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Trump tests the 'special relationship' ahead of state visit

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
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President Donald Trump inspects an honour guard during a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London on June 3, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — “Nasty” might be the perfect word to describe President Trump’s arrival in London for his state visit to the United Kingdom.

After calling Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex, “nasty” (yes, there’s a recording), the president also lobbed the word at London’s mayor – right before he touched down in Britain.

".@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly “nasty” to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me......"

He followed up by singling out Khan’s stature.

"....Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job - only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!"

Days earlier, Khan argued that Britain shouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet for Trump, writing that the president’s “divisive behaviour flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon – equality, liberty and religious freedom.”

After arriving in London, Trump also attacked CNN and new parent company AT&T – obviously after watching some cable TV.

"I believe that if people stoped [sic] using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News! Why wouldn’t they act. When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!"

Afterward, Trump met with the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.

And later today, Trump tours Westminster Abbey, has tea with Prince Charles and participates in a state banquet with the queen.

Tweet of the day

Mulvaney admits Russia interfered in ’16 election

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“The answer to the short question is, yes. Russia did attempt to interfere in our election. There's no question. Let's not lose sight of the fact that it was the previous administration that let that happen,” he said.

But let’s also don’t lose sight of the fact that Team Trump WELCOMED that Russian interference, and that it never picked up the phone to notify the FBI about Russia’ outreach.

  • Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer on June 9, 2016 after Donald Trump Jr was told that the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump himself asked Russia for assistance in the 2016 election: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
  • A Trump campaign associate – presumably Roger Stone – communicated with Russian intelligence.
  • Stone appeared to have advance notice of the WikiLeaks releases of John Podesta's emails before they first came out on Oct. 7, 2016: "It will soon [be] the Podesta's time in the barrel."
  • And Trump eagerly campaigned on the WikiLeaks disclosures of Podesta's emails, mentioning the word "WikiLeaks" some 140 times in the final month of the race.

Don’t forget what the Mueller report said: “[T]he investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

2020 Vision: Golden State of mind

Nearly the entire Democratic field was in California over the weekend – with one big exception.

Bernie Sanders took aim at Joe Biden’s absence, per NBC’s Gary Grumbach, Deepa Shivaram and Ben Pu.

“As you all know, there is a debate among presidential candidates who have spoken to you here in this room and those of who have chosen for whatever reason not to be in this room,” Sanders said.

Julian Castro, meanwhile, received his loudest applause during his criminal justice reform pitch.

And John Delaney got booed for two-straight minutes after he said “‘Medicare for All’ may sound good, but it’s not good policy.”

Oh, and a man interrupted Kamala Harris’ speech and grabbed her microphone before being escorted out.

On the campaign trail today

Pete Buttigieg, in Fresno, Calif., holds a town hall with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at 7:00 pm ET… And Jay Inslee stumps in Iowa, hitting Des Moines, Ankeny and Urbandale.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 2 out of 3

Two out of three.

That’s the number of Democratic gubernatorial candidates this cycle who back tough abortion restrictions — at odds with the rest of the party.

In this off-year, gubernatorial races will be held in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.

In Louisiana, incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards just signed one of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country. And in Mississippi, expected Democratic nominee Attorney General Jim Hood is defending that state’s new anti-abortion law in court.

The Lid: The (Not-So) Greatest Show on Earth?

Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we looked at how impeachment – if it occurs – could knock the Dem 2020 race out of the headlines.

ICYMI: New clips you shouldn’t miss

The New York Times looks at ethical questions about Elaine Chao’s family and business ties in China.

Alex Seitz-Wald looks at how Democrats are dealing with abortion opponents within their own party.

White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett is leaving.

Here’s how Pete Buttigieg wants to overhaul the Supreme Court. Here’s how.

And Kirsten Gillibrand tried to mix it up at a Fox News town hall.

Trump agenda: Anarchy in the UK

Jonathan Allen previews the president’s trip to the U.K.

Trump is backing a no-deal Brexit.

Mike Pompeo says the U.S. is ready to talk to Iran with “no preconditions.”

The Pentagon is asking the White House to keep politics out of the military.

Will Pelosi’s resistance to impeachment crack this month?

2020: Joe Versus The (Liberal) Volcano

Liberals are taking aim at Joe Biden.

The Washington Post looks at how Trump’s “frenetic immigration approach” is central to his reelection bid.

Cory Booker is announcing his Iowa steering committee.

POLITICO looks at how Elizabeth Warren hopes to win Iowa.