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Situational awareness: "Multiple people were killed in a mass shooting during a video game tournament at a shopping and dining complex in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Sunday afternoon," CNN reports.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Congressional Republicans are getting ready for hell.
Axios has obtained a spreadsheet that's circulated through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill — including at least one leadership office — that meticulously previews the investigations Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.
Why this matters: Publicly, House Republicans are putting on a brave face about the midterms. But privately, they are scrambling to prepare for the worst. This document, which catalogs requests Democrats have already made, is part of that effort.
It has churned Republican stomachs. Here are some of the probes it predicts:
The spreadsheet — which I'm told originated in a senior House Republican office — catalogs more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress, spanning nearly every committee.
The bottom line: Thanks to their control of Congress, Republicans have blocked most of the Democrats’ investigative requests. But if the House flips, the GOP loses its power to stymie. Lawyers close to the White House tell me the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency.
Photo: Mike Theiler, Pool/Getty Images
Senior Trump administration officials have spent the weekend holed up with their Mexican counterparts, haggling over the final details of a new NAFTA deal. Sources briefed on the negotiations tell us the negotiators are on the brink of a handshake deal, and Mexico's Economy Minister told reporters today the two countries were in the "final hours of this negotiation."
But, but, but: We’re skeptical. Remember, there's a third party to these NAFTA talks: Canada.
The three countries want to sign the deal by the end of August to stop the ultra-left wing Mexican leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador from throwing a wrench in the talks.
Behind the scenes: Only a tiny circle of administration officials, including Robert Lighthizer and Jared Kushner, have full visibility of the NAFTA negotiations. They've been almost entirely leakproof. That said, two trusted sources who've spoken to Lighthizer outlined for me how he is privately angling to get a new NAFTA deal through Congress:
The Trump administration response: After I shared this reporting with the administration, Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for Lighthizer, replied: "USTR declines to confirm or comment on this."
Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
It's looking increasingly likely that Congress will fund the government by the Sept. 30 deadline without too much hubbub.
Leadership sources from both parties tell me they think they can pass between five and nine spending bills, including the mammoth defense bill, funding more than half of the discretionary budget. They would then pass the remaining bills using a continuing resolution.
Between the lines: My sources in the Senate — which has already passed nine spending bills, the chamber's most since 2000 — are more optimistic than those in the House. And while plenty can go wrong when they get together in conference, both parties sound fairly sanguine about dodging a catastrophe.
The bottom line: The wild card, of course, is President Trump. Even though he's itching to pick a fight with Democrats over funding of his wall, he's privately assured both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell that he won't shut down the government before the midterms.
But a source close to Trump told me that while they're almost certain he'll keep that promise, they still hear a whisper of doubt.
Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images
We saw fresh signs this week that Democrats won’t be able to block the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Axios' Alayna Treene spoke to the offices of all the senators the White House considers swing votes for the next Supreme Court justice.
The bottom line: The swing senators are saying all the things Team Kavanaugh would want to hear. And even senior Democrats involved in the effort to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination have privately admitted to Axios they'll need a major new development for them to have any chance of killing his confirmation — either an explosive document or a total meltdown from Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing.
What they're saying:
What to watch: Everything can still change during the confirmation process. Democrats will grill Kavanaugh over his willingness to override precedent and his views of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
What's next? A source working to confirm Kavanaugh told Axios they're spending this week on practice hearings — mimicking what his week will be like during his confirmation hearing in early September. "Similar cycles/times/hearings, etc.," the source said. "Very lifelike rounds of questions..."
The House is still on summer recess.
The Senate remains at work. Plenty were skeptical that Mitch McConnell would keep the Senate in session through August, but he's done just that. The Senate will be voting on five more Trump administration nominees and 12 district judges, according to a leadership source.
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official:
On Thursday, a bespectacled gentleman who goes by the name "Lionel Media" on Twitter, met President Trump in the Oval Office.
Lionel Media, whose real name is Michael William Lebron, is an enthusiastic proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that Trump and Robert Mueller have secretly teamed up to take on a global cabal of pedophiles (Hillary is on the same side as the pedophiles). He's also a 9/11 truther.
Shortly after this gentleman posed behind the Resolute desk for a photo with Trump, he tweeted about people having chips implanted in their skin as part of government mind control.
Go deeper: For more on this saga, I commend this piece by The Daily Beast's resident weirdo-chroniclers, Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer.