Jun 15, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: As of the end of May, 1,995 children have been separated from 1,940 parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “zero-tolerance” policy at the southern border. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Pruitt's laundry list

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's scandal list started with excess bodyguards and first class flights, and has reached the level of farce, leaving him battered by almost daily scoops on his requests for favors and questionable uses of federal resources.

Why it matters: I've been saying this a lot, but this isn't normal.

Over the past two weeks, press reports revealed Pruitt:

  • Asked a public relations executive to get him Rose Bowl tickets. He secured them at face value when the going rate was as much as 7x higher. [NYT]
  • Asked a former Virginia politician to help his daughter get into the University of Virginia. [NYT]
  • Used EPA staffers to help land his daughter a White House internship. [NYT]
  • Asked a top staffer to reach out to GOP donors to get his wife a job. [WaPo]
  • Used his security detail to pick up dry cleaning and search around D.C. for the right kind of lotion. [WaPo]

The big picture: Former aides told the NYT that "Pruitt told them that he expected a certain standard of living akin to wealthier Trump cabinet members. The aides felt as if Mr. Pruitt — who is paid about $180,000 a year — saw them as foot soldiers in achieving that lifestyle."

Go deeper: Scott Pruitt's growing list of bizarre scandals

2. What you missed

Paul Manafort arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse today ahead of a hearing where his bail was revoked. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

  1. Trump gave a semi-surprise interview on Fox & Friends this morning, where he claimed former FBI Director James Comey had acted criminally, called the Justice Department's IG report "wrong" and praised Kim Jong-un's leadership. Go deeper.
  2. A federal judge has sent Paul Manafort to jail ahead of his trial in September, citing charges that Manafort tried to tamper with witnesses. Go deeper.
  3. Rudy Giuliani quote of the day: “When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons." Go deeper.
  4. Trade war update: Trump announced tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods this morning, starting in July. China has already announced plans to retaliate. Go deeper.
  5. The FDA is investigating salmonella outbreaks involving pre-cut melons and Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal. Go deeper.
  6. Head-turner: E-scooter company Bird confirmed that it's raising new funding that could value the company at $2 billion. That's 85% higher than the previous round ... two weeks ago. Go deeper.
3. 1 beach read

Illustration: Axios visuals

Each Friday in Axios PM this summer, I'm unveiling a book I've just read and recommend, or one that I'm excited to dive into over the coming weekend.

  • I'll also be sharing your suggestions: Please just reply to this email, or shoot a note to mike@axios.com.
  • And if you know someone who'd enjoy our virtual book club, share this email and suggest they subscribe here.

Goals, goals, goals ... "North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail," by Scott Jurek (author of "Eat & Run," and featured in "Born to Run"), with Jenny Jurek (Little, Brown):

  • '"I've always dreamed of doing a long trail, of hiking for weeks and months on end with no specific schedule. I'd walk all day, camp where I wanted, live in the moment, feel the flow of unrestricted movement. I felt an urge to live close to the land and forget what society thought was normal."
  • "When I had zero bars [of cell reception] I would become withdrawn and incommunicado, equal parts off the grid and off my rocker. But then I'd round a turn, get to the top of the rise, and suddenly I'd be full bars."
  • Happy hiking, and happy weekend.
Mike Allen