ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN PEACE PLAN UPDATE… NYT’S MICHAEL CROWLEY: “Jason Greenblatt, a Designer of Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan, Is Leaving the Administration”: “President Trump’s special envoy for Middle East peace, Jason Greenblatt, will leave the administration, according to a senior Trump official, raising new questions about a long-delayed plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“Mr. Greenblatt has worked closely since early 2017 with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to design what Mr. Trump has called the ‘ultimate deal.’ But their secretive plan has been delayed for several months, and it is unclear when it will be released — and whether Mr. Greenblatt will be around for its release.
“Trump officials have said that the plan will not be released before Israel’s Sept. 17 election, which will determine the fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close Trump ally who has overseen expansionist policies in the occupied West Bank. The vote, if close, could be followed by months of political jockeying to build a governing coalition, which could further delay the plan’s release.
“On Thursday, the Trump official would say about the plan only that, ‘The vision is now complete and will be released when appropriate.’” NYT
BRIAN HOOK, the State Department’s Iran hand, and Avi Berkowitz, a 30-year-old assistant to Kushner, will take on more responsibility, the administration says. … KUSHNER DETRACTORS in the administration — and there are lots — now are gleefully wondering whether this peace plan will ever come out.
SPEAKING OF … BREAKING IN BRITAIN … NEWS CHANNEL 13/AXIOS’ BARAK RAVID: “BREAKING: Netanyahu doesn’t rule out Trump-Rouhani meeting and says: ‘I am sure Trump will take a much tougher position than before. I don’t tell the president who he should meet or who he shouldn’t meet’”
— READ BETWEEN THE LINES HERE: Netanyahu has been saying for a while that it’s not time to negotiate with Iran, it’s time to clamp down on Iran. This appears to represent a position change.
FROM FOGGY BOTTOM TO THE SENATE FLOOR? … KANSAS SEN. JERRY MORAN said this about Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO’s possible run for Senate, per Fox 4 in Kansas City: “‘I’ve had conversations with Secretary Pompeo. Certainly the conversations have revolved in part about this issue … They’ve been weeks ago now and I don’t know what his current thinking is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he entered that race. I think that he would be a good, solid candidate that would get a lot of support in Kansas.’”
— REMINDER: Pompeo is speaking at Kansas State University tomorrow at 10:30 central time.
THE ROAD TO LITTLE ROCK? … SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS is writing a book “about her life and experiences in the Trump administration,” per a press release St. Martin’s Press is publishing this book in the fall of 2020.
— IN THE DESCRIPTION: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as the 29th White House Press Secretary under President Donald Trump, the third woman and the first mother to hold the position. A trusted confidante of the President, Sarah advised him on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy.
“For two and a half years, Sarah was at the President’s side, battling with the media, working with lawmakers and CEOs, and accompanying the President on every foreign trip, including dozens of meetings with foreign leaders. In her book, she will recount her years on the front line of the campaign and in the administration, including the most dramatic and challenging moments. Sarah will address subjects including the media, family, faith, and performing an all-consuming and highly visible job while raising her young family.”
— SHS will be on Fox News tonight for the first time, per Yashar Ali.
TWEET HOME ALABAMA: The president has tweeted about Alabama five times over the last 18 hours, trying to explain why his claim that the hurricane was headed there at some point was actually grounded in reality.
IN BRITAIN, IS BLOOD THICKER THAN WATER? … NYT: “Jo Johnson, Prime Minister’s Brother, Resigns From U.K. Parliament,” by Stephen Castle: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s uncompromising, take-no-prisoners approach to Brexit on Tuesday drove the grandson of Winston Churchill from the Conservative Party.
“On Thursday, it pushed out the prime minister’s brother Jo Johnson, a Conservative lawmaker and government minister. ‘In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest,’ Jo Johnson wrote in a Twitter post announcing his resignation from his ministerial post and his seat in Britain’s Parliament. ‘It’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister.’
“The resignation punctuated what has been, by some measures, one of the most miserable starts ever for a British prime minister, with the government losing at least four votes in Parliament, losing control of the legislative agenda and driving a wedge through the Conservative Party by purging lawmakers who broke with the government in votes this week.” NYT
THAT WAS QUICK … FRESNO BEE: “Devin Nunes’ campaign drops lawsuit against constituents who claimed he was a fake farmer,” by Brianna Calix: “The campaign for Devin Nunes on Tuesday dropped its lawsuit against the people who accused the Republican congressman of being a ‘fake farmer’ and tried to get his ballot designation removed.
“The campaign filed the lawsuit last month in Tulare County Superior Court, alleging the group conspired with ‘dark money’ groups to injure the campaign. Brian Whelan, a local attorney representing Nunes’ constituents, said in a news release his clients ‘prevailed and won without having had to square off.’ He represents retired farmer Paul Buxman, librarian Hope Nisly and Daniel O’Connell, an agrarian scholar.” Fresno Bee
Good Thursday afternoon.
FED FILES — “Fed Lines Up Another Quarter-Point Rate Cut,” by WSJ’s Nick Timiraos: “Federal Reserve officials are gearing up to reduce interest rates at their next policy meeting in two weeks, most likely by a quarter-percentage point, as the trade war between the U.S. and China darkens the global economic outlook.
“The idea of an aggressive half-point cut to battle the slowdown hasn’t gained much support inside the central bank, according to interviews with officials and their public speeches. While market-determined interest rates have tumbled, signaling a dimmer outlook for growth and inflation, many Fed officials believe that the 10-year U.S. expansion can continue at a modest pace and inflation will gradually rise to their 2% target.” WSJ
SHE’S OK, THANKFULLY — “Kaptur treated at hospital after car crash,” by the Toledo Blade’s Liz Skalka: “U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur was treated at a local hospital Wednesday after her car collided with a backhoe while she was driving through a construction zone in Toledo. … The excavator’s bucket came into contact with Miss Kaptur’s car causing serious damage. Her car was towed and Miss Kaptur was treated for minor injuries at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.” Toledo Blade
JOSH GERSTEIN: “Woman who claimed Trump forcibly kissed her drops lawsuit”: “A former Trump campaign aide who claimed she was “forcibly kissed” by Donald Trump during his presidential bid has dropped her lawsuit over the episode. Alva Johnson is also dropping another part of her suit that alleged the Trump campaign underpaid women and minority employees. Johnson’s suit grabbed headlines over her assertion that Trump abruptly kissed her as he was getting ready to make a public appearance at a campaign rally in Tampa in August, 2016. …
“‘I have made the difficult decision not to pursue my claims at this time. I am facing a judge who openly questions whether the kiss is worthy of a federal lawsuit and has determined that Mr. Trump’s history of such behavior is not relevant, and I’ve endured on-going threats to my safety. I’ve decided for the sake of my family that I will not continue with the case at this time,’ Johnson said.” POLITICO
KNOWING KEN CUCCINELLI — NYT’S ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS and MAGGIE HABERMAN: “Ken Cuccinelli Emerges as Public Face, and Irritant, of Homeland Security”: “He has aggressively pushed immigration policies with little concern for legal constraints. His tendency to make light of sensitive policies has incensed senior homeland security officials, including the acting secretary, Kevin K. McAleenan, and the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew T. Albence, according to administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the rising tension among officials. …
“Mr. Cuccinelli’s allies say his positions are rooted in the belief that a legal immigration system is crucial to maintaining a functioning society. But Mr. Cuccinelli tends to tailor his views based on whether the legal immigrants in question are fleeing desperation south of the border or, like his ancestors, escaping Europe.” NYT
BORDER TALES — “South Texas Resort Includes a Pool, a Golf Course and, Maybe, a Border Wall,” by NYT’s Mitchell Ferman in Brownsville, Texas: “Shirley Menard says she did not think all that much about Donald J. Trump’s proposed border wall when she cast a reluctant vote for him in 2016.
“She is thinking about it a lot more now that plans call for part of what could be a 30-foot-tall stretch of wall to land in her backyard, dividing the River Bend Resort and Golf Club, which hugs the Rio Grande. About 70 percent of the community — some 200 properties — would be stranded south of the barricade but north of the river. Fifteen holes of the golf course could be there, too. An unsettling lesson in unexpected consequences has left some residents rethinking their support for the wall and the president who has made it his signature project.” NYT
2020 WATCH — TOM LOBIANCO in YAHOO: “Tensions mount between Trump, Pence camps heading into 2020 election”: “[B]ehind the scenes, tensions have been mounting among Trump, Pence and their top advisers ever since the GOP’s resounding losses in the 2018 midterms. In the weeks afterward, Trump asked aides about replacing Pence on the ticket, and he asked again for their thoughts on Pence during his August vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., according to Trump advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions with the president. …
“But the relationship between their political teams has soured greatly in the past year, according to a dozen Trump and Pence aides and Republican advisers familiar with the dynamic. In particular, rumors that Kushner and Ivanka Trump wanted to consider replacements for Pence — specifically trying to find a woman running mate to help win back the suburbs in 2020 — have worried the vice president’s camp, according to Trump and Pence campaign advisers who spoke on background for this story.” Yahoo
— TEFLON LIZ … “Trumpworld Anxiety Grows Over a Rising Elizabeth Warren,” by The Daily Beast’s Hanna Trudo and Asawin Suebsaeng: “The frustration Republicans are beginning to feel about Warren’s non-stick nature was picked up repeatedly in interviews with 10 Republicans, including Trump campaign and White House officials, associates of the president, and other GOP operatives with knowledge of the situation.
“These sources stressed that the anti-Warren effort within GOP circles hadn’t fallen off since the DNA snafu. Indeed, everyone from officials on Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, to the Republican National Committee, to a select group of opposition researchers have been sifting through her record in search of vulnerabilities. But with few punches landing, the worry is that Trump may have already taken his best shot, and that Warren will end up looking increasingly formidable for having bounced back.” Daily Beast
AFTERNOON READ — JAMES POGUE for BUZZFEED: “American Rage: A Weekend With Bikers For Trump: In the chaos of the 2016 election, Chris Cox forged a political machine out of an unlikely demographic — one that helped Trump reach the White House and is determined to keep him there.” BuzzFeed
VALLEY TALK — “How Apple uses its App Store to copy the best ideas,” by WaPo’s Reed Albergotti: “Developers have come to accept that, without warning, Apple can make their work obsolete by announcing a new app or feature that uses or incorporates their ideas. Some apps have simply buckled under the pressure, in some cases shutting down. They generally don’t sue Apple because of the difficulty and expense in fighting the tech giant—and the consequences they might face from being dependent on the platform.
“The imbalance of power between Apple and the apps on its platform could turn into a rare chink in the company’s armor as regulators and lawmakers put the dominance of big technology companies under an antitrust microscope.” WaPo
— “The Human Cost of Amazon’s Fast, Free Shipping,” by NYT’s Patricia Callahan: “In its relentless push for e-commerce dominance, Amazon has built a huge logistics operation in recent years to get more goods to customers’ homes in less and less time. As it moves to reduce its reliance on legacy carriers like United Parcel Service, the retailer has created a network of contractors across the country that allows the company to expand and shrink the delivery force as needed, while avoiding the costs of taking on permanent employees.
“But Amazon’s promise of speedy delivery has come at a price, one largely hidden from public view. An investigation by ProPublica identified more than 60 accidents since June 2015 involving Amazon delivery contractors that resulted in serious injuries, including 10 deaths. That tally is most likely a fraction of the accidents that have occurred: Many people don’t sue, and those who do can’t always tell when Amazon is involved, court records, police reports and news accounts show.” NYT
LEBRON GETS POLITICAL — @KingJames: “Everyone is California- call your politicians and tell them to support SB 206! This law is a GAME CHANGER. College athletes can responsibly get paid for what they do and the billions they create.” Background on SB 206
MEDIAWATCH — The Atlantic rolled out its digital subscription service today. Readers will be granted five articles per month for free, and be prompted to subscribe for subsequent articles. A yearlong digital subscription is $49.99, while a print and digital subscription is $59.99. More from Atlantic EIC Jeffrey Goldberg
— Dan Hirschhorn will be a senior politics editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was most recently digital editorial director at Barron’s and is a POLITICO alum. … Kate Meissner will be SVP of operations and business development at ICX Media. She previously was VP of business development at Axios and is a POLITICO alum.
NASA ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Katy Summerlin is now deputy press secretary and communications adviser at NASA. She previously was an account executive at Rokk Solutions and is also a Doug Collins and Darrell Issa alum.
TRANSITION — David Plouffe is joining the board of directors for ACRONYM. He currently leads policy and advocacy efforts for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and is an Obama campaign alum. More from Zach Montellaro … Pete Seat will be a VP at Bose Public Affairs Group. He previously was executive director of strategic communications and talent development for the Indiana GOP and is a George W. Bush White House alum.
BONUS BIRTHDAY: Justin Schwab, EPA’s deputy general counsel, is 4-0 (hat tip: Liz Bowman)