Mike Allen
Featured

Trump's mini-me

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Look for Anthony Scaramucci, the incoming White House communications director, to take the White House podium more often than his predecessors. In past administrations, it has been a largely behind-the-scenes position, with the press secretary doing the daily on-camera talking.

  • "He's good at it and he's competitive," one friend said. "He's going to want to be out there on the days with the biggest sh--storms. He likes the game. He likes to spar, but he's not nasty about it. And he likes the controversy — he's a typical Wall Street guy."
  • Nevertheless, Mooch plans to elevate the cachet of the new press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Expect her to do the vast bulk of on-camera briefings.
  • He's been deleting lots of old tweets, but here they are.

Talker column by Maureen Dowd on "The Mooch And the Mogul":

"A wealthy mini-me Manhattan bro with wolfy smile and slick coif who will say anything and flip any position. A self-promoter extraordinaire and master salesman who doesn't mind pushing a bad product — and probably sees it as more fun. ... The Mogul and the Mooch is a tender love story with dramatic implications for the imploding White House.
"Both enjoy stirring the pot ... They savor counterpunching ... But a change in communications personnel will not solve the central problem for President Trump. He doesn't understand that Robert Mueller is not a contractor he's in a civil litigation dispute with, someone he can intimidate and wear down and threaten and bleed out."
Featured

How Trump thinks about pardons

Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump triggered front-page coverage across the land by tweeting yesterday that "all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon."

All don't agree. But associates say Trump's position on pardons (and willingness to fire special counsel Bob Mueller) is no surprise in light of the contempt he showed for a 40-year tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, and his decision to fire FBI Director Jim Comey against the advice of some top West Wing officials (to say nothing of the fact that it was one of the dumbest political mistakes in the modern era).

The takeaway: When Trump makes decisions, he doesn't think in terms of constitutional or ethical lines. He doesn't torture himself over the separation of powers. Instead, he still thinks of himself as a CEO trying to gain advantage in transactions. He wants to brawl, and he doesn't care how it looks.

Remember his litigious past: This isn't a unique approach for him. It's standard operating procedure.

A self-pardon by Trump would be "a first in all of human history," according to a WashPost op-ed today ("Trump can't pardon himself") by Harvard's Larry Tribe, along with Richard Painter (chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush) and Norman Eisen (chief White House ethics lawyer for President Obama).

  • "We know of not a single instance of a self-pardon having been recognized as legitimate. Even the pope does not pardon himself."
  • A more likely scenario would involve pardoning relatives or associates. That, though, could trigger defections from Republican lawmakers that could weaken Trump's hold on office.
Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman tells CNN's Laura Jarrett that the structural arrangement putting the president in charge of law enforcement as the head of the executive branch "works just fine until the president or those close to him come under investigation."
"So if the President tries to fire Mueller or gets him fired, 'it would expose a deep flaw in constitutional design.'"
Be smart: Aides say the quickest way to get Trump to do something is to tell him he can't, or argue that it's contrary to tradition. You always have to give him an alternative, and sometimes you can persuade him.
Featured

Axios AM

Good Sunday morning. It's Day 185. Situational awareness: With congressional leaders agreeing yesterday on "sweeping sanctions legislation to punish Russia," the N.Y. Times frames Trump's tough choice: "veto the bill — a move that would fuel accusations that he is doing [Putin's] bidding ... — or sign legislation imposing sanctions his administration has opposed."

As expected, Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, ended his tenure yesterday.

1 big thing: How Trump thinks about pardons

Rowers along the sun-glistened Potomac River pass the Jefferson Memorial on July 14 (AP's J. David Ake)

President Trump triggered front-page coverage across the land by tweeting yesterday that "all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon." (WashPost lead story: "Trump asserts 'power to pardon'")

All don't agree. But associates say Trump's position on pardons (and willingness to fire special counsel Bob Mueller) is no surprise in light of the contempt he showed for a 40-year tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, and his decision to fire FBI Director Jim Comey against the advice of some top West Wing officials (to say nothing of the fact that it was one of the dumbest political mistakes in the modern era).

The takeaway: When Trump makes decisions, he doesn't think in terms of constitutional or ethical lines. He doesn't torture himself over the separation of powers. Instead, he still thinks of himself as a CEO trying to gain advantage in transactions. He wants to brawl, and he doesn't care how it looks.

Remember his litigious past: This isn't a unique approach for him. It's standard operating procedure.

A self-pardon by Trump would be "a first in all of human history," according to a WashPost op-ed today ("Trump can't pardon himself") by Harvard's Larry Tribe, along with Richard Painter (chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush) and Norman Eisen (chief White House ethics lawyer for President Obama).

"We know of not a single instance of a self-pardon having been recognized as legitimate. Even the pope does not pardon himself."

A more likely scenario would involve pardoning relatives or associates. That, though, could trigger defections from Republican lawmakers that could weaken Trump's hold on office.

Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman tells CNN's Laura Jarrett that the structural arrangement putting the president in charge of law enforcement as the head of the executive branch "works just fine until the president or those close to him come under investigation."
"So if the President tries to fire Mueller or gets him fired, 'it would expose a deep flaw in constitutional design.'"
Be smart: Aides say the quickest way to get Trump to do something is to tell him he can't, or argue that it's contrary to tradition. You always have to give him an alternative, and sometimes you can persuade him.

2. Human trafficking in the U.S.

Breaking ... "8 people found dead in truck in 'human trafficking crime'" — AP/San Antonio: "Eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in Texas' stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case. The driver was arrested."
  • "Twenty other people in extremely critical or serious condition and eight more with lesser injuries including heat stroke and dehydration were found inside the truck, which didn't have a working air conditioning system despite blistering temperatures that topped 100 degrees."
  • "A person from the truck initially approached a Walmart employee in a parking lot and asked for water late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, said police in San Antonio, where temperatures on Saturday reached 101 degrees."
  • "The employee gave the person the water and then called police, and when officers arrived they found the eight people dead in the back of the trailer and 30 other survivors inside."
  • "Investigators checked store surveillance video, which showed vehicles had arrived and picked up other people from the tractor-trailer."
  • "[M]any of those inside the truck appeared to be adults in their 20s and 30s but also apparently two school-age children."

3. "Can the President Be Indicted?"

Trump boards Marine One on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., after yesterday's commissioning ceremony (AP's Carolyn Kaster)

"A Long-Hidden Legal Memo Says Yes," by N.Y. Times' Charlie Savage:

  • "A newfound memo from Kenneth W. Starr's independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton ... raises the possibility that Mr. Mueller may have more options than most commentators have assumed."
  • The 56-page memo was written for Starr by constitutional scholar Ronald Rotunda, "locked in the National Archives for nearly two decades and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act."
  • The memo concludes: 'It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president's official duties ... In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.'"
  • "In 1974, the Watergate special counsel, Leon Jaworski, had also received a memo from his staff saying he could indict the president."
  • See the Starr memo, posted by The Times.

P.S. Turning Manafort ... Mueller team hopes to use money-laundering accusations to push Paul Manafort to cooperate against others in the Russia probe, per Reuters' Julia Edwards Ainsley and John Walcott.

Manafort's spokesman, Jason Maloni: "Paul Manafort is not a cooperating witness."

Bonus: Global confidence in U.S. plummets

Data: Pew Research Center; Note: The full text of the survey question reads "confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing regarding world affairs"; GIF: Chris Canipe / Axios

Over the past two years, almost every country in a Pew Research survey lost confidence in the U.S. president "to do the right thing" regarding world affairs, Axios' Becca Rotenberg Chris Canipe write.

  • Russia's significant increase stands out — jumping from 11% in 2011 under Obama to 53% under Trump.
  • Other takeaways from the report: Merkel, Xi or Putin have more positive ratings globally than Trump. Arrogant was the most common word globally associated with Trump's characteristics.

