Donald Trump clenches his fist yesterday in front of the Warsaw Uprising Monument on Krasinski Square. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Just seven weeks ago, in Saudi Arabia, President Trump assiduously avoided using the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Not long ago, he vociferously attacked Barack Obama for not uttering those very words. But pragmatists in the administration, such as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, warned the commander-in-chief that this rhetoric is counterproductive.

The term made a comeback in Poland on Thursday. “We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail,” Trump said in Warsaw.

Comparing the president’s two major foreign policy speeches reveals the extent to which the Trump Doctrine is forever in flux and offers a window into the internal maneuvering to define it.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump told Arab leaders in Riyadh. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people.”

In Warsaw, though, Trump referred 10 separate times to a clash of civilizations. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he told a crowd that included people who had been bused in by the ruling party to cheer for him. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” The president concluded by confidently declaring that “the West will never, ever be broken”: “Our values will prevail, our people will thrive and our civilization will triumph.”

Compare that to his message in Riyadh: “America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust. … We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.”

— Trump has also changed his tune on NATO since the last trip. In May, he caught McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis off guard by nixing language from a carefully prepared speech that reaffirmed the United States commitment to mutual defense obligations under Article 5 of the NATO charter. Ahead of the speech at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, senior administration officials told reporters that Trump would deliver the lines. His decision to cut them was seen as a win for White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon and senior adviser Stephen Miller.

Yesterday, the president delivered the line that these aides had wanted him to say in May: “The United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5.”

— Boiling it down, McMaster got what he wanted from Trump on NATO this time but not on “radical Islamic terrorism.” And vice versa for Bannon and Miller.

This reflects the messiness of the ongoing war for the soul of Trumpism that rages on inside the administration, pitting the nationalists against the globalists. Neither faction is likely to ever decisively win out over the other. Trump, who puts a premium on keeping his options open, seems determined to never let himself get defined as one or the other for very long. Just as we saw throughout his campaign, he enjoys not just being unpredictable and improvisational but having competing power centers underneath him. Because he lacks many core convictions, he’s ideologically flexible.

That means that proximity to power matters far more in this White House than normal ones. Fairly or not, Trump has earned a reputation for doing whatever the last person he talks with suggests when trying to make up his mind. That makes facetime especially valuable.

H.R. McMaster arrives in the Rose Garden last Friday to watch a joint statement by Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

— Trump’s top aides are divided on a host of big questions, including whether to consider scaling back sanctions on Russia. Mattis and McMaster have hawkish views while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has seemed more open to it. Two fresh news stories reflect other battle lines:

The military’s ability to determine troop levels in Afghanistan has secretly been curtailed. The Wall Street Journal’s Dion Nissenbaum reports: “A few days after (Trump) gave his Pentagon chief the unilateral authority last month to send thousands of American troops to Afghanistan at his own discretion, the White House sent classified guidance that effectively limits the number of forces. The memo, sent by (McMaster) to a small group of administration officials, said that the president would let (Mattis) send no more than 3,900 troops to Afghanistan without coming back to confer with the White House. … The conflicting messages reflect divisions that have surfaced in the Trump administration as it tries to develop a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan.”

Tera Dahl, deputy chief of staff at the National Security Council and a former columnist for Breitbart, is leaving the White House. BuzzFeed’s John Hudson reports: “Dahl entered the White House with strong ties to members of the nationalist wing … including Bannon, whose website she wrote for, and NSC aide Sebastian Gorka, whose wife worked with Dahl at the Council on Global Security, a now-defunct counterterrorism think tank that warned about the dangers of Islam. During her time at the White House, Dahl became a key ally of Keith Kellogg, the NSC’s chief of staff who maintains a strong personal relationship with the president. White House aides said tensions between Kellogg and McMaster have created an uncomfortable working environment at the NSC … One source said (Dahl) is likely to be nominated to a position at the US Agency for International Development.”

Trump chats with French President Emmanuel Macron before a family photo at the G-20 summit this morning. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

— All of this contributes to the mixed messages that Trump sometimes sends. Consider his posture on Russia:

In his scripted speech, which went through the traditional vetting process of the national security apparatus, Trump was firm: “We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in the Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran, and instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and defense of civilization itself.”

In his unscripted press conference, however, Trump refused to endorse the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in last year’s election. “Nobody really knows for sure,” he insisted, noting that the same agencies also thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “They were wrong and it led to a mess,” he said.

— When presidential pronouncements appear to be all over the place, they pack less of a punch. That’s why everyone pays so much attention to Trump’s Twitter feed. It is the clearest window into what he truly thinks. Ahead of his meeting with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, the president posted a stream of tweets this morning that were clearly not written by staff:

My experience yesterday in Poland was a great one. Thank you to everyone, including the haters, for the great reviews of the speech!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2017

Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2017

I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss.#G20Summit#USA🇺🇸

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2017

I will represent our country well and fight for its interests! Fake News Media will never cover me accurately but who cares! We will #MAGA!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2017

TWELVE TAKES ON TRUMP’S WARSAW SPEECH:

  • Post columnist Eugene Robinson: “Viewing the fight against terrorism as some kind of civilizational Armageddon is wrong. Trump seems to view himself as the West’s defender against 1.6 billion Muslims, almost all of whom want only to live in peace. We need a capable president, not a crusader in chief.”
  • The Post’s Editorial Board: “Trump wants us to defend ‘our values.’ Which ones?”
  • Walter Shapiro for The Guardian: “Trump’s warning about ‘western civilisation’ evokes holy war. About all that was missing from Trump’s Warsaw war cry was a rousing chorus of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’”
  • Bloomberg’s Marc Champion: “Trump Just Redefined Western Values Around Faith, Not Democracy.”
  • The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart: “When the president says being Western is the essence of America’s identity, he’s in part defining America in opposition to some of its own people.”
  • WorldViews’s Ishaan Tharoor: “Trump appealed to the blood-and-soil nationalism and Christian triumphalism that has defined his political brand and that of the far right in Europe. … The most glaring omission in Trump’s speech — though no longer surprising — was of any discussion of democracy or human rights.”
  • The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board calls it “Trump’s defining speech”: “Six months into his first term of office, Mr. Trump finally offered the core of what could become a governing philosophy. It is a determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition.”
  • Politico’s Annie Karni: “Trump hands a victory to Polish nationalists. Historians and observers say the president’s decision to break with tradition by skipping a trip to Warsaw’s Holocaust memorial plays into the ruling party’s message.”
  • The Associated Press’s Ken Thomas: “Trump’s Poland visit a study in breaking norms.”
  • The libertarian Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch: “The president’s Warsaw speech takes a paranoid view of internal threats while downplaying the central role that international exchange has played in the rise of the West.”
  • Breitbart’s story about the speech, meanwhile, compares Trump to “another Western leader of indomitable resolve: Winston Churchill.”
  • Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said it was Trump’s best speech and called it Reaganesque on Fox News.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for the opening day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg. (Lukas Barth/European Pressphoto Agency)

— Russia has ramped up its intelligence-gathering efforts inside the United States, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, who believe Moscow feels “emboldened” by the lack of retaliation for interfering in last year’s election. CNN’s Pamela Brown, Shimon Prokupecz and Evan Perez report: “Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business … Russia is believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. [Officials] say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying … Fueling law enforcement officials’ concern is that the Russians are targeting people in the US who can provide access to classified information … In some cases, Russian spies have tried to gain employment at places with sensitive information as part of their intelligence-gathering efforts, the sources say. But that hasn’t stopped the State Department from issuing the temporary duty visas — also known as TDY — to the suspected Russian intelligence officers.”

— Hackers are targeting the computer networks of companies operating nuclear facilities in the United States and other countries, according to a new joint report from the DHS and the FBI, which was given an urgent “amber alert” classification.The New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth reports: “Among the companies targeted was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which operates a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan. … The report did not indicate whether the cyberattacks were an attempt at espionage — such as stealing industrial secrets — or part of a plan to cause destruction. There is no indication that hackers had been able to jump from their victims’ computers into the control systems of the facilities, nor is it clear how many facilities had been successfully targeted. … The hackers appeared determined to map out computers networks for future attacks … But investigators have not been able to analyze the malicious ‘payload’ of the hackers’ code, which would offer more detail into what they were after. In most cases, the attacks targeted people — industrial control engineers who have direct access to systems that, if damaged, could lead to an explosion, fire or a spill of dangerous material.”

— A federal judge ruled that grandparents are not exempt from the Trump administration’s amended travel ban following the Supreme Court’s decision on the order. Matt Zapotosky reports: “U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson wrote that he would not ‘usurp the prerogative of the Supreme Court,’ and if those suing over the ban wanted relief, they should take their claims there. … Neal Katyal, a lawyer for those challenging the ban, noted on Twitter the ruling offered no decision on the ‘merits of dispute,’ but simply said it was the Supreme Court’s place to decide. … The matter is likely bound for higher courts.”

— House Majority Whip Steve Scalise underwent another surgery to manage an infection in his wounds, his medical team said last night. The Louisiana Republican “remains in serious condition” one day after being readmitted to the ICU. His doctors declined to give additional details but said Scalise “tolerated the procedure well.” (Clarence Williams)

  • A man was arrested for threatening a staffer at Sen. Jeff Flake’s office in Tucson. Referencing last month’s shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice where Scalise was wounded, the suspect reportedly said: “You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim. That last guy tried, but he needed better aim.” (Tucson News Now)
  • A federal judge ordered a Pennsylvania man accused of bringing a military-style rifle to the Trump International Hotel in May to undergo a psychiatric examination. (Spencer S. Hsu)
  • A Connecticut man admitted to spray-painting an elementary school with anti-Trump graffiti in an attempt to frame Democrats. Steven Marks told police that he wrote the at-times profane messages out of “anger towards liberals and they are breaking major laws everyday and being disrespectful towards our government.” (Hartford Courant)

Protesters gather for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. (Amanda Voisard For The Washington Post)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. A Post poll found that around one in three Washingtonians has marched in protest against Trump at least once since January, including more than half of white residents. High-income residents are among the most likely Trump protesters this year. (Paul Schwartzman and Emily Guskin)
  2. Trump is slated to appoint Georgia Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald as CDC director. Fitzgerald, 70, an obstetrician-gynecologist who has led that state’s public health department since 2011, will succeed Tom Frieden. “Within CDC, Fitzgerald’s actions will be watched closely to discern whether she will allow politics to overrule science,” Lena H. Sun reports. “She condemned graphic antiabortion ads aired by her GOP opponent in her first bid for elected office, saying the government had no business dictating abortion policy.”
  3. A new CDC report found the number of opioid prescriptions written by health-care providers has dropped for the very first time since the start of the modern drug crisis, falling more than 13 percent between 2012 and 2015. Still, researchers are expressing tempered optimism about the results, noting that prescription rates still triple levels from the late ’90s and quadruple the numbers of some European countries. (Lenny Bernstein)
  4. Hobby Lobby’s $3 million fine for smuggling Iraqi artifacts is casting a shadow over the Museum of the Bible. Hobby Lobby President Steve Green chairs the board of the museum, which is set to open near the Mall in November. (Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey)
  5. Research by Scottish scientists indicates that Mars’s surface is covered with a “toxic cocktail” of chemicals capable of destroying living organisms. In related news, Mike Pence pledged yesterday that the United States would send astronauts to Mars. (The Guardian/CNN)
  6. Overriding the Republican governor’s veto, Illinois lawmakers passed their first budget in two years. The state had fallen $15 billion behind on bills and its credit rating teetered on the brink of junk status. (Chicago Tribune)
  7. Prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered closing arguments yesterday in Joe Arpaio’s trial for contempt. The former Phoenix-area sheriff is accused of purposely flouting a court injunction on conducting immigration-enforcement operations. A judge will now decide. (The Arizona Republic)
  8. Fox Business Network host Charles Payne has been suspended due to sexual harassment allegations. A political analyst for the network claims that she was coerced into a sexual relationship with him. Corporate is investigating. (LA Times)
  9. A New York hospital offered to admit Charlie Gard. New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center said that they could accommodate the terminally ill child if safe transportation methods from Britain could be secured. (Lindsey Bever and Alex Horton)
  10. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into a Vegas trip that French President Emmanuel Macron took as economy minister last year. The prosecutor is investigating possible “favoritism” for the trip that Macron used to boost French tech startups. (AP)
  11. A Delta Airlines flight from Seattle to Beijing was forced to turn back after a passenger attacked a flight attendant. The passenger was subdued, and a Delta spokesperson said that there was no indication the incident represented a national security threat. (Travis M. Andrews)
  12. The family of a former NFL player accused of killing his mother blames football for making him violent. De’von Hall’s uncle said of his increasingly erratic behavior over the years, “He turned into something that became vicious, and that was the sport he was in. The more vicious, the more accolades you get.” (Des Bieler)
  13. Microsoft began its latest round of layoffs. The company said that thousands of jobs will be cut, mostly in the sales department, but it declined to confirm reports that put the exact figure around 3,000 jobs. (Hayley Tsukayama)
  14. QVC and Home Shopping Network have agreed to a merger. The parent firm of QVC will buy the remaining 62 percent of HSN that it does not already own. (Sintia Radu)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laughs during a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday for Exit 30 on Interstate 65 in Bowling Green, Ky. (Austin Anthony/Daily News via AP)

HEALTH-CARE LATEST:

— Mitch McConnell suggested that he would work with Senate Democrats to shore up ACA insurance markets if a repeal bill does not pass. Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein report: “The remarks, made at a Rotary Club lunch in Glasgow, Ky., represent a significant shift for the veteran legislator. While he had raised the idea last week that Republicans may have to turn to Democrats if they cannot pass their own bill, his words mark the first time he has explicitly raised the prospect of shoring up the ACA. … McConnell on Thursday acknowledged how difficult it is proving to craft an alternative that can satisfy the GOP’s conservative and centrist camps … His suggestion that he and his colleagues might instead try to bolster the insurance exchanges created under the ACA is at odds with Republican talking points that they are beyond repair.

— The timetable for a possible vote on a new Senate health-care bill is getting pushed back again: McConnell now hopes for a vote in two weeks. Politico’s Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey report: “There is unlikely to be a consensus new draft of the bill next week until there’s tentative buy-in from the vast majority of the 52-member caucus.”

— The same day that McConnell opened the door to bipartisan collaboration, Ted Cruz expressed support for “repeal, then replace.” (Everyone, including the Texas senator, knows there are not the votes to do this.) Sean Sullivan reports: “[Cruz] said Thursday that he agrees with President Trump: If Republican senators are unable to pass a bill to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act, the Senate should vote on a narrower bill to simply repeal the law and work on a replacement later … Cruz said such a repeal should be delayed ‘either a year or two years’ to give lawmakers time to work on a replacement … Cruz, who has advocated for a ‘clean repeal’ in the past, said he still believes the Senate can pass some version of the sweeping bill to repeal and replace the ACA … ‘I believe we can get to yes,” said Cruz. ‘I don’t know if we will.’”

— In his first town hall since coming out against McConnell’s original health-care bill, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) clarified that he would “not necessarily” vote against the final proposal. David Weigel reports: “Moran, the only Republican senator holding unscreened town halls on health care this week, revealed just how much his party is struggling to pass a bill — and even how to talk about it … Moran announced the Palco event with a full week’s notice, and Kansas’s pro-ACA groups mobilized to fill it … The result was a polite but heated round of questions that Moran occasionally chose not to answer … He did not describe the task facing Republicans as repeal; it was ‘repair, replace, whatever language people are using.’ Pressed by activists and voters, Moran said that he did not want to cut back Medicaid.”

— Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has become more adamant about the inclusion of an amendment, crafted by Cruz, that would expand insurance options by allowing plans to skirt certain ACA requirements. Lee’s spokesperson said: “The entire bill is unacceptable without the Consumer Freedom Option.” (Axios’ Caitlin Owens)

— Amid the squabbling, Sen. Patrick Toomey offered a simple reason for why Republicans have struggled so significantly to reach a consensus on health care: no one thought Trump would win. Paul Kane has a really smart column: “‘Look, I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn’t, so we didn’t expect to be in this situation,’ the Pennsylvania Republican said … Every important Republican leader expected Democrat Hillary Clinton to win, and that left Republicans confused and paralyzed about how to proceed when she didn’t. That in turn led to a rushed initial decision, made in consultation with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and … McConnell during the presidential transition, to push for a full repeal of the 2010 health law and then set up a two- to three-year window in which Republicans would pass bills to replace it. We all know how that has gone so far.”

— The Ohio House decided not to override Gov. John Kasich’s veto of a bill that would have frozen expanded Medicaid enrollment. The bill, if enacted, would have paused the state’s expanded enrollment beginning in July 2018, which Kasich estimated would cost 500,000 low-income residents their insurance within 18 months. (The Columbus Dispatch)

— As the GOP legislation remains in limbo, Democrats are wrestling with a more radical idea: universal coverage. Weigel reports: “Democrats, who are largely using the week-long recess to rally opposition to the Republicans’ deeply unpopular attempt to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, are now facing a political challenge of their own: increasing pressure from their liberal base to embrace universal, government-funded health-care coverage … Republicans have noticed — and have begun to attack. Facing a widespread voter backlash over the House and Senate repeal bills, they’re trying to make universal coverage a political anchor for Democrats by asking whether they can seriously defend trillions of dollars in new taxes and spending.”

A souvenir kiosk in Moscow depicts Putin holding a baby-faced Trump. (Mladen Antonov/Getty Images)

MORE ON THE BEAR IN THE WOODS:

— There might not be an American note-taker when Trump and Putin hold their first bilateral meeting today on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. Axios’ Jonathan Swansays there will likely only be six people in the room: the two leaders, Rex Tillerson, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and translators.

— This means Fiona Hill, a strong Putin critic and senior National Security Council official for Russia, would not be in the meeting. “It would be very unusual for someone in Hill’s position not to participate in such a meeting,” Elizabeth Saunders and Joshua Tucker write on Monkey Cage. (They outline several key items that could — or should — be touched upon during the session.)

— Congressional Democrats demanded Trump confront Putin on the subject of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, saying in a letter yesterday that failure to do so would be a “severe dereliction” of the duties of the presidency. Lawmakers stressed that it is “critical that you set the agenda from the start and make absolutely clear that Russian interference in our democracy will in no way be tolerated. President Putin must understand this can never happen again.” (Karoun Demirjian)

— “Whatever the outcome of the encounter on Friday … the Kremlin is betting that Mr. Putin can stage-manage the event so that he comes out looking like the stronger party,” the New York Times’ Neil MacFarquhar reports. “If nothing much emerges from the meeting, analysts said, the Kremlin can repeat the standard Russian line that Mr. Trump is weak, hamstrung by domestic politics. But if Mr. Trump agrees to work with Mr. Putin …  he will also look weak while Mr. Putin can claim that he reconstructed the relationship. ‘It is a win-win situation for Putin,’ said [political analyst] Andrei V. Kolesnikov.”

— Fred Kaplan warns on Slate that the risk in today’s meeting is that Putin has a goal and a policy, while Trump doesn’t but seems eager to come home with something: “That’s when diplomacy can be most risky. Risk sometimes pays off, but only if the leader taking the risk knows the dimension of the risk—the range of possible costs and benefits—and even more, knows where he’d like the conversation and the subsequent actions to go. Trump hasn’t thought this through.”

— “You can regard the relationship of Putin and [Trump] as purely odd and possibly corrupt, or you can see in it and in them a classic tale of affections strangled and at times set free,”writes Times columnist Frank Bruni. “It’s irrepressible, international — part ‘Clueless,’ part ‘Casablanca.’ They have gone through all the usual phases of courtship. They have plumbed all the customary emotions.At least Trump has. To be brutally honest and risk bruising his quivering heart, this has been a lopsided affair,unless you count Putin’s meddling in the 2016 election as the purest possible expression of ardor and fidelity, which I suppose you can. … Now, at long last, they come face to face, and while it’s uncertain what Trump will say, it’s clear what Trump has done: fashioned himself in the swaggering, blustering image of his beloved. It’s ‘Grease.’ And it’s gross.”

— The meeting will be a “testosterone-fueled face-off” between two leaders who have staked their appeal on projecting masculinity, the Times’ Susan Chira explains. Putin — much like Trump — tapped into a long-held Russian preoccupation with being perceived as strong, said Soviet history expert William Taubman. “When they get drunk, Russians will often say, ‘You respect me, don’t you?’” he added.

“Meetings between world leaders have often been seen through the lens of masculinity, [and] that holds particularly true for encounters between Russian and American leaders,” Susan explains. Before John F. Kennedy’s first meeting with [Nikita] Khrushchev, [he was warned]: ‘Your job, Mr. President, is to make sure Khrushchev believes you are a man who will fight’ … But Kennedy was rattled by their encounter; Khrushchev dismissed him as such a weakling that he went on to miscalculate Kennedy’s resolve in the Cuban missile crisis … Even with the long history of swagger, this Russian-American meeting stands out. ‘It’s as old as American politics and yet it feels new in this iteration,’ said [professor Michael Kimmel].  ‘To me, that’s the metaphor, the WWE. It’s two hyper-idealized versions of masculinity getting into the ring.’”

MASKED PROTESTERS, RIOT POLICE CLASH IN HAMBURG: 

— German police in riot gear clashed Thursday with thousands of anti-capitalist protesters in Hamburg, using water cannons and pepper spray to drive away activists who massed near the site of the G-20 summit – some of whom wore face masks and chanted “Welcome to hell.” Isaac Stanley-Becker reports: “The skirmish followed an hour-long standoff adjacent to Hamburg’s harbor, where protesters were attempting to move from a public square toward the downtown conference center … When police attempted to separate a group of ‘black bloc’ activists from the roughly 12,000 people who had assembled to protest inequality and economic greed, authorities met a hail of rocks and bottles. As police rushed the group, some of the protesters fled. But a phalanx of [activists] held their ground. Armored vehicles spewing powerful volleys of water rolled toward the protesters. Smoke bombs detonated in the crowd.” Authorities said they made some arrests — though they did not have a final tally — and said 15 officers were injured in the skirmish. They expect an estimated 100,000 protesters to converge in the city — and have deployed 20,000 officers in the largest police operation in Hamburg’s history. In some parts of the city, a no-fly zone is in effect. 

— White House officials reportedly waited too long to book Trump’s accommodations for the summit, which was scheduled in early 2016. BuzzFeed reports that by the time his aides began calling for reservations, every luxury hotel in the surrounding area was booked — forcing Hamburg to open its Senate guesthouse to the U.S. president. (If you think this story sounds familiar, you’re not wrong — in February, Tillerson suffered a similar housing hiccup before a G-20 session with foreign ministers, and was forced to stay in a sanitarium.)

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST WATCH:

— Federal ethics chief Walter Shaub Jr., an outspoken Trump critic who has frequently sparred with the new administration, announced Thursday that he is resigning from his position as the director of the Office of Government Ethics. Rosalind S. Helderman and Matea Gold report: “[Shaub] made no reference to those clashes in a resignation letter … Instead, he praised the work of federal ethics officials, pointedly noting their commitment to ‘protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.’ In an interview, Shaub said he was not leaving under pressure, adding that no one in the White House or the administration pushed him to leave. But the ethics chief said he felt that he had reached the limit of what he could achieve in this administration, within the current ethics framework. ‘It’s clear that there isn’t more I could accomplish,’ he said.” Shaub’s term was scheduled to end in six months. He is slated to take a new job as senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center, where he said he hopes to find bipartisan solutions to strengthening government ethics programs at both federal and state levels.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tours an elementary school in Prince William County. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

TRUMP’S AGENDA:

— Attorneys general for 19 states are filing a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying an overhaul of rules to erase the debt of student borrowers who have been defrauded by colleges.Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports: “The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday, accuses the Education Department … of violating federal law by halting updates to a regulation known as the borrower defense to repayment. The rule, which dates to the 1990s, wipes away federal loans for students whose colleges used illegal or deceptive tactics to get them to borrow money to attend. The Obama administration revised it last year to simplify the claims process and shift more of the cost of discharging loans onto schools. Before the changes could take effect July 1, DeVos suspended them last month and said she would convene a new rulemaking committee to rewrite the borrower defense regulation … Proponents of the revised rule were livid that DeVos made a unilateral decision without soliciting or receiving input from stakeholders or the public.”

— “The Interior Department, intent on boosting oil and gas production on federal lands, issued an order on Thursday designed to speed up the permitting process for drilling,” Dino Gradoni and Juliet Eilperin report. “Zinke said the aim of his order is to untangle the bureaucratic knot so the [Bureau of Land Management] can review permit applications within 30 days, as mandated by statute. He also ordered oil and gas lease sales be held in each state every quarter … Still, Zinke cautioned Thursday that working out the kinks of such a speedy approval system would take time. ‘This is not going to be done overnight,’ he told reporters on a call. Environmental groups criticized the move as yet another unnecessary handout to oil and gas companies, which already have considerable access to federal lands.”

— “The United States and other major economies are nearing a compromise on climate change, one of the thorniest issues facing world leaders at the G-20 summit in Germany,” Politico’s Andrew Restuccia reports. “After days of preliminary talks, G-20 negotiators are increasingly hopeful they can settle on a joint communique in which the United States underscores its intent to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement while the other nations emphasize their support for the pact, according to a senior diplomat involved in the discussions.”

— Some sanctuary cities have “boldly asserted” that they will not comply with the DOJ’s request that local authorities provide federal agents with information on residents’ immigration status. Maria Sacchetti reports: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions had given 10 state and local governments until June 30 to prove that they share information with federal immigration officials — or risk losing some Department of Justice grant money this year. Federal law bars localities from creating policies that restrict the sharing of immigration-related information. But some local officials say the law does not require them to collect details such as a person’s immigration status … Sessions said the department is reviewing the jurisdictions’ letters. ‘It is not enough to assert compliance, the jurisdictions must actually be in compliance,’ he said in the statement.”

— The Trump administration told a federal judge that it plans to store information collected by the voter fraud panel on White House computers monitored by one of the vice president’s staffers. Spencer S. Hsu reports: “The executive order in May creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity stated that the panel would be funded and staffed through the General Services Administration — a federal agency subject to privacy requirements. But that arrangement has shifted, according to [Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach’s [court] filing. ‘At this time, there are no plans for the General Services Administration to collect or store any voter registration or other elections-related data for the Commission,’ Kobach said in response to questions from the court.”

— ProPublica, “Election Experts See Flaws in Trump Voter Commission’s Plan to Smoke Out Fraud,” by Jessica Huseman: “[Vice President’s Pence’s] office has confirmed the White House commission on voter fraud intends to run the state voter rolls it has requested against federal databases to check for potential fraudulent registration. Experts say the plan is certain to produce thousands of false positives that could distort the understanding of the potential for fraud … ‘This just demonstrates remarkable naivety on how this voter data can be used,’ said David Becker, [of the] Center for Election Innovation & Research. ‘There’s absolutely no way that incomplete data from some states … can be used to determine anything.’ While [a Pence spokesman] would not say specifically which databases the rolls would be run against, [a recent report said] the commission may seek to check the names against the federal government’s database of non-citizens. A 2012 attempt by Florida to do that resulted in many legitimate voters being falsely flagged because they had the same names as people in the federal database. Gov. Rick Scott scrapped the effort and eventually apologized. Comparing names nationwide could result in far more false positives.”

— Politico, “CNN parent’s $85B deal at little risk from Trump,” by Steven Overly and Margaret Harding McGill: “Trump has only limited tools for venting his often-expressed fury at CNN, even as his administration weighs whether to approve AT&T’s bid to purchase the network’s parent company, Time Warner. … Bannon has pushed the idea of blocking the merger … But … many industry observers say Trump’s Justice Department has no obvious antitrust arguments for blocking AT&T’s $85 billion deal.”

— National security officials fear that the Trump administration is placing new restrictions on who can access sensitive information to smoke out leakers. Politico’s Ali Watkins and Josh Dawsey report: “Officials at various national security agencies also say they are becoming more concerned that the administration is carefully tracking what they’re doing and who they’re talking to — then plotting to use them as a scapegoat or accuse them of leaks. One U.S. official voiced concern over even talking to their superiors about a benign call from a reporter. The agency this official works for had started limiting staff’s access to information, they said, and it would make it far easier to figure out who was talking to people in the media. There was suspicion, the official said, that the agency was even tracking what they printed, to keep tabs on what information they were accessing.”

