Welcome to Mic’s daily read on Donald Trump’s America. Want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox? Subscribe here.
Good morning from A.P. Joyce at Mic.
Here’s what’s happening in Trump’s America:
• Trump’s schedule kicks off in the late morning. At 11.45 a.m. he’ll attend a roundtable with automaker CEOs.
• At 2 p.m. he’ll give remarks on lowering drug prices.
• At 2:30 p.m. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will give the daily press briefing.
• Then at 3:45 p.m. Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
About last night: Trump is back in campaign mode — but have cable networks learned their lesson?
As midterm season approaches, President Trump has returned to the campaign trail, reminding Americans of what it was like just two years ago when then-candidate Trump held rowdy, sometimes violent campaign rallies.
On Thursday, just two days after Indiana’s primary election, Trump headed to Elkhart, Indiana, to stump for GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun in a campaign-style rally. The event was what has become a typical Trump campaign speech, including derisive appellations for his political rivals, as the president bestowed upon Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly the nickname “Sleepin’ Joe.”
Trump gave some seemingly off-the-cuff policy remarks, too, declaring he wanted to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran, which would be “better for them” than the multilateral agreement he just pulled out of because, as he said, it was too favorable to Iran.
There was even a reference to the “war on Christmas,” with Trump saying of American chain stores, “Now they’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.” It’s May.
Despite all these now-familiar tropes, there was a notable difference between this rally and the many Trump held during the 2016 election — two of the three major cable news networks did not cover it. Only Fox News took the speech live, while CNN and MSNBC both opted to continue airing their regularly scheduled programs. This marks the second time in recent weeks that the latter two networks have declined to cover Trump’s campaign-style rallies live; however, the previous instance was during the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which Trump famously chose not to attend.
The decision to turn cameras away from the president may mark a turning point in how the media covers Trump. After the 2016 election, many critics credited Trump’s victory in part to the endless free airtime cable news channels gave him during the campaign.
Today in Trump’s America: Staff defection
Coming into Friday, Trump seems to be having issues with several members of his top staff.
A new report from the New York Times describes a major blowup between the president and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a recent meeting of Trump’s Cabinet. The president was reportedly furious that Nielsen had not done enough to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Trump was also reportedly angry that Nielsen had resisted his proposal to separate immigrant parents from their children at the border. According to the Times, Nielsen drafted, but did not submit, a resignation letter following Trump’s tirade.
Meanwhile, another top Trump staffer finds herself apologizing to the family of ailing Arizona Sen. John McCain after making inappropriate remarks about his death, according to the Hill. Special assistant Kelly Sadler reportedly dismissed McCain’s opposition to Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, by saying, “It doesn’t matter; he’s dying anyway.”
McCain has been out of Washington recently, as he has brain cancer. Sadler reportedly called McCain’s daughter, Fox News personality Meghan McCain, to apologize for the comment.
Capitol Hill happenings: Rep. Devin Nunes goes to war with Trump’s Justice Department
A new feud has pitted House Intelligence Committee Chair and Trump loyalist Devin Nunes against Trump’s own Justice Department over information pertaining to a confidential intelligence source.
Nunes is trying to get the Department of Justice to hand over documents about a longtime FBI and CIA spy who is supposedly tied up in the investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia.
The intelligence community has a practice of not revealing sources, saying that handing over information about a source could potentially put that source in danger. Nunes isn’t having that and is now threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress — an odd move given Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation and has no oversight of the matter.
Now the standoff between Nunes and the Justice Department will likely come down to which of the two Trump decides to align himself with. At the moment, Trump appears to be backing his Justice Department and the intelligence community.
And the rest…
John Bolton: The hawkish national security adviser has finally found a war he doesn’t want to fight. Bolton reportedly wants to scrap the White House’s top cybersecurity job, even as the U.S. continues to learn more and more about the role Russian hacking played in the 2016 election.
Cohen’s not alone: Politico reported on the vast web of Trumpland players who are cashing in with special interests by portraying themselves as Trump whisperers.