Nikki Haley Peaces Out on UN Role: In a surprise announcement this morning, Haley resigned directly to the President. "She is somebody that gets it," said Trump in the Oval Office, seated beside Haley, announcing the news in a televised and impromptu meeting. "At the end of the year, Nikki will be leaving....You