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First Read's Morning Clips: How Trump Gets Classified Intel

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on Feb. 23, 2017.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

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TRUMP AGENDA: How Trump consumes classified intelligence

The Washington Post: “President Trump consumes classified intelligence like he does most everything else in life: ravenously and impatiently, eager to ingest glinting nuggets but often indifferent to subtleties. Most mornings, often at 10:30, sometimes earlier, Trump sits behind the historic Resolute desk and, with a fresh Diet Coke fizzing and papers piled high, receives top-secret updates on the world’s hot spots. The president interrupts his briefers with questions but also with random asides. He asks that the top brass of the intelligence community be present, and he demands brevity.”

The New York Times: “Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was looking for a direct line to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — a search that in mid-December found him in a room with a Russian banker whose financial institution was deeply intertwined with Russian intelligence, and remains under sanction by the United States. Federal and congressional investigators are now examining what exactly Mr. Kushner and the Russian banker, Sergey N. Gorkov, wanted from each other. The banker is a close associate of Mr. Putin, but he has not been known to play a diplomatic role for the Russian leader. That has raised questions about why he was meeting with Mr. Kushner at a crucial moment in the presidential transition, according to current and former officials familiar with the investigations.”

POLITICO outlines six things to watch as Trump gets back to work.

Axios, with the first news of Dubke’s departure: “Dubke served for just three months before tendering his resignation May 18. He offered to stay through the overseas trip, and Trump accepted. He has been trying to help restructure the press and communications operation, and is parting on good terms, a senior administration official said. Insiders say Dubke came in with few patrons, and never gelled with the originals. His departure is a reminder of how hard it is for newcomers to thrive in Trumpland.”

The New York Times notes four senators to watch in the Trump-Russia investigation.

The Wall Street Journal: “The boldest ideas for changing the nation’s tax code are either dead or on political life support, as the Republican effort in Congress to reshape the tax system moves much more slowly than lawmakers and their allies in business had hoped. The clear winner, so far, is the status quo.”

Jane Timm looks at the status of Trump’s promised border wall.

NBC’s Andy Eckardt and F. Brinley Bruton report on what analysts are saying about the rift between the U.S. and Germany.

Is Mike Pence positioning himself for the post-Trump era? POLITICO takes a look.

OFF TO THE RACES: Running with Trump or against him?

GA-06: The New York Times: “In the northern suburbs of Atlanta, where what is likely to be the most expensive House campaign in history is being waged, a band of conservative advocacy groups is grappling with a question that may decide whether the Republican Party keeps its House majority after 2018: Do you run with President Trump or against him? Somehow, the groups are discovering, they will have to do both.”

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows that Democrats have narrowly outspent Republicans in the runoff phase of Georgia’s 6th District contest, the nationally-watched race that could prove an early test of the GOP agenda. The contest, by far the most expensive U.S. House race in the nation’s history, has now cost more than $36 million overall. That includes about $21 million spent or reserved for advertising since April 18, when Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff notched spots in the June 20 runoff.”

Early voting begins today.

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