4. Trump's Mini-Me

Scaramucci blows a kiss after answering questions in the briefing room Friday (AP's Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Look for ... Anthony Scaramucci, the incoming White House communications director, to take the White House podium more often than his predecessors. In past administrations, it has been a largely behind-the-scenes position, with the press secretary doing the daily on-camera talking.

  • "He's good at it and he's competitive," one friend said. "He's going to want to be out there on the days with the biggest sh--storms. He likes the game. He likes to spar, but he's not nasty about it. And he likes the controversy — he's a typical Wall Street guy."
  • Nevertheless, Mooch plans to elevate the cachet of the new press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Expect her to do the vast bulk of on-camera briefings.

Deletes tweets, but here they are.

Talker column by Maureen Dowd on "The Mooch And the Mogul": "A wealthy mini-me Manhattan bro with wolfy smile and slick coif who will say anything and flip any position. A self-promoter extraordinaire and master salesman who doesn't mind pushing a bad product — and probably sees it as more fun. ... The Mogul and the Mooch is a tender love story with dramatic implications for the imploding White House.

"Both enjoy stirring the pot ... They savor counterpunching ... But a change in communications personnel will not solve the central problem for President Trump. He doesn't understand that Robert Mueller is not a contractor he's in a civil litigation dispute with, someone he can intimidate and wear down and threaten and bleed out."

5. Smartphones gobble up tablets

"Global tablet sales declined for the first time in 2015, but the number of tablets in active use is expected to decline for the first time this year," Recode's Rani Molla writes, citing a new forecast by research firm Forrester.

"Over the next five years, the number of tablets in use is expected to decline an average of 1 percent each year while the number of smartphones should increase by about 7 percent annually."

P.S. "Next Leap for Robots," by Wall Street Journal's Brian Baskin: "Robot developers say they are close to a breakthrough — getting a machine to pick up a toy and put it in a box. ... [F]or retailers it has been a big hurdle to automating one of the most labor-intensive aspects of e-commerce: grabbing items off shelves."

6. 1 fun thing: 29 days from now

On Aug. 31, 1932, eclipse watchers squint through protective film as they view a partial eclipse of the sun from the top deck of the Empire State Building (AP Photo)

"Eclipse fever builds: From coast to coast, towns anticipate celestial event of a lifetime ... Parades, parties and port-a-potties" — L.A. Times front-pager by science reporter Deborah Netburn:

  • "[T]he moon's shadow will race across the United States [during the day] on Aug. 21, tracing a 2,800-mile arc from Oregon to South Carolina. It will take about 90 minutes for the eclipse to travel from coast to coast, plunging a roughly 70-mile-wide swath of land into a twilight-like darkness in the process."
  • "Only in this so-called path of totality will the world grow dark enough to see the stars as the moon blots out the sun. The temperature will drop, crickets will begin to chirp and farm animals will lie down and go to sleep. If skies are clear, observers will be able to see the sun's halo-like corona, which is usually obscured by the brightness of the photosphere.
  • "An estimated 12 million Americans are fortunate enough to live in the path of totality. But for the rest of us, viewing the first total solar eclipse to stretch across the continental U.S. since 1918 will take some strategizing.
  • Hopkinsville, Ky., is calling itself Eclipsville: "We put in a request with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to have 85 National Guard military police, simply to assist with the immense amount of traffic that we anticipate."

NASA video showing the path.

Search for your address ... Very cool L.A. Times map of continental U.S. shows the bands for 50%, 75%, 90% and total eclipse. The totality band includes Salem, Ore.; Idaho Falls; Casper, Wyo.; Lincoln, Neb.; St. Louis; Nashville; Knoxville; Greenville, S.C.; and Charleston.

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Trump finds a new favorite member among divided WH

Laurent Gillieron / Keystone via AP

The day's stunning dominoes ("Abrupt chain reaction for Trump" is the five-column head in the WashPost):

Trump, backed by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, settles on "Mooch" to head comms, largely because he likes the financier's feistiness defending POTUS on cable.

