Good Thursday morning. Situational awareness: Today marks six months of President Trump ... O.J. Simpson goes before the Nevada Parole Board (1 p.m. ET; live coverage on ESPN and elsewhere) in hopes of being released from medium-security prison.
For weeks, President Trump has been privately expressing frustration with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and has even told aides he regretted appointing him:
Yesterday, Trump went public with his beef, telling the N.Y. Times in a stunning 50-minute interview in the Oval Office: "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else."
The declaration of no-confidence led to instant speculation in Republican circles that Sessions would resign: How can he go to work this morning?
What Trump is thinking: It's the president's view that Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation — which may have been unavoidable, given the pressures at the time — empowered Democratic critics.
Inexcusable, POTUS thinks. Trump would have felt safer with his man Sessions in charge, but now must endure the wholly unpredictable and uncontrollable probe by special counsel Bob Mueller.
Be smart: Trump's blast shows that no lawyer or aide has convinced him to rein in his remarks in Russia, and makes a public spectacle of the kind of internal West Wing war that in most administrations might be concealed or gossiped about, but never proven in real time.
In excerpts posted by The Times, Trump makes comments about special counsel Bob Mueller that are at least a warning, and were taken by some commentators as a "Sopranos"-style threat:
Trump: "I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case." ...
Times: "[I]f Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line? ... Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?"
Trump: "I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don't — I don't — I mean, it's possible there's a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don't make money from Russia." ...
Times: "But if he was outside that lane, would that mean he'd have to go?" ...
Trump: "I think that's a violation. Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company. ... I have no income from Russia. I don't do business with Russia."
Times: "Would you fire Mueller if he went outside of certain parameters of what his charge is?"
Trump: "I can't answer that question because I don't think it's going to happen."
The capital was stunned last night by news that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — age 80, the former Vietnam prisoner of war who was sidelined this week with a blood clot — has a hard-to-treat brain tumor:
An astonishing story ... "Trump's embrace of Russia making top advisers wary," by AP's Vivian Salama:
P.S. WashPost lead story, "Trump ends CIA program in Syria," by Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous: "Trump has decided to end the CIA's covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia."
"The brief honeymoon between the world's two largest economies appears to be over," per Bloomberg's Andrew Mayeda and Saleha Mohsin:
P.S. "China clamping down on use of VPNs to evade Great Firewall" — AP/Beijing: "China is tightening control over foreign companies' internet use in a move some worry might disrupt their operations or jeopardize trade secrets."
Next week will be a big one for Senate committees investigating connections between Trump associates and Russia:
Jared Kushner will be testifying in a closed session before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, while Don Jr. and Paul Manafort are scheduled to appear in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning.
Axios' Caitlin Owens: "Shortly after Trump told Senate Republicans at a lunch meeting ... that his preference is to repeal and replace the law at the same time, Paul Teller, a White House legislative affairs aide, sent out an e-mail asking recipients to support a 2015 bill that would only repeal the law."
For every 11 pounds gained after 18 years old for women and 21 for men, there is:
Lots of hubbub about Al Gore running for president in 2020, from the overflow crowd at last night's D.C. screening of his new documentary, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" (select theaters July 28; nationwide Aug. 4; from Paramount Pictures and Participant Media). #BeInconvenient ...
Being there ... "Gore's climate movie sequel ignores political reality," by Axios energy correspondent Amy Harder: "As one attendee told me after the film's Wednesday night premiere in D.C.: 'The film was an unusual combination of electoral self-deprecation and climate narcissism.'"
Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of luxury travel firm Indagare, to Bloomberg Pursuits' Mark Ellwood:
"I eat nothing on flights. I've talked to a lot of stewardesses about it, and it's a stewardess secret. ... [A]t superhigh altitude, your digestive system shuts down completely. Someone said to me it's like being under anesthesia. So when you get off the plane, everything restarts and [your digestive system] has so much more work to do and so it makes you more tired.
"Most people overeat because it's a diversion, or a way to pass the time; but even the best plane food is oversalted and preserved so it can be microwaved. So I have something to eat a couple hours before getting on the plane, but otherwise it's nothing but lots and lots of water. ...
"I flew to Paris last week, ... and I got off the plane at maybe 10 a.m., and when I landed I went for a fabulous lunch, which I didn't feel guilty about in the slightest."