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POLITICO Playbook: Trump’s two worlds

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President Donald Trump is pictured. | Getty Images

With the election 16 months away, anyone who can say for sure that President Donald Trump’s doomed – or destined to return – is either clairvoyant … or smoking something. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

DRIVING THE DAY

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will officially launch his 2020 campaign in Orlando tonight. He does so amid signs of unease in his own camp about his electoral prospects, despite what any other president would be touting as an enviable record. There are two ways to view the political climate in Trump’s Washington:

— THE PRO-TRUMP WORLD: As the president and his allies see it, a second term should be his for the taking. After all, the economy is solid — inflation is low and growth is chugging along, despite some warning signs. The United States has not entered any new wars on Trump’s watch, and America is even speaking to old adversaries. His base is with him, and tonight’s rally in Florida will draw tens of thousands of people in a critical part of a crucial 2020 state. Despite withering pressure from investigations on the Hill, at DOJ and in New York, Republicans are not abandoning the president.

— THE ANTI-TRUMP WORLD: Trump’s foes are just as certain he’s got a losing record. Trade wars with Mexico and China are hurting farmers in the Midwest and pushing up prices for everyone else. A surge of migrants from Central America has swamped the border. The United States could be dragged into a war with Iran at any moment, and talks with North Korea have stalled. Internal Trump polling shows the president trailing in key battleground states, with numbers so bad Trump fired some of his campaign’s pollsters. He’s losing to almost every single Democratic candidate. Impeachment looms on the horizon, and should that happen, some Republicans could begin abandoning him to save themselves.

AND YET, here’s the thing about Donald Trump: After he shocked the world in 2016, nobody dares predict which of the above narratives will prevail in 2020. Democrats could easily nominate a weak challenger. And unlike last time, he now has his party behind him and the trappings of incumbency on his side. With the election 16 months away, anyone who can say for sure that he’s doomed — or destined to return — is either clairvoyant … or smoking something.

THE MAIN EVENT … ORLANDO SENTINEL: “Trump supporters line up 42 hours early for Orlando campaign rally at Amway Center,” by Caroline Glenn and David Harris: “With tents, sleeping bags and coolers of water in tow, Donald Trump supporters began lining up early Monday for Tuesday’s campaign rally in Orlando, nearly two full days before the event. …

“The line had grown to about 50 as of 3 p.m. By 9:30 p.m., the line ballooned to about 250, with people snaked around to Central Boulevard. Around the same Trump tweeted there were ‘thousands of people already lined up.’” Orlando Sentinel

Good Tuesday morning.

MOOD MUSIC … via WaPo’s Damian Paletta and Heather Long: “Trump has threatened to escalate trade conflicts with China, Mexico, the European Union and Japan, spooking business leaders and leading some to pull back investment. Similarly, budget and debt-ceiling talks with congressional leaders from both parties have sputtered, raising the possibility of another government shutdown in October.

“The uncertainty — and a cooling global economy — led JPMorgan Chase on Monday to predict that there was a 45 percent chance the U.S. economy would enter a recession in the next year, up from 20 percent at the beginning of 2018.” WaPo

PETER BAKER SETS THE TABLE on NYT A12: “As President Trump kicks off his campaign for a second term on Tuesday with an eardrum-pounding, packed-to-the-rafters rally in Florida, no one doubts that he is the dominant force in the arena today, the one defining the national conversation as no president has done in generations.

“But the coming election is shaping up as a test — not just of the man but of his country. Was Mr. Trump’s victory the last time around a historical fluke or a genuine reflection of America in the modern age? Will the populist surge that lifted him to the White House run its course or will it further transform a nation and its capital in ways that will outlast his presidency? What kind of country do Americans really want at this point?

“Whatever voters thought about Mr. Trump in 2016, they have now had more than enough time to take their measure of him, and their judgment arguably will say more about the mood of the world’s last superpower than whatever roll-the-dice decision may have been made last time. Mr. Trump promised to blow up the system; voters will decide if more disruption is still needed.” NYT

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WAPO’S NICK MIROFF and MARIA SACHETTI: “Trump vows mass immigration arrests, removals of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week”: “President Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting ‘next week,’ an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.

“‘Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,’ Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ‘They will be removed as fast as they come in.’

“Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works. … U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.” WaPo

— REALITY CHECK: There’s no way ICE can deport “millions” of people in the near term. In fiscal year 2012, its peak, the agency deported 409,849 individuals. In FY 2017, the first for which we have partial data under Trump, that number was 226,119. And, as NBC’s Julia Ainsley explains, “[I]nterior removals have been down across the country for a simple reason: ICE is running out of space due to the influx of immigrants coming across the border.”

