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President Trump got prank called. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The host of "The Stuttering John" podcast, John Melendez, got President Trump on the phone yesterday by pretending he was New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. "This is how easy it is to infiltrate the administration," Melendez said in the episode.

Why it matters: This calls into question White House security. White House staff members are freaking out today trying to figure out how the podcast host was so easily transferred from the White House switchboard to Air Force One, per a source familiar with the call.

The whole thing is ridiculous. Melendez, the host, had three different interactions with two White House operators and got through two call screens before Jared Kushner called him from Air Force One. According to Melendez, Kushner asked if he wanted to talk to the president then or have them call him back later, which is what he did.

The details: When the White House operator calls back, he says: "Hello is this Sen. Menendez?" and then "Hello is this Air Force One?"

  • President Trump picked up the phone congratulating who he thought was Sen. Menendez and telling him he "went through a very tough situation."
  • He also talked about immigration. "Bob, let me just tell you I want to be able to take care of the situation every bit as much as anybody else at the top level. I'd rather do the larger solution rather than the smaller solution."
  • He said the North Dakota Senate race is "a tough race."
  • Regarding his SCOTUS nominee, he said they'll be done making a decision in 12 to 14 days.

The White House didn't respond to requests for comment. In a statement to Axios, Sen. Bob Menendez said he welcomes “any opportunity to have a real conversation with the president" about this immigration reform.

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Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."