BREAKING OVERNIGHT … The United States has deported Jakiw Palij, a 95-year-old former Nazi guard who was living in Queens. Palij was sent to Germany. AP story
TRUMP TALKS TO REUTERS — “Trump worries that Mueller interview could be a ‘perjury trap,’” by Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and James Oliphant: “U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was worried that any statements under oath he provides to Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be used to bring perjury charges against him as part of the probe into Russia’s electoral interference.
“In an interview with Reuters, Trump echoed the concerns of his top lawyer in the probe, Rudy Giuliani, who has warned that any sit-down with Mueller could be a ‘perjury trap.’ The president expressed fears that investigators could compare his statements with that of others who have testified in the probe, such as former FBI Director James Comey, and that any discrepancies could be used against him.
“‘So if I say something and he (Comey) says something, and it’s my word against his, and he’s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: “Well, I believe Comey,” and even if I’m telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That’s no good.’ …
“Trump asserted that he retained the power to intervene in the probe, but that he had chosen not to do so for the moment. His administration, Trump said, was ‘a smooth-running machine, except in that world. And I’ve decided to stay out. Now I don’t have to stay out. I can go in, and I could do whatever — I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out,’ he said. ‘I’m totally allowed to be involved if I wanted to be. So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved. I’ll stay out.’” Reuters
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS …
— NORTH KOREA … TRUMP said he would “most likely” meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un again. “‘I like him. He likes me … There’s no ballistic missiles going up, there’s a lot of silence … I have very good personal relations with Chairman Kim, and I think that’s what holds it together.’” Reuters
— SOCIAL MEDIA … “Trump said on Monday that it is ‘very dangerous’ for social media companies like Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc to silence voices on their services. … ‘I won’t mention names but when they take certain people off of Twitter or Facebook and they’re making that decision, that is really a dangerous thing because that could be you tomorrow,’ said Trump.” Reuters
— THE FED: “Trump said on Monday he was ‘not thrilled’ with the Federal Reserve under his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates and said the U.S. central bank should do more to help him to boost the economy. …
“‘I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates, no. I’m not thrilled,’ Trump said, referring to Powell. Trump nominated Powell last year to replace former Fed Chair Janet Yellen. … ‘Am I happy with my choice?’ Trump said to Reuters about Powell. ‘I’ll let you know in seven years.’” Reuters
NOTHING TO SEE HERE! “McGahn does not believe he implicated Trump in legal wrongdoing in special counsel interviews, his attorney tells president’s legal team,” by WaPo’s Carol D. Leonnig, Ros Helderman and Josh Dawsey: “The assurances from McGahn’s attorney came as the president and his lawyers pushed back against the suggestion in a New York Times report that Trump’s attorneys have little insight into what McGahn told special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. …
“McGahn’s attorney, Bill Burck, told Trump’s lawyers this past weekend that McGahn did not assert that Trump engaged in any wrongdoing when he spoke to Mueller’s investigators in three lengthy interviews since last November … ‘He did not incriminate him,’ Burck wrote in one email, which was described by multiple people.” WaPo
NEW: BIG MONEY REPORT … WHAT WE LEARNED FROM RECENT CAMPAIGN FINANCE FILINGS.
— ADELSON UPDATE: SHELDON and MIRIAM ADELSON gave the SENATE LEADERSHIP FUND $12.5 MILLION each in July. That $25 million contribution is just shy of the $30 million they gave the House-focused Congressional Leadership Fund. Koch Industries chipped in $500,000. Theo Meyer story on the Adelsons’ giving
— MARC KASOWITZ, one of Trump’s former attorneys, gave the RNC $50,000.
— THE NRCC, which raised $10 million last month, got its biggest individual donation from Thomas Shrager of Florida — an investment professional — who gave $33,900.
— SENATE MAJORITY PAC, which raised $7 million, got $1 million from Karla Jurvetson, a physician and the former wife of Silicon Valley investor Steve Jurvetson. Billionaire hedge fund manager Jim Simons gave HOUSE MAJORITY PAC $1.7 million.
— GEORGE SOROS gave the DNC $170,000. The DNC raised $7.2 million.
— JOE and MARLENE RICKETTS both gave $5,000 to the House Freedom Fund, the PAC supporting the Freedom Caucus.
CHARLIE COOK PREDICTS MORE GRIDLOCK: “Anything short of a Democratic gain of 60 or more seats means that it would [be] a real challenge for House Democrats to get much out of the chamber (a 60-plus seat gain for Democrats is possible, but very unlikely given current congressional-district boundaries and natural-population patterns). …
— IN THE SENATE: “The reality is that no party is going to exceed 53 or 54 seats, making for a tough legislative sled given the rules and practices of the Senate.” National Journal
EEK … WAPO’S ELIZABETH DWOSKIN in SAN FRANCISCO and CRAIG TIMBERG: “Microsoft says it has found a Russian operation targeting U.S. political institutions”: “A group affiliated with the Russian government created phony versions of six websites — including some related to public policy and to the U.S. Senate — with the apparent goal of hacking into the computers of people who were tricked into visiting, according to Microsoft, which said Monday night that it discovered and disabled the fake sites.
“The effort by the notorious APT28 hacking group, which has been publicly linked to a Russian intelligence agency and actively interfered in the 2016 presidential election, underscores the aggressive role Russian operatives are playing ahead of the midterm congressional elections in the United States. …
“Microsoft said the sites were created over the past several months, and that the company was able to catch them early, as they were being set up. It did not go into more specifics. …
“Among those targeted were the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think tank active in investigations of corruption in Russia, and the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit group that promotes democracy worldwide. Three other fake sites were crafted to appear as though they were affiliated with the Senate, and one nonpolitical site spoofed Microsoft’s own online products.” WaPo
WHAT’S IN A NAME? … “Trump botches Customs and Border Protection acronym eight times at event honoring the agency,” by Washington Examiner’s Anna Giaritelli: “[E]ight times during his 30-minute speech, Trump, who appeared to be reading from a teleprompter, mistakenly said ‘CBC’ instead of ‘CBP.’ In fact, the president did not state ‘CBP’ once during his remarks.” Examiner
— “‘Speaks Perfect English,’ Trump Says of Hispanic-American Border Patrol Agent,” by NYT’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis.
BEN SCHRECKINGER, JOSH GERSTEIN and DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “Smoke breaks, sandwiches and solitaire: Manafort verdict waiting game”
— MANAFORT TRIAL PREVIEW, DAY 16 via Darren: “Jurors will be back in the courtroom at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for their fourth day of deliberations. This is the day Josh G. had predicted we should have a verdict. I had my money on last Friday, which obviously was wrong.”
SPOTTED: Wilbur and Hilary Geary Ross having dinner last night at La Chaumière in Georgetown … Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) walking on Union Street in Nantucket at noon yesterday. Dana Bash, Spencer Garrett and David Gregory were also seen in downtown Nantucket yesterday.
TRADE WARS — “U.S. Moves Toward New Tariffs on China Despite Fresh Round of Trade Talks,” by WSJ’s Bob Davis and Andrew Duehren: “The Trump administration is moving closer this week to levying tariffs on nearly half of Chinese imports despite broad opposition from U.S. business and the start of a fresh round of talks between the U.S. and China to settle the trade dispute.
“The twin administration initiatives—pursuing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods while relaunching talks to scrap tariffs—underscore a split within the U.S. administration, with negotiators in the U.S. Treasury Department offering a carrot, while the office of the U.S. trade representative threatens with a stick, both with the approval of President Trump, according to people familiar with the administration’s internal deliberations.” WSJ
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Kim Jong-un Focuses on Economy as Nuclear Talks With U.S. Stall,” by NYT’s Choe Sang-Hun in Seoul: “When North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, visited a hydroelectric dam under construction last month, he reportedly ‘flew into a rage’ after learning why the dam was still unfinished after 17 years of work.
“The dam, central to Mr. Kim’s efforts to alleviate his country’s chronic power shortages, suffered from a lack of workers, equipment and materials, Mr. Kim is said to have found, and he learned that officials overseeing the project hadn’t even visited the construction site.
“‘What makes me angrier is that these officials will never fail to miss the opportunity to show their shameless faces and take credit when a ceremony is held to mark the completion of a power plant,’ Mr. Kim was quoted by the North’s Korean Central News Agency as saying. ‘I am speechless.’ The reports in the North Korean state news media about Mr. Kim’s anger were a jarring contrast to their typical portrayals of such visits, which show Mr. Kim being mobbed by his adoring subjects.” NYT
— CBS: “U.S. officials confident drone strike killed chief al Qaeda bomb maker,” by David Martin: “U.S. officials are confident that al Qaeda’s chief bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri has been killed by an American drone strike in Yemen. After Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, al-Asiri might well have been the single most dangerous terrorist in the world.” CBS News
SEXUAL HARASSMENT WATCH — “Mel Watt sexual harassment accuser files federal pay discrimination suit,” by Katy O’Donnell: “A woman who accused Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt of sexual harassment is suing the agency for $1 million for allegedly paying her less than the man who held her position before her — and she claims she was denied the raise because she rejected Watt’s advances.
“Simone Grimes, a special adviser at the housing regulator, filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court, alleging she was paid less than a man whose duties she assumed when he was promoted to a different job. In the suit, she says that her rejection of Watt’s sexual advances ‘was directly related’ to the agency’s failure to adjust her pay. Watt declined to comment on the lawsuit, a spokeswoman said Monday in an e-mailed statement.” POLITICO
2018 WATCH — ELENA SCHNEIDER in CINCINNATI: “Once-safe GOP seats threatened by blue wave”: “Republicans who represented some of the safest congressional seats in their party for years are suddenly under intense pressure in 2018, with Democratic challengers threatening to overwhelm them in suburban districts where President Donald Trump has struggled.
“One of those districts belongs to Rep. Steve Chabot, an 11-term Republican who has gone years without a serious challenge in the southwestern corner of Ohio. He has been outraised — and, some Republicans say, outworked — by Democrat Aftab Pureval, the 35-year-old clerk of courts in Cincinnati’s Hamilton County, who argues that the congressman has lost touch with a diversifying, suburbanizing district changing beneath his feet.
“‘The momentum is with us … even though people can’t even pronounce my name,’ Pureval said to laughter at a recent field office opening northeast of Cincinnati. (During Pureval’s clerk’s race in 2016, he used an Aflac-style duck to poke fun at his name in his ads.)” POLITICO
OTHER GOP incumbents on the hot seat: Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), Leonard Lance (N.J.) and John Culberson (Texas).
— “‘We’ll see whether you can really buy a governor’s race,’” by Daniel Strauss: “Millionaire megadonor Foster Friess has spent more money, racked up more national endorsements and blanketed the airwaves more aggressively than any other Republican in Tuesday’s Wyoming governor’s primary. It might not be enough to win. Friess may be a household name in conservative fundraising circles, but he started his surprise bid for governor largely unknown in Wyoming compared to the other leading candidates: state Treasurer Mark Gordon and businessman Sam Galeotos.” POLITICO
BACK IN THE FIGHT — “Hillary Clinton steps back into the fray to fundraise for Democrats this fall,” by NBC News’ Heidi Przybyla: “The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee will headline three events — in San Francisco, Chicago and New York — for the DNC this fall to boost the party’s chances of seizing control of the U.S. House and Senate. Billed as ‘intimate dinners with discussion,’ the first invitations were set to go out Monday night for a September event in San Francisco. … She is also planning fundraisers for some women running for Congress in key races, according to a Democratic source close to her.” NBC News
THE JUICE …
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: PLANNED PARENTHOOD partnered with FUNNY OR DIE on a video about Brett Kavanaugh’s record on women’s issues. The 3-minute clip
JOHN BRESNAHAN: “Cardenas sets up legal defense fund for groping lawsuit”
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president is meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then having lunch with Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. In the afternoon, he is meeting with labor union leaders. Later, Trump will travel to Charleston, West Virginia. He will meet with supporters at the Charleston Civic Center before hosting a “Make America Great Again Rally.” He will then return to Washington, D.C.