  • Trump doesn't consult his senior aides. They flip out, both because of personal grievances with Mooch, and their belief that heading White House comms requires Washington skills and experience. Some staff learns about the move when Axios' Jonathan Swan pops the story Thursday night.
  • In a 10 a.m. meeting, chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer object vehemently. Trump ignores them.
  • Spicer quits ("the last straw," a source close to Spicer told me), drawing applause when he graciously tells his staff he wants Scaramucci to have a clean slate.
  • Scaramucci goes to the podium in the White House briefing room and announces that Sarah Huckabee Sanders (daughter of Mike Huckabee), who has been Spicer's top deputy, will be press secretary.
  • Asked by ABC's Jon Karl about the time on Fox Business in 2015 that he called Trump "another hack politician," Scaramucci parries: "[H]e brings it up every 15 seconds, OK? (LAUGHTER) ... So, Mr. President, if you're listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that."

Phew. As Spicer told Fox's Sean Hannity last night (not as a quip, but as part of an argument about working tirelessly to advance Trump's agenda): "We had a very successful Made in America week this week, garnering over millions of impressions."

Some atmospherics from all-terrain Jonathan Swan:

  • Trump thought Mooch killed it. He was pumped about it.
  • Very bipolar West Wing. Source tells me Reince's people seemed "kind of freaked" about what happened. And certainly in the dark.
  • They were trying to spin the new narrative that Reince and Anthony are BFFs and that Reince was "100%" supportive of Trump making Mooch comms director. The President would laugh if you told him that.
  • Jared, Ivanka and Hope Hicks were all pushing for Mooch and very happy with it.
  • Bannon went in hard, lost badly but seemed to have moved on very quickly. Doesn't want to dwell on it.
  • What we're watching: Will Mooch add to the team, and possibly some unexpected names from outside of politics?
Featured

Trump is building a Cabinet ready for political, legal war

AP

When President Trump makes more changes in his West Wing (insiders suspect August or September, but who knows?), any new faces are likely to be in the mold of Anthony Scaramucci, age 53, the pugilistic Wall Streeter known as "Mooch" who was named White House communications director, beginning Aug. 15.

The announcement: "Scaramucci, a successful entrepreneur, financier, and founder of SkyBridge Capital, ... will oversee the entire communications operation, including message development and strategy. He will report directly to the President." (Usually would report to the chief of staff.)

The President is building a wartime Cabinet, for political and legal war. One longtime ally who's likely to have a more visible, frequent role: Newt Gingrich, husband of Callista Gingrich, Trump's choice for ambassador to the Vatican.

Trump relishes fights, and creates plenty of them. But now he's in a real one, with special counsel Bob Mueller signaling that he plans an expansive, exhaustive investigation aimed at Trump, his relatives, and current and former political lieutenants.

One West Wing confidant says Trump really might dismiss Mueller. So POTUS needs "a group that can fight through what could end up being something quite amazing."

"We're going to see out-and-out political warfare, and not over ... Medicaid," the confidant said.

Be smart: As Matt Miller, the MSNBC contributor and former Obama Justice Department official, tweeted after the revelation that Trump was digging dirt on Mueller and contemplating pardons: "Takeaway from the Post & NYT pieces is we are headed for certain crisis. Trump just will not, cannot allow this investigation to go forward."

Featured

Dems want to rebrand as the economic party

Senate and House Dems, after an intensive process spanning seven months, on Monday will unveil a new economic agenda, Axios has exclusively learned, meant to counter the perception that Democrats are only the anti-Trump party, with no message of their own.

Top Dems see the new message as the key to turning things around after their losses in the presidential race and this year's House special elections.

An opening theme/frame: "excessive corporate power and its impacts."

Pollster Geoff Garin writes in a memo kicking off the project: "[T]he Democratic policies related to curbing excessive corporate power that are being highlighted in the first day of the rollout have real resonance with voters and are strongly supported by a significant majority of Americans."