— A left-leaning nonprofit in Indiana is suing to learn details of then-President-elect Trump’s deal with furnace and air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier. Danielle Paquette reports: “[Kerwin] Olson, director of the Citizens Action Coalition, … filed a public records request in December for communications between President Trump’s team and former Indiana governor Mike Pence’s office regarding Carrier … But six months have passed, and state officials still haven’t given the group any emails, letters or minutes of their meetings. So now, Olson said, CAC is suing Pence’s successor, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), for what he described as an effort to keep residents in the dark.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) speaks at a recent hearing. (Alex Brandon/AP)

MIDTERM WATCH:

— The Atlantic, “Will the ‘Trump 10’ Pay a Price in 2018?” by Ronald Brownstein: “Apparently, no one has informed Bob Casey and Claire McCaskill that they should be running scared. Casey and McCaskill are among the 10 Democratic senators facing reelection next year in states that [Trump] carried in 2016, often by commanding margins. After that performance, many in both parties assumed they would be the Senate Democrats most vulnerable to White House pressure. [But] instead of being tugged toward Trump, both Casey and McCaskill have been propelled toward resolute resistance of his agenda. In that, they are the rule, not the exception, for the Trump 10. It’s also framing what could be the pivotal question in next year’s Senate midterm elections: Will these Democrats pay a price for consistently opposing Trump in states that voted for him only last year?”

— Republicans are struggling to recruit good candidates. Politico’s Kevin Robillard and Burgess Everett report: “Rep. Ann Wagner’s decision not to challenge (McCaskill) … is the latest in a string of thanks-but-no-thanks moves from candidates Washington Republicans thought were locks to run for Senate next year. [The] red-tinged Senate map means there are few races where Republicans believe they need a single exceptional, heaven-and-earth-moving recruit to win in 2018 … Yet top Republican strategists privately admit they are intensely focused on two people: Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, as an alternative challenger to McCaskill whom many Republicans now insist they prefer, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott … If those two men pass, Republicans concede their 2018 recruiting class could quickly go from solid to disappointing.”

— “Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen announced today she is officially running for U.S. Senate, culminating weeks of deliberations that — once again — began with a phone call from Nevada’s political godfather Harry Reid.” The Nevada Independent’s Megan Messerly reports: “[Rosen] will not seek re-election to her seat in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District but will instead pursue a bid against Republican Sen. Dean Heller, considered the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate … Rosen, 59, said that Reid reached out to her at the end of May and asked her to consider running for Senate … Rosen said that Heller was the reason she decided to run for Senate instead of seeking a second term, criticizing his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, allow states to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) heads from her Capitol office to a lunch with other senators. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

THE FUTURE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY:

— The New York Times, “Senator Kamala Harris’s Voice Is Amplified by Interruptions,” by Matt Flegenheimer: “The casting call came early — the first of many unwelcome interruptions for Kamala Harris since November — consuming the Los Angeles nightclub where she was supposed to be celebrating an uncomplicated Senate victory. With the polls closed in nearly every other corner of the country, the giant TV above the dance floor left little doubt: [Trump] was almost certainly going to be president. A vacancy — standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, or at least one of them — had come open four to eight years ahead of schedule. And people had questions. ‘Literally everyone was essentially turning to her and asking … ‘What does this mean? What do we do?’ [recalled her campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez]. The sensation has perhaps grown familiar for Ms. Harris. Less than eight months later, California’s very junior senator has emerged as the latest iteration of a bipartisan archetype: the Great Freshman Hope, a telegenic object of daydreaming projection — justified or not — for a party adrift and removed from executive power.”

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), fresh off a trip to Afghanistan, questioned the Pentagon’s broader strategy in the region, saying that she is “not there on a troop increase.”Ed’O’Keefe reports: Warren “warned that the Trump administration is creating a “diplomatic vacuum” in Afghanistan by leaving key State Department posts unfilled at a time when a ‘whole-of-government strategy’ is needed to end the 16-year-old conflict. … ‘No one on the ground believes there is a military-only solution in Afghanistan. No one,’ she said … ‘The Trump administration needs to define what winning in Afghanistan is and how we get to that,’ the senator added.”

— Politico Magazine, “Andrew Cuomo Could Beat Trump … If He Can Win Over the Left First,” by David Freedlander: “Cuomo is a big-name politician who has long seemed an extremely unlikely national candidate — until now, when suddenly he’s seeming like a very likely one … Suddenly it seems that Americans are willing to pull the lever for a muscular, messy, rough-edged leader shouting for the common man, and suddenly the governor of New York is starting to show up on a lot of people’s lists … But if he runs, he’s got one big roadblock in his way first: The energy in the Democratic Party right now comes from a newly energized left. And the energized left, not to put too fine a point on it, hates Andrew Cuomo.

— Mark Penn, who managed Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign for the 2008 Democratic nomination, wrote a buzzy New York Times op-ed with Andrew Stein yesterday calling on Democrats to go “Back to the Center”“The path back to power for the Democratic Party today, as it was in the 1990s, is unquestionably to move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party … The last few years of the Obama administration and the 2016 primary season once again created a rush to the left. Identity politics, class warfare and big government all made comebacks. Candidates inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups have embraced sharply leftist ideas. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive.”

— The piece inspired furious pushback from the left:

  • For HuffPost, Daniel Marans wrote a piece entitled “It’s 2017. Democrats Should Really Just Stop Taking Mark Penn’s Advice”: “Taking advice from Penn about how to win elections is a little like turning to Phil Jackson for wisdom on how to win an NBA title. It was a decent idea in 1996, now, not so much.”
  • Former Bernie Sanders campaign operative Symone Sanders said on Twitter: “There are so many things wrong with this op-ed. First of all, the party never really left the center. That is part of the problem.
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) quipped in a tweet:“Hey, what does Mark Penn think the Democrats should do? Just kidding that guy is always wrong.”

— The Fix’s Philip Bump notes that the Democratic Party looks quite different now than it did in 1995, when Bill Clinton’s embrace of the center proved successful: “The Democratic Party that nominated Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic Party that nominated John Kerry in 2004. At that time, former Vermont governor Howard Dean’s embrace of single-payer health care was unusual and only 40 percent of Democrats supported same-sex marriage. Those things changed.”

