In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resortTWO BIG POLITICO SCOOPS …
— KYLE CHENEY, HEATHER CAYGLE and JOHN BRESNAHAN: “House Judiciary panel preparing vote to define Trump impeachment probe”: The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to take its first formal vote to define what Chairman Jerry Nadler calls an ongoing ‘impeachment investigation’ of President Donald Trump, according to multiple sources briefed on the discussions.
“The panel could vote as early as Wednesday on a resolution to spell out the parameters of its investigation. The precise language is still being hammered out inside the committee and with House leaders. A draft of the resolution is expected to be released Monday morning.
“The issue was raised Friday during a conference call among the committee’s Democrats. A source familiar with the discussion said any move next week would be intended to increase the ‘officialness’ of the ongoing probe, following a six-week summer recess in which some Democrats struggled to characterize to their constituents that the House had already begun impeachment proceedings. Democrats are hopeful that explicitly defining their impeachment inquiry will heighten their leverage to compel testimony from witnesses.” POLITICO
— NATASHA BERTRAND and BRYAN BENDER: “Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish resort”: “In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.
“Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew on the C-17 military transport plane made the unusual stay — both en route to the Middle East and on the way back — at the luxury waterside resort, according to several people familiar with the incident. But they have yet to receive any answers from the Pentagon.
“The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members. … The Pentagon, Air Force and White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.” POLITICO
IF IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS start in any way, shape or form, they will lead to an impeachment vote on the House floor. That much is nearly certain, according to people we talk to.
BIG … POLITICS SHIFTING IN TEXAS … DALLAS MORNING NEWS: “Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he will defy NRA, take lead on gun background checks,” by Robert T. Garrett in Austin: “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he’s ‘willing to take an arrow’ and defy the National Rifle Association by pressing Texas to close one loophole in gun-purchaser background checks.
“On Friday, Patrick said it’s ‘common sense’ to tighten background-check laws because in many instances, stranger-to-stranger sales now are exempt from the requirement that buyers be vetted through a federal database of people not eligible to purchase firearms.
“Patrick wants to protect transfers among family members from triggering a check. He’d also continue to exempt friends, though he acknowledged that could be abused. Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, said he’s willing to accede to the preferences of senators on whether to maintain that loophole — and if so, exactly how.” DMN … This story ran as the lead of the Dallas Morning News print edition
Good Saturday morning.
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on all the Sunday shows tomorrow. … Front page of the Wichita Eagle, which features Pompeo’s Kansas speech
MORE NC-9 SPENDING … House Majority Forward, a Democratic group, just disclosed $415,766 in media spending in favor of Dan McCready in the special election in North Carolina’s 9th. That’s a lot of dough this late, but Republicans have been hammering McCready in support of their candidate, Dan Bishop. House Majority Forward has to pay a higher rate, because they’re getting in late. The election is Tuesday.
— CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: “After Dorian, early voting hours extended for 3rd and 9th districts special elections,” by Paul Specht in Raleigh: “After Hurricane Dorian halted early voting in North Carolina’s two special elections, voters now will have an extra day to cast their ballots before Tuesday’s Election Day.
“The North Carolina Board of Elections on Friday announced that it has added early voting hours for the 3rd and 9th Congressional District races. The move comes after the board closed poll sites in more than a dozen counties in preparation for the storm.
“While the 9th District stretches from Fayetteville in central North Carolina to Charlotte, the 3rd covers most of the state’s coastline, which was battered by the Category 1 hurricane and faced thousands of power outages.” Charlotte Observer
AD TOTALS … MEDIUM BUYING (@MediumBuying): “#NC09: Broadcast GRP estimate in Charlotte DMA for general election (5/15-9/10) — Pro-McCready: 20,853 … Pro-Bishop: 15,086”
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S N.C. special election rally — which is Monday — has been moved to the Crown Expo Center. It was originally at the airport. Fayetteville Observer front page
BEN SCHRECKINGER and DANIEL LIPPMAN, “Can Jared’s millennial ‘mini-me’ bring peace to the Middle East?: Thirty-year-old Avi Berkowitz has landed a very big job.”: “‘People will walk past his desk and he constantly has the Drudge Report and Twitter up. No one thinks of him as a policy person,’ said an administration official, who noted another of Berkowitz’s duties: handling Kushner’s press relations … ‘He is in the service of Jared, not Trump,’ this person said. ‘Some people are scratching their heads to watch this guy go from keeping Jared’s schedule and secrets to brokering peace in the Middle East. It’s a big leap.’” POLITICO
WAPO’S ROBERT BARNES and SEUNG MIN KIM interview JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH about his new book: “‘Everything conservatives hoped for and liberals feared’: Neil Gorsuch makes his mark at the Supreme Court”: “Some justices ascend to the Supreme Court quietly, deferring to their elders and biding time before venturing out too far to offer their own views of the law.
“Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, on the other hand, appears to have been shot from a cannon. At his inaugural oral argument in April 2017, President Trump’s first choice for the Supreme Court asked 22 questions. In the term just completed, Gorsuch wrote more dissents than any other justice and typed out a whopping 337 pages of opinions. Again, more than anyone else.
“Along the way, he has established himself as one of the court’s most conservative justices and a reliable vote for Trump initiatives that have reached the Supreme Court — the travel ban on those from mostly-Muslim countries, adding a citizenship question to the census form and allowing a ban on transgender service in the military to go into effect. He has shown a willingness to overturn precedent and an impatience with more reticent colleagues. …
“‘I decided I wanted to say something about the Constitution, the separation of powers and the judge’s role in it,’ Gorsuch said in the interview. At his confirmation in 2017, he said, ‘I was surprised by just some basic misunderstandings about the separation of powers.’
“(In the interview, which happened to fall on his 52nd birthday, Gorsuch was unwilling to discuss the way the Senate goes about evaluating Supreme Court nominees. ‘You’re not going to make me relive the confirmation process are you?’ he said in response to a question. ‘On my birthday?’)” WaPo
— BIG CAMPAIGN READ … NYT’S ALEX BURNS in the “Lessons in Power” series … “Biden Wants to Work With ‘the Other Side.’ This Supreme Court Battle Explains Why.: In the clash over Robert H. Bork’s nomination, Joe Biden’s moderate instincts defined a winning strategy.”
— DES MOINES REGISTER: “Iowa Democrats not giving up on expanding caucus accessibility even as DNC formally scraps virtual option,” by Brianne Pfannenstiel: “During the conference call, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price said he still believes in the potential of virtual caucuses but acknowledged that without the support of the DNC, he must explore other options.
“‘There’s four months between now and when Iowans head to the caucus sites,’ he said. ‘We know that campaigns need the rules. We know that the public needs the rules. Quite frankly, we know that our voters need these rules, and we’re working with all the expediency to see what options may exist to be able to expand accessibility in our caucus process.’” DMR … A1 PDF
— WAPO’S HOLLY BAILEY and MICHAEL SCHERER in Des Moines: “With time ebbing, trailing candidates search for a presidential message”: “Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., raised more money than any other contender in the 2020 presidential field during the last fundraising quarter. He has traveled around the country for months trying to introduce himself to Americans and given dozens of media interviews to raise his profile.
“But as he made his way down the grand concourse of the Iowa State Fair not long ago, surrounded by a litany of cameras, a woman stopped dead in her tracks looking at the mob. She squinted and cocked her head, trying to identify the young man ahead of her before giving up.
“‘Who are you?’ the woman called out, as the candidate passed by. ‘My name is Pete,’ Buttigieg responded. ‘I’m running for president.’ ‘Who?’ she replied. … The still-fluid race for the Democratic nomination has split into two distinct groups: the candidates who have succeeded in crafting a distinct message and those who haven’t.
