Jun 21, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Today's PM is 568 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: In a New York magazine cover story published today, author E. Jean Carroll accused President Trump of raping her in a dressing room of New York's Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. Details.

1 big thing: Trump's temps

Photo: Getty Images

Amidst all the tension this week, it's worth stepping back for a minute to remember that President Trump doesn't have a permanent secretary of defense.

  • Trump said today that he called off yesterday's retaliatory strike against Iran upon learning about its expected death toll compared to zero casualties for an unmanned drone.
  • New this afternoon: Trump is expected to nominate soon-to-be acting Secretary Mark Esper — who was the secretary of the Army until acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan dropped out of the confirmation process — in the near future, the N.Y. Times reports.

Why it matters: Running the Pentagon is no small task for a permanent, seasoned chief. It's a huge undertaking for a temp, the AP reminds.

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “With everything going on in Iran and all the provocations and counteractions, and to have no secretary of defense at this time is appalling ... It shows the chaos in this administration. They have so many empty positions, revolving doors, in the most sensitive of security positions.”

What's next: "For the moment both Shanahan and Esper have been attending White House and other meetings and taking part in debates over how to respond to Iran’s destruction of the drone," the AP notes.

The bottom line: "The law prohibits Esper from being nominated for the job while also serving as acting secretary. If he is nominated, he’ll have to step down and move to another job until the Senate votes on his confirmation. So that would mean yet another acting secretary meantime."

Go deeper: How Trump and Iran got to the brink of war

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Visitors celebrate summer solstice and the dawn of the longest day of the year at Stonehenge.

  • Visitors and modern day druids gather at the 5,000 year old stone circle in Wiltshire to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice dawn in a tradition dating back thousands of years.
2. What you missed
  1. All of the ice in Greenland could be lost within the next millennium, a new study finds. Go deeper.
  2. One of special counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors is writing a book for Random House focused on his work during the Russia investigation. Details.
  3. Rep. John Lewis weighed in on Joe Biden's recent comments, saying he didn't "think the remarks were offensive." Video.
  4. Russian-born real estate developer Felix Sater failed to show up for his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee today. Now faces a subpoena.
  5. Elizabeth Warren released a policy proposal to ban private prisons and detention facilities. Details.
1 movie thing

A spork named Forky, a too-good-for-this-world Keanu Reeves, and a badass Bo Peep make "Toy Story 4" the best thing to happen to this summer's sequels, writes Flipboard's Mia Quagliarello.

  • Last we left off, a maturing Andy passed on his beloved cowboy Woody and other toys to a little girl named Bonnie. When Forky goes missing, it's Woody's chance to save the day via a zany family road trip.

Between the lines: Adults will quickly glean that "Toy Story 4" is really about life transitions and the fear of obsolescence, but the jury is divided on whether that existential bent will ambush parental tear ducts or give them mercy. Kids will just laugh and love.

  • Tom Hanks: "This one’s about moving on, you know. The pairing up and the moving on that must happen in life. Because we are forever being changed."

For more entertainment news and reviews, check out Flipboard's The Culturist.

Mike Allen