CONGRESS COULD EXTEND debt limit until midterms — DACA: Trump wants something done, but will act if Congress does nothing, and Congress doesn’t know what to do — SPOTTED: McCARTHY at Oceanaire

VLADIMIR PUTIN ON NORTH KOREA, via CNN’s Hilary Whiteman: “A day after predicting ‘global catastrophe’ if North Korea’s nuclear tests lead to anything other than talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the situation may be ‘impossible’ to resolve.

“Putin made the comments after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia. Moon had his own stark message about the situation on the Korean Peninsula: ‘If North Korea’s provocation doesn’t stop here, I think could fall into an uncontrollable situation.’” http://cnn.it/2vL6E66

Story Continued Below

— AP at 2:53 a.m.: “MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin calls for talks with North Korea, says sanctions are not a solution.”

Happy Wednesday. REPUBLICAN LEADERS were at the White House yesterday to talk about tax reform. The administration — represented by President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn — told Hill GOP leaders that they hoped tax reform wasn’t swallowed by Congress’s new priority: aid for hurricanes slamming the southern portion of the United States. Mnuchin had another message: the billions of dollars needed for Harvey aid will impact the debt-limit expiration date, and he said it was important that Congress lift the nation’s borrowing limit this week.

WHICH TAKES US TO THIS IMPORTANT STORY, by Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey and Kyle Cheney: “President Donald Trump’s White House will move Wednesday to quash growing GOP opposition to a strategy to raise the debt ceiling as part of a Hurricane Harvey relief package, according to multiple House and White House officials.

“Administration officials will inform lawmakers that they will not be able to pay FEMA disaster claims for victims without a simultaneous increase of the debt ceiling, the sources said. House lawmakers are also being told by GOP leaders that Trump will give a full-throated endorsement to their plan to pair the two bills and send them to the Oval Office this week — without a penny worth of spending cuts long demanded by conservatives and even Republican leadership allies.” http://politi.co/2eEFPp6

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THE MOST RECENT PLAN — CLEAR THE DEBT LIMIT UNTIL AFTER THE MIDTERMS — The Senate plans to amend the Harvey relief bill with a debt-limit increase that will last through the end of 2018. Why? Most lawmakers would rather not have to vote to lift the debt limit more than once this Congress. There is talk of also attaching a continuing resolution, which would keep government open, but aides and lawmakers we spoke to say they do not think they’ll have enough time to get it ready this week.

— THE OPPOSITION: The House Freedom Caucus, the conservative group led by Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, voted to support a debt-ceiling increase if it’s tied to capping spending as a percentage of GDP.

BROADLY SPEAKING — It’s going to be tough to stop this package. The Senate is going to tie the two bills together, and the House doesn’t have the leverage or ability to decouple them — especially with the White House supporting the Hill leaders’ strategy.

A SATURDAY SESSION in the Capitol is possible — we dare say likely — this week.

THE BUZZ IN THE CAPITOL yesterday — Washington is going to be very quickly consumed with what could be a protracted battle over disaster spending. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott already said that the federal government will need to spend north of $100 billion in his state. And if Hurricane Irma is as bad as predicted, that will also cost a pile of cash. TODAY: The House will approve $8 billion in disaster aid. IN THE FUTURE: At some point in the coming months, Republicans might tire of spending hundreds of billions of dollars on disaster relief and begin to push for spending cuts.

— IF YOU’VE WATCHED Congress for the last seven years, what gives you hope that it can complete the following list in the next six months: pass a budget, complete tax reform, fund government, pass hundreds of billions in disaster aid, reauthorize the FAA and CHIP and complete immigration reform?

— A COMPLETELY PLAUSIBLE REALITY: The Republican Congress goes into the midterm elections codifying DACA in some form, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on disaster relief and failing to pass tax reform and repeal Obamacare.

— JUST ASKING: If Democrats really want to force Republicans’ hands on DACA, why don’t they refuse to fund the government, or raise the debt ceiling unless immigration reform legislation is attached? SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER and HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI are holding a 10 a.m. joint presser on DACA and Dreamers.

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TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY — TRUMP speaks to Chinese President Xi Jinping at 9 a.m. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) go to the White House for a meeting with the president at 11 a.m. Trump leaves for North Dakota at noon, accompanied by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). Trump arrives back in D.C. at 8 p.m.

FOR YOUR RADAR — “ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (AP) – The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history makes first landfall in Caribbean islands.”

— WAPO’S CAPITAL WEATHER GANG’S BRIAN MCNOLDY and JASON SAMENOW: “Hurricane Irma is an ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 5, barreling toward the northern Lesser Antilles and Southern Florida. It’s already the strongest hurricane ever recorded outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s likely to make landfall somewhere in Florida over the weekend. If it does, the impact could be catastrophic.

“This is a life-threatening storm for the United States, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas. Hurricane warnings have been issued for the northern Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos. A hurricane watch covers Haiti and the southeastern Bahamas. With maximum winds of 185 mph, Irma is tied for the second strongest storm ever observed in the Atlantic. …

“All of Florida — especially South Florida and the Keys — should be preparing for a major hurricane landfall on Sunday. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to arrive as soon as early Saturday. … If Irma makes landfall as a Category 4 or higher in the United States, joining Hurricane Harvey, it will become the first time two storms so strong struck the United States in the same season.” http://wapo.st/2wFnli7

NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL — “Poll: Voters split whether Trump has done enough for Harvey relief,” by Steven Shepard: “Voters are divided on whether President Donald Trump is doing enough to help Texas and Louisiana recover from Hurricane Harvey, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released as parts of the nation gird for another large, powerful storm. Forty-three percent of voters say Trump is doing enough in terms of disaster relief for Harvey — only slightly more than the 40 percent who say Trump isn’t doing enough. Seventeen percent have no opinion.

“Partisanship affects opinions of Trump’s performance: Only 21 percent of self-identified Democrats say Trump is doing enough, while 73 percent of Republicans say he is doing enough. Trump’s overall job-approval rating has ticked up, from 40 percent last week to 43 percent now. But a 52 percent majority disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president.” http://politi.co/2gKM277

WHERE THINGS STAND ON DACA …

THE BIG PICTURE — “Trump and Republicans face ‘a defining moment’ on immigration,” by WaPo’s Bob Costa and Phil Rucker: “President Trump is hurtling toward a crossroads on immigration — his signature campaign issue and a key source of his law-and-order reputation — where each path before him comes with significant political risks. Trump has temporarily placed the fates of roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children in the hands of Congress, buying himself time and shunting responsibility.

“Should Congress act, the president will have to choose whether to sign on to a legislative solution granting the ‘dreamers’ legal status — or to let the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, expire, which would impede the ability of beneficiaries to find work and leave them vulnerable to deportation. The choice cuts to the core of his presidency and could have long-term ramifications for the Republican Party. …

“Trump’s hard-line base, which demands purity and expects results, recoils at DACA as illegal amnesty and will look to him to veto any such legislation. But allies said Trump also is eager to prove that he has the ‘great heart’ he has touted, and he is under pressure from his party’s establishment, the business community and many of his own advisers to find a way to let dreamers stay.” http://wapo.st/2f2ydNS

— “Capitol Hill clueless on Dreamers fix,” by Seung Min Kim, Rachael Bade and Heather Caygle: “House Republican leaders … are privately hoping to push the immigration battle until at least this winter. They, like the White House, want a down payment on Trump’s border wall with Mexico in exchange for codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — though House Democrats won’t say whether they’d accept tougher immigration restrictions in order to save the program. … The White House signaled that Trump would not be willing to sign a bill that solely deals with DACA.

“‘We can’t just have one tweak to the system,’ press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday. Another senior administration official said the White House is hoping to win concessions on the border wall, more immigration enforcement agents or new restrictions to legal immigration. The Domestic Policy Council, which reports to White House immigration hard-liner Stephen Miller, plans to outline immigration policy goals and send them to Capitol Hill Republicans to guide negotiations.” http://politi.co/2w4Kg2B

— “Dreamers fear deportations from DACA data,” by Ted Hesson: “The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it won’t give immigration enforcement agencies the personal data it holds on participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — for now. But DHS made it clear that deportation agencies could someday get access to the detailed files it holds on 800,000 people who gave it personal information — past residential addresses, travel history, bank statements, fingerprints — so they could live and work legally in the U.S. … [T]here’s a growing fear as the Trump administration prepares to end DACA that this information may be used to track them down and deport them. ‘People will be absolutely in terror from now on,’ said Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under former President Barack Obama, ‘because nobody knows what’s next.’” http://politi.co/2gEu5DE

— CNN’S TAL KOPAN and JIM ACOSTA: “White House talking points on Tuesday urged DACA recipients to prepare for a ‘departure from the United States,’ a much starker possible future than Trump administration officials used in public when announcing an end to the program.

“The statement was contained in a background document that was sent by the White House to offices on Capitol Hill, obtained by CNN from multiple sources. In the ‘DACA talking points’ memo, the White House laid out a number of bullet points for supporters on Tuesday’s announcement outlining the administration’s action. One bullet point suggests DACA participants should prepare to leave the country. ‘The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States — including proactively seeking travel documentation — or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible,’ the memo says.” http://cnn.it/2gL1nVk

— THE TICK TOCK: “Trump’s traveled from fiery to conflicted on dreamers,” by AP’s Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin: http://bit.ly/2xa47m5

THIS IS NOT HELPFUL — @realDonaldTrump: “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

— WHY? CONGRESS rarely acts unless forced to. Trump saying the six-month deadline isn’t really a deadline at all and that he could still intervene won’t help pressure lawmakers to get something done sooner rather than later.

WHAT THE HILL IS WAITING FOR — Some guidance on what exactly President Trump wants to sign.

FIRST PERSON – “Why I’m Resigning From Trump’s Diversity Coalition,” by Javier Palomarez in the NYT: “Many actions taken by this White House have profoundly rattled my confidence in its commitment to inclusivity and its respect for diversity. But today’s decision was worst of all. An American president who does not believe there’s a place for young people whose passion and values exemplify the best of our tradition is simply not a president that I can continue to support. That is why, as the president and chief executive of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I have chosen to resign from the President’s National Diversity Coalition, effective immediately.” http://nyti.ms/2gJungk

THIS IS IMPORTANT — MICROSOFT’S BRAD SMITH, the company’s president and chief legal officer, tweeted last night the company “will pay for legal counsel for Dreamer employees in any deportation case and file a brief in the company’s name.” Microsoft already came out saying Congress should make protecting Dreamers a top priority — even ahead of tax reform. http://bit.ly/2j0NV07

TRUMP’S PRIORITIES — “Trump still pushing for a 15 percent corporate rate,” by Ben White and Nancy Cook: “President Donald Trump is increasingly fixated on slashing the top corporate tax rate to 15 percent – a level that pretty much no one else working on the issue in the White House or Congress thinks is workable. In a White House meeting on Tuesday, Trump again expressed his strong desire to hit the 15 percent target, from today’s 35 percent. ‘You can’t get to 15 percent and anyone who has a back of an envelope can make that calculation,’ said a senior official working on tax reform. ‘And he may not like that truth, but it’s the truth. It’s just math.’” http://politi.co/2xNg0M4

— “Trump wants one last Senate push on Obamacare repeal,” by Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey: “The president and White House staff have continued to work with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) over the summer on their proposal to block grant federal health care funding to the states. And though the bill is being rewritten and Congress faces a brutal September agenda, Trump and his allies on health care are making a last-gasp push. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would need to find room on the packed calendar this month to hold another uncertain push to repeal Obamacare on party lines.” http://politi.co/2vK5mbk

— THERE IS LITTLE CHANCE the Senate will take up an Obamacare repeal vote. McConnell has moved on. Senate Republicans, for the most part, have too.

SCOOP — “Senate resolution to force Trump’s hand on condemning Charlottesville hate groups,” by Seung Min Kim: “The Senate is preparing to force President Donald Trump to go on record to officially condemn the deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville last month. Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, along with Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, plan to formally roll out a Senate resolution later Wednesday that forcefully condemns the violence in Charlottesville while ‘rejecting white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.’

“The Senate routinely takes up nonbinding measures commemorating people and institutions in the form of concurrent resolutions and simple resolutions – which are both purely symbolic and not submitted to the White House for the president’s signature. But backers of the Charlottesville resolution have strategically chosen to introduce their measure as a joint resolution, which means it will be sent to Trump to sign into law.” http://politi.co/2gKBR2k

THE JUICE …

— DAILY BEAST: “The Insane Gifts Saudi Arabia Gave President Trump: The gifts range from the regal (‘Artwork featuring picture of President Trump’) to the martial (multiple swords, daggers, leather ammo holders), to the baroque (cheetah fur robes).” http://thebea.st/2eEy0zD

— SPOTTED: HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-Calif.) dining with a group of House Republicans at Oceanaire Tuesday night. Lawmakers included Kevin Yoder (Kan.), Karen Handel (Ga.), Andy Barr (Ky.), David Rouzer (N.C.) and Kevin Cramer (N.D.).

— COREY LEWANDOWSKI has been named a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Other fellows include former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, conservative writers Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson, and media consultant Joe Slade White. http://bit.ly/2vJBqML

BIG STORY — “A Funeral of 2 Friends: C.I.A. Deaths Rise in Secret Afghan War: The number of C.I.A. deaths in Afghanistan rivals those killed in the Southeast Asia conflicts of nearly a half-century ago,” by NYT’s Adam Goldman and Matt Rosenberg: “On a sweltering day earlier this summer, operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bury two of their own. Brian Ray Hoke and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre, elite gunslingers who worked for the C.I.A.’s paramilitary force, were laid to rest after a firefight with Islamic State militants near Jalalabad in Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan.

“There had been scant mention of Mr. Hoke’s death in local news reports in Leesburg, Va., his home, and nothing at all about Mr. Delemarre in news accounts in the Florida Panhandle, where his family lives. Their deaths this past October were never acknowledged by the C.I.A., beyond two memorial stars chiseled in a marble wall at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va.

“Today there are at least 18 stars on that wall representing the number of C.I.A. personnel killed in Afghanistan — a tally that has not been previously reported, and one that rivals the number of C.I.A. operatives killed in the wars in Vietnam and Laos nearly a half century ago. The deaths are a reflection of the heavy price the agency has paid in a secret, nearly 16-year-old war, where thousands of C.I.A. operatives have served since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The deaths of Mr. Hoke, 42, and Mr. Delemarre, 47, show how the C.I.A. continues to move from traditional espionage to the front lines, and underscore the pressure the agency faces now that President Trump has pledged to keep the United States in Afghanistan with no end in sight.” http://nyti.ms/2eKbYzr

THE OPPOSITION — “Democrats launch super PAC to win back statehouses,” by Gabe Debenedetti: “Democrats … [are] trying to turn the tide with the launch of a new super PAC. Aiming to play a similar role as Senate Majority PAC does for Senate races and House Majority PAC does for House races, Forward Majority is launching this week as a vehicle for winning back state legislatures ahead of the next round of redistricting in 2021. Led by a group of Barack Obama campaign alums and veterans of Democratic politics and the business world, the organization is kicking off with a $1 million prototype effort to play in races for Virginia’s House of Delegates this year. It’s aiming to raise up to $100 million to win back legislative bodies in 12 states over the next four years.” http://politi.co/2eJA5On

SCOTUS WATCH — “Bipartisan swath of lawmakers files Supreme Court briefs against gerrymandering,” by Isaac Dovere: “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s push for nonpartisan redistricting gained significant Republican support on Tuesday, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich signing on to his amicus brief at the Supreme Court and Arizona Sen. John McCain filing a separate friend-of-the-court brief. Then 36 current and former members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, filed yet another amicus brief that includes the chairman of the Freedom Caucus and the former chairman of the Progressive Caucus.

“The court is scheduled to hear a case in October, Gill v. Whitford, that could abolish partisan gerrymandering. Schwarzenegger, the former California governor, has made gathering support for it a priority. He spent last week calling members of Congress and governors directly, urging them to sign on. Kasich tweeted on Tuesday evening: ‘Gerrymandering erodes democracy. ‘We the people…’ still needs to mean something. Unfortunately, gerrymandering restricts voters’ ability to keep our leaders in check.’” http://politi.co/2f16jS7

STARTING TODAY — “Menendez corruption trial: What you need to know,” by John Bresnahan: “A federal courtroom in Newark, New Jersey, on Wednesday morning will feature a rare sight — a U.S. senator facing felony charges. The legal saga of Robert Menendez — a lengthy, leak-filled criminal probe followed by two-plus years of legal wrangling since his indictment while Menendez kept his seat — has huge implications for the Senate and New Jersey politics. If Menendez is convicted, there will be battles over who will replace the 63-year-old Democrat, in both the state and, potentially, the Senate. In a 52-48 Senate controlled by Republicans, every vote is immensely valuable.” http://politi.co/2eKf7zh

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WHAT J.D. VANCE IS READING – “How to save the Rust Belt: The region’s economic struggles are a result of a decline in startups. Here’s a way to fix it,” by Seth London and Brad Tusk in Politico’s Agenda: “The upshot is that both parties have a political imperative to aid the Rust Belt, but neither has the capacity to solve the biggest economic problem in the region: a decade long decline in startup activity. Startups are the sinew of the American economy but the uncomfortably reality is that American businesses are dying. Despite all the money and attention focused on Silicon Valley, far more businesses have gone belly up than started up over the past decade. And where we do see new businesses creation, it’s far too concentrated on the coasts.” http://politi.co/2gJQrHr

COMING ATTRACTIONS — NEW YORKER FESTIVAL – Oct. 6-8 — “This year’s one-on-one interviews include: The trans-rights activist and former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in conversation with The New Yorker’s Larissa MacFarquhar. … The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara in conversation with The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin. … The Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei in conversation with The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos. … The comedian, actor, and television host Seth Meyers in conversation with The New Yorker’s Ariel Levy. … Senator Al Franken in conversation with The New Yorker’s David Remnick.” Tickets go on sale on Friday at noon http://bit.ly/2f0ZfoC

MEDIAWATCH — “At CNN, Retracted Story Leaves an Elite Reporting Team Bruised,” by NYT’s Sydney Ember and Mike Grynbaum: “In interviews with The New York Times, more than half a dozen CNN staff members, including three with direct knowledge of the investigative unit’s operations, provided previously unreported details about the publication of the story and the fallout from its retraction. … [T]he investigative team has been reshaped and redirected. Its members were told they should not report on perhaps the most compelling political story of the year: potential ties between the Trump administration and Russia. That subject is now largely handled by CNN’s reporting team in Washington. … The remaining team members have resumed publishing, but with a narrower reporting scope; they now focus on topics less glamorous than Mr. Trump’s potential ties to Russia, like the opioid crisis and the environment.” http://nyti.ms/2f0OGSz

–“Bianna Golodryga Joins CBS And CNN In An Unusual Deal,” by Yashar Ali in HuffPost: “In a first-of-its-kind arrangement, Golodryga, who previously served as a business anchor for Yahoo News and the anchor of ABC’s weekend edition of ‘Good Morning America,’ will be working for CBS News and CNN simultaneously. She signed multiyear deals with both networks late last week. … What makes Golodryga’s deal unusual is that she could work for both networks each day, contributing reports to CBS shows and serving as an on-air contributor on CNN shows like ‘The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.’” http://bit.ly/2eEVWmx

–BEN SCHRECKINGER, currently a staff writer for POLITICO Magazine, has been named a GQ correspondent and will report and on national politics and the Trump administration from Washington. He’ll also develop a video series produced by Conde Nast Entertainment.

–PER MORNING MEDIA: “Here’s The New York Times’ new congressional team: Jonathan Weisman will be congressional editor. Sheryl Stolberg will be the team lead. Yamiche Alcindor will be joining the team after a stint covering HUD. Nicholas Fandos joins the team after covering the VA, Secret Service and other stories. Thomas Kaplan will, well, stay where he is.”

–AMANDA TERKEL has been named HuffPost’s new D.C. bureau chief. She joined the site in 2010 and had been senior political reporter and politics managing editor.

SPOTTED — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Madeline Albright at a cozy corner table at Centrolina … Sarah Huckabee Sanders last night on a very delayed Delta shuttle from Reagan to LaGuardia … Jen Palmieri and her husband Jim last night at Oriole Park in Baltimore where they stayed till 1 a.m. to watch Manny Machado hit a walk-off two-run homer in the Orioles; 6-5 victory against the Yankees.

OBAMA ALUMNI — JEN PSAKI has been named the new VP for comms and strategy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was the White House comms director for President Obama and was U.S. State Department spokesperson under Secretary of State John Kerry.

K STREET MOVE — STEPHEN RADEMAKER has joined Covington’s public policy and government affairs practice in Washington. Rademaker, who was most recently at the Podesta Group, also is an alum of the Bush W.H. and State Department.

TRANSITIONS — Randal Meyer, most recently legislative counsel for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has left to join the appellate and major motions practice at Baker & Hostetler, LLP. … Melissa Ryan, an Obama 2012 alum, has launched the Factual Democracy Project to bring “together experts that span tech, media, national security and civil society groups to explain how to fight back against efforts that use fake news — propaganda, disinformation and misinformation to disrupt our elections and our democracy.” … Dezenhall Resources has hired Erica Munkwitz as a senior counselor. She most recently was a professorial lecturer in modern British and European history at AU. …

… Maddy Weast has started as press secretary for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). She most recently spent two years writing and working with the social media team at the Washington Free Beacon. … Danielle Varallo on Monday started as the comms director for Republican Main Street Partnership. She most recently worked for UnitedHealth Group’s external affairs team. … Ed Kim has joined Rep. Michael Burgess’ (R-Texas) team as senior health policy adviser. He is an alum of the offices of former Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.). … The Consumer Technology Association has hired Jennifer Taylor to be its VP of U.S. jobs.

SPOTTED at a Reuters reception at the National Press Club last night to celebrate Jeff Mason’s year as president of the White House Correspondents’ Association: Steve Thomma, Steve Adler, Kevin Krolicki, Don Durfee, Caren Bohan, Steve Holland, Margaret Talev, Sam Feist, Oliver Knox, Zeke Miller.

SPOTTED last night at a private room in The Smith celebrating multiple birthdays: Adam Noah, Paul Holder, Kristen York, Chris Berardini, Greg Lowman, Steve Rebillot, Andrew Mills, Bennett Richardson, Katie Adams, Michael Borden, Jeff Strunk, Mat Lapinski, Nick Podsiadly, Danielle Burr, Danny Fernandez, Ed Elfmann and Alex Hergott.

SPOTTED at the Beer Institute’s “Welcome Back to Congress” event in Rayburn: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Erik Paulsen (D-Minn.), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Jim McGreevy of the Beer Institute, Doug Bailey, Tim Scully and Lance Hastings, David Morgenstern and Carl Thorsen.

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Dan Ronayne, president of Asta Strategies, an RNC and BC ’04 alum. How he views the Trump presidency as going: “I actually was asked to meet with him at Trump Tower before he announced his candidacy about possibly serving as his communications director. It was an interesting day. Like most of us, I didn’t see this coming. I opted instead to be the communications director for the Invictus Games and watched the campaign as a spectator. I would have advised him to do the opposite of just about everything he did, so what do I know. Invictus Games and the healing power of adaptive sports for our wounded warriors was a life changing experience — things work out right.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2j2ELjW

BIRTHDAYS: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie … Carly Fiorina (hat tips: Frank Sadler, Casey Enders and Arjun Mody) … ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas … Brittany Bramell, TSA’s assistant administrator of public affairs … Matt Littman (h/t Heather Podesta) … Ryan Mahoney, RNC’s comms director, celebrating by getting taken out to dinner by girlfriend Allie Brandenburger (h/t Allie) … CBS News political director Steve Chaggaris … Ari Schaffer of the White House’s research/comms shop … Peter Barnes (h/t James Rosen) … Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) … Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) … Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) … Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) … Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) … Jason Schechter, chief comms officer for Bloomberg LP … Politico’s Paul Volpe and Meredith McPhillips … Madeleine Gilmer … Kathy Grannis Allen of Airlines For America … Jaime Leifer of PublicAffairs … John Hagner … Leslie Barkemeyer … Tim Ogborn … Gillian Turner of the Jones Group, alumna of the Bush and Obama NSC, Fox News contributor, and proud momma to Olivia the Havanese (h/ts former NSC colleague Ben Chang and Paris Dennard) …

… Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute … Alex Leo … Daniel Flesch … Christa Davis, development officer for women’s empowerment at Project Concern International (h/t Richard Parker) … Joshua Baca, SVP, DDC Public Affairs and former national coalitions director for Romney (h/t wife Jen) … Robin Parker, executive director at Sunflower Foundation (h/t Jon Haber) … NPR’s Claire Harbage … Elizabeth Robillard … former Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) … Cameron Hardesty, head of products at Urban Stems … Peter Schanzer, senior associate at Jefferies … Owen Kibenge … Spotify’s Tammas Wilner … Kevin Rieg … Elbert Zeigler … Ben Toribio … William Stone … Gina Martinez … Bruce King … Kristi Thompson … Jason Harvey … Michael Ethridge … Dan Drummond … Scott McCrary … Bill Ritter … Douglass Daniel … Jack Ellis Farnsworth … Gordon Hickey … Bill Turnage … Ken Smukler … Bobby Bailey … Marie Wilson … Erin Giesser … John Hagner … Howard Zucker … Sara Fellenz (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

****** A message from Hewlett Packard Enterprise: To super compete, America must super compute. Supercomputing is key to future breakthroughs in medicine, science and manufacturing. As the designer and builder of more supercomputers than any other company in the world, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is helping America increase its competitive edge in not only today‘s economy, but tomorrow’s. Visit http://ift.tt/2w02v9q to learn more about how HPE supercomputers help America compete. ******

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Breitbart pushes Trump from Strange

The following newsletter is an abridged version of Campaign Pro’s Morning Score. For an earlier morning read on exponentially more races — and for a more comprehensive aggregation of the day’s most important campaign news — sign up for Campaign Pro today. (http://ift.tt/1rYrnXl)

YOUR DAILY ROLL TIDE — “Breitbart bangs the drum in Alabama Senate showdown,” By POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt: “Conservatives led by Breitbart News are waging an all-out campaign” to stop Luther Strange from winning the Alabama special election, Isenstadt reports, and they’re hoping to persuade Trump to not campaign on Strange’s behalf. “While Trump has endorsed Strange, the president has been conspicuously silent since the senator finished second to [Judge Roy Moore] in the first round of balloting on Aug. 15.”

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“The pro-Moore effort will intensify this week, when the candidate arrives in Washington to hold a procession of meetings with influential conservatives that he hopes will culminate in endorsements. Among those Moore is slated to huddle with: members of the House Freedom Caucus and former diplomat and presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who is hosting a Wednesday evening fundraising reception. Attendees are being asked to give up to $2,700, according to an invitation.

Steve Bannon is helping to orchestrate the push. The former White House chief strategist has broken with Trump and endorsed the insurgent-minded Moore. Bannon, who returned to Breitbart last month after leaving the White House, has dispatched one of his favorite writers, Matt Boyle, to Alabama. Breitbart has published a number of unflattering stories recently about Strange, seemingly designed to isolate Strange from the president.” Full story here.

— Doug Jones is staying out of Dems’ spotlight: POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti and Daniel Strauss broke down why Democrats aren’t racing to get behind Doug Jones during last week’s Morning Score holiday: While (failed) Georgia congressional candidate Jon Ossoff chose to make himself the face of the Democratic resistance, “Jones has declined to make his opposition to Donald Trump the centerpiece of his campaign.

It’s proved to be a consequential decision in a party where antipathy toward the president is an animating force. While Jones would seem to be a perfect candidate for the post-Charlottesville moment — he’s a 63-year-old former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the pair behind the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham — national Democrats have largely ignored him. And grassroots donors have given him the cold shoulder, leaving Jones with less than $100,000 in cash on hand by the end of July, according to federal filings.” Full story here.

— Brooks could play kingmaker: Strauss reports that “If Mo Brooks can’t be a senator, he can at least try to be a kingmaker. In the GOP primary runoff for Alabama’s Senate seat, the conservative congressman is being courted aggressively by the campaign of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore’s team thinks Brooks’ backing would give a significant boost in his fight against Sen. Luther Strange, a belief shared by many Alabama Republicans — if not Strange partisans. ‘No decision made,’ Brooks said in a text message to POLITICO, without elaborating on his thinking.” Full story here.

— More Ala. headlines that ran during last week’s Morning Score hiatus: “Alabama activist registers pro-Moore super PAC,” by Maggie Severns (story here) … “Strange campaign memo to donors pushes back on ‘fake polls’,” by Strauss (story here) … “Strange campaign adds top GOP operative to senior staff,” by Strauss (story here).

BIG WEEKEND NEWS — “Trump has decided to end DACA, with 6-month delay,” by POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson: “President Donald Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, according to two sources familiar with his thinking. Senior White House aides huddled Sunday afternoon to discuss the rollout of a decision likely to ignite a political firestorm — and fulfill one of the president’s core campaign promises. The administration’s deliberations on the issue have been fluid and fast moving, and the president has faced strong warnings from members of his own party not to scrap the program.” A formal announcement on the decision is expected today. Full story here.

— Meanwhile on the campaign trail: Andy Thorburn, who is challenging GOP Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) has already released a digital ad that reacts to the DACA decision by focusing on the idea of an “inclusive society.” Watch here.

Days until the 2017 election: 63.

Days until the 2018 election: 427.

Thanks for joining us! You can email tips to the Campaign Pro team at sbland@politico.com, eschneider@politico.com, krobillard@politico.com, dstrauss@politico.com and mseverns@politico.com.

You can also follow us on Twitter: @politicoscott, @ec_schneider, @politicokevin, @danielstrauss4 and @maggieseverns.

THE CENTER CUT — Third Way cautions Dems to avoid populism, by Debenedetti: “Center-left think tank Third Way is urging the Democratic Party to rebrand itself as ‘the jobs party’ in a report Tuesday that warns of the risks adopting the policies and rhetoric of the far left. Landing as the left wing of the party claims ascendancy, the report wades into some of the philosophical disagreements now dividing a Democratic Party that is further from power than it has been in decades. Based on extensive, three-day online focus groups with battleground state voters, the publication aims to diagnose Democrats’ current problem. But it also knocks the kind of economic populism often pushed by prominent figures like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The study, conducted by polling firm Global Strategy Group, involved interviews with persuadable voters who backed Barack Obama and then Donald Trump, as well as with persuadable African American, Latino and millennial voters. Third Way’s resulting document warns that key voters believe Democrats prioritize poor citizens, and some rich ones — but not the middle class. It says voters intuitively see the Democratic party as standing against business, and it urges party leaders to put less emphasis on social issues and “recognize that voters want to see a rebalancing of the Party’s priorities.” Full story here.

UH OH — “Cash-strapped states brace for Russian hacking fight,” by POLITICO’s intrepid cybersecurity team: “A nation still squabbling over the role Russian cyberattacks played in the 2016 presidential campaign is fractured about how to pay for the steps needed to prevent repeats in 2018 and 2020, according to interviews with dozens of state election officials, federal lawmakers, current and former Department of Homeland Security staffers and leading election security experts.

“These people agree that digital meddlers threaten the public’s confidence in America’s democratic process. And nearly everyone believes that the danger calls for collective action — from replacing the voting equipment at tens of thousands of polling places to strengthening state voter databases, training election workers and systematically conducting post-election audits.

“But those steps would require major spending, and only a handful of states’ legislatures are boosting their election security budgets, according to a POLITICO survey of state election agencies. And leaders in Congress are showing no eagerness to help them out. ‘States ought to get their own money up,’ said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, which oversees federal elections. ‘We’re borrowing money. We got a big debt limit coming up.’” Full story here.

WHAT ABOUT BOB — Barletta will challenge Casey, POLITICO’s Kevin Robillard reports: “Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Lou Barletta is officially launching a bid to challenge two-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey. … Trump has publicly encouraged Barletta, a former mayor who is serving his fifth term in the House, to challenge Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat and son of a popular former governor who has been outspoken in his opposition to the president. The president narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016.

“Barletta will face a primary before potentially challenging Casey: Businessman Jeff Bartos has already launched television ads attacking both Barletta and Casey as career politicians. Some Republicans have questioned whether Barletta can raise the necessary money to take on Casey.” Full story here.

MORE NEW CHALLENGERS (AND POTENTIAL CHALLENGERS) OF NOTE — Hanabusa will run for Hawaii gov seat: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said on Friday she plans to challenge Hawaii Gov. David Ige in 2018. Full story via KITV.

— Another GOP Senate candidate in Ohio: Republican businesswoman Melissa Ackison plans to run for the Ohio Senate seat, Cleveland.com reports.

— Jerry Springer weighing an Ohio governor run: Yes, that Jerry Springer. The Ohio Democrat told Cleveland.com he’s seriously considering a bid for governor but doesn’t have a timeline on when he’ll announce his decision.

— Garcetti leaves all doors open: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won’t rule out the possibility of a 2020 run for governor or senator in California, POLITICO’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reports.

ADMINISTRATION SPEED READ — “Spicer lands post-White House gig,” by POLITICO’s Annie Karni: “President Donald Trump’s first press secretary — who ceded his high-profile post to Sarah Huckabee Sanders in July but celebrated his official last day in the West Wing on Aug. 31 — has signed with Worldwide Speakers Group, the company confirmed to POLITICO. … His first paid speaking gig will be in New York City on Sept. 11, at the annual conference of the investment bank Rodman & Renshaw, according to two people familiar with his schedule.” Full story here.

REVOLVING DOOR — RNC chief of staff resigns, by Isenstadt: “Sara Armstrong, the top staffer at the Republican National Committee, is departing, according to three people familiar with the move — the latest in a string of exits from the committee. Armstrong, the RNC’s chief of staff, is exiting to take a senior-level job at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She had been serving in the chief of staff role since early this year after helping to oversee President Donald Trump’s inauguration planning. Richard Walters, the RNC finance director, will serve as interim chief of staff while the committee seeks a permanent replacement.” Full story here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Why don’t you tell me what it is, Dale, and quit beating around.” — Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore, asking a radio host to explain what DREAMers are during a radio interview.

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HARVEY relief coming this week, debt ceiling could be attached — TRUMP’S TEST: Time to cut deals — Framing the DACA debate — POLITICO 50 out today — LOUISE LINTON speaks — B’DAY: April Ryan

FACT CHECK: TRUE — @realDonaldTrump at 10:49 p.m.: “Big week coming up!”

Good Tuesday morning and welcome back! KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: HARVEY AID EDITION — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) visited Texas over the weekend, and announced that the House would begin considering a Harvey aid package Wednesday morning. Despite the Trump administration’s preference, the package that begins in the House will not include lifting the debt limit, according to people briefed on the legislation. That’s not to say the Senate won’t slap it on and send it back to the House, which many aides expect to happen. You will hear a lot in the coming days about some opposition on the right to a Harvey disaster relief and debt ceiling package. Remember this: support for a deal like that would be broad and bipartisan.

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THE GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN in 26 days unless Congress passes a funding bill.

**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/2lQswbh

THE BIG PICTURE — NEWS ANALYSIS from PETER BAKER on A1 of the NYT: “Trump Faces Deal-Making Challenges as Congress Returns”: “Donald J. Trump the deal maker heads into the autumn of his first year in as weak a negotiating position as any president in modern times — desperate for a victory yet hardly near consensus on any major priority, still able to dominate the national conversation but so far incapable of translating that into action.

“A summer of tumult marked by staff shake-ups, legislative failures, intraparty feuds, a racially inflammatory controversy and a nuclear-edged war of words has left him at odds with his own Republican Party and supported by barely a third of the American public. The list of daunting challenges has only grown with little sense of how he plans to tackle them beyond Twitter storms and declarations of determination.

“As Congress returns to town on Tuesday, the president faces weeks of hard negotiations to overhaul the tax code, raise the debt ceiling, keep the government open, finance his border wall, and secure relief and reconstruction money for areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. On top of that, he plans to throw another polarizing issue on the docket by threatening to scrap President Barack Obama’s program allowing younger illegal immigrants to stay in the country unless Congress acts to save it within six months.” http://nyti.ms/2vGDFAl

TRUMP’S DACA DECISION MATRIX …

Both sides gear up for political fight as Trump prepares to end immigration protections for ‘dreamers’,” by WaPo’s David Nakamura: “Lawmakers and advocates on both sides began to stake out positions Monday for an extended public fight over whether Congress should provide legal status to young undocumented immigrants known as ‘dreamers’ as President Trump is preparing to rescind Obama-era protections for them.

“Moderate congressional Republicans, and even some conservatives, suggested that they are open to crafting a legislative deal that could offer permanent legal status to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been in the country illegally since they were children. Democrats lambasted Trump for his expected decision and called on the GOP to join them to protect the dreamers. …

“Trump’s decision to include a six-month delay could be a bid to shift some of the political pressure and consequences over the dreamers onto congressional Republicans. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and several other GOP leaders have urged Trump not to end the program and to let Congress pursue its own course of action.” http://wapo.st/2xLk13h

— “On DACA, President Trump Has No Easy Path,” by NYT’s Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman and Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “For months, an anxious and uncertain President Trump was caught between opposing camps in the West Wing prodding him to either scrap or salvage an Obama-era program allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the country as minors to remain in the United States. Last week, with a key court deadline looming for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Mr. Trump, exasperated, asked his aides for ‘a way out’ of a dilemma he created by promising to roll back the program as a presidential candidate, according to two people familiar with the exchange. Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, John F. Kelly, who had wrestled with crafting a compromise in his previous job as the president’s homeland security secretary, began consulting with Republican lawmakers and staff members for a quick fix, according to three officials familiar with the situation.

“He finally arrived at an inelegant solution to an intractable problem: Delaying a decision on the final fate of about 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ covered by President Barack Obama’s executive action for six months, and putting it on Congress to come up with a legislative solution to the problem. Congressional Republicans expect the administration to unveil some version of this stopgap solution on Tuesday, but Mr. Trump will not make the announcement himself. Instead, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will handle it at an 11 a.m. briefing. He will not take questions from reporters.” http://nyti.ms/2gAoQol

–INTERESTING NUGGET: “[T]he moderates in Mr. Trump’s midst, [Gary] Cohn in particular, are somewhat less influential these days, after several expressed their disgust at the president’s response to the racial riots in Charlottesville, Va., last month.”

“Trump’s punt to Congress on DACA threatens new GOP rift,” by Seung Min Kim and Rachael Bade: “[S]ome Republicans such as conservative Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas are openly floating trade-offs to protect DACA recipients, even as Democrats insist that Dreamers aren’t bargaining chips for tougher immigration restrictions. In the House, senior Republicans still believe there’s a possible deal to be struck with Democrats: codifying DACA in return for Trump’s sought-after border wall. … One plugged-in immigration advocate predicted a ‘30-70 chance’ that Congress successfully passes legislation that would essentially codify DACA … into law.” http://politi.co/2ezQnWq

BEN SMITH: “Why Does Trump Always Shoot The Hostages?: The president prepares to throw DREAMers’ lives into chaos, his political goals unknown” http://bzfd.it/2gBo8Ho

THE WAY OUT, according to GOP leadership insiders we spoke to: a deal which reinstates DACA in some form, and beefs up security on the border with Mexico. This is something that many Republicans and most Democrats could live with.

A QUESTION FOR DEMOCRATS — Will Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi start trying to attach the reinstatement of DACA to must-pass legislation like disaster relief funding for Harvey or funding the government?

— FROM OUR FRIENDS AT POLITICO PRO: “Speaking of legislation – passing it is complicated. Luckily for you, we’ve got an easy-to-understand infographic that explains the entire process.” Download POLITICO Pro’s Guide to Legislation http://politi.co/2xLy0X2

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GREAT ANECDOTE — WSJ’s Mike Bender and Kristina Peterson: “The relationship between the White House and congressional Republicans began to fray before the August recess, as the Senate struggled to overhaul the health-care law. [Mitch] McConnell, a fastidious, 30-year veteran of the Senate, often prepared note cards with points he wanted to make during phone calls with the president. Mr. Trump was more casual, starting conversations with several minutes of chatter about the day’s headlines or what he had seen on TV, the kind of banter he used as a businessman with VIPs …

“As it became clear Mr. McConnell couldn’t summon enough Republican votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Senate majority leader stopped responding to the president’s chitchat … ‘Mitch?’ the president said when Mr. McConnell fell silent in one call. ‘Are you there?’ Mr. McConnell waited a beat, then responded. ‘Yes, Mr. President. Back to the bill.’” http://on.wsj.com/2xL4ukh

TRUMP’S TUESDAY — TRUMP has a National Security Council briefing at 10 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., he will meet with the National Economic Council. At 4 p.m., Trump meets with the Big Six — the top negotiators on tax reform. At 5:45 p.m., he will speak to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the phone.

AP’S JOE MCDONALD in Beijing: “China has tools to pressure Kim but worries of consequences”: “Though China has long been the North’s main trading partner and diplomatic protector, Kim’s nuclear and missile tests have alienated Chinese leaders, who supported last month’s U.N. sanctions that slash North Korean revenue by banning sales of coal and iron ore. President Donald Trump and others have called on China to use its leverage to do more to halt the North’s nuclear development.

“Beijing tried to head off the latest nuclear test, conducted Sunday, by warning Pyongyang that such an event would lead to even more painful penalties. Still, Chinese leaders worry about instability on the Korean Peninsula if Kim’s regime collapses, which would eliminate a buffer between China and South Korea, a heavily armed U.S. ally with American troops on its soil.” http://bit.ly/2gBioxv

W.H. REVOLVING DOOR — “Spicer lands post-White House gig,” by Annie Karni: “Sean Spicer is cashing in on ‘candor.’ President Donald Trump’s first press secretary … has signed with Worldwide Speakers Group, the company confirmed to POLITICO. ‘Audiences around the world will benefit from the same candor, wit and insight that Spicer brought to the White House briefing room,’ Worldwide Speakers Group writes about Spicer in its pitch to potential customers, an early copy of which was reviewed by POLITICO. …

“His first paid speaking gig will be in New York City on Sept. 11, at the annual conference of the investment bank Rodman & Renshaw … [H]e is also planning to pitch a book proposal and his agent, Robert Barnett, as of last week was making the rounds to networks to negotiate a possible deal for his client. So far, he has yet to nail down a paid television talking-head gig.” http://politi.co/2eY6bDc

THE ADMINISTRATION — “EPA now requires political aide’s sign-off for agency awards, grant applications,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin: “The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience.

“In this role, John Konkus reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued. According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for ‘the double C-word’ — climate change — and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations.

“Konkus, who officially works in the EPA’s public affairs office, has canceled close to $2 million competitively awarded to universities and nonprofit organizations. Although his review has primarily affected Obama administration priorities, it is the heavily Republican state of Alaska that has undergone the most scrutiny so far.” http://wapo.st/2xLsFPw

FOR YOUR RADAR — “Putin: Russia may order U.S. to cut further its diplomatic staff in Moscow” — Reuters/Xiamen, China: “Russia reserves the right to further reduce the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, adding that Moscow would not do that for now. Reacting to what he called Washington’s ‘boorish and unprecedented’ actions towards Russia’s diplomatic facilities in the United States, Putin said he would order the Foreign Ministry to take the U.S. authorities to court over violation of Russia’s property rights. …

“‘The only thing is that it was done in such a clearly boorish manner. That does not reflect well on our American partners. But it’s difficult to conduct a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia. Nothing can be done about it. Probably such is the level of political culture of a certain part of the U.S. establishment.’” http://reut.rs/2wDRHQy

WHAT BANNON AND BOYLE ARE READING — “Breitbart bangs the drum in Alabama Senate showdown,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Conservatives led by Breitbart News are waging an all-out campaign to stop a candidate backed by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell in the Alabama Senate special election — putting growing pressure on the president to step away from his endorsement. With just over three weeks until the runoff, far-right forces are starting to close ranks around former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, an evangelical bomb-thrower who famously defied a federal order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a state building. And they’re looking to persuade Trump not to campaign for Moore’s rival, incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. …

“The pro-Moore effort will intensify this week, when the candidate arrives in Washington to hold a procession of meetings with influential conservatives that he hopes will culminate in endorsements. Among those Moore is slated to huddle with: members of the House Freedom Caucus and former diplomat and presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who is hosting a Wednesday evening fundraising reception. Attendees are being asked to give up to $2,700, according to an invitation. Steve Bannon is helping to orchestrate the push. … Bannon, who returned to Breitbart last month after leaving the White House, has dispatched one of his favorite writers, Matt Boyle, to Alabama.” http://politi.co/2x6V6ud

— BOYLE in Montgomery, Alabama: “Exclusive — Judge Roy Moore Embodies Jeff Sessions: ‘I Think I Would Have the Same Opinion’ on Immigration, Trade”: “Moore’s embrace of Sessions, and his brand of economic nationalism that he shares with the president, is a key recipe for electoral success in Alabama: Sessions is so popular in Alabama he was reelected last time unanimously as he drew no opponent in either his primary or his general election.” http://bit.ly/2gI7Ssb

IN JERUSALEM — “Sara Netanyahu Expected to Be Indicted for Fraud in Pocketing $110,000 in Goods,” by Haaretz’s Gidi Weitz: “Sara Netanyahu is expected to be indicted, pending a hearing, on charges of fraudulently receiving items worth 400,000 shekels ($111,851), Haaretz has learned. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is expected to inform Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of the charges against her in a few weeks. Sara Netanyahu is suspected of ordering chef’s meals at the prime minister’s official residence, which is against regulations, and concealing the fact that she did so. She and her husband have accused the former chief caretaker of the official residence, Meni Naftali, who is currently leading protests against the prime minister, of inflating the residence’s expenses.” http://bit.ly/2xKhpmh

THE 2017 POLITICO 50 UNVEILED TODAY — The fourth annual POLITICO 50 list maps out the new American landscape of ideas and introduces the people who can see past the disruption of Trump to a future in which politics, technology and new social currents will transform our country into something most of us have yet to imagine. The top 5 — 1. Former White House strategist Steve Bannon (http://politi.co/2wCFpb2) … 2. Trump opposition leaders Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin (http://politi.co/2vGlsTf) … 3. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch (http://politi.co/2wCcS5b) … 4. Steve Case (http://politi.co/2xLe5HF) … 5. Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates (http://politi.co/2x5XC3G). See the full list http://politi.co/2eYbTVv

NEW ISAAC DOVERE PODCAST — “Dolores Huerta, the famed labor leader who marched with Cesar Chavez and coined his rallying cry, is still mad as hell—and she laid it all out for Isaac Dovere in the latest episode of the Off Message podcast talking about the DACA decision and the policy around contract laborers. ‘This is a step up above slavery,’ Huerta, now 87, said. ‘The Republican plan is to deport all of the people that you have here that are undocumented, and bring in folks here under foreign labor contracts.’ And all the while, Huerta says, Trump and other wealthy people like him benefit more than anybody from the sweat of immigrant labor.

“‘I think it’s mean. I think that he’s got this obsession, a fixation, against people of color. You know, the way that he keeps attacking Mexicans,’ she says. ‘I’m a Mexican American. And my great-grandparents were here before his were, I’m sure. And his grandfather came from Germany.’ Plus: her memories of walking onto stage with Bobby Kennedy the night he was shot (and why she still blames herself a little) and of the night she came up with Si Se Puede.” http://politi.co/2eYlqfb

APOLOGY — COVER DU JOUR – LOUISE LINTON on the cover of Washington Life’s September issue, in which she poses in evening gowns for the magazine’s “Balls & Galas” issue and apologizes for her Instagram post in a Q&A with Virginia Coyne – “I want to say I concede completely to the comments of my critics. My post itself and the following response were indefensible. Period. I don’t have any excuses, nor do I feel any self-pity for the backlash I experienced. … It’s clear that I was the one who was truly out of touch and my response was reactionary and condescending. I wish I hadn’t spoken in such a patronizing tone. It was an out of character, knee-jerk reaction, and I felt so awful about it that I removed it. …

“I one hundred percent embrace the comments of my critics and I concede wholeheartedly that the post was boastful and materialistic and my response was extremely thoughtless. I should have known better than to be so insensitive.” … Q: “Did you feel the criticism was overblown?” LINTON: “No. I feel like I deserved the criticism”. … Q: “So, the social media Louise is not the real Louise?” LINTON: “The social media Louise of that week was not me. I should have stuck to posting pictures of rescue dogs and daily life.” Q&A http://bit.ly/2ezxVNXThe cover http://bit.ly/2wAD1TN

VALLEY TALK — RECODE’S TONY ROMM: “Reid Hoffman has billions of dollars and one of the best networks in Silicon Valley. Here’s how he’s using them to take on Trump: Inside the tech mogul’s 2017 political playbook for funding candidates, causes and companies”: “Hoffman is eager to open his checkbook for state and federal office-seekers, including for critical races in Virginia. There, he’s already spent millions of dollars and tapped staff on the ground to study the state’s local elections, hoping to fund get-out-the-vote initiatives and other ideas that might work elsewhere in the country — all the while nudging its Republican-dominated legislature in the direction of Democrats.” http://bit.ly/2iXBja8

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HAPPENING TODAY — UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is speaking at AEI this morning at 11 a.m. with the speech titled “Beyond the echo chamber: Considerations on U.S. policy toward Iran”. Livestream http://bit.ly/2xKMAOt

UNDERSTANDING KIM — “Motives of North Korea’s Leader Baffle Americans and Allies,” by NYT’s Motoko Rich and David E. Sanger: “[S]ix years after Mr. Kim took power and began executing those who challenged his rule — sometimes with an antiaircraft gun — there is no issue that confounds analysts more than the motives of a 33-year-old dictator whose every move seems one part canny strategy, one part self-preservation, and one part nuclear narcissism. … [I]nside the Trump administration, many have begun to question the long-held assumption that his nuclear buildup is essentially defensive, an effort to keep the United States and its allies from finding the right moment to try to overthrow him. Mr. Kim’s real goal may be blackmail, they argue — the sort that would be possible as soon as North Korea can put Los Angeles or Chicago or New York at risk.” http://nyti.ms/2eXrQLz

MEDIAWATCH — “The Daily News, a Distinctive Voice in New York, Is Sold,” by NYT’s Sydney Ember and Andrew Ross Sorkin: “The deal represents the end of an era for The News, which was long a voice for New York’s working class. It may also signal the end of the political influence of its owner, the real estate magnate Mortimer B. Zuckerman, who often used the paper’s bold, front-page headline — known as ‘the wood’ — for commentary about candidates and politicians, locally and nationally. …

“[T]he Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that Tronc purchased The News for just $1, plus the assumption of liabilities. … Under the terms of the deal, Tronc assumes control of The News’s operations, its printing plant in Jersey City and its pension liability. Tronc will also receive a 49.9 percent interest in the 25-acre property overlooking Manhattan where the printing plant is. It was not immediately clear what The News’s pension liabilities were; however, previous reports indicated that they were worth more than $30 million.” http://nyti.ms/2wDomWd

— TIM O’BRIEN, executive editor of Bloomberg View and Gadfly, has been named a contributor to NBC and MSNBC.

— NEW POLITICO HIRE — Joe Schatz and Reid Pillifant email the states staff: “Alexandra Glorioso will be joining POLITICO’s Tallahassee bureau as a policy and politics reporter covering the regulated industry beat, including medical marijuana and gambling — an increasingly important coverage area for us in Florida. Alex comes to us from the Naples Daily News, where she’s spent the last year and a half working as a political reporter.”

SPOTTED: Tim Geithner on Monday at the airport in Athens, Greece … Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the zoo Monday morning with her kids … House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her family having brunch Sunday at The Spotted Pig on West 11th Street in New York … Juliet Eilperin, Andrew Light and family on the pool deck in the freeze dance contest at Congressional Country Club. Norah O’Donnell, Chef Geoff Tracy and family in the belly flop competition.

— Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta with Anheuser-Busch President and CEO João Castro Neves on Monday at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Cartersville, Georgia to thank Anheuser-Busch employees who have helped the victims of Hurricane Harvey — pic http://bit.ly/2wDwDth

TRANSITIONS — OBAMA ALUMNI — Sabrina Siddiqui is joining FTP Public Affairs. She is an alum of Obama Treasury, the offices of Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) and the DCCC. … Kelly Magsamen, former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, is joining the Center for American Progress as the VP for national security and international policy.

— FORMER CIA DIRECTOR JOHN BRENNAN has been named a distinguished fellow for global security at Fordham law school’s Center on National Security. http://nyti.ms/2wAtUm2

— Katharine Cooksey is starting today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as manager of media and external comms. Carah Goldoust, who previously worked on special events and protocol for Speaker Paul Ryan, today takes over Cooksey’s role as deputy press secretary at the House Ways and Means Committee.

WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Kamyl Bazbaz, partner at consulting firm Pramana Collective and former press secretary to Chelsea Clinton, got married Saturday to Lucie Steinberg, a PhD candidate in American Studies at Harvard, on Serifos Island in Greece, in front of a small group of family and friends. “We met through my good friend Matt Mittenthal, who went to grade and high school with Lucie in NYC, and I met in 2005 when we were both interns in Sen. [Chuck] Schumer’s office (along with Teddy Goff). So Schumer is allowed at least partial credit for this marriage!” Pics http://bit.ly/2x77MBlhttp://bit.ly/2wAZK1W SPOTTED: Teddy Goff, Genevieve Roth, Chloe Malle and Perrin Ireland.

–Devan Barber, political director at End Citizens United, and Perrin Cooke, who returns to Covington and Burling as an associate next month, were married Sunday night at Fathom Gallery on 14th St in D.C. “Friend of the couple Sadie Weiner officiated. Great crew of former DSCC, Hagan, and DNC/Obama alum were there. The party continued at Kingfisher!” Pics http://bit.ly/2iXAw9a http://bit.ly/2w1cmMbhttp://bit.ly/2gAPNZd

SPOTTED: Danielle Friedman, Lauren Passalacqua, Andrew Piatt, Zach Wineburg, Christie Roberts, Dylan Laslovich, Laura Hatalsky, Lanae Erickson, Patrick McHugh, Monica McHugh, Lauren Dillon, Ben Ray, Annette Lee, Stephanie Nielsen, Shaan Gajria, Mike Harney, Helen Hare, Phil Munson, Will Cooke, Ben Harney, Travis Cooke, Dorothy Allen, Fae Jencks.

ENGAGED — Christopher Quintyne, parliamentary clerk in the Senate Parliamentarian’s Office, proposed to Erica Loewe, director at the Podesta Group. The couple met in Conference Room E at the Podesta Group in 2013. “We should probably thank Paul Brathwaite for having coffee with me post-law school. Not only did I get great career advice, but I found my future wife. I’d say it was a productive meeting.” Pic http://bit.ly/2vGdWYx

— OBAMA ALUMNI — Dan Brundage proposed to Yesenia Miranda this weekend in Rancho Mirage, California. Brundage is a Navy officer who previously worked in the Obama W.H., Commerce Dept. and 2008 campaign. Miranda is a child behavioral specialist. The couple resides in San Diego with their pup Bean and met at a bar in the city in the fall of 2014. Pic http://politi.co/2gHQEuX (h/t Dan’s sister Amy)

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Maggie Moore, associate at government relations firm Sternhell Group (hat tip: boyfriend Charlie Liebschutz) … Kelu Chao, who runs VOA’s content, produced in 45 languages (h/t John Lippman) … Matthew Sonneborn, comms director for Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and SBA comms alum (h/t Sophia Kim) … Patrick Collins … Will Taliaferro, partner at GMMB (h/ts Jon Haber)

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: April Ryan, WH correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN political analyst. How she got her start in journalism: “I started in journalism during my freshman year in college at Morgan State University on the local radio station, WEAA-FM. I was a talk show producer and then went on to do news reporting and anchoring at other radio stations. But for a short stint during freshman year, simultaneously I was a radio jazz DJ on WEAA spinning records between classes on Fridays and on Sunday nights. Journalism won.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2iYNfbR

BIRTHDAYS: Brian Wolff, EVP for public policy and external affairs at Edison Electric Institute … Holly Rosenkrantz … Sean McNabb (h/t Courto) … former Fed chair Paul Volcker … former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) … Clay Risen, deputy editor at the NYT op-ed page … Anne Marie Hoffman, principal at the Harbour Group and an RNC alum … Ted Greenberg … Matthew Vail, a George W. Bush and Rick Scott alum … David Fauvre, counsel at Arnold & Porter … CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave … Hamilton Fish, publisher of The New Republic … Hans Riemer … Mike Castaldo … Iris Weinshall … Issa alum Dale Neugebauer … Katie Weiss … Abby McIntyre … Noam Lee, DGA’s national finance director … Anita Huslin … Bonnie Wood … Politico’s Aaron Lorenzo … Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) … Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) … Politico’s Erica Donovan (h/t Meredith McPhillips) …

… journalist Stephanie Green … WSJ reporter Ted Mann … Catherine Reynolds, CBS News Capitol Hill producer, celebrating with a big Clemson Tiger win over the weekend (h/t her Capitol Hill girls) … Gabrielle Tarbert, the pride of Harford County, Maryland, is 26. She celebrated this weekend in Chicago with friends (h/t Rachel Wein) … Jeremy Furchtgott of Baron Public Affairs (h/t sister Diana) … Zoe Heiliczer, staff assistant for Rep. Barry Loudermilk (h/t brother Jordan) … Melissa Sowerwine, VP of operations at Red Six Solutions … Rob Lehman … Terri Hasdorff … Matthew Allen … Courtney Neale … Francis Nelms … Jason Spear … Erin Reif … Enrique Padron … Annie Nguyen … John Burmaster … Jessica Mejia (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Anne Marie Frawley … Kum Kang … Ed Talbot … Cheche Mozingo … Bob Newhart … Raquel Welch … movie director Werner Herzog is 75 (h/t Nadia Szold) … Michael Keaton (h/t AP)

****** A message from Hewlett Packard Enterprise: To super compete, America must super compute. Supercomputing is key to future breakthroughs in medicine, science and manufacturing. As the designer and builder of more supercomputers than any other company in the world, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is helping America increase its competitive edge in not only today‘s economy, but tomorrow’s. Visit http://ift.tt/2w02v9q to learn more about how HPE supercomputers help America compete. ******

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Posted in news | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on HARVEY relief coming this week, debt ceiling could be attached — TRUMP’S TEST: Time to cut deals — Framing the DACA debate — POLITICO 50 out today — LOUISE LINTON speaks — B’DAY: April Ryan

3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

Good Morning,

What’s in This week’s Report:

  • Three Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch
  • Government Shutdown vs. Debt Ceiling – Which is More Important to Stocks?
  • Market Impact of Hurricane Harvey
  • Energy Market Update

Futures are trading moderately lower while international shares were mixed o/n due to heightened tensions between North Korea and the US over the weekend.

Economically, Global Composite PMI data were generally inline o/n while Eurozone Retail Sales were slightly underwhelming however focus remained largely on geopolitics.

In M&A News, UTX has agreed to buy COL for $30B.

News Headlines:

As the abbreviated trading week gets underway, there is one notable economic report to watch: Factory Orders (E: -3.1%), and several Fed speakers: Brainard (7:30 a.m. ET), Kashkari (1:10 p.m. ET), and Kaplan (7:00 p.m. ET).

But, geopolitics continue to be the primary focus of the market and any developments for the worse with North Korea will spur a swift risk-off reaction from investors.

Sincerely,

CapitalistHQ.com

 

 

Stocks

090517 1423 3MarketCata2 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report
090517 1423 3MarketCata3 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

This Week

The key news over the weekend was the further escalation of tensions between the US and North Korea. But despite the uptick, foreign markets performed decently well as European markets were down only modestly while Asian markets ex-KOSPI (the Korean market) were mixed. For now, the ominous headlines from the weekend are being at least partially ignored.

Looking at last week’s performance, Stocks bounced back and closed not far from recent all-time highs as good economic data, benign inflation data, and hope for tax cuts pushed stocks higher. The S&P 500 rose 1.37% last week and is up 10.6% year to date.

Stocks exited last week not far from recent highs as decent economic data (ok growth metrics, benign inflation numbers) combined with upbeat tax cut comments by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin overcame more geopolitical worries regarding North Korea. Markets were flat through the early part of last week before they rallied Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to close with solid gains.

3 Catalysts for the Market, Plus a Wildcard to Watch

Ever since I started my career I’ve viewed the post Labor Day time in the market as the “make or break” period of the year—because I’ve found the September-December months provide an inordinate share of both risks and opportunities for portfolios… and I believe this year will be no different.

So, as we start this “stretch run” into the end of the year, the current market set up remains as follows: Stocks have had a great year from a return standpoint, and momentum and the benefit of the doubt remain with the bulls. Yet at the same time, cracks are appearing in this Teflon market, and as such I view the market as being at much more of a tipping point than most analysts.

I believe we will either get the positive catalysts that will send stocks higher between now and year end, or the forces that have powered stocks higher throughout 2017 (earnings growth, momentum) will begin to recede, potentially opening an “air pocket” like we saw in August 2015 and early 2016.

I want to spend time today focusing on the key catalysts that I believe will decide whether the market extends the 2017 gains between now and year end, or whether

we see a pullbac.

But before I go into these catalysts, with regards to the weekend’s news, it goes without saying that a military conflict with North Korea is a near-term bearish gamechanger.

To be clear, I do not think that it will happen, but at the same time the level of tension here is rising considerably. If there is a military strike against North Korea, reducing tactical positions will be prudent, and it’s one reason why I continue to advocate buying puts on the Nasdaq or Russell with September or October expirations.

Away from North Korea, the catalysts that, in our opinion, will make or break 2017 are: Tax cuts, earnings, and the ECB/Fed decisions.

Catalyst 1: Tax Cuts. Why This Matters—It Could Spark Another 5% Rally (Easily). Tax cut disappointment is a risk to the markets, but in reality, the likely market implications for the tax cut issue are either 1) Nothing, or 2) Positive.

I say that for a simple reason… the market is expecting very little in the way of tax cuts (28% corporate rate, foreign profit repatriation). So, it’ll take literally no change to the tax code to really disappoint markets and cause a tax cut related pullback. Conversely, the market has not priced in 25% (or lower) corporate tax rates and aggressive foreign profit repatriation. If that happens, expected 2018 S&P 500 EPS will rise immediately to $145/share (conservatively), which should allow the S&P 500 to rally close to 5% and still not breach 18X 2018 earnings.

Key Dates: There needs to be a formal bill introduced into one of the chambers of Congress by mid-October if we’re going to get something done by early 2018. If there’s no bill by then, look for stocks to be mildly disappointed. If there’s nothing by year end, look for it to be a headwind.

Catalyst 2: Earnings. Why This Matters—It Could Make the Market Too Expensive on a Valuation Basis. The 2017 earnings estimate for the S&P 500 is about $131/share. The 2018 S&P 500 earnings estimate is $140/share. That’s about 7% yoy earnings growth—so that’s accounted for the vast majority of the S&P 500’s 10% YTD return.

But, there are some early signs that the growth rate of earnings is starting to peak. More specifically, a good Q2 earnings season failed to spark much of a rally in the market, so if Q3 earnings disappoint (even a little bit) that could cause some concern about that $140 2018 S&P 500 EPS, and investors might begin to book profits, which could easily snowball given extended valuations.

Key Dates: Oct. 9. That’s the unofficial start of Q3 earnings season (the big banks report that week).

Catalysts 3: Fed/ECB. Why This Matters—The Dollar. The ECB decision on the announcement of tapering (which will come this Thursday), and the Fed’s commentary at the meeting on Sept. 20, will be important for the markets for one main reason—currencies.

The Dollar Index is near multi-year lows on the expectation of ECB tapering, and that’s been an unsung tailwind on the markets so far in 2017. But, if the ECB surprises this Thursday and doesn’t announce its intention to taper QE starting in 2018, the dollar will surge and the euro will drop, and that could be a surprise headwind on U.S. stocks.

Additionally, since July the market has largely convinced itself that the Fed won’t hike rates in December, but it’s important to realize that Fed leadership (Yellen, Dudley, Fisher) haven’t really confirmed that expectation. If economic data gets better between now and then, even with low inflation, the market could have to price in another rate hike, which could also be a near-term headwind.

Key Dates: Sept. 7 (ECB Meeting), Sept. 20 (FOMC meeting).

Wildcard to Watch: Mueller Investigation. Why It Matters—No tax cuts. The media wants to link this investigation with possible impeachment, but that remains incredibly unlikely. Instead, the real threat to markets here is further reduction in the possibility of tax cuts. If there is some bombshell revelation it could cause further division in the GOP, and reduce the chances for tax cuts… and that would be a headwind on stocks.

Economic Data (What You Need to Know in Plain English)

 

Need to Know Econ from Last Week

Economic data remained unbelievably consistent last week. Inflation continued to underwhelm, “soft” survey-based data (the PMIs) remain very strong, and actual hard economic data remains just “ok.” As such, nothing really changed last week from an economic standpoint. Growth is “ok,” but not enough to cause a “rising tide” in markets while inflation remains stubbornly low, and a December rate hike remains unlikely.

Looking first at inflation data, it was universally disappointing last week. The wage data in the jobs report again slightly missed expectations as wages rose 0.1% m/m vs. (E) 0.2%, and just 2.5% yoy vs. (E) 2.6%. Earlier in the week, the Core PCE Price Index met low expectations, showing a 0.1% m/m rise and rising 1.4% yoy, (again, as expected).

Bottom line, statistically there are just no signs of an acceleration of inflation. We’re not at risk of deflation at this point, but the bottom line is that we’re just not seeing the type of data that implies an economic reflation is taking hold. Practically, the chances of a December rate hike went down last week.

Looking at last week’s growth data, it was a mixed bag. The jobs report was slightly disappointing, as job adds were just 156k vs. (E) 180k while unemployment and wages also slightly underwhelmed. However, the reading in total was nowhere near our “Too Cold” scenario that would make us worry about the labor market.

Still, the soft jobs number was in stark contrast to the very strong August manufacturing PMI, which surged to 58.8 vs. (E) 56.6, and saw New Orders (the leading indicator) stay above 60 (a very strong reading).

Finally, the revised look at Q2 GDP was stronger than expected at 3.0% vs. (E) 2.8%, and the gains were driven by consumer spending (which make this a better-quality 3% than if the gains were driven by something else).

Now, while there were gives and takes, the bottom line is that there isn’t anywhere near enough evidence to imply we’re seeing a broad economic acceleration. Yes, activity is solid, but 1) 3.0% GDP isn’t going to spur stocks to material new highs when they are trading at 17.5X 2018 EPS, and 2) There remains a sizeable gap between “survey” data like the PMI, and “hard” economic numbers like durable goods, retail sales, industrial production, etc. That gap must close if we’re going to see an uptick in economic activity.

 

Important Economic Data This Week

As is usually the case for the week following the jobs report, this week is pretty quiet from an economic data point, although we do get the all-important ECB meeting on Thursday.

Starting with the ECB, which is the undisputed highlight of the calendar this week, the question for this meeting is simple: Will the ECB announce that starting in 2018, QE will be reduced (or tapered)?

The answer is likely “Yes,” but on Friday there were a couple of press reports that implied that might not be the case. We’ll do an ECB preview in Wednesday’s issue that will detail the potential market reaction depending on the answer to that key ECB question. For now, despite Friday’s rumors, most everyone expects a tapering announcement.

Looking at the economic data this week, most of the key prints are already out. We got the global composite manufacturing PMIs yesterday, and this morning, and we get the US numbers tomorrow morning. However, given the strength in the manufacturing PMI from last week, it would take a shockingly bad number to change anyone’s outlook on US growth. Bottom line, this week is all about the ECB, as that is the first major event of September—and it has the potential to move the dollar, bond yields and stocks.

 

Commodities, Currencies & Bonds

090517 1423 3MarketCata4 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

090517 1423 3MarketCata5 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

In Commodities, Commodities were rather volatile last week as Harvey wreaked havoc in the energy complex while economic data and central bank expectations drove price action in the metals. The benchmark commodity tracking index ETF, DBC, rose 2.23% on the week.

Beginning with energy, the typical major influences on the oil market: OPEC and US supply and production data, took a backseat while Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on downstream oil industry operations across the Gulf Coast. WTI finished the week down 1.07% but RBOB gasoline futures were the big mover, as they ran up 12.82%. The September contract closed at a two-year-plus high before expiration on Thursday.

What happens next in the energy markets will be all about how quickly the refineries come back online, and when downstream operations are restored to normal. If the damage keeps refineries shut, expect further volatility and notable strength in the refined products while a return to normal operations would be demand-side bullish for oil, and would see the products’ bid unwind.

Additionally, Hurricane Irma is churning towards the US, and if the expected track begins to favor a Gulf landfall, expect speculation bids to come flowing into the energy space again, including natural gas, which traded well last week on the weather-related drama and a less-reported bullish development in supply. Nat gas rose 5.84% to end at a six-week high.

In metals, gold broke out to the highest level since the election, with futures adding 2.58% on the week. Technically speaking, gold is trending higher. Based on the most-recent data, the fundamentals are bullish as interest rates remain near the lows for the year while inflation still is very soft (a bullish scenario for non-yielding safe havens like gold). Copper traded well last week despite the late-week strength in the dollar. Industrial metals continue to paint a rosy picture for the health of the global economy, and that is supportive of continued gains in risk assets like stocks.

 

 090517 1423 3MarketCata6 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

090517 1423 3MarketCata7 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

Looking at Currencies and Bonds, the Dollar Index hit a fractional new low for 2017 thanks to heavy selling Friday despite the fact that nothing actually dollar negative happened last week. The Dollar Index declined about 0.5%, with all the losses coming Friday.

The catalyst for the dollar weakness Friday was a lack of liquidity more than anything else. Neither Yellen nor Draghi said anything new, but, it was especially Draghi’s comments that sent the euro surging and the dollar dropping… on a Friday in late August at 3:00 p.m. Not exactly the busiest time in the currency markets.

The reason there was a positive euro/negative dollar reaction on Friday was because Draghi didn’t try and “talk down” the euro. We thought this could be a hawkish move, and we were partially right. It wasn’t so much that Draghi was dismissive of the higher euro in his comments. Instead, he just didn’t reference it as a problem, and between that and the lack of liquidity, it sent the euro to new, two-and-a-half-year highs, and the Dollar Index to fresh lows.

But, to be clear, nothing “happened” on Friday that meant a resumption of the euro strength/dollar weakness. That longer-term issue will be decided much more by the data this week and how explicit and aggressive the ECB is in its tapering at its meeting during the first week of September.

Turning to Treasuries, they largely ignored the drama on Friday. The 10-year yield dipped 2 basis points last week and spent the entire week largely churning sideways except for a brief pop above 2.20% following Tuesday’s rally in stocks.

Looking at bonds, whether we see new 2017 lows in the 10-year yield will be dependent on the Fed (whether they hike in December or not) and on tax cuts (if they do pass before year end, the 10-year yield is going to surge). So, until we get more clarity on those issues (which could come this week) expect more sideways churn in yields just above the 2017 lows.

The Dollar Index and 10-year Treasury yield hit fresh 2017 lows last week, but recovered to finish the week little changed. The Dollar Index was basically flat while the 10-year Treasury yield dipped 2 basis points.

The major influence on the currency and bond markets last week was the North Korea rocket launch over Japan. It caused a knee-jerk, risk-off move in currencies and bonds that pushed the dollar below 92.00 and the euro above 1.20 for the first time in 2 1/2 years.

But, just like it’s effect on the stock market, the effect of North Korea on the currency and bond markets was transitory. By the close on Friday, the Dollar Index had recouped all the early losses, and the euro had given back the early week gains. That makes sense, because the major influence on the dollar and euro remains whether the ECB announces tapering of QE this week, and whether the Fed hikes rates in December.

On that topic, there were some headlines Friday that implied the ECB may not announce tapering this week, in part because of the large rally in the euro (the strong euro is a headwind on EU economic growth).

Those reports on Friday were just rumors and innuendo, nothing concrete, but it brings up an important point as we start this week. A tapering announcement is already priced in to the currency markets with the dollar sub-93 and the euro above 1.18. If the ECB delays this tapering, that could easily end the months’ long dollar downtrend (although again, that is not the likely scenario).

Turning to the bond market, the 10-year yield hit 2.09% on the flight to safety following the North Korea news. But yields bounced back, and the 10-year yield closed down only slightly on the week.

Bonds also will move off the ECB this week, but inflation and economic growth remain the bigger influences on the bond market. Until we see upticks in both, bond yields will remain at uncomfortably low levels (especially given what that implies about future economic growth).

 

 090517 1423 3MarketCata8 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

090517 1423 3MarketCata9 - 3 Market Catalysts and a Wildcard to Watch – Weekly Market Report

 

Special Reports and Editorial

Shutdown vs. Debt Ceiling

Washington will be at the epicenter of markets in September, and for four reasons: Progress (or lack thereof) on tax cuts, Fed balance sheet reduction, debt ceiling increase and government shutdown. I’ve covered the first two in the ACS, but I haven’t spent a lot of time on the latter two. And, once media coverage moves on from the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey, as it undoubtedly will shortly, it will re-focus on Washington, and specifically the debt ceiling and government shutdown, as both are coming up fast. The shutdown and debt ceiling fight have the potential to cause a pullback in stocks, and both will undoubtedly be referenced by scary headlines on the financial media.

In reality, the chances of either event actually hitting stocks is low, and I want to spend a few minutes to give you the “need to know” on each event, and what needs to happen for either event to push stocks lower.

Government Shutdown

Deadline Dates: Sept. 30. Why It’s A Potential Problem: The border wall.

What Needs To Happen: Congress must pass a budget by that date or begin to close non-essential government services. Last Time It Happened: 2013. Will It Cause A Pullback? Almost certainly not.

The fight here seems to revolve around Trump’s border wall. The president wants funding for the wall included in the budget, but Democrats have vowed to vote against any budget that includes the border wall. That stalemate could cause a shutdown as Republicans would have to vote as a block to pass the budget over Democrat opposition, and that’s just not something that’s likely to happen. What Likely Happens: Sept. 30 isn’t a hard deadline, as Congress can pass short-term “continuing resolutions” to keep the government funded and open while the negotiations get settled. Probability of a Shutdown: 20%.

Debt Ceiling. Deadline Date(s): Sept. 30, mid-October. Why It’s a Potential Problem: Because it’s Washington, and they can’t do anything easily (at least not so far). What Needs to Happen: Congress must pass a debt limit extension by the deadline. Last Time It Happened: Never.

The government has never failed to raise the debt ceiling, although there was a big scare in 2011 that spooked markets. Will It Cause A Pullback? Almost certainly not. There isn’t any specific issue that could cause the debt ceiling to not be extended, but again, it’s Washington—so nearly anything is possible. What Likely Happens: Of the two issues (government shutdown and debt ceiling) the debt ceiling is the much more serious one, because there isn’t the ability to kick the can down the road like there is with funding the government (i.e. no shortterm extensions). So, I’d expect the debt ceiling will be raised with (relatively) little drama.

Probability of a Default (i.e. not raising the debt ceiling): 15% (and that’s probably a mild over estimation). Bottom line, these two events will dominate headlines in the coming weeks, but a cold, unemotional look at the facts strongly suggest these are not going to be material headwinds on the markets this fall. Progress (or not) on tax cuts, earnings, economic data and geopolitical dramas are the major threats to this 2017 rally as we enter the stretch run into year end.

Hurricane Harvey Market Impact

We got a couple of questions last week from advisors about the market impact of Hurricane Harvey, so we imagined you might be getting similar calls from your clients. So, I wanted to clearly and briefly outline the market impact of the storm.

Macro Impact: Not Much. From a macro standpoint (Fed policy, GDP growth, inflation) Hurricane Harvey won’t have much of an effect. While clearly a significant human tragedy for Houston and Southeast Texas, storms simply don’t have a lasting effect on markets. Katrina and Sandy had impacts on the local economies, but again, the broader macro influence wasn’t big. Harvey does not change our “cautiously positive” stance on markets.

Micro Impact: The more palpable impact of Hurricane Harvey will be on specific market sectors, although I will not provide a list of “winners” given the damage wrought upon Houston and other parts of Texas. That said, companies that likely will see increased demand due to the storm are: Refiners (HFC, DK), trucking companies (KNX), and equipment rental companies (URI). Unfortunately, there’s not a clean ETF for these sectors, and the only tradeable infrastructure ETF is a global ETF, so I don’t think it’s applicable here. Companies that are likely to see business decline because of Harvey are: Natural gas and oil E&P companies due to a lower production and lower prices (ETF is XOP), and insurers. Looking at insurers, the focus needs to be on property and casualty insurers. The big insurance ETF, KIE, is about 42% property and casualty insurance from an allocation standpoint. The ETF traded down 1% last week, but in some ways, I view this as a potential opportunity to buy insurers on a dip (if this continues).

First, P&C insurers are just 40% of the ETF. Yes, there will be more exposure through reinsurance (10.8%) of assets, but that still leaves about half the assets unaffected. Additionally, 24% of the exposure of the fund is to the UK, which clearly should have little exposure to Harvey. Point being, I’m not saying buy it today by any means, but being long insurance companies are like betting with the house in a casino—over the longer term, they always win. If Harvey creates an unreasonable downdraft in KIE, we will likely allocate capital to it for longer-term accounts. We’ll be watching this one going forward.

Energy Market Update (Harvey and the EIA)

It has certainly been a wild ride in the energy markets since Harvey first hit. Last week, the EIA reported weekly inventory numbers, and on balance the data was slightly bullish thanks to a large oil draw and decline in lower 48 production. WTI crude oil prices rallied in response, but soon rolled over, as Harvey remains the most pressing influence on the energy markets. The headlines in the EIA data were mixed, as products were only little changed vs. expectations of modest draws while the headline oil number was bullish with a draw of -5.4M bbls vs. (E) -1.8M bbls. In the details of the report, lower 48 production fell -12K b/d, the first decline since mid-June.

But, the drop was from a two-year high, and was largely expected as the production side of the industry in the Gulf braced for Harvey. The trend of rising US production is still well intact, and long term that remains a considerable headwind on the market from a supply standpoint. The real focus of the energy markets right now remains on Harvey, and the implications for downstream industry operations, most notably refineries. Most experts on the ground are saying it will take another week, minimum, just to get a reasonable assessment of the damage and condition of oil and refining infrastructure. Until that time, traders are fearing the worst and gasoline futures are the biggest beneficiary of the storm’s damage.

Secondarily, WTI is trading heavy as near-term demand has been dramatically reduced by the refinery outages. Yet at some point, the gains in RBOB gasoline futures will be supportive of crude oil, because once back online, refineries will be running at the highest capacity possible to make up for the days (or likely weeks) operations have been down. That spike in physical demand will likely carry over to oil, but only once we gain some clarity on when refining operations will come back online.

So, here are the takeaways: 1) Harvey had a bullish impact on the “crack” or refining spread, which is the relationship between RBOB gasoline futures and WTI crude oil futures (think of it as a currency pair like USD/JPY but RBOB/WTI). 2) The longer refineries are shut, the more that trade will continue to support gasoline price outperformance. 3) The longerterm market fundamentals remain bearish, as lower 48 production is just barely off of 2017 highs and OPEC’s influence has faded substantially. The wildcard to watch will be US production in the coming weeks. It is not likely that Harvey will have had a material impact on upstream operations, but if that turns out to be the case (especially in the Gulf), then longer-term fundamentals could get bullish, as relentless growth in US production finally takes a breather.

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What ending DACA will mean — CONGRESS already eyeing immigration reform, OBAMA to speak out — AP: N. KOREA likely ‘readying launch of a ballistic missile,’ maybe ICBM — B’DAY: Blake Hounshell

Good Monday morning and happy Labor Day! LONDON CALLING — You may already have seen it, but the first edition of London Playbook went out early this morning. Our new London-based reporter Jack Blanchard is at the helm. London Playbook will bring you up to speed on the day ahead in Westminster. The launch edition featured a scoop on the progress of the Brexit talks, plus an interview with U.K. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. Sign up for free http://politi.co/2txnK5SThe first edition http://politi.co/2gEkK2p

BUZZ — IF TRUMP ENDS DACA, which it seems like he will in some form, Republicans on Capitol Hill are already considering a push for immigration reform, according to people we’ve spoken to in recent hours. There is no finalized plan yet about what the GOP will do, but there are already quiet conversations in Republican ranks. There will be tremendous pressure from companies and outside groups to prevent the full repeal of DACA. Congress already has a full plate, and this is just another issue they’ll have to confront.

Story Continued Below

TOP STORY — “Trump has decided to end DACA, with 6-month delay,” by Eliana Johnson: “Senior White House aides huddled Sunday afternoon to discuss the rollout of a decision likely to ignite a political firestorm — and fulfill one of the president’s core campaign promises. The administration’s deliberations on the issue have been fluid and fast moving, and the president has faced strong warnings from members of his own party not to scrap the program. … [C]onversations with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argued that Congress — rather than the executive branch — is responsible for writing immigration law, helped persuade the president to terminate the program and kick the issue to Congress, the two sources said.

“In a nod to reservations held by many lawmakers, the White House plans to delay the enforcement of the president’s decision for six months, giving Congress a window to act, according to one White House official. But a senior White House aide said that chief of staff John Kelly, who has been running the West Wing policy process on the issue, ‘thinks Congress should’ve gotten its act together a lot longer ago.’ White House aides caution that — as with everything in the Trump White House — nothing is set in stone until an official announcement has been made.” http://politi.co/2examFe

— NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush: “[S]ome key details had not yet been resolved. Among them: whether beneficiaries of the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, would be allowed to renew their protected status during the six-month period. … The temporary solution has been the subject of quiet negotiations between Mr. Trump’s legislative staff and members of Mr. Ryan’s staff, according to an administration official familiar with the talks. … The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who are both advisers to the president, back extending the DACA protections.” http://nyti.ms/2xIuPPZ

SCOOP — “Obama to speak out if Trump ends DACA,” by Michael Grunwald: “Obama used executive actions to launch the program in June 2012, providing assurances before his re-election that he would protect the so-called ‘Dreamers.’ Trump had suggested in the past that he didn’t want to deport Dreamers, saying in April that they should ‘rest easy,’ but the immigration hawks in his administration have argued that DACA is an illegal program. Obama’s current plan is to post a statement on Facebook and link to it on Twitter, where the former president has more than 94 million followers.” http://politi.co/2wxBjCx

— BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman and Adrian Carrasquillo: “There have been some efforts from within Trump’s White House to save DACA in recent days, but there has been limited support for keeping the Obama program among senior staff. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway recruited Hispanic Trump supporters to reach out to the president in a behind-the-scenes bid to get him to keep the program, according to a source. As it became clearer that Trump is leaning towards ending it, a source said Conway supports ‘POTUS outcomes on this. Period.’” http://bzfd.it/2gDuY36

THE TWO ENDS OF THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE — FLORIDA REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (@RosLehtinen), who’s retiring after this term: “After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his ‘great heart,’ @POTUS slams door on them. Some ‘heart’…” … IOWA REP. STEVE KING (@SteveKingIA): “Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”

PIC DU JOUR — NPR’s @adrianflorido: “I just spotted @CBP immigration agents outside the main flood shelter in downtown Houston. This is why immigrants don’t want to come.” http://bit.ly/2eUkYi6

HOUSTON CHRONICLE’s SUSAN CARROLL and LOMI KRIEL: “Nearly four days after Harvey’s record flooding slammed a rescue boat into an Interstate 45 frontage road bridge, family members of the final, missing volunteer pulled his body from Cypress Creek in Spring. Alonso Guillen, a 31-year-old disc jockey from Lufkin … was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program … His father is a lawful permanent, but his mother is still in the application process for legal status.

“Reached at her home in Piedras Negras, Mexico, across the border from Eagle Pass, Rita Ruiz de Guillen, 62, said … she hoped U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials would take pity and grant her a humanitarian visa so that she could come to Houston and bury her son, but she was turned back at the border. ‘When we are with God, there are no borders,’ she said. ‘Man made borders on this earth.’” http://bit.ly/2exrrPe

TRUMP’S LABOR DAY MESSAGE — His op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “We must fix our self-destructive tax code” http://bit.ly/2gyIcKJ

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BULLETIN at 2:17 a.m. — “SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – S. Korea media: Seoul military says N. Korea appears to be readying launch of a ballistic missile, possibly an ICBM.”

WHAT THIS MEANS — “North Korea defies predictions — again — with early grasp of weapons milestone,” by WaPo’s Joby Warrick: “The device that shook the mountains over the Punggye-ri test site on Sunday represented a quantum leap for North Korea’s nuclear capability, producing an explosion at least five times greater than the country’s previous tests and easily powerful enough to devastate a large city. And if studies confirm that the bomb was a thermonuclear weapon — as North Korea claims — it would be a triumph of a different scale: a major technical milestone reached well ahead of predictions, putting the world’s most destructive force in the hands of the country’s 33-year-old autocrat.

“The feat instantly erased lingering skepticism about Pyongyang’s technical capabilities and brought the prospect of nuclear-tipped North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles a step closer to reality, U.S. analysts and weapons experts said. Many predicted that a miniaturized version of the presumed thermonuclear bomb would soon be in North Korea’s grasp, and that it probably already exists.” http://wapo.st/2iVBkvt

— “South Korea simulates attack on North’s nuke site after test,” by AP’s Foster Klug and Youkyung Lee in Seoul: “Following U.S. warnings to North Korea of a ‘massive military response,’ South Korea on Monday fired missiles into the sea to simulate an attack on the North’s main nuclear test site a day after Pyongyang detonated its largest ever nuclear test explosion. South Korea’s Defense Ministry also said Monday that North Korea appeared to be planning a future missile launch, possibly of an ICBM, to show off its claimed ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons, though it was unclear when this might happen.” http://bit.ly/2gxs38r

— “Seoul tries to ignore Trump’s criticism: ‘They worry he’s kind of nuts,’ one observer says,” by WaPo’s Anna Fifield in Tokyo: “Moon Jae-in’s office said that his government would continue to work towards peaceful denuclearization after tweets and actions from Trump that have left South Koreans scratching their heads at why the American president is attacking an ally at such a sensitive time. …

“‘It’s strange to see Trump going after South Korea more aggressively than he’s going after China, especially since China also thinks that dialogue is central to solving this problem,’ said John Delury, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul.” http://wapo.st/2eCOpsh

— “Mattis warns of ‘massive military response’ to NK nuclear threat,” by CNN’s Angela Dewan, Taehoon Lee and Eli Watkins: http://cnn.it/2eBJFD2

TRANSLATING TRUMP — “Trump Can’t Stop Trade With North Korea. But He Does Have Options,” by NYT’s Paul Mozur in Shanghai: “President Trump said on Sunday that the United States could consider stopping all trade with countries doing business in North Korea, in a move that could spell economic catastrophe for the pugnacious country. One problem: It would mean economic disaster for the United States as well. Despite years of economic sanctions and international condemnation, North Korea still conducts modest trade with a host of United States allies, including Brazil, Germany and Mexico.

“But the North’s biggest partner by far is China, which accounts for about four-fifths of its trade and helps the country with its fuel, food and machinery needs. China is also the largest trading partner of the United States, in a relationship worth nearly $650 billion a year in goods and services covering a range of items, like auto parts, apple juice and Apple’s widely anticipated new iPhone. …

“The United States has limited options. It could more broadly target Chinese companies that do business in North Korea. But that could prove ineffective against a Chinese government that worries that trade limits could worsen conditions in the North, making the situation there even more unpredictable.” http://nyti.ms/2vYQYHE

FOR YOUR RADAR — REUTERS/Xiamen, China — “Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that Washington’s actions towards Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States could be described as ‘state hooliganism’. ‘I am inclined to call what is happening state hooliganism,’ he told reporters at a BRICS summit in China.”

— SPEAKING OF “STATE HOOLIGANISM” — WaPo’s Josh Rogin last year: “In a series of secret memos sent back to Washington … diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet. … [I]n the first term of the Obama administration, Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attache in Moscow and killed his dog.” http://wapo.st/2931Wof

ABC’S MARY BRUCE speaks to MATT MIKA — Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, was shot during the congressional baseball practice in June. MIKA: “We all yelled gun. I don’t know who yelled it first and we started running. That’s when I turned like this and ran that way. That might have been when I got hit or when I was over there.” BRUCE: “You still don’t know when you got hit?” MIKA: “All I know is when I got around to the gate I had blood all over my chest, on my pants.” http://abcn.ws/2gEgNdY

COMING ATTRACTIONS — “Russia probes kick into high gear,” by Austin Wright and Ali Watkins: “The congressional Russia investigations are entering a new and more serious phase as lawmakers return from the August recess amid fresh revelations about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. In the coming weeks, both intelligence committees are expected to conduct closed-door interviews with high-ranking members of the Trump campaign, and potential witnesses could include Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. The two panels are also looking at possibly holding public hearings this fall. In addition, Trump Jr. is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is conducting its own parallel investigation into President Donald Trump and his associates’ alleged ties to Moscow.” http://politi.co/2eCOVpS

JOIN US! — We are heading to Georgetown University for our next “Playbook University” Thursday at 4:15 p.m. Jake and Anna, a spring 2017 fellow, will head to the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy to talk news of the day and introduce GU Politics’ newly-minted fellows class to Georgetown Hoyas at their annual open house. The fellows http://bit.ly/2v384IEEvent details http://bit.ly/2g6HHel

DAILY MAIL – “A new royal baby is on the way as thrilled Kate and William announce she is expecting their third child — but she is suffering from severe morning sickness again” http://dailym.ai/2eUmH74

HMM — “The Same Agency That Runs Obamacare Is Using Taxpayer Money to Undermine It,” by NYT’s Audrey Carlsen and Haeyoun Park: “Instead of using its outreach budget to promote the Affordable Care Act, the department made videos critical of the law. In June, the health department posted 23 video testimonials on YouTube from people who said they had been ‘burdened by Obamacare,’ including families, health care professionals and small business owners. … While it’s not certain where the money for the videos came from, several former health officials who worked in the Obama administration said that they suspect it came from the budget meant to promote Affordable Care Act. …

“In addition to the YouTube videos, the department has used Twitter and news releases to try to discredit the health law. Since being sworn in as health secretary on February 10, Tom Price has posted on Twitter 48 infographics advocating against Obamacare, all of which bear the health department’s logo.” http://nyti.ms/2vYe2pZ

SUSAN GLASSER in the latest “Global POLITICO” podcast interviews former DHS SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: “[M]ore than a month after naming John Kelly … Trump has yet to name a replacement as secretary of Homeland Security. Not only that, he appears nowhere close to doing so and has not even interviewed any candidates for the job. Big mistake, argues Jeh Johnson, who served as the Obama administration’s DHS chief until Trump’s inauguration in January.

“[J]ohnson says, ‘We need to have a Senate-confirmed secretary of Homeland Security; we need to have somebody occupying that office full time, 24/7, to keep his or her eye on aviation security, border security, cybersecurity, maritime security, FEMA, the Secret Service, and all the other things that DHS covers.’ In particular, he cited the Secret Service’s empty coffers and Trump’s failure to address America’s vulnerable election infrastructure a full year after the Russian tampering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election as crises where having a permanent secretary in place really matters.” http://politi.co/2eCJCahListen to the full podcast http://apple.co/2kAoZfH

SPEAKING OF ELECTIONS — “Cash-strapped states brace for Russian hacking fight,” by Cory Bennett, Eric Geller, Martin Matishak, and Tim Starks: “The U.S. needs hundreds of millions of dollars to protect future elections from hackers — but neither the states nor Congress is rushing to fill the gap. Instead, a nation still squabbling over the role Russian cyberattacks played in the 2016 presidential campaign is fractured about how to pay for the steps needed to prevent repeats in 2018 and 2020, according to interviews with dozens of state election officials, federal lawmakers, current and former [DHS] staffers and leading election security experts.

“These people agree that digital meddlers threaten the public’s confidence in America’s democratic process. And nearly everyone believes that the danger calls for collective action — from replacing the voting equipment at tens of thousands of polling places to strengthening state voter databases, training election workers and systematically conducting post-election audits. But those steps would require major spending, and only a handful of states’ legislatures are boosting their election security budgets, according to a POLITICO survey of state election agencies.

“And leaders in Congress are showing no eagerness to help them out. ‘States ought to get their own money up,’ said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, which oversees federal elections. ‘We’re borrowing money. We got a big debt limit coming up.’” http://politi.co/2eUQJHE

BUSINESS BURST — “Investors Hedge Their Bets Entering Choppiest Season for Markets,” by WSJ’s Gunjan Banerji: “U.S. stock investors have been unfazed this year by everything from North Korean missile launches to the congressional debt ceiling deadline. Now, as the most turbulent season for equities looms, hedging activity and money flows indicate that investors are starting to doubt that markets can only climb higher.” http://on.wsj.com/2wxZyQV

WEST COAST WATCH — “After Bay Area violence, California debates classifying ‘antifa’ as a street gang,” by L.A. Times’ James Queally, Ben Oreskes and Richard Winton: “As forces on the extremes of the nation’s ever-widening political divide continue to battle with fists and weapons on the streets of California, law enforcement officials and politicians have started debating whether these extremist groups should be classified as street gangs. Such a designation could give law enforcement new tools to combat the groups. Numerous laws on the books give authorities the power to restrict the movements of gang members and enhance criminal charges against them. But such a move raises legal issues because unlike with traditional street gangs, the underlying motive of these extremist groups is political expression rather than criminal enterprise.” http://lat.ms/2gxLwFU

CLICKER – MATT WUERKER’s cartoons in August – 8 keepers http://politi.co/2gxZyr7

****** A message from Hewlett Packard Enterprise: A nation‘s strength is increasingly measured by its technical prowess. As the designer and builder of more supercomputers than any other company in the world, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is proud to lead the way in one of the future‘s most important technologies. Visit http://ift.tt/2w02v9q to learn more about how Hewlett Packard Enterprise‘s supercomputers are helping create the future in science, medicine and national security. ******

MEDIAWATCH – “Trump’s EPA attacks AP reporter in personal terms,” by Matt Nussbaum: “President Donald Trump’s habit of singling out reporters for attacks is being adopted by his federal agencies, with the [EPA] excoriating an Associated Press reporter in unusually personal terms on Sunday after the reporter wrote a story that cast the agency in an unfavorable light. … ‘[T]he Associated Press’ Michael Biesecker wrote an incredibly misleading story about toxic land sites that are under water,’ the statement began. ‘Despite reporting from the comfort of Washington, Biesecker had the audacity to imply that agencies aren’t being responsive to the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.’ … It then continued the attacks on Biesecker, saying he ‘has a history of not letting the facts get in the way of his story’ and noting that a July story he wrote inaccurately characterized an interaction between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris.” http://politi.co/2eUXNUIThe original AP story http://bit.ly/2eD7tGx

— AP RESPONDS http://bit.ly/2gET9Ow

BONUS GREAT HOLIDAY WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from Great Barrington, Mass.:

–“The Exile,” by Khaled Almilaji in Toronto Life: “I worked as a doctor during the Syrian Civil War, treating wounded protesters and vaccinating children. When I moved to the U.S. to get my master’s, my future seemed clear. Then Trump’s travel ban left me stranded in Turkey, 5,000 miles away from my pregnant wife.” http://bit.ly/2wYu4VR (h/t Longreads.com)

–“Snow Fall: The Plane Went Down With His Wife, His Kid… and a Secret,” by Andrew Dubbins in The Daily Beast: “Tony Mink was an experienced pilot, but as he flew his family to a Rocky Mountain Christmas vacation, he may have cut one corner too many. And then the blizzard hit.” http://thebea.st/2vETTd3 (h/t Matt Brooks)

–“Dick Jokes, Drunk Takes, and Best Friends: How ‘Superbad’ Was Born,” by Andrew Gruttadaro in The Ringer: “The 2007 teen comedy still resonates. Ten years later, the cast and crew explain how it all came together.” http://bit.ly/2gzdEvYThe original trailer http://bit.ly/2iVmMMm

–“The Once and Future Liberalism,” by Walter Russell Mead in the Jan. 2012 edition of the American Interest: “The core institutions, ideas and expectations that shaped American life for the sixty years after the New Deal don’t work anymore. The gaps between the social system we inhabit and the one we now need are becoming so wide that we can no longer paper over them. But even as the failures of the old system become more inescapable and more damaging, our national discourse remains stuck in a bygone age.” http://bit.ly/2wvTSaW

–“The Search For Aaron Rodgers,” by Mina Kimes in ESPN the Magazine: “Winning isn’t everything. After Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay’s hero QB has been on a journey to find out what is.” http://es.pn/2gpE9QI (h/t Longform.org)

SPOTTED: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Sunday night performance of “A Little Night Music” at the Signature Theatre … Eric Schultz at the U.S. Open on Saturday where he saw CoCo Vandeweghe and then Rafael Nadal play

WEEKEND WEDDINGS – OBAMA ALUMNI — Matt Lehrich and Stephanie Beechem “were married at sunset yesterday in Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park, five years after meeting while working together in the Obama White House as members of the WH communications and research operations. Matt’s brother Jesse officiated and the crowd danced into the night. The couple is now based in San Francisco, where the groom is a communications consultant and the bride works for the University of California.” Pic http://politi.co/2wBl71A

SPOTTED: David Axelrod, Dan and Howli Pfeiffer, Amy Brundage, Rachel Racusen and Max Gleischman, Cody Keenan, Kristen Bartoloni, Bobby Whithorne, Ellen Canale, Sean Smith, Pat Cunnane, Hannah Hankins, Lauren Thorbjornsen, Marie Aberger, Andrew Nesi, Lauren Hickey, Kyle O’Connor, Tim Skoczek, Allison Kelly, Peter Velz, Ezra Mechaber, Jess Allen, Bart Jackson, Emily Cain.

— Sameer Punyani, an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and a former Obama appointee at the Pentagon and White House and a 2008 OFA campaign alum, and Bhavna Changrani, a DOJ trial attorney, were married on Sunday evening by the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Friends and family came from as far as London, India, and Australia to celebrate with the DC couple. The couple met through a dating app in December 2015. They had their first date in mid-January 2016 right before the ‘Snowpocalypse’ snowstorm. The couple went on five separate dates during the storm and the rest was history.” Pics http://politi.co/2wApytB http://politi.co/2eUBiPU

–SPOTTED: Rohit Punyani and Dipali Amin, Nick Lombardo and Rachel Goodman, Andrew and Alexandra Dawson, Dan Austell and Lynn Langton Austell, Vinisha Patel, Dan Kastner, Mike Abbate and Erica Woodward, Ursula Zeydler.

–Zach Cikanek, managing director at FP1 Strategies, and Jolyn Lorenzetti, government relations and PAC manager at Genworth Financial and an alum of Jeb 2016 and Romney 2012, got married on Saturday at St. Isaac Jogues in Hinsdale, Illinois, with an evening reception at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. The couple met while working for former Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.). Their honeymoon is an 11-night south Caribbean cruise. Pics http://politi.co/2gy76tNhttp://politi.co/2iWhOPf
SPOTTED: Charlie and Lisa Spies, Dave Kochel, Marisa Tank, Duane and Caroline Duncan, Keith Gardner and Jennifer Bogart-Gardner, Brian and Sarah Colgan, James and Iris Miller, James and Katie Christophersen, Uriel and Maya Dabby, Erin Kelly.

— Caitlin Poling, national security adviser to Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and
Andrew McLennand, who works at the State Department, got married on Saturday with a ceremony and reception at the Arts Club of Washington, the former home of President James Monroe. Pic http://politi.co/2exKWHB

TRANSITIONS — MICHAEL SHORT, who formerly worked in communications for the Trump White House, is now at the National Association of Manufacturing. … KAIVAN SHROFF has joined the Institute for Education as COO and director of strategy. He most recently was a civic tech fellow at Microsoft in New York City.

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Anu Rangappa, principal at Kolar Strategy Group and a DNC alum. How the Trump presidency is going: “Dishearteningly. I am a Democrat, but my patriotism far outweighs any sense of partisanship. My dad was the only of his siblings to learn to read and would cry himself to sleep from hunger as a child growing up in India. Within one generation, he became a celebrated professor in botany with a daughter who has flown aboard Air Force One. That kind of potential for a meteoric life-trajectory does not exist – so consistently for millions of people – anywhere else in the world. The President’s chaotic messaging and inconsistent, short-sighted policy prescriptions have dampened hopes that many more Americans, potential immigrants and citizens around the world can achieve such an unimaginable quality-of-life like the one my family has worked to have.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2wy6duG

BIRTHDAYS: Blake Hounshell, Politico magazine editor-in-chief (@blakehounshell) (hat tip: Ben Chang) … Jared Weinstein, a partner at Thrive Capital and a Bush W.H. alum … Harold Ickes … Anthony Weiner … Uber’s Keith Hensley, a Bush WH and Robert Gates alum … Jocelyn Pickford … William Hildebrandt Surgner … Wash Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio … Sophie VandeHei is 15 (h/t Autumn) … Brian Schweitzer, former Montana governor … Jared Allen, senior director for media relations at the National Automobile Dealers Association … Bernard Kerik … Michael McAuliff … The Economist’s Alex Travelli … Lynn Stinson … Bob Kenney … Politico’s Jeffrey Ahn … Laura Schlapp of Sen. Roberts’ office … Tom McInerney … Al Fish …

… Bernard Coleman III, global head of diversity and inclusion at Uber … Shira Kramer … Sean O’Hollaren, SVP of gov’t and public affairs at Nike and a Bush WH alum … Devin McBrayer … Estephania Gongora … Matthew Groves … Victoria Cram … Dana Gartzke … Glynnis MacNicol … Hannah Lerner … Kali Murphy … Brock McCleary … Chad Horrell, director at DCI Group … Chase Clymer … Graham Weinschenk … Matt Modell … Ashley Harvard … Jamie Moore … Jordan Fischer … Bernie Bennett … Jerry Huang … Daniel Pablo Pinto … Tyler Jones … Bailey Cultice … World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson … Beyonce Knowles (h/ts AP)

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Posted in news | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What ending DACA will mean — CONGRESS already eyeing immigration reform, OBAMA to speak out — AP: N. KOREA likely ‘readying launch of a ballistic missile,’ maybe ICBM — B’DAY: Blake Hounshell

TRUMP speaks after North Korea nuclear test: N.K. is ‘very hostile and dangerous’ to the US — OBAMA’s letter to TRUMP — SPOTTED at David Zaslav’s Hamptons party — KYLE PLOTKIN’s wedding

Good Sunday morning. ON TRUMP’S PLATE: A rogue North Korea, which he cannot convince to stop testing deadly weapons. The dual threat of a government shutdown and debt ceiling default, which needs to be solved by the end of the month. America’s fourth-largest city trying to recover from a historic storm, and a Congress that needs to spend billions of dollars to clean it up. A Republican leadership he’s been warring with. A stalled agenda. The nation’s longest war.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — TRUMP’S WEEK: TUESDAY: The president meets with the Big Six on tax reform. The Big Six are Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and NEC Director Gary Cohn. WEDNESDAY: Trump meets with House and Senate leadership, and travels to North Dakota for a tax reform event. THURSDAY: Trump hosts Amir Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah of Kuwait.

Story Continued Below

SPOTTED — VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE and SECOND LADY KAREN PENCE at National Community Church on Barracks Row this morning.

PRESIDENT TRUMP also went to church this morning, per the White House pool. He attended St. John’s, across from the White House.

**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/2lQswbh

BULLETIN — NORTH KOREA TESTS HYDROGEN BOMB. NYT’s CHOE SANG-HUN in Seoul: “North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in an extraordinary show of defiance against President Trump on Sunday, saying it had detonated a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“The test, which the North called a ‘complete success,’ was the first to clearly surpass the destructive power of the bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

“Mr. Trump threatened last month to bring ‘fire and fury’ to North Korea if it continued to threaten the United States with nuclear missiles, but the country and its leader, Kim Jong-un, has appeared unmoved, with the test on Sunday preceded by the launch last week of a ballistic missile over Japan into the north Pacific.” http://nyti.ms/2x2hncr

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP is tweeting this morning warning North Korea about their actions. @realDonaldTrump at 7:30 a.m.: “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States…..” … at 7:39 a.m.: “..North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.” … at 7:46 a.m.: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

— WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT from Sarah Huckabee Sanders at 9:14 a.m., per pooler John Bennett of CQ Roll Call: “The National security team is monitoring this closely. The President and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today. We will provide updates as necessary.”

Anna Fifield, WaPo Tokyo bureau chief (@annafifield): “The nuclear device that North Korea tested today was almost eight times the size of the American atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima”. … Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ): “Full statement from N. Korea on today’s nuclear test.” http://bit.ly/2wuxcai

MARTHA RADDATZ: speaks with SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TEXAS) on ABC’S “THIS WEEK”: RADDATZ: “We have shows of force. We have sanctions. Nothing seems to work. Do you to think it hurt or helped when President Trump talked about fire and fury? Just a very simple answer. Hurt or help?” CRUZ: “The president speaks in ways that I wouldn’t speak. But that is his prerogative. I do think it helps for North Korea and China to understand that we have a president who is strong. That is beneficial. I will say we’re seeing some signs that China may be more helpful than they have in the past with North Korea. Now, I have very little trust that that will continue, but I think the only way we have a chance of it continuing is if it is coming from American strength and not a policy of weakness or appeasement.”

TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: “I did speak with the president and it’s clear that this behavior is completely unacceptable. We have already started with sanctions against North Korea but I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the President for his strong consideration that anybody who wants to do trade or business with them would be prevented from doing trade or business with us. We are going to work with our allies, we will work with China but people need to cut off North Korea economically. This is unacceptable behavior.”

DEPT. OF DIPLOMACY — “Trump preparing withdrawal from South Korea trade deal, a move opposed by top aides,” by WaPo’s Damian Paletta: “President Trump has instructed advisers to prepare to withdraw the United States from a free-trade agreement with South Korea, several people close to the process said, a move that would stoke economic tensions with the U.S. ally as both countries confront a crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

“Withdrawing from the trade deal would back up Trump’s promises to crack down on what he considers unfair trade competition from other countries, but his top national security and economic advisers are pushing him to abandon the plan, arguing it would hamper U.S. economic growth and strain ties with an important ally. Officials including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn oppose withdrawal, said people familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.

“Although it is still possible Trump could decide to stay in the agreement to renegotiate its terms, the internal preparations for terminating the deal are far along, and the formal withdrawal process could begin as soon as this week, the people said.” http://wapo.st/2wvna98

— “A quick guide to the South Korea free trade deal,” by WaPo’s Amanda Erickson: “Experts say that withdrawing completely would lead to big increases on the tariffs levied against products the United States imports from South Korea. That would mean that all kinds of everyday goods, from Samsung electronics to cellphones and automobiles, would get more expensive. South Korea would probably raise tariffs against U.S. products too, including agriculture products.” http://wapo.st/2gCZzh3

NICHOLAS BURNS, longtime diplomat (@RNicholasBurns): “This is no time to lecture South Korea or suspend free trade agreement. Best way to deter North Korea is to stand firmly with Seoul+Tokyo.”

THIS COULD BE A PROBLEM — “China’s anger at West to overshadow tougher action on North Korea,” by Reuters’ Ben Blanchard and Philip Wen in Beijing: “North Korea’s latest nuclear test is likely to pile more pressure on China to take tough action against its neighbor, but Beijing already doubts economic sanctions will work and says it is not its sole responsibility to rein in Pyongyang. China has lambasted the West and its allies over recent weeks for promoting the ‘China responsibility theory’ for North Korea, and been upset by Seoul and Washington’s own military drills that Beijing says have done nothing to cool tensions.” http://reut.rs/2wymBti

JOHN MCCAIN is attending the Ambrosetti Forum in Lake Como, Italy this week. MCCAIN ON TRUMP, via Time Magazine: “‘I realize that I come to Italy at a time when many are questioning whether America is still committed to remaining engaged in the world, to upholding our traditional alliances, and standing up for the values we share,’ McCain, a Republican and frequent critic of the president, said, according to remarks shared by his staff: ‘I also realize — and there is no point in avoiding a little straight talk here — that this doubt has much to do with some of the actions and statements of our President.’” http://ti.me/2x2B2Jr

****** A message from the American Bankers Association: Nearly 9 in 10 Americans surveyed say it’s important to have banks of all sizes. They recognize that the diversity of America’s banks is a source of strength for our $18 trillion economy. Learn more: http://politi.co/2gcsGrg ******

THE LATEST ON HARVEY RECOVERY …

— “In tale of two cities, parts of Houston survived untouched, while others begin flood cleanup,” by L.A. Times’ Matt Pearce, Hailey Branson-Potts in Houston and Anna M. Phillips in Los Angeles: “A week after Hurricane Harvey lashed Texas with record rainfall, President Trump returned to the Lone Star State, as storm survivors began to return to their neighborhoods and stark divisions between those who lost everything to the floodwaters and those who escaped relatively unscathed were on display.

“Parts of west Houston were still reeling on Saturday. In residential neighborhoods near the Addicks Reservoir, which overflowed during the storm, residents relied on boats including canoes and kayaks to run errands and commute to work. Some had power; some didn’t. Some of the single- and two-story brick homes remained swamped with several feet of fetid water; others were dry.” http://lat.ms/2x15bZs

— “AP EXCLUSIVE: Toxic waste sites flooded in Houston area,” by Jason Dearen: “The Associated Press surveyed seven Superfund sites in and around Houston during the flooding. All had been inundated with water, in some cases many feet deep. On Saturday, hours after the AP published its first report, the EPA said it had reviewed aerial imagery confirming that 13 of the 41 Superfund sites in Texas were flooded by Harvey and were ‘experiencing possible damage’ due to the storm.

“The statement confirmed the AP’s reporting that the EPA had not yet been able to physically visit the Houston-area sites, saying the sites had ‘not been accessible by response personnel.’ EPA staff had checked on two Superfund sites in Corpus Christi on Thursday and found no significant damage. AP journalists used a boat to document the condition of one flooded Houston-area Superfund site, but accessed others with a vehicle or on foot. The EPA did not respond to questions about why its personnel had not yet been able to do so.” http://bit.ly/2wy6ewR

SUNDAY BEST — CHUCK TODD interviews HOUSTON MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS”: TODD: “I want to ask you about the President’s visit. Helpful?” TURNER: “The President’s visit on yesterday was very positive. The goal for this week for me, we’re going to take it one week at a time, and that’s housing, housing, housing. Checking on people, especially in these communities that don’t necessarily get all of the attention. But, you know, where senior citizens exist, people with disabilities, low income communities, we’re checking on them. …

“The other thing this week which is a high priority is debris removal. And every community, every part of this city, was touched by this storm. And so people now are already putting that debris out. And what I said to the president, ‘We need to get that debris removed like yesterday, otherwise we’ll have a public safety hazard.’ And so the city’s crews started on Thursday removing the debris. We’re working every day. But we need advanced funding. …

“The president was certainly amenable to that. And in fact, he issued a statement that it would be 90% reimbursable in that category. So housing, housing, housing for this week, debris removal this week. And then saying to our businesses and others, ‘Let’s get going. We’re in the recovery phase. And so let’s move forward. Open up the businesses. Provide the necessary employment. But let’s get going.’”

— DANA BASH speaks with TEXAS GOV. GREG ABBOTT on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: BASH: “You’re saying you believe that the federal government will need to give north of $100 billion?” ABBOTT: “In the overall equation, the cost of this, if I understand it correctly, to rebuild Katrina was over $120 billion. And when you consider the magnitude of the size of this storm, it’s far larger than Katrina, both geographically and population wise. And when you look at the number of homes that have been mowed down and destroyed and damaged this is going to be a huge catastrophe that people need to come to grips with, it’s going to take years for us to overcome this challenge

CLICKER — “A View Inside the Houston Homes Hit by Hurricane Harvey” – photos by Mike Osborne on NewYorker.com — 15 pix http://bit.ly/2et8RrE@WardDPatrick: “As he puts on plastic gloves to serve food at NRG Stadium…President Trump turns to press and says: ‘My hands are too big!’” http://bit.ly/2wvhNqx

NOTHING TO SEE HERE — “Justice Department: No evidence Obama wiretapped Trump Tower,” by Matt Nussbaum: “There is no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Justice Department said in a new court filing. The DOJ made the statement in a motion for summary judgment filed Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the watchdog group American Oversight. ‘Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,’ the government said, referring to the Justice Department’s National Security Division.” http://politi.co/2gtkMGw

WHAT AMERICA IS READING — SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: “Spotlight increases on ‘antifa’: Violent protests boot pressure on fluid group” http://bit.ly/2evthAqNEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE: “How could New Orleans handle a storm like Harvey: Scientists are searching for a better way to predict flooding” http://bit.ly/2wxOKkkCHARLOTTE OBSERVER: “Wall Street players have bought thousands of Charlotte homes” http://bit.ly/2gCxfeEHOUSTON CHRONICLE: “Trump lifts spirits in Houston” http://bit.ly/2wyLYLO

BUSINESS INSIDER’S NATASHA BERTRAND (@NatashaBertrand): “In which the president’s lawyer [Ty Cobb] writes me at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday and asks me if I’m on drugs.” http://bit.ly/2ezCgnL

SCOOP — CNN’s KEVIN LIPTAK got BARACK OBAMA’s inauguration letter to Trump, who “has shown the letter to visitors in the Oval Office or his private White House residence,” according to CNN. “Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure. … This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.

First, we’ve both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It’s up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.

Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. … Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. … And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They’ll get you through the inevitable rough patches. Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.” http://cnn.it/2ezThOO

SPORTS BLINK — “Howard pulls biggest point-spread upset in college football history,” by ESPN’s David Purdum: “By point-spread standards, Howard pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in modern college football history Saturday night. The Bison, an FCS team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, entered as 45-point road underdogs against UNLV and stunned the Rebels 43-40 in Las Vegas. UNLV paid Howard $600,000 for the appearance. Las Vegas sportsbooks were not offering a money line on the game, but the Bison could be found as 600-1 long shots and even higher at some offshore books.” http://es.pn/2eQOAgdn

KNOWING REP. JOE KENNEDY — “The next Kennedy weighs his next move,” by Heather Caygle: “Democrats are in search of new leaders to take on Donald Trump, and Rep. Joe Kennedy could fit the bill. But it’s not clear he wants the job. In short order, Kennedy has garnered a loyal grassroots following with a series of viral speeches challenging Trump on everything from health care to hate speech, leading some Democrats to believe he could help fill the party’s leadership vacuum.

“It’s a shift for someone who, despite his famous last name and wavy red mane, has kept a low profile on the national scene since being elected to the House in 2012. Loath to be seen as a political celebrity, the 36-year-old from the outskirts of Boston has put in the work of a relative back-bencher and focused on delivering for his district. … Kennedy has already proven he has the ability to harness his star power, after gaining national prominence for blasting GOP efforts to dismantle Obamacare earlier this year.

“But the key question for Democrats, including the more than two dozen interviewed for this story, is what’s next for the young lawmaker they say is much more than a notable last name? It’s one — to the quiet frustration of several in the party — that Kennedy seems in no hurry to answer.” http://politi.co/2iSJEfb

SNEAK PEEK — More than 300 pastors and church leaders are sending individualized letters today to Trump urging him to not get rid of DACA and work with Congress to pass legislation for Dreamers. The effort, organized by the Evangelical Immigration Table, comes after hundreds of religious leaders signed onto a letter to Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

****** A message from the American Bankers Association: America’s banks play a critical role in generating economic growth while delivering safety and convenience for customers. The two million women and men who work for America’s banks safeguard $12.9 trillion in deposits and originate $2.4 trillion in home loans. They provide $331 billion in loans to small businesses and $175 billion in loans to farmers and ranchers. Banks’ fraud protection measures stop at least $11 billion in attempted fraud each year. And thousands of banker volunteers deliver financial literacy lessons annually to millions of young Americans to help them become financially successful adults. Find out more at http://ift.tt/2mLVFR3, #AmericasBanks ******

VALLEY TALK – “In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for Losers,” by Dan Lyons in the NYT: “Silicon Valley prides itself on ‘thinking different.’ So maybe it makes sense that just as a lot of industries have begun paying more attention to work-life balance, Silicon Valley is taking the opposite approach — and branding workaholism as a desirable lifestyle choice. An entire cottage industry has sprung up there, selling an internet-centric prosperity gospel that says that there is no higher calling than to start your own company, and that to succeed you must be willing to give up everything.

“‘Hustle’ is the word that tech people use to describe this nerd-commando lifestyle. You hear it everywhere. You can buy hustle-themed T-shirts and coffee mugs, with slogans like ‘Dream, hustle, profit, repeat’ and ‘Outgrind, outhustle, outwork everyone.’ You can go to an eight-week ‘start-up hustle’ boot camp. … You can also attend Hustle Con, a one-day conference where successful ‘hustlers’ share their secrets. Tickets cost around $300 — or you can pay $2,000 to be a ‘V.I.P. hustler.’ This year’s conference, in June, drew 2,800 people, including two dozen who ponied up for V.I.P. passes.” http://nyti.ms/2vVrgUr

BONUS GREAT HOLIDAY WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:

– “Desperate Rohingya Flee Myanmar on Trail of Suffering. ‘It Is All Gone,’” by NYT’s Hannah Beech in Rezu Amtali, Bangladesh: “They are tens of thousands of Rohingya, who arrive bearing accounts of massacre at the hands of the Myanmar security forces and allied mobs that started on Aug. 25, after Rohingya militants staged attacks against government forces. The retaliation that followed was carried out in methodical assaults on villages, with helicopters raining down fire on civilians and front-line troops cutting off families’ escape.” http://nyti.ms/2guON91

— “Sally Quinn’s Next Act,” by Michelle Cottle in Washingtonian: “Three years after Ben Bradlee’s death, she has a memoir about embracing the supernatural. (She’s given up the dark arts, though.)” http://bit.ly/2iNmwyG

— “The Graduate,” by Nora Ephron in Elle in Nov. 10, 2010: “It was gritty (the deadlines and dollar poker) and glamorous (movie stars and politicos for subjects) and everything I’d been longing for—to begin my life in New York as a journalist.” http://bit.ly/1T41jqa (h/t Longform.org)

— “Reflections of an Accidental Florist,” by Althea Fann in Longreads: “When a painter stumbles into a floral career, she sees the ugly truth behind a colorful, fragrant industry.” http://bit.ly/2eLSxCM

— “A Beating in Berkeley,” by The Weekly Standard’s Matt Labash: “Antifa mayhem and malice in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.” http://tws.io/2eOtW0j

— “Ken Burns’s American Canon,” by The New Yorker’s Ian Parker: “Even in a fractious era, the filmmaker still believes that his documentaries can bring every viewer in.” http://bit.ly/2gzdUuW

— “Jenji Kohan’s Hot Provocations,” by The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum: “The creator of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘Weeds’ wants her shows to break viewers out of their bubbles.” http://bit.ly/2wtumm9

— “Fairouz in Exile,” by Matthew McNaught in n+1 magazine: “How hellish could it be after the horrors of Syria? Until Ahmad got to Germany, he could never fathom the warnings from these lucky Syrians in Europe.” http://bit.ly/2vxYMVr (h/t Longform.org)

— “Reality TV’s Wildest Disaster,” by Sam Knight in The New Yorker: “‘Eden’ aspired to remake society altogether. What could go wrong?” http://bit.ly/2esWtrC

— “Writer’s Seat,” by The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson: “A walk through the home that inspired E. B. White’s essays and stories.” http://tws.io/2ePFtwb

— “This Tiny Country Feeds the World,” by Frank Viviano in the September NatGeo: “The Netherlands has become an agricultural giant by showing what the future of farming could look like.” http://on.natgeo.com/2iOWivE

— “Where gridlock kills,” by Mindy Belz in World magazine: “Victims of ISIS face a fast-closing window of opportunity in Iraq, their prospects dimmed by politicking and paralysis gripping Republican leaders in Washington.” http://bit.ly/2gACnjA

— “Off With Her Head,” by Yashar Ali in NY Mag: “Kathy Griffin lost jobs, money, and friends after releasing a provocative image of President Trump. But the comedian refuses to bend the knee.” http://bit.ly/2wYdd5g

— “What’s Really Behind the Civil War to End Harvard’s Fraternities?” by John Sedgwick in September’s Vanity Fair: “Breaking with centuries-old tradition, Harvard is moving to eliminate its all-male final clubs, charging that the Porcellian, A.D., Fox, Fly, and other high-end frats are bastions of patriarchal privilege, fomenters of sexual misconduct, and antithetical to its values. Is any of that true? An alumnus considers the legal, moral, and logical flaws in the college’s crusade.” http://bit.ly/2gpHWgX

SPOTTED: David Petraeus at the Lee Barber Shop in Arlington Saturday. “‘Did anybody ever tell you that you look like General Petraeus?’ [a starstruck young army major] asks the guy with lather on his sideburns and neck. ‘I get that a lot,’ the retired four-star replies, smiling, as the truth dawns on the younger man. Seeming to gather his nerve, the major asks if he could get a photo with the former military headliner (and CIA director). ‘I’d be honored,’ Petraeus replies, posing as soon as he’s cleaned up.” …

… Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) at ESPN College Gameday last night in Atlanta for Alabama’s game against Florida State … Carl Cameron at Daily Grill on Wisconsin Avenue on Saturday morning … Jonathan Capehart walking on M Street with several shopping bags mid-day Saturday as it lightly rained

OUT AND ABOUT IN THE HAMPTONS – Pool report: “A meticulously sculpted sand castle, made of real sand and about 8 feet tall and also a rival to King’s Landing, was one of the standout memorables of Discovery Communications CEO David and Pam Zaslav’s big East Hampton gathering with a surprise, everyone on his or her feet performance by the legendary Diana Ross. Yes, she gave a spectacular encore. And yes, there was a massive ‘shark cake’ at the entrance to commemorate Discovery’s ‘Shark Week.’ … There was a huge oyster bar and designer tequilas.” Pics — Ross http://bit.ly/2vW1EH3The shark cake http://bit.ly/2x2CATQThe sand castle http://bit.ly/2gBm31T

SPOTTED: Jeff Zucker, Alec Baldwin, Don Lemon, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Iris Weinshall, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sandra Lee, Andy Lack, Steve Clemons, Chris Licht, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kyle MacLachlan, Lloyd Blankfein, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, Dan Loeb, Arianna Huffington, Nancy and Paul Pelosi, Alexandra Pelosi, Margaret Carlson, Liz Robbins, Leslie Moonves, Katie Couric and John Molner, Marcy Simon, Rita Braver, George Stephanopoulos, Savannah Guthrie and Mike Feldman, Mark Hoffman, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Gayle King, Joe Kernan, Lorne Michaels, Jonathan Wald, Mark and Sally Ein, Ken Auletta, Baruch Shemtov, Robert Zimmerman, Ken Lehrer and Carl Bernstein.

TRANSITIONS — Jordan Vaughn has been named as the senior director of regional philanthropy at the Future Project. He was the finance director for the DNC’s African American Leadership Council.

WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Purple Strategies’ Kyle Plotkin, former chief of staff for then-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, on Saturday married Sara Cambon, who works for Charlie Spies at Clark Hill. The ceremony was at Christ Church in Alexandria, and the reception was held at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington. Pool report: “Kyle met Sara working in the governor’s office in Baton Rouge. Sara is the daughter of Paul and Susan Cambon, Paul is of the Livingston Group and Jones Walker. A large Louisiana contingent was present. A second line parade brought guests from cocktail hour to the reception. Father of the Bride Paul Cambon took to all fours on the dance floor in New Orleans tradition and danced as a bulldog. Guests were pleased the LSU Tigers won their opening night college football game as the night was wrapping up.” Pic http://bit.ly/2euXKPb

SPOTTED: Former Gov. Bobby Jindal and his wife Supriya Jolly Jindal, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Bob Livingston, Rory Cooper, Shannon Dirmann, Taylor Teepell, Bradley Engle, Curt Anderson, Stephen Moret, Calder Lynch, Stafford Palmieri, Mike Reed, and Sally Canfield.

OBAMA ALUMNI — Josh Brown, president of political consulting firm DP Strategies Group and an Obama 2008, Brad Schneider and Jack Evans alum, on Saturday married Alexa Wertman, federal human capital consultant at Deloitte and an at large elected Democratic Committeewoman in DC. The ceremony and reception were at the Mayflower Hotel. The couple met at GW. Pics by Brooke Tyson Photography http://bit.ly/2euXvDLhttp://bit.ly/2ev3W9A

SPOTTED: Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), who signed their ketubah. He was later seen on the dance floor. Also spotted: Geoff Middleberg, Jeremy Iloulian and Sarah Schanz, Nicole Mann, Jaime Alonso, Thomas Bowman.

BIRTHDAYS: CNN’s Brian Stelter (hat tip: Oliver Darcy) … Rick Perlstein … Shawn Sachs, CEO of Sunshine Sachs … John Mercurio, managing director of Purple Strategies … Politico’s Carly Sandstrom and Todd Lindeman … Kim Rubey, head of global comms and strategic engagement at Airbnb … John Zogby … Time’s Edward Felsenthal … CBS News’ Erica Brown … Sarah Curran … Lucia Alonzo, director at Podesta Group … WSJ’s Kristina Peterson … Mari Manoogian, who’s a Democratic candidate for the Michigan House of Reps. (h/t sister Alis) … Jonathan Silver, clean energy investor and managing director at Tax Equity Advisors and former Obama staffer … Rita Hite, EVP at the American Forest Foundation (h/ts Jon Haber) … Dominic K. Hawkins, associate at SKDKnickerbocker … Gary Zaetz … Graeme Crews, comms associate at the Southern Poverty Law Center … NBC News’ Adam Reiss … Tiffany Waddell … John C. Cleveland …

… Gillian Turner, VP of the Jones Group and a Fox News contributor … Alex McConnell … Samuel Lea … Hillary Allen … John McDonald … Mara Stark-Alcala … former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), now a senior policy adviser at Holland & Knight … former Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.) … Thomas Caballero … Joshua Gross … Flin Hyre … Kathi Wise … Jon Corley … Bob Simmons … Caroline Lehman … Niki Grant … former Rep. Michael Huffington (R-Calif.) … Jayne Visser … Lois Kimmel … Jim Gilio … Melinda Warner … Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist … Liz Hitchcock … AFSCME’s Tiffany Ricci … Mohammad Naeem Sidhu … Scott Horwitz … Mary Moffitt … Joshua Morin … Sophie Pink … Adam Ezring … Doug Herman (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

****** A message from the American Bankers Association: America’s banks play a critical role in generating economic growth while delivering safety and convenience for customers. The two million women and men who work for America’s banks safeguard $12.9 trillion in deposits and originate $2.4 trillion in home loans. They provide $331 billion in loans to small businesses and $175 billion in loans to farmers and ranchers. Banks’ fraud protection measures stop at least $11 billion in attempted fraud each year. And thousands of banker volunteers deliver financial literacy lessons annually to millions of young Americans to help them become financially successful adults. Find out more at http://ift.tt/2mLVFR3, #AmericasBanks ******

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Motor racing: Hamilton wins in Italy to take Formula One lead

2017 09 03T133609Z 1 LYNXNPED820I8 RTROPTP 0 MOTOR F1 ITALY 1 - Motor racing: Hamilton wins in Italy to take Formula One lead
Formula One – F1 – Italian Grand Prix 2017 – Monza, Italy – September 3, 2017 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton takes the checkered flag to win the race REUTERS/Max Rossi

September 3, 2017

MONZA, Italy (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday with a dominant drive that sent the Briton clear at the top of the Formula One world championship for the first time in a year.

The triple champion, who started the race from a record 69th career pole position, led Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas to a runaway one-two finish in front of the massed ranks of red-shirted Ferrari fans.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had led the standings since he won the Australian season-opener in March, finished third and 36.3 seconds behind the winner.

Hamilton is now three points clear of the German, with seven races remaining.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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North Korea detonates its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet

2017 09 02T222125Z 1 LYNXNPED810NK RTROPTP 0 NORTHKOREA MISSILES 1 - North Korea detonates its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 3, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

September 3, 2017

By Jack Kim and Soyoung Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, Japan and South Korea said, hours after Pyongyang said it had developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that possesses “great destructive power”.

Japanese and South Korean meteorological officials said an earthquake detected near the North’s test site – measured by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at magnitude 6.3 – was around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations.

North Korea said it would make an important announcement at 0630 GMT.

The move is a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump, who hours earlier had talked by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the “escalating” nuclear crisis in the region.

Japan immediately raised the prospect of further sanctions against the isolated North, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga saying that curbs on its oil trade would be on the table.

A U.S. official who studies North Korea’s military and politics said that seismic data on the tremors was being analysed, although the location suggested another nuclear test.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was too early to determine if a test, if there was one, supported the North’s claim that has succeeded in developing a thermonuclear weapon, “much less one that could be mounted on an ICBM and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere without burning up”.

The hydrogen bomb report by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency comes amid heightened regional tension following Pyongyang’s two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July that potentially could fly about 10,000 km (6,200 miles), putting many parts of the mainland United States within range.

Under third-generation leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile, without affecting its range and making it capable of surviving re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

One expert said the size of Sunday’s detonation meant it was possible it could be a hydrogen bomb test.

“The power is 10 or 20 times or even more than previous ones,” Said Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University. “That scale is to the level where anyone can say a hydrogen bomb test.”

AIR RAID SIRENS

Witnesses in the Chinese city of Yanji, on the border with North Korea, said they felt a tremor that lasted roughly 10 seconds, followed by an aftershock. China said it had detected a second, 4.6 magnitude quake with near identical coordinates eight minutes later.

“I was eating brunch just over the border here in Yanji when we felt the whole building shake,” Michael Spavor, director of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, which promotes business and cultural ties with North Korea. “It lasted for about five seconds. The city air raid sirens started going off.”

South Korea’s military said the first earthquake “appeared to be manmade”. A meeting of Seoul’s National Security Council has been convened, national news agency Yonhap reported.

Japan said it had concluded there was a nuclear test.

“North Korea’s mission is quite clear when it comes to this latest atomic test: to develop a nuclear arsenal that can strike all of Asia and the U.S. homeland,” Harry Kazianis, director of defence studies at the conservative Center for the National Interest in Washington, said.

“This test is just another step towards such a goal.

None of us should be shocked by Pyongyang’s latest actions.”

Earthquakes triggered by North Korean nuclear tests have gradually increased in magnitude since Pyongyang’s first test in 2006, indicating the isolated country is steadily improving the destructive power of its nuclear technology.

After the fifth nuclear test in September, USGS measured a magnitude of 5.3. while South Korean monitors said the blast caused a 5.0 magnitude earthquake.

North Korea, which carries out its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions, “recently succeeded” in making a more advanced hydrogen bomb that will be loaded on to an ICBM, KCNA said.

“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power,” KCNA said.

“All components of the H-bomb were homemade and all the processes … were put on the Juche basis, thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as many as it wants,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

Juche is North Korea’s homegrown ideology of self-reliance that is a mix of Marxism and extreme nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather. It says its weapons programmes are needed to counter U.S. aggression.

North Korea offered no evidence for its latest claim, and Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, was sceptical.

“Referring to tens to hundreds of kilotons, it doesn’t appear to be talking about a fully fledged H-bomb. It’s more likely a boosted nuclear device,” Kim said, referring to an atomic bomb which uses some hydrogen isotopes to boost explosive yield.

A hydrogen bomb can achieve thousands of kilotons of explosive yield – massively more powerful than some 10 to 15 kilotons that North Korea’s last nuclear test in September was estimated to have produced, similar to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

HOURGLASS-SHAPED DEVICE

Kim Jong Un, who visited the country’s nuclear weapons institute, “watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM” and “set forth tasks to be fulfilled in the research into nukes,” KCNA said.

Pictures released by the agency showed Kim inspecting a silver-coloured, hourglass-shaped warhead in the visit accompanied by nuclear scientists.

The shape shows a marked difference from pictures of the ball-shaped device North Korea released in March last year, and appears to indicate the appearance of a two-stage thermonuclear weapon, or a hydrogen bomb, said Lee Choon-geun, senior research fellow at state-run Science and Technology Policy Institute.

“The pictures show a more complete form of a possible hydrogen bomb, with a primary fission bomb and a secondary fusion stage connected together in an hourglass shape,” Lee said.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high since last month when North Korea threatened to launch missiles into the sea near the strategically located U.S. Pacific territory of Guam after Trump said Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.

North Korea further raised regional tensions on Tuesday by launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, drawing international condemnation.

Trump and Abe spoke by phone and said that in face of an “escalating” situation with North Korea that close cooperation between their countries and with South Korea was needed, Abe told reporters.

The United States has repeatedly urged China, the North’s sole major ally, to do more to rein in its neighbour.

Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and its main ally, the United States.

(Additional reporting by Elaine Lies and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, Jane Chung and Yuna Park in Seoul, Sue-Lin Wong in Yanji and Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson; Editing by Will Dunham, Nick Macfie and Himani Sarkar)

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Rahm has ‘nearly perfect’ back nine for Boston lead

2017 09 02T205917Z 1 LYNXNPED810M6 RTROPTP 0 US GOLF BOSTON 1 - Rahm has ‘nearly perfect’ back nine for Boston lead
Sep 2, 2017; Norton, MA, USA; Jon Rahm hits out of the rough on the 15th hole during the second round of the Dell Technologies Championship golf tournament at TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

September 3, 2017

(Reuters) – Big-hitting Jon Rahm jump-started his day with an eagle and catapulted into a two-stroke lead after the second round at the Dell Technologies Championship in Massachusetts on Saturday.

Rahm sank his eagle putt from 12 feet at the par-five 18th, his ninth hole, and then added five birdies on his inward half for a five-under-par 66 at TPC Boston in Norton.

“It felt like very different, that front nine and back nine,” the Spaniard told reporters after posting a nine-under 133 halfway total in the second of the PGA Tour’s four FedExCup playoff events.

“I played a nearly perfect back nine. Felt like I didn’t miss a shot. Once that (eagle) happened on 18 I felt everything clicked and I just started flushing everything.”

Englishman Paul Casey and Canadian Adam Hadwin shot 65 to jump into a share of second place on seven-under with Americans Kevin Streelman (65) and Kyle Stanley (68).

World number one Dustin Johnson, the first round leader, backtracked with a 72 that included two double-bogeys, falling five shots off the pace. Johnson leads the FedExCup standings after winning last week’s Northern Trust tournament.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy’s disappointing season continued as he shot 74 for four-over and missed the cut in a tournament where he was defending champion. The Northern Irishman has get to win this year.

Another former world number one, Adam Scott, also bowed out early at four-over after the long trip from his native Australia earlier in the week.

Scott made a late decision to play following the birth of his second child. He can head back home now, because he will not be among the 70 players to advance to the penultimate event in the playoff series, the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois in two weeks.

Rahm will have no such problems advancing. He is fifth in the FedExCup standings in his first full professional season that includes one win on either side of the Atlantic but mediocre performances in the four majors.

He did not make an auspicious start on Saturday, and a double-bogey at his seventh hole, where he took four shots to hole out from just off the green, left him two-over for the day.

But the eagle steadied the ship, and it was smooth sailing thereafter as he stormed home in 31 strokes.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)

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TRUMP’s dozens of nominations — MAGGIE and GLENN on how John Kelly ‘grates’ on POTUS — THE HARVEY RELIEF WRANGLING — Is OBAMACARE repeal dead? – WEEKEND READS — B’DAY: Lisa Barclay

Good Saturday morning. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP announced more than three dozen White House appointments late Friday night. He tapped Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine to run NASA and Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino to become the next drug czar. Marino previously turned down the position citing a family illness.

THESE NOMINATIONS will spark special elections in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Both seats are solidly conservative. But special elections are tricky. You never quite know what you’re going to get.

Story Continued Below

BRIDENSTINE’S APPOINTMENT won’t be without controversy. Florida Playbooker Marc Caputo scooped that both Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida voiced early opposition to his pick.

CAPUTO: “Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson wouldn’t say if they’d buck the president and vote against Bridenstine, who was nominated Friday. But they suggested the GOP congressman’s political past would needlessly spark a partisan fight in the Senate that could ultimately damage NASA. Bridenstine also trashed Rubio during last year’s GOP presidential primary, although Rubio said he doesn’t hold that against the congressman.

“The bipartisan pushback against Trump’s nominee for NASA administrator underscores the importance of the agency to Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Nelson, as a member of Congress in 1986 flew on a Space Shuttle Columbia mission; he also has a home on what’s known as the state’s Space Coast. ‘The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician,’ Nelson said in a brief written statement to POLITICO.” http://politi.co/2vzkGYf

RICHARD GRENELL, former spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, was also nominated to be the next ambassador of Germany. Full list of last night’s appointments http://politi.co/2wvr9R7

**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/2lQswbh

SCHOCK UPDATE — “Prosecutors deny probing Schock’s sexuality,” by Josh Gerstein: “Prosecutors are denying claims that they improperly investigated former Rep. Aaron Schock’s sexuality as they probed allegations that he used his office and campaign funds for personal purposes. In a late-night court filing Friday, prosecutors rejected Schock’s lawyers arguments that such inquiries into the former lawmaker’s personal life were part of a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct so outrageous that the criminal case against the Illinois Republican should be thrown out.

“The prosecution team denied investigating Schock’s sexuality, but said it did need to establish the nature of his relationship with a Panamanian diplomat because his travels with her appeared related to campaign expenses the government believed may have been unrelated to his campaign. ‘We fully agree with Defendant Schock that his sexuality is completely irrelevant in this criminal matter,’ prosecutors Timothy Bass and Eugene Miller wrote in the filing in federal court in Urbana. ‘It was not of interest to the government, and the government did not inquire about it.’” http://politi.co/2vAj68A

–AN INTERESTING NUGGET FROM THE LEGAL WRANGLING – From a recent government filing: “[I]n late 2013 … Schock accused a former staffer of inappropriately accessing his friend’s (Karla Gonzalez’s) social media account and falsely advised the former staffer that the FBI and Capitol Police were investigating the matter. As a result of Defendant Schock’s accusation and false representation of a law enforcement investigation, the former staffer retained legal counsel and incurred legal fees of more than $10,000, which were paid by the former staffer’s father. Defendant Schock later acknowledged, after being confronted by the former staffer’s father, that his statement of a law enforcement investigation was false, stating in an email to the staffer’s father that ‘I apologized and offered to take care of things,’ and he agreed to reimburse the staffer’s father for $7,500 of the legal fees.”

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — NYT A1, “Forceful Chief of Staff Grates on Trump, and the Feeling Is Mutual,” by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “President Trump was in an especially ornery mood after staff members gently suggested he refrain from injecting politics into day-to-day issues of governing after last month’s raucous rally in Arizona, and he responded by lashing out at the most senior aide in his presence. It happened to be his new chief of staff, John F. Kelly. Mr. Kelly … reacted calmly, but he later told other White House staff members that he had never been spoken to like that during 35 years of serving his country. In the future, he said, he would not abide such treatment …

“The question now is how long Mr. Kelly will stay, with estimates ranging from a month to a year at the most. … The president, for his part, has marveled at the installation of management controls that would have been considered routine in any other White House. ‘I now have time to think,’ a surprised Mr. Trump has told one of his senior aides repeatedly over the last few weeks. Mr. Kelly cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering. But Mr. Trump does not have a web browser on his phone, and does not use a laptop, so he was dependent on aides like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, to hand-deliver printouts of articles from conservative media outlets.

“Now Mr. Kelly has thinned out his package of printouts so much that Mr. Trump plaintively asked a friend recently where The Daily Caller and Breitbart were. … While Mr. Trump still reaches out to allies outside the administration … more often than not it has been through the White House switchboard and not on his personal phone. And Mr. Kelly has usually listened in on the calls, according to two people with direct knowledge.” http://nyti.ms/2wsmVeO

— “John Kelly Pushing Out Omarosa for ‘Triggering’ Trump,” by The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng: “Newly minted White House chief of staff John Kelly has sought to put a dent in the influence of one of President Donald Trump’s most famous advisers: Omarosa Manigault. The former Apprentice co-star—who currently serves as the communications director for the Office of Public Liaison—has seen her direct access to the president limited since Kelly took the top White House job in late July … In particular, Kelly has taken steps to prevent her and other senior staffers from getting unvetted news articles on the president’s Resolute desk—a key method for influencing the president’s thinking, and one that Manigualt used to rile up Trump about internal White House drama.” http://thebea.st/2vzZfWU

REUTERS’S JIM OLIPHANT: TRUMP’S EMPATHY TEST — “For a man who prefers to project a glowering brusqueness, Donald Trump’s trip to Houston on Saturday provides him with the opportunity to show a warmer, more empathetic side — and perhaps connect with some Americans critical of his presidency. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, became known as the ‘comforter-in-chief’ for his role in consoling victims of mass shootings and terror attacks. But the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey marks the first large-scale national tragedy under Trump’s watch.” http://reut.rs/2xF4GBr

“The White House said Trump will first travel to Houston to meet with flood survivors and volunteers who assisted in relief efforts and then will move on to Lake Charles, Louisiana, another area hammered by the storm. Trump first visited the region on Tuesday, but stayed clear of the disaster zone, saying he did not want to hamper rescue efforts. Instead, he met with cabinet members, state and local leaders, and first responders. He was criticized, however, for not meeting with victims of the worst storm to hit Texas in 50 years, and for largely focusing on the logistics of the government response rather than the suffering of residents.” http://reut.rs/2xF4GBr

TRUMP’S SATURDAY — THE PRESIDENT is traveling to Ellington Field, Texas, where he will visit with people impacted by the hurricane. He then will head to a Harvey relief center and meet with members of the Texas congressional delegation. He then goes to Chennault International in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he meets with “members of the county emergency operations center, National Guard and Cajun Navy.”

FOR YOUR RADAR — REUTERS: “Russia’s Putin won’t attend U.N. General Assembly” http://reut.rs/2x0zSOs

****** A message from the American Bankers Association: It’s no secret that banks help create jobs and economic growth by lending to America’s employers. But America’s banks themselves employ thousands of women and men. Can you guess how many? Is it 200,000, 1 million or 2 million? Find out: http://politi.co/2wc3FR6 ******

THE LATEST ON HARVEY RELIEF — “White House rejiggers Harvey request as dollars dwindle,” by Jen Scholtes, Sarah Ferris, and Rachael Bade: “The federal government is burning through cash even faster than the White House estimated in responding to Hurricane Harvey, prompting the Trump administration to revamp its emergency funding request. The White House sent a formal plea to lawmakers Friday evening seeking $7.85 billion as a down payment in aid for areas ravaged by the superstorm — nearly $2 billion more than the administration estimated earlier in the day.

“The total includes $7.4 billion for [FEMA’s] disaster relief account and $450 million to support the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program for small businesses and homeowners. The White House warned that further delays in raising the debt limit could jeopardize recovery efforts, after previously cautioning that action would be needed by month’s end to avoid a downgraded credit rating and, ultimately, default.

“‘Indeed, if the debt ceiling is not raised, it may not be possible to outlay the requested supplemental appropriations or funds for other critical Government operations,’ White House budget director Mick Mulvaney wrote in the request. The House is expected to pass its first installment of hurricane aid next week, but congressional leaders are still talking with the Trump administration about process and timing in the Senate.” http://politi.co/2vSutUIMulvaney’s letter http://politi.co/2vzB2Aa

— TOP REPUBLICAN LEADERS have been telling us that the easiest way to get this through is to lift the debt ceiling at the same time.

— “Harvey is likely to be the second-most costly natural disaster in U.S. history,” by L.A. Times’ Don Lee: “Between the shutdown of oil refineries and chemical plants, impaired roads and ports, and widespread damage to homes, businesses and cars, the economic toll from Hurricane Harvey is now being estimated as the second-costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, trailing only the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Some economic researchers, including the national forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics, are putting the price tag of Harvey at $81 billion to $108 billion or more, most of that in damage to homes and commercial property.” http://lat.ms/2wp9JqW

–“Storm deaths: Death toll from Harvey tops 50,” by Houston Chronicle’s Cindy George, Margaret Kadifa, and Lindsay Ellis: “More than 50 people – including a veteran Houston police officer – have died or are feared dead in the Houston area and beyond in flooding or circumstances connected to Tropical Storm Harvey, according to local officials. … Local officials expect the grim discoveries of additional bodies once the floodwaters retreat and the streams, rivers and bayous go back into their banks.” http://bit.ly/2vTjPx0

THIS COULD BE A PROBLEM — “Trump’s ‘Dreamers’ decision could roil shutdown, debt talks,” by Rachael Bade and Heather Caygle: “Congressional Republicans are worried that a decision from President Donald Trump to rescind protections for so-called Dreamers could undercut fall negotiations with Democrats to keep the government open and avoid a federal default. The White House said Friday that Trump would announce Tuesday whether he would nix President Barack Obama’s executive action granting legal status to those who immigrated to the U.S. as children, known as ‘Dreamers.’ Republicans have long panned the so-called Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, or DACA, as an unconstitutional overreach.

“But now is not the time to blow up the program, GOP leadership sources in Congress caution. Doing so, they worry, could antagonize Democrats in a month where the GOP desperately needs their help to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government open. Senior Republicans have also spoken privately of a potential bipartisan accord later in the year that would codify DACA legislatively, in return for a down payment on Trump’s border wall with Mexico. While many agree it’s unlikely and perhaps wishful thinking, they worry Trump ending the program would make such a deal impossible.

“In an interview with WCLO in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., Friday, Speaker Paul Ryan cautioned Trump against killing the program. The Wisconsin Republican said Obama did ‘not have the authority to do what he did,’ but also argued that Congress — not Trump — has to ‘fix’ the matter. ‘[T]here are people who are in limbo,’ Ryan said. ‘These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe there that there needs to be a legislative solution.’” http://politi.co/2iPGGIA

BREITBART: “WHITE HOUSE SIGNALS CAVE: NOT PUSHING CONGRESS FOR BORDER WALL FUNDING, WON’T SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT,” by Adam Shaw: http://bit.ly/2esDzRD

DEATH OF OBAMACARE REPEAL? — “Moment of truth arrives for Obamacare repeal,” by Rachana Pradhan and John Bresnahan: “In a potential death knell for efforts to repeal Obamacare — at least this year — the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that Republicans face a Sept. 30 deadline to kill or overhaul the law with only 50 votes, Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee said Friday. Congress is facing fights in September over boosting the federal debt limit, government funding, defense programs and the FAA, among other issues. Adding another Obamacare repeal battle to that schedule could prove too much for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has all but said he’s moving on from health care. In search of a badly needed legislative victory, McConnell and other Senate Republicans have shifted their focus instead to tax reform.” http://politi.co/2ws2O0c

MIKE SCHMIDT and MAGGIE HABERMAN — “Mueller Has Early Draft of Trump Letter Giving Reasons for Firing Comey”: “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has obtained a letter drafted by President Trump and a top political aide that offered an unvarnished view of Mr. Trump’s thinking in the days before the president fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. The circumstances and reasons for the firing are believed to be a significant element of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which includes whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice by firing Mr. Comey. The letter, drafted in May, was met with opposition from Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, who believed that its angry, meandering tone was problematic … Among Mr. McGahn’s concerns were references to private conversations the president had with Mr. Comey, including times when the F.B.I. director told Mr. Trump he was not under investigation in the F.B.I.’s continuing Russia inquiry.

“Mr. McGahn successfully blocked the president from sending the letter — which Mr. Trump had composed with Stephen Miller, one of the president’s top political advisers — to Mr. Comey. But a copy was given to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who then drafted his own letter. Mr. Rosenstein’s letter was ultimately used as the Trump administration’s public rationale for Mr. Comey’s firing, which was that Mr. Comey had mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. … [In May] Mr. McGahn met … with Mr. Trump and told him that if he fired Mr. Comey, the Russia investigation would not go away. Mr. Trump told him … that he understood that firing the F.B.I. director might extend the Russia investigation, but that he wanted to do it anyway.” http://nyti.ms/2grUtR4

CYBER WAR — NYT A1, “Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny,” by Nicole Perlroth, Michael Wines and Matt Rosenberg: “The assaults on the vast back-end election apparatus — voter-registration operations, state and local election databases, e-poll books and other equipment — have received far less attention than other aspects of the Russian interference … Yet the hacking of electoral systems was more extensive than previously disclosed, The New York Times found. … [H]ackers breached at least [three] providers of critical election services well ahead of the 2016 voting.” http://nyti.ms/2vT84qh

WEST WING DEPARTURE LOUNGE — “Longtime Trump aide Keith Schiller tells people he intends to leave White House,” by CNN’s Dana Bash, Noah Gray and Jeremy Diamond: “Schiller has told associates within the last two weeks that he plans to leave the White House at the end of September or in early October … Schiller has told people his primary reason for leaving was financial … Schiller earns a $165,000 annual salary at the White House — a downgrade from his annual earnings before he followed Trump to the White House. … White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the story was ‘not true’ and declined to comment further. Schiller … earned $294,000 … last year.” http://cnn.it/2vA8s1N

–@JenniferJJacobs: “Longtime Trump aide Keith Schiller to exit post as Oval operations dir end of Sept, I’m told. Lined up job in private sector that pays more.”

THE JUICE …

— CONDI RICE headlined a fundraiser for Ed Gillespie last night at Dan and Sonya Runde’s McLean, Virginia, home. The invite http://bit.ly/2vzCvXr

–COREY LEWANDOWSKI is heading to London later this month to be the keynote speaker for a small off-the-record dinner organized by a macro research firm. The Sept. 13 dinner will likely be attended by portfolio managers and traders from asset managers and hedge funds, according to a source familiar with the dinner. When asked which firm was organizing the dinner and if they were paying for his time, Lewandowski texted “No” and didn’t respond to further questions.

WASHINGTON INC. — “How Washington lobbyists fought flood insurance reform,” by Zach Warmbrodt and Theo Meyer: “The catastrophic weather in Texas has thrown the spotlight on the federal government’s troubled flood insurance program, which is nearly $25 billion in debt after huge payouts following Katrina, Sandy and other devastating hurricanes. But as Houston starts the long process of recovering, lobbyists in Washington have already maneuvered to slow lawmakers efforts’ to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program and protect their industries’ profits.

“The powerful home builders’ lobby helped kill a proposal that would have phased out coverage for new construction in high-risk areas. The National Association of Realtors blocked an attempt to rein in discounted insurance rates that homeowners can get when their flood risk increases. And the American Bankers Association has warned of a ‘regional foreclosure crisis’ if Congress axes coverage for homes with excessive claims.

“Lawmakers who want to reel in the program are finding that they must appease the influential industry groups whose support they need to move forward. ‘We want to have a vibrant construction industry,’ said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), who’s pushing for a greater private-sector presence in the flood insurance market. ‘We want to have a vibrant real estate industry. That’s all great. But we’re incentivizing building in high-risk areas, which is a moral hazard.’” http://politi.co/2exujzw

HMM — “Fire Spotted at Russian Diplomatic Building in D.C.,” by Jana Winter in Foreign Policy: “The Trade Representative of the Russian Federation, located on Connecticut Ave. in northwest Washington, is one of several diplomatic buildings being shuttered as part of a tit-for-tat with Moscow. The building serves as both an office and a residence for Russian diplomatic staff. Smoke and flames in the back were clearly visible starting late-afternoon Friday, and staff could be seen dumping what appeared to be paper into the fire.” http://atfp.co/2esijLX

GOOD NEWS FOR RAHM – “CPD: August shootings down 45 percent from last year,” by Chicago Sun Times’ Mitchell Armentrout: “Shootings declined by 45.4 percent in August and murders were down by 47.4 percent compared to the same month last year, according to Chicago Police statistics. This August saw more than 300 people wounded in shootings, along with at least 52 deaths ruled homicides, according to data kept by the Chicago Sun-Times. Police still touted it as the sixth straight month to see a decline in shootings over the previous year, the city’s longest such stretch in four years.” http://bit.ly/2ew1rYd

THE ROKITA PILE ON CONTINUES — “Former aides to GOP lawmaker describe toxic work environment,” by AP’s Brian Slodysko in Indianapolis: “Staffers in tears. Pay cuts for small mistakes. Aides who walked out of the office — and never came back. Working for four-term Republican Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana is an exacting job with long hours, made more difficult by a boss known for micromanaging and yelling at his staff, according to 10 former aides who spoke to The Associated Press. … [E]ven in Congress … Rokita’s behavior is outside the norm, according to the former aides, most of whom have worked for other elected officials. …

“During the 2010 campaign, a worker was booted from a staff meeting and instructed to clean Rokita’s vehicle, which included scrubbing the carpets, according to two people with direct knowledge of the incident. The reason? A volunteer driver had body odor the night before, they say. Rokita’s campaign said the congressman did not recall the incident. … Some say he turned angry over small details, like the kind of letterhead used on office or campaign documents. …

“A Jasper County teacher asked Rokita to leave his high school civics class in November 2016 after a talk that was supposed to be about the Constitution got off on the wrong foot, according to two students. Rokita had asked the class if they were taught about ‘American Exceptionalism.’ But when a number of students seemed puzzled by the concept, he had a testy exchange with their teacher, Paul Norwine, whom he criticized for not including it in the curriculum, the students said. Tensions eased and the talk proceeded, but the class was dumbfounded. … Rokita’s campaign did not dispute the students’ account.” http://bit.ly/2grWHQy

–FLASHBACK — John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade, Aug. 18: “The agonizing, 8-page memo on how to chauffeur a congressman: Pity the poor aide charged with driving Rep. Todd Rokita around his district”: http://politi.co/2vTylF3

WHAT JAKE IS READING — “Romney, Clinton and others counsel a panicked political reporter on fatherhood,” by WaPo’s Ben Terris: “From the various politicians and D.C. denizens I spoke with, it’s clear that today, the smartphone is the greatest impediment to being a good parent (Maggie Haberman, a star Trump chronicler for the New York Times and mother of three, said she once filed an entire story on her BlackBerry from her son’s kindergarten graduation ceremony). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has gone to some extreme measures to combat this problem. In 2013, Flake took two of his sons on a trip to a deserted island, where they would survive by spearing fish and scavenging for coconuts. ‘It was worth the risk just to have time without cellphones, without electronics,’ Flake, 54, said. ‘Just to have five or six days with their dad.’ But what about being a good dad for the other 360 days of the year?

“Flake says the best advice he ever got about that came shortly after he first arrived to Congress, and it came from his Arizona congressional colleague, now-former senator Jon Kyl (R). ‘He told me to involve my kids as much as I can in this job,’ Flake said. ‘They were either going to resent this life or revel in it.’ This past summer, one of Flake’s sons served as a page in the Senate. ‘It’s great,’ Flake said. ‘Not only did I get to see him more, but he had to call me sir!’” With cameos by Jason Kander and Tim Kaine http://wapo.st/2wqmaCY

MEDIAWATCH — “After Mass Layoffs, Can Glenn Beck Still Save ‘The Blaze’?” by The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove: “By the time Beck himself spoke to his dwindling army of underlings as one of his personal bodyguards from Gavin de Becker’s celebrity protection service stood watch, nearly 60 of their coworkers had been abruptly fired—a body count that amounted to almost 30 percent of the workforce, according to estimates compiled by shell-shocked survivors. … Among the departed, according to sources, were camera operators, producers, a receptionist, a beloved longtime makeup artist, and a well-regarded graphic artist who didn’t learn about his sacking until a coworker reached him Thursday night on his cell phone in Houston, where he’d trekked to help relatives cope with the floods of Hurricane Harvey.” http://thebea.st/2eqyHwv

–“Jeff Bezos Wants To Give More Money To Charity. He Should Pay His Workers First,” by WaPo reporter Fredrick Kunkle in HuffPost: “One of the wealthiest men in the world is thinking of ways to give back. But he’s still taking from the very people who helped him build his fortune. … Many people worked hard for Bezos to help make him so rich, and he has a record of treating them poorly. … Two years ago, however, Bezos slashed retirement benefits [for Post employees]. For reasons that remain unclear, he froze a pension plan that was awash in so much money that neither he nor the company would possibly have faced additional liabilities.” http://bit.ly/2vRp7c9

— “Politico rides wave of Brexit interest with new UK news service,” by FT’s Matthew Garrahan. http://on.ft.com/2vTAwIDSubscribe to London Playbook http://politi.co/2txnK5S

****** A message from the American Bankers Association: America’s banks play a critical role in generating economic growth while delivering safety and convenience for customers. The two million women and men who work for America’s banks safeguard $12.9 trillion in deposits and originate $2.4 trillion in home loans. They provide $331 billion in loans to small businesses and $175 billion in loans to farmers and ranchers. Banks’ fraud protection measures stop at least $11 billion in attempted fraud each year. And thousands of banker volunteers deliver financial literacy lessons annually to millions of young Americans to help them become financially successful adults. Find out more at http://ift.tt/2mLVFR3, #AmericasBanks ******

CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker – 15 keepers http://politi.co/2wrkCc1

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:

–“The princess myth: Hilary Mantel on Diana” – The Guardian: “The end of royal status stripped away Diana’s protection. There was a buzz in the air, a doomy feeling, as if her options were running out. She still played games with the press, but they knew a dirtier game. She teased them, and they chased her down, not killing her yet. She is supposed to have feared sinister forces, anticipated that her end. As every fortune-teller knows, such hints assume precision in retrospect.” http://bit.ly/2wYu4VR (h/t TheBrowser.com)

–“The Sucker, the Sucker!” by Amia Srinivasan in the London Review of Books: Octopuses “are sophisticated problem solvers; they learn, and can use tools; and they show a capacity for mimicry, deception and, some think, humour. Their very strangeness makes octopuses hard to study. Their intelligence is like ours, and utterly unlike ours. Octopuses are the closest we can come, on earth, to knowing what it might be like to encounter intelligent aliens.” http://bit.ly/2gpDvmj

–“Has disruption from e-commerce run its course?”: “Alibaba’s Jack Ma has put it bluntly: ‘We must embrace physical space.’” http://bit.ly/2wYu4VR

–“Lessons from camels,” by Robert Skinner in The Monthly: “A ten-day camel trek through the South Australian outback. With your parents.” http://bit.ly/2wYu4VR (h/t Longreads.com)

–“Ideas were not enough,” by Mark Koyama in Aeon Magazine: “It wasn’t the ideas of Bayle or Spinoza or Locke driving the rise of state power, it was the need to raise resources for governing and war. For the rising fiscal-military state, religious uniformity and persecution simply became too expensive and inefficient.” http://bit.ly/2wYu4VR

–“How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?” by The New Yorker’s David Remnick: “What the thriller ‘Fauda’ reveals about what Israelis will watch—and what they won’t.” http://bit.ly/2epXfFX

–“How an Angry Candy Man Revolutionized the Modern Sushi Industry,” by
Tom Redmond, Nao Sano and Naomi Schanen in Bloomberg – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “Case study of benefits from automation. Kisaku Suzuki had the idea for sushi-making robots in the mid-1970s, and persevered despite ridicule from Japanese chefs. It took him five years to produce a viable machine — and when he did, he set off the worldwide sushi boom of the 1980s, opening up an elite cuisine to a mass market. In Japan, three-quarters of sushi restaurants are now mechanised.” http://bit.ly/2evwcg6

–“America’s First Addiction Epidemic,” by Christopher Finan, in an excerpt from “Drunks: An American History” in Longreads: “The records of colonial traders who operated in Indian country show that 80 percent of the charges to government accounts were for gifts of alcohol to the natives.” http://bit.ly/2eM32Gp $16.30 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2eMloqD

–“The Blind Traveler,” by Lucas Reilly in Mental Floss: “How James Holman felt his way around the world to become history’s most prolific explorer.” http://bit.ly/2wtGDFg

–“The Temptations of the Brown Box,” by Jobie S. Turner in The Strategy Bridge: “The ‘brown box’ is the new black. Take a quick view of any American neighborhood and brown boxes adorn the front of dwellings like so many square garden gnomes. Whether delivered by Federal Express, United Parcel Service (UPS), or the U.S. Post Office, the ubiquitous cubes illustrate the power of online commerce delivering all manner of goods directly to the consumer.” http://bit.ly/2eLXPOM

–“The school beneath the wave: the unimaginable tragedy of Japan’s tsunami,” by Richard Lloyd Parry in The Guardian: “There was the loudspeaker car from the town hall going up and down, saying, ‘Super-tsunami imminent: evacuate, evacuate!’ Sirens, too. Everyone in the village must have heard them. But we didn’t take it seriously.” http://bit.ly/2wY6Z5G

–“101 things we have learned from the Online Magazine” – Christies.com: “The Online Magazine, our weekly email of editorial highlights from Christies.com, celebrates its 100th edition this week. To mark the occasion, we present a miscellany of useful facts, tips and insights published over the past two years.” http://bit.ly/2iMNeHM (h/t ALDaily.com)

–“Emotional Intelligence Needs a Rewrite,” by Lisa Feldman Barrett in Nautilus Magazine: “Think you can read people’s emotions? Think again.” http://bit.ly/2vQYofZ

–“Tomorrow Belongs to God,” by Alan Ruschel, Jakson Follmann and Hélio Hermito Zampier Neto in the Players Tribune – per Longreads.com’s description: “LaMia Flight 2933, carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense football club to the 2016 Copa Sudamericana in Colombia, crashed as it approached the airport. Only six passengers survived, including three players. This is their story, in their words.” http://bit.ly/2evx2JH

SPOTTED: House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) on American Airlines flight AA 610 from DFW to DCA. He was reading “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” by Jon Meacham.

SPOTTED at Conor Maguire’s going away party last night at his favorite post-work hangout, Bullfeathers: Liam O’Rourke, Ashley Burns, Patrick Stewart, Sara Sendek, Scott and Tory Sendek, Phil Coppage, Drew Dougherty, and other RNC staff and alumni.

TRANSITIONS — Sarah Corley starts next week as press secretary at the House Budget Committee. She previously worked on media relations for the Phillips Collection.

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Brian Coy, comms director for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, turned 34 (hat tip: Phil Czerniak)

BIRTHDAYS: Lisa Barclay, former FDA chief of staff, now partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner (h/t Autumn, who notes that she’s “absolutely thrilled that Lisa gets to turn 45 first”) … James Rosen, Fox News chief Washington correspondent, celebrating out on the Eastern Shore with family and friends … Curtis Jablonka … former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) … former Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) … Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) … NPR’s Don Gonyea (h/t Dick Keil) … Dan Klaidman, deputy editor of Yahoo News … J.P. Freire … Jordan Blum … Joe Shonkwiler … Seth Zweifler … Jess Fassler … Christa Robinson of Rep. Yarmuth’s office … Zakiya Thomas, campaign manager for Justin Fairfax for Va. lieutenant governor (h/t Marina McCarthy) … Coleman Hutchins, digital marketing guru … Molly McUsic, president of the Wyss Foundation … Elizabeth Birch, president and CEO of Peris Birch … Kris Balderston, president of global public affairs and strategic engagement at FleishmanHillard DC and former head of global partnerships for Hillary at State … Tom Manatos, VP of government relations at Spotify and founder of D.C. political job site TomManatosJobs.com (h/ts Jon Haber) …

… Ferial Govashiri, chief of staff to the chief content officer at Netflix and Obama alum … Ethan Zorfas, VP at Axiom Strategies (h/t Daniel Strauss) … Dylan Vorbach … comms firm Ditto is 5 … Shannon Wheeler … Melissa Joseph … Andrew Shine … Bryan Watt … Scott Petersen, deputy COS for Rep. Jim Costa … Kim Bowman … Bill Bode … former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) … Trevor Thomas … Vi Neil … Connie Cook … Michael Kolenc (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Amy Goldman … Wayne Washington … Jennifer Hanley, managing director at Tusk Ventures and a KKR and Hillary alum … Ian Kremer … Jordan Blum … Michael Siroka … Xuan Thai, producer at NBC Universal … Andy Adkins … Raney Aronson, executive producer at Frontline … Kai Bird … Sakib Shaikh … International Tennis Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors … Keanu Reeves … Salma Hayek … electronic music DJ/producer Zedd (h/ts AP)

THE SHOWS by @MattMackowiak, filing from Austin:

— CNN’s “State of the Union”: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott … Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Panel: Rick Santorum , Neera Tanden, Carlos Gutierrez and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) (substitute anchor: CNN’s Dana Bash

— NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Panel: Matthew Continetti, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Susan Page and Kristen Welker.

— ABC’s “This Week”: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott… Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo … FEMA Administrator Brock Long … Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) … Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). Panel: Matthew Dowd, Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards and Mark Updegrove (live from Houston)

— CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Brock Long … Sylvester Turner … Victor Cha. Panel: Nancy Youssef, David Sanger, Margaret Talev and Ruth Marcus

— “Fox News Sunday”: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott … Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Panel: Jason Chaffetz, Jeff Mason, Michael Needham and Marie Harf

— Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton … Karl Rove … former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh … Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) … Brad Blakeman

— Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Mike Huckabee … Erin McPike … Mollie Hemingway … Michael Tomasky … Houston Chronicle managing editor Vernon Loeb … Griff Jenkins

— CNN’s “Inside Politics” with John King: Michael Shear, Molly Ball, Karoun Demirjian and Sara Murray

— CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Special episode: “The Next Big Idea”, featuring interviews with co-authors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, neuroscientist Lisa Genova, computer scientist Sebastian Thrun, biographer Walter Isaacson and celebrity chef Dan Barber

— CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Errol Louis, Sarah Westwood and Alice Stewart … Will Bunch … Harry Shearer … Maggie Haberman and Clyde Haberman

— Univision’s “Al Punto”: Exclusive interview with Blanca Saldivar, mother of four children who died in a tragic accident during Hurricane Harvey and their grandmother Blanca Zepeda … wives of Hurricane Harvey volunteer rescuers Perla Vizueth and Nancy Herrera … Univision News correspondents Carolina Sarassa and Pedro Rojas … Hurricane Harvey victim Leidys Shull … Romulo Avelica, who was released on bond from an immigration detention center and his daughter Fatima Avelica … musician Gilberto Santa Rosa

— C-SPAN: “The Communicators”: Interviews from a technology fair for members of Congress and their staffs sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association … “Newsmakers”: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, questioned by Politico Pro’s Kimberly Hefling and Education Week Magazine’s Stephen Sawchuk … “Q&A”: Author Anthony Clark

— PBS’ “To the Contrary”: Human Rights campaign national press secretary Sarah McBride

— Washington Times’ “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher or listen http://bit.ly/2omgw1D): Special episode on Hurricane Harvey with Texas Railroad Commission chairman Christi Craddick, State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) and Houston Food Bank Board Member Beto Cardenas.

****** A message from the American Bankers Association: America’s banks play a critical role in generating economic growth while delivering safety and convenience for customers. The two million women and men who work for America’s banks safeguard $12.9 trillion in deposits and originate $2.4 trillion in home loans. They provide $331 billion in loans to small businesses and $175 billion in loans to farmers and ranchers. Banks’ fraud protection measures stop at least $11 billion in attempted fraud each year. And thousands of banker volunteers deliver financial literacy lessons annually to millions of young Americans to help them become financially successful adults. Find out more at http://ift.tt/2mLVFR3, #AmericasBanks ******

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Posted in news | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on TRUMP’s dozens of nominations — MAGGIE and GLENN on how John Kelly ‘grates’ on POTUS — THE HARVEY RELIEF WRANGLING — Is OBAMACARE repeal dead? – WEEKEND READS — B’DAY: Lisa Barclay