The agenda's big idea: "Too many families in America today feel that the rules of the economy are rigged against them. Special interests have a strangle-hold on Washington — from the super-rich spending unlimited amounts of secret money to influence our elections, to the huge loopholes in our tax code that help corporations avoid paying taxes."

"If the government goes back to putting working families first, ahead of special interests, we can achieve a better deal for the American people that will raise their pay, lower their expenses, and prepare them for the future."

See Garin's two-page memo.

Featured

Axios AM

1 big thing: "Headed for certain crisis"

Spicey mic drop (GIF by Lazaro Gamio / Axios)

When President Trump makes more changes in his West Wing (insiders suspect August or September, but who knows?), any new faces are likely to be in the mold of Anthony Scaramucci, age 53, the pugilistic Wall Streeter known as "Mooch" who was named White House communications director, beginning Aug. 15.

The announcement: "Scaramucci, a successful entrepreneur, financier, and founder of SkyBridge Capital, ... will oversee the entire communications operation, including message development and strategy. He will report directly to the President." (Usually would report to the chief of staff.)

The President is building a wartime Cabinet, for political and legal war. One longtime ally who's likely to have a more visible, frequent role: Newt Gingrich, husband of Callista Gingrich, Trump's choice for ambassador to the Vatican.

Trump relishes fights, and creates plenty of them. But now he's in a real one, with special counsel Bob Mueller signaling that he plans an expansive, exhaustive investigation aimed at Trump, his relatives, and current and former political lieutenants.

One West Wing confidant says Trump really might dismiss Mueller. So POTUS needs "a group that can fight through what could end up being something quite amazing."

"We're going to see out-and-out political warfare, and not over ... Medicaid," the confidant said.

Be smart: As Matt Miller, the MSNBC contributor and former Obama Justice Department official, tweeted after the revelation that Trump was digging dirt on Mueller and contemplating pardons:

"Takeaway from the Post & NYT pieces is we are headed for certain crisis. Trump just will not, cannot allow this investigation to go forward."

2. What the President is reading right now

What the President is tweeting this morning (most recent first):

  • "My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!"
  • So many people are asking why isn't the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted? ... What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc."
  • "While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS."
  • "This morning I will be going to the Commissioning Ceremony for the largest aircraft carrier in the world, The Gerald R. Ford. Norfolk, Va."
  • "The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security."
  • "A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!"

3. "Trump thought Mooch killed it"

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the incoming White House press secretary, and Anthony Scaramucci yesterday (AP's Andrew Harnik)

The day's stunning dominoes ("Abrupt chain reaction for Trump" is the five-column head in the WashPost):

  • Trump, backed by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, settles on "Mooch" to head comms, largely because he likes the financier's feistiness defending POTUS on cable.
  • Trump doesn't consult his senior aides. They flip out, both because of personal grievances with Mooch, and their belief that heading White House comms requires Washington skills and experience. Some staff learns about the move when Axios' Jonathan Swan pops the story Thursday night.
  • In a 10 a.m. meeting, chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer object vehemently. Trump ignores them.
  • Spicer quits ("the last straw," a source close to Spicer told me), drawing applause when he graciously tells his staff he wants Scaramucci to have a clean slate.
  • Scaramucci goes to the podium in the White House briefing room and announces that Sarah Huckabee Sanders (daughter of Mike Huckabee), who has been Spicer's top deputy, will be press secretary.
  • Asked by ABC's Jon Karl about the time on Fox Business in 2015 that he called Trump "another hack politician," Scaramucci parries: "[H]e brings it up every 15 seconds, OK? (LAUGHTER) ... So, Mr. President, if you're listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that."

Phew. As Spicer told Fox's Sean Hannity last night (not as a quip, but as part of an argument about working tirelessly to advance Trump's agenda): "We had a very successful Made in America week this week, garnering over millions of impressions."

