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First Read’s Morning Clips: Meeting and Greeting Putin

TRUMP AGENDA: Meeting and greeting Putin

Here’s the latest on Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, from our team on the foreign trip.

Richard Engel reports on the psychology of Putin.

The New York Times: “Whatever the outcome of the encounter on Friday — which will be on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany, but is expected to overshadow it — the Kremlin is betting that Mr. Putin can stage-manage the event so that he comes out looking like the stronger party. If nothing much emerges from the meeting, analysts said, the Kremlin can repeat the standard Russian line that Mr. Trump is weak, hamstrung by domestic politics. But if Mr. Trump agrees to work with Mr. Putin despite a list of Russian transgressions beginning with the annexation of Crimea and ending with its interference in the 2016 presidential election, he will also look weak while Mr. Putin can claim that he reconstructed the relationship.”

The Washington Post: “Leaders of the European Union warned sharply on Friday that President Trump risks a trade war if he imposes restrictions on steel imports, a mark of deep divisions as a summit of leaders of major world economies got underway.”

From Leigh Ann Caldwell and Kasie Hunt: “In his first public comments in nearly a week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday indicated that passing the GOP's health care bill remains a daunting prospect for a Republican conference so far unable to agree on key details. "I'm in the position of a guy with a Rubik's cube, trying to twist the dial in such a way to get at least 50 members of my conference who can agree to a version of repealing and replacing" Obamacare, McConnell said at a town hall-style event in Kentucky. "That is a very timely subject that I'm grappling with as we speak." But he also said taking no action on health care is not an option for Congress.”

POLITICO looks at how GOP health proposals ended up keeping much more of Obamacare than proponents planned.

The New York Times writes on Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, who’s proving to be an unlikely holdout on the GOP Senate health care bill.

Walter Shaub Jr. the ethics chief who clashed with Trump’s administration, is stepping down.

From NBC’s Phil Helsel: “A federal judge in Hawaii has denied a motion filed by that state seeking to limit the scope of President Donald Trump's so-called travel ban, parts of which were cleared to be implemented by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Heller gets his likely 2018 Democratic opponent

Lots of states are in budget trouble. The Washington Post looks at why.

POLITICO asks if the Senate GOP has a recruiting problem.

AL-SEN: Well, this doesn’t bode all that well for Luther Strange. From AL.com: “U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks won a straw poll Thursday night conducted at a candidate forum in his hometown of Huntsville. Brooks was the first choice on GOP ballots with 101 votes, followed by former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore with 74. U.S. Sen. Luther Strange - who was appointed to the seat in February that is on the ballot in a special election next month - finished tied for sixth on the GOP ballot with just three votes. Strange did not attend the forum.”

AL-GOV: Who’s ahead in the fundraising race in the Alabama gubernatorial contest?

IL-GOV: From the Chicago Tribune: “Seeking to restore stability to a state government teetering on the abyss, lawmakers on Thursday turned aside Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's opposition to a major income tax increase and a spending plan, ending a record-setting impasse.”

NV-SEN: Nevada Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen is officially running against Dean Heller.

More, from the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Rosen’s announcement was expected, but it is a gamble for Democrats. If she loses to Heller and a Republican wins the congressional seat, Nevada Democrats lose their advantage in Washington. Winning both races, however, gives Democrats control of all but Rep. Mark Amodei’s Congressional District 2 seat — the safest Republican district in Nevada.”

TX-SEN: Beto O’Rourke raised more than $1 million online in just two months.

WI-GOV: Scott Walker is offering to buy beer for reporters who don’t like his social media style.