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First Read's Morning Clips: Trump Jr.'s Correspondence With Wikileaks

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Donald Trump Jr. listens to a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention
Donald Trump Jr. listens to a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.John Moore / Getty Images file

TRUMP AGENDA: Trump Jr.’s secret correspondence with WikiLeaks

First in The Atlantic, on Donald Trump Jr's secret messages with Wikileaks on Twitter. "The messages, obtained by The Atlantic, were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators.They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between WikiLeaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017. The messages show WikiLeaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation. WikiLeaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump’s tax returns, urging the Trump campaign on Election Day to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States."

NBC's Pete Williams and Ken Dilanian: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered senior federal prosecutors to evaluate whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate concerns raised by Republicans, including alleged unlawful dealings by the Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company, according to a document obtained Monday by NBC News."

Benjy Sarlin, on Trump's tax demands. "President Donald Trump pushed Republicans on Monday to cut taxes on the rich by using money that's slated to help lower-income Americans purchase health insurance. Trump's request, which the president relayed by Twitter from his trip through Asia, comes at a sensitive moment in tax negotiations. It also goes against his repeated insistence that tax legislation should be focused on providing middle-class tax relief rather than cutting taxes for wealthy filers like himself."

The Wall Street Journal: "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration wouldn’t support tax legislation with a corporate tax rate of more than 20% as part of any future compromise between the House and the Senate."

Trump has tapped former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar as the next HHS secretary.

The Washington Post, on Trump's Asia trip: "Trump’s Asia trip was mostly free of incidents — until it wasn’t"

And also in the Washington Post: "A spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday that President Trump offered to return a fugitive who had fled to the United States and did not bring up human rights issues at all during the bilateral meeting a day earlier. Spokesman Harry Roque’s account of the meeting in an interview with The Washington Post appears to contradict White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said “human rights briefly came up” as the two leaders discussed the Philippines’ bloody fight against illicit drugs."

In POLITICO: "A clash between Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Latino Democratic lawmakers over his attempt to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has gotten so nasty that it’s threatening to derail momentum for a year-end deal to save Dreamers from deportation. CHC members accuse Curbelo, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House, of seeking membership to the all-Democratic caucus just to boost his reelection chances in his Latino-heavy district. And they’re angry he’s pressing to be admitted even as he refuses to sign on to their signature bill, the DREAM Act — support they say would lend the proposal much-needed GOP muscle."

From NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell and Kasie Hunt: "Both the House and the Senate are moving forward on making a least some incremental changes to how the institutions handle complaints of sexual harassment, something those pushing the moves say is long overdue in the close-knit working environment where power is coveted, used and, sometimes, abused. Managers in all 100 senate offices received a directive Monday requiring for the first time that all staff members, and the senators themselves, must watch a training video on sexual harassment. That change came after the Senate passed new rules last week authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. And on Tuesday a House committee will hold a hearing on its own sexual harassment training and policy to examine changes proposed by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who has gone public with her own story of harassment from the days when she was a Congressional staffer in her 20s. She propelled the #metoocongress campaign and will testify at the hearing on Tuesday."

OFF TO THE RACES: Alabama Dems to national allies: Please stay out

AL-SEN: NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald: "Alabama Democrats have a message for out-of-state allies eager to help in the state's Senate race: Thanks, but no thanks. "I tell them to stay home," said Giles Perkins, the former executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party. "This is an Alabama race, and we will decide it here."

Traders on PredictIt are starting to favor Doug Jones to win.

The Washington Post: "Senate Republican leaders on Monday waged an urgent campaign to pressure GOP nominee Roy Moore to withdraw from the Alabama Senate race amid allegations of sexual misconduct, declaring him “unfit to serve” and threatening to expel him from Congress if he were elected. But Moore showed no signs that he was preparing to step aside, even as another woman came forward, accusing him of sexually assaulting her in the late 1970s when she was 16 years old."

POLITICO looks at splits in the GOP over the idea of Moore's expulsion from the Senate if he wins.

Mitch McConnell has taken a hard line on sex scandals before, notes the New York Times.

NJ-SEN: "After jurors slipped a note to court officials saying they were deadlocked on criminal corruption charges against Sen. Bob Menendez, the judge told them to go home and return Tuesday with a new outlook."

TX-29: Another retirement: Houston Democrat Gene Green won't run for reelection.

UT-SEN: More on the Romney-for-Senate will-he-won't-he here, from the Salt Lake Tribune.