Some atmospherics from all-terrain Jonathan Swan:

  • Trump thought Mooch killed it. He was pumped about it.
  • Very bipolar West Wing. Source tells me Reince's people seemed "kind of freaked" about what happened. And certainly in the dark.
  • They were trying to spin the new narrative that Reince and Anthony are BFFs and that Reince was "100%" supportive of Trump making Mooch comms director. The President would laugh if you told him that.
  • Jared, Ivanka and Hope Hicks were all pushing for Mooch and very happy with it.
  • Bannon went in hard, lost badly but seemed to have moved on very quickly. Doesn't want to dwell on it.
  • What we're watching: Will Mooch add to the team, and possibly some unexpected names from outside of politics?

4. "Apparent discrepancy": spy heat for Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about sanctuary cities yesterday at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia (AP's Matt Rourke)

"Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race," according to a WashPost scoop at top of column 1 ("Kislyak's reports implicate Sessions)," by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller:

  • "Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's accounts of two conversations with Sessions ... were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies."
  • "Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign."
  • "One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided 'misleading' statements that are 'contradicted by other evidence.'"

Four more headlines from the news day of a lifetime:

  • CNN's Dana Bash: "Mueller sent a notice, called a document preservation request, asking White House staff to save 'any subjects discussed in the course of the June 2016 meeting' with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. ... Request includes text messages, emails, notes, voicemails."
  • Don Jr. and Manafort "have agreed to be interviewed by staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee but will not appear at a public hearing next week." (NBC's Frank Thorp and Phil Helsel)
  • "Jared Kushner 'inadvertently omitted' more than 70 assets worth at least $10.6 million from his personal financial disclosure reports, according to revised paperwork ... He reported owning an art collection worth between $5 million and $25 million." (AP)
  • Ivanka Trump "got $2.5 million in salary and severance when she resigned from the Trump Organization in January. She received $787,500 as an advance for her book, 'Women Who Work.' ... [T]he young couple resigned from a wide array of corporate positions: Kushner stepped down from 266 such posts, while Trump resigned from 292 positions." (WashPost)

5. Bite du jour

Spicer walks down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building toward the White House after abruptly resigning (AP's Alex Brandon)

HANNITY: Have you been thinking about this for a while?

SPICER: No.

HANNITY: So it was really sudden?

SPICER: Well, I knew what the right thing to do is. I think I have a pretty good compass, and I made a decision that it was in the best interest not of just myself, but ... for the President and for this administration, was to step aside and let Anthony and Sarah lead the team.

6. Dems to unveil "Better Deal" on Monday

Senate and House Dems, after an intensive process spanning seven months, on Monday will unveil a new economic agenda, meant to counter the perception that Democrats are only the anti-Trump party, with no message of their own.

Top Dems see the new message as the key to turning things around after their losses in the presidential race and this year's House special elections.

An opening theme/frame: "excessive corporate power and its impacts."

Pollster Geoff Garin writes in a memo kicking off the project: "[T]he Democratic policies related to curbing excessive corporate power that are being highlighted in the first day of the rollout have real resonance with voters and are strongly supported by a significant majority of Americans."

The agenda's big idea: "Too many families in America today feel that the rules of the economy are rigged against them. Special interests have a strangle-hold on Washington — from the super-rich spending unlimited amounts of secret money to influence our elections, to the huge loopholes in our tax code that help corporations avoid paying taxes."

"If the government goes back to putting working families first, ahead of special interests, we can achieve a better deal for the American people that will raise their pay, lower their expenses, and prepare them for the future."

See Garin's two-page memo.

7. "Trump's favorite foe"

On this week's episode of The New Yorker Radio Hour, Editor David Remnick talks with the N.Y. Times' Maggie Haberman (transcript here):

  • On the White House atmosphere: "We're used to a team of rivals. We are not used to a team of the Bloods and the Crips. ... [T]hese are rival gangs. ... I need to add in some new gang names, too, because Bloods and the Crips makes it sound like there are only two teams. There's something like six."
  • On Trump's mental state: "I think that he has an amazing belief in his own ability to will what he thinks into reality. And I think that he thinks of reality as something that is subjective. So I think that what people characterize as 'he's out of touch' or 'he's not understating this' or 'he seems off,' or whatever — I think he has an amazing capacity to try to draw the world as he wants it."
  • How Trump really feels about the press: "I think that he loves the press. I think he lives, at least loosely, by the theory that, if not all press is good press, that most press is good press. I think you find the press has been his nurturer and validator for thirty to forty years."
  • "This is a person who courted the tabloids aggressively in New York City in the nineteen-eighties. He found a way to make himself a commodity for the gossip pages and play the tabloids off each other. He likes attention, and he likes media. He loves to manipulate the media. He's a master at it."

