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For D.C. readers: An Axios vape event! Join Mike Allen for breakfast this Tuesday where he'll go deeper on the rapid rise of vaping and why it matters with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley and CATCH Global Foundation CEO Duncan Van Dusen. RSVP here.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The Trump administration is planning to launch a major, "administration-wide," broadside against China, according to two sources briefed on the sensitive internal discussions. These sources, who weren't authorized to discuss the plans with the media, told me the effort is expected to launch in the next few weeks.
Behind the scenes: "The push is coming from the national security apparatus," the source added. "Cyber theft has been appearing more often in the PDBs [President's Daily Brief]."
The unknowns: Neither administration official explained why the administration is pursuing this now. China has been an aggressor on trade and cyber issues for years, and the Trump administration has started a trade war with the country. At the same time, Trump has maintained cheery rhetoric toward President Xi Jinping in hopes of cooperating on some issues.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
President Trump will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. A source briefed on his remarks shared one word on his theme: "Sovereignty."
With John Bolton as his national security adviser — a man who has fought for decades against international institutions that he believes infringe on U.S. sovereignty — Trump will have plenty of material for such a speech.
On North Korea: According to a source who's spoken with Trump about North Korea this week, Trump feels good about the latest developments and is "very happy" about the latest letter he received from dictator Kim Jong-un.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is close to Trump, told me, "Here's what I'm concerned about: The letters that Kim Jong-un is sending to Trump are good. It's good to keep a dialogue. But the letters and the behaviors do not match up.
Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly last year. Photo: Xinhua/Li Muzi via Getty Images
President Trump plans to use his chairing of the UN Security Council to spotlight two issues: the global opioids epidemic and the "malign activity" of Iran, according to sources with knowledge of his thinking.
Trump plans to address a counter-narcotics summit focused on opioids on Monday, sources familiar with the event told me. Much of the illegal opioids ravaging American streets are coming from factories in China.
On Iran: On Wednesday, Trump will chair a UN Security Council briefing on "counter-proliferation." Sources familiar with the preparations say he will likely spend much of the session beating up on Iran.
Go deeper: For a preview of coming attractions, read Brian Hook's speech at the Hudson Institute on Thursday. The passage of Hook's speech that caught the attention of insiders:
A Republican foreign policy official told me: "The administration is pissed the Europeans are refusing to do anything about it, so they're going to continue laying out evidence in front of the public to shame them into acting. ... Hook's Hudson speech contained some of that and you should expect to see more at UNGA about Iran's missile threat."
"Democrats hold a 12-point lead in congressional preference among registered voters," according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Why this matters: If Democrats hold a 12-point generic ballot lead on Election Day, they would comfortably take the House.
After reviewing the NBC/WSJ poll this morning, a former NRCC official from the Republicans' triumphant 2010 cycle sent me this text message:
Bottom line: "There are probably a dozen or so GOP incumbents who are dead men walking," the former NRCC official said. "They just don't know it yet."
Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 6. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images
After several days of what Hill sources called a never-ending game of pingpong, Christine Blasey Ford's attorney told the Senate Judiciary Committee her client will testify in an open hearing on Thursday.
Why it matters: The uncertainty and sensitivity of Thursday's showdown has key senators scrambling to prepare for the moment, writes my colleague Alayna Treene.
What to watch: Several Democratic senators on the committee plan to focus on Kavanaugh's behavior in high school and question his character, sources with direct knowledge of their intentions tell Axios.
How it's playing on the right: Conservative activists are increasingly frustrated with the delays, and Republicans involved in the process are sensitive to their complaints.
Photo: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
Some of the biggest tech and telecom companies are preparing for members of the Senate Commerce Committee to grill them over their data practices this week.
Why it matters: Industry players are trying to shape the debate as Congress considers passing its own privacy rules, writes my colleague David McCabe.
What we're hearing: The companies will take different approaches depending on how key user data is to their business models.
Silicon Valley is playing defense in more ways than one this week, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to convene a meeting with his state counterparts to discuss concerns about major social media platforms.
Photo: Qi Heng/VCG via Getty Images
Apple will pledge its support for "comprehensive" federal privacy regulations during a Senate hearing this week, according to an executive's prepared testimony obtained by Axios. It'll be the first time Apple has made this explicit to Congress.
The big picture: Expect Apple's Bud Tribble to underscore the difference between the hardware maker, which doesn't need to make money from user data, with companies like Google, which have built their business model on it, my colleague David McCabe writes.
What he'll say: Tribble, a member of the original Apple Macintosh design team who leads the company's privacy engineering work, will "convey Apple's support for comprehensive federal privacy legislation that reflects Apple's long-held view that privacy is a fundamental human right" during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Tribble will be testifying alongside representatives from Google, Twitter and Amazon as well as internet service providers AT&T and Charter Communications.
Driving the news: Some lawmakers in D.C. are scrambling to create federal privacy rules after tight regulations went into effect in Europe and California's state legislature passed its own rules.
Trump speaks on the telephone via speakerphone with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the Oval Office Aug. 27. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Trade watchers call Sept. 30 the "AMLO deadline" for President Trump's efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Assuming Canada doesn't cave, Trump has two options on the 30th:
Go deeper: To understand the fraught state of the NAFTA negotiations, read Phil Levy's latest for Forbes. "It really means," writes Levy, "that the odds of a revised NAFTA being implemented anytime soon just went from slim to slightly slimmer."
The House will pass the most important spending bill of the season. The package contains funding for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and tacked onto it is a short-term continuation of funding for the remaining government agencies that didn't have their funding covered by normal spending bills. The bill, which keeps the government open until Dec. 7, will go to Trump's desk this week.
Why this matters:
The Senate will confirm Jackie Wolcott to be the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency. McConnell will also work to confirm Peter Feldman to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
President Trump's schedule at the UN General Assembly in New York, per a White House official:
Chuck Todd (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appear in a pretaped interview on "Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C., Sept. 22. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images
On Saturday morning, NBC’s Chuck Todd met with Mike Pompeo in the ornate Ben Franklin room of the State Department ahead of their “Meet the Press” taping.
Their small talk before the interview, according to a source with direct knowledge, turned to CNN's amazing punctuation scoop: "Pompeo cracks down, on improper use, of commas at State Department."
Pompeo's staff wouldn't comment on internal documents, but my source confirms the secretary's debate with Todd "spanned from the proper use of the comma to the semicolon."
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.