Good Wednesday morning. You're invited … to join Axios and NBC News tomorrow at 8 a.m. in downtown D.C. to discuss the economy in 2017. "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd and Axios CEO Jim VandeHei will host conversations with Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. RSVP here.
In the media, the focus is on the son. In the West Wing, colleagues are watching the son-in-law.
Several top officials describe Jared Kushner in very similar ways: a good guy with good intentions, now under rising scrutiny because of a combination of naiveté and hubris.
He was used to how things were done in business (and New York real estate, no less) — whereas in public life, anything can come out, and everything is under a microscope. This was true for many inside Trump Inc. during the fast-and-loose days of the campaign and transition.
"Everything is being treated as bigger than it is, but he's in the big leagues now," said a Republican friendly to Kushner. "He's trying to bravado his way through his lack of experience."
Some colleagues have started to wonder if he and Ivanka will return to New York for this school year, at least a year ahead of plan. But we're told he has made no moves to do that. Others note a change in his demeanor amid the growing Russia probe: less swagger, more concern.
The Republican said: "Everyone's telling him: 'Stick it out, because you're the only voice of sanity. If you go, it's the end of the world.'"
What worries Jared allies are three meetings, all of which he delayed disclosing, with a Russian lawyer (the Don Jr. meeting), banker and diplomat.
The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told NBC News' Keir Simmons that Kushner left the meeting after seven to 10 minutes of the 20- to 30-minute meeting. And the reddest flag about the meeting ("part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump") was on the fourth page of the email that Don Jr. forwarded to Jared — subject line, "Russia - Clinton - private and confidential."
Jared's defense: Jared has the most impressive legal team of any of the family members, including two of the biggest names in the business, Jamie Gorelick and Abbe Lowell.
Gorelick said in a statement: "[D]uring the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition. Mr. Kushner has submitted additional [federal disclosure] updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows."
The view in Kushner's orbit is that the brutal new revelations are more P.R. problems than legal problems. And if he makes progress with his Middle East peace efforts, perceptions would be very different.
Why it matters: Kushner is the one figure in the Russia probe who helped run the campaign, the transition and the White House. No one has spent more time with Trump throughout the past year — and has seen or knows more.
President Trump increasingly feels (and knows) that he's fighting virtually every force in U.S. and global politics — even those who initially wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt or seem friendly.
The only people truly on his side are the 40 percent of voters who continue to cheer his middle finger to the powerful.
All those forces — basically permanent Washington, plus crucial world leaders — are deeply suspicious of Trump, and see an increasing duty to thwart him for moral or practical reasons.
"What goes around, comes around," said one of Washington's Republican pillars. "He was very critical of each of those groups. So why are they going to go to the man for him? He has done so many things outside the norms of behavior."
There's been a huge swing in the barometric pressure for these groups:
Axios' Jonathan Swan, on congressional Republicans: "For the moment, they'll stay quiet and muscle through because they want their tax reform, and they need a Republican president to sign it. But when [stuff] really hits the fan he'll have very little goodwill on the Hill to back him up."
"Trump burned so much goodwill when he trashed the House health care bill as 'mean' after lobbying the hell out of them and celebrating with them in Rose Garden. That was a really profound moment — that he'd throw them under bus so casually on a piece of legislation that were already so leery about supporting.".
Be smart: Trump increasingly questions the loyalty of everyone, including his own staff and personal lawyer. Every day, it feels like the walls are closing in and it's unclear who to trust.
Axios' Jonathan Swan texts me, citing "sources familiar":
Education level creates a big divide in Americans' execptations for the future, according to "Making it in America: The View from America," a national survey developed by Burson-Marsteller, and conducted by research firm PSB:
Mitch McConnell delayed the Senate's summer recess, due to start July 31, until Aug.11, after some Republicans argued members shouldn't return home until they pass a health care bill.
Axios' David Nather, on where the bill is going: "What did ... McConnell get for the extra two weeks of work on the Senate health care bill? A revised bill, to be released [tomorrow] morning, that's likely to leave Senate Republicans in about the same place they were before: divided and stuck."
The Trump administration intends to require all U.S. citizens flying abroad to submit to face scans, per AP's Frank Bajak and David Koenig:
"Giving up the ghost: investors bail on Snap," by Reuters' Anya George Tharakan and Lewis Krauskopf: "Morgan Stanley, a lead underwriter on the company's initial public offering, slapped a price target of $16 on the stock — a buck below its March IPO price. Analyst Brian Nowak wrote ... '[W]e have been wrong about Snap's ability to innovate and improve its ad product this year.'"
"Snap shares got slammed, slumping 9% in heavy trading volume to close at $15.47. It was a 47 percent bump down from the $29.44 intraday high they hit the day after the IPO."
P.S. Wall Street Journal front page, "Paying Professors: Inside Google's Academic Influence Campaign," by Brody Mullins and Jack Nicas: "Over the past decade, Google has helped finance hundreds of research papers to defend against regulatory challenges of its market dominance, paying $5,000 to $400,000."
"Morning" Joe Scarborough, appearing with Mika Brzezinski on Stephen Colbert's "Late Show": "This is well before Donald Trump was elected president that my party has betrayed their core values."
Colbert: "But aren't you a Republican?"
Scarborough: "Um I am a Republican but I'm not going to be an Republican any more. [Cheers, applause.] I'm going to become an independent." (Video)
"Valerie Jarrett, top Obama adviser, working on book," by AP National Writer Hillel Italie: The book for Viking will combine personal history and civic advice. It's currently untitled, and scheduled for 2019: "I don't want to just tell my story ... I want to share the experiences, life lessons and values that have shaped who I am and my ideas for the future." Jarrett was represented by CAA.
"Wiz Khalifa's 'See You Again' takes YouTube top spot from 'Gangnam Style,'" by Lisa France:
Bonus ... "L.A. is a virtual lock to host 2024 or '28 Olympics" — L.A. Times: "Los Angeles is all but guaranteed to host the Summer Games for a third time after Olympic leaders made the unusual decision ... to name two winners in the bid race between L.A. and Paris, giving 2024 to one city and 2028 to the other."