Jul 23, 2018

Axios PM

1 🎧 thing: I joined Dan Primack for today's debut of Axios' first podcast, Pro Rata, covering the collision of business, tech and politics. Subscribe here.

Situational awareness... Sneak peek at remarks Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will make this evening to the Christians United for Israel at its annual summit in Washington: 

  • “In all that we’re doing – whether it’s the embassy decision, or UNESCO, or the Human Rights Council, or pushing for votes against Hamas, our approach on Israel is tied together by one major idea. The idea that runs through all of it is the simple concept that Israel must be treated like any other normal country. We demand that Israel not be treated like some sort of temporary provisional entity or pariah.”
1 big thing: Trump's blacklist

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Here's a new one: President Trump wants to revoke the security clearances for some of his most prominent critics, vaguely alleging they're profiting from their clearances and providing an official veneer to the Russia investigation.

Why it matters: It's not normal to target a security clearance without specific accusations of wrongdoing.

Sarah Sanders told the press briefing today:

"The president is exploring these mechanisms to remove their security clearance because they’ve politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service security clearances, and making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influences by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate. The president contends that the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence."

The list includes:

  • John Brennan, the former CIA director who accused Trump of treason
  • James Comey, the former FBI director who wrote a bestseller chronicling Trump's sins — and who doesn't have a security clearance to revoke, per Benjamin Wittes
  • James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
  • Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor
  • Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor
  • Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Deputy Director whose clearance was deacivated when he was fired, according to his spokesperson

What they're saying...

  • Clapper on CNN: “For political reasons, this is a petty way of retribution, I suppose, for speaking out ... [with] genuine concerns about President Trump.”
  • Hayden to CNN's Jake Tapper: "I [don't] go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write".

Be smart: This would limit the ability of Trump critics to do lucrative consulting work in Washington, providing a potential chilling effect on future presidential critics.

2. What you missed
  1. The White House is blaming Iran for Trump's all caps tweet. Sarah Sanders told Fox & Friends this morning that Iran is doing the inciting, not Trump. Go deeper.
  2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says Trump's advisers were wrong when they said there would be no retaliation to his tariffs, and that it's "possible" a trade war could undo gains in the economy, according to an interview with CNNMoney.
  3. China claims it has no desire to deliberately manipulate its currency to temper the effect of U.S. tariffs. Quote.
  4. Japan is facing a heat wave with record temperatures, with a new national record set at 106°F in Kumagaya, a town 40 miles north of Tokyo. Go deeper.
  5. Russia wants to push Iranian forces, Hezbollah and pro-Iranian Shiite militias 65 miles from the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights. Go deeper.
  6. The New York Daily News laid off 1/2 its editorial staff today. The left-leaning tabloid spent much of the weekend reminding readers of its importance in local news before corporate owners Tronc made layoffs official. Go deeper.
3. 1 crane thing

Photo: Angel Delcueto/Lockheed Martin

For a "Made in America Product Showcase" that President Trump attended on the South Lawn this afternoon, Lockheed Martin used a crane (in torrential rain this weekend) to get a fighter aircraft and space capsule over the White House fence, a company official tells me.

The crane then placed on the lawn and sidewalk:

  • An F-35, which the company calls "America’s newest and most advanced fighter aircraft" — a full-scale model of the F-35A, the Air Force variant of the plane.
  • The Orion — the actual space-flown Orion capsule that launched Dec. 5, 2014, orbited the Earth twice (reaching speeds of 20,000 mph) and safely endured temperatures of 4,000°F during re-entry into the atmosphere. 

The exhibit was to include items that don't require a crane, including Wiffle balls and Moon Pies.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images