A TV screen displays pictures of Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Nam. (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

— “The message behind the murder: North Korea’s assassination sheds light on chemical weapons arsenal,” by Joby Warrick: “In a case with a thousand plot twists, there has been but one constant in the murder investigation of [Kim Jong Un’s half brother], Kim Jong Nam: Nothing is ever what it seems. The victim himself … was traveling under false papers when he died and had to be identified using DNA. The two women accused of killing him turned out to be hired dupes, paid a few dollars to perform what they thought was a reality-TV stunt. Stranger still was the murder weapon, liquid VX, a toxin so powerful that a few drops rubbed onto the skin killed the victim in minutes, yet it failed to harm the two women who applied the poison with their bare hands. [For prosecutors], some of the mysteries behind [Nam’s death] will likely never be resolved. [But] in carrying out history’s first state-sponsored VX assassination in a country 3,000 miles from its borders, North Korea has demonstrated a new willingness to use its formidable arsenal of deadly toxins and poisons to kill or intimidate enemies on foreign soil.”

— “North Korea: The Rubicon is crossed,” column by Charles Krauthammer: “Across 25 years and five administrations, we have kicked the North Korean can down the road. We are now out of road … How many times must we be taught that Beijing does not share our view of denuclearizing North Korea? It prefers a divided peninsula, i.e., sustaining its client state as a guarantee against a unified Korea (possibly nuclear) allied with the West and sitting on its border. Nukes assure regime survival. That’s why the Kims have so single-mindedly pursued them … What are our choices? Trump has threatened that if China doesn’t help we’ll have to go it alone. If so, the choice is binary: acquiescence or war.”

Airmen working in the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

— “The watchers: Airmen who surveil the Islamic State never get to look away,” by Greg Jaffe: “While her partner stares at the video feed from an armed Air Force drone [in western Iraq], Courtney, [29], is sitting in a chilly cubicle, where purplish-pink overhead lights, designed to make the video stand out, give the room a feeling of perpetual dusk. It’s the start of another shift at this base outside Hampton, Va. … For more than three years, this has been Courtney’s war — 10 hours a day, four days a week, thousands upon thousands of hours of live video footage from Iraq and Syria. It is an existence characterized by long stretches of boredom and grim flashes of action as she helps guide pilots’ decisions on when to shoot and watches the last seconds of another person’s life. In some instances, the demands of urban combat … have meant taking shots even when analysts determine civilians are present. ‘Our suicide and suicidal ideation rates were way higher than the Air Force average; they were even higher than for those people who had deployed,’ said [one commander]. Air Force officials are just beginning to grapple with the long-term effects of this life. [But] for now, they mostly have questions …”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

After Trump attacked the press during his news conference with the Polish president:

A trashing of the American press corps and Intel community in Eastern Europe of all places. Could Putin have asked for anything more?

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) July 6, 2017

If Obama (or any Dem) had undercut U.S. intel agencies abroad, & trashed media outlet as fake, Repubs would pounce, & they’d have a point.

— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) July 6, 2017

If you’re just waking up, the president is on foreign soil attacking US intelligence patriots, the American free press & former presidents. pic.twitter.com/5AXyjwT7ag

— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) July 6, 2017

From the president of the Council on Foreign Relations:

Potus disparaging abroad of US media dilutes respect for American democracy & gives license to autocrats to crack down on their own media

— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) July 6, 2017

Trump also blamed Obama for Russia’s interference in last year’s election:

The cognitive dissonance required to blast Obama for not responding to something he won’t even accept to be true… https://t.co/G1nkD3A2kf

— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) July 6, 2017

The White House chose to emphasize the praise Trump received in Poland:

The official White House transcript of Trump’s Warsaw speech includes six of these interruptions –> pic.twitter.com/G6GS0LrUrX

— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 6, 2017

Trump and Merkel met again:

Their faces in this photo are amazing. via @AP_Imagespic.twitter.com/KyEEQfvxQp

— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 6, 2017

Merkel extended her hand first and then Trump shook it https://t.co/Wh8zv7ssmt

— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) July 6, 2017

Members of the press were treated to a surprising musical selection before Trump’s speech:

Current question on minds of WH traveling press in Krasinski Sq for Trump speech: Why are they blaring moody John Mayer music?

— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) July 6, 2017

A Democratic House member offered the president some “killer graphics” before his Putin meeting:

Dear @POTUS, we understand you don’t like to read & instead prefer “killer graphics.” Hopefully these pictures help you at the #G20Summit! pic.twitter.com/1BAoEBWTFR

— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) July 6, 2017

Russia refused to formally condemn North Korea’s missile launch in a U.N. resolution:

Imagine that, Russia is not our friend. Who knew? => https://t.co/dkzSYEVVhy

— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) July 7, 2017

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake responded to threats made at his state office:

There is no place for threats of violence in a democratic society. Ever. https://t.co/Xk2iNd7dc4

— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 7, 2017

Sen. Marco Rubio stated his disapproval of single-payer health care:

No one gets government-run health coverage except Marco Rubio’s mother pic.twitter.com/JO7SASarFZ

— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) July 6, 2017

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker responded to a Wired story mocking his Instagram account:

For those in the liberal media who don’t like my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, I have a simple response: Can I get you a beer? pic.twitter.com/0McVhygIUe

— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) July 6, 2017

From a New York Times reporter:

My single-issue platform for 2020: get reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” off television

— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) July 7, 2017

George W. Bush celebrated his 71st birthday:

Happy birthday to a great leader and a great man, George W. Bush. Wishing you the best from Austin. pic.twitter.com/6JCL62CXV5

