“U.S. companies’ hiring stumbled in August, likely cementing expectations for a second straight Federal Reserve interest-rate cut as trade uncertainty and softer global growth weigh on the outlook,” Bloomberg reports.
“Private payrolls rose 96,000, a three-month low, after a downwardly revised 131,000 advance the prior month, according to a Labor Department report Friday that trailed the median estimate of economists for a 150,000 gain. Total nonfarm payrolls climbed a below-forecast 130,000, which was boosted by 25,000 temporary government workers to prepare for the 2020 Census count.”
President Trump bashed the news media after the release of an underwhelming August jobs report, accusing reporters of causing anxiety about a potential recession. Said Trump: “The Economy is great. The only thing adding to ‘uncertainty’ is the Fake News!”
Although President Trump assured Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) that he was still considering legislation that could include background checks for gun buyers, White House aides tell the New York Times that they had polling data showing that gun control was politically problematic for the president.
The polling data indicated that the issue does not help the president with his core base of supporters.
Playbook: “Remember this going into the fall… There’s a multi-faceted divide in the Democratic caucus right now, but it can easily be broken down like this: From what we can tell, most every Democrat wants to impeach Trump. For the most part, those who are not publicly saying they support impeachment believe the politics do not break in the Democrats’ favor. Few Dems these days oppose impeachment on the merits.”
“Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of Judiciary, have now launched a pretty deep investigation into Vice President Mike Pence’s stay at Trump Doonbeg in Ireland, and President Trump’s desire to host the G-7 at his resort in Miami,” Politico reports.
“Cummings and Nadler sent a set of letters dated Thursday to the administration and related entities that lay out what they are looking for. They make clear that this probe is part of the committee’s efforts to figure out if the president is abusing his office — and, should Democrats decide to impeach the president, this would almost certainly be a part of it.”
“The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into four auto makers that forged an independent agreement with California on vehicle-emissions standards,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Justice Department lawyers are seeking to determine if Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen violated federal competition law by agreeing with each other to follow tailpipe-emissions standards beyond those proposed by the Trump administration.”
CNN: “With Congress reconvening next week after its summer recess, the committee is expanding its focus beyond Mueller’s findings that Trump may have obstructed justice by seeking to undercut the investigation into his campaign and actions as President, an area that has dominated the panel’s focus up until now.”
“As they head into a critical fall session, Democrats say they will also focus heavily on questions over whether the President is enriching himself while violating the emoluments clause in the Constitution, reports Trump dangled pardons to officials who were at risk of breaking immigration laws and his involvement in hush-money payments to over his alleged extramarital affairs — all of which could form articles of impeachment against the President.”
Newly acquired e-mails and records reveal that Republican Party operative Thomas Hofeller may have unconstitutionally used race data to draw congressional districts in 2016, the New Yorker reports.
“Hofeller’s files include dozens of intensely detailed studies of North Carolina college students, broken down by race and cross-referenced against the state driver’s-license files to determine whether these students likely possessed the proper I.D. to vote. The studies are dated 2014 and 2015, the years before Hofeller helped Republicans in the state redraw its congressional districts in ways that voting-rights groups said discriminated on the basis of race. North Carolina Republicans said that the maps discriminated based on partisanship but not race.”
“Hofeller’s hard drive also retained a map of North Carolina’s 2017 state judicial gerrymander, with an overlay of the black voting-age population by district, suggesting that these maps—which are currently at the center of a protracted legal battle—might also be a racial gerrymander.”
“President Trump’s aides and confidants are growing more and more concerned about his mental state following days of erratic behavior, wild outbursts, and bizarre fixations,” Business Insider reports.
Said one former White House official: “No one knows what to expect from him anymore. His mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet, and the next thing you know his entire schedule gets tossed out the window because he’s losing his shit.”
“They believe that his frustration is compounded by stress about the 2020 election and the economy’s recent downturn.”
“Long-simmering tensions between top figures on President Trump’s national security team have devolved into all-out hostility, creating a deep disconnect between staffers on the National Security Council, led by John Bolton, and the rest of the administration,” CNN reports.
“While there’s been friction between Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for months, things have gotten worse recently. Bolton and Pompeo rarely speak outside of formal meetings, including a recent stretch of going weeks without speaking to one another. That has left key coordination efforts between the White House and State Department to underlings.”
“There’s also a rift between Bolton and Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who oversees the West Wing.”
Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward said in a fundraising email that the GOP would stop U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D) “dead in his tracks,” the Washington Post reports.
“Ward’s choice wording stands out not only because Kelly is an ardent gun control advocate, but because he took up the cause after his wife, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, survived an assassination attempt in which a gunman killed six people and left Giffords with traumatic brain injuries.”
“The White House is considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States by cutting back the decades-old program that admits tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution and famine,” the New York Times reports.
“In meetings over the past several weeks, one top administration official has proposed zeroing out the program altogether, while leaving the president with the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for refugees from a few handpicked countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad.”
“Both options would all but end the United States’ status as one of the leading places accepting refugees from around the world.”
Andrew Sullivan: “But what looks like a dreadful start for Johnson may not end that way. It could also lead to triumph. Here’s why: It seems inevitable now that a general election will happen this October or, at the very latest, November. If Brexit has not happened — and it’s pretty clear at this point that it will not have — then the election is effectively going to be a second referendum. This time, the choice will be starker than in 2016: a no-deal Brexit or staying in the E.U. And this week, by firing the dissenters, Johnson has succeeded in making the Tories the uncomplicated ‘Leave Now’ party.”
“By clearing up any confusion, Johnson will thereby stymie the threat to Tory seats by the Brexit Party, which stormed to victory in the recent European elections. He may even secure an election ‘nonaggression’ pact with the Brexit party on a clearly ‘no deal’ agenda. What Boris has effectively done is rerun the referendum as an election campaign.”
“His argument is a simple and powerful one: In the referendum, a majority voted to leave the E.U., and this decision should be honored or democracy itself is undermined. The E.U. will not let Britain eat its cake and have it too, and has insisted that the U.K. remain largely under E.U. rules even as it leaves the E.U., offering a compromise that was rejected by the U.K. Parliament decisively three times. So a ‘no deal’ exit is the only realistic version of Brexit left. It’s the people’s will against the elites.’”