TRUMP’S WEEK: Tuesday: President Donald Trump is lunching with VP Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He’ll give remarks at a Federal Judges Association reception. Wednesday: The president hosts a Cabinet meeting. He will also participate in a celebration of military mothers. Friday: Trump is hosting a roundtable with CEOs of auto companies.
SHOT … JAKE TAPPER on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: “Do you know of any other payments like this one?” KELLYANNE CONWAY: “I do not. They did not cross my desk as campaign manager.” (via @brianstelter)
CHASER … ABC’S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS speaks to RUDY GIULIANI about payments Michael Cohen might have made to other women: “I have no knowledge of that but I would think, if it was necessary, yes. He made payments for the president, or he conducted business for the president, which means he had legal fees, monies laid out and expenditures, which I have on my bills to my clients.”
-- ALSO, GIULIANI ON COMPLYING WITH A SUBPOENA: “Well, we don’t have to. He’s the president of the United States. We can assert the same privilege other presidents have. President Clinton negotiated a deal in which he didn’t admit the effectiveness of the subpoena.” STEPHANOPOULOS: “But he did testify before the grand jury. Is the president willing to do that?” GIULIANI: “But only for two-and-a-half hours. Only with an arranged format. Would we be willing to do that? I’d rather have the Hillary Clinton treatment.”
… GIULIANI: “[E]very lawyer in America says he’d be a fool to testify. I’ve got a client who wants to testify … he said it yesterday. And Jay and I said to ourselves, my goodness, I hope we get a chance to tell him the risk that he’s taking. So he may testify. We may actually work things out with Bob Mueller because working with him directly is good.”
-- FOR GOOD MEASURE…: STEPHANOPOULOS: “Is it OK to lie to the press?” GIULIANI: “Uh, gee, I don’t know, you know a few presidents who did that. I don’t think this president has done that.”
CHRIS WALLACE interviewed JOE DIGENOVA on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: DIGENOVA: “The President will not sit down for an interview because this investigation has now reached a level of bad faith, this is no longer a good faith investigation.”
CHUCK TODD spoke with Stormy Daniels’ attorney MICHAEL AVENATTI on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS”: TODD: “What are you fighting for at this point?” AVENATTI: “Well, she hasn’t told the entire story. … This should matter to the American people because they have the right to be told the truth by their elected officials. They have the right not to be lied to including onboard Air Force One and coverups should always matter to the American people.”
OK THEN … Good Sunday morning. SPOTTED: Jared and Ivanka having dinner last night upstairs at The Line hotel in Adams Morgan. She wore a red flowered dress. “She had red wine … He came and left with a baseball cap. He took it off for dinner,” said our tipster.
STORY OF THE WEEK … NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN in PHOENIX on SUNDAY A1: “At His Ranch, John McCain Shares Memories and Regrets With Friends”: “When former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to Senator John McCain’s Arizona ranch last Sunday to spend a few hours with his ailing friend, the two reminisced about the ‘crazy senators’ they had served with, the overseas trips they took together for decades and the friendship Mr. McCain forged with Mr. Biden’s two sons.
“But the conversation on the sun-splashed deck off Mr. McCain’s bedroom was not all nostalgia. ‘Here John knows he’s in a very, very, very precarious situation, and yet he’s still concerned about the state of the country,’ Mr. Biden said in an interview. ‘We talked about how our international reputation is being damaged and we talked about the need for people to stand up and speak out.’
“As he battles brain cancer and the debilitating side effects of his aggressive treatment, Mr. McCain himself is reckoning with his history and the future, as he and a stream of friends share memories and say what needs to be said. …
“The Republican senator encouraged the former Democratic vice president to ‘not walk away’ from politics, as Mr. Biden put it before refusing to discuss a possible 2020 presidential run. Mr. McCain is using a new book and documentary to reveal his regret about not selecting former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman as his running mate in 2008.
“His intimates have informed the White House that their current plan for his funeral is for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the service to be held in Washington’s National Cathedral but not President Trump, with whom Mr. McCain has had a rocky relationship.” https://nyti.ms/2rm5F86 … NYT A1 http://bit.ly/2jz0sW0
INTERESTING STORY … L.A. TIMES: “Republicans at state party gathering would rather talk about the gas tax than keeping the House” https://lat.ms/2KANKT3
THE INVESTIGATIONS …
-- “Mueller Probe Might Have to Go Dark for Midterm Election: Though there is no legal deadline, Justice Department guidelines say prosecutors should avoid the appearance of trying to sway elections,” by WSJ’s Aruna Viswanatha and Erica Orden: “The clock is ticking for special counsel Robert Mueller. With six months to go until November’s midterm elections, Mr. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign will soon run into a dead zone of sorts, in which former prosecutors say they expect him either to wrap up, or lie low and take no visible steps until after the election.
“Though Mr. Mueller doesn’t face any specific legal deadline, the fall midterms amount to a political one, according to experts and prosecutors. He will reach a point this summer when Justice Department habits dictate that he will have to either finish his inquiries or go dark and stretch out his work until past November so he doesn’t appear to be trying to sway voters’ decisions, which would be at odds with Justice Department guidelines for prosecutors.” https://on.wsj.com/2jvXwK2
KNOWING MICHAEL COHEN -- “How Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire,” by NYT’s William K. Rashbaum, Danny Hakim, Brian Rosenthal, Emily Flitter and Jesse Drucker: “He was a personal-injury lawyer who often worked out of taxi offices scattered around New York City. There was the one above the run-down auto repair garage on West 16th Street in Manhattan, on the edge of the Meatpacking District before it turned trendy. There was the single-story building with the garish yellow awning in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge. There was the tan brick place on a scruffy Manhattan side street often choked with double-parked taxis.
“And then there was his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower overlooking Fifth Avenue, right next to the one belonging to Donald J. Trump. Before he joined the Trump Organization and became Mr. Trump’s lawyer and do-it-all fixer, Michael D. Cohen was a hard-edge personal-injury attorney and businessman. Now a significant portion of his quarter-century business record is under the microscope of federal prosecutors — posing a potential threat not just to Mr. Cohen but also to the president.” https://nyti.ms/2wghxNU
TRUMP INC. -- “As the ‘King of Debt,’ Trump borrowed to build his empire. Then he began spending hundreds of millions in cash,” by WaPo’s Jonathan O’Connell, David A. Fahrenthold and Jack Gillum: “In the nine years before he ran for president, Donald Trump’s company spent more than $400 million in cash on new properties — including 14 transactions paid for in full, without borrowing from banks — during a buying binge that defied real estate industry practices and Trump’s own history as the self-described ‘King of Debt.’
“Trump’s vast outlay of cash, tracked through public records and totaled publicly here for the first time, provides a new window into the president’s private company, which discloses few details about its finances. It shows that Trump had access to far more cash than previously known, despite his string of commercial bankruptcies and the Great Recession’s hammering of the real estate industry.” https://wapo.st/2JZ7H4L
ON THE WORLD STAGE -- “Billions on the line for firms as Trump weighs Iran pullout,” by AP’s Jon Gambrell in Dubai: “From airplanes to oilfields, billions of dollars are on the line for international corporations as President Donald Trump weighs whether to pull America out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
“Regardless of where they are headquartered, virtually all multinational corporations do business or banking in the U.S., meaning any return to pre-deal sanctions could torpedo deals made after the 2015 agreement came into force.
“That threat alone has been enough to scare risk-averse firms, like Boeing Co., into slow-walking deals agreed to months ago. A complete pullout by the U.S. would wreak further havoc and likely frighten off those considering making the plunge.” https://bit.ly/2IfMrur
CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO: “Kirstjen Nielsen’s tightrope act”: “Nielsen, a cybersecurity expert who worked in the Bush administration, has stood alongside Trump in dialing up warnings about immigration as part of a strategy to deter additional people from coming to the U.S.
