Good Monday morning, and welcome to Day 270 of President Trump — 1,191 left in this term. Situational awareness ... AP finds an environmental catastrophe in Puerto Rico: "Raw sewage ... flowing into ... rivers and reservoirs ... Toxic waste ... going straight to landfills that are overflowing and had already been ordered closed ... [M]old ... growing in homes throughout the island."
We told you about internal administration conversations about sliding CIA Director Mike Pompeo over to replace SecState Rex Tillerson, whenever he heads back to Texas.
Now we're hearing about a top possibility for the next chess move: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was considered for CIA director (and SecDef) during the transition, and is a candidate for CIA again:
Why it matters: MSNBC and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt — who talks frequently to Cotton on and off the air, and first floated the idea of Cotton for CIA — told me that Pompeo, Cotton, SecDef Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly would be "a quartet of serious intellectuals and warriors in the 'big four' jobs." And you could add National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster as a fifth.
Be smart: The Tillerson situation doesn't seem tenable to insiders: Pressed by CNN's Jake Tapper yesterday, he again refused to say he hadn't called Trump a moron. Trump treats people like comfort food — he likes advisers he's used to, and vice versa. Pompeo and Cotton fit the bill.
P.S. Top of the new in-box ... Cyber-arms race with North Korea, per N.Y. Times lead story: "At a recent meeting of American strategists, ... some participants expressed concerns that the escalating cyberwar could actually tempt the North to use its weapons — both nuclear and cyber — very quickly in any conflict, for fear that the United States has secret ways to shut the country down."
U.S. investigators are probing whether Russia relied on clandestine American help to identify political soft spots and pressure points in its campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. But experts tell Axios Future editor Steve LeVine that, even without local assistance, Russia's own history of exploiting animosities and jealousies across its empire gave it unusual know-how to stir up existing American tensions:
P.S. The Trump campaign "spent more than $1.1 million on legal fees over the last three months — a sharp increase that coincided with the escalation of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election." (N.Y. Times)
A New Yorker profile of Vice President Pence by Jane Mayer gets 16 pages in the new issue ... "The Danger of President Pence: Trump's critics yearn for his exit. But Mike Pence ... poses his own risks":
The cover of New York Magazine's 50th anniversary issue, "My New York," features drawings of people on the subway by 90-year-old artist Alex Katz, who sketched riders in the '40s when he was a student on his way to Cooper Union, the magazine's Aude White writes:
Big win for right in Europe: Nationalist wave rolls on ... "Austria's conservative People's Party [center-right, though shifted right on immigration in recent months], led by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, is set to win the country's general election, [which would make him] the world's youngest national leader," BBC reports:
CBS' Bill Whitaker says the star of this "60 Minutes" segment, a joint investigation with the WashPost DEA/opioids project we told you about yesterday, is "one of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by '60 Minutes'":
America has built a booming solar industry thanks largely to cheap Chinese solar panels, helping to create jobs and cleaner energy. But U.S.-based manufacturers have been decimated by the overseas competition, Axios' Amy Harder writes in her weekly "Harder Line" energy column:
"Barbarians Open Their Gates as Blackstone, Others Seek Retail Cash: Blackstone aiming to attract more investors with $1 million to $5 million," by the Wall Street Journal's Miriam Gottfried, on A1:
P.S. "Amazon Lobbyists Ramp Up Their Charm Offensive in D.C.," by N.Y. Times' Cecilia Kang, on the Business front:
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Leon Panetta, Madeleine Albright, Univision CEO Randy Falco, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Harvard President Drew Faust are among the founders of the Dream Coalition, urging Congress to protect immigrants who came here as children.
Columbus, hit hard by the recession, is still figuring out how to position itself for the digital economy, and areas around the Ohio capital have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, Axios' Kim Hart writes:
A bright spot for Uber ... "Uber's fast-growing food delivery service accounted for nearly a tenth of the company's global gross bookings in the second quarter, ... a level that implies the unit is on track to exceed $3bn in gross sales this year," the Financial Times' Leslie Hook dishes from S.F. (subscription):