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First Read's Morning Clips: Blindsided

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: NATO leaders during a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels, May 25, 2017.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels, May 25, 2017. Trump inaugurated the new headquarters during a ceremony on Thursday with other heads of state and government.Matt Dunham / AP

TRUMP AGENDA: Blindsided

Trump’s national security team was blindsided by his failure to commit to the collective defense principle during his NATO speech, POLITICO reports. More: “Added a senior White House official, “There was a fully coordinated other speech everybody else had worked on”—and it wasn’t the one Trump gave. “They didn’t know it had been removed,” said a third source of the Trump national security officials on hand for the ceremony. “It was only upon delivery.” The president appears to have deleted it himself, according to one version making the rounds inside the government, reflecting his personal skepticism about NATO and insistence on lecturing NATO allies about spending more on defense rather than offering reassurances of any sort; another version relayed to others by several White House aides is that Trump’s nationalist chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy aide Stephen Miller played a role in the deletion.”

In an interview with Megyn Kelly of NBC News, Vladimir Putin accused the United States of interfering in elections around the world.

The New York Times looks at why Russian bank VEB is integral to the Trump-Russia probe.

And POLITICO notes that Trump’s tweets are likely to create problems for him and for his aides as the investigation continues.

Trump is once again kicking the partisan media environment into high gear, the New York Times writes.

The Washington Post: “A traditional president would have reacted carefully to the London Bridge terrorist attack by instilling calm, being judicious about facts and appealing to the country’s better angels. But Donald Trump is no traditional president. He reacted impulsively to Saturday night’s carnage by stoking panic and fear, being indiscreet with details of the event and capitalizing on it to advocate for one of his more polarizing policies and to advance a personal feud.”

By the way, Trump’s slow hiring could be harming anti-terror planning, POLITICO reports.

The Washington Post notes, as we did last week, that Trump’s guiding principle is tearing down Obama-era policies — but he’s having trouble building an affirmative agenda of his own.

Dante Chinni notes that Trump’s support in military communities is dropping.

The Wall Street Journal: “President Donald Trump will launch a new campaign this week aimed at fulfilling his pledge for $1 trillion of infrastructure investment, hoping to capitalize on lawmakers’ support for rebuilding the nation’s transportation systems at a time when his tax and health legislation are in flux.”

The AP: “Four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday morning, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country's support for Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.”

From POLITICO: “Senate Republicans may be all over the map on an Obamacare repeal plan, but on one fundamental point — reducing insurance premiums — they are in danger of overpromising and underdelivering.”

OFF TO THE RACES: A primer on New Jersey’s primaries tomorrow

Alex Seitz-Wald notes that candidates inspired by Bernie Sanders are hoping to build winning coalitions.

GA-06: Jon Ossoff has declined a debate on CNN, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

More, on the Republican Party’s efforts to manage the Trump effect: “When Georgia’s Republican Convention last convened a year ago, Donald Trump was at the tip of every activist’s tongue, whether they enthusiastically invoked his name or solemnly warned he could sink the GOP’s chances. At this year’s two-day conclave in the same cavernous hotel along the Augusta Riverwalk, Trump was celebrated — if he was mentioned at all. Those who assailed him a year ago held their tongue, and even his most ardent supporters turned their attention mostly to state and local matters.”

Both camps are decrying vulgar anti-Handel campaign fliers found in Roswell.

NJ-GOV: Tuesday is primary day. offers a primer on who’s running.

VA-GOV: From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “In a tight primary with former congressman Tom Perriello, the centrist streak that made Northam a target for GOP overtures in 2009 has emerged as a point of contention as state Democrats debate the future of their party in one of the first major elections under President Donald Trump. Northam and Perriello are both pitching themselves as unwavering progressives ahead of the June 13 primary, though neither can claim a perfect record in that regard.”