COMING ATTRACTIONS … WE’RE COMING TO PHILADELPHIA … Join us for a Playbook Elections event in Pennsylvania. We will discuss the 2018 midterms, and the issues shaping the races at the Ritz Carlton in Philly Aug. 31. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. We’ll interview SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA.) and Philadelphia GOP chairman MICHAEL MEEHAN. RSVP
MELANIA HEADING TO AFRICA — “Melania Trump planning solo international swing to Africa,” by AP’s Darlene Superville: “Mrs. Trump plans to travel without President Donald Trump, who was roundly criticized earlier this year after his private comment about ‘s***hole countries’ in Africa was leaked to journalists. Exact dates for the trip and which African countries she will visit remain to be announced.
“‘This will be my first time traveling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history,’ the first lady said in the statement. ‘We are a global society and I believe it is through open dialogue and the exchanging of ideas that we have a real opportunity to learn from one another.’” AP
AT FOGGY BOTTOM — “Pompeo’s inner circle heavy on business, military experience,” by Nahal Toosi: “West Point. Harvard. Kansas. Nearly four months into the job, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has built an inner circle heavy on loyalists who share key parts of his life experience — but who lack experience with diplomacy and foreign policy. Several members of Pompeo’s core team do offer strong managerial skills from business careers that could help Pompeo run a department of 75,000 employees worldwide, however. Pompeo apparently trusts this core group enough that he’s not planning to name an official chief of staff. …
“Two of Pompeo’s top advisers check three key biographical boxes. Ulrich Brechbuhl and Brian Bulatao were members of his 1986 class at West Point and, like him, served in the U.S. Army. Both men also earned degrees from Harvard Business School. (Pompeo attended the law school.) Both also helped Pompeo found Thayer Aerospace, a specialized machining firm in Kansas whose investors reportedly included the Koch brothers.” POLITICO
DRIP, DRIP, DRIP … ONE ‘FIVE-MINUTE CALL’ — “Pruitt called the White House once from his $43,000 phone booth, records show,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis: “He placed only one phone call to the White House, newly released records from the agency show. It lasted five minutes. … He made the five-minute call on Jan. 29, according to Verizon phone logs released in response to litigation filed by the Sierra Club … The new documents do not show how many incoming calls Pruitt received in the soundproof booth, which he installed last year. In April, Pruitt testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he used the booth sparingly. ‘It’s for confidential communications, and it’s rare,’ he told Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).” WaPo
MEDIAWATCH — “Les Moonves’ contract reveals nearly $200 million at stake if he leaves CBS,” by Irina Ivanova and Jillian Harding on CBSNews.com: “CBS Corporation could be forced to pay CEO Les Moonves upwards of $200 million if he leaves before the end of his contract in 2021. Moonves took home nearly $70 million in cash and stock in each of the past two years, and would be entitled to millions more if he leaves without ‘cause.’ …
“Company filings with the [SEC], which include the contract, show that it provides for a generous severance package worth nearly $180 million if removed without cause. … He would also be allowed to remain as an adviser and producer at CBS after his official employment ends. The contract provides for an additional payout of up to $25 million if he chooses not to do so.” CBSNews
— “Verizon And Hearst Are Closing Down Their Conservative Video Project,” by BuzzFeed’s Steven Perlberg: “Verizon and Hearst are shuttering Rated Red, the digital video brand the two media companies created in the hopes it would become magnet for young conservatives. Headquartered in Nashville, Rated Red focused on what it described as cultural content for the heartland. Videos produced by the company, which operated under the Complex Networks joint venture, typically feature topics like outdoorsy lifehacks, the military, automobiles, video games, and guns.” BuzzFeed
— “Brian Ross lands at Law & Crime Network,” by WaPo’s Erik Wemple: “Next month, Ross and [Rhonda] Schwartz, his longtime investigative partner, will join the Law & Crime Network, a network of 30 employees that covers trials and crime 24/7. Ross’s title will be chief investigative reporter, and he will host a weekly program, ‘Brian Ross Investigates.’
