Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead for both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus our best scoops.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
President Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, according to sources who have heard the president's private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.
Behind the scenes: During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" according to one source who was there. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?" the source added, paraphrasing the president's remarks.
Trump also raised the idea in another conversation with a senior administration official. A 2017 NSC memo describes that second conversation, in which Trump asked whether the administration should bomb hurricanes to stop them from hitting the homeland. A source briefed on the NSC memo said it does not contain the word "nuclear"; it just says the president talked about bombing hurricanes.
White House response: A senior administration official said, "We don't comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team."
The big picture: Trump didn't invent this idea. The notion that detonating a nuclear bomb over the eye of a hurricane could be used to counteract convection currents dates to the Eisenhower era, when it was floated by a government scientist.
About 3 weeks after Trump's 2016 election, National Geographic published an article titled, "Nuking Hurricanes: The Surprising History of a Really Bad Idea." It found, among other problems, that:
Atlantic hurricane season runs until Nov. 30.
Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images
Jared Kushner told Republican donors that felons are coming out of jail and registering as Republicans, according to sources who attended a donor retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, last week.
Behind the scenes: The audience of Republican donors burst out laughing at this comment, these sources said. The remarks came as Kushner and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussed the prison reform bill that Trump signed into law at the end of the last Congress.
What we're hearing: Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser made these comments during a staged conversation with McCarthy at a dinner Tuesday at the Wyoming ranch of John L. Nau III, a major beer distributor and Republican donor. More than 100 donors dined under a tent by the Snake River, with mountains in the backdrop, these sources said.
Trump shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the G7 summit, Aug. 25. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump announced today that the U.S. and Japan have agreed on a trade deal "in principle." "We've been working on a deal with Japan for a long time," Trump said at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, per Bloomberg. "And we've agreed in principle ... billions and billions of dollars."
The big picture: Trump's conflict with China — which has both trade and military dimensions — is only likely to intensify, in the estimation of sources close to the president including people who've been with him over the past 72 hours.
U.S. workers build the border wall between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb. 5. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images
More than 2 1/2 years after President Trump took office with an ardent promise to build a wall along the southern border, his administration cannot tell us when it will add its 1st mile of new wall to a border area that doesn't have pre-existing barriers, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
Why it matters: The wall has been Trump's most iconic and polarizing promise — one he was willing to declare a national emergency and shut down the government for weeks over.
What's next: The Trump administration says it expects to build 450 miles of border wall — which has typically consisted of tall, steel slats — in "strategic locations" by the end of 2020, according to the same official.
The big picture: Most of the funding lawmakers have secured for Trump's border security demands has specifically excluded building a border wall where there is no existing barrier. Democrats have opposed this funding, deeply frustrating the president.
Photo: narvikk/Getty Images
The House and Senate are out of session until Labor Day.
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official:
The White House did not provide a schedule for the rest of the week.
"A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists," the New York Times' Ken Vogel and Jeremy Peters report.
Why it matters: "The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House's allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects."
Between the lines: "It is clear from the cases to date that among the central players in the operation is Arthur Schwartz, a combative 47-year-old conservative consultant who is a friend and informal adviser to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son."