ON THE OTHER SIDE … BIDEN POOL REPORT, from WSJ’s Ken Thomas at 9:56 p.m.: “Prior to Mr. Biden’s arrival, around 6 p.m., about two dozen climate change demonstrators gathered outside the Upper East Side home of Jim Chanos, the president and founder of Kynikos Associates, a prominent short-selling investment firm. …

“The pool was escorted to the dining room of Mr. Chanos’ penthouse apartment, where guests mingled, sipped wine and chatted at an adjoining outdoor terrace. Artwork lined the walls of the apartment. … He said he appreciated the donors for ‘writing a check to allow me to compete. And you are putting me in a position to be able to compete nationally.’”

NUGGET OF NEWS: Biden said he had 360,000 donors who have given an average of $ 55. That comes to $ 19.8 million in contributions for his campaign.

BTW … REPUBLICANS FOR BIDEN? … “Guests spotted by the pool included: Former Sen. Al D’Amato, R-N.Y.; Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.; Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who served as a VA undersecretary for health during the Obama administration and as VA secretary for President Trump until 2018; billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis; Robert Wolf, founder of 32 Advisors and a top fundraiser for President Obama’s campaigns; Michael Kempner, CEO of MWWPR and a prominent Democratic fundraiser and numerous other attendees.”

A ZINGER FROM ELIZABETH WARREN (@ewarren) at 10:28 p.m.: “I don’t spend time at fancy fundraisers. Instead, I spend my time meeting voters and thanking grassroots donors who chip in what they can. Donate $ 3 to my campaign, and you might just get a call from me to thank you!”

LINE OF THE DAY … BURGESS EVERETT and HEATHER CAYGLE: “The [DNC] chairman is the face of presidential debate rules that will allow a meditation guru to take the stage next week while a red state Western governor watches on TV. Against that backdrop, a collection of Democratic lawmakers are still aggravated with [DNC chair Tom] Perez after he yielded to the party’s base last year and agreed to dilute their power as superdelegates — a problem Perez is still trying to defuse in private meetings with Democrats.” POLITICO

COMING ATTRACTIONS: The SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE has this hearing today: “The President’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.” U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer will testify at 10:15 a.m. in 215 Dirksen.

IMPEACHMENT WATCH — FRESHMAN REP. KATIE PORTER (D-Calif.) came out for impeachment in a video she posted online. People will make a lot of this, considering she beat Mimi Walters in an R+3 seat. …

… BUT KEEP THIS IN MIND: Just two Democrats in Republican seats have called for impeachment proceedings. The other is Rep. Tom Malinowski, a former Obama State Department official who represents New Jersey’s 7th District.

FOR YOUR RADAR — “Pentagon sending 1,000 more troops as tensions with Iran grow,” by Bryan Bender: “The Pentagon is dispatching an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the United States blames on Iran.

“‘The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,’ acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said in a statement announcing the deployment. The additional forces are ‘for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,’ the statement added.” POLITICO

— “Pentagon claims new photos show Iran responsible for tanker attacks,” by Wesley Morgan

THE BIG PICTURE — NAHAL TOOSI: “Iran tests Trump’s desire to actually strike a new deal”: “President Donald Trump is at a make-or-break moment with Iran. Tehran said Monday it will soon take steps that likely violate the 2015 nuclear deal Trump himself abandoned, an announcement that came just days after the U.S. accused the Islamist-led country of sabotaging international oil tankers. The Pentagon announced Monday that it is sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for ‘defensive purposes.’ In Europe, meanwhile, leaders are starting to acknowledge that they may have to walk away from the nuclear agreement or devise a new one.

“The confluence of events will test Trump’s weak appetite for military action, his ability to rally allies he has frequently snubbed and his seriousness about actually striking the better deal with the Iranians that he once promised. Along the way, Trump must win over officials well-aware of his history of misstatements and uneasy about relying on U.S. intelligence when a potential new Middle East war could result.” POLITICO

KUSHNER SPLATS EGG ON TRUMP’S FACE ON THE WORLD STAGE, via Barak Ravid in Axios: “White House will not invite Israeli officials to Bahrain conference”: “The White House has decided not to invite the Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon or other Israeli government officials to the Bahrain conference in Manama on June 25, where it plans to launch the economic part of the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, U.S. officials told me.

“Why it matters: This is a major setback for the White House’s vision for the much-anticipated Bahrain conference, which will now take place without Israeli or Palestinian officials.” Axios

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THE JUICE …

— IN 2018, Texas GOP Rep. KENNY MARCHANT won reelection by 3 percentage points — his closest margin in 14 years in Congress. Marchant’s district, which is north of Dallas and Fort Worth, is shifting, strategists in both parties say, and Democrats are newly competitive. KIM OLSON, a veteran, is running against Marchant in 2020, attempting to meld her military background with an anti-Trump message. OLSON closes out her video — which is primarily about her military service — saying she is running because “this president is attacking everything we’ve fought for over the years.”

