TRUMP AGENDA: How Trump has already reshaped his party
The big picture, in the New York Times: “Despite the fervor of President Trump’s Republican opponents, the president’s brand of hard-edge nationalism — with its gut-level cultural appeals and hard lines on trade and immigration — is taking root within his adopted party, and those uneasy with grievance politics are either giving in or giving up the fight.”
An NBC News exclusive: “The Trump administration is paving the way for lethal strikes against terrorists in Niger as the U.S. military pushes forward with a plan to arm the Reaper drones that fly over that country, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News.”
Reuters: “President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Russia was having a negative impact on U.S. efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons while China had been helpful.”
POLITICO writes that Steven Mnuchin is struggling to overcome suspicion on the Hill.
The Wall Street Journal, with the latest on the tax fight: “Republicans disagreed with the White House over tax treatment of 401(k) plans and sought to resolve differences over state and local taxes on the eve of a House vote that is crucial to their tax-cutting ambitions.”
The Washington Post: “President Trump on Wednesday revived the controversy over his handling of a condolence call with an Army soldier’s widow, disputing Myeshia’s Johnson’s claim that he did not seem to remember her husband’s name and calling into question the memories of others who heard the conversation.”
Meanwhile, on the Hill, via the AP: “House Republicans are focusing squarely on tax cuts rather than deficit discipline as they look to shoehorn a GOP budget plan through the House. Passage of the $4 trillion budget measure on Thursday would pave the way for Republicans controlling Washington to pass a 10-year, $1.5 trillion tax cut measure later this year that’s the highest priority of President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill.”
On the Russia dossier: “Hillary Clinton and top officials of her presidential campaign were largely silent Wednesday in response to the revelation that the campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid for research that resulted in a dossier alleging Russian interference on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 election,” writes the Washington Post.
The New York Times notes the notes of Mormon faith in Jeff Flake’s historic speech.
OFF TO THE RACES: McConnell allies vs. Bannon
The Washington Post: “Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared open warfare on Wednesday against Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and leader of an insurrection aimed at defeating mainstream Republican candidates in next year’s midterm elections. More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect GOP incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.”
AL-SEN: John Cornyn endorsed Roy Moore.
AZ-SEN: Reuters sums up the big political shakeup in the wake of Flake’s retirement announcement.
“The chairman of a political action committee backing Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kelli Ward is assuming a senior role in her campaign, prompting questions about coordination between the groups, which is prohibited by federal law,” writes the AP. “Veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins, chairman and founder of Great America PAC, will remain head of the so-called super PAC, the group's lawyer said Wednesday, as the campaign announced that Rollins was being named Ward's campaign chairman.”
FL-SEN: Another poll shows a deadlocked 2018 race between Nelson and Scott.
NJ-SEN: Cory Booker and Lindsey Graham are expected to testify on behalf of Bob Menendez in his ongoing corruption trial.
VA-GOV: Ralph Northam is defending a mailer that ties Ed Gillespie and Trump to the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville.