Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead for both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus our best scoops.
Situational awareness: As I reported earlier this afternoon, and President Trump later confirmed, the president wants Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Before President Trump agreed to support a 2-year budget deal that would inflate the national debt and allow $320 billion in new spending, he monitored Fox News for signs of rebellion. But instead of bringing up fiscal responsibility and the national debt, all his favorite hosts were talking about Robert Mueller.
Behind the scenes: Trump liked what he saw (or rather, what he didn't see), according to two administration officials familiar with the president's thinking.
The big picture: So how, just over a year later, did Trump end up supporting another deal that would massively increase spending and that 132 House Republicans voted against? Three sources close to the president described the factors that influenced his thinking:
But perhaps most important, some of the key people who would normally try to dissuade Trump from signing a big-spending deal were distracted by the Mueller hearings.
The bottom line: All this has put Trump at ease about the politics of the budget deal he backs, according a source who has discussed it with senior administration officials.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
They don't want to talk about it, but the struggling Kirsten Gillibrand campaign appears to have spent a lot of time Googling Joe Biden as of late. The New York senator has publicly —and cryptically — alluded to unnamed Democratic candidates who "do not believe necessarily that it's a good idea that women work outside the home." The remark, which she's declined to clarify, has generated fervid speculation.
The intrigue: Meanwhile, an account on the site newspapers.com that appears to be linked to her campaign has been gathering news articles about the former vice president's stance on the child tax credit in the '80s. (The newspaper.com account and related Twitter account appear to have been taken down after we approached the Gillibrand campaign for comment.)
Why this matters: Gillibrand appears to be adopting a Kill Biden strategy that's popular among Democrats preparing for the second round of debates in Detroit this week. Several campaigns and strategists told Axios' Alexi McCammond they see an opportunity to damage Biden and boost their own fortunes as Harris did when she hit Biden on desegregation in the first debate.
We're already seeing that unfold. On the same day Biden unveiled his criminal justice reform proposal, Cory Booker said Biden is "not the right person" to fix it because, Booker argues, he helped create it.
Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images
None of the leading Democratic presidential contenders would immediately drop President Trump's tariffs on China if elected president, despite calling his moves against Beijing reckless, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
Why it matters: Trade with China is one of the few foreign policy issues that must-win Rust Belt voters care about deeply. This is largely because people in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have seen factories close as manufacturing moves overseas — and, subsequently, they have seen their towns gutted.
Between the lines: Despite the steep political polarization in Washington, China's emergence as an competitor has largely unified U.S. politicians.
Historically, Democrats have dominated Republicans on the China trade issue. Working with their labor allies, they've fought free trade deals with China and backed protectionist policies to shield American manufacturing.
Driving the news: Alayna also asked the top 2020 Democratic candidates if they plan to take the China trade issue back from Trump, and if so, how.
Go deeper: Read all of their responses here.
From today's episode of NBC's "Meet the Press":
Flashback: As Alayna foreshadowed in last week's Sneak, House Democrats desperately wanted Mueller to deliver a TV performance that would convince the American public of the urgent need to impeach Donald Trump.
Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
The House is on recess through Sept. 9.
The Senate's week ahead, per a Republican leadership aide:
Per the same aide, the Senate will also aim to:
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official: