Easy,” by BuzzFeed’s Emma Loop and Jason Leopold: “In its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee has spent more than a year trying to follow the money. But its efforts, unparalleled on Capitol Hill, have been hampered by a surprising force: the U.S. Treasury Department, which has delayed turning over crucial financial records and refused to provide an expert to help make sense of the complex money trail. Even some of the department’s own personnel have questioned whether Treasury is intentionally hamstringing the investigation. …
“Treasury has at times been reluctant to cooperate with the committee’s requests for sensitive financial documents that are significant to the Russia probe, at one point going at least four months without responding to one of the committee’s requests. Last year, Treasury rejected the committee’s request for help from one of its experts, even as Treasury officials have speculated — behind closed doors — that the Senate committee would not be able to follow the twisting financial trail laid out in the documents they had turned over, a path that often passes through offshore shell companies or untraceable cash transactions.” BuzzFeed
SCOOP — “Exclusive: Draft details Trump’s plan for reversing Obama climate rule,” by Emily Holden: “The Trump administration is preparing to unveil its plan for undoing Barack Obama’s most ambitious climate regulation — offering a replacement that would do far less to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, according to POLITICO’s review of a portion of the unpublished draft.
“The new climate proposal for coal-burning power plants, expected to be released in the coming days, would give states wide latitude to write their own modest regulations for coal plants or even seek permission to opt out, according to the document and a source who has read other sections of the draft. … Trump’s critics call it a recipe for abandoning the effort to take on one of the world’s most urgent problems.” POLITICO
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Pa. Catholic Church sex abuse report names hundreds of priests, accuses leaders of cover-up: ‘They hid it all,’” by Philly Inquirer’s Jeremy Roebuck, Angela Couloumbis and Liz Navratil: “Top Roman Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania covered up decades of child sex abuse involving more than 1,000 victims and hundreds of priests, according to a long-awaited grand jury report released Tuesday. Capping what may be the most comprehensive examination yet of clergy sex abuse across a single state, the nearly 900-page document accuses church officials in six Pennsylvania dioceses of routinely prioritizing their institution over the welfare of children in their care.
“The allegations stretch back to the 1940s, detailing child rapes and groping that mirrored the reports that have roiled the church worldwide. But the document includes several uniquely disturbing accounts of its own — including one of a 1970s pedophile and child pornography ring in Pittsburgh among priests who whipped their victims and took photos of one boy as he posed naked as if on the cross.” Philly Inquirer
MEDIAWATCH — @oliverdarcy: “Twitter spox confirms to me that the company has limited key functions on Alex Jones’ account after determining he violated another one of network’s policies. He can still browse Twitter, but can’t tweet, retweet, etc. for 7 days. Jones also required to delete offending tweet.”
SPOTTED at a discussion last night about Twitter at Joe’s Seafood & Stone Crab between Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Steve Clemons hosted by Ron Christie: Marie Harf, Rick Ungar, Brooke and Kate Andersen Brower, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, Mo Elleithee and Colin Crowell.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Karen Finney, political consultant and former senior adviser to Hillary’s presidential campaign. A fun fact about Karen: “I had a blind date with Robert De Niro many years ago (he was separated from his wife at the time.)” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Hannah Salem, special assistant to the President and WH director of press advance (hat tip: big brother Jamie Hennigan) … Elise Labott, CNN global affairs correspondent (h/t Kevin Bohn) … Vernon Jordan is 83 … Melinda Gates is 54 … Justice Stephen Breyer is 8-0 … Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is 8-0 … Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) is 7-0 … Linda Ellerbee … Dave Price … DOJ’s Devin O’Malley (h/t Sarah Flores) … McClatchy’s Kevin Hall, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is 56 … Meg Joseph … AARP’s Patrice Woods Wildgoose … Matt Pinnell … Peggy Binzel, managing director at Cogent Strategies … Democratic pollster Diane Feldman … Jarrett Lewis … Jon Black … NBC News Capitol Hill reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell … Patrick Gleason, VP of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform … Kathryn Potter … Annie Minkler … Rachel Haot, executive director for the Transit Innovation Partnership at the Partnership for New York City (h/t Ben Chang) …
… Richard Hudock, senior manager of PR at CNN (h/ts Ned Price, Matt Dornic and Lauren Pratapas) … Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight … Billy Pitts … Sarah Bell … Edelman’s Stephanie Lesser … Eric Tanenblatt, global chair of public policy and regulation at Dentons … Bart Reising is 32 … Ben Weinberg … Brett Doyle, senior director for congressional affairs at USTR … Mary Elizabeth Taylor, nominee to be assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs (h/t Liz Johnson) … John Konkus … Mariam Khan, Congress reporter/producer for ABC News (h/t Devin Dwyer) … Jesse McKinley, NYT Albany bureau chief, is 48 … Tom Best … former Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) is 81 … Larry Cohen … Christopher Loring … Maral Karaccusian … Zahava Urecki … Emily Smith … Tom Murphy … Diane Feldman … Conrad Allen … Susanne Salkind … Todd Bernstein … KJ Fallon … Will Dizard … Alison Rose Levy … Frank Sicoli is 4-0 … Desiree Wineland … Derek Kan, undersecretary at DOT … Miranda Barrett.