1/3 ... One of the huge internal White House fights, which we hear will be resolved soon, concerns troops in Afghanistan: National security adviser H.R. McMaster supports Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' push for more troops; Steve Bannon thinks Americans won't support that and wants a slow drawdown.
Bannon allies think they're winning.
In June, Trump gave Mattis authority to determine troop levels, but lately the White House has re-asserted itself.
As you know, Trump has style and substance differences with McMaster, and has even openly pined for the return of his fired predecessor, Mike Flynn.
West Wing buzz has been that McMaster would be given a fourth star and sent to Afghanistan.
2/3 ... During a July 19 meeting in the Situation Room, per NBC's Carol Lee and Courtney Kube, Trump said of the U.S. position in Afghanistan: "We aren't winning ... We are losing." More on the two-hour meeting:
3/3 ... A bit of side drama:
"The White House has engaged in a slow-motion purge of hard-line officials at the National Security Council in recent weeks, angering conservatives who complain that the foreign policy establishment is reasserting itself over a president who had promised a new course," the NYT's Thrush and Baker write:
"The latest to go was Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who ran the N.S.C.'s intelligence division. ... Cohen-Watnick ... briefed Representative Devin Nunes ... on classified intelligence reports revealing that American intelligence agencies had conducted incidental surveillance of Mr. Trump's transition team.""His departure follows several others last month. Tera Dahl, the deputy chief of staff at the N.S.C. and a former writer for Breitbart News, ... left for" USAID."Later in the month, ... Derek Harvey, the top Middle East adviser, and Rich Higgins, the director of strategic planning, were each pushed out."Why it matters: "All four officials were considered Trump allies who shared the antiglobalist views of Mr. Flynn and Mr. Bannon. General McMaster, whose relationship with the president has been strained at times, has long wanted to remove the pro-Flynn hard-liners from his staff."
"An unrelenting barrage of chaotic news coming out of Washington is distracting from a quieter revolution: a near complete reversal of America's energy and environmental policies," Axios' Amy Harder writes.
A cool installment of our behind-the-scenes video series, Axios Sourced, "Many Americans too drugged out to work": Axios Future Editor Steve LeVine discusses the sad stats showing that drug abuse is causing many jobs to go unfilled:
"The reports suggest a circularity to the crisis in America's rust and manufacturing belts: the loss of jobs and wage stagnation has led to widespread disaffection, alienation and drug abuse; and drug abuse has led to joblessness, hopelessness and disaffection."
"Thousands of people showed up [yesterday] for a chance to pack and ship products to Amazon customers, as the e-commerce company held a giant job fair at nearly a dozen U.S. warehouses," AP Technology Writer Matt O'Brien reports from Fall River, Mass.:
Wall Street Journal lead story, "Dow Hits 22000, Powered by Apple ... another milestone in the long bull market as investors bet that a resurgent global economy can offset lukewarm U.S. growth."
A smart way to look at this rally ... "Wall Street, Climbing Sharply, Skips Washington's 'Soap Opera,'" a New York Times front-pager by Nelson Schwartz: "[A ]market surge based on political hopes has been replaced by one more firmly grounded in the financial realm."
How it went down ... Acosta: "[T]his whole notion of 'well, they have to learn English before they get to the United States,' are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?"
Stephen Miller: "Jim, ... I have to honestly say I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It's actually — it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree."
Time passes ... Acosta to CNN's Erin Burnett: "I could go for a cosmopolitan right now. ... It's not often you're accused of a cosmopolitan bias by someone who went to Duke University and is wearing cufflinks in the White House briefing room."
Sarah Sanders at yesterday's brieifng: "I don't think it's appropriate to lie from the podium or any other place."
Fired FBI director James Comey has a book deal, with publication set for spring, AP's Hillel Italie writes:
Sports Illustrated cover story, "Why Neymar is the biggest story in soccer leading up to the 2018 World Cup": "Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. ... [a] quiet but charismatic 25-year-old Brazilian forward ... at FC Barcelona ... [is] universally deemed soccer's best player after Ronaldo and Messi, and he's beloved in a way that neither of them ever will be."
Also in this issue of SI ... Golf.com's "First Golfer":