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Today's Playbook Power Briefing presented by Chevron

 

By ANNA PALMER (; @apalmerdc), JAKE SHERMAN (; @JakeSherman), DANIEL LIPPMAN (; @dlippman), ZACH MONTELLARO ( ; @ZachMontellaro)

 

 

NEWS -- NBC'S VAUGHN HILLYARD (@vaughnhillyard) -- DISASTER DECLARATION IN CALIFORNIA: "New: The Vice President, on behalf of the administration, set to make major disaster declaration of California wildfires. VP called Gov. Jerry Brown this morning & is currently at Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services. Will deliver remarks soon."

THE PRESIDENT, appearing in the Oval Office next to Henry Kissinger early this afternoon, said he has confidence in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

-- FROM ALEX LEARY'S POOL REPORT: "Asked if his dispute with Sen. Bob Corker will affect tax reform, POTUS said: 'I don't think so. I don't think so at all. I think we're well on our way. The people of this country want tax cuts, they want lower taxes. We're the highest taxed nation in the world. ...'"

... JULY 2016 TWEET pinned to the top of WSJ's Richard Rubin's Twitter feed: "Because this is my lot in life, I will note, again, that the US is a low-tax country."

-- TRUMP ON HIS HEALTH CARE CHANGES : "They'll be able to buy, they'll be able to cross state lines and they will get great, competitive health care and it will cost the United States nothing. Take care of a big percentage of the people we're talking about, too. With Congress the way it is, I decided to take it upon myself, so we'll be announcing that soon as far as the signing is concerned. But it's largely worked out. It's very simple in one way but very intricate in another. It will be great, great health care for many, many people."

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN is going to Puerto Rico Friday.

Good Tuesday afternoon. LOTS OF MEDIA MOVES -- MOLLY BALL is leaving the Atlantic and joining Time as national political correspondent. ... ABBY PHILLIP is leaving the Washington Post to join CNN as a White House correspondent. ... BEN PERSHING will become editor of National Journal; he was previously NJ's managing editor. ... GEOFF BENNETT is leaving NPR to become an NBC News White House correspondent.

TRUMP V. MUELLER SHOWDOWN? -- "Trump urged by some to go on the attack against Mueller," by the AP's Tom LoBianco and Eric Tucker: "Even as President Donald Trump's advisers encourage him to accept the realities of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, longtime friends and allies are pushing Trump to fight back, citing concerns that his lawyers are naive to the existential threat facing the president. Trump supporters and associates inside and outside the White House see the conciliatory path as risky to the maverick president's tenure. Instead, they want the street-fighting tweeter to criticize Mueller with abandon. ...

"In private, Trump remains relatively calm for now, but that doesn't mean he thinks the Russia probe is legitimate, and he could return to fighting Mueller at any moment, according to a group of about 15 Trump allies, advisers and former campaign aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak candidly about private conversations with the White House." http://bit.ly/2xurveO

PHOTOS FROM THE CALIFORNIA FIRES -- "The Destruction From the California Fires in Photos and Maps," from NYT -- 9 pix on one page http://nyti.ms/2gaRSyJ

ON THE PRESIDENT'S MIND -- @realDonaldTrump at 6:30 a.m.: "Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people - FAST" ... at 6:42 a.m.: "With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have 'tanked,' in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!" ... at 8:13 a.m.: "Highly respected author, Christopher Bedford, just came out with book, 'The Art of the Donald, Lessons from America's....' Really good book!" ... at 8:50 a.m.: "The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!"

-- NOTE: Bedford appeared on "Fox and Friends" this morning at 7:45 a.m. to promote his book -- the first that he's written. http://bit.ly/2yXmlEh ... $13.51 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2yX9JwY

TEAM TRUMP INFIGHTING -- "Steve Bannon Privately Slammed Pence VP Pick," by BuzzFeed's Joseph Bernstein and Henry Gomez: "Steve Bannon privately slammed the selection of Mike Pence as Donald Trump's running mate a month before taking over the Trump campaign, according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News. ... On July 15, 2016, the day the Trump campaign announced that it had selected Pence, Breitbart's former technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos wrote to Bannon and Breitbart editor Alex Marlow. 'Seems like a bad pick. Should I tweet something ambivalent about him? People are telling me Trump likely didn't want this. ...What's our party line on this?'

"'This is the price we pay for cruzbots and #nevertrump movement,' Bannon responded. 'An unfortunate necessity...very. feel free to do whatever u want. we, as always, will remain above it all.' And two days later, Bannon signed off on a Yiannopoulos column trolling the socially conservative Pence by asking him to attend a 'big gay party for Trump.' (Yiannopoulos is gay.)" http://bzfd.it/2xvuIuD

HOLLYWOODLAND -- MORE WEINSTEIN ALLEGATIONS -- "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories," by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker: "In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times's revelations, and also include far more serious claims.

"Three women -- among them [Italian actress and director Asia] Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans -- told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015 and made public here for the first time, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is 'used to.' Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them." http://bit.ly/2xu8QzL

-- "Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Others Say Weinstein Harassed Them," by NYT's Jodi Kantor and Rachel Abrams: "When Gwyneth Paltrow was 22 years old, she got a role that would take her from actress to star: The film producer Harvey Weinstein hired her for the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation 'Emma.' Before shooting began, he summoned her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting that began uneventfully. It ended with Mr. Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said." http://nyti.ms/2ye5T5i

****** A message from Chevron: Advanced technology is helping us find safer ways to deliver energy. We're piloting a program that uses drones to monitor tanks and pipelines. Watch the video: http://politi.co/2yv61yq ******

BEHIND THE CURTAIN -- "In Kim Jong Un's summer palace, fun meets guns," by Reuters Ju-min Park and James Pearson in Seoul: "In the seaside city of Wonsan, North Korean families cook up barbecues on the beach, go fishing, and eat royal jelly flavor ice cream in the summer breeze. For their leader Kim Jong Un, the resort is a summer retreat, a future temple to tourism, and a good place to test missiles. He is rebuilding the city of 360,000 people and wants to turn it into a billion-dollar tourist hotspot. At the same time, he has launched nearly 40 missiles from the area, as part of his accelerated tests of North Korea's nuclear deterrent.

"'It may sound crazy to outsiders to fire missiles from a place he wants to develop economically, but that's how Kim Jong Un runs his country,' said Lim Eul-chul, an expert on the North Korean economy at Kyungnam University in South Korea. This combination of tourism and nuclear weapons is emblematic of Kim Jong Un's strategy for survival, say researchers and people familiar with the project." http://reut.rs/2xw2YWI

-- "Hacking North Korea is easy. Its nukes? Not so much," by Wired's Andy Greenberg: "As tensions with North Korea escalate into a full-on cold war, a cold cyberwar is playing out in tandem: Beneath the very public nuclear standoff, both the US and North Korea have privately ramped up their digital aggression, the Kim regime's hackers rampaging through networks around the globe and the US answering with its own attacks on the systems used by those hackers.

"But despite the U.S. government's dominating powers in the digital realm, security experts and former intelligence officials believe that battlefield favors North Korea. US hackers can take bites out of the edges of North Korea's infrastructure. But getting to its core-and anywhere close to disrupting or even delaying its nuclear capabilities-will be extremely difficult, they say, if not impossible." http://bit.ly/2xujUNf

CAMPAIGN STOP -- "To take back the House, Democrats 'arm the rebels' with new tools and manpower," by WaPo's Mike DeBonis: "Since February, the DCCC has hired full-time paid organizers in 38 districts focused on building relationships with the grass roots. And on Tuesday, the organization is rolling out its latest effort to connect motivated activists with the national party's resources, takeitback.com, an online 'toolbox' that aims to put potential activists in direct touch with the party operatives on the ground in battlefield districts." http://wapo.st/2xvov1R

-- HOT DOC: Rep. Sam Johnson, a Texas Republican not running for re-election, donated $100,000 from his campaign account to Southern Methodist University.

AT THE PENTAGON -- "Mattis to Generals: Start Talking to the Press," by Defense One's Kevin Baron: "On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis instructed top commanders to speak to the media more freely, Defense One has learned. The secretary is hoping to end a misperception among some senior leaders that they should keep quiet, in part because he wants them to speak up on the looming budget battle in Congress, according to a senior defense official.

"Mattis gave his guidance at Friday's closed-door Senior Leadership Conference, a Pentagon gathering of generals and admirals that includes the combatant commanders, or COCOMs, who are the senior officers in the U.S. military chain of command." http://bit.ly/2xuvdF9

SNEAK PEEK -- The newest episode of "Good Luck America," Pete Hamby's show on Snapchat, is out today. Hamby spoke to Dreamers and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on DACA. http://bit.ly/2xvApZj

SPOTTED: Preet Bharara at lunch today at Cafe Un Deux Trois in midtown Manhattan

TRANSITIONS -- OBAMA ALUMNI -- Keith Maley has started as director of PR at the Trust for Public Land. He previously was director of regional media in the Obama White House.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD - OBAMA ALUMNI -- Karen Richardson, former associate director in the Obama WH office of public engagement and former deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at State, and Judge Lamar Baker, former Obama WH special assistant and associate counsel, who is now an associate justice of the Second District of the California Courts of Appeal, on Saturday welcomed Cady Madison Elizabeth Baker at 7.5 lbs. Pic http://bit.ly/2g96Yoz

ENGAGED -- Spencer Launer, state accounts manager at Quorum and alum of the U.S. Chamber and the offices of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), this weekend got engaged to Alison Peckett, landscape architect at LandDesign, in Pennsylvania. "While touring the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater house, Spencer's identical twin and Alison's sister surprised the bride-to-be as Spencer proposed." Pic http://bit.ly/2gqJS9F

WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- ROMNEY ALUMNI -- Micah Spangler, deputy director of legislative affairs at the United Nations Foundation and a Romney 2012 alum, married Jill Nguyen, senior client strategy manager at Phone2Action, with a small group of friends at the NYC City Clerk's Office in lower Manhattan. "Chris Moody of CNN was the legal witness to the intimate affair, joined by his wife Cristi, Robbie Myers, and Broadway's Augie Haas ... The couple will be going on honeymoon in Russia starting next Monday." Pic http://bit.ly/2kCVcnR

-- Griffith Waller, a PR specialist for the City of Montgomery and a DDC Advocacy alum, got married this weekend to Bailey McKell, outreach coordinator at the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, at the Avondale United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Ala. "The two met at Capitol Hill's since-shuttered Lil' Pub in 2013. At the time, Bailey was working for the D.C. Board of Education, and Mr. Waller for the Civil War Trust." Pic http://bit.ly/2yVbnPz

****** A message from Chevron: Advanced technology is helping us find better and safer ways to deliver energy to America. We're piloting a program that uses drones, HD imaging, and thermal mapping capabilities to monitor Chevron wells, tanks, and miles of pipeline. Watch the video: http://politi.co/2yv61yq ******

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