Jan 15, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: "U.S. counterintelligence officials in early 2017 warned Jared Kushner... that Wendi Deng Murdoch... could be using her close friendship with Mr. Kushner and... Ivanka Trump, to further the interests of the Chinese government, according to people familiar with the matter." [Wall Street Journal]

1 big thing: MLK Day

Martin Luther King III speaks in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Martin Luther King Day January 15, 2018 in Washington DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Two quotes from President Trump in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have been 88 today:

  • "The Reverend’s devotion to fighting the injustice of segregation and discrimination ignited the American spirit of fraternity and reminded us of our higher purpose."
  • "Dr. King’s peaceful crusade for justice and equality opened our Nation’s eyes to the humbling truth that we were very far from fulfilling our obligation to the promises set forth by our forebearers."
  • Go deeper: Trump's MLK Day video

The Rev. Bernice King, King’s daughter, in an AP interview ahead of the holiday: 

  • “This is what I would like President Trump to do: Don’t let the King Holiday find you using your Twitter account in an inappropriate way … If he can dare to do that, I would be proud on that day that our president honored Dr. King by not doing things that are offensive.”
  • “Trump’s election could be a blessing in disguise..."
  • "This is the opportunity for America to correct itself.”
2. What you missed

Gabrielle Gressem, 6, celebrates with her father John after she'd read a portion of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Photo: Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

  1. Trump nicknamed Sen. Dick Durbin "Dicky Durbin" today in an escalation of their feud over who said what in the Oval Office. Tweet.
  2. The AP fact check: President Trump has fulfilled his end of the bargain on several key campaign promises. Details.
  3. 61% of Republicans are satisfied with the direction of the country, the highest level of satisfaction in a decade. Numbers.
  4. Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to acquire a 44% stake in Nashville-based solar energy company Silicon Ranch. More.
  5. A fire that engulfed an Iranian tanker which sank recently in the East China Sea has ceased, leaving mounting concerns over the serious harm it will cause to the marine ecosystem. More.
  6. "Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish rock band the Cranberries, has died in London. She was 46." NYT obituary.
1 fun thing: Trump and the Starbursts

From a fun look by WashPost's Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa at House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's rapport with President Trump:

  • "[Trump and McCarthy] were alone in the presidential suite on Air Force One, flying east toward Washington in early October, when the president reached for a handful of Starbursts..."
  • "But instead of unwrapping all the treats, the president was careful to pluck out and eat two flavors: cherry and strawberry, McCarthy noticed. 'We’re there, having a little dessert, and he offers me some,' McCarthy recalled in an interview. 'Just the red and the pink...'"
  • "Days later, ... [McCarthy] bought a plentiful supply of Starbursts and asked a staffer to sort through the pile, placing only those two flavors in a jar. McCarthy made sure his name was on the side of the gift, which was delivered to a grinning Trump, according to a White House official."

Unwrap the rest...

Mike Allen