— George P. Bush (@georgepbush) July 6, 2017

Happy birthday, Mr. President. pic.twitter.com/uCYTB3b509

— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) July 6, 2017

Happy 71st birthday, GWB! pic.twitter.com/o7HLyxHLAt

— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) July 6, 2017

Retweet to join me in wishing our 43rd President, George W. Bush, a happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/j4lFBLFNQx

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) July 6, 2017

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

— The New Yorker, “The U.S. Media’s Murky Coverage of Putin and Trump,” by Joshua Yaffa: “The Russian media is under nearly omnipresent pressure from numerous entities: political operatives in the Kremlin … media owners [who neuter coverage], and financial constraints … The result is that the space for independent, muckraking journalism has shrunk further. Yet, even given these many constraints, Russia is nevertheless home to a coterie of talented and self-motivated journalists, who produce work that is courageous and illuminating. I spoke to more than a half-dozen of them, all of whom found themselves in some way bemused, frustrated, or disappointed in the way that the U.S. press has covered Putin and Russia … On the whole, said [journalist] Mikhail Zygar[:] … ‘Putin seem to look much smarter than he is, as if he operates from some master plan.’ The truth, Zygar told me, ‘is that there is no plan—it’s chaos.’”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Maine’s governor suggests he lies to journalists ‘so they’ll write these stupid stories,’” from Amber Phillips: “It looks like Maine’s governor just admitted to doing something that the Russians are being investigated for: making up news to confuse reporters. And then he took it a step further by wishing news never existed. ‘I just love to sit in my office and make up ways so they’ll write these stupid stories because they are just so stupid, it’s awful,’ Gov. Paul LePage (R) told local radio WGAN-AM on Thursday … If that wasn’t shocking enough, he also said this: ‘The sooner the print press goes away, the better society will be.’”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Muslim activist Linda Sarsour’s reference to ‘jihad’ draws conservative wrath,” from Samantha Schmidt: “A lead organizer of the Woman’s March on Washington and one of the most high-profile Muslim activists in the country gave an impassioned speech last weekend that at first gained little attention … In her speech, Sarsour told a story from Islamic scripture about a man who once asked Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ‘What is the best form of jihad, or struggle? And our beloved prophet … said to him, ‘A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad.” … Sarsour [later] said she was advocating solely for peaceful, nonviolent dissent. But conservative media outlets accused the activist of urging Muslims to wage a holy war against the Trump administration.”

DAYBOOK:

Trump’s marquee event in Germany today, his meeting with Vladimir Putin, will take place at 3:45 p.m. local time. The rest of his day is filled with G-20 summit events, including a meeting with the Mexican president and a concert at Elbphilharmonie hall. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Visiting a coal plant yesterday in West Virginia, Energy Secretary Rick Perry offered an “alternative” interpretation of the most basic law of economics. “Here’s a little economics lesson: supply and demand,” he said. “You put the supply out there and the demand will follow.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

— Showers are possible in D.C. today, but they shouldn’t stick around too long. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Clouds are on the decrease, and we could see decent amounts of sun during the afternoon as high temperatures top out in the upper 80s to lower 90s. It’s perhaps the muggiest day of this forecast. We profusely sweat one last day (for now).”

— After a three-hour rain delay that did not include much actual rain, the Nationals lost to the Braves 5-2Chelsea Janes reports: “[The Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, fans and assorted media] waited through what was officially called a rain delay, a misnomer of biblical proportions for what could best be described as an antediluvian rain delay  — one endured long before any signs of flooding, or even heavy rain. It did drizzle for a few minutes, though.”

— William C. Morva was executed by the state of Virginia last night, after Gov. Terry McAuliffe denied last-minute requests for clemency. Ann E. Marimow reports: “McAuliffe, who is personally opposed to the death penalty, said he would not stop the execution because he is convinced Morva received a fair trial. The governor also dismissed claims Morva was experiencing delusions at the time of the [2006 murders of a sheriff’s deputy and an unarmed hospital security guard].”

Peter Hermann writes on the tragic story Malachi Yisrael, who became a construction engineer after years of convictions. Yisrael was shot and killed this week at the age of 43.

— Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appointed 10 new members to the state’s medical marijuana regulating agency. Ovetta Wiggins reports: “The commission has been criticized by state lawmakers, businesses and medical marijuana advocates for struggling to get the medical marijuana program off the ground and for potential missteps in awarding licenses to grow the drug.”

— “A generic-drug trade group is suing Maryland over a price-gouging law that is set to go into effect in October,” Ovetta Wiggins reports. “Maryland is the first state to give its attorney general the power to take legal action against drug companies that dramatically increase the price of off-patent or generic drugs.”

— “Two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in 2018 have raised a combined $700,000 this quarter, their campaigns said, an early indication that the race could be among the nation’s most expensive,” Jenna Portnoy reports.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Jennifer Sclafani, a linguist at Georgetown University, has studied Trump for two years and says he’s a “unique” politician because he doesn’t speak like one:

Ahead of the president’s meeting with Putin, MSNBC reviewed Trump’s contradictory statements about his relationship with the Russian leader:

Trump will meet with Putin on Friday. Does he have a relationship with Putin? Allow him to tell you. Watch this. pic.twitter.com/xyvYbg7jEO

— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 4, 2017

Even during his press conference with the Polish president yesterday, Trump still took time to beat up on the “fake news” media:

He also thanked Polish Americans for their support in last year’s election:

And he described the Nazi occupation as “tough”:

Introducing her husband in Poland, the first lady said, “People should be able to live their lives without fear”:

Awkward: the Polish first lady (briefly) passed over a handshake with Trump:

And that is only the latest in a series of uncomfortable interactions between Trump and foreign leaders:

The Post team explains “Kate’s Law,” a bill seeking to more harshly punish undocumented immigrants who reenter the country:

Taiwan’s giant panda celebrated her fourth birthday — with a cake and everything:

A Milwaukee police officer jumped into a lagoon to rescue a dog:

And, because it’s Friday, The Post offers an explanation on the Rob Kardashian-Blac Chyna saga:

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