It's widely believed inside and out of the White House that nothing and nobody can control the impulses and snap instincts of Donald J. Trump. Many have tried; none have succeeded, in business or politics.
The president himself has set up the ultimate test of his controllability: He has put rigid Marine veterans in charge of his legal and governing fights — and set in motion the appointment of a third Marine vet who looms over his life and presidency:
Be smart: Trump was talked into putting a no-nonsense miltary man in charge of the National Security Council — Gen. H.R. McMaster — and almost immediately bristled and expressed regret. Now there's talk McMaster could be shipped to Afghanistan.
A barrage of leaks pelted the White House, as President Trump heads tonight to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for a 17-day vacation. Most surprising were two transcripts of Trump calls with world leaders — a rare breach, and a sign of real animus toward Trump somewhere in the government:
The Economist cover story, "How to avoid nuclear war with North Korea — There are no good options to curb Kim Jong Un. But blundering into war would be the worst":
If military action is reckless and diplomacy insufficient, the only remaining option is to deter and contain Mr Kim. Mr Trump should make clear — in a scripted speech, not a tweet or via his secretary of state—that America is not about to start a war, nuclear or conventional. However, he should reaffirm that a nuclear attack by North Korea on America or one of its allies will immediately be matched. Mr Kim cares about his own skin. He enjoys the life of a dissolute deity, living in a palace and with the power to kill or bed any of his subjects. If he were to unleash a nuclear weapon, he would lose his luxuries and his life. So would his cronies. That means they can be deterred.
We previewed this in Axios PM, but this memorable article is worth reading in full this weekend ...
"Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they're on the brink of a mental-health crisis," in The Atlantic, by Jean M. Twenge (Adapted from her book, "iGen," out Aug. 22):
McCain wants to revive immigration reform when he returns to Washington this fall ... Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) says in an interview with The Arizona Republic, featured on the front page of USA Today, that he's feeling well in his first week of radiation treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer: McCain: "Immigration reform is one of the issues I'd like to see resolved ... I've got to talk to [Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer] about when would be the best time. I think there are all kinds of deals to be made out there. I really do."Why it matters: "[T]he six-term McCain, who turns 81 on Aug. 29, ... is in a more reflective place in his long Senate career as he faces a serious health challenge and undergoes chemotherapy for brain cancer."The bottom line: "His goal remains a long shot in the Trump era."
Axios' Molly Mitchell made this amazing shot from the Newseum, where Bloomberg last night held a book party for Josh Green and "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency." Molly's pool report:
LaGuardia Airport in New York was so bad for Larry Kudlow this week that he missed his own book party, hosted in D.C. by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his wife, Hilary Geary.
"Gore wants 'Inconvenient Sequel' ideas to follow people home," by AP's Marcela Isaza in Beverly Hills: