Good Wednesday morning. THE TWEET READ ROUND THE WORLD — @realDonaldTrump at 12:06 a.m.: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. The tweet stood alone — nothing before it, or after it. If you had any doubt that the president of the United States was sitting late at night with his own device in the White House residence, this should probably dispel that. Trump deleted the tweet at some point in the 5 a.m. hour. #covfefe is now a trending hashtag on Twitter and launched an Urban Dictionary entry overnight (http://bit.ly/2qzNP3i). See the deleted tweet, which got over 126,000 retweets and 160,000 likes http://bit.ly/2sdnZPy
–@realDonaldTrump at 6:09 a.m.: “Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!”
–@jimmykimmel at 2:15 a.m.: “More what makes me saddest is that I know I’ll never write anything funnier than #covfefe”.
NOW BACK TO REALITY — AP’s VIVIAN SALAMA: “Trump’s cellphone diplomacy raises security concerns”: “President Donald Trump has been handing out his cellphone number to world leaders and urging them to call him directly, an unusual invitation that breaks diplomatic protocol and is raising concerns about the security and secrecy of the U.S. commander in chief’s communications. Trump has urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to reach him on his cellphone, according to former and current U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the practice. Of the two, only Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken advantage of the offer so far, the officials said. …
“Presidents generally place calls on one of several secure phone lines, including those in the White House Situation Room, the Oval Office or the presidential limousine. Even if Trump uses his government-issued cellphone, his calls are vulnerable to eavesdropping, particularly from foreign governments, national security experts say. ‘If you are speaking on an open line, then it’s an open line, meaning those who have the ability to monitor those conversations are doing so,’ said Derek Chollet, a former Pentagon adviser and National Security Council official now at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.” http://apne.ws/2qAheGe
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BUZZ — The White House is scouting office space for the much-speculated about new White House “war room” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. (There isn’t much open office space in the West Wing these days.) The war room would manage fallout from the scandals engulfing the Trump administration. Corey Lewandowski — one of the potential hires for the war room — has been spotted in and around the White House in recent days.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: MITT ROMNEY’S annual retreat — the E2 Summit — will be June 8-10 at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City. On the docket this year: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former CIA Director Mike Morell and Microsoft Chairman John Thompson. GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH!: There will be “enthusiast sessions” like trap shooting with Paul Ryan, pilates with Ann Romney and early-morning hikes with Mitt Romney.
HOT VIDEO — @AlexanderEmmons: “Watch as Stuart Jones, a high-level acting official in the State Dept, is asked why they criticize Iranian elections but never Saudi Arabia:” http://bit.ly/2qz8VP0 … Jones is retiring soon after a career as a foreign service officer.
INSIDE THE WEST WING — “As Trump Weighs Shake-Up, He Faces Recruiting Challenge,” by NYT’s Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: “[T]alks with two former advisers, Corey Lewandowski and David N. Bossie, about joining the White House staff [have grown] more complicated. Mr. Bossie … signaled that he does not plan to join the staff, citing family concerns, one person close to the discussions said Tuesday. … Whether Mr. Trump will actually reorganize his White House team remained uncertain.
“He has often talked about expelling people from his orbit, only to decide not to, as he did with Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, a few weeks ago. Seemingly reinvigorated, Mr. Bannon is now among those leading the effort to convince the president that he needs to overhaul his operation to focus more intensely on the nationalist policy goals that animated his candidacy. … The president has joked repeatedly with [Reince] Priebus, whose mother is of Greek descent, that he would send him to Athens as ambassador to Greece. Speculation grew last week when a list of ambassadors was compiled at Mr. Priebus’s request, and the Athens position was left blank, officials said.” http://nyti.ms/2sl95Gi
POLITICO STARS ANDREW RESTUCCIA and JOSH DAWSEY: “Russia probe scares off potential appointees”: “Four people who work closely with prospective nominees told POLITICO that some potential hires are having second thoughts about trying to land executive branch appointments as federal and congressional investigations threaten to pose a serious distraction to Trump’s agenda. … According to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, the White House has announced nominees for just 117 of the 559 most important Senate-confirmed positions.” http://politi.co/2rDE8Rd
— WHO REPLACES MIKE DUBKE?: Communications director to President Donald Trump is a nearly impossible job. Setting a message for a man who could undermine it with a tweet is not a terribly appealing job to the top communicators in D.C., many of them tell us. Who should get the job? Drop us a line, we’ll be publishing a round of ideas in the coming Playbooks.
DEADLINE WATCH — PRESIDENT TRUMP must decide by tomorrow whether he will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He can sign a six-month waiver to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv while he continues to seek Middle East peace. He can also extend the waiver while signaling his intent to move it eventually. That’s what we hear he’ll do.
DEPT. OF TIME TICKING — “Trump’s window for scoring early legislative victories is shrinking,” by WaPo’s Damian Paletta and Mike Debonis: “President Trump faces an increasingly narrow path to win major legislative victories before the looming August recess, with only two months left to revive his health-care or tax initiatives before Congress departs for a long break. White House officials said Tuesday that Trump has become increasingly incensed that legislation is bogging down in the Senate, something they blame on Democrats. …
“White House officials plan to push Senate Republicans in June to vote on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and they want to spend the rest of the summer whipping up support for major tax cuts. They are also planning to push lawmakers soon to consider an infrastructure package, although that effort has also moved more slowly because his staff hasn’t put together a final plan.” http://wapo.st/2slrpip
— BACK IN REALITY … — Can the Senate cobble together a health-care plan in June? Sure anything can happen. Is it likely? No. They have hardly started putting together their own version of a health-care overhaul, and last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I don’t know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that’s the goal.” That means they are nowhere close, at the moment. Keep in mind the next time you hear the White House predict something: they’ve been saying for months that they are on the brink of releasing an infrastructure package. After the August recess it only gets tougher. Congress will have to fund government, lift the debt ceiling and then it’s campaign season.
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Bombing in diplomatic area of Kabul kills 80, wounds scores,” by AP’s Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah in Kabul: “A massive explosion rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing 80 people and wounding as many as 350, an attack that left a scene of mayhem and destruction and sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital. The target of the attack — which officials said was a suicide car bombing — was not immediately known, but Ismail Kawasi, spokesman of the public health ministry, said most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children. It was one of the worst attacks Kabul has seen since the drawdown of foreign forces at the end of 2014.
“Associated Press images from the scene showed the German Embassy and several other embassies located in the area heavily damaged in the explosion. It wasn’t known if any foreign diplomats were among the casualties but Germany and Pakistan said some of their embassy employees and staff were hurt in the explosion.” http://apne.ws/2qzy9Nf
JARED’S MOOD from ANNIE KARNI, the master of Jared intrigue — “Kushner tries to pretend everything’s normal”: “There has been no rallying the troops in the White House, and no open acknowledgement from President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that he has transformed from behind-the-scenes West Wing powerbroker to its lead distracting story. Kushner led three meetings in the West Wing on Tuesday — and never once acknowledged the stories about him that dominated cable news since last week, when it was reported that during the campaign he discussed setting up a secret communications backchannel to Moscow.” http://politi.co/2qyFBbB
MATT NUSSBAUM, TARA PALMERI and JOSH DAWSEY — “Spicer’s ‘middle finger’ to the press”: “On the recent trip abroad, he repeatedly showed the strain of the job. At one point, he got drinks with a group of other staffers and reporters in Jerusalem, where he was adamant that the conversation steer clear of work. ‘The most we’ve seen of Sean [Spicer] was at a rooftop bar in Jerusalem,’ said one U.S. journalist on the trip. ‘But he refused to take work-related questions and said if you asked him a work-related question, then you had to take a shot.’ The comment was made in jest, according to people present, and no shots were taken.” http://politi.co/2rTM14V
INSIDE STATE — “Tillerson’s Enigmatic Chief of Staff Wields Power, Not Spotlight,” by Bloomberg’s Nick Wadhams: “One unfamiliar name stood out among the coterie of family and aides President Donald Trump brought into his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican last week: Margaret Peterlin. The presence of Peterlin — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s chief of staff — underscored the former congressional staffer and Mars Inc. lawyer’s growing clout in the administration. Not even Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a practicing Catholic who interacts with Trump almost daily, made it to the Papal audience, which included Tillerson as well as Melania and Ivanka Trump.
“Peterlin, a Navy veteran who as a congressional aide helped draft the Patriot Act after the Sept. 11 attacks, gained Tillerson’s trust by navigating him through his Senate confirmation hearings in January. With most top State Department jobs unfilled, Peterlin has more power than any chief of staff in recent memory, bringing in key associates to fill critical openings.” https://bloom.bg/2qzcVzh
— FASCINATING DETAIL: “She’s become famous within the State Department for the Post-it notes she leaves on staff members’ computer monitors asking them to chase tasks. Other times she prints out emails and attaches Post-its to them, with instructions on how to proceed.”
THE FAMILY — “Arrested, missing China activists spark criticism of Trump,” by AP’s Erika Kinetz in Shanghai: “The arrest and disappearance of three labor activists investigating a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-branded shoes in China prompted a call for her brand to cease working with the supplier and raised questions about whether the first family’s commercial interests would muddy U.S. leadership on human rights. The men were working with a U.S. nonprofit to publish a report next month alleging low pay, excessive overtime and possible misuse of student labor, according to China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang, who lost contact with the investigators over the weekend. China Labor Watch has been exposing poor working conditions at suppliers to some of the world’s best-known companies for nearly two decades, but Li said his work has never before attracted this level of scrutiny from China’s state security apparatus.” http://apne.ws/2rj1GI2
NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL — “Poll: Support for Trump impeachment rises,” by Steven Shepard: “An increasing percentage of voters want Congress to impeach President Donald Trump — even if they don’t think Trump has committed the ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ the Constitution requires. Forty-three percent of voters want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, up from 38 percent last week. …
“But that’s still less than the 45 percent who don’t want Congress to impeach Trump, down a tick from 46 percent the week before. Only three American presidents in history have faced legitimate impeachment threats. Much of the support for impeaching Trump comes from political considerations, the poll shows — not a belief that Trump is actually guilty of impeachable offenses, like treason, bribery or obstructing justice.” http://politi.co/2rEa34b
MEDIAWATCH — “Scott Pelley out as CBS Evening News anchor,” by Hadas Gold: “Scott Pelley is out as ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor, POLITICO has confirmed. Pelley will stay with the network as a full-time correspondent for ‘60 Minutes,’ according to people familiar with the decision. The New York Post first reported the news on Tuesday evening. A formal announcement is expected on Wednesday. Those familiar with the situation said the removal has been in the works for a while. Guest anchors will fill the evening news chair until a replacement is chosen. Pelley has been out on ‘60 Minutes’ assignment for the past few days, but he’s expected to return to the anchor seat to say farewell to viewers.” http://politi.co/2rDwZR2
— SEND US YOUR IDEAS for who should take over the anchor chair at CBS. We’ll publish some names in Playbook.
TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY — THE PRESIDENT is meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and later will host Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the White House.
THE JUICE …
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — OZY Fest, happening July 22 at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield in NYC, is adding a number of political speakers to its lineup: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jill Biden, Mark Cuban and Marcus Samuelsson.
— HAPPENING TODAY — Recode co-founders Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg will interview Hillary Clinton at Recode’s annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Clinton is expected discuss Russia’s efforts to influence 2016, the state of play in politics and tech’s gender gap. The interview will be broadcast live on CNBC and livestream on Facebook and Periscope at 3:15 p.m. eastern.
INTRODUCING LONDON PLAYBOOK: Jack Blanchard — currently the Daily Mirror’s political editor — is joining POLITICO Europe to launch a London Playbook starting Sept. 4. Blanchard will bring our flagship product to London and all those interested in what makes Europe’s global city tick, as the U.K. seeks out a new role in Europe and the world. Blanchard has worked at the Boston Standard and Yorkshire Post, and he is also a Sky News contributor. Read POLITICO Europe Executive editor Matt Kaminski memo http://politi.co/2qF16lZ … To sign up early http://politi.co/2qyWQJA
— POLITICO EUROPE has also launched a U.K. Election Tracker. Available for iPhones http://politi.co/2sl4gN1
TRUMP’S PARIS OPTIONS — “Trump’s climate conundrum nears a verdict,” by Andrew Restuccia: “Donald Trump’s advisers have sent wildly different messages to U.S. allies about the president’s willingness to remain in the Paris climate agreement — adding to the confusion as he appears set to render a verdict this week. … For all the mystery, though, Trump has only a few main options for dealing with the non-binding climate deal, one of former President Barack Obama’s proudest diplomatic achievements. He can stick with the deal, while unwinding most of Obama’s climate policies and pledges for reducing greenhouse gas pollution. He can use the threat of leaving to push other countries for concessions that benefit U.S. fossil fuels. He can even try to renegotiate the agreement — highly implausible, given that nearly 200 governments took part in crafting it. Or he can do nothing.” http://politi.co/2qyQOZt
FLYNN WATCH — “Flynn to provide some documents in response to Senate subpoenas,” by Darren Samuelsohn and Austin Wright: “Michael Flynn has now agreed to provide some documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election. The decision by President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser comes after initially refusing last week to comply with an initial subpoena.
“Flynn informed the committee in a letter Tuesday he will provide some documents related to his two businesses, along with some personal materials, according to a source close to Flynn who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Flynn is expected to begin providing documents on a rolling basis by June 6, the source said.” http://politi.co/2rDQpoX
— “Mike Flynn’s Pro-Turkey Work: An Unfinished Documentary to Boost Country’s Image,” by WSJ’s Dion Nissenbaum: “Last fall, as retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn traveled the country stumping for Donald Trump, his business partner holed up in a small Washington hotel room with the former head of Turkish military intelligence to work on a special project. ‘General, hi. I’m Bijan Kian, welcome to Washington, D.C.,’ Mr. Kian, the head of Mr. Flynn’s consulting firm, greeted the Turkish dignitary. ‘Gen. Flynn, my partner, sends his regards to you.’ The hotel room meeting was filmed as part of a documentary the Flynn Intel Group was producing for a Turkish businessman, who paid $530,000 to the lobbying shop to polish the country’s image after a botched military coup. That contract has landed Mr. Flynn in legal jeopardy. The unfinished, never-distributed film, details of which haven’t been previously reported, appears to represent the core of the Flynn Intel Group’s work for Turkish interests.” http://on.wsj.com/2qyIRno
DEEP DIVE – BETHANY MCLEAN in Vanity Fair’s Summer issue, “How Wells Fargo’s Cutthroat Corporate Culture Allegedly Drove Bankers to Fraud”: “Most Americans have assumed their bank accounts are sacrosanct. But with the major scandal unfolding at Wells Fargo, angry former employees illuminate the alarming pressure that allegedly led local bankers to defraud perhaps more than a million customers.” http://bit.ly/2sdaaAJ
WHAT WALL STREET IS READING – “Steven Cohen’s Hedge-Fund Comeback Shoots for a Record Target: $20 Billion,” by WSJ’s Rob Copeland: “Mr. Cohen’s goal is to amass $20 billion once he gets back in the business as early as next year, he and his representatives have said in conversations with bankers, colleagues and potential investors. That would likely include his family fortune of $11 billion. The new target would blow past the $16 billion managed at peak by Mr. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP, one of the most profitable hedge-fund firms in the U.S. before it pleaded guilty to criminal insider trading charges in 2013.” http://on.wsj.com/2ragquC
MEDIAWATCH — “Megyn Kelly: I don’t love politics,” by Hadas Gold: “Megyn Kelly has a confession: She doesn’t love politics. ‘I was not born to be a political news anchor,’ she said, in a POLITICO interview. The newly minted NBC anchor was known for her fast-paced, hard-hitting nightly show on Fox News and moderating prowess on the debate stage, tangling with then-candidate Donald Trump. But now that she’s set to launch a Sunday news magazine show and a daily morning show on NBC, Kelly said she’s happy to be leaving the political frying pan. ‘No, I’m not going to miss the crazy news cycle. The audience enjoyed the show and I’m grateful for it,’ Kelly said. ‘But it wasn’t who I was and it isn’t who I am. … While I will cover politics … I don’t want to do only that. It’s not enough for me personally.’” http://politi.co/2rTrYn4
PHIL RUCKER: STAR OF THE ONION — “‘Washington Post’ Reporter Frustrated Every Space In Parking Garage Taken Up By Anonymous Source” – The Onion: http://bit.ly/2rnaOhb
SPOTTED — Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in coach on a Seattle-appropriate purple rain jacket, on a delayed Alaska 2 from Seattle to DCA Tuesday … House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster in jeans and short sleeves at Joe’s Stone Crab’s bar Tuesday … Arkansas Lt. Gov Tim Griffin and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) at Landini Brothers Restaurant last night in Old Town Alexandria. Griffin and Comstock go way back to when they were counsels on the House Government Reform Committee with investigator Dave Bossie. Comstock and Griffin later led the research effort in 2000 on Al Gore with senior researcher Matt Rhoades. Griffin was a member of Congress from 2010 until 2014.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Emily Howell, former POLITICO assistant editor, on Saturday married Lyndon DeSalvo, a recent graduate from University of Pennsylvania’s city planning masters program. The ceremony was at Mad River Barn in the beautiful Green Mountains in Waitsfield, Vermont. The couple met more than a decade ago while attending Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. They have since traveled the globe together. After a honeymoon in Mexico, the newlyweds are moving to Cambridge this summer where the bride will be pursuing a MPH at Harvard. Among the attendees were bridesmaid Vivyan Tran (former Politico and current WSJ, who sat behind Bernie Sanders on her flight back to Newark from Burlington) and Tim Lueders-Dumont (policy director for Vermont State Treasurer). Pics http://bit.ly/2rDt3j2 … http://bit.ly/2rDYjyt
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Ashley Verville, communications director for Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Shane Verville, performance coach at U.S. Bank, welcomed Olivia Lynn Verville last Wednesday. Pic http://politi.co/2rjeiz7
— Molly Murphy, partner at ALG Polling, and Sean Dryden, senior analyst at PerryUndem Research and Communication, welcomed a baby boy, Charlie Cooper Dryden, over the Memorial Day weekend. Charlie came in at 7 lbs 8 oz. Since his parents are pollsters, “the kid is going to have a knack for math and was statistically within the margin of error in all categories.”
ENGAGED – ROMNEY ALUMNI — Micah Spangler, deputy director of legislative affairs at the United Nations Foundation, proposed to Jill Nguyen, senior client strategy manager at Phone2Action, over the Memorial Day weekend. “Micah popped the question on the steps of Mexico City’s historic Metropolitan Cathedral. The two first met in early 2016 but didn’t start dating until this year, when, after preparing to collaborate on an advocacy event at UN Headquarters, Jill (a vocal Hillary supporter) texted Micah (a former Romney 2012 staffer), ‘I can’t believe you’re a Republican.’” Pic http://politi.co/2qyMYjf
TRANSITIONS — Julie McClain Downey started last week as national director of campaign communications at EMILY’s List. She most recently served as the New Hampshire communications director for the Hillary Clinton campaign. … John Martin started on Tuesday as principal associate commissioner for legislation at the FDA. Martin, the pride of Grapevine, Texas, most recently served as legislative director for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). … Tom Rogan has been named a commentary writer at the Washington Examiner. He was previously a contributor. http://bit.ly/2rakB9S … Alberto Martinez, EVP at Targeted Victory and former chief of staff to Sen. Marco Rubio, has joined Maverick PAC’s board of directors.
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Jake Hargraves … Scott Mason, former Lowe’s lobbyist, former director of congressional affairs for the Trump campaign and the transition, now at Holland & Knight (hat tip: Theo Meyer) … Jeff Freeland, OMB legislative staffer, former deputy COS for Rep. Chris Collins and former Trump congressional volunteer … Stratton Kirton … Rob Noel … Loren Duggan … (was Saturday): Andrew Tabler of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (h/t Mallory Shelbourne)
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Lauren Passalacqua, comms director at the DSCC, a Gillibrand alum and noted country music fan. How she’s celebrating: “It’s a surprise! I’ve shown uncharacteristic restraint by not prying for information.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2qA0y1P
BIRTHDAYS: Michael O’Connor, partner at Williams & Connolly and co-chair of its Transactions and Business Counseling practice group (h/t Robert Barnett) … Al From, the pride of South Bend, Ind. … Clint Eastwood is 87 … Bernard Goldberg is 72 … Katie Troller Bond … Aditi Srinivas … Rep. Larry Bucshon is 55 (R-Ind.) … Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) is 84 … Politico’s Janet Michaud, Brad Bosserman, Matt Berman, Jamie Oh and Hugh Stapleton … RNC finance alum Angela Meyers … Debra DeShong, EVP and managing director at Subject Matter (h/t Amy Weiss) … McClatchy’s Julie Moos … Dan Iten … Clark Judge, founder and managing director of White House Writers Group … Phil Elwood, principal at Chester Creek Consulting … “Last Week Tonight” writer Juli Weiner … former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is 69 …
… Bert Kaufman … Ray Quintero, principal at Healthsperien (h/t Kristofer Eisenla) … Vidhya Murugesan … Saul Levine is 79 … Jay Dana is 3-0 … Dan Pino is 28 … Howard Homonoff, SVP at MediaLink (h/t Michael Knopf) … billionaire Ira Rennert is 83 … Rabbi Aaron Potek is 31 (h/ts Jewish Insider) … Fariba Yassaee (h/t Ben Chang) … Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of AHIP … Erik Telford, VP of digital at In Pursuit Of … Ray Quintero … Sara Carter, national security/war correspondent at Sinclair’s Circa … Paul Heinan … Stephanie Weix … Rhonda Roberts (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Karen Quarles … Pamela Hughes … Steve Duprey … Bill Oglesby … Alix Heard … Joe Namath is 74 … DMC is 53 … Brooke Shields is 52 … Colin Farrell is 41 (h/ts AP)