Good Monday morning. THE PRESIDENT is at the White House today, where he’ll meet with the president of Panama and then with a number of tech leaders. (Scroll down a bit if you’d like to see who from the administration and business is expected to attend.)
TERROR IN LONDON — THE SUN — “LONDON MOSQUE TERROR: Finsbury Park Mosque terrorist screaming ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims’ drives van into worshippers killing one and injuring ten,” by Ben Leo, Gemma Mullin, Neal Baker and Lauren Fruen: “ONE person has been killed and ten injured in a suspected terrorist attack after a hired van ploughed into Muslim worshippers leaving a mosque after late-night Ramadan prayers. The attacker – a 48-year-old white man – ran down pedestrians before being pinned down by hero bystanders and arrested by police.
“Scotland Yard has confirmed one man was pronounced dead at the scene and officers are in the process of informing his next of kin. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, this morning said: ‘This is being treated as a terrorist attack. ‘The attack unfolded whilst a man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene, sadly, he has died. ‘Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation. It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack.’ The attacker struck outside the Muslim Welfare House, close to Finsbury Park mosque, in north London as the area was busy with worshippers who had been attending Ramadan night prayers.” http://bit.ly/2sJEoPt
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WE ARE STILL AT WAR — “As U.S. Adds Troops in Afghanistan, Trump’s Strategy Remains Undefined,” by NYT’s Mark Landler and Michael Gordon: “When President Trump made his first major decision on the war in Afghanistan, he did not announce it in a nationally televised address from the White House or a speech at West Point.
“Instead, the Pentagon issued a news release late one afternoon last week confirming that the president had given the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, the authority to send several thousand additional troops to a war that, in its 16th year, engages about 8,800 American troops. Mr. Trump, who writes avidly on Twitter about war and peace in other parts of the world, said nothing about the announcement. But its effect was unmistakable: He had outsourced the decision on how to proceed militarily in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, a startling break with how former President Barack Obama and many of his predecessors handled the anguished task of sending Americans into foreign conflicts.
“The White House played down the Pentagon’s vaguely worded statement, which referred only to setting ‘troop levels’ as a stopgap measure — a tacit admission of the administration’s internal conflicts over what to do about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.” http://nyti.ms/2sriOvO
— WAPO: “Afghan war faces flurry of setbacks as new U.S. military policy nears,” by Pamela Constable and Sayed Salahuddin in Islamabad: “[C]omplicating the picture are questions about how to deal with neighboring Pakistan and balance separate fights against Afghan and foreign-based insurgents. In the latest attack Sunday morning, Taliban fighters stormed a police base in southeastern Paktia province after detonating a suicide car bomb outside. At least five members of security forces and several civilians were killed, officials said. The attack came one day after an Afghan army commando shot and wounded seven U.S. troops inside an army base in northern Balkh province.” http://wapo.st/2rGZlu9
SYRIA — “U.S. aircraft shoots down a Syrian government jet over northern Syria, Pentagon says,” by WaPo’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Kareem Fahim: http://wapo.st/2sOe4Do
— “Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels,” by WSJ’s Rory Jones, Noam Raydan and Suha Ma’ayeh: “Israel has been regularly supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces. The Israeli army is in regular communication with rebel groups and its assistance includes undisclosed payments to commanders that help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons, according to interviews with about half a dozen Syrian fighters. Israel has established a military unit that oversees the support in Syria—a country that it has been in a state of war with for decades—and set aside a specific budget for the aid.” http://on.wsj.com/2rH5ZQQ
INSIDE THE WEST WING: PLAYING FAVORITES — “Trump demands face time with favored Cabinet heads,” by Tara Palmeri and Andrew Restuccia: “Every president has regular contact with key Cabinet members, but Trump, who remains deeply mistrustful of career agency officials, has turned the White House into a hangout for his chosen department heads. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has met with the president at least 34 times since he was confirmed in February, according to a POLITICO analysis of Trump’s interactions since taking office. …
“Senior aides say Trump demands facetime with his appointees in part because he doesn’t trust bureaucrats who do the day-to-day work of the federal government. The president shuns them as tools of what he often refers to as the ‘deep state,’ and blames them for the frequent, unflattering news stories coming from his White House, according to two White House aides. But for Trump’s Cabinet members, proximity is a plus. Being physically present at the White House ensures that they have a say in policymaking — and serves as an indication of status with the president.” http://politi.co/2sh7lR2
LEGAL SHUFFLE — “Kushner Is Said to Be Reconsidering His Legal Team,” by NYT’s Ben Protess Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Sharon LaFraniere: “Representatives of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, have quietly contacted high-powered criminal lawyers about potentially representing him in the wide-ranging investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election, according to three people briefed on the matter.
“Some of Mr. Kushner’s allies have raised questions about the link between his current lawyer, Jamie S. Gorelick, and Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to one of the people who spoke on condition of anonymity. Before the Justice Department named him to the special counsel post, Mr. Mueller was a law partner with Ms. Gorelick at the Washington firm of WilmerHale. …
“‘After the appointment of our former partner Robert Mueller as special counsel, we advised Mr. Kushner to obtain the independent advice of a lawyer with appropriate experience as to whether he should continue with us as his counsel,’ the statement from Ms. Gorelick said. …
“Among the lawyers contacted, one person said, was Abbe D. Lowell, a prominent trial lawyer whose previous clients include Jack Abramoff, the powerful Republican lobbyist, in a corruption scandal that shook Washington in 2005. Mr. Lowell is currently defending Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, against federal corruption charges. Mr. Lowell declined to comment.” http://nyti.ms/2ruJPNX
KUSHNER’S NEXT BIG TASK — “Trump aides Kushner and Greenblatt to visit Israel, Palestinians this week,” by Reuters’ Steve Holland: “U.S. President Donald Trump is sending two top aides to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week to discuss potential next steps in his bid to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a White House official said on Sunday. Going on the trip will be White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law and husband of his daughter Ivanka Trump, and Jason Greenblatt, a top national security aide. Greenblatt will arrive in the region on Monday and Kushner on Wednesday.
“The talks follow Trump’s discussions last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Behind-the-scenes conversations have been taking place since the Trump trip, the White House official said. … Kushner and Greenblatt will have meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah to hear directly from the Israeli and Palestinian leadership ‘about their priorities and potential next steps,’ the official said.” http://reut.rs/2tiT30O
DEM’S GEORGIA CATCH 22 — “Democrats sweat the details in Georgia special election,” by Gabe Debenedetti in Sandy Springs, Georgia: “Democrats are closer than they ever could have imagined to winning a House seat in the Republican suburbs of Atlanta, and dealing a resounding blow to Donald Trump. But they’re also gripped by anxiety about what happens if they fall short Tuesday. A loss in Georgia’s special election here could leave the party demoralized, with little to show for all the furious organizing, fundraising and spending in a handful of congressional special elections in the early months of the Trump administration. As a result, Democrats are now straining to throw everything they have at Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District to push Jon Ossoff over the top against Republican Karen Handel, aiming to prove they can win the suburban districts that may pave the way to a House majority in 2018.” http://politi.co/2srqj5S
THE NEW DEM TALKING POINTS — “Democrats use Trump ‘mean’ comment to tar GOP,” by Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim: “Democrats are seeking to capitalize on President Donald Trump calling the Republican health care bill ‘mean’ ahead of the Senate’s vote to repeal Obamacare, seeing it as a pivotal moment in an issue that could drive the 2018 midterm elections. The comments from Trump, made privately to senators last week, were largely overshadowed by a mass shooting at a Congressional baseball practice and new developments in the special counsel’s investigation into Trump and his associates.
“But a senior Democratic aide said the party plans to revive the ‘mean’ comment part of floor speeches, press conferences and social media, and consultants said they craved the image of Trump celebrating in the Rose Garden with House members over a ‘mean’ bill that hurt poor Americans. ‘We will be weaving mean into the broader attack in a prominent way,’ the aide said.” http://politi.co/2sGAnKv
— It’s important to note: There are just nine legislative days left before Congress breaks for the July 4 recess. Senate Republicans have still not released an Obamacare repeal bill for public review. It is crunch time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to find a path forward for a health care bill that can pass before the break. ALSO, WE HEAR that House Republicans aren’t going to necessarily take up whatever the Senate passes. They do plan a vote on something, but it’s not yet clear what the House will be able to stomach.
HAPPENING TODAY — The much-discussed tech summit organized by President Donald Trump’s Office of American Innovation is bringing together Trump administration heavy hitters with a slew of tech bigwigs.
— WHITE HOUSE ATTENDEES: Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Chris Liddell, Reed Cordish, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, Stephen Miller, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Tom Bossert.
— AGENCY ATTENDEES: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Homeland Secretary Ret. Gen. John Kelly, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
— CEOS: Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard; Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon; Zachary Bookman, CEO of OpenGov; Safra Catz, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; John Doerr, Chairman of Kleiner Perkins; Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware; Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel; Tom Leighton, CEO of Akamai; Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP; Steven Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm; Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe; Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet; Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture; and Peter Thiel, Founders Fund.
— “White House meetings add to tech’s awkward dance with Trump,” by Steven Overly: “Amazon, Google, Facebook and Lyft have all hired lobbyists with connections to Trump or his Cabinet members, as they seek to influence the administration on everything from taxes to immigration.” http://politi.co/2ruMXsV
THE JUICE …
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: DNC CHAIR TOM PEREZ is endorsing Puerto Rico statehood. Perez, who has two siblings born in Puerto Rico, said in a statement provided to Playbook that he believes Puerto Ricans should have the same rights as those on the mainland and that his personal view is that statehood is the best method to provide full representation in government and equal rights.
— STOPTERRORNOW.ORG is dropping $100,000 for a USA Today ad as part of its campaign to push Trump and Congress to put political and economic pressure on Qatar. The full-page ad is an open-letter from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews founder and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. It also includes digital ads on the USA Today website. The ad http://politi.co/2sOdIfN
— BRITTANY BRAMELL has left Uber, and is starting today at TSA as the assistant administrator of public affairs.
A BI-PARTISAN KUMBAYA MOMENT — “Israel trip calms some D.C. tensions,” by Daniel Lippman: “A number of former top Trump campaign officials and prominent Democrats say that their trip last week to Israel helped them dial down the bitter partisanship of current-day Washington. Trump campaign alumni Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, former Obama White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, and Paul Begala were among the participants in the seven-day trip that ended Saturday. … The trip was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation and organized by AIPAC political director Rob Bassin; other trip-goers included Juleanna Glover, Corry Bliss, Trey Nix, Brad Todd and Jef Pollack.” With a pic of the full group in front of the Knesset http://politi.co/2sOcEJ4
WEST COAST WATCH — “These Democrats feel guilty for sitting out the 2016 elections, and they aren’t waiting to register voters for the midterms,” by L.A. Times’ Javier Panzer: http://lat.ms/2rH3Y7i
MEDIAWATCH: HADAS GOLD — “Fox’s Bolling talks of a future Senate run”: “Fox News anchor Eric Bolling may have just signed a new multi-year contract, but he’s also eyeing a possible career change: A future run for Senate. For now, Bolling is secure in his job as co-host of the new show ‘The Fox News Specialists.’ But In a recent telephone interview from Fox News headquarters in New York City, Bolling said that ‘when the lights go down on the TV career’ he wants to make a primary challenge against a sitting Republican senator in the South.
“‘A lot of Republicans run as conservatives only to be elected, and we find out they’re not conservative at all,” said Bolling, who considers himself one of President Donald Trump’s longest and most loyal supporters. Bolling, who grew up in Chicago and went to college in Florida, declined to specify which state in the South he’d run, which senator he would challenge or even when it would happen (it could be ‘never’ or when his current contract runs out in three years, he said). He also denied he’s taking any concrete actions to run, including speaking with consultants — ‘no, no, friends’ he said when asked if he’s had conversations about planning a campaign.” http://politi.co/2sO3yMf
— JACK SHAFER on “Megyn Kelly Pantses Alex Jones”: http://politi.co/2sFCQ8i
SPOTTED: HHS Secretary Tom Price on the Sunday afternoon ATL-DCA flight. Flying coach with two security agents.
ENGAGED — Kevin Sheridan, founder of the Sheridan Media Group and a Romney/Ryan and RNC alum, got engaged to Erika Gutierrez, founder of epgPR.com and daughter of former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. They met at an event in 2015, and were reintroduced at the Jefferson through friends a year later. He proposed at their new home Saturday evening. Pic http://bit.ly/2rM6tAH
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Ari Schaffer, research analyst in the White House communications shop and an America Rising alum, married Marissa Schwartz, a senior analyst at The Advisory Board Company, on Sunday at the Rockleigh Country Club in New Jersey. The two met at Kesher Israel Synagogue in Georgetown. Pics http://bit.ly/2sGzT79 … http://bit.ly/2tEqg66 … http://bit.ly/2sO4i4d
–Alessandro Ago (Alex), son of D.C. publicist Janet Donovan and Amb. Pietro Ago, married Emma Bernstein at the Kohl Mansion in Burlingame, CA. Ago is director of programming and special projects at USC while Bernstein is assistant to the president at Imagine Entertainment. “In keeping with their cinematic interests, they created a movie poster in honor of their wedding.” Pic http://bit.ly/2sJzphx … The poster http://bit.ly/2sNUOpy
BUSH ALUMNI — Glynda Becker, director of federal relations at Washington State University and a Bush administration alum, married Tom Fenter in an outdoor ceremony at the Suncadia resort located outside of Seattle. The couple was introduced by former Bush alumnae Susan McColley Benhoff when she invited her brother last minute to join the group at Outer Banks for their annual Memorial Day Weekend beach trip. Pics http://bit.ly/2sO9pRy … http://bit.ly/2tjwzwX
SPOTTED: Susan McColley Benhoff and Kevin Benhoff, Suhail Khan, Warren and Emily Tryon, Mike and Rhonda Gallagher, Connie and Gary Partoyan, Kelle Strickland and Chad Adams, Rob McKenna.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jeff Mason, WH correspondent for Reuters and president of the WHCA. How he’s celebrating: “I’m spending the day in Bonn, Germany, where I’m accepting the Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award on behalf of the White House Correspondents’ Association. It’s an honor to be here to discuss the work of the WHCA and extra special to me personally because I was born in Germany — my folks were stationed here with the U.S. Air Force in the 1970s. I’m celebrating with my twin bro, Brian, (happy birthday, dear brother!) and with close family friends from the village we lived in as kids.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2rMsdfP
BIRTHDAYS: David DiMartino, a Boston native and Bruins fan, now at Blue Engine Message and Media (h/t Erik Smith) … former SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro … WaPo’s Anne Gearan … Marcus Brauchli, co-founder and managing partner of North Base Media, the pride of Boulder, and a WSJ and WaPo alum, is 56 (h/t Ben Chang) … Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, the pride of Piedmont, Calif. (h/t Tim Burger) … Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is 72 … Salman Rushdie is 7-0 … actor Paul Dano is 33 (h/t Nadia Szold) … David Lat, founder and managing editor of Above the Law, is 42 … Lara Spencer of “Good Morning America” and the pride of Garden City … Politico’s Tim Starks … Slate contributor Seth Stevenson, author of “Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World” … Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) is 38 … Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) is 63 … Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) is 6-0 … Slate’s Isaac Chotiner, a Houston Rockets fan and TNR alum … former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) is 46 …
… CBS News producers Louise Dufresne and Christina Ruffini (h/ts Caitlin Conant) … Tariq Smith, proud NC State Wolfpack alum (h/t Andrew Bates) … Cragg Hines … Mary Dalrymple of Eagle Hill Consulting and a Booz Allen alum … Earl Whipple … Mike Naple is 34 … Jenna Sakwa, Speaker Ryan’s new director of media affairs. She celebrated with colleagues on the speaker’s balcony on Friday, with family in NYC this weekend, and will BBQ with friends on Monday (h/t Ryan press team) … Michelle Ringuette … Liz Richards … Samantha Finke … Darren Bearson … Sean Kevelighan … Hilary Richards … Michael Akin, president of DC-based strat comms and engagement firm LINK Strategic Partners (h/t wife Wendi) … Jennifer Fedor … Raytheon’s Aimee Strudwick Gilroy … Marilyn Miller (h/t Teresa Vilmain) … former Bush 43 White House and DHS alum Tom Hoare (h/t Ed Cash) … Michael Robbins … Ruth Elliott … Sean Kevelighan … Bonnie Goldstein … Matt McKillop is 33 … Leslea Byrd … CRC Public Relations is 28 … Liz Richards … Paula Abdul is 55 … actress Zoe Saldana is 39 … Macklemore (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) is 34 … actor Atticus Shaffer is 18 (h/ts AP)