“For months, the three top-polling Democratic candidates have distinguished themselves with crystal-clear, if varied, arguments. Former vice president Joe Biden is running to ‘restore the soul’ of the country to the pre-Donald Trump era. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) promises a Democratic-socialist revolution that puts government in charge of huge sectors of the economy. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is asking the country to ‘dream big’ for structural changes to take away the power of economic and political elites.” WaPo
— WSJ’S TARINI PARTI and EMILY GLAZER: “Kamala Harris’s Team Huddles to Plot Path Forward”: “Top advisers to Sen. Kamala Harris made their case to major donors behind closed doors in two meetings in New York on Friday, telling them they were working on defining the California Democrat with a more refined core message.
“In the first meeting with a broader group, Ms. Harris’s sister and campaign chairwoman, Maya Harris, along with media consultant Jim Margolis, were questioned by some donors on the senator’s stagnant poll numbers in the Democratic presidential primary. The Harris aides talked up Ms. Harris’s key endorsements in early states, appeal to young voters and their view of the vulnerability of former Vice President Joe Biden ’s poll numbers, people familiar with the meetings said.
“The advisers in the second meeting, with a smaller group of top donors, focused more on the need for voters to know Ms. Harris better—and on the campaign’s strategy to accomplish that through clearer messaging of her values and policy positions, the people said. The meetings in Manhattan drew dozens and included donors from the finance, media and legal industries, among others.
“The advisers also discussed the dynamic of the coming third Democratic debate, with all of the top contenders on stage Thursday in Houston, as a welcome change from the last debate, when the lower-tier candidates focused attacks on the higher-polling candidates on stage—Ms. Harris and Mr. Biden—putting them on the defensive. They also acknowledged that a repeat of her first debate performance would be tough.” WSJ
THE PRESIDENT’S SATURDAY … No public events scheduled.
BEYOND THE BELTWAY … DETROIT FREE PRESS: “Michigan is inching closer to partial government shutdown. Here’s why.,” by Paul Egan in Lansing: “The chances of a partial state government shutdown appeared to increase Friday as GOP legislative leaders announced plans to finalize the 2020 budget without a road funding agreement and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did not retreat from her veto pledge.
“Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said conference committees with members from both the Senate and the House of Representatives will meet next week to finalize the Legislature’s proposed budget by resolving differences between the Senate and House versions of the spending plan for the 2020 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.” Free Press
— STAR TRIBUNE: “Gov. Tim Walz heads to Japan, South Korea to promote trade, business,” by Jessie Van Berkel: “Gov. Tim Walz is headed to Japan and South Korea this weekend, making his first international trip as governor to bolster ties with key economic partners in Asia as the U.S. trade war with China continues to stir fears of a global economic slowdown.
“‘I want to reassure them that their trading partners in the States, and certainly in our private sector businesses here in Minnesota, we’re prepared to do what we’ve always done. … There will be a day when these trade wars will end and we’ll come out on the other side,’ Walz said.” Star Tribune
WSJ: “Purdue Pharma in Talks With Justice Department to Resolve Criminal, Civil Probes,” by Sara Randazzo: “Purdue Pharma LP is in discussions with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve criminal and civil probes related to its prescription painkiller OxyContin, according to people familiar with the matter. …
“The talks with the Justice Department add another possible complication to already contentious negotiations with state and local governments, which are collectively seeking to recover billions of dollars from Purdue and other drugmakers and distributors. Whether Purdue and the Sacklers can come up with enough money to appease the myriad governmental factions is for now an open question.” WSJ
CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 13 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman (@dlippman):
— “A Nobel-Winning Economist Goes to Burning Man,” by NYT Upshot’s Emily Badger in Black Rock City, Nev.: “Amid the desert orgies, Paul Romer investigates a provocative question: Is this bacchanal a model of urban planning?” NYT
— “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran,” by Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti in the N.Y. Times Magazine: “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for war against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Will Trump finally deliver?” NYT
— “How safe is the air we breathe?” – FT: “FT reporters in five major cities monitored their exposure to pollution. The results were often surprising.” FT
— “Always In: Wireless headphones are augmented reality devices,” by Drew Austin in Real Life Mag: “They visually signal the wearer’s choice to perpetually relegate the immediate environment to the background. They create a soft but recognisable obstacle to personal interaction. They express potential distractedness in a sustained and effortless manner. You don’t have to look down at a screen to convey that your mind might be elsewhere. AirPods efficiently communicate your refusal to pretend to be fully present.” Real Life Mag (hat tip: TheBrowser.com)
— “The American Father And Son Exporting Tear Gas To Hong Kong,” by BuzzFeed’s Rosalind Adams in Homer City, Pa.: “A BuzzFeed News investigation found low-paid American workers producing tear gas in potentially dangerous conditions. It’s then shipped to Hong Kong, where it’s used against pro-democracy protesters.” BuzzFeed
— “Donald Trump Has Never Explained a Mysterious $50 Million Loan. Is It Evidence of Tax Fraud?” by Mother Jones’ Russ Choma: “A Mother Jones investigation has uncovered new information about a puzzling Trump deal.” Mother Jones
— “What made Lucian Freud so irresistible to women?” by Craig Raine in Spectator – per ALDaily.com’s description: “Lucian Freud, pickup artist. So relentless was his pursuit of women — and their pursuit of him — that it’s a marvel he found time to paint.” Spectator
— “A Town for People with Chronic-Fatigue Syndrome,” by Mike Mariani in The New Yorker: “Patients moved from all over the country to Incline Village, Nevada, for an experimental drug. Then the drug disappeared.” New Yorker
— “The Big Show Never Ends: How Dan and Keith’s ‘SportsCenter’ Changed TV Forever,” by Bryan Curtis in The Ringer: “Upon the 40th anniversary of ESPN, we revisit Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, the wisecracking anchors who revolutionized sports broadcasting and late-night TV.” The Ringer (h/t Longform.org)
— “Who Lost Turkey?” by Foreign Policy’s Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer: “The blame for Ankara’s antagonistic stance to Washington lies with both sides, a product of decades of misunderstandings.” FP
— “The Rejection Lab,” by Alison Kinney in Medium: “What can researching human responses to rejection tell us about ourselves?” Medium (h/t Longreads.com)
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
SPOTTED at a Bush-Cheney defense, diplomacy and development reunion event on Friday at the Capitol Hill Club: Stephen Hadley, Dan Runde, Paul Bremer, Susan Phalen, Clarke Cooper, Ben Chang, Jan Stewart, Stuart Holliday, Kristen Silverberg, Mark Pfeifle, Lisa Gable and Randall Fort.
SPOTTED at a Bush reunion East Wing pre-party at the home of Tim and Anita McBride: Sara Armstrong, Justine Sterling Converse, Amy Allman Dean, Erin Dwyer, Sarah Geseriech, Kristin King, Lindsey Lineweaver Knutson, Jessica Lightburn, Anne MacDonald, Betsy Martin, Elizabeth Brakebill McAdam, Lindsay Reynolds, Susan Whitson and Sonya Medina Williams. Pic … Another pic
TRANSITIONS — DOJ ARRIVAL LOUNGE: Matt Lloyd is now principal deputy director of the office of public affairs at DOJ. He previously was senior adviser for public affairs at State and is also an HHS and Mike Pence alum. … Mike Gwin is joining the Biden campaign as deputy rapid response director. He previously was a regional press secretary at the DCCC.
ENGAGED — Brad Bauman, founder and CEO of Harta Communications, and Autumn Campbell, senior policy director of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, got engaged on their way to Italy for vacation.
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Zeke Emanuel
BIRTHDAYS: Peggy Noonan … former Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) is 43 … Chris Padilla, VP of government and regulatory affairs for IBM … Joe Klein is 73 … WaPo photojournalist Bill O’Leary … Mark Whitaker is 62 … Jim Mahoney, head of public policy at Bank of America … Kate Andersen Brower … WaPo’s Michael Duffy is 61 (hat tips: Tim Burger) … Gayle Tzemach Lemmon … POLITICO Europe’s Zoya Sheftalovich … Robert Blizzard, partner at Public Opinion Strategies … photojournalist Katie Orlinsky … Laura Edwins, senior social media editor at CNBC … Jack Oberg of Charles River Associates … NYT’s Shawn McCreesh … Washington Examiner’s Melissa Quinn … Stuart Holliday, president and CEO of Meridian International Center (h/t Ben Chang) … Meredith Raimondi … BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman … Scott Pascoli … Sam Iacobellis … John Catsimatidis is 71 … Houda Nonoo … Gregory Zuckerman …
… Stefanie Cargill, senior producer at MSNBC … Alex Wolff … Robin Reck, director of public affairs at Emerson Collective … Mary Jeka … iHeartMedia’s Bryan Watkins is 35 … Eric Kanter, legislative director for Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and a Seth Moulton alum, is 29, celebrating with a chicken chase party (h/t Matt Corridoni) … Merritt Corrigan (h/t Alex Sarp) … Fentress Boyse, who recently got engaged to Leila Clifford — Instapics … Rafael Lemaitre, chief communications officer at IEM … Rachel Braun … Caroline Chambers of the Open Society Foundations … Ren Zheng (h/ts Jon Haber) … VOA’s John Walker … Nick Ciarlante … Craig Higgins … Matthew Grill … Johan Propst … Sam Stefanki … Elizabeth Fox … David Grant … Meg Peterson … Gregory Petzold … Philip Watson … Jeff Schrade … Brandon Rettke … Rob Engle … Cheryl Parker Rose … Joan Silver … Vince Walsh … Brandon Rettke … Rob Engel … Glenn Carlson … Sheila Cochran … Cheryl Parker Rose … Joan Silver … Vince Walsh … Maralee Schwartz (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)
THE SHOWS, by Matt Mackowiak, filing from Austin:
— NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) … Stanley Greenberg. Panel: Kimberly Atkins, Peter Baker, Jonah Goldberg and Amy Walter.
— ABC’s “This Week”: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … Tom Perez. Panel: Mary Bruce, Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Rich Lowry and Alexi McCammond.
— CNN’s “State of the Union”: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) … Julian Castro. Panel: Amanda Carpenter, Scott Jennings, Karen Finney andAbdul El-Sayed.
— “Fox News Sunday”: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … Mark Sanford. Panel: Karl Rove, Jane Harman, Dana Perino and Juan Williams … “Power Player of the Week” segment with Fairness for Athletes in Retirement president Lisa Marie Riggins.
— CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … James Mattis… Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) … Garrett Graff … Anthony Salvanto. Panel: Jamal Simmons, David Frum, Michael Crowley and Laura Barron-Lopez.
— CNN’s “Inside Politics”: Lisa Lerer, Mike Bender, Rachael Bade and Sahil Kapur (substitute anchor: CNN’s Dana Bash).
— CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Steve Kroft … Julie Roginsky, Bianna Golodryga and Joan Walsh …Courtney Radash … James Poniewozik.
— Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) … Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) … Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) … Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
— Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Molly Hemingway … Kristen Soltis Anderson … Clarence Page … Buck Sexton … Mara Liasson … Carley Shimkus.
— CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Zanny Minton Beddoes, David Miliband and George Osborne …Ronen Bergman …Jim Mattis.
— Univision’s “Al Punto”: José Andrés … Ricardo Arambarri … Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) … Juan Hernandez and Orlando Adriani … Alejandro Giammattei… Voz de Mando.
–C-SPAN: “The Communicators”: The Information’s Ashley Gold and Politico’s Alexandra Levine … “Newsmakers”: J.B. Poersch, questioned by National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar and USA Today’s Christal Hayes … “Q&A”: Margaret O’Mara.
— MSNBC’s “Kasie DC” : Gina McCarthy … Matt Apuzzo … Eli Stokols … Yamiche Alcindor … Tiffany Cross … Courtenay Brown … Beth Fouhy … Julia Ainsley … John Podhoretz … Matt Gorman … Alice Marie Johnson … Dr. Jack Shonkoff (substitute anchor: MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin).
— Washington Times’ “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or Stitcher or listen at MackOnPoliticsPodcast.com: Sean Parnell.