Aug 25, 2017

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen
1 big thing: Hurricane Harvey

From Axios' Shane Savitsky, who is keeping tabs on the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in over a decade:

  • "Hurricane Harvey has reached Category 3, with winds of 120 mph, per the National Hurricane Center."
  • "As of 2 p.m. ET, Harvey was 85 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, with landfall expected around midnight. Corpus Christi had "strongly [encouraged]" its residents to evacuate.
  • "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared that the storm would be a 'very major disaster' for his state."
  • "Harvey is expected to stall out on the Texas coast for days, potentially bringing feet of rain."
  • The National Hurricane Center's forecast: "Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding is expected across the middle and upper Texas coast from heavy rainfall of 15 to 25 inches, with isolated amounts as high as 35 inches, through Wednesday."

President Trump's comments for Texans facing the hurricane:

  • On Twitter: "I encourage everyone in the path of #HurricaneHarvey to heed the advice & orders of their local and state officials."
  • To reporters asking if he had a message for Texas, as he boarded Marine One: "Good luck to everybody."
1 Washington thing

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn publicly criticized President Trump's response to Charlottesville.

  • Cohn told the Financial Times Thursday that the Trump "administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning" white supremacist groups.
  • "As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post... But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks."
  • Cohn even considered quitting, per the NYT's Maggie Haberman and Kate Kelly, reportedly drafting a resignation letter and meeting with Trump last Friday.

How it's playing, from Axios' Jonathan Swan:

  • "Inside the White House, it just reinforces what people already think about Gary. His friends and allies internally support him and say he spoke out as a matter of conscience and that he was personally grappling with a sensitive subject."
  • "Cohn's enemies view it as an opportunity to undercut him, especially given this is exactly the kind of thing the President hates. They say it's morally posturing, designed to appease Cohn's friends who hate Trump. And they'll take every opportunity, when they get Trump on the phone or one-on-one, to prod him about it."
  • From a source close to Trump: "Gary is more concerned with his friends in the Hamptons than he is with being loyal and defending POTUS."
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the White House briefing: "I think there's no question the president was not equating the hate groups who were peaceful, and under no circumstances was I going to resign."

Audience of one: "Sources familiar with Trump's thinking say he did not appreciate Cohn's public commentary."

What you missed
  1. Steve Bannon's interview with the Economist: Including a promise to light up Mitch McConnell. Highlights.
  2. Venezuela sanctions, part 4: Trump is prohibiting Venezuela and its state oil company, PDVSA, from selling debt to Americans and U.S. financial institutions. Details.
  3. Mnuchin and Cohn agree on tax reform: Both say it can be passed by the end of the year. Quotes.
  4. Baidu's uncertain future: The Chinese search giant is in a bind, thanks to consumer behavior and Alibaba. Insight.
  5. Trump put Bob Corker on blast: The president tweeted about a private conversation he'd held with the Tennessee Republican. The tweet.
Mike Allen