Sep 11, 2018

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

☕️ Good Tuesday morning. It's been 17 years since 9/11.

Situational awareness ... "Iran's nuclear chief tells AP: Trump's decision to withdraw from atomic deal 'puts him on the loser's side.'"

1 big thing: The Trump Rules of Life and Leadership
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Leadership books are filled with calls for brutal candor, hiring people more talented than yourself, and collaboration as a force multiplier.

  • But the Trump lessons of leadership, like his approach to the presidency, are radically and ruthlessly different.

Here are the Trump Rules, distilled from conversations Jonathan Swan, Jim VandeHei and I have had with countless people close to the president, some of whom have studied him for years:

  1. Your brand should piss someone off. The worst thing you can be is milquetoast, bland. He wants some people to have a viscerally negative response to him and what he’s doing, because he bets that’s going to harden support on the other side.
  2. Crisis is a powerful weapon fire it indiscriminately. "Forget planning," a source said. "Wake up every morning, survey the battlefield, let your gut instinct lead you to a crisis to exploit, bet that no one else can thrive in the chaos the way you can. Ratchet up the pressure until everyone else's pipes burst."
  3. You can create your own truth. Just keep repeating it.
  4. Accuse the accuser. A source who's spent hundreds of hours working with Trump puts it this way: "He has a history of accusing people of whatever he’s being accused of. Collusion? Democrats colluded on the dossier! Blue wave? Red wave coming!"
  5. Fear trumps friendship. Trump wants his inferiors to fear him and hold him in awe. He likes watching them duke it out in front of him.
  6. Loyalty trumps talent. Case in point: Michael Cohen. No serious person would employ Michael Cohen as their personal attorney — a point Trump has belatedly acknowledged himself. But as Cohen used to say, he'd "take a bullet" for Donald Trump. Oops. 
  7. Never admit you are or did wrong.  Trump’s #MeToo advice, per Bob Woodward's "Fear": "You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead."
2. Lehman echoes in time of distrust

"It is hardly a stretch to suggest that President Trump’s election was a direct result of the financial crisis," which had its inflection point 10 years ago Saturday, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in today's N.Y. Times:

  • "The crisis ... broke a social contract between the plutocrats and everyone else. But it also broke a sense of trust, not just in financial institutions and the government that oversaw them, but in the very idea of experts and expertise."
  • "The past 10 years have seen an open revolt against the intelligentsia."

Why it matters: "Mistrust led to new political movements: the Tea Party for those who didn’t trust the government and Occupy Wall Street for those who didn’t trust big business."

  • "These moved Democrats and Republicans away from each other in fundamental ways, and populist attitudes on both ends of the spectrum found champions in the 2016 presidential race in Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald J. Trump."
3. Millions face Florence catastrophe
Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station (NASA via AP)

From the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. update: "A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the east coast of the United States from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the North Carolina-Virginia border."

The latest on Florence from Axios science editor Andrew Freedman:

  • This is forecast to be one of the most intense storms on record to make landfall in North Carolina or Virginia. No Category 4 or 5 storm has struck land north of South Carolina since at least 1851, and few Category 3 storms have made it that far north either.
  • There's a rule for storms like this: Flee the water, hide from the wind. Evacuations at the coast are due to the surge threat, and they're warranted.
  • There is a high potential for a record storm surge in the Carolinas, on the order of 15-20 feet or greater. This is the case even if the storm weakens just prior to landfall, as surge tends to correlate better with pre-landfall intensity.
  • Inland areas could see damaging impacts evolve over a longer time period, with 15-30+ inches of rain potentially falling as far away as West Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. This is a nightmare inland flood scenario considering how wet the summer was in these areas.

Go deeper.

4. Pics du jour
Mark Lennihan/AP

The World Trade Center site is seen from an upper floor of 3 World Trade Center.

  • "Thousands of 9/11 victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and others are expected at [today's] anniversary ceremony at the World Trade Center," AP reports.

"President Trump and Vice President Pence will head to the two other places where hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, in the deadliest terror attack on American soil."

  • "The president and first lady Melania Trump plan to join an observance at the Sept. 11 memorial in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a new 'Tower of Voices' was dedicated Saturday."
  • "Pence is attending a ceremony at the Pentagon."

The 93-foot tall Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., where the tower contains 40 wind chimes representing the 40 people that perished in the crash on Sept. 11, 2001:

Keith Srakocic/Pool via AP
5. Hollywood meets the swamp

"In Hollywood, there’s a nerdy new hobby: Flipping the House," reports the WashPost's Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

  • "Hollywood’s fervor for this year’s midterm elections rivals that of recent presidential campaigns, according to Democratic donors and strategists in the Los Angeles area who say the energy is driven by a belief that a Democratic-controlled House can serve as a powerful check on President Trump."
  • "People who work in the television, movie and music industry in the Los Angeles metro area have given $2.4 million to House candidate committees so far this election."
  • "But the giving is causing concern among some Democratic strategists, who privately worry that the money is being splintered between individual candidates and 'resistance' groups rather than the major party committees and PACs."
6. Oops

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On Aug. 15, CBS CEO Les Moonves "was accidentally copied on an email to the entire CBS board detailing damaging findings in the law firms’ investigations and discussing how to proceed should he need to be put on leave," The Wall Street Journal's Keach Hagey and Joe Flint report (subscription):

  • "In recent weeks, Mr. Moonves appeared to 'hit the wall,' as one former associate put it. He hunkered down in his Studio City office. Some of his top lieutenants didn’t [see] him."
Bonus: Tweet du jour

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explains:

  • "Shakespeare was the first to use 'swagger.' Gen. Patton had his swagger stick. At @statedept, we've got #swagger too."
7. Bob's insane book tour
Bob Woodward with Stephen Colbert last night. (CBS)

Bob Woodward's "Fear" went on sale at midnight at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, and is finally in bookstores today.

The White House will love this list of Bob's 23 interviews in Week 1 in New York (orchestrated by Robert Barnett and Simon & Schuster's Cary Goldstein), with an open-ended road show to follow:

  • CBS News "Sunday Morning"
  • NBC's "Today"
  • NPR "Morning Edition" with Rachel Martin
  • "Fresh Air"
  • USA Today's Susan Page (front page today)
  • ABC News "Nightline"
  • N.Y. Times podcast "The Daily"
  • "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
  • BBC Radio 4
  • The Guardian
  • Canadian Broadcasting
  • Fox News' Dana Perino (airs tomorrow)
  • MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (live tonight)
  • MSNBC's "Morning Joe" (tomorrow)
  • CNN's "Anderson Cooper" (tomorrow)
  • 92nd Street Y with Slate's Jacob Weisberg (tomorrow; sold out)
  • "CBS This Morning"
  • "PBS NewsHour"
  • CNN's Fareed Zakaria
  • PBS' "Amanpour & Co."
  • Hugh Hewitt's radio show
  • PBS' "Washington Week" with Bob Costa
  • NBC's mj"Meet the Press"

For Week 2, Bob will be home in Washington.

8. A joke Trump wouldn't tell

Gary Cohn, who was then White House economic adviser, wrote a joke for President Trump to use at the white-tie Gridiron Dinner in March, according to Bob Woodward's "Fear":

  • "We’ve made enormous progress on the wall. All the drawings are done. All the excavating’s done. All the engineering is done. The only thing we’ve been stumbling with is we haven’t been able to figure out how to stretch the word 'Trump' over 1,200 miles."
  • "Trump wouldn’t use it."
9. Remembering Adam Clymer, 81
In 2005, Adam Clymer watched Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) inspect a plaque that was dedicated to the late Mary McGrory and hung in the Senate Press Gallery. Judy Holland, formerly of Hearst Newspapers, is at right. (Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

"Adam Clymer, who covered congressional intrigue, eight presidential campaigns and the downfall of both Nikita S. Khrushchev and Richard M. Nixon as a reporter and editor for The New York Times and other newspapers, died [yesterday] at his home in Washington," the N.Y Times' Sam Roberts reports:

  • Then with the Baltimore Sun, "he covered his first presidential race, in 1972, and earned multiple entries in Timothy Crouse’s now classic book 'The Boys on the Bus,' a ... rollicking behind-the-scenes account of reporters on the campaign trail."
  • "Clymer, a tall figure with an often crusty manner, ... wrote about Ronald Reagan’s presidential candidacy in 1980, observing that after Reagan had been repackaged to broaden his appeal beyond his hard-right base, his race to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term was 'his to lose.'"

"After years of reporting for The Times, he was named polling editor in 1983."

  • "One poll questioned Roman Catholic priests on marriage; another asked baseball players to name the umpires they most admired."
  • "His favorite, published on Christmas Eve 1985, found that 87 percent of children ages 3 to 10 said they believed in Santa Claus."
  • "He also helped popularize the practice of fleshing out surveys by calling respondents back on the telephone to expand on their answers."
10: 1 🚀 thing: NASA may sell naming rights to rockets

"The constant creep of corporate America into all aspects of everyday life ... may soon conquer a new frontier. The final frontier," the WashPost's Christian Davenport reports:

  • "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has directed the space agency to look at boosting its brand by selling naming rights to rockets and spacecraft and allowing its astronauts to appear in commercials and on cereal boxes, as if they were celebrity athletes."

Why it matters: "While officials stress that nothing has been decided, the idea could mark a giant cultural leap for the taxpayer-funded government agency and could run into ethics regulations that prevent government officials from using public office for private gain."

  • "Astronauts may be the most venerated employees in the federal government, but they are still civil servants bound by regulations."
Mike Allen

Thanks for reading. See you all day on