President Trump stepped up his criticism of the U.K. ambassador to the United States who called him “inept” in leaked cables, saying Kim Darroch is a “pompous fool.” Said Trump: “The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy.” He also slammed May over Brexit, saying he told her “how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way — was unable to get it done.”
Jeremy Hunt, the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary and finalist to become the next British prime minister, has flung himself into the diplomatic spat between the US and the UK over leaked cables that said some very blunt things about President Donald Trump.
Hunt defended Prime Minister Theresa May after Trump berated her on Twitter Tuesday over her handling of Brexit. Hunt also backed the UK ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch — the guy who wrote or signed off on the cables — after Trump called him “wacky” and “a very stupid guy” and said he’d been told Darroch was a “pompous fool.” This followed a Trumpian tweetstorm on Monday in which the president again insulted May and said the US would “no longer deal” with Darroch.
Reuters: “Federal lawyers probing the origins of the investigation of ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign have interviewed the author of a ‘dossier’ that alleged misconduct between Trump and Moscow, prompting the lawyers to extend their inquiry.”
“Investigators appear to have found Steele’s information sufficiently credible to have to extend the investigation. Its completion date is now unclear.”
Politico: “Eleven days after an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling, a new team of Justice Department attorneys must persuade three district court judges that a June 30 printing deadline a previous DOJ legal team insisted had to be met no longer applies — even though, the Commerce Department said last week, the questionnaires are being printed already.”
“To pass muster with the Supreme Court, the new DOJ team must find a rationale that the high court will rule consistent with regulatory law and also believable — a tough assignment given that the court said in its ruling that the previous rationale was not.”
Bloomberg: “Corporate lobbyists and some White House officials have grown frustrated that Acosta hasn’t moved fast enough on deregulation and other business-friendly initiatives, the people said. No decision has been made on Acosta’s future in the administration, they added, though two people said that his time is short.”
“Were Acosta to resign or be forced out, current deputy secretary Patrick Pizzella would become acting secretary. Pizzella is regarded as more aggressively pro-business than Acosta, which may be one reason the current secretary hasn’t come under broader attack from Democrats and labor unions.”
Washington Post: “Officials at the White House are nervous that Democrats will encourage women allegedly abused by Epstein to testify publicly before Congress, drawing attention to Acosta’s work on the plea deal.”
“Less than two hours after beginning a special session called in response to a mass shooting, Virginia lawmakers abruptly adjourned Tuesday without taking any action and postponed any movement on gun control until after the November election,” the AP reports.
“Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called the Republican-led Legislature to the Capitol to address gun violence in the wake of the May 31 attack that killed a dozen people in Virginia Beach. The meeting got off to a chaotic start, with the Republican Senate majority leader averting a mutiny in the GOP caucus by publicly disavowing a gun-control bill he proposed only a day earlier.”
Playbook: “There’s been next to no progress on a deal to lift mandatory government spending caps that take effect in January, so aides in both parties have said they believe that a shutdown is becoming more and more likely. Remember: Funding expires at the end of September.”
“President Trump cannot block his critics from the Twitter feed he regularly uses to communicate with the public, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, in a case with implications for how elected officials nationwide interact with constituents on social media,” the Washington Post reports.
“Ross Perot, self-made billionaire, renowned patriot and two-time independent candidate for U.S. president, has died after a five-month battle with leukemia,” the Dallas Morning News reports. “He was 89.”
“A federal appeals court seemed likely on Tuesday to strike down what remains of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, but sent more mixed signals about its willingness to throw out the rest of the health care law along with it,” Axios reports.
“If a ruling striking down ACA comes to pass — like the one a lower court handed down last year — it would throw some 20 million people off their coverage, create ripple effects through almost every facet of the health care system and ignite an enormous political firestorm.”
“Michael Flynn will not testify against his former business partner at a trial starting in Alexandria federal court next week because prosecutors no longer believe his version of events,” the Washington Post reports.
“Flynn, President Trump’s onetime National Security Advisor, had been expected to be a key witness in the trial of Bijan Rafiekian, with whom he ran a consulting business. Flynn’s sentencing in his own criminal case has been on hold pending that cooperation.”
“A federal judge in New York on Tuesday denied a bid from the Justice Department to replace the team of lawyers on the census citizenship question case, writing that its request to do so was ‘patently deficient,’” the Washington Post reports.
“The department had earlier this week announced its intention to swap out the legal team on the case — without saying exactly why. A person familiar with the matter said the decision was driven in part by frustration among at least some of the career lawyers who had been assigned to the case about how it was being handled, though the department wanted to replace those in both career and political positions.”
Business Insider: “The New York Federal Reserve’s probability model, which predicts the probability of a US recession in the next 12 months, delivered a reading of 32.9% for June.”
“That’s could mean tough times ahead, considering the measure has breached the 30% threshold before every recession since 1960. It sat at a precarious 28% in May.”
“A circuit court judge in Missouri ruled Monday that Republican former governor Eric Greitens did not violate the state’s Sunshine Law — which guarantees ‘openness in government’ — when he and staff members used a ‘self-destruct’ app that automatically deleted their text messages,” the Washington Post reports.
Kansas City Star: “Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem said because the text messages were automatically deleted, it meant they were never officially retained—and therefore were not covered by the Sunshine Law.”
“Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the controversial extradition bill that has led to mass protests in the city is dead,” CNBC reports. She described the work to amend the bill as a ‘total failure.’”
“Political tensions in Hong Kong have risen in recent weeks amid protests over an extradition bill that would have allowed some arrested in the city to be sent for trial in mainland China.”
Mick Jagger paused the Rolling Stones’ concert in Massachusetts and said he hoped everyone had a great July 4th weekend — and added that the Fourth had always been a ‘touchy holiday for us Brits,’” Rolling Stone reports.
Said Jagger: “In fact, the President made a very good point in his speech the other night. He said, ‘If only the British had held on to the airports, the whole thing might have gone differently for us.’”
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said recently he opposes paying government reparations to the descendants of American slaves, has a family history deeply entwined in the issue: Two of his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners,” NBC News reports.
“The two great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama — all but two of them female, according to the county ‘Slave Schedules’ in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.”