8. A prophet for the Trump era

Samuel Huntington (Jon Chase / Harvard Staff Photographer via Harvard Gazette)

Cover of tomorrow's WashPost Outlook, a 3,200-word piece by associate editor Carlos Lozada, "Trump's Presidency, Huntington's America: The writings of late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington anticipated our political and intellectual battles — and point to the country we may become":

Huntington, like Trump, wanted America to be great, and came to long for a restoration of values and identity that he believed made the country not just great but a nation apart. However, if that path involves closing ourselves off, demonizing newcomers and demanding cultural fealty, then how different are we, really, from anywhere else? The central agony of the Trump era is that rather than becoming great, America is becoming unexceptional.

9. A grand bargain with Wall Street

Barron's cover story by William D. Cohan, an M&A investment banker for 17 years and author of "Why Wall Street Matters" (free link for Axios readers):

To ease up on regulatory speed limits without causing another economic calamity, Trump should strike a grand bargain with Wall Street. In exchange for the smarter regulation that the banking industry seeks, and seems on the verge of getting, he should insist that Wall Street adhere to several postcrisis rules, including those that require higher bank capital and reduced balance-sheet leverage and that require derivatives to be traded on exchanges where their prices can be determined more easily.

And, as part of the grand bargain, Trump should also insist that Wall Street reform its outdated compensation system, which rewards bankers, traders, and executives for taking big risks with other people's money, but fails to hold them accountable when things go wrong, as happened in 2008.

10. 🎶 1 lit jam (and many great memories)

Tim Berry, Axios EVP and former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has such cool musical taste that his kids use his Spotify playlists.

Berry emailed me Friday afternoon that picking 1 Lit Jam was "[d]evilishly hard, especially since today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Appetite for Destruction, and my current playlist that I'm listening to has about a thousand songs."

Time passes ... "I'm locked up on picking an actual song, so I'm going to go completely off the wall: If there was one live show I wish I could go back in time and see, it would be Sam and Dave circa 1966. This clip includes You Don't Know Like I Know and Hold On, I'm Comin'.

"My brother, sister and I grew up driving around on summer weekends in a Cadillac convertible with my record-collecting dad, listening to Stax/Volt classics and buying old records at yard-sales. That stays with you for a lifetime. Thanks, Dad."

The best live clip on YouTube.

Featured

Axios PM

Inside the West Wing: It’s war

Spicer out, Anthony Scaramucci and Sarah Huckabee in, a shakeup on the legal team.

In a stunning series of aggressive moves, President Trump is surrounding himself with junkyard dogs who are fine with his freelancing.

  • Establishment insiders see the West Wing earthquake as a sign of a brutal season to come: President Trump has talked openly about firing special counsel Bob Mueller. West Wing confidants, arguing that Mueller is on a witch hunt, are starting to make the case for pardons.
  • Scaramucci, widely known as "Mooch," is instantly empowered: Trump took a chance on him, rolling top advisers to offer him the job.
  • So the brash financier will be a Trump favorite, at least temporarily – the fighter the president has wanted on his comms team from Day 1.

Now go inside the West Wing: Axios' Jonathan Swan, who broke the Scaramucci news last night, has a verbatim account of this morning's drama.

Catching up: Scaramucci named comms directorSpicer resignsSarah Huckabee Sanders promotedA dozen facts about "Mooch."

What you missed

  1. Trump's social top 5: Behold, the 5 most engaged Trump stories on Facebook during his first six months. Via SocialFlow.
  2. Y Combinator's billion: The startup accelerator is launching a new fund. Kia and Dan scoop.
  3. Mueller's letter to the White House: Preserve those Don Jr. documents. The letter.
  4. Tech spends big in DC: The last three months brought record-high lobbying spending from four major tech companies. Totals.
  5. Think student debt isn't blowing up? The average U.S. household has 828% more student debt than in 1999. Chart.

1 thing to watch

New WH comms director Anthony Scaramucci, on how Trump keeps reminding him about that "hack politician" comment from 2015. Video.

Featured

Inside the room at Sean Spicer's resignation announcement

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci told the White House comms team earlier today that they were old friends and have known each other forever. While the length of their relationship is a fact, Reince, with the support of Steve Bannon and Sean Spicer, tried to block Scaramucci from getting the job, telling people he was woefully unqualified for the position.

At a 10 a.m. meeting this morning, President Trump offered Scaramucci the job as White House Communications Director.

Spicer quit after that meeting, according to the NYT's Glenn Thrush.

  • "This was the last straw," said a source close to Spicer. The objection of the press secretary and his allies was that Scaramucci would hold the title, while Spicer would be expect to continue to carry out many of the duties related to strategy and planning.
  • "Sean was going to be expected to serve as press secretary while also being the quasi-comms director," the source said.

After the Oval Office meeting: Spicer, Priebus and Scaramucci stood in a row behind Sean's desk in the corner of the press secretary's office. A wall of TVs playing cable news was in the background. Some 40 staff gathered, according to a source in the room.

Spicer started off:

  • "A lot of you are hearing the news, and I want you to hear it directly from us."
  • He praised Scaramucci, said he's a fighter and can do a great job. Everyone applauded for Scaramucci.
  • Spicer added: "I want you all to be the first to hear that I told the president that I'm going to step down, but that I'm going to be very involved in the transition to make sure that Anthony can be very successful."
  • Sean framed the decision as wanting to give Mooch a clean slate.
  • A source in the room said he was very gracious about it, and everyone applauded for Sean.
Reince: "The president had decided to bring Anthony in, and it's going to be a great thing, he's a self-made man. He knows what it takes to run an organization... has built several businesses.... it was a great choice...."
Scaramucci's comments, after praising Spicer and the comms team:
  • He and Reince have a long relationship that started at a Koch brothers conference.
  • He'd actually tried to hire Reince to be COO with ownership stake of Skybridge, the firm he sold while waiting on a White House job.
  • They've worked closely together since the Romney campaign.

What's next: Scaramucci will spend the next week transitioning into the role and meeting his new staff.

Featured

Why Trump wants "Mooch" as his mouthpiece

Evan Vucci / AP

Watching cable news, President Trump admired the scrappy style of Anthony Scaramucci, a brash Wall Streeter widely known as "Mooch," and would ask aloud why the financier wasn't working for him. Now, Trump is expected to announce Scaramucci as White House communications director, a job that's been open since Mike Dubke resigned in May.

  • The intrigue: At 10 a.m. today, Trump will hold a meeting about Scaramucci that will include Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who may try to block or delay the hiring.
  • Who he is: "Mooch" is a major Republican donor who supported Trump during the general election campaign — after fundraising during the primaries for Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. He frequently appears on Fox News and is a longtime friend of Sean Hannity.
  • Scaramucci recently sold his stake in his hedge fund, SkyBridge Capital (making an estimated $100 million), but was left stranded after an initially planned job in the White House didn't materialize. Scaramucci is currently working at the Export-Import Bank.

Scaramucci endeared himself even to Trump more when he fought back against a CNN story tying him to the Russia investigation, and won a retraction and the resignation of three CNN journalists.

The President frequently vents about his press and comms operation, and he liked the ideas Mooch presented.

Scaramucci, who met with President Trump and Ivanka Trump at 4:30 p.m. yesterday, is supported by Ivanka, Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks, the director of strategic communications.

But he's walking into a buzz saw of internal opposition from aides who think he's unqualified for the job, which traditionally has focused on strategy and planning.