“Yet she’s had to walk a tightrope, current and former aides said, picking her moments with Trump in private while preserving a working relationship with leaders here and abroad who view the administration’s immigration policies as anathema to their values. ‘It’s a balancing act,’ said one person who’s worked with her.” https://politi.co/2wjS8Tm
-- @LucasFoxNews: Texas Rep. Mac "Thornberry on Iran nuclear deal: 'Maybe the best thing is for the President to delay a bit more his deadline of this month and put the French and the British up to the test' on a new agreement, House Armed Services Chairman says on @FoxNewsSunday".
PRUITT FILES …
-- “EPA clamps down on document requests linked to Pruitt,” by Alex Guillén: “Top aides to Scott Pruitt at the EPA are screening public records requests related to the embattled administrator, slowing the flow of information released under the Freedom of Information Act — at times beyond what the law allows.
“Internal emails obtained by POLITICO show that Pruitt's political appointees reviewed documents collected for most or all FOIA requests regarding his activities, even as he’s drawn scrutiny for his use of first-class flights and undisclosed dealings with lobbyists.” https://politi.co/2wjUP7q
2018 WATCH -- “Blankenship surging on eve of West Virginia Senate primary,” by Alex Isenstadt: “There is growing concern among Republicans that Don Blankenship, a bombastic coal baron who has spent time in prison, is surging ahead of Tuesday’s West Virginia Senate primary — and a last-minute campaign is underway to stop him. As the tight contest hurtles to a close, four Republicans said they’d reviewed polling conducted in recent days showing Blankenship, who spent a year in jail following the 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 workers, moving narrowly ahead of his more mainstream GOP rivals, Rep. Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. ...
“Many are convinced that a Blankenship win, coming just months after the disastrous Alabama Senate race, would destroy the party’s prospects of defeating Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.” https://politi.co/2rn5BnK
-- “Cordray-Kucinich primary serves as Democrats’ first Midwest test of 2018,” by Daniel Strauss: “[Richard] Cordray has led in sparse public polls of the primary, but [Dennis] Kucinich has still lurked within striking distance after a months-long stylistic debate about whether Democrats need an outspoken firebrand or a more pragmatic progressive to win Ohio. It could be a preview of Democratic primary contests to come in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin — and elsewhere around the country — as the party seeks to rebuild in the states.” https://politi.co/2KCOGX4
YOU’RE INVITED ... We’ll sit down with NANCY PELOSI this Tuesday in D.C. Six months ahead of Election Day. RSVP http://bit.ly/playbookpelosi
SPY GAMES – “Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal,” by The Guardian’s Mark Townsend and Julian Borger: “Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a ‘dirty ops’ campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal. People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to ‘get dirt’ on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal. ...
“According to incendiary documents seen by the Observer, investigators contracted by the private intelligence agency were told to dig into the personal lives and political careers of Rhodes ... and Kahl ... Among other things they were looking at personal relationships, any involvement with Iran-friendly lobbyists, and if they had benefited personally or politically from the peace deal.” http://bit.ly/2HUyoXN
LIFE AFTER BUFFETT? -- “Warren Buffett Lays Out a Berkshire Hathaway Future Without Him,” by WSJ’s Nicole Friedman in Omaha: https://on.wsj.com/2wjXlKU
SPACE TALK -- “Elon Musk’s SpaceX is using a powerful rocket technology. NASA advisers say it could put lives at risk,” by WaPo’s Christian Davenport: “When Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX were looking to make their Falcon 9 rocket even more powerful, they came up with a creative idea — keep the propellant at super-cold temperatures to shrink its size, allowing them to pack more of it into the tanks. But the approach comes with a major risk, according to some safety experts. At those extreme temperatures, the propellant would need to be loaded just before takeoff — while astronauts are aboard.
“An accident, or a spark, during this maneuver, known as ‘load-and-go,’ could set off an explosion. The proposal has raised alarms for members of Congress and NASA safety advisers as the agency and SpaceX prepare to launch humans into orbit as early as this year. One watchdog group labeled load-and-go a ‘potential safety risk.’ A NASA advisory group warned in a letter that the method was ‘contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years.’” https://wapo.st/2KHVouO
SNL COLD OPEN – “Michael Cohen Wiretap Cold Open”: MICHAEL COHEN (played by Ben Stiller): “Hello, Stormy. This is Michael Cohen. Are you alone?” STORMY (played by herself): “Yes.” TRUMP (Alec Baldwin): “And what are you wearing?” STORMY: “Excuse me?” TRUMP: “Okay Michael, I can take it from here.” COHEN: “Okay, but as your attorney, I highly advise against you...” Trump hangs up on Cohen. TRUMP: “So, what up girl?” STORMY: “Hello, Donald.” TRUMP: “Come on, Stormy. Stop making such a big deal about this. Everyone knows it’s just an act.”
STORMY: “I work in adult films, we’re not really known for our acting.”
TRUMP: “Just tell me: what do you need for this all to go away?” STORMY: “A resignation.” TRUMP: “Yeah right, being president is like doing porn. Once you do it, it’s hard to do anything else.” … TRUMP: “I solved North and South Korea, why can’t I solve us?” STORMY: “Sorry Donald, it’s too late for that. I know you don't believe in climate change but a storm’s a coming baby.” TRUMP: “I’ve never been so scared and so horny at the same time.” 7-min. video http://bit.ly/2wcsGPE
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
-- “Trafficked in America”: “FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley tell the inside story of Guatemalan teens forced to work against their will on an egg farm in Ohio.” https://to.pbs.org/2w6oCQQ (h/t Kelly Sadler)
-- “Rosi’s Choice,” by Justine van der Leun in VQR’s Spring issue: “When a young mother fleeing violence in El Salvador faces long odds for asylum, it raises a crucial question: Who deserves sanctuary in America?” http://bit.ly/2rgeCQs
-- “Virtuous Leadership and Restoring the American Dream,” by Dave McCormick, adapted from his keynote address for the Rear Admiral Wetmore Ethics Forum, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy early this year, in War on the Rocks: “[O]ur country would benefit greatly from the transition of those who have served in the military — men and women, young and old, from all races and religions — to leadership positions in civilian life in business, journalism, and particularly elected politics, where they can bring their values and experiences to bear.” http://bit.ly/2FFp9Jn
-- “Birds of a Feather,” by Karen Abbott in Topic: “The relationship between humans and parrots can be surprisingly profound.” http://bit.ly/2Kxcr2M
-- “‘We’ve Lost 10 Years of Innovation. This Decade Has Been Boring for the Web,’” by Noah Kulwin in NYMag: “A conversation with Ethan Zuckerman, media scholar and inventor of the pop-up ad, on the original sin of advertising and the web’s lost decade.” https://slct.al/2wgsdvI (h/t TheBrowser.com)
-- “An MSG Convert Visits the High Church of Umami,” by Helen Rosner in the New Yorker: “Monosodium glutamate is a compound molecule: in it, glutamate, the amino acid responsible for the mysterious deepening of flavor, is stabilized by sodium, becoming something flaky and sprinkleable, like a fine, pearlescent salt. ... Glutamate .... occurs naturally in all the foods that we associate with umami: aged hard cheeses, tomatoes, mushrooms, dried and fermented fish and fish sauces, and savory condiments like Marmite and Worcestershire sauce.” http://bit.ly/2rj4RRj
-- “Wall Street’s Big Gender Lawsuit Is 13 Years in the Making,” by Dune Lawrence and Max Abelson in Bloomberg Businessweek: “Cristina Chen-Oster’s fight with Goldman Sachs began in 2005. It just got huge.” https://bloom.bg/2wbQNy6
-- “Trump’s Lawyer Went to the Worst Law School in America,” by Philip Shenon in POLITICO Magazine: “Michael Cohen’s alma mater [Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan] has long been a punchline in the legal world.” https://politi.co/2rlqOiD
-- “Cairo: A Type of Love Story,” by the New Yorker’s Peter Hessler: “Raising a family during a revolution.” http://bit.ly/2FLu5fz
-- “The Spy Who Came Home,” by the New Yorker’s Ben Taub: “Why an expert in counterterrorism became a beat cop.” http://bit.ly/2wf3vfp
-- “Learning to Like Ike,” by Tevi Troy in the Weekly Standard: “The strategic savvy of an underestimated leader.” https://tws.io/2rmSKC6
-- “The Baby-Formula Crime Ring,” by Chris Pomorski in the N.Y. Times Magazine’s Money issue: “It’s pricey, it’s portable, its users need it constantly, and retailers love to buy it at a discount. All of which makes it a perfect product to steal.” https://nyti.ms/2rlAMjc
OUT AND ABOUT -- SPOTTED at Adrienne Arsht’s Cinco de Mayo party last night: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and his wife Mary, Jack Evans, Kellyanne Conway, Rita Braver and Bob Barnett, Ann and Lloyd Hand, Barbara Allbritton, Abby Blunt, Patrick Steel and Lee Satterfield, Sen Ed. Markey (D-Mass.) and Susan Blumenthal Markey, Chris Isham and Jennifer Maguire, Traci and Adam Bernstein, Kristin Mannion and HP Goldfield, Tom Bossert, Jodie McLean, Carol Melton, Gary Knell, Peru Amb. Carlos Pareja, Capricia Marshall, Michael LaRosa, Tom LeBlanc.
-- SPOTTED at a dinner last night at Sally Quinn’s house to celebrate Jon Meacham, who on Tuesday releases a new book “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” -- ($19.66 on Amazon https://amzn.to/2wiS0n5 … NYT op-ed https://nyti.ms/2HYRtbB): Michael Beschloss, Evan Thomas, Walter Isaacson, Maureen Dowd, Bob Costa, Martha Raddatz, Jeff Goldberg and Pam Reeves, Tony Blinken and Evan Ryan, Tammy Haddad, Andy Lack, Betsy Fischer Martin and Jonathan Martin, Phil Rucker, John Harris, Evelyn Farkas, Mary Jordan, Chuck Todd, Kasie Hunt, Richard Cohen and Patricia Duff.
-- MEACHAM was on “Meet the Press” this morning and will be on “Morning Joe” on Monday. He’ll also do events in Washington for Politics and Prose with Chris Matthews at GW tonight and at the New-York Historical Society with Willie Geist on Wednesday.
-- SPOTTED at Mike and Shannon Dubke’s annual Kentucky Derby party yesterday at their house in Alexandria: Reince and Sally Priebus, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Bryan Sanders, Hogan Gidley, Mike Sommers, Craig Purser, Brian Wild, Brian Jones, Carl Forti, Stuart Roy, Hazen Marshall, Greg Crist, Michael Meehan, Ben Ginsberg, Zeke Miller, Steve Holland, Danny Diaz, Matt Rhoades, George Sifakis, Steven Law, Les Brorsen.
