You're invited ... to my News Shaper event tomorrow at 8 a.m. in downtown D.C.: one-on-one conversations with White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, and three fascinating ambassadors: Jordan's Dina Kawar, Singapore's Ashok Kumar Mirpuri and Germany's Peter Wittig. Outside cameras and correspondents welcome. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. RSVP here.
With CNN's clock already counting down to fired FBI Director Jim Comey's testimony on Thursday morning, where's the White House war room? Remember the scandal-containment unit that was supposed to quarantine the rest of the White House from Russia questions, so that President Trump could pursue a positive agenda, with the Clinton-style scandal machinery handling the investigations?
After Trump's tweets yesterday undermining his own Supreme Court case on the travel ban, his Republican allies on Capitol Hill and downtown sounded weary and irritated at day after day of self-inflicted wounds:
Why it matters: On a call with reporters last evening, White House Legislative Affairs director Marc Short said he expects Republicans to pass healthcare and the 2018 budget this summer so the fall can be focused on tax reform. That should be achievable, but many White House allies are skeptical because so much bandwidth, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, is being diverted to scandals and distractions.
10 a.m. Thursday ... Chuck Todd said on "Meet the Press" that Comey's testimony "may well join those rare historic moments when the whole country stops to watch. Think Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. Watergate hearings in 1973. Oliver North's testimony in the Iran Contra hearings in 1987, and of course Anita Hill at the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991."
"Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election," by The Intercept's Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Ryan Grim:"The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood. It states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document."From the doc: "Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations."Why it matters: "This NSA summary judgment is sharply at odds with Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial last week that Russia had interfered in foreign elections."
Leak suspect already arrested ... "Contractor charged in NSA document leak case," by WashPost's Devlin Barrett: "A 25-year-old government contractor has been charged with mishandling classified information after authorities say she gave a top-secret National Security Agency document to a news organization."
Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Bloomberg TV's Emily Chang at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., yesterday:
Catch up quick on yesterday's announcements;
"Trump Sours on Sessions, Blaming Him for White House Troubles," by N.Y. Times' Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman:
"The Trump effect: Everyone's thinking of running for president" ... WaPo's Karen Tumulty and John Wagner survey the insanely broad potential field of 2020 Democratic nominees, and gathered some juicy quotes from top Dems. Highlights:
Jennifer Palmieri: "How can you possibly tell someone they shouldn't run for president? There's no one on the planet who you can tell, 'That's crazy..."David Axelrod: "It is more expeditious to put together a list of Democrats who are not thinking they are running for president in 2020, than ones who are."Joe Trippi: "[I]t's only a matter of time until a Donald Trump runs as an independent and swamps both parties..."Why it matters: "Going into 1992, the party's biggest names... took a pass on the race... Instead, the nomination went to a little-known governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton."
Professors Peter Neumann and Shiraz Maher, of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London, for the BBC:
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Shiraz Maher, deputy director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College London, on the number of terrorist attacks that succeed in Britain: "What's got through is just the tip of the iceberg, and it's an enormous iceberg."
A "spat among U.S. allies in the Middle East carries high stakes for the Trump administration, coming two weeks after ... Trump tried during a visit to Riyadh to rally Arab allies around fighting terrorism and countering Iran's influence in the Middle East," the Wall Street Journal reports on A1:
"Axios brings the heat in Hollywood," by Ian Mohr of N.Y. Post's Page Six:
Axios made a splash in Hollywood with a reception at the LA mansion of pollster Frank Luntz and another hosted by director Rob Reiner and his wife, Michele. At Luntz's home, complete with a replica of the Oval Office, a spy said that when Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen "led a conversation," the mogul-heavy crowd "was angry, combative and yelling about the media and politics — 90 minutes of verbal combat."
At the Reiners' were stars, politicos and studio honchos: Chelsea Handler, Bradley Whitford, Jeff Shell, Ben Sherwood, Howard Gordon, Ben Silverman, Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and Rep. Maxine Waters.