☕️ Good Thursday morning.
🎈Situational awareness: "The joyous celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them," AP reports. "So as companies vow to banish plastic straws, there are signs balloons will be among the products to get more scrutiny."
A man in a white Trump T-shirt bleeds from his forehead. A red "Make America Great Again" cap burns. Nancy Pelosi declares: "This is Armageddon." Robert De Niro gets a standing ovation for saying "[Expletive] Trump!" at the Tony Awards.
Steve Bannon — with twin missions of turning out Republicans this fall, and re-establishing his own relevance — on Sept. 9 will debut a film, "Trump @ War," portraying the president's supporters as under siege from a pervasive "they."
Bannon, in a giving Axios an exclusive preview of the trailer, told me: "How jacked do we think Trump will be when he sees this?"
The release date, Sept. 9, is the second anniversary of Hillary Clinton’s remark, seized on ferociously by the Trump campaign, that "you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables."
Axios' Jonathan Swan reads between the frames:
Bannon said his new group is aimed at stoking the "populist-nationalist movement" that put Trump into office, and includes booking, messaging and rapid-response operations that regularly brief friendly cable-news pundits.
The effort to hold the House for Republicans "is more winnable" than Trump's campaign was three months before Election Day, Bannon contends.
"President Trump revoked the security clearance of John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director under President Barack Obama, ... in a striking act of retaliation against an outspoken critic. The president threatened to do the same to other former national security officials who have antagonized him," the N.Y. Times' Julie Davis and Mike Shear report:
From Trump's statement: "As part of this review, I am evaluating action with respect to the following individuals: James Clapper, James Comey [who says he doesn't have a security clearance], Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr."
The conversation ... NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "[T]his president is denying his own CIA ... access to the wise counsel of Brennan, now, and presumably the others who are on this list ... It is akin to the Nixon enemies list."
Just posted ... Brennan responds in a N.Y. Times op-ed this morning, "President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash":
The Boston Globe invited newspapers across the country to stand up for the press with editorials today, and nearly 350 news organizations have pledged to participate, Marjorie Pritchard, op-ed editor at the Globe, told AP.
The new TIME cover story is an interview with tennis icon Serena Williams, who talked to TIME's Sean Gregory at her home in Silicon Valley:
A forthcoming release provided to Axios ... "The Department of Justice and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have proposed a reduction for controlled substances that may be manufactured in the U.S. next year":
Be smart from Axios health care editor Sam Baker: Prescription opioids are not the big driver of the addiction crisis any more. It’s mostly illegal stuff coming from China.
WIRED's Jack Stewart reports that Elon Musk's Boring Company plans to dig a new tunnel to the Dodgers stadium, through which fans would ride in pods on electric skates:
How it works: Fans will pile into "8- to 16-passenger pods, which will whisk them through the tunnel. The skates will then be parked at the other end. After the game or concert, they run the other way."
"The House earlier this year passed a bill to improve conditions in federal prisons and encourage prisoners to participate in rehabilitation programs," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) writes in an Opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal:
"Republicans ... condemned a poster by Pearl Jam that shows the White House in flames and a bald eagle pecking at a skeleton they say is meant to depict President Donald Trump," AP reports:
Americans are spending like crazy at restaurants, Bloomberg's Reade Pickert and Scott Lanman write:
Thanks for reading. See you all day on Axios.com.