RFK lost, 50 years ago today ... Mike Barnicle for Daily Beast, "What I Saw on RFK’s Funeral Train 50 Years Ago Today ... "It was a somber moment. It was a horrifying year. And, in many ways, the country has yet to recover."
D.C. readers, you're invited: Tomorrow at 8 a.m., Axios health care business reporter Bob Herman and I host a conversation on the cost of innovation in the health care ecosystem. RSVP here.
1 big thing: Facebook playing with fire in D.C.
Mark Zuckerberg survived questions about Russia's election-meddling largely unscathed. But the N.Y. Times revelation that Facebook knowingly granted four Chinese electronics companies (including Huawei, which U.S. intelligence officials see as a potential national security threat) access to Americans’ data — and didn't bother to tell Congress about it — has Washington fuming again.
- Why it matters: Facebook's business depends on trust — both from users, who give up their data, and from Washington, with Big Tech hoping for a light touch on regulation. The new discoveries pose a risk to both.
- Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.), who has been working closely with tech companies in the Russia investigation, told me onstage yesterday at an Axios event: "Facebook ... is a great company, but we're seeing this pattern repeated."
- Warner added: "They've got some folks that know politics ... They should realize: Come clean with the whole story in the first 24 hours. Don't let this dribble out. And I've got some very serious questions, particularly because of the ongoing threat that these Chinese telecom companies pose."
The new revelations show just how little Facebook and D.C. still understand about the way the other works, Axios chief tech correspondent Ina Fried writes:
- What D.C. doesn't get: The partnerships Facebook had with phone makers were pretty standard at the time, as phone makers looked to build support for services from Facebook, Twitter, Google and others into their devices. Nor were they a secret.
- What Facebook doesn't get: The company has very little credibility in D.C., especially when the topic is sharing data with others. Throw Huawei's name in the mix and things go from toxic to radioactive.
Be smart: The risk to Facebook and other tech giants has never been swift, sweeping regulation. It’s been that the arc of regulation bends to inevitable, because of a series of serious mind-changing revelations over time.
- That’s why the drip-drip-drip matters.
What Facebook says ... Francisco Varela, V.P. of mobile partnerships: “Huawei is the third largest mobile manufacturer globally and its devices are used by people all around the world, including in the United States. Facebook along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones."
- "Facebook's integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built. Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei's servers.”
2. 1 big stat: U.S. has more jobs than jobless
"American Job Openings Now Outnumber the Jobless," per The Wall Street Journal's Eric Morath (subscription):
- "U.S. job openings rose to 6.7 million at the end of April, compared with the 6.3 million Americans who were unemployed."
- That's the "the first time since such record-keeping began in 2000" that "the number of available positions exceeded the number of job seekers," according to the Labor Department.
Why it matters: "The labor market is forcing employers to rethink their approach to hiring ... If they can’t find workers to meet the demand for their products, they can’t help the economy grow. They may instead opt to close the restaurant early or not run a third shift at the factory."
- What it means for worker: "Firms may need to pay more to attract workers, and some already are."
- What it means for businesses: That raises costs and would cut profit margins if higher prices can’t be passed on to customers. If prices are raised, that stokes stronger inflation, which already has been accelerating in recent months."
The backdrop: "The jobless rate ticked down ... in May to ... 3.8%, the lowest since April 2000 ... The last time the rate was lower was in 1969, when young men were being drafted into the Vietnam War."
- But, but, but: "There are, however, still an elevated number of Americans who are stuck in part-time jobs and would prefer full-time work. And others are employed but not in the jobs they want."
3. Midterm decoder: Districts help explain R, D messages
This graphic helps explain why voters in this year's midterm elections are likely to hear such different stories about the economy: Blue House districts are more likely to have serious income inequality than red districts.
That's part of the reason Dems and Republicans have conflicting narratives, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes:
- Democrats speak about policies that redistribute wealth and reduce income inequality because they live in unequal places.
- Republicans resent lecturing of "liberal elites" and embrace policies that promote opportunity, because they live in places where people are generally in similar economic situations.
Why it matters: Each party has pushed a narrative that reflects the truth of their side while angering and scaring those on the other side. Until someone comes up with an agenda that encompasses both sides, politicians will be speaking to only half of the country at a time.
4. Golden State Dems come out on top
"It's Newsom vs. Cox in November," reports the Los Angeles Times' Phil Willon, Seema Mehta, Melanie Mason, and Jaclyn Cosgrove:
- "Gavin Newsom, the favorite of the California Democratic Party's core liberal base, coasted to a first-place finish in Tuesday's primary election for governor and faces a November showdown with John Cox, a multimillionaire Republican hitched to the far-right policies of President Trump."
- "The results mark a stunning defeat for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, representing the fall of a politician who embodied the growing power of the Latino electorate when he was elected mayor in 2005."
- "In the run-up to election day, Newsom's campaign made a brazen effort to tilt the primary to its advantage by attacking Cox ... The tactic was seen as a transparent attempt to elevate Cox among California conservatives so he would have enough Republican support to finish in the top two, squeezing out a more formidable Democrat."
P.S. ... "Democrats look like they won't be shut out of critical California House races," per the L.A. Times' Christine Mai-Duc:
- "With most precincts reporting, Democrats seemed to have captured second place in the contests where the threat was most acute."
- "The party’s wide, boisterous field of candidates could have locked them out of multiple races because of the state’s unique primary, which advances the two candidates with the most votes regardless of party."
5. NBA's final two boycott Trump
"The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry ... said separately that neither of their NBA Finals teams would visit the White House after winning the championship," per the Hollywood Reporter:
- "James told ESPN’s Chris Haynes, 'I know whoever wins this series, no one wants an invite.'"
- Curry: “I agree with LeBron ... The way we handled things last year ... we'll stay consistent with that."
- "After a number of Golden State players, including Curry, said they would not go to the White House last year, Trump disinvited the Warriors after they beat the Cavaliers in the Finals."
6. Trump obsessed with pardons
"President Trump has become fixated on his ability to issue pardons, asking his aides to compile a list of candidates and stirring dissent in the West Wing with his mercurial and seemingly celebrity-driven decisions," the WashPost's Bob Costa, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker report:
- "Trump is telling aides that he is now strongly considering pardoning Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman serving a life sentence for a nonviolent crime, after meeting with Kim Kardashian last week to discuss her case — a move being resisted by his chief of staff and" White House counsel Donald McGahn.
- Why it matters: "The presidential pardon holds a special resonance for Trump, representing one area where he has almost unchecked power."
- "Trump entered the White House ... envisioning the presidency as more like his private business than a plodding bureaucracy. He has grown frustrated over what he views as Republican impotence on Capitol Hill, Mueller’s sprawling investigation and ... aides who are at times riven by infighting."
7. The big job no one wants
"The Trump administration has put its search for the Justice Department’s No. 3 official [which would oversee the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein were to depart] on the back burner after failing to persuade several candidates," per The Wall Street Journal's Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha (subscription).
- Why it matters: "The department lacks permanent, politically appointed leaders to oversee at least five high-profile units, including the criminal, civil and tax divisions."
Behind the curtain ... "Trump's fury with [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions is so ever-present it has taken to darkening his moods even during otherwise happy moments," AP's Jonathan Lemire and Eric Tucker report:
- "On Thursday, Trump was on Air Force One returning from a trip to Texas ... [W]hen an aide mentioned Sessions, Trump abruptly ended the conversation and unmuted the television in his office broadcasting Fox News, dismissing the staffer to resume watching cable."
8. New WSJ editor
"Matt Murray was named editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, succeeding Gerard Baker, who is moving to a new position after 5½ years," per Bloomberg:
- "Baker will become editor at large and host a television program on Fox Business Network ... He’ll also host conferences for the newspaper."
- "Murray, an executive editor at the Journal, ... has been with the company since 1994."
- The Journal's parent, News Corp., "is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family, which holds a 39 percent voting stake."
Why it matters, from Adweek: "Baker’s time in his position at the Journal had been questioned after reported frustration from the newsroom over his perceived criticism of the company’s coverage of President Trump."
9. Kate Spade made luxury accessible
Kate Spade, 55, who suffered from depression and was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment of an apparent suicide, "was the happy answer to fashion snobbery," per WashPost fashion critic Robin Givhan.
- Why she mattered: "Her practical but lighthearted designs made sense to women who worked in offices, as well as those whose days involved ferrying children to soccer matches and sitting through parent-teacher conferences."
- "For a time, Spade’s game-changing, often-copied carryall nylon handbags dangled from the wrists of women nearing retirement as well as those whose professional lives had only just begun."
- "With a collection of accessories in cheerful colors, she and her husband, Andy Spade, turned an upstart family company into a multimillion-dollar cultural behemoth."
10. 1 Shep thing
"Even for Fox News' resident contrarian, it's been quite a week for Shepard Smith," AP Media Writer David Bauder writes:
- "He's called out the Trump administration as lying about a meeting involving the president's son, punctured claims about the FBI spying on the Trump campaign, dismissed the characterization of the Russian investigation as a witch hunt and resisted White House characterizations of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles."
- Why it matters: "Smith's [3 p.m. ET] news program has always stood out at Fox News Channel, but perhaps never more so than lately. While most of ... Trump's critics in the media often speak to sympathetic consumers, Smith's assessments hit ears that don't always seek — or want — a contrary point of view."
- "Fox aired a portion of Trump's White House rally on patriotism Tuesday that replaced the planned celebration of the Eagles' Super Bowl win, giving it more time than either CNN or MSNBC. ... [Shep] read a tweet from an Eagles player that accused the president of spreading a false narrative that the players are anti-military."
- "[W]ith an average viewership of 1.4 million people, Smith's show is like most on Fox News in leading its cable news rivals in the ratings. ... In May, the two Fox hours that preceded his show and the one that followed him all averaged around 1.4 million viewers, too."
- "The president called it Spygate ... Fox News can confirm that it is not. Fox News knows of no evidence to support the president's claim. Lawmakers from both parties claim that using informants to investigate suspected ties to Russia is not spying. It's part of the normal investigation process."
- "The so-called rigged Russian witch hunt is not a witch hunt ... It has resulted in charges against four former Trump associates. Three pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about Russia."
- "Racism is not funny ... and Roseanne Barr is a racist."