Jul 27, 2019

Axios AM

🎣 Today's Smart Brevity count: 889 words ... 3½ minutes.

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1 big thing ... 1 week: It's not normal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The best way to keep Donald Trump’s presidency in perspective isn’t to go down the rabbit hole with every fight he picks or statement that mangles reality, but instead to realize the sheer volume, Axios managing editor David Nather writes.

  • We looked through his public comments and tweets for this week, and found an avalanche of personal attacks and statements at odds with reality.
  • Why it matters: For history's sake, let's not lose sight of how unusual this is.

The list includes:

  • He heckled Robert Mueller, both before his testimony and after: “Robert Mueller did a horrible job.”
  • He attacked reporters who asked him to respond to Mueller’s testimony, calling one “fake news” and another “untruthful.”
  • He infuriated the leaders of Afghanistan after noting that “if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth.” Afghanistan officials demanded a clarification.
  • He suggested investigating President Obama's book deal: "Let's look into Obama the way they've looked at me ... Let's subpoena all of his records."
  • He kept attacking four Democratic congresswomen of color, tweeting that the group was “a very Racist group of troublemakers.”
  • He denied a WashPost report that he had talking points on the lawmakers, even though there’s a photo of them.
  • He claimed with no evidence that undocumented immigrants “vote many times, not just twice, not just three times.”
  • He claimed that Article 2 of the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want as President.” (It doesn’t.)
  • He accused the news media of inventing sources: “There are no seven sources. They make them up.” (We don’t.)
  • He charged that social media companies “censor opinions” and “decide what information citizens are going to be given,” and claimed his supporters have told him “they make it so hard to follow you.” (Go to Twitter, look up @realDonaldTrump, and see if it’s hard to follow him.)

🐀 Breaking ... Trump this morning attacks House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore:

  • "[T]he Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."
2. Trump wins on wall
Migrants, after a caravan from Central America, climb a border fence as they try to cross into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, in December. Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

The Supreme Court, 5-4, handed President Trump a major victory by allowing him "to divert $2.5 billion from the military’s budget and use it to build ... 100 miles of border wall in California, Arizona and New Mexico," the L.A. Times reports:

  • Chief Justice Roberts joined the court’s four other conservatives.
  • "They questioned whether the Sierra Club and other plaintiffs had standing to challenge the government’s spending policy."
3. Cyberattack hits email users probing Russia
Senate Intelligence Committee report released Thursday (Photo: Jon Elswick)

Swiss-based ProtonMail, which bills itself as the world’s most secure email platform, "has been caught up in a sophisticated cyber attack aimed at investigative journalists and other experts who are probing Russian intelligence activities," The Financial Times' Sam Jones reports from Zurich (subscription).

  • "Those targeted have used ... ProtonMail to share sensitive information related to their probes of Moscow’s military intelligence directorate, the GRU."
  • "Its agents have been accused of complicity in the downing of [Malaysia's] MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, and the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter last year in Britain."
  • Why it matters: "Those targeted in the ProtonMail phishing attack have been rattled in particular by how the attackers gained details of their usernames and accounts in the first place, given many use anonymized addresses that are only known to a closed circle of trusted contacts."

The context: A Senate Intelligence Committee report this week found that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states in 2016. (N.Y. Times)

Bonus: Trail pics du jour
Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders rallies in Santa Monica.

Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
4. GOP's new shorthand
Supporters' notes outside AOC's office. Photo: Erin Scott/Reuters

Speaker Pelosi, "whose 'San Francisco values' were the focus of tens of millions of dollars and nearly a decade’s worth of Republican attacks, is [the GOP's] Public Enemy No. 1 no more," the N.Y. Times' Jeremy Peters writes:

  • Hillary, Obama, birtherism no longer inspire as much GOP vitriol as The Squad: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
  • Why it matters: Republican "attacks on the congresswomen ... show how broadly accepted Mr. Trump’s racial and cultural instigations have become in the Republican Party."

The bottom line ... WashPost: "Democratic wins show Pelosi firmly in charge ... With a month of victories, Pelosi shows who holds the reins in a fractious House."

5. Today's trivia
Princess Elizabeth, 23, greets Winston Churchill, 75, at Guildhall in London in 1950. (Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson, 55, is the 14th prime minister of the 67-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, age 93.

See pictures of the queen with all 14.

The Daily Telegraph
6. 1 fun thing: "Mindful snacking"
Oreo varieties, including piña colada, cherry cola, lemon, peanut butter, kettle corn, mint, birthday cake and original. Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post, via Getty Images

Mindful snacking — slowly and deliberately chewing food — is being promoted by food companies "who want to convince increasingly health-conscious consumers that indulging in cookies, crackers and candy is OK to do sometimes," The Wall Street Journal's Ellen Byron writes in an A-hed (subscription).

  • Chris McGrath, chief of global impact, sustainability and well-being for Mondelez International (maker of Oreos, Triscuits, Swedish Fish, Cadbury chocolate and Nilla wafers) told employees at a training class:
This is us leading the future for our consumers to continue to build and have a healthy relationship with their snacking behavior and for us to help them love our brands.

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