DON’T MISS — Ryan interviews ANITA DUNN, a senior White House adviser to President JOE BIDEN, at 10 a.m. today for Playbook Live. Register here to watch live
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT — Don’t ever be afraid to do this:
ICYMI, MEGHAN MCCAIN also announced she’s leaving “The View” at the end of the month. Here’s ABC’s write-up. And The Hill, without any apparent inside knowledge, took a stab at a list of conservative women who might replace her. Like all decisions by the mainstream media about what conservatives to feature, the big question for ABC will be whether McCain’s replacement is pro- or anti-DONALD TRUMP.
Speaking of that, previously pro-Trump TUCKER CARLSON has confided to associates that he quietly voted for KANYE WEST for president in 2020, per Daniel Lippman, and previously anti-Trump J.D. VANCE, now officially a Senate candidate from Ohio, quietly erased his old tweets attacking Trump, including one calling him “reprehensible,” per CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski.
And speaking of deleting postings, The Daily Caller, which Carlson co-founded a decade ago before leaving last year, erased a tweet Thursday linking to its own story on Lippman’s report. We couldn’t find the story on its homepage, either.
TWO MUST-READS ON SCOTUS’ MAJOR VOTING RIGHTS DECISION:
1) Josh Gerstein and Zach Montellaro with a cogent breakdown of the ruling itself.
2) Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic with an analysis of what it means politically: “While the ruling signals long odds for the Justice Department’s effort to challenge those [restrictive state] laws (starting with Georgia’s) in court, civil- and voting-rights advocates might welcome the clarity the decision provides. It makes plain that if Congress doesn’t establish new federal standards, the nation is headed toward a two-tier voting system, with red states imposing ever-tightening restrictions that especially burden Democratic-leaning constituencies—young, minority, and lower-income voters.
“It’s no coincidence that red states are imposing these restrictions precisely as Millennials and Gen Zers, who represent the most racially diverse generations in American history, are rapidly increasing their share of the total vote. … The rise of those younger generations especially threatens the GOP hold on Sun Belt states such as Georgia, Texas, and Arizona, which Republicans now control through their dominance of older and non-urban white voters; in that way, the voting restrictions Republicans are enacting amount to stacking sandbags against a rising tide of demographic change.”
NEXT STEPS ON THE SENATE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL — The band is back together. Last week there was some drama when several members of the group of 21 senators that backed the bipartisan infrastructure framework threatened to walk away from the deal.
But even LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) is now back on board after telling us he’d have to be a “fucking idiot” to support a deal that Biden threatened to veto. Once Biden clarified that there was no veto threat, Graham returned to the table. “I think it had the intended effect,” he told us Thursday evening.
Next up: The 21 senators have divvied up the various spending (highway funding, airports, broadband, etc.) and revenue-raising (IRS enforcement, unused Covid relief funds, etc.) categories in the framework into working groups that are responsible for drafting legislative text.
Graham told us that he volunteered to be a lead on the pay-fors, which is the most fraught part of the plan. “It’s one thing to talk about the deal conceptually, and another one to write it,” Graham said.
Some of the Senate groups are expected to have their work finished as soon as next week. The low-hanging fruit should be easy to draft. It doesn’t take much to write legislative language to rescind money. But other portions of the bill will take longer. For example, the section on expanding broadband, a $65 billion part of the plan, is especially tricky to translate into text.
Happy Friday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line and tell us what you would ask Anita Dunn today: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.
COUNTERINTUITIVE TAKE OF THE DAY: Alexi McCammond, now back at Axios, reports, “Some progressives are distancing themselves from Sen. BERNIE SANDERS.” She looks at the campaign of NINA TURNER, who was Bernie’s 2020 campaign co-chair and is now running to represent Ohio’s 11th District. In a district that went for Biden over Bernie in the Democratic primary, Turner has been running on Bernie’s policies but not his brand name despite the fact that the famous senator has endorsed her. “When I’m knocking door-to-door, people aren’t asking me about endorsements,” Turner tells McCammond.
INFLUENCE FOR SALE — “One of the most Biden-connected firms in D.C. is exploring a sale,” by Theo Meyer and Alex Thompson: “The firm, Precision Strategies, was co-founded by President Joe Biden’s deputy chief of staff, JEN O’MALLEY DILLON, and STEPHANIE CUTTER, a top adviser on the Biden-blessed outside group Building Back Together. According to a person familiar with the matter, talks have taken place recently about selling the company, whose profile has risen following Biden’s victory.”
WHY CONGRESS IS STILL CAUTIOUS ON CANNABIS: Eight — that’s how many states have passed some form of cannabis legalization since November. And even though marijuana is gaining popularity in conservative states, that’s not breaking through with GOP senators on Capitol Hill. Cannabis reporter Natalie Fertig and Tara discuss the growing cannabis dissonance between Republican senators and voters in their home states, and why Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER shouldn’t be optimistic about passing federal legislation. Listen and subscribe to Playbook Deep Dive
— 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief.
— 10:15 a.m.: Biden will speak about the June jobs report.
— 11:40 a.m.: Biden will welcome the World Series championship Los Angeles Dodgers team to the White House, with VP KAMALA HARRIS also attending.
— 12:30 p.m.: Biden and Harris will have lunch together.
— 2:30 p.m.: Biden will take part in a naturalization ceremony for new citizens, timed to the Fourth of July weekend, with DHS Secretary ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS and acting USCIS Director TRACY RENAUD also attending.
— 5 p.m.: Biden and first lady JILL BIDEN will speak to the National Education Association’s annual meeting and representative assembly at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
HARRIS’ FRIDAY: After her events with Biden, the VP will leave at 3:45 p.m. for Los Angeles, where she’ll stay overnight.
Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 12:30 p.m.
THE HOUSE will meet at 11:30 a.m. in a pro forma session. THE SENATE is out.
THE TRUMP ORG/WEISSELBERG INDICTMENTS
‘OH’ — “‘Garden-variety corruption’: The long, underwhelming arm of the law comes down on the Trump Organization,” by Josh Gerstein and Betsy Woodruff Swan: “The long-awaited indictment of the Trump Organization and one of its top executives on Thursday generated an immense range of responses — from predictions of former President Donald Trump’s imminent legal doom to, well, shrugs. ‘If you had told me a year ago when this stuff was at the Supreme Court that this is what it would ultimately be about, I would have said, “Oh,”’ said BENJAMIN WITTES, who helms Lawfare, a legal website with ties to the Brookings Institution
“‘It’s underwhelming in substance and scope and range. … It reads like very garden-variety corruption,’ Wittes added of the charges revealed on Thursday.”
— “Trump Was Not Indicted. But the Charges Still Threaten Him,” by NYT’s Jonah Bromwich, William Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Maggie Haberman
DIGGING INTO HIS NEW APP — “Trumpworld App Is Bankrolled by Fugitive Chinese Billionaire,” by The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer, Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng: “A new social media network led by Trump adviser JASON MILLER is backed by a fugitive Chinese billionaire who once invited STEVE BANNON to live on his yacht. On Thursday, Miller announced the launch of ‘Gettr,’ a new social media app aimed at conservatives that promises to be ‘cancel-free.’ Trump fans wary of social media censorship on more prominent platforms like Twitter and Facebook started to sign up for the platform after Politico reported on the existence of the new site.
“What’s not made clear to Gettr’s new users, though, is that the site received initial funding from a foundation owned by Chinese billionaire GUO WENGUI and his family. In an interview with The Daily Beast on Thursday, Miller said Guo’s ‘family foundation’ provided Gettr with early funding.”
A BIG MOVE BY DOJ — “Federal executions halted; Garland orders protocols reviewed,” by AP’s Michael Balsamo, Colleen Long and Michael Tarm: “The Justice Department is halting federal executions after a historic use of capital punishment by the Trump administration, which carried out 13 executions in six months. Attorney General MERRICK GARLAND made the announcement Thursday night, saying he was imposing a moratorium on federal executions while the Justice Department conducts a review of its policies and procedures. He gave no timetable.”
SHOTS FIRED — “Biden’s antitrust chair gets off to an aggressive start,” by Leah Nylen: “The Federal Trade Commission’s first meeting under new Chair LINA KHAN broke decades of precedent Thursday by taking place in public — something unheard-of for the notably secretive antitrust and consumer protection agency. Then it pushed through a series of actions on progressive Democrats’ wish list: Fines for companies that lie about products being ‘Made in America.’ Greater latitude for launching antitrust probes and lawsuits. And a wider door to writing new regulations — something else the FTC hasn’t done much of in decades.
“All this came despite fierce objections from the commission’s two Republicans, in a sign that partisan rancor is also back in vogue at the Biden-era FTC.”
DEFICIT METER — “U.S. deficit to hit $3 trillion in 2021, then fade as stimulus relief expires, CBO says,” by WaPo’s Jeff Stein: “The deficit represents a slight decrease from last year but is triple that of 2019, and amounts to one of the biggest imbalances between federal spending and revenue in American history, the nonpartisan budget office said. But the CBO also projected faster-than-expected economic growth, with unemployment falling more sharply than previously predicted — a shift cheered by administration officials.
“In 2021, the federal government is projected to spend $6.8 trillion — higher than even last year’s total — while collecting about $3.8 trillion in revenue. Although spending is elevated from last year, the United States will take in more revenue as the pandemic fades and consumers resume normal activities — which is why the overall deficit will shrink modestly.”
PILL PROBLEMS — Molly Jong-Fast writes for Vogue that “Republicans have started to blur the lines between birth control and abortion in the hopes of making it harder for American women to obtain either.
“And nowhere is this clearer than in the Missouri statehouse, where lawmakers debated whether they needed to restrict Medicaid coverage of birth control and limit payments to Planned Parenthood. Yes, as the Kansas City Star reported, lawmakers there spent hours last week in a discussion that ‘resembled a remedial sex-education course.’ It was a tricky play, attacking birth control as a way to attack abortion, and it didn’t work…this time.”
DEATH AND TAXES — “U.S. Wins International Backing for Global Minimum Tax,” by WSJ’s Paul Hannon and Kate Davidson: “Officials from 130 countries that met virtually agreed Thursday to the broad outlines of what would be the most sweeping change in international taxation in a century. Among them were all of the Group of 20 major economies, including China and India, which previously had reservations about the proposed overhaul. Those governments now will seek to pass laws ensuring that companies headquartered in their countries pay a minimum tax rate of at least 15 percent in each of the nations in which they operate, reducing opportunities for tax avoidance.”
THE AFGHANISTAN PULLOUT — “U.S. hands Bagram Airfield to Afghans after nearly 20 years,” by AP’s Kathy Gannon in Kabul
HILLBILLY ELEGY WATCH — “J.D. Vance announces Senate bid, joins crowded GOP primary,” Cincinnati Enquirer: “Author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance kicked off his bid for U.S. Senate Thursday, joining a crowded GOP field after months of hinting at a run for office. … Vance joins a slew of other Republicans clamoring for the chance to replace retiring Sen. ROB PORTMAN, including former Ohio Republican Party chair JANE TIMKEN, former state treasurer JOSH MANDEL, car dealer BERNIE MORENO and investment banker MIKE GIBBONS. Running so far on the Democratic side is U.S. Rep. TIM RYAN.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Conservative TV commentator TUDOR DIXON has hired a handful current and former Trump advisers to run her Michigan gubernatorial campaign. They include SUSIE WILES, who now oversees Trump’s political operation; TAYLOR BUDOWICH, who is advising DONALD TRUMP JR. and KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE; and Trump 2020 alum JAMES BLAIR. Dixon has also hired CHARLIE SPIES as her election lawyer and Rep. ELISE STEFANIK’S (R-N.Y.) finance director, CARA MASON.
TV TONIGHT — PBS’ “Washington Week”: Yasmeen Abutaleb, Jonathan Lemire, Ayesha Rascoe and Jonathan Swan.
SUNDAY SO FAR …
“Face the Nation”: Jeff Zients … Surfside, Fla., Mayor Charles Burkett … Oregon Gov. Kate Brown … Utah Gov. Spencer Cox … Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) … Scott Gottlieb.
“This Week”: Jeff Zients … Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller … West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. Panel: Averi Harper, LZ Granderson, Mary Jordan and Molly Ball.
“Fox News Sunday”: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) … Tom Frieden. Panel: Charles Hurt, Catherine Lucey and Juan Williams. Power Player: James Patterson.
“The Sunday Show”: Ruth Marcus … Michael Osterholm … Minnesota A.G. Keith Ellison … Gloria Avent-Kindred … Mitch Landrieu … Laurie Garrett.
“Full Court Press,” with a special episode filmed in West Virginia about the opioid epidemic: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
“Inside Politics”: Panel: Nancy Cook, Melanie Zanona, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Jeremy Diamond and Joan Biskupic.
“Meet the Press”: Panel: Audie Cornish, Adam Grant and Kate Snow.
THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD …
IS MR. HARDBALL STAGING A COMEBACK? — Early last month, Chris Matthews was back on TV launching a book tour on the network from which he retired after admitting to sexist workplace behavior. He went on NBC’s “Today” show, followed by a lovefest on MSNBC, including “Morning Joe,” “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams,” “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart” and the show that replaced his “Hardball” timeslot, “The ReidOut with Joy Reid.”
Then, last week, Matthews was on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” reminding viewers that he was once a Capitol Police officer before he became a Hill staffer. “I felt violated,” he said of the Jan. 6 attack.
So is this a soft launch for another act?
Nope. Matthews told Playbook he’s officially hung it up. “I’m 75 years old and I gotta put things in perspective. I was grateful that they were having me back. It felt great. There’s nothing there.”
This is a man who, by his own count, logged some 50,000 minutes on air.
“I’m not going to say ‘no, no, no’ if my friends invite me. I will say ‘yes,’” he said. “I have a sense of history, I can put things in perspective.”
Matthews, hawking his new book, said that if we really want to know how he feels, we should read the “Hardball” chapter in “This Country: My Life in Politics and History.” And no, he wouldn’t give us a press copy when we asked.
“You have to buy the book,” he said.
Just the call seemed to intrigue Matthews — people are talking about him again on TV. He assigned Playbook to find out if any network execs were considering it.
“Look around and tell me if there’s anything I don’t know,” he said.
We’re on it.
SPOTTED: Second gentleman Doug Emhoff at Walters Sports Bar before the Nationals-Dodgers game Thursday (decked out in Dodgers gear).
NOT A CROOK — “Inside Broke Roger Stone’s Very ‘Shady’ Condo Purchase,” Daily Beast: “The federal government says longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone owes $2 million in unpaid taxes. And while the Department of Justice is taking Stone to court in a civil suit with no criminal charges, at the center of its case is a curious transaction: a $400,000 mortgage loan for a condo.
“The government’s complaint lays out a complicated scheme. It describes the condo purchase as an overt act of fraud, and claims a right to seize the property. Essentially, prosecutors say, Stone and his wife Nydia used $140,000 from a private company they already held (Drake Ventures) for a down payment on a condo. Picking up the rest of the tab—almost exactly $400,000—was a mortgage lender.
“That lender, a private individual who would only talk to The Daily Beast on the condition that we not print his name, said he had been misled and likely wouldn’t have granted the loan if he had known the full picture.”
MEDIAWATCH — Charlotte Clymer announced a one-year, six-figure deal with Substack to further develop her blog Charlotte’s Web Thoughts. She most recently was director of comms at Catholics for Choice, and is a Human Rights Campaign alum.
STAFFING UP — Kathryn Mitchell-Thomas is now team chief for research and engineering in the office of the assistant secretary of Defense for legislative affairs. She most recently was a strategic comms consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, and is a Jim Langevin and Albio Sires alum.
NSC DEPARTURE LOUNGE — Henry Haggard has left the National Security Council, where he was director for European affairs. He is now minister-counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.
TRANSITIONS — Michael Pratt is now senior group director for strategic policy, advocacy and government comms at Real Chemistry. He previously was chief comms officer for Operation Warp Speed in the Trump administration. … Veronica Bonilla will be director of media relations at BAE Systems. She previously was media director at the Aerospace Industries Association.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jonathan Capehart … Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Randy Weber (R-Texas) and Burgess Owens (R-Utah) (7-0) … Eric Fanning of the Aerospace Industries Association … Brad Todd of On Message … POLITICO’s Brooke Minters, Cristina Rivero, Graph Massara, Setota Hailemariam and Julian Garcia-Kasimirowski … Scott McGee of Kelley Drye … Derek Gianino of Wells Fargo … Matthew Dybwad of Xandr … Collin Davenport … Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots … Courtney Geduldig of S&P Global … Matthew L. Schwartz … Snap’s Gina Woodworth … Ben Wyskida … Sophie Zeigler … Arkadi Gerney … Jean Cecil Frick … Sam Nitz … Emily Stanitz … Reed Howard … Sammi McClain … Katherine Lehr … former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu … former Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) … Luci Baines Johnson … Berrin Tunçel … Jeremy Garlington (52) … Keith Morrison of NBC’s “Dateline”
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