THE PRESIDENT, before departing from New Jersey for Pittsburgh, via WaPo’s Toluse Olorunnipa, today’s pooler: “The president also commented about his retweet of a conspiracy theory linking the clintons to Epstein’s death. He said it was a retweet. ‘I want a full investigation’ … Asked again if he believed the Clintons had anything to do with Epstein’s death, he said he didn’t know. Then he talked about Epstein’s private island, where allegedly ‘bad things’ happened … ‘Did Bill Clinton go to the island?’”
— BILL CLINTON’S TEAM denied he had ever been to the island last month, and court documents unsealed Friday revealed that the witness alleging Clinton had visited retracted the claim. Their statement
A TRADE WAR TRUCE — “Trump to delay China duties on cellphones, laptops until Dec. 15,” by Doug Palmer: “The Trump administration announced today that a new 10 percent import duty on cellphones, laptops, video game consoles, toys, computer monitors, certain footwear and clothing made in China will be delayed until Dec. 15, instead of taking effect on Sept. 1 as President Donald Trump originally announced.
“The items account for [a] huge share of the $300 billion worth of remaining Chinese imports that Trump said on Aug. 1 that he would be hitting with a 10 percent duty … The trade office also confirmed it would create an exclusion process for the remaining items hit by a 10 percent tariff so companies can request them to be taken off the list.” POLITICO … Full list of items that will have tariffs delayed
THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE is up 1.57% on the news.
LIVE FROM BEDMINSTER — @realDonaldTrump at 8:49 a.m.: “Through massive devaluation of their currency and pumping vast sums of money into their system, the tens of billions of dollars that the U.S. is receiving is a gift from China. Prices not up, no inflation. Farmers getting more than China would be spending. Fake News won’t report!” … at 10:10 a.m.: “As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers. So far they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different.”
— BUT WARNING LIGHTS ARE FLASHING … BEN WHITE: “Wall Street sees risk of recession rising”: “Over just the last few days, economists at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America all warned that Trump’s bitter trade war with China is taking a bigger bite out of economic growth than expected. …
“The collective wisdom now spreading across Wall Street is that no trade deal will be struck with China before the 2020 election; business investment will continue to sag; and a series of interest-rate cuts from the Federal Reserve won’t be enough to juice more growth out of an economy now in its tenth year of expansion — the longest stretch in American history.” POLITICO
MEANWHILE, IN HONG KONG — LIVESTREAM of Hong Kong riot police clashing with protesters at the airport: WaPo
— “Anti-government protesters severely disrupt Hong Kong International Airport for second day running,” by South China Morning Post’s Zoe Low, Rachel Yeo, Athena Chan, Su Xinqi and Danny Lee
Good Tuesday afternoon. NEW … CNN’S KATE BENNETT’S NEW BOOK: “FREE, MELANIA: The Unauthorized Biography” will be released Dec. 3 by Flatiron Books. Bennett is the only full-time Melania beat reporter, so she has unique insight into the first lady and her orbit. A must get. The cover … Pre-order on Amazon for $27.99
THE INVESTIGATIONS … JOSH GERSTEIN: “Trial of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig is abruptly postponed”: “Opening statements in the case — which was investigated by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office — were expected Tuesday morning, but U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson shocked many in the courtroom by announcing that limits she placed on public access to jury selection Monday may have violated Craig’s constitutional right to a public trial. …
“Jackson said she thought it was unlikely the trial could proceed in the near future and might have to be postponed to November.” POLITICO
— BTW … BRUCE REED was the former White House official who was called in as part of the jury pool, as we teased Monday. He was dismissed from the pool, per Josh.
WHAT ELSE IS ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 8:16 a.m.: “Curt Schilling, a great pitcher and patriot, is considering a run for Congress in Arizona. Terrific! @foxandfriends”
— TRYING OUT A GUN CONTROL JOKE? … at 10:04 a.m.: “Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”
IMPEACHMENT WHIP COUNT — Longtime North Carolina Rep. DAVID PRICE, a 30-year veteran of Congress, called for impeachment proceedings this morning. That makes 122 Democrats on the record in favor of impeachment.
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION … NPR’S SASHA INGBER INTERVIEWS KEN CUCCINELLI: “Immigration Chief: ‘Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor Who Can Stand On Their Own 2 Feet’”
FASCINATING STORY … NYT: “The House v. Trump: Stymied Lawmakers Increasingly Battle in the Courts: Lawmakers say President Trump’s disregard for their authority leaves them no choice but to use the courts with greater frequency, but that could have constitutional consequences,” by Charlie Savage and Nick Fandos: “Democrats took control of the House this year promising to use legislation and investigations to check President Trump. But facing substantial roadblocks to each, they are increasingly opposing him in a different way: Eight months into their majority, the House is going to court at a tempo never seen before.
“Fighting in courtrooms as much as in hearing rooms, the House has already become a party to nine separate lawsuits this year, while also filing briefs for judges in four others. More lawsuits are being drafted, according to a senior aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. …
“The lawyers volunteering to help the House Democrats include Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a former solicitor general, and a team at his firm, Munger, Tolles & Olson; Virginia A. Seitz, a former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and others at her firm, Sidley Austin; Neal K. Katyal, a former acting solicitor general and a partner at Hogan Lovells; and Georgetown Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, run by two former national security officials, Joshua A. Geltzer and Mary McCord.” NYT
2020 WATCH — HOLLY OTTERBEIN and ALEX THOMPSON in Des Moines, Iowa: “Stalled Sanders campaign orchestrated reboot after first debate”: “A little over a month ago, despite putting on a brave face publicly, Bernie Sanders’ aides privately concluded that a shakeup was needed for his presidential campaign. The Vermont senator had neglected to practice in mock sessions before the first 2020 debate, and failed to aggressively take on former Vice President Joe Biden on stage. On the trail, he was sticking to the old hits …
“Now, Sanders and his team have settled on a new strategy designed to make him stand out in the massive field: They’re betting that a renewed focus on his signature proposal of Medicare for All is the key to jump-starting his candidacy and overtaking Biden as the race ramps up this fall.” POLITICO
— WARREN INTERVIEW: “Elizabeth Warren Gets Personal On The Trail,” by NPR’s Asma Khalid and Clay Masters
— ALEX ISENSTADT: “Republicans launching innovation fund to match Democrats”: “Startup Caucus, which is billing itself as a Republican venture capital effort, will announce on Tuesday that it will give $25,000 in seed funding to six early-stage tech companies. It also plans to provide the startups with a 12-week training and support program.
“The fund is intended to provide Republicans with an answer to Higher Ground Labs, a Democratic tech incubator that has helped to bankroll a wave of liberal startups. Higher Ground Labs, whose financial backers include LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, supplied more than $5 million in seed funding during the 2018 midterms and recently announced plans to invest over $10 million during the 2020 campaign. … [Startup Caucus] has made its first investment in Numinar, which describes itself as ‘the first software platform bringing cutting-edge voter file management and data analysis to political campaigns of all sizes.’” POLITICO
— FUN CLICKER … NYT: “Who Won the Iowa State Fair?: It is one of the most arduous — and fattening — assignments in national politics: the Iowa State Fair. Our intrepid team of five reporters tracked 20 candidates through the wilds of pork chop grilling stations, Ferris wheels, cattle barns and so, so much fried food on a stick.”
— MARIANNE LEVINE: “Republicans embrace Don Jr.’s ‘trolling’ on the campaign trail”: “Donald Trump Jr. will hold a series of fundraisers and events in the coming months for Senate Republicans running for reelection. And like his father, who prizes loyalty, he’ll be appearing for some of his fiercest defenders on Capitol Hill, including Sens. John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis and Steve Daines. …
“[W]ith the president more focused on his own reelection, Trump Jr. will be a powerful surrogate for GOP lawmakers — and one who is willing to use even sharper elbows than his famously combative father. Like his father, Trump Jr. regularly criticizes the media for alleged bias and embraces Twitter to attack liberals. But his visceral connection to the MAGA crowd could be a unique asset to Republicans eager to stoke the base.” POLITICO
— TO WIT … WAPO’S JULIE ZAUZMER in Brandon, Fla.: “Evangelicals aren’t turned off by Trump’s first term — they’re delighted by it”
— WAPO’S VANESSA WILLIAMS: “Stacey Abrams to launch voter protection program in battleground states ahead of the 2020 election”: “The [Fair Fight 2020] effort, expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, will target 20 states, most of them battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.” WaPo
THE POLICY PRIMARY — “In Iowa, Pete Buttigieg releases new policy to help rural America. Here’s a rundown of the plan,” by the Des Moines Register’s Barbara Rodriguez: “The plan, if enacted, could have a wide-ranging impact on different areas of rural American life — from creating a public option for high-speed internet to encouraging immigrants to find work in areas with declining populations. Buttigieg also wants to combat climate change with the help of farmers and boost teacher pay.” DMR
FOREIGN AID CUTS LATEST — “White House foreign aid cuts to spare Ivanka, Pence favorite programs,” by Roll Call’s Paul M. Krawzak: “Funding to support global health programs, promote women’s economic development and protect Christians and other religious minorities abroad from persecution would be exempt from a package of cuts to foreign aid that the White House is developing.” Roll Call
TENSIONS COOLING WITH IRAN? — WSJ’S BENOIT FAUCON in London and SUNE ENGEL RASMUSSEN in Beirut: “Iran and the U.K. are making progress toward the release of an Iranian tanker impounded in Gibraltar, according to people familiar with the talks, a move that could prompt Tehran to free a British-flagged vessel it subsequently seized and defuse tensions between the two countries.” WSJ
VALLEY TALK — STEVEN OVERLY: “Internal divides cloud tech industry’s antitrust defense”: “Even as some of the industry’s biggest names confront mounting questions about their size and power, they can’t always rely on backup from the trade groups they’ve showered with money over the years.
“The result has been only a muted response from [the Information Technology Industry Council], whose executive committee includes companies like IBM, Oracle and Salesforce that aren’t facing antitrust scrutiny — and, in some cases, have had major beefs against their bigger rivals. … The Internet Association, the industry’s most prominent trade group in Washington, has stayed even quieter on the antitrust issue in the face of discord among its members, which include Google and its antagonists Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as Amazon and rival eBay.” POLITICO
CLIMATE FILES — BIG WAPO ANALYSIS: “Extreme climate change has arrived in America,” by Steven Mufson, Chris Mooney, Juliet Eilperin and John Muyskens with a Lake Hopatcong, N.J., dateline: “A Washington Post analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark.
“Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark. Alaska is the fastest-warming state in the country, but Rhode Island is the first state in the Lower 48 whose average temperature rise has eclipsed 2 degrees Celsius. Other parts of the Northeast — New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts — trail close behind.” WaPo
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — JEREMY B. WHITE: “Is Big Soda winning the soft drink wars?: Without most of the nation noticing, the beverage industry has found a way to snuff out local sugar taxes—by squashing them at the state level”: “Pennsylvania has found itself the latest battleground for a national strategy by soda producers aimed at stopping local taxes on their products—not by fighting the cities directly, but by pushing pliant state legislatures to ban any such tax increases statewide. Called ‘preemption’ laws, they’re designed to limit cities from imposing taxes of their own.
“Legislatures in Arizona and Michigan have already passed state laws forbidding local soda taxes. In Washington state, the industry backed a voter initiative barring local soda taxes; it passed in 2018. Perhaps the industry’s most remarkable success has been California.” The Agenda
OVERSIGHT FILES — “Ads Pitching CBD as a Cure-All Are Everywhere. Oversight Hasn’t Kept Up,” by NYT’s Tiffany Hsu: “[I]n the gray area between state and federal regulations, and in the shifting terminology used to describe (and sometimes conflate) cannabis, marijuana and hemp, dubious promotions have proliferated. … [W]hile the Food and Drug Administration warns that it remains illegal to market CBD as a dietary supplement or an ingredient in food and beverages, the agency has barely enforced the ban.” NYT
SPOTTED: Tom Donohue walking into breakfast at the Hay-Adams hotel this morning.
TRANSITION — Chris Martin is joining America Rising PAC as communications director. He previously worked for the House Republican Conference.
BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media. How he’s celebrating: “I am in Bali, Indonesia, with my family. It’s quite a long way from D.C., but 22 years ago I built a house here with my five best friends in the world. One of the best crazy things I’ve ever done!” Playbook Plus Q&A