-- SPOTTED at Gold Cup yesterday in Virginia: John Arundel, Tom Quinn, Amanda Lee House, Ian Mason, Yebbie Watkins, former Rep. Tom McMillen (D-Md.), Neil King, Lauren Ehrsam and Jason Gorey, Felix Browne, Kaitlan Collins, Ryan Jackson, Kenny Day, Sean and Alyssa Hackbarth, Irish Amb. Dan Mulhall, Ben Droz
WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- HILLARY ALUMNI -- Tyrone Gayle, press secretary for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and an HFA and DCCC alum, on Saturday married Beth Foster, military legislative assistant for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and a DOD and OFA alum, in a wedding at Seven Oaks Farm outside Charlottesville, Va., in a ceremony officiated by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Gayle was Kaine’s body man on his 2012 campaign. NYT announcement https://nyti.ms/2HYaUBc ... Wedding pics http://bit.ly/2FNXw0G … The couple cutting a pie -- (they had a variety of pies from a local Charlottesville shop instead of having a traditional wedding cake) http://bit.ly/2rpu8Zg
SPOTTED: Anne Holton, best man Ian Sams, maid of honor Sarah Schultz and Andy Kroll, Lily Adams, Emmy Bengtson, Rebecca Chalif, Jesse Lehrich, Miryam Lipper, Lizzy Chan, Alex Phillips, Corey Ciorciari, Dan Merica and Monica Alba, Doug Thornell, Rodell Mollineau and Sheena Arora, Chris Harris and Kate Conway, Tyler Law, Franklin Davis, Malcom Glenn, Kate Harloe, Sasha and Sam Baker, Max Lesko and Allison Zelman, Beth Burke, Jess Goldstein.
-- “Adrienne Watson, William Jennings” – N.Y. Times: “The bride, 30, works in Washington as the deputy communications director for the Democratic Party and director of its war room, used for political planning, strategizing and project management. She previously served as a spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. She graduated from Indiana University. ...
“The groom, 34, directs public engagement for PredictIt, a real-money political-prediction market headquartered in Washington. He graduated from the University of Arkansas and did press advance for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. He is also a drummer with the Invisibles, a Washington-based rock band.” https://nyti.ms/2HUHgRc
-- SPOTTED: best man/brother of the groom Clark Jennings and wife Mary Jennings, Tom and Carol Wheeler, former Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Adrienne Elrod, Ryan Guthrie and Alisa La, Joel Riethmiller, Jessa Merrill and Jack Rogers, Heidi Reutebuch
HAPPY 18th ANNIVERSARY to Jamie Smith and Eric Pierce
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Kate Bates, president of the Arlington (Va.) Chamber of Commerce (hat tip: Bruce Potter) … Ashton Weinberger
BIRTHDAYS: Tucker Eskew ... Tony Blair is 65 … Jim Gartman … Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is 84 … Sheena Arora, senior manager for corporate responsibility at PwC ... David Rogers ... Bloomberg’s Joe Nocera ... Politico Albany bureau chief Jimmy Vielkind ... Steve Lindsey is 62 ... Dani Lever, press secretary for Gov. Cuomo ... Seth Freedland, senior writer at Nike ... Stefan Friedman, partner at Mercury ... Spencer Pederson ... Cynara Lilly, principal at RALLY ... NPR’s Jennifer Longmire-Wright ... Cara Philbin ... Kevin Powers, MBA candidate at London Business School … Liza Romanow, Albright Stonebridge Group analyst and comms assistant to Madeleine Albright ... James Kariuki, director of Diplomacy 20:20, the UK Foreign & Commercial Office’s change program (h/ts Ben Chang) ... Laura Evans Manatos (h/t Melanie Fonder Kaye) ...
... Alyse Cohen is 3-0 ... Mark Armour ... Obama Treasury alum Benjamin Levine ... Max Giammetta of WTTG-5 (h/t Kelley McCormick) ... Meek Mill is 31 – tonight at 7 p.m. ET, NBC airs a Dateline NBC exclusive: “Dreams and Nightmares: The Meek Mill Story” (h/t Lester Holt) ... WSJ’s Telis Demos ... Cara Philbin ... Lisa Ferri ... Rebecca Powell Marx ... Natasha Mozgovaya ... Paul Schmitz is 49 ... Bob McCall ... Jim Williams … Bill Dolbow ... WH alumnus John Roberts … Rosa Puech ... Jim Ramstad ... Mark Armour ... Woodfen McLean (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)