THE BATTLE OVER THE USPS is going to hit the House floor this afternoon. Speaker NANCY PELOSI has called the chamber back in a rare move during the August recess to force a vote on a bill that would provide $25 BILLION to the postal service and prohibit any operational changes ahead of the November election.
THE VOTE comes as USPS Postmaster General LOUIS DEJOY’S testimony Friday before the Senate Homeland Security Committee did little to mollify Democrats concerned about everything from mail-in voting to delayed prescription drugs to newly hatched chicks dying in transit. DEJOY is expected to face more intense scrutiny Monday when he testifies before the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee. More from Andrew Desiderio, Marianne LeVine and Daniel Lippman
REPUBLICANS have been whipping against the House vote. GOP Rep. JOHN KATKO, who is in a tight reelection battle in upstate New York, put out a statement that he would support the Democrats’ bill. Other GOP lawmakers who represent rural districts, or who are in tight reelection races, could also join Democrats in supporting the bill. It will be a largely party-line vote, but GOP leaders expect low double-digit defections.
DRIVING THE DAY … PELOSI is holding a press conference at noon today. Democrats will hold a debate and then vote on the legislation. The vote is expected to wrap up between 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
WHAT WE ARE ALREADY SMELLING — JET FUMES … LAWMAKERS are expected to leave Washington after the vote. The House is slated to return from recess on Sept. 14.
ABOUT THOSE COVID EXECUTIVE ORDERS … “President Trump’s attempt to bypass Congress on stimulus is offering only limited economic relief,” by WaPo’s Jeff Stein and Tony Romm: “Just two weeks after President Trump approved executive actions aimed at bypassing stalled stimulus negotiations with Congress, only one state has said it is paying new jobless benefits, few evictions have been paused, and leading employers have made clear that workers will not benefit from the president’s new payroll tax deferral.” WaPo
SOMETHING TO WATCH — “Trump’s suggestion of deploying law enforcement officials to monitor polls raises specter of voting intimidation,” by WaPo’s Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky: “[President Donald Trump] has repeatedly sought to undermine confidence in the November vote, making false claims about the integrity of mail-in balloting and raising the specter of widespread electoral fraud. Earlier this month, he floated the idea of withholding election money from states and refusing funding for the U.S. Postal Service so as to curtail the use of voting by mail.
“The president has limited authority to order law enforcement to patrol polling places. Sheriff’s deputies and police officers are commanded at the local level, and a federal law bars U.S. government officials from sending ‘armed men’ to the vicinity of polling places. But civil rights advocates said they feared Trump’s words could inspire local officials to act on his behalf. And they said even the threat of encountering police officers at the polls could be frightening to some voters, particularly in communities of color where residents are distrustful of the police.”
AND THIS: “Brennan interviewed as ‘witness’ in Russia review probe, spokesman says,” by Evan Semones: “Former CIA Director John Brennan was told in an interview Friday that he was neither a subject nor a target of a criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, according to a spokesman.
“The ex-intelligence chief sat for an eight-hour interview at CIA headquarters with John Durham, who was selected by Attorney General William Barr to lead the review of the 2016 counterintelligence probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to former Brennan adviser Nick Shapiro. Durham told Brennan that he was a ‘witness’ to events that are under review, according to Shapiro.
“Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama, was one of the intelligence officials who signed off on an intelligence assessment that determined Russia interfered to help then-candidate Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.” POLITICO
Good Saturday morning. GOOD NEWS WE CAN ALL USE: Check out the National Zoo’s new “miracle” cub. WaPo
NEW: LARA TRUMP on NBC’s “WEEKEND TODAY” this morning said that President DONALD TRUMP will be part of the GOP convention “every single night.”
— NYT’S ADAM NAGOURNEY: “A Glimmer of Hope for Trump? How Bush Mounted a Comeback in 1988”: “In many ways, with Mr. Atwater as its dark prince of strategy, the Bush campaign of 1988 marked the birth of the modern-day negative campaign. Most memorably, Republicans plastered Mr. Dukakis, then the governor of Massachusetts, with the case of Willie Horton, an African-American man who raped a white Maryland woman and stabbed her boyfriend while on a Massachusetts prison furlough program.
