Day 124 ... White House officials tell me they're gearing up for months, and likely years, of Russia defense. Trump and his inner circle are belatedly scrambling to install war-room-like mechanisms designed to prevent the drama and threat from consuming the entire West Wing, and derailing everything else.
Trump aides have studied precedents, including the Reagan White House's handling of Iran-Contra and President Clinton's scandal machinery.
The West Wing appears to be absorbing key lessons from its predecessors, although even Trump allies tell me he's just beginning to take steps to wall off the controversy that should be begun on Day 1:
What could go wrong? One Trump ally said the list of legal eagles is encouraging: "These guys know how to fight a war."
Breaking ... "Trump plays up Middle East peace hopes after talks with Palestinian president," by Reuters' Jeff Mason in Bethlehem, West Bank: Trump said "he believed both sides were committed to an historic deal, but he offered no concrete proposals on how to get there."
Trip "peppered with symbolism" ... Wall Street Journal front page, at fold, "Trump, Netanyahu Unite on Iran," by Carol Lee and Rory Jones in Jerusalem: "Trump is focusing on pressing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to negotiate in good faith. White House officials say leaders from both sides have agreed in principle to direct talks, though it is unclear whether or when those would begin."
Back at the ranch ... WashPost lead story, "President asked intelligence chiefs to deny collusion": "Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency. ... Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate."
Flynn takes the Fifth with Senate Intelligence Committee. N.Y. Times notes: "His decision ... puts him at risk of being held in contempt of Congress, which can also result in a criminal charge."
Thought bubble from Axios' Jonathan Swan and David Nather: "Presidential budgets are aspirational political documents. None of these cuts (or increases) will happen without Congress. Democrats will go along with none of this and Republicans are already wary. Congress is going to write its own budget, but realistically, they're not going to start completely from scratch either. They have to take the administration's priorities into account."
P.S. "Trump Proposes Selling Off Half the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve," by Bloomberg's Catherine Traywick and Jennifer Dlouhy: "Trump's first complete budget proposal ... would raise $500 million in fiscal year 2018 by draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and as much $16.6 billion in oil sales over the next decade."
President Trump in Bethlehem, West Bank, on the suicide attack on a concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 (including children) and injured about 50: "So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life.
"I won't call them 'monsters,' because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name. I will call them, from now on, 'losers," because that's what they are. They're losers, and we'll have more of them. But they're losers, just remember that."
BBC latest: Prime Minister Theresa May calls it a "callous terrorist attack."
Jim Hackett, who yesterday was named Ford Motor Company president and CEO, told me in a phone interview that he hopes to transform the carmaker in part through a ferocious focus on competitive technologies like self-driving cars, where Detroit has been losing to Silicon Valley.
Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Hackett's boss, told me in the same interview that with "all the competitors that are coming into our space," quicker decision-making is one of the biggest changes he wants for the mammoth company: "The clock speed just keeps getting faster and faster."
One of the best postmortems yet on the secret-sauce elements of Trump's upset victory ... From the June 8 issue of The New York Review of Books, "How He Used Facebook to Win," by Sue Halpern, a regular contributor to The Review and a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury:
The whole article, which includes a look at the online chorus that "sent a river of pro-Trump and anti-Clinton messages coursing into cyberspace, giving the Trump campaign a continually self-reinforcing narrative," is worthy of your time.
National Geographic cover story, "Why We Lie ... scheming and dishonesty are part of what makes us human," by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee:
Carrier Corp., Trump's Exhibit A for corporate patriotism, released a timeline for eliminating 632 jobs at the company's Indianapolis factory — work that will be outsourced to Mexico, AP reports:
From Harvard Crimson's "Graduating Class of 2017 by the numbers":
"While two-thirds of seniors surveyed identify as liberal, they appeared to have become more liberal and more politically polarized during their time at Harvard.
"When surveyed as freshmen, 15 percent the members of the Class of 2017 identified as conservative. ... Now, just nine percent of seniors surveyed identify as conservative. Two percent of seniors surveyed identified as 'very conservative.'"