As a long-expected shake-up begins in the West Wing, President Trump has been asking key Republicans for their opinions about two possible replacements as White House chief of staff: Gary Cohn, a moderate voice who's his current economic adviser; and David Urban, a Republican lobbyist now on the outside.
In true reality-TV style, the conversations are setting up a bake-off between the two men — at least in the minds of those whose opinions Trump is soliciting (and, of course, some of them yap). That's feeding uncertainty for his current chief, Reince Priebus, and everyone who works for him.
What we're hearing: Cohn, who'd love the job as chief, is nonetheless rightly wary of that particular promotion, and instead is keeping his eye on an even grander prize.
Friends say that after his current gig, Cohn would love to be named ... chair of the Federal Reserve.
P.S. N.Y. Times p. A14, "Challenge for Trump In Shaking Up Staff: Finding Replacements," by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: David "Bossie, a former deputy campaign manager, signaled that he does not plan to join the staff, citing family concerns."
Some White House officials are deeply troubled by the most likely outcome of ongoing staff changes: an infusion of Yes Men. Or, put differently, the striking absence of advisers with the guts and gumption to say something is dumb, wrong or undoable.
And Trump likes it that way.
Among those most likely to get new roles, on the inside or in allied positions outside, are several quintessential Yes Men. And among those inside now, most have huge incentives not to stand up to the boss:
Before Roger Ailes' death on May 18, he expressed a final wish to some of his few remaining confidants: to get back in the game, with a conservative network that would position itself to the right of Fox News, as his baby became more moderate under the next generation of Murdoch leadership.
In his final days, Ailes sent a message to Steve Bannon in the White House that he'd love to team up on a new conservative media powerhouse.
P.S. The well-wired Michael Wolff reported in The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that the departure of Sean Hannity, the last man standing among the longtime prime-time stars, is "almost inevitable."
Self-driving cars have induced a lot of anxiety about a resulting loss of jobs. But Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen argued yesterday at Recode's annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., that they'll actually put a lot more people to work. Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports:
Frank Bruni's column in the N.Y. Times, "How We Really Die," previews the annual report of Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bethany McLean in the forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair, "How Wells Fargo's cutthroat corporate culture allegedly drove bankers to fraud":
"Gaming," ... was defined in the Wells Fargo Code of Ethics as "the manipulation and/or misrepresentation of sales or referrals . . . in an attempt to receive compensation or to meet sales goals" ...
Gaming was so widespread that it had even spawned related terms, such as "pinning," which meant assigning customers personal-identification numbers, or PINs, without their knowledge in order to impersonate them on Wells Fargo computers and enroll them in various products without their knowledge. The fraud was not only big, but blatant, with 193,000 non-employee accounts opened between 2011 and 2015 for which the only e-mail domain name listed was @wellsfargo.com, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office.
[T]he story ... tells an uncomfortable tale of how business, not just the business of banking, but all business, all too often works in the modern era.
Uber has been dismissing problematic managers as its internal review unfolds, a trend over the past 3.5 months:
Per WashPost's Hamza Shaban: "Google co-founder Sergey Brin is spending more than $100 million to build the world's largest airship, a blimp with a rigid structure designed to both deliver supplies abroad for humanitarian projects and ferry Brin's family and friends around the globe."
"The project is the latest example of Silicon Valley attempting to reshape how goods and people are moved. But it also, some say, underscores a penchant for tech moguls to color their projects with seemingly virtuous ambition."
"Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly," which debuts this Sunday at 7 p.m., will be the first test of a big gamble for both NBC and Kelly, who bolted Fox News for a shot at broadcast network stardom, the L.A. Times' Stephen Battaglio reports:
P.S. Per N.Y. Post Page Six's Oli Coleman and Emily Smith: "Scott Pelley is out at 'CBS Evening News' ... [His] office was being cleared out ... while the anchor was away on an assignment ... [H]e's being shifted permanently to '60 Minutes.'"
"Trump's cellphone diplomacy raises security concerns," by AP's Vivian Salama:
"Trump has urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to reach him on his cellphone ... Trump also exchanged numbers with French President Emmanuel Macron ...
"[I]n the diplomatic arena, where leader-to-leader calls are highly orchestrated affairs, it is another notable breach of protocol for a president who has expressed distrust of official channels. ...
"Presidents generally place calls on one of several secure phone lines, including those in the White House Situation Room, the Oval Office or the presidential limousine. Even if Trump uses his government-issued cellphone, his calls are vulnerable to eavesdropping, particularly from foreign governments, national security experts say."