“As President Trump faces similarly daunting poll deficits in his contest with Joseph R. Biden Jr., he is running one of the harshest campaigns since Mr. Bush defeated Mr. Dukakis, and Republicans are looking back at the 1988 race as a beacon of hope in a bleak political landscape. For all the differences between the Democratic nominees in 1988 and today, Mr. Dukakis’ collapse in the face of an onslaught by Mr. Bush has long stood as a lesson in how quickly public opinion can change, how summer polls can prove ephemeral, and how an artfully executed party convention can help turn around a struggling campaign.” NYT
MEANWHILE … DEM COUNTERPROGRAMMING — “As Trump prepares for GOP convention, Democrats plot their own counterprogramming,” by WaPo’s Matt Viser and Toluse Olorunnipa: “As President Trump prepares to seize the national spotlight next week for a Republican convention in which he will pitch himself as the country’s last defense against lawlessness and disorder, his Democratic rivals are mounting an aggressive countereffort to brand him as an agent of chaos.
“Democrats are preparing to release videos each day highlighting what they view as Trump’s biggest failures and showcasing the stark contrast between the president and his Democratic rival Joe Biden. Top party officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, will speak each day.
“The party is attempting to cast everything about Trump as chaotic and disruptive, from the way he runs the presidency to what appears on his Twitter feed, from his approach to the coronavirus pandemic to the speaking lineup for his nominating convention.” WaPo
FROM 30,000 FEET … NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN: “Biden Always Had a Simple Message. He Rode It to the Nomination.”
FOR YOUR RADAR — CNN: “Gulf Coast on alert as simultaneous tropical storms threaten,” by Allison Chinchar, Jennifer Gray, and Derek Van Dam: “Gulf Coast residents need to pay attention as not one, but two tropical systems could impact the area in the coming days. The first system to watch is Tropical Storm Laura, which is currently over Puerto Rico. This system is expected to move northwest in the coming days and head toward Hispaniola and Cuba.
“The second system, Tropical Storm Marco, is just east of the Yucatan Peninsula. This system is expected to move across the peninsula as it dumps several inches of rain before continuing north toward the US. …
“[O]nly twice in recorded history have we ever had two systems that were tropical storm strength or stronger in the Gulf simultaneously. Once on June 18, 1959, and again on Sept. 5, 1933. Right now, both storms could possibly intensify to hurricane strength as they move through the Gulf of Mexico.”
— FIRES RAGING IN CALIFORNIA: “Northern California ‘drastically short’ of firefighters while an onslaught of blazes rages,” by San Francisco Chronicle’s Joaquin Palomino and Lizzie Johnson in Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz County
ON RACE … LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ and HOLLY OTTERBEIN: “Biden’s convention embraced racial justice. BLM leaders saw it as mostly lip service”: “Joe Biden gave the floor to George Floyd’s brothers and Eric Garner’s mother on the first night of his convention. On the third night, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke the words ‘Black lives matter,’ and Kamala Harris bemoaned the damage done by “structural racism.”
“The embrace of the movement against racial injustice was a dramatic shift from the party’s last convention four years ago and did not go unnoticed by Black Lives Matter activists. But its leaders viewed the gestures as mostly lip service, without a real commitment to policy change: They want Biden to commit to defund the police and to crack down on misconduct by law enforcement. …
“The disappointment underscores the persistent divide between Biden’s campaign and many Black Lives Matter activists, even as they present a united front to oust President Donald Trump. It also showcases the careful line that Democrats are attempting to walk: While the Black Lives Matter movement has gone mainstream, most Americans tell pollsters they don’t support withholding money for police.” POLITICO
— “Democrats see racism in GOP mispronunciations of ‘Kamala’” by AP’s Sara Burnett in Chicago
YEEZY LATEST — “Kanye West’s Presidential Campaign Is Both Proceeding and Unraveling,” by New York Magazine’s Ben Jacobs: “The last 48 hours have presented a series of new challenges for Kanye West’s haphazard campaign for president.
“In a span of two days, West was booted from the ballot in five states: Illinois, Montana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In Illinois, Montana, and West Virginia, it was because he filed an insufficient number of valid signatures. In Wisconsin, it was because West did not file on time. In Ohio, the information and signature on West’s nominating petition and his statement of candidacy did not match those on petitions circulated to be signed.