OLSON lost a 2018 statewide race for agriculture commissioner by 5 points, so she’s a practiced candidate. But 2020 is a presidential year, and Marchant won by nearly 17 points in 2016. This seat could be one to watch. Video

— WASHINGTON INC.: DOUG THORNELL, OREN SHUR and EMILY CAMPBELL will be the new heads of SKDKNICKERBOCKER’S political consulting department. The trio will lead an expansion of the firm’s political advertising work.

TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president and first lady Melania Trump will leave the White House at 3:50 p.m. en route to Orlando. Trump will speak at a 2020 reception at 7:30 p.m. and campaign kickoff event at the Amway Center at 8 p.m. Afterward, they will leave for Miami to spend the night in Doral, Fla.

PLAYBOOK READS

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pictured. | Getty Images

PHOTO DU JOUR: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks to the Moral Action Congress of the Poor People’s Campaign on Monday – one of several presidential candidates to take the stage at the event in Washington. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

KNOWING KELLY KNIGHT CRAFT — “Trump’s U.N. nominee was ‘absent’ ambassador,” by Lauren Gardner: “President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations – current U.S. ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft – was frequently absent from her post in Ottawa, raising questions about her level of engagement with the job, according to officials in both the United States and Canada.

“State Department officials acknowledge her frequent travels outside of Canada, but said many of the trips were related to the new North American trade deal. Her absences from her official post are likely to be an issue in her confirmation hearing, which is now scheduled for Wednesday.

“Federal Aviation Administration records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by POLITICO show that a private jet registered to Craft’s husband and used by the ambassador made 128 flights between the United States and Canada during a 15-month span of her tenure in Ottawa, the equivalent of a roundtrip once a week.

“Some of the trips correspond with dates of events Craft attended in her home state of Kentucky – such as the Kentucky Derby and a media interview at a University of Kentucky basketball center named for her husband Joe Craft, a coal billionaire – but neither she nor he, through their spokespeople, would confirm how many of the flights involved her travel.” POLITICO

THE INVESTIGATIONS … “Paul Manafort Seemed Headed to Rikers. Then the Justice Department Intervened,” by NYT’s William Rashbaum and Katie Benner: “[L]ast week, Manhattan prosecutors were surprised to receive a letter from the second-highest law enforcement official in the country inquiring about Mr. Manafort’s case. The letter, from Jeffrey A. Rosen, Attorney General William P. Barr’s new top deputy, indicated that he was monitoring where Mr. Manafort would be held in New York.

“And then, on Monday, federal prison officials weighed in, telling the Manhattan district attorney’s office that Mr. Manafort, 70, would not be going to Rikers.

“Instead, he will await his trial at a federal lockup in Manhattan or at the Pennsylvania federal prison where he is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for wide-ranging financial schemes, according to people with knowledge of the matter.” NYT

IMMIGRATION FILES … WAPO’S MARIA SACCHETTI in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico: “‘The American Dream has turned into hell’: In test of a deterrent, Juarez scrambles before U.S. dumps thousands of migrants”: “This gritty, industrial city on the banks of the murky Rio Grande is bracing for the Trump administration to dump thousands of migrants from Central America and other lands here under a new agreement to curb mass migration to the United States. But frantic Mexican officials say they likely cannot handle the rapid influx, as they are desperate for more shelter space, food and supplies.

“With days to prepare, a top state official said he expects a fivefold increase in the number of migrants who will be sent to Juarez as a result of the expansion of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols. The program, which is under court challenge, sends migrants who are seeking refuge in the United States back across the border into Mexico to await their asylum hearings.

“More than 200 migrants were sent back to Juarez on Thursday, double the previous day, and officials expect as many as 500 migrants each day will be returned from El Paso to Juarez in coming weeks.”

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — “Number of workplace safety inspectors fall under Trump,” by Rebecca Rainey: “Despite assurances from Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta that he will boost the number of OSHA compliance officers this fiscal year, new data shows the number of inspectors has declined. According to statistics that POLITICO obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the number of compliance safety and health officers tasked with conducting workplace inspections at the agency had fallen in April to 870. That’s down from the 875 safety inspectors that OSHA reported in January.” POLITICO

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WHAT ERIC GREITENS IS READING … “Former FBI agent who investigated Greitens indicted for perjury, evidence tampering,” by the Kansas City Star’s Crystal Thomas and Bryan Lowry: “The former FBI agent chosen by the St. Louis City prosecutor to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens has been indicted on six counts of perjury and one count of tampering with physical evidence, according to documents unsealed Monday in St. Louis City Circuit Court.

“William Don Tisaby, 66, a private investigator, was hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to assist in a probe following allegations that Greitens took a partially nude photograph of a woman without her consent while they were having an affair in 2015. The woman was allegedly bound and blindfolded when the photo was taken, and she says he threatened to release it if she ever spoke about the affair.

