TWO SIDES OF A COIN … The economy is ripping, with the stock market at record highs. Jobs are being added at an impressive clip. The president’s July 4th celebration was hailed as non-partisan.
… BUT … President DONALD TRUMP is enmeshed in what many consider to be a fruitless effort to get a citizenship question added to the Census. He is falsely blaming former president BARACK OBAMA for immigration policies that he himself started. And he has claimed, without evidence, that Obama fruitlessly sought a meeting with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un.
NEW … PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP said on Twitter this morning L.A. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers is a “Great Coach, Great Guy!” L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George going to the Clippers
THE SUPREME WHAT? … WAPO: “Government lawyers step up effort to get a citizenship question on 2020 Census, court filing shows”: “The Trump administration on Friday stepped up its effort to place a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, after the president said he was mulling an executive order to deal with the impasse and Justice Department lawyers told a federal judge they were still looking for a legal way forward.
“The Supreme Court has called the administration’s rationale for the question ‘contrived’ and said the government could not go forward without a solid justification. On Friday, Trump and a key official mentioned other possible reasons for adding the query in statements that added to a week-long swirl of contradictions and that could make the administration’s case even more difficult.
“Government lawyers said in a filing Friday that the Justice and Commerce departments had been ‘instructed to examine whether there is a path forward’ for the question and that if one was found they would file a motion in the Supreme Court to try to get the question on the survey to be sent to every U.S. household.” WaPo
— AS THE POST NOTES, if the administration goes in this direction, it will likely end up in courts again, and those courts have already blocked this.
THE PUNCHING BAG … PETER BAKER and MAGGIE HABERMAN on A10 in the NYT: “Two Years Into Trump’s Presidency, Obama Remains a Top Target for Criticism”: “It took all of one minute and nine seconds for President Trump to go after his predecessor on Friday — just one minute and nine seconds to re-engage in a debate that has consumed much of his own time in office over who was the better president.
“It was former President Barack Obama who started the policy of separating children from their parents at the border, Mr. Trump claimed falsely, and it was Mr. Obama who had such a terrible relationship with North Korea that he was about to go to war. Mr. Obama had it easy on the economy, Mr. Trump added, but let America’s allies walk all over him.
“The litany of criticisms, often distorted, are familiar, but Mr. Trump has turned increasingly to Mr. Obama in recent days as a political foil.” NYT
WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ ASSOCIATION ELECTIONS were yesterday. Here are the results.
— At-large seat: CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy (233), WaPo’s Toluse Olorunnipa (122), Abstain (5), Write in candidates (John Gizzi and Michael Wolff).
— New media seat: DailyMail.com’s Francesca Chambers (252), HuffPo’s S.V. Date (89), Abstain (14), Write in candidates (Justin Sink 2, Toluse Olorunnipa 2, Roberta Rampton 1, Evan Vucci 1, Fin Gomez 1).
— TV seat: CBS News’ Fin Gomez (184), CNN’s Allie Malloy (160), Abstain (17), Write in (Michael Wolff).
— President: CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy (227), Toluse Olorunnipa (109), HuffPo’s S.V. Date (16), Abstain (8), Write in (John Roberts and Michael Wolff).
SO THAT’S HOW THEY GOT IT! … AP/RIO DE JANEIRO: “Jailed former governor says he bought votes for Rio Olympics”: “A jailed former governor of Rio de Janeiro state told a judge on Thursday that he paid about $2 million for the votes of International Olympic Committee members to award the Brazilian city the 2016 Summer Games.
“Sergio Cabral said he paid $1.5 million in bribes through intermediaries to the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, originally in exchange for up to six votes in the meeting that awarded Rio the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The former governor added that another $500,000 was paid later to Diack’s son with the aim of securing three more votes of IOC members for Rio.” AP
L.A. TIMES: “Another, stronger quake in Ridgecrest shakes Southern California, causing more damage” … “Earthquake aftershocks could last months or even years, scientists say,” by Rong-Gong Lin II and Alejandra Reyes-Velarde: “By midday, there have been at least 17 magnitude 4 aftershocks since the mainshock, and at least 1,200 aftershocks.” LAT
NEW … HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER STENY HOYER (D-MD.) sent a letter to House Democrats, laying out the legislative agenda for the month of July: “The week of July 8th, the House will consider the National Defense Authorization Act, which lays out our priorities to defend our nation, protect our interests abroad, and support our troops.
“The week of July 15th, the House will consider a long-overdue increase in the minimum wage. Last month, we marked the longest period of time without an increase. The Raise the Wage Act would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, and then index it to inflation. In addition, the House will also consider the Intelligence Authorization Act.
“The week of July 22nd, the House plans to consider legislation to bring down health care costs. Over the next three weeks, the House will also pass legislation on the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, addressing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and bolstering our nation’s election security.”
YIKES – “2nd Customs and Border Protection-connected secret Facebook group shows mocking images,” by CNN’s Geneva Sands and Nick Valencia: “At least one other social media group with an apparent nexus to Customs and Border Protection has been discovered to contain vulgar and sexually explicit posts, according to screenshots shared by two sources familiar with the Facebook pages. The secret Facebook group, ‘The Real CBP Nation,’ which has around 1,000 members, is host to an image that mocks separating migrant families, multiple demeaning memes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and other derisive images of Asians and African Americans.
“One meme posted following her Monday visit to a Texas border station depicts a manipulated image of her gesturing toward a water fountain with the caption ‘Is this a toilet?’ Following her visit, Ocasio-Cortez charged that people were drinking water from a toilet at the station, an accusation that acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has denied.” CNN
BORDER TALES — “Ken Cuccinelli Takes Reins of Immigration Agency With Focus on Migrant Vetting,” by WSJ’s Louise Radnofsky: “In programs such as the coveted H-1B visa, used for highly skilled workers, the Trump administration has already demanded supporting evidence in many more applications, and denied more petitions. But certain companies, including Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Intel Corp. have emerged with 99% approval rates, while others, such as informational technology services company Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., have seen much higher rates of rejections.
“Mr. Cuccinelli signaled that such trends were likely to continue, as would a preference for returning workers rather than new petitioners. … White House officials and allies have questioned his expertise on a complicated area of law, a union representing rank-and-file employees of the USCIS have said he is unacceptable to them, and he hasn’t been formally nominated for the job.” WSJ
WHAT WALL STREET CARES ABOUT … “Fed’s Powell Spoke With Trump in May Amid White House Criticism of Rate Policy,” by WSJ’s Paul Kiernan: “President Trump recently has made a monthly habit of speaking to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, as Mr. Trump continues to press the central bank to reduce interest rates. The two men spoke by telephone for five minutes on May 20, according to Mr. Powell’s public calendar for the month, which was released Friday. The calendar didn’t indicate who initiated the call or what was discussed.
“The call marked the third straight month in which they spoke briefly by phone after they shared a 90-minute dinner at the White House in February. … Based on Mr. Powell’s publicly released calendars, from February though May, he has spoken with Mr. Trump as many times as his predecessor, Janet Yellen, met with President Obama during the three years their terms overlapped. Each of those meetings lasted 45 minutes and took place at the White House.” WSJ
FOR JARED … WSJ: “Trump Peace Effort Traps Jordan Between U.S. and Palestinians,” by Felicia Schwartz and Suha Ma’ayeh in Amman: “As the Trump administration lays the groundwork for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, neighboring Jordan has been thrust into the awkward position of opposing many of Washington’s policies while depending on its support.
“Jordan sees an independent Palestinian state next to Israel as vital to its interests. More than 50% of Jordan’s 10 million people are of Palestinian descent, including 2.2 million refugees registered with the United Nations.
“But Jordan has watched with increasing worry as the Trump administration made moves that the Palestinians say show the U.S. is siding with Israel, such as cutting aid to the West Bank and Gaza and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Officials here say a plan that doesn’t satisfy Palestinians’ national aspirations could result in a security crisis for Jordan. The monarchy, which already faces protests over economic issues and political rights, could also have to contend with an influx of Palestinians and unrest across the border in the West Bank, officials said.” WSJ
TRUMP INC. — “‘I Don’t Run It’: Trump Responds to Reports of Undocumented Workers at His Properties,” by NYT’s Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Miriam Jordan: “After months of silence, President Trump responded on Friday to reports that the Trump Organization has employed dozens of undocumented immigrants by saying that he doesn’t know whether the organization does or not. ‘I don’t know because I don’t run it,’ Mr. Trump said when asked if he was confident that undocumented immigrants were no longer working at his golf courses. ‘But I would say this: Probably every club in the United States has that because it seems to be, from what I understand, a way that people did business.’” NYT
2020 … DANIEL STRAUSS and ELENA SCHNEIDER: “Buttigieg campaign multiplies in size after huge cash haul”
— PICS DU JOUR — CNN’S DJ JUDD (@DJJudd): “Mayor Pete Buttigieg poses with his portrait in Provincetown, MA (portrait by artist Jo Hay).” 3 pix
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Otto Warmbier’s family files claim for seized North Korean cargo ship,” by CNN’s Zachary Cohen: “The parents of Otto Warmbier filed a claim for a North Korean cargo ship that was seized by the U.S. in May, noting the asset could be used to pay off part of the family’s $500 million judgment against the country.
“In December, a federal judge awarded the Warmbier family more than half a billion dollars in a wrongful death suit against the North Korean government. North Korea never engaged in settlement discussions, according to the new filing, ‘Hence, the Warmbiers are left to chase down the assets of North Korea to recover what they can for the torture and death of their son at the hands of North Korea’s dictator, who with ‘his cronies, show(s) no regard for human life.’”