Good Saturday morning. Situational awareness: The N.Y. Times Quote of the Day is from Steffan Watkins, an IT security consultant for Janes Intelligence, on the electronic course of the 730-foot freighter that struck an American Navy destroyer off the coast of Japan: "It looks very much like the computer was driving."
Yesterday's public waffling by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) put the healthcare bill in sudden danger that almost certainly will mean notable changes.
Assuming Vice President Pence as tie-breaker, the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republicans, and at least eight have expressed misgivings about the bill as currently written.
We asked a high-level source close to Senate leadership for a danger gradient of who is most at risk of defecting. From the source's texts:
Paragraph of the day ... WashPost A1, "In health-care bill, two prized Republican goals converge," by Damian Paletta: "[L]ong-term conservative goals of cutting taxes and entitlement spending have overtaken Trump's agenda ... The legislation would sharply break with pledges Trump made during the 2016 campaign to block reductions in Medicaid spending and to deliver tax cuts primarily to the middle class."
Lead story of tomorrow's WashPost Outlook section, "Raw intelligence, 140 characters at a time: President Trump's tweets are a gold mine for foreign spies, says former CIA analyst Nada Bakos":
Worthy of reading the whole thing ... "Hacking Democracy: Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault," by WashPost's Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous:
Today is Day 156 of President Trump, and N.Y. Times columnist David Leonhardt lists 100 "Trump's Lies," from "JAN. 21: 'I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.' (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)" to "JUNE 21: 'Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.' (We're not.)"
From David's "Definitive List," in collaboration with Stuart Thompson, graphics director for the Opinion section:
"With cameras banned [on some days], CNN sends sketch artist to White House briefing," by Brian Stelter:
"Bill Hennessy, the network's regular sketch artist for Supreme Court proceedings, headed over to the White House on Friday afternoon and drew Press Secretary Sean Spicer's afternoon briefing. ... Some conservative media voices dismissed it as a stunt, but ... CNN equated the briefing to a Supreme Court argument -- an on-the-record event at which cameras are banned."
"White House chief ushers have largely been public servants, military personnel or career staff members who worked their way up the usher ladder over several administrations," the N.Y. Times' Katie Rogers writes. "The White House said Friday that Mrs. Trump had chosen Timothy Harleth, the director of rooms at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, to manage about 90 ushers."
The tallest building west of the Mississippi River opened yesterday in once-stodgy downtown Los Angeles, which is sprouting a crop of new skyscrapers. The $1.2 billion building in the Financial District had been under construction since 2014. AP's "Things to Know" on the Wilshire Grand Center:
As a kind of missionary project to expand my horizons beyond Alexa "Top Country" (my pre-dawn companion at AM World HQ), the youths of the Axios Newsdesk have offered to spot some tracks worthy of your ears.
Here's the debut tip, from Deputy News Editor Alexi McCammond, who's at the tiller of the Good Ship Axios on Saturdays.
Alexi tells me: "It's a feel-good song to start your Saturday! And I can't help but dance to it. Also, I recently asked my Uber driver to show me one of his current favorite songs, and this was the one he picked, which I thought was cool."
Next week will really stretch you: Shane Savitsky's up. Enjoy the first Saturday of summer!