“West has filed in several other states in this week: Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Virginia, but it is unclear if he will ultimately qualify to appear on the ballot in all of them. West may face particular issues in Virginia, where seven of the thirteen electors that West submitted told Intelligencer they were either unaware that they signed up to cast electoral votes on his behalf, or that they had signed notarized paperwork connected to the rapper’s presidential bid at all.” NY Magazine
TRUMP’S SATURDAY — The president and first lady Melania Trump will participate in a reception celebrating the White House Rose Garden at 7 p.m.
— LAST NIGHT: “Trump Holds a Rare White House Funeral for His Younger Brother, Robert,” by NYT’s Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman
THE LATEST ON NAVALNY — “Comatose Russian dissident stable upon arrival in Germany,” by AP’s David Rising in Berlin: “Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is in a coma after a suspected poisoning, arrived in Berlin on a special flight Saturday for treatment by specialists at the German capital’s main hospital.
“‘Navalny is in Berlin,’ Jaka Bizilj, of the German organization Cinema For Peace, which organized the flight, told The Associated Press. ‘He survived the flight and he’s stable.’ After touching down shortly before 9 a.m. at a special area of the capital’s Tegel airport used for government and military flights, Navalny was taken by ambulance to the downtown campus of Berlin’s Charite hospital.
“The hospital later issued a statement saying extensive tests were being carried out on Navalny, and doctors would not comment on his illness or treatment until those were completed.” AP
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “In Mass., two Democrats chase generational change in targeting entrenched incumbents,” by WaPo’s Paul Kane
BUSINESS BURST — “U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rose Nearly 25% in July,” by WSJ’s Nicole Friedman: “Home sales surged in July, signaling how much the pandemic is reshaping where and how Americans want to live during this period of social distancing and working from home.
“Home buyers who were reluctant to venture out in March and April when much of the country was under lockdown have returned in force since late spring. With the effects of coronavirus showing little signs of abating, many home shoppers have new priorities for a place to live, or are accelerating existing plans.
“Buyers are ready to move farther from cities, now that many workers aren’t commuting every day. The pandemic has spurred some households to live closer to family, or somewhere that offers more space with so much time spent at home, brokers and economists say.” WSJ
MEDIAWATCH — “David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer’s Parent, Steps Down Amid Merger With Logistics Firm,” by WSJ’s Luke Alpert: “David Pecker is stepping down as chief executive of American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, ending an era for the supermarket tabloid which played a key role in a campaign-finance scandal that sent Donald Trump’s lawyer to prison and implicated the president himself.
“Mr. Pecker’s departure came Friday as part of an announcement that American Media, which also owns several celebrity-gossip magazines such as Us Weekly, Star and Ok!, is being merged with Accelerate 360 LLC, a Georgia-based logistics and distribution business.
“American Media will be renamed A360 Media and Chris Scardino, an American Media veteran, will become president, the companies said. Mr. Pecker, 68, will serve as an executive adviser to the new company. ‘Pecker is effectively out,’ a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Pecker didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.”
— BRIAN STELTER’S book “Hoax” is No. 1 on Amazon. STELTER was on CNN’s “The Situation Room” and MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”
CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 14 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Margy Slattery and the staff of POLITICO Magazine:
— “Loving the Alien,” by Stephen Rodrick in Rolling Stone: “How UFO culture took over America.” Rolling Stone
— “Inside the Mind of the MAGA Bomber, the Trump Superfan Who Tried to Wreak Havoc on the Last National Election,” by Luke Mullins in Washingtonian’s September issue: “Cesar Sayoc turned his loyalty toward Donald Trump into a literal assault on the President’s Democratic enemies in 2018. His story is a cautionary tale about right-wing fanaticism.” Washingtonian
— “The Postal Inspector Who Took Down America’s First Organized Crime Ring,” by William Oldfield and Victoria Bruce in POLITICO Magazine, from September 2018: “Before the FBI, the U.S. Post Office Inspection Service was the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country, and the only agency equipped to solve such a large-scale crime.” POLITICO
— “A Litany for Survival,” by Naomi Jackson in the September issue of Harper’s: “Giving birth as a black woman in America.” Harper’s
— “How Two British Orthodontists Became Celebrities to Incels,” by William Brennan in the NYT Magazine: “The Mews, a father-son team of orthodontists, have an unusual theory about the source of crooked teeth — one that has earned them a following in some of the darker corners of the internet.” NYT Magazine
— “The Mythology of Karen,” by Helen Lewis in The Atlantic: “Karen has followed the trajectory of dozens of words before it, becoming a cloak for casual sexism.” Atlantic
— “One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times,” by Ben Lindbergh in The Ringer: “In 2017, the Times dissolved its copy desk, possibly permitting more typos to slip through. Meet the anonymous lawyer who’s correcting the paper of record one untactful tweet at a time.” Ringer
— “A Lesson in Acceptance,” by Bryan Washington in Oxford American’s summer/fall issue: “Being a restaurant’s regular, whatever that looks like to you, even in the midst of a pandemic, is still a beautiful thing.” Oxford American
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
TRANSITION — Tom Bossert, the former White House homeland security adviser, has been named president of Trinity Cyber. He previously was chief strategy officer of the firm and continues as national security analyst for ABC News and a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Joshua Phoebus, director of performance and transformation for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, and Rachel Hull Phoebus, survey director at the Center for the Study of Services, welcomed Margaret “Maggie” Virginia Phoebus on Wednesday. She came in at 8 lbs, 4 oz and 22 inches. Pic
BIRTHDAYS: Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent for NBC and MSNBC, is 41 … Ken Farnaso, deputy national press secretary for the Trump reelect, is 29 (h/t Alex Stroman and Courtney Parella) … Paul Singer is 76 … National Review editor Rich Lowry is 52 … Brittany Baker, assistant to NEC Director Larry Kudlow … Jess Allen is 31 … Thomas Midanek … Steve Kroft is 75 … POLITICO’s Rishika Dugyala, Michael Cadenhead and Jocelyn Yang … Morton Dean is 85 … The Hill’s Alex Gangitano (h/t Bryan Petrich) … former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), now partner at Nelson Mullins, is 56 … former Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.) is 55 … former Rep. Bud Cramer (D-Ala.) is 73 … Jennifer Loven, managing director at Glover Park Group … Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, co-founders of NewsGuard (h/ts Cynthia Brill) … Tom Edsall is 79 … Jen Nedeau Helm, partner manager for government, politics and advocacy at Facebook … Robin Wright, New Yorker writer and joint fellow of the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Wilson International Center … Mark Gilbert is 64 …
… Sabrina Siddiqui, SVP at Forbes Tate Partners … Montana A.G. Tim Fox … Luke Russert … Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association … Fox Business News producer Natalie Apsell … Nick Mildebrath, VP at Convergence Targeted Communications, is 32 … Axios’ Gigi Sukin (h/t Gordon Bronson) and Stef Kight … AP’s Nebi Qena … Alexis Rubin … Scooter Libby is 7-0 … Chris Lapetina (h/t Teresa Vilmain) … Pat Eltman … Bill Cortese … Jim Strader … Sward Tondoneh … Jillian Hershner … Bill Turenne Jr. … Google’s Eleanor Strom … Nancy Chen … Sinclair’s AnnaMaria Di Pietro … Selena Strandberg … Katie Gordon … Matthew Barnes … Claire Stein-Ross … Mother Jones’ Pema Levy … Chad Connelly … Mory Fontanez … Katie Bloodgood … Nick Greene … Jordan Goldes … Rob Borden … Megan Paulsen … Chris Pumphrey … Alyssa Palisi … Mac Flores … Brystol English … Julia Rothwax … Hailey Arends … Martin Fitzgerald … Ryan Patmintra
THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):
“State of the Union”: DHS Secretary Chad Wolf … Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) … Anthony Scaramucci.
“Meet the Press”: Jason Miller … Pete Buttigieg … Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). Panel: Gerry Seib, Scott Walker and Kristen Welker.
“This Week”: Mark Meadows … Kate Bedingfield. Panel: Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Leah Wright Rigueur and Barbara Comstock.
“Face the Nation”: Ronna McDaniel … Jim Comey … L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti … Rev. John I. Jenkins … Scott Gottleib.
“Fox News Sunday”: Mark Meadows … Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). Panel: Karl Rove, Susan Page and Juan Williams. Historical highlights from Republican conventions.
“America this Week with Eric Bolling”: Anthony Scaramucci … Austan Goolsbee … Olivia Nuzzi … Marc Lamont Hill … Jose Aristimuño.
“Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren”: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy … Kellyanne Conway.
“Kasie DC”: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)…Hogan Gidley…Bill Weld … Mark Sanford.