“Schwartz will be the network’s executive investigative producer. The move is an outgrowth of professional affinities: [network founder] Dan Abrams, a one-man niche-media industry, worked with Ross and Schwartz for years at ABC News, where Abrams serves as chief legal analyst.” WaPo
YIKES — @kenvogel: “VOICEMAIL FROM A FAN: ‘You’re the problem. You are the enemy of the people. And although the pen might be mightier than the sword, the pen is not mightier than the AK-47.’” The audio
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Chase Jennings, communications director for Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and an RNC alum, and Kathleen Jennings, operations officer at the law firm Allen & Overy, welcomed Maverick William Jennings. He weighed in at 7 pounds 15 ounces. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHWEEK (was Sunday): Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder turned 6-0 … Travis W. Weber, Snyder’s chief legal counsel (hat tips: Anna Heaton)
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who got his start in politics as a page in the Arkansas State Senate in 1983 and 1985 while Bill Clinton was governor, is 5-0. A fun fact about Tim: “I sometimes listen to Van Halen, Glen Campbell, and the Gaither Vocal Band all in one sitting. Also, I love the pickle juice slushes from Sonic.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Steve Case, chairman of Revolution, chairman of the Case Foundation and co-founder of AOL, is 6-0 (h/ts Herbie Ziskend, Meredith Balenske and Blake Waggoner) … Ken Mehlman, global head of public affairs at KKR and co-head of KKR Global Impact … Peter Hamby, host of Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” and a Vanity Fair contributor (h/t Rachel Racusen) … NBC News correspondent Harry Smith is 67 … WaPo’s Manuel Roig-Franzia … Ben Howard, floor director for Majority Whip Steve Scalise (h/t dad, Jack) … Politico’s David Beavers … Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is 62 … Mike Shannon … Margaret Chan, former director-general of WHO, is 71 … Steve Munroe is 33 … Elizabeth Stoltz … Brian Parks of Locust Street Group (h/t Ben Jenkins) … Matt Cott … Puja Murgai … Joe Minges … Hunter Lipscomb … Katie Brown … Politico Europe’s Stephanie Semeraro … Elaine Godfrey, politics writer at The Atlantic …
… Ruben Olmos, president of government/public affairs shop Global Nexus, LLC … Cheyne Worley … Mary Ann Naylor … Bruce Evans … Katherine Rojas … Alisa Maso (h/t Grace Bellone) … Sarah Rusciano … Joan Kirchner … Marguerite Biagi … Jana Winter, 2018-2019 Boston Globe Spotlight fellow … David Heifetz … Business Insider’s Pamela Engel (h/t Oliver Dracy) … Matt DeCample … Reuben Jeffery … Greg Bell, comms at Pinterest … Robert Wells … Stephen Neuman, managing director for American Airlines (h/t Mitchell Rivard) … Joe Mathieu … CNN’s Cameron Hough … Lindsay Fisher, student at UVA law school and Citi alum … Heather Hunter … Joseph Buicko … Tericka Lambert, NARAL’s digital strategist (h/t Maya Hixson)… David Heifetz, chief comms officer for New Politics … Francine McMahon … former Calif. Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is 51 … Brandon Lee Breaux … Lamont Black … Jack Kelly … Tom Houck … Jessica Lee … Adam Dubitsky … Heather Martin … Larry Martin … Paul Harstad (h/ts Teresa Vilmain).