Election season is here
Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum won the Florida governor primary in an upset victory for the left, Dylan Scott writes at Vox. “Surprising upset! Gillum wins!” Kay Steiger rejoiced.
On the right, Trump Ally Ron DeSantis Won Florida Governor’s Primary, Patricia Mazzei and Jonathan Martin reported from Orlando for the New York Times.
And over in Virginia, former CIA officer and current Democratic candidate Abigail Spanberger says a Republican-aligned Super Pac got a copy of her entire security clearance application and is now using it to smear her, Michael Tackett reports at the New York Times.
Trump is turning to God (sort of)
Trump Privately Urged Pastors to Help Him From the Pulpit in the Midterms, according to what Michael Shear found out for the New York Times. "We were on the 68th floor of Trump Tower and we looked down on the sidewalks and there were thousands and thousands of people. They looked like ants, little people going all over — boom, boom, boom,” Justin Miller quoted from the piece.
During this meeting, Trump apparently also told Christian leaders he got rid of a law. He didn't, Aliza Nadi and Ken Dilanian report at NBC News, setting the record straight. The meeting apparently happened in closed-door meeting the president had with evangelical leaders Monday night. The law in question is one that forbids churches and charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates. It remains on the books because efforts to kill it in Congress failed last year.
Changes at the White House
Carol Leonnig, Josh Dawsey, and Gabriel Pogrund at the Washington Post report that Trump privately revived the idea of firing Sessions this month, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Meanwhile, White House counsel Don McGahn is planning to depart sometime this fall, Mike Allen writes at Axios. “A scoop to go with your first coffee of the day: [he] may be replaced by Clinton alumnus Emmet Flood,” Haley Britzky said. Jonathan Swan called Flood the “Overwhelming internal pick to replace [McGahn] & manage blizzard of investigations — though nothing formalized yet.”
Trump lawyer (and one-time respected NYC mayor) Rudy Giuliani allegedly got paid to lobby the Romanian president, according to Marianne LeVine and Lili Bayer at Politico. “Giuliani was being paid by a global consulting firm when he wrote a letter last week to the Romanian president,” LeVine said. “He argued a position that goes against current U.S. policy on anti-corruption efforts,” Bayer explained.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is now Probing Whether a Malaysian Fugitive Laundered Funds to Pay Chris Christie and a Trump Lawyer, Bradley Hope tells us at the Wall Street Journal. “Want to know how Jho Low, one of the world’s most-wanted financial fugitives, is able to pay tens of millions of dollars to US and UK lawyers and lobbyists, including Chris Christie? Read this #billiondollarwhale,” Tom Wright urged.
Trump vs. the world
Go Inside Trump’s hot and cold relationship with Japan’s prime minister via a piece from John Hudson and Josh Dawsey at the Washington Post that includes Trump telling Shinzo Abe, "I remember Pearl Harbor. I’m on to the Japanese." “What,” Salvador Rizzo rightfully tweeted.
Steven Lee Myers at the New York Times says China Is Ready to Challenge the U.S. Navy in the Pacific With Ships and Missiles. “China can now challenge American naval supremacy in the places that matter most to it: the waters around Taiwan and in the disputed South China Sea,” Myers tweeted. Keith Bradsher shared this quote from the story: "China counted 317 warships and submarines in active service, compared with 283 in the United States Navy." Raymond Zhong shared another: "There is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China."
Russia Russia Russia
Betsy Woodruff covers Maria Butina at the Daily Beast writing about how Private Messages Reveal the Accused Russian Spy’s True Ties to a D.C. Wise Man. “I obtained a bunch of Twitter DMs between Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin, complaining about Dimitri Simes and Hank Greenberg,” Woodruff revealed.
Russia Secretly Ran News Websites In Eastern Europe, Holger Roonemaa and Inga Springe write resolutely at BuzzFeed News. “Documents and Skype chats obtained by @holger_r show how Russian state media secretly ran a network of news sites in the Baltics,” Miriam Elder said. Roonemaa outlined “the inner mechanism of RUS hidden propaganda.” They include: “*financing through shell companies in EUR *direct orders from Moscow about topics *regular reporting back to Moscow *buying clicks and comments from troll farms.”
McCain’s final burn
John McCain's chose a Russian dissident as one of his pallbearers. Politico’s Josh Meyer calls it a final dig at Putin and Trump. Emily Stephenson wrote, “John McCain has one final burn planned for Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.” Ryan Teague Beckwith thinks the whole thing is “amazing.”
But it seems like the former Senator had more than one final burn planned because Jeff Zeleny at CNN takes us Inside McCain's surprise eulogy invitation to Obama. “In early April, @BarackObama received a surprising call from @SenJohnMcCain, who asked him to deliver one of his eulogies. Here’s our new story that looks at the parting lesson in civility McCain leaves by tapping two former rivals to remember him,” Zeleny wrote.
The aftermath of police shootings
Jurors reached a verdict in the case of the cop who killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Dallas. They found Roy Oliver guilty of murder, meaning he could now face up to life in prison. To catch you up, Oliver shot five times into a car full of teenagers as they left a house party in 2017. Tasha Tsiaperas covered the trial for the Dallas News.
Over in Chicago, Officer Van Dyke spoke out for the first time since fatally shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in decades charged with murder for an on-duty shooting. Christy Gutowski and Stacy St. Clair at the Chicago Tribune got the exclusive.
One pure thing
Everyone was beside themselves yesterday over this live feed of bees swarming a New York hot dog stand in Times Square from Reuters. Canice Leung called them “WU TANG KILLER BEES.” While Tyler McCall saw an opportunity to really shine: “This is basically just like an excuse for me to make as many Arrested Development references as possible in a short amount of time.”
At the Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Elliott tells us that In America’s Hottest Drilling Spot, Vast Volumes of Gas Go Up in Smoke. “!!! 1. Flaring in the Permian produces GhG-equivalent of 2 million cars on the road 2. U.S. producers are flaring $1 million a day in natural gas (aka wasting it) 3. Tx regulators **NEVER** denied a permit to flare in the last five years,” Bradley Olson wrote.
With an opinion piece in Huffington Post, Alex Pareene wrote Southerners Tore Down Silent Sam. Now Northerners Need to Tear Down Confederate Flags. Rafi Schwartz shared, “As a fellow Minnesotan, I think this piece by @pareene is extremely good, and includes one of the few good anecdotes about Jesse Ventura's largely meh stint in politics.”
- Rosie Gray at The Atlantic has Emails That Link Ex-DHS Policy Analyst To White Nationalists. “@RosieGray obtained emails showing former Homeland Security employee involved in planning social events with white nationalists. DHS response: ‘This type of radical ideology runs counter to the Department’s mission of keeping America safe,’” Adrienne LaFrance tweeted. Ben Judah called it an “Amazing scoop by @RosieGray on the now ex-DHS policy analyst emails showed linked to DC’s underground white nationalist social scene.”
- Why Are Puffins Vanishing? John Schwartz goes on the hunt for clues deep (into their burrows) for the New York Times. “Puffins, being driven toward extinction. A climate change story, with poop and single malt. Wow, science!” Schwartz advertised. “Love the poop anecdote,” Hiroko Tabuchi said.
- Dozens of employees at Facebook united to challenge what they consider to be the company’s “intolerant” liberal culture, per a scoop from Kate Conger and Sheera Frenkel at the New York Times. “So Trump attacked Google, Facebook, Twitter today for suppression of conservative views. Meanwhile, over at Facebook…” Pui-Wing Tam shared. Teddy Schleifer, meanwhile, saw the bigger picture: “The rate at which internal docs/posts are leaking out of the Silicon Valley giants these days is incredible -- and is phenomenal for readers, reporters and others who want to hold them accountable.”
- And a new report says the Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico is much higher than originally thought. It is now estimated at 2,975, CBS News reports. David Begnaud explains this is “according to a report from George Washington University that is expected to be released tomorrow. CBS News was given a copy of the report by a senior govt official in Puerto Rico.”