☕️ Good Saturday morning.
Situational awareness ... Bloomberg: "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone in the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws, in a follow-up to their conviction last month of Michael Cohen."
Today is exactly 60 days till midterms. Yesterday's personal, venomous face-off between President Obama (who went after his successor by name in Illinois) and President Trump (who attacked Bob Woodward and threatened the New York Times aboard Air Force One) said it all about the coming fall.
Good luck breaking through with either of those. Instead, this is your fall foretold:
Obama, launching an aggressive schedule of fall campaign travel (continuing in Orange County, Calif., today and Cleveland on Thursday):
Trump, responding to Obama at a fundraiser in Fargo, N.D.:
A little story: On Wednesday afternoon, Republican congressional leaders met with Trump in the Roosevelt Room. They were cranky and complaining — the House leaders know they're likely to be in the minority come January, helped along by his tariffs and unpopularity. POTUS shared their mood: This was Woodward-anonymous week.
The president loves charts, and so do members of Congress. He was happier. The mood brightened, and the meeting ended on a better note.
Be smart: Despite relative prosperity in the nation and peace in the world, both sides expect a slash-and-burn fall — focused on what they see as the evil intent of the other side, and aimed at inflaming their own voters.
John Dean, 34, fired as White House counsel by President Richard Nixon, was a dramatic witness for the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973.
16,511 days later, John Dean, 79, returned to the Senate as a Democratic witness on the closing day of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing, predicting the most "pro-presidential powers" justices in modern history.
I asked Michael Beschloss — whose 11-years-in-the-making book, "Presidents of War," is out Oct. 9 — about this reminder that history can rhyme:
"As Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, Dean was the eager tool of Nixon’s imperial Presidency, looking for ways to help Nixon illicitly expand his power. Then, before the Senate Watergate committee in the summer of 1973, ... Dean became the witness who unveiled the extent of Nixon’s secret, potentially criminal acts.
"Now, almost a half century later, Dean is back testifying before the Senate with his experience having helped to choose Nixon’s Supreme Court Justices and his special sensitivity to how dangerous it is for a President to be allowed to grab too much power."
"The White House seethes with intrigue and backstabbing as aides hunt for the anonymous Deep (state) Throat among them. A president feels besieged by tormentors — Bob Woodward is driving him crazy — so he tends his version of an enemies list, wondering aloud if he should rid himself of his attorney general or the special prosecutor or both," AP's Cal Woodard and Nancy Benac write:
"Nearly every element in Trump's trouble has a Watergate parallel":
Tim Naftali, a New York University historian who directed the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum:
The health care industry has added more than 300,000 jobs in the past year, including 33,200 in August, and now employs almost 16.1 million people, Axios health care business reporter Bob Herman reports.
Tesla's stock "sank to near its lowest point for the year ... after the electric-car maker lost more executives and Chief Executive Elon Musk appeared to smoke marijuana during an interview streamed on the web," The Wall Street Journal's Tim Higgins reports (subscription):
On the podcast, Musk says: "So it that a joint? Or is it a cigar?"
Worthy of your time: The podcast's real trip is a fascinating conversation about a future driven by artificial intelligence.
Shot: "The most powerful figure in Italy’s new populist government signed up [yesterday] with Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, to help bring about a continentwide populist takeover during European Parliamentary elections next spring," N.Y. Times Rome bureau chief Jason Horowitz writes.
Chaser: One America News Network will announce today that it will premiere Bannon's documentary, "Trump @War," on Wednesday during a two-hour prime-time block beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The film will repeat periodically on OAN.
Commuters with tickets to ride out of New York's Grand Central Station last evening heard Paul McCartney, 76, take over a corner of the majestic hub for a sweaty, dancing crowd, AP's David Bauder writes:
"The band set up under a chandelier and in front of a giant clock, just off the 42nd Street entrance."
Standing in the middle of the audience with an acoustic guitar for one song, McCartney flubbed the words to "Blackbird" twice, starting over both times.
Thanks for reading. See you all weekend on Axios.com.