PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP announced new sanctions on Iran, specifically targeting the supreme leader and others. “I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us -- a lot of restraint -- and that doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future,” Trump said, according to pooler John Fritze of USA Today.
-- TRUMP: “I know many Iranians living in New York, and they’re fantastic people.” When asked if today’s sanctions were retaliation for Iran shooting down a U.S. drone, Trump said “you ‘could probably add that into this’ but then said, ‘This was something that was going to happen anyway.’”
THE WHITE HOUSE was locked down this morning due to a suspicious package. … @SecretService: “Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers are responding to an incident involving a suspicious package located on Pennsylvania Ave. Pedestrian traffic is closed along Pennsylvania Ave. between 15th and 17th streets to include Lafayette Park.”
MORE ON IRAN -- THE PRESIDENT TWEETS at 8:08 a.m.: “China gets 91% of its Oil from the Straight, Japan 62%, & many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been....”
“....a dangerous journey. We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world! The U.S. request for Iran is very simple - No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!”
-- AP/DUBAI: “Pompeo in Saudi Arabia, Iran threatens more U.S. drone attacks,” by Aya Batrawy: “On Monday, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo held separate talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi port city of Jiddah to discuss the escalation with Iran.
“Pompeo wrote on Twitter that he had a ‘productive meeting’ with King Salman and discussed ‘heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security’ in the Strait of Hormuz near the Persian Gulf, through which roughly a fifth of the world’s traded oil passes. From the kingdom, Pompeo will travel to neighboring United Arab Emirates, another close U.S. ally.” AP
THE PRESIDENTIAL DELEGATION to Jared Kushner’s Palestinian summit in Bahrain is being led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and includes just one person who works at the State Department. Note: The Palestinians are not attending this event. The delegation … CNN’s Jeremy Diamond -- in Manama -- on Kushner’s credibility test
-- TIMES OF ISRAEL: “Palestinian businessman pulls out of U.S.-led conference in Bahrain”: “‘I accepted the invitation to attend the conference after it was affirmed to me that it will be about bringing real investment for the Palestinian people,’ [Mohammed] Massad told The Times of Israel. ‘But when I learned of the names of the group of [Palestinian] businessmen attending the conference, I decided to withdraw my participation because it brings me no honor to stand alongside them.’” Times of Israel
Good Monday afternoon.
WHAT ELSE IS ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND -- @realDonaldTrump at 8:53 a.m.: “Despite a Federal Reserve that doesn’t know what it is doing — raised rates far too fast (very low inflation, other parts of world slowing, lowering & easing) & did large scale tightening, $50 Billion/month, we are on course to have one of the best Months of June in US history…”
“....Think of what it could have been if the Fed had gotten it right. Thousands of points higher on the Dow, and GDP in the 4’s or even 5’s. Now they stick, like a stubborn child, when we need rates cuts, & easing, to make up for what other countries are doing against us. Blew it!”
… at 10:12 a.m.: “I am pleased to announce the launch of http://tmagac.winred.com . This new platform will allow my campaign and other Republicans to compete with the Democrats money machine. This has been a priority of mine and I’m pleased to share that it is up and running! #KeepAmericaGreat”
-- NYT’S @kenvogel: “If @realDonaldTrump was an official government Twitter account, then this tweet would be an illegal use of public resources for political purposes. But, TRUMP’s allies argue that it is a personal account DESPITE the president’s frequent use of it to make official statements.”
SCOTUS WATCH -- PAUL DEMKO: “Supreme Court agrees to hear Obamacare cases with billions of dollars at stake”: “The Supreme Court’s action directly affects lawsuits filed by just three small insurers, but its eventual ruling will serve as a precedent for dozens of other similar pending cases. Altogether, insurers believe they’re owed more than $12 billion.
“This marks the fifth Obamacare-related case the Supreme Court has agreed to hear in almost a decade since the law’s passage, and it may soon hear another — a constitutional challenge brought by Republican-led states and supported by the Trump administration. … [T]he health insurer cases don’t directly threaten the law’s underpinnings. However, a ruling for the insurers would represent a politically awkward defeat for a Trump administration that’s failed to rip out Obamacare, a priority for the president’s base.” POLITICO
-- “Supreme Court limits access to government records in loss for Argus Leader, a member of the USA TODAY Network,” by USA Today’s Jonathan Ellis and Richard Wolf: “The Supreme Court limited public and media access to government records Monday by expanding a federal law’s definition of what can be deemed confidential.
