Good Tuesday morning. Situational awareness: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the special House election in western Pennsylvania, where Republicans fear an expensive, humiliating loss in the heart of Trump country.
Breaking ... "Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, claimed contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016, according to two associates," per the WashPost.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios
Coming into office, President-elect Trump boasted his cabinet had “by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled.”
These days, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports, Trump and his chief of staff John Kelly are more likely to privately question the basic intelligence of their cabinet officials than shower them with such praise.
Sources familiar with Kelly’s thinking say he gets especially aggravated by the stories of cabinet secretaries traveling in style on taxpayer funds:
Even the cabinet secretaries credited with policy wins for Trump — such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions with his hardline law enforcement policies, and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt with his aggressive deregulatory agenda — have either fallen out with Trump or caused unnecessary problems for senior staff.
Here’s a sample of damaging stories from Trump’s cabinet:
What’s also true: The cabinet secretaries who are safest are the ones who’ve remained most invisible. Some have told us they keep their profiles extremely low, deliberately.
The four exceptions are cabinet officials who are all visible, well-liked by Trump and have not contributed to the recent headaches: Defense Secretary James Mattis, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, CIA director Mike Pompeo, and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Be smart: Similar to his selection of Vice President Pence during the campaign, Trump’s installation of Pruitt, DeVos and Pompeo in his cabinet gave a lot of comfort to the conservative movement.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells reporters traveling with him in Africa that the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain is “an egregious act” and “appears that it clearly came from Russia,” per the N.Y. Times' Gardiner Harris.
Britain’s leaders are trying to build international support as they respond to the poisoning, AP reports:
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
The White House blocked Broadcom's proposed $117 billion purchase of Qualcomm, saying preventing the deal was "necessary to protect the national security of the United States," Axios' Dan Primack and Ina Fried write:
... "Sleepy eyes."
"House Intelligence Committee Republicans say they have found no evidence that President Trump and his affiliates colluded with Russian officials to sway the 2016 election or that the Kremlin sought to help him," the WashPost reports:
Be smart: Republicans will use this report as cover to dismiss or dispute findings by Mueller.
P.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tells USA Today: "The special counsel is not an unguided missile ... I don't believe there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel."
President Trump recently said he plans to eventually spend "four or five days a week" campaigning for Republican midterm candidates.
... to replace Gary Cohn as his economic adviser:
CNN's Brian Stelter writes that the "Trump-TV feedback loop is stronger than ever":
Hillary Clinton, in comments in India this weekend seized on by the Republican National Committee, attributed some of Trump's insurgent victory to discriminatory attitudes among his supporters, per CNN:
Apple's Eddy Cue is interviewed about "Curation in Media" by CNN's Dylan Byers. (Jason Bollenbacher / Getty Images for SXSW)
In Austin, Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services, explained the company's TV strategy during one of the newsiest onstage interviews at South by Southwest. CNN's recap:
Scoop by Axios' Sara Fischer in the new issue of her Media Trends newsletter just out ... Facebook preps news launch:
David Brooks' N.Y. Times column ("Good Leaders Make Good Schools") spotlights the importance of grade-school principals in setting a culture "by their very behavior — the message is the person":
Netflix launches "Nailed It!," based on the popular online side-by-sides, "Pinterest fails."
Thanks for reading. See you on Axios.com!