“Gardner charged Greitens with invasion of privacy. But the charge was dropped when Greitens’ defense team accused Tisaby of perjury and said it planned to call Gardner at trial as a witness. …

“In the court documents made public Monday, [St. Louis Circuit Court judge Gerard] Carmody accuses Tisaby, 66, of lying multiple times during a deposition and concealing notes from Greitens’ legal team.” Kansas City Star

MEGATREND: “Africa is projected to overtake Asia in births by 2060, and will account for half of all babies being born in the world by the year 2100,” via Pew Research Center’s Tony Flores

MEDIAWATCH — Jeet Heer is joining The Nation as national affairs correspondent and Jane McAlevey as strikes correspondent, covering the labor movement. This is D.D. Guttenplan’s first week as new editor at The Nation. Jeet’s first piece

PLAYBOOKERS

PER CALIFORNIA PLAYBOOK: “SPOTTED: Polish president President Andrzej Duda dining at John’s Grill in San Francisco on Sunday – with an entourage of 30 security officers in tow. Sources said the President – on a Western swing that also included a trip to Nevada — dined on raw oysters and a porterhouse steak, downed with Anchor Steam beer.”

TRANSITIONS — NSC DEPARTURE LOUNGE: The White House’s top Russia hand, Fiona Hill, is leaving the administration at the end of August, per the NYT’s Peter Baker. She’ll be replaced by NSC arms control specialist Tim Morrison, according to Baker, indicating Trump’s possible focus on replacing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

… Amy Dacey will be the inaugural executive director of AU’s Sine Institute of Policy and Politics. She is the former CEO of the DNC and former exec director of EMILY’s List. … Jeb Fain has started as Trump war room communications director at American Bridge. He most recently was comms director for House Majority PAC.

SPOTTED at USGLC’s State Leaders Summit on Monday: HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Rick Santorum, Jennifer Granholm, Dan Glickman, Norm Coleman, Steve Hadley, Jane Harman, Nancy Lindborg, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, Melanne Verveer, Frank Sesno, Barbara Stephenson, Sarah Thorn, Leyla Santiago, Jonathan Capehart, Selina Jackson, Jenifer Healy and Liz Schrayer.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Justin Barasky, a senior adviser at the DSCC and a Sherrod Brown and Priorities USA alum, and Lauren Durham, former campaign manager for Kathleen Clyde’s campaign for secretary of state in Ohio, welcomed Henry Scott Barasky. PicAnother pic

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Spectator USA Life & Arts Editor Dominic Green turned 49 (hat tip: Matt McDonald) … (was Friday): NPR’s Tom Gjelten turned 71

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Fred Barbash, legal affairs writer for The Washington Post. A trend he thinks deserves more attention: “Sleep deprivation, often purposeful, especially in Washington. It saps our brains, causes accidents, turns young people into cranky old people and makes old people even older. It also severely reduces male reproductive capacity. Seriously. It’s a threat to the species.” Playbook Plus Q&A

BIRTHDAYS: Dina Powell … Niall Stanage, WH columnist at The Hill, is 45 … Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) is 68 … Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) is 7-0 … Nick Johnston, editor at Axios, is 42 … Millie Harmon Meyers (h/ts Ben Chang) … Megan Mitchell … bipartisan Senate alumni birthday: former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is 82 and former Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is 69 … David Drucker is 48 … Geri M. Joseph is 96 … Reed Cordish is 45 … Scooter Braun is 38 … Ajashu Thomas … David Wood … Kate Knudson … POLITICO’s Claire Okrongly and Shannon Rafferty … Jim Stinson (h/t Jon Conradi) … Chris Allen … Bob Scutari … WNYC’s Charlie Herman … author Joanne Lipman, former EIC of USA Today … The Atlantic’s Rachel Alben (h/t Michael Falcone) … Bulgarian President Rumen Radev is 56 …

… John McCarthy, COS for Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) … Clare Bresnahan (h/t Jill Bader) … POLITICO Europe’s Blanca Esteban Renedo is 31 … Heather Louise Finch … CNN’s DJ Judd, who is moving to Iowa in two weeks, is 29 (h/t Betsy Klein) … Kevin Landrigan … Sophia Templin … Christopher Byrd … Will Kinzel, VP at MillerCoors … Jennifer Carignan … BuzzFeed’s Mary Ann Georgantopoulos … Bert Gomez … Tom Readmond … Michael Van Der Galien … Jeremy Bronson … Meryl Governski … Craig Reed … Shubha Kamala Prasad … Narric Rome … Jason Kello … Daniel Epstein is 35 … Max Stahl is 32 … Lisa Barron … Ron Rosenblith (h/t Jon Haber) … Dick Mark … AJ Goodman (h/t Teresa Vilmain)

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