Good Wednesday morning from Atlanta.
Situational awareness ... N.Y. Times front page: "Ryan’s Hold on Speaker’s Job Is Tested by G.O.P. Infighting" ... WashPost front page: "Ryan’s grip on House is growing weaker" ... Axios on Sunday: "Paul Ryan's House is collapsing."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
It’s not just President Trump and his tweeter anymore. The anti-Robert Mueller chorus is growing slightly larger, and significantly louder, in an effort to discredit the Russia probe and its origin.
Why it matters: Hour by hour, these voices try to chip away at the case against Trump and the justification for it all.
Inside the sabotage strategy ... Jonathan Swan points out that the White House legal strategy hasn’t visibly changed:
A key victory for the chorus: The Justice Department tomorrow will hold a classified briefing about an FBI informant in the Russia probe, yielding to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who had threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt over a committee subpoena.
Among the players:
Be smart ... David Ignatius column in WashPost: "Trump is running a circus of distraction. But at the center of the ring remains Mueller, silent and unblinking."
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
In Georgia last night, Stacey Abrams (D), 44, a former state legislative leader, became the nation's first black woman to be a gubernatorial nominee of a major party, and Georgia's first female nominee for governor by a major party.
In a Democratic Texas governor's runoff, Lupe Valdez, "the former Dallas County sheriff, became the first Hispanic female and first openly gay person to win a major party's gubernatorial nomination in Texas," per the Dallas Morning News:
Alexi has these takeaways after last night's voting in Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas:
A HarrisX poll for Axios finds that 80% of Americans believe EPA Administrator Pruitt should be fired if EPA's inspector general finds that he misused his position — meaning that even some Trump backers agree.
At the Deadline Club of New York this week, Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes" recalled an off-camera conversation with Donald Trump at Trump Tower in July 2016 [date corrected] (via CNBC):
"[H]e started to attack the press ... I said, ... 'You've won ... Why do you keep hammering at this?' And he said: 'You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all. So when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.'"
"Flack Ops" ... Mark Leibovich in Sunday's N.Y. Times Magazine, "The Risky Business of Speaking for President Trump ... Flacks in this White House press office are getting enormous exposure — but potentially at a long-term cost to their credibility":
Following bipartisan votes from both chambers of Congress, President Trump plans to sign the first significant changes to the post-crisis Dodd-Frank banking law of 2010. The details, from The Wall Street Journal (subscription):
Why it matters, from Bloomberg: This "is the product of years of financial-industry lobbying to soften post-crisis rules[,] and sensitive negotiations ... to attract bipartisan support needed to get it through the narrowly-divided Senate."
By 2022, Chinese demand for electric cars will triple, and the largest block — 39% — will be SUVs and crossovers, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm.
Every fight over the Affordable Care Act is a reminder of the bigger truth about the U.S. health care system: It's really a patchwork, not a system, because we never decided what our priorities were.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, in his annual letter on philanthropy:
"[T]he increasing disdain for facts is making it harder for America to address major challenges here and around the world ... Fortunately, ... a counter-assault is under way in both red and blue states. ... While it doesn’t attract national headlines, there is a growing movement of big cities and small towns that are striving to use data to improve the performance of government and the lives of their citizens. ... As Washington has grown more dysfunctional, American cities have grown more dynamic."
Philip Roth, revisiting areas where he grew up in Newark, in 1968 at age 35. (Bob Peterson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
"Philip Roth, the American literary icon whose novel 'American Pastoral' won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, in 1998, has died, at the age of eighty-five," per The New Yorker: