Good Monday morning. For our Southern California readers ... On Wednesday, we're holding our debut editorial event in L.A. — on the next frontier: the human brain — at 8:30 a.m. at a studio in Culver City. Axios Science Editor Alison Snyder will lead one-on-one conversations with experts on artificial intelligence, brain-machine interfaces, biopharmaceuticals and virtual reality.
We're serving "brain food" for breakfast — foods that improve memory and other mental functions, including acai bowls and avocado toast bases with brain food toppings (smoked salmon, turmeric, blueberries, dark chocolate). RSVP here.
The spotlight has been on President Trump's legal jeopardy. But inside the small circle of top Republicans who advise this White House, there's increasing concern that future political problems are stacking up.
One of the oldest (and most trusted) hands in America told a large group of CEOs in New York City on Friday: "Simply put, Trump has lost control of his presidency. He still has all the power of the office, but for someone who spent a portion of his life in real estate litigation, he shows once again he has not learned the first rule of legal combat: It is often better to say nothing and do nothing."
That voice isn't a partisan, but our kitchen cabinet of Republicans is growing notably more bearish, even though slam-dunk evidence of "high crimes and misdemeanors" hasn't emerged.
"Another week, and no progress on the GOP agenda," said a GOP sage. "Infrastructure Week turned into Comey Week. No one really knows Trump and came to D.C. with him. He is a president on an island, all alone. ... [T]he ability to get anything done is in double jeopardy."
Comey's failure to deliver a smoking gun has
bought Trump some time
. But so far, he's shown no indication that he has a plan — or the will — to use that time to change the course of events.
Truth bomb: Beyond his base voters, Trump has an even bigger potential problem looming with his base in Congress. While Republican lawmakers won't say it publicly, it's widely known if they could pick between President Pence and President Trump, the Vice President would win 90% of the vote among the GOP.
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to John Dickerson on "Face the Nation," re Trump and the Russia investigation: "You may be the first president in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you."
"Who will take over for Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
if he takes a leave of absence?" —
Recode's Johana Bhuiyan
: "The company has no COO, CFO, CMO or SVP of engineering and all of those vacancies are without accounting for the possible terminations that several sources suspect will happen."
Latest on yesterday's board meeting (which included Travis),
from Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva
: At a six-hour-plus meeting yesterday, Uber's board has voted to approve all the recommendations made by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Uber didn't detail the changes, but plans to present them to employees on Tuesday. Executive departures could come as soon as today.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on Senate Intelligence, to Brianna Keilar on CNN's "State of the Union," re Comey's testimony that he felt pressured by Obama attorney general Loretta Lynch:
"I would have a queasy feeling, too, ... to be candid with you. I think we need to know more about that. And there's only way to know about it, and that's to have the Judiciary Committee take a look at that."
Driving tomorrow ... Wall Street Journal front-pager, "Sessions's Testimony to Keep Russia Probe in Focus," by Laura Meckler and Jeffrey Sparshott: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify Tuesday before the same Senate committee that heard from former FBI Director James Comey last week ... It is unclear whether the intelligence committee hearing will be held in public."
"When a liberal power lawyer
represents the Trump family, things can get ugly," WashPost front-pager by Marc Fisher: "When [Jamie] Gorelick [deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton] signed up Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump ... as clients, she knew her friends might raise their collective eyebrows. She didn't know that some of them would call her a turncoat."
Sound smart ... With President Trump planning to fly to Miami on Friday to announce a Cuba policy that at least partly reverses President Obama's openings for commerce and travel after a half-century standoff, we asked officials inside and outside the White House to help us read between the lines:
L.A. Times lead story, "Trump plans a reversal on ties with Cuba," by Tracy Wilkinson: "The move will be controversial. It could dull a boom in tourism by Americans to Cuba and hurt a burgeoning cottage industry of private enterprise on the socialist-ruled island. And it could allow Russia and China to more easily step in to fill the void."
"Melania Trump, son Barron move into the White House," by AP's Darlene Superville:
Preet Bharara, fired by Trump as U.S. attorney in Manhattan, came out swinging in his first televised interview since he left office, telling George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" that "there's absolutely evidence to begin a case" for obstruction of justice against the president.
Bharara has built a big Twitter following (255,000) quickly, and clearly is motivated: He has worked with Comey and Mueller, and was at Thursday's hearing.
So might he run for office? A New York expert emails us this dope:
"How Facebook's Telepathic Texting Is Supposed to Work: Facebook's plan to enable us to type 100 words a minute just by thinking is a long shot, and it reflects the company's new approach to R&D," by Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims:
First look at the cover of the new issue of Foreign Affairs ... Cover story by CFR President Richard Haass, "Where to Go From Here: Rebooting American Foreign Policy":
"Trump's national security team could make a comeback," by WashPost columnist Josh Rogin: "Looking ahead, several key battles will reveal whether the national security professionals are winning the day, including decisions on whether to commit more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, how to approach the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement and whether to staunchly oppose new congressional sanctions on Russia, which are coming soon."
Tony Awards crown Broadway's best, at Radio City Music Hall ... L.A. Times' Steven Zeitchik, in New York:
"[I]f the night celebrated the outsider ['Dear Evan Hansen,' the touching, heartfelt musical about young outsiders, wins the biggest theater popularity contest], it was the consummate showbiz insider who was its biggest star."The evening was a coronation for 'Hello, Dolly!' the Jerry Zaks-directed revival that brought Bette Midler back to the Broadway stage. ... Midler took lead actress in a musical, her first-ever Tony win. Midler [age 71] has waited a long time ... and she was ... determined to make the most of the moment."Midler [thanked] 'all the Tony voters, many of which I've actually dated' ... The acceptance speech went well beyond the allotted time, but Midler pressed on, saying 'shut that crap off,' to the orchestra music attempting to play her off. ..."[I]n a kind of bookend moment to the Pence fracas [over 'Hamilton'], Jill and Joe Biden's presence was ... met with a standing ovation ... Jill Biden had come to promote a veteran's charity, which she later talked about in introducing a number from the PTSD-themed musical 'Bandstand.' ..."Host Kevin Spacey took an unorthodox approach, ... trotting out impersonations — Bill Clinton, Johnny Carson and his own 'House of Cards' Frank Underwood character ... Spacey had the ad lib of the evening when, appearing as Underwood at the end of the telecast, he said he 'wanted to get the hell out of here before Bette Midler thanked anyone else.'"