Good Thursday morning.
Situational awareness ... West weighs Syria attack: "British ministers gather [today] to discuss whether to join the U.S. and France in a possible military attack on Syria that threatens to bring Western and Russian forces into direct confrontation." (Reuters)
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The most raw, captivating and consequential drama in American politics will unfold on Capitol Hill this summer: the race among both Democrats and Republicans to be party boss — and king or queen of Congress.
The latest palace intrigue among House Rs, per reporting by Jonathan Swan and me ... The current #2 is Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), the favorite to succeed Ryan — despite being denied the office once before — especially because he's so close to President Trump.
And among the Ds ... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi should be a sho0-in to keep leading Democrats if she were not so radioactive in swing districts.
Be smart: With a record number of women voting, after a record number of women ran, after a presidential election that saw the first woman win the popular vote but lose the White House, it will be very hard for Democrats to deny Pelosi the speakership.
Paul Ryan said he plans to remain as speaker and not call an early leadership election, but well-wired Republicans tell Jonathan Swan and me that Ryan may be forced out sooner:
So we wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan reverses himself before August, setting an early election for the next speaker:
Remember: All paths to being Republican speaker run through the Freedom Caucus. To get the job, McCarthy or Scalise would have to vie to offer them the best deal, which would likely include chairmanships of top committees for Freedom Caucus members.
P.S. McCarthy feels he’s in a very good place, after a day of talking to members and the White House. He's ready to go if/when Ryan steps aside.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
After more than 10 hours of grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Congress is no closer to regulating the platform's privacy practices than it was when the hearings started, Axios' Kim Hart and David McCabe report:
Regulation remains a long shot, even if we're hearing more about it. There were plenty of regulatory skeptics among Republicans at the hearings — and no single proposal emerged from the sessions as the go-to way to regulate Facebook.
The big themes:
Be smart: Zuckerberg had a better-than-expected performance.
What's next: Walden indicated that he's interested in bringing other tech CEOs to testify on Capitol Hill.
A London front page this morning.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in prepared testimony for his SecState confirmation hearing at 9:30 a.m., before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
TIME's Brian Bennett: "Much as ... Paula Jones’ harassment case against Bill Clinton helped drive his impeachment and the seizure of Anthony Weiner’s laptop led the FBI to reopen its probe of Hillary Clinton, Trump’s personal history now may threaten his presidency."
P.S. Steve Bannon "is pitching a plan to West Wing aides and congressional allies to cripple" Mueller's probe, per WashPost's Bob Costa:
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (bowtie) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise arrive for House GOP Conference meeting in the Capitol basement after reports Speaker Ryan wouldn't run. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Tom Davis, a former Republican representative from Virginia, on the fallout from Speaker Ryan's surprise announcement that he won’t seek re-election to Congress this fall:
The percentage of black Major League Baseball players on opening-day active rosters (750 players) rose to 8.4%, its highest level since at least 2012, per AP:
"New Jersey, Colorado, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham — the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students reel off their upcoming travel schedule at a dizzying pace," AP's Kelli Kennedy writes:
P.S. "Bank of America Corp. plans to stop lending to companies that make assault-style guns used for non-military purposes," per Bloomberg:
"Pope Francis acknowledged [yesterday in an extraordinary letter in Spanish to Chilean bishops] that he had made 'grave mistakes' in the handling of a sexual abuse crisis in Chile, saying he felt shame and inviting victims he had once doubted to Rome to seek their forgiveness personally." (Reuters)
Courtesy Penguin Random House
Ahead of the June 4 U.S. publication of the "The President Is Missing," a joint novel by President Bill Clinton and the prolific, bestselling thriller writer James Patterson, the U.K. publisher built an Oval Office replica at this week's London Book Fair.
Susan Sandon, the book’s U.K. publisher at Penguin Random House:
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