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First Read's Morning Clips: Trump takes aim at red-state Dems

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on May 23, 2018, en route to a day trip to New York City.Jacquelyn Martin / AP

MIDTERM MADNESS: Trump to take aim a red-state Dem senators

One of us(!) writes that new analysis from Gallup shows a drop in the importance of presidential ‘moral leadership’ among Republicans.

Trump’s summer strategy is to take aim relentlessly at red-state Democratic senators, writes the New York Times.

AZ-9: It’s official: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has stepped down so that he can run for Kyrsten Sinema’s old seat.

CA: Independents now surpass Republicans in California, per the Sacramento Bee.

MO-GOV: After all that — Gov. Eric Greitens announced last night that he will step down at the end of this week, although he still maintains that he did nothing wrong and has been the victim of “legal harassment.”

Missouri’s next governor will be Lt. Gov. Mike Parson.

ND-SEN: Republicans aren’t happy with how Trump has occasionally courted Heidi Heitkamp.

RI-SEN: Lincoln Chafee won’t run for Senate after all.

TN-SEN: The Tennesseean sums up Trump’s appearance in Nashville last night.

And NBC’s Jonathan Allen reports on Trump’s jabs at ailing Sen. John McCain.

After Trump called Phil Bredesen a “tool,” Bredesen’s campaign issued this statement, per NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard: “Governor Bredesen has made it clear that if President Trump proposes something that’s good for Tennessee, then he’ll support it. Likewise, if the president suggests something that’s bad for Tennesseans, then he’ll oppose it. That’s what senators ought to do. Bottom line: Phil Bredesen is an independent thinker with a proven record of working with Democrats and Republicans. In Washington, he’ll vote in the best interests of Tennessee and Tennesseans.”

TN-GOV: Diane Black called pornography a “big part of the root cause” of school shootings.

UT-SEN: Mitt Romney’s opponent is calling him a carpetbagger — and again attacking him for calling Robert Jeffress a “bigot.”

VA: It looks like the Virginia Senate is ready to expand Medicaid in a vote today.

WI-GOV: ICYMI: Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett isn’t getting into the crowded gubernatorial race.

WV-SEN: An internal Democratic poll shows Manchin up by double digits.

TRUMP AGENDA: CIA report says North Korea won’t denuclearize

NBC’s Courtney Kube, Ken Dilanian and Carol Lee: “A new U.S. intelligence assessment has concluded that North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon, three U.S. officials told NBC News — a finding that conflicts with recent statements by President Donald Trump that Pyongyang intends to do so in the future.”

Children’s shelters at the border are filling up rapidly, writes the Washington Post.

NBC’s Erik Ortiz sums up last night’s MSNBC forum on ‘everyday racism.’

And here’s NBC’s story on the cancellation of “Roseanne” and the star’s apology for a racist tweet.

The New York Times reports that Trump asked Jeff Sessions to keep control of the Russia inquiry even after his recusal.

Federal prosecutors are about to get a whole lot of files from Michael Cohen’s phone.

The Washington Post reports that Giuliani said Trump won’t sit for an interview with Mueller unless the Trump team can review all FBI source documents.

The Wall Street Journal has the latest on what Trump’s move on tariffs could mean for China trade talks.

What exactly is up with Melania Trump? POLITICO looks at how conspiracy theories about her illness have flourished amid her silence.