“At issue was whether confidentiality, as used in a section of the Freedom of Information Act, means anything intended to be kept secret or only information likely to cause harm if publicized. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the 6-3 decision, with Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.” USA Today
-- “Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Challenge to Trump’s Steel Tariffs,” by Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr: “The U.S. Supreme Court refused to question President Donald Trump’s imposition of more than $4 billion in steel tariffs, turning away an appeal that challenged his use of national security as the legal justification for his trade agenda.
“The appeal by a steel industry trade group and two of its members contended that the provision Trump invoked, known as Section 232, gives the president such broad discretion to impose tariffs on national security grounds that it violates the Constitution. … The Trump administration urged the justices to reject the appeal, saying that ‘common sense and the inherent necessities of governmental coordination support a grant of discretion to the president’ when it comes to national security.” Bloomberg
-- “Supreme Court says law banning registration of ‘scandalous’ trademarks violates First Amendment,” by CNN’s Ariane de Vogue and Kate Sullivan: “The justices’ ruling clears the way for a clothing designer to apply for a federal trademark for his clothing line called FUCT. The 6-3 ruling could open the doors to more requests to register words or phrases that have been considered vulgar, a concern that the court's minority feared.
“Entrepreneur Erik Brunetti said he founded a clothing brand in 1990 to question authority and the assumptions of society. He said his company’s name stands for ‘FRIENDS U CAN’T TRUST.’ … The justices suggested Congress should take up the issue and write a more narrowly tailored law.” CNN
COMING ATTRACTIONS -- “Inside The Massive, Coordinated Push To Make Sure A Census Citizenship Question Does Not ‘Distort Democracy,’” by BuzzFeed’s Nidhi Prakash: “Major philanthropic organizations have come together in a rare show of unified support for one specific cause, raising $54 million so far for groups on the ground planning how to make sure communities of color and others who are typically under-counted in the census are not left out. Those plans include 24-hour helplines in multiple languages, outreach at public libraries, churches, and census outreach staff in hard to reach communities across the U.S. …
“Last month, four large progressive philanthropic organizations, the Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, JPB Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, contributed $5 million each to the funds. … [T]he effort is still short of its $73 million goal to fund all the plans on national, state, and local levels.” BuzzFeed
OVERSIGHT WARS -- ANDREW DESIDERIO: “The House Oversight and Reform Committee is demanding that the White House’s records chief testify about President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to conceal documents detailing his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” POLITICO
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION -- “Trump aims at health cost transparency with executive order,” by Rachel Roubein: “[HHS Secretary Alex] Azar detailed five main points of the order on a call with reporters. It will direct HHS to issue a rule requiring hospitals to disclose in an easy-to-read price format reflecting what patients and insurers actually pay. The agency will also require providers and insurers to disclose information about patients' out-of-pocket costs before they receive care.
“The order also calls for a roadmap for consolidating quality metrics across all federal health care programs, expanding access to health care claims data de-identified to preserve privacy and directs the Treasury Department to expand the availability of health savings accounts to pay for more health care services.” POLITICO
TRADE WARS -- “Chinese Drones Made in America: One Company’s Plan to Win Over Trump,” by NYT’s Cecilia Kang: “DJI, the large Chinese drone maker, is facing mounting security concerns within the Trump administration that its flying machines could send sensitive surveillance data back to China. Now, the company is trying to get on American officials’ good side by building a new product in the United States.
“The company, which is privately held, said on Monday that it would repurpose a warehouse in Cerritos, Calif., to assemble a new version of a drone that has been popular among federal and local government agencies. The assembly of its flying devices in the United States will represent a small percentage of DJI’s overall global production. But it could help the company meet some necessary federal requirements.” NYT
VALLEY TALK -- “Google’s Enemies Gear Up to Make Antitrust Case,” by WSJ’s Ryan Tracy in Washington and Valentina Pop in Brussels: “As U.S. officials prepare an antitrust probe of Alphabet Inc.’s Google and possibly other Silicon Valley giants, a loose-knit crew of its rivals is gearing up to help.
“In industries from news to travel to online shopping, competitors of Google are readying documents and data in anticipation of meetings with the Justice Department, according to industry representatives. Many of these companies have long argued that Big Tech platforms illegally abuse their market power. In recent years some of them have found a receptive audience in Europe, where authorities have thrice fined Google for alleged monopolistic practices. Google has paid the fines but is challenging them in court.” WSJ
2020 WATCH -- DEEP DIVE … WAPO’S ROBERT SAMUELS in New York: “How a grieving mom changed Kirsten Gillibrand’s stance on guns”: “Nyasia [Pryear-Yard]’s story is one Gillibrand tells often on the campaign trail as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president, a powerful anecdote to explain her sudden shift in favor of gun control.
“Ten years after Gillibrand’s visit to Nazareth, though, there are still questions about her well-timed turnabout on an issue that had threatened her political future — and her follow-up on the promises she made to the community.” WaPo
-- “‘Pete Has a Black Problem’: Top Black Leaders Say Buttigieg Is ‘Naive’ on Race: When asked in a private meeting about his support from African-American leaders in South Bend, the mayor couldn’t think of one person,” by The Daily Beast’s Hanna Trudo in North Augusta S.C.
-- WSJ’S KEN THOMAS: “Conservative Group Plans Ad Criticizing Biden in Iowa, Aiming to Sway Black Voters”: “The ad from the Club for Growth seeks to draw focus on what the group casts as vulnerabilities in the former vice president’s record on criminal justice and his role in the 1991 confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The ad also shows of photo of Mr. Biden with the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond …
“While the $11,000 ad buy is unlikely to make a major impression on Democrats months before the Iowa caucuses, it may offer a preview of the types of attack ads Mr. Biden could face in a potential general election matchup against President Trump.” WSJ
-- Sara Gideon, the Democratic speaker of the Maine state House, jumped into the Senate race against GOP Sen. Susan Collins. 3-min. launch video
THE POLICY PRIMARY -- “Biden blasts Trump’s ‘racist invective’ in immigration plan roll-out,” by Marc Caputo: “Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized President Trump’s ‘racist invective’ and called for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and a new foreign policy direction in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of his presidential campaign’s first glimpse of his immigration policy.
“Biden’s announcement, which appeared Monday in a Miami Herald op-ed, was as much a broad outline of his immigration and foreign policy ideas as it was a critique of Trump administration policies.” POLITICO … The op-ed
-- “Beto O’Rourke calls for ‘war tax,’” by David Siders: “Beto O’Rourke on Monday called for Congress to enact a ‘war tax’ any time the country goes to war, with the proceeds going to care for veterans of the conflict.
“The proposal came as part of a new plan by O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for president, to expand services for military veterans. The former Texas congressman repeated his call for the country to end what he called its ‘endless war’ in Afghanistan and Iraq. O’Rourke said redirecting money from those conflicts could save at least $400 billion, half of which he said he would urge Congress to invest in veterans.” POLITICO … The policy
-- “Jay Inslee: End government partnership with fossil fuels,” by AP’s Bill Barrow: “Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee is proposing a clean break between the federal government and the fossil fuel industry. That would involve everything from ending tax breaks for oil companies to banning all drilling and extraction on federal lands and in federal waters.” AP
WHAT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ MIGHT BE READING -- “Left-Wing Group Announces List Of House Democrats To Unseat,” by HuffPost’s Daniel Marans: “Roots Action … plans to send the report to its 1.2 million-member email list, including activists in each of the 15 congressional districts.” HuffPost … The list
WASHINGTON INC. … WSJ: “Private-Equity Group Sees Offense as Best Defense Ahead of Democratic Debates,” by Julie Bykowicz: “The American Investment Council is advertising on Twitter and LinkedIn and other websites with a 30-second video highlighting private equity investment in Florida, where the first Democratic debates are set for Wednesday and Thursday.” WSJ … The 30-second video
TRANSITIONS -- OBAMA ALUMNI -- The Markham Group, an event management firm, is adding several Obama administration alumni: Dave Cusack as COO, Molly Buford as EVP, Talley Sergent as VP, Elisabeth Hire as a senior adviser and Rose Staram as a senior adviser.
ENGAGED -- Kristen McDonald, principal at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, got engaged to Michael Grissom, a senior government relations director in Becker’s government law and lobbying practice. The couple met when they were both working for the Republican Party of Florida in 2011 but didn’t actually start dating until the fall of 2014. He proposed in Florence, Italy, at Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset. Pic ... The ring
WEEKEND WEDDING -- Jordan Wood, speechwriter for Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), married Kaitlyn Kohlhaas, who works at the Heritage Foundation, in Leesburg, Va. Fischer and her husband, Bruce, attended. Pic