POLITICO Playbook PM: Trump on going to war with Iran: ‘I hope not’

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“TRADE WARS ARE GOOD AND EASY TO WIN” … REUTERS: “Walmart says higher tariffs on China goods will increase prices for U.S. shoppers,” by Nandita Bose: “Walmart Inc said on Thursday that prices for shoppers will go up due to higher tariffs on imports from China as the world’s largest retailer reported its best comparable sales growth for the first quarter in nine years. …

“Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told Reuters that higher tariffs will result in increased prices for consumers. He said the company will seek to ease the pain, in part by trying to obtain products from different countries and by working with suppliers’ ‘costs structures to manage higher tariffs.’” Reuters

WSJ: “China Says It Doesn’t Know About U.S. Plans for Beijing Trade Talks”

AS PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP welcomed Swiss President Ueli Maurer to the White House, he was asked if the U.S. is going to war with Iran. “I hope not,” Trump replied.

SPOTTED: White House acting Chief of Staff MICK MULVANEY and Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN popping into Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL’S (R-Ky.) office Thursday afternoon.

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI spoke mostly about health care at her weekly news conference. She said Republicans are trying to dismantle Roe v. Wade.

— ON IRAN: She said she has asked the administration for a full House classified briefing. The administration told her they “couldn’t be ready” last week. The Gang of Eight will be briefed today. Pelosi said she agrees with Trump’s criticism of the war in Iraq and hopes it extends to Iran. She added that Trump will need congressional authorization for military action against Iran — and that he won’t get it.

— ON IMPEACHMENT: Responding to a question from NBC’s Kasie Hunt, Pelosi said the administration’s letter saying it wouldn’t participate in oversight was “totally outrageous.”

— ON IMMIGRATION: Pelosi doesn’t appear to be a huge fan of the White House’s immigration plan, which they say prioritizes “merit-based” immigration. “It is really a condescending word,” she said of “merit.” “Are they saying family is without merit?”

— PELOSI declined to offer a view on holding Trump officials in “inherent contempt” of Congress — a legal doctrine that hasn’t been invoked since the 1930s — saying only that it is “a path” that’s “on the table,” but cautioning not to “leapfrog over” the process. “I don’t have to have a position,” she said. Full news conference

Good Thursday afternoon. SPOTTED: Former Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who is now at Squire Patton Boggs, eating with Rep. Steve Horsford (D-Nev.) at a table next to Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and his team at Bistro Bis.

BURGESS EVERETT: “Trump officials working to schedule Senate briefing on Iran”: “[Senate Majority Whip John Thune] said that Senate leadership is working with the White House, State Department and CIA to hold a meeting with all 100 senators next week. … House Democratic leaders are still working to get an identical all-members briefing next week but the meeting hasn’t been confirmed yet, according to an aide.” POLITICO

HOT ON CABLE — “Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea,” by NYT’s Julian Barnes, Eric Schmitt, Nick Fandos and Edward Wong: “The intelligence that caused the White House to escalate its warnings about a threat from Iran came from photographs of missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf that were put on board by Iranian paramilitary forces, three American officials said.

“Overhead imagery showed fully assembled missiles, stoking fears that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps would fire them at United States naval ships. Additional pieces of intelligence picked up threats against commercial shipping and potential attacks by Arab militias with Iran ties on American troops in Iraq.

“But just how alarmed the Trump administration should be over the new intelligence is a subject of fierce debate among the White House, the Pentagon, the C.I.A. and America’s allies.” NYT

ERIC TALMADGE, the North Korea bureau chief for the AP, died in Tokyo at 57. AP story … Talmadge’s stories and Instagram page brought North Korea to life for readers around the world.

THE 2020 WELCOME WAGON — THE PRESIDENT TWEETS at 8:33 a.m.: “The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group. Bill de Blasio of NYC, considered the worst mayor in the U.S., will supposedly be making an announcement for president today. He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!”

THAT WAS FAST … CNBC’S BRIAN SCHWARTZ (@schwartzbnCNBC): “NEW: John Weaver tells me he’s rejecting a contract with Tenam Corporation, which was to include lobbying on ‘sanctions or other restrictions in the area of atomic (nuclear) energy, trade or cooperation involving in any way the Russian Federation.’ His lawyers informed Tenam today.” Weaver’s responsePOLITICO’s original scoop

COMING ATTRACTIONS — A.G. BILL BARR will sit down for an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on “America’s Newsroom” on Friday. The interview will be taped in El Salvador, where Barr is meeting with officials from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

MELANIE ZANONA and ANDREW DESIDERIO: “Trump lawyers adopt Jim Jordan’s playbook to fight Dem oversight”: “It’s an extraordinary move that underscores the alignment between Trump’s attorneys, who are advancing a restrictive view of Congress’ oversight authority, and Republicans, who are broadly resisting Democrats’ attempts to investigate alleged crimes committed by the president.

“At a federal court hearing on Tuesday, at which a judge heard arguments over whether Trump could block a congressional subpoena for his financial records, the president’s top outside counsel, William Consovoy, asked the judge for extra time so that he could consult with Jordan about providing documents that could buttress the president’s case. … Jordan stressed in an interview that he’s not coordinating with the White House or Trump’s outside attorneys in the congressional oversight battle. But the synergy between the two sides is difficult to miss.” POLITICO

HMM … “Company owned by Brazilian crooks received $62 million in Trump bailout cash meant for struggling U.S. farmers,” by N.Y. Daily News’ Chris Sommerfeldt: “The Department of Agriculture cut a contract in January to purchase $22.3 million worth of pork from plants operated by JBS USA, a Colorado-based subsidiary of Brazil’s JBS SA, which ranks as the largest meatpacker in the world.The bailout raised eyebrows from industry insiders at the time, as it was sourced from a $12 billion program meant for American farmers harmed by President Trump’s escalating trade war with China and other countries.

“But previously undisclosed purchase reports obtained by the Daily News this week reveal the administration has since issued at least two more bailouts to JBS, even as Trump’s own Justice Department began investigating the meatpacker, whose owners are Joesley and Wesley Batista — two wealthy brothers who have confessed to bribing hundreds of top officials in Brazil.” NYDN

AP’S SUMMER BALLENTINE in Jefferson City, Mo.: “Missouri Senate joins GOP anti-abortion wave with 8-week ban”: “The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday. It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.” AP

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — “Half of 10 Biggest Federal Law Agencies Lack Permanent Chiefs,” by WSJ’s Byron Tau: “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons all lack permanent heads. Several of the agencies—ATF, DEA and ICE—have been without Senate-approved leadership for the entirety of Donald Trump’s term in office.” WSJ

2020 WATCH — THE ATLANTIC’S ISAAC DOVERE: “Kamala Harris Is the Jan Brady of the 2020 Race”: “[Harris] thinks cable and Twitter have been trying to dumb down the primary process, and that too many of her fellow candidates are playing along.

“‘This is not a game show where you’ve got a buzzer, and you should hit the buzzer, and you can win some money,’ Harris told me over the phone last week. ‘I think we need to really agree that shouldn’t be the kind of incentives we’re having’—that ‘the pundits will be clapping and happy if, within 30 seconds, you answer the question that’s on the board.’ The problem for Harris, though, is that other people are winning the game.” The Atlantic

— AP’S ELANA SCHOR: “Elizabeth Warren is releasing a new proposal to overhaul ethics rules at the Pentagon that would impose a four-year timeout before top Department of Defense officials could join the contracting industry.” APWarren’s Medium post

— “Jay Inslee touts $9 trillion climate plan as economic boom,” by AP’s Bill Barrow: “The plan would marshal 28 new or existing programs to shift U.S energy markets from fossil fuel dependence to renewable sources; transform U.S. automobile manufacturing and construction practices; and remake the nation’s infrastructure from public transit to municipal water and rural electric cooperatives.” AP

KNOWING BRIAN FALLON: “How Hillary Clinton’s Press Secretary Self-Radicalized and Became a Resistance Leader,” by The Daily Beast’s Gideon Resnick and Maxwell Tani: “Brian Fallon was once one of the most sought after operatives in Democratic politics: a brass knuckle brawler with experience at the highest levels of government, a cellphone filled with the top journalists in town, and a reputation for being preternaturally on message.

“Most offices would have died to hire him. But that was before he decided to devote his career to making the courts more progressive—and to doing so with little care for who he pissed off along the way. Now, many top Democrats can’t stand him.” Daily Beast

TOP-ED — Stacey Abrams in the NYT: “We Cannot Resign Ourselves to Dismay and Disenfranchisement”

JOSH GERSTEIN sends us this dispatch on the political furor in Australia: “Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked twice Thursday to respond to an exclusive POLITICO Magazine report that — at the request of the U.S. — Australia secretly agreed to accept as refugees two Rwandan guerrillas who once were once connected to a massacre of eight tourists and a park ranger in Uganda in 1999.

“The report triggered a media frenzy down under Thursday because Australia’s decision to resettle the two Rwandan fighters was seen as an undisclosed concession in a murky ‘people swap’ deal President Barack Obama struck with Morrison’s predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, in 2016 to take as many as 1,250 migrants Australia parked at grim offshore island camps. In a heated phone call with Turnbull, President Donald Trump initially tried to back out of what he called a ‘dumb deal,’ but grudgingly agreed to stick with it.” Unfolding coverage of the political fallout and outrage from victims

MEDIAWATCH — Michael Falcone, most recently at The Washington Post and ABC, has joined AtlanticLIVE, where he will be part of the team spearheading this fall’s annual Atlantic Festival. … Christopher Flavelle will be a D.C.-based climate correspondent for the NYT. He currently is a climate reporter at Bloomberg. … Adam Pasick will be editorial director for newsletters at the NYT. He previously was senior editor for newsletters and apps at Quartz. …

Laura Krantz and Jazmine Ulloa are joining the Boston Globe’s Washington bureau. Krantz most recently was on the Globe’s Metro Desk. Ulloa joins from the L.A. Times, where she covered California politics from the paper’s state capitol bureau for the past three years.

— YIKES: “Greek CNN reporter Mina Karamitrou’s car destroyed by bomb”: CPJ

— BECAUSE 2019: “Connecticut radio station WDRC rebrands itself as ‘Trump 103.3’ in ‘ultra conservative’ talk format,” by the Hartford Courant’s Neil Vigdor

REMEMBERING JACKIE FALK — A funeral service for Jackie Falk was held at St. Albans Episcopal Church in Northwest D.C. on Wednesday. Falk served as the head of “credentials” operations at six Democratic National Conventions. Former DNC Chairman Don Fowler delivered the eulogy, and former Virginia Gov. and DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe released the following statement: “We lost a legend. The Democratic Party and Democratic National Convention will never be the same.”

— AT THE FUNERAL: Sandy Thurman, Tim Keating, Ann Keating, Yolanda Caraway, Diane Dewhirst, Zoe Garmendia, Rick Hernandez, Howlie Davis, Katreice Banks, Sue Walitsky, Brian Griffin, Ron Saleh, Sarah Holewinski, Dennis O’Brien, David Hunter, Bill Schlossberg, Erica De Vos, Tom O’Donnell, Steve Diminuco, Maureen Garde, Brian Coyne, Lidice York, Janet Green, Jodi Torkelson, Doug Matties, and James Carey.

SPOTTED: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Open Markets Institute Deputy Director Sarah Miller having lunch at Tabard Inn today. … Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.) at D.C.’s Ocean Prime on Wednesday night. They dined in a private room. … Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) at a D.C. fundraiser for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at the home of Manan and Surekha Trivedi Wednesday.

SPOTTED at an FP1 Strategies/PLUS Communications party at their new offices in Arlington on Wednesday night: Tommy Tuberville, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Sara Armstrong, James Davis, Steven Law, Jonathan and Betsy Martin, Paul Kane, Alex Isenstadt, Kevin McLaughlin, Betsy Ankney, George Terwilliger, Mark Isakowitz, Bobby Burchfield, Jesse Hunt, Christin Baker, Sean Cairncross, Emily Skor, Mike Dubke, Brian Dodge, Matt Whitlock, Jason Thielman, Katie Hays, Mike Reed, Monica Popp and Colin Reed.

TRANSITIONS — Dante Cutrona is now government relations director at the American Flood Coalition. He previously was chief of staff for former Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.). … Phillip Swagel will be director of the Congressional Budget Office. He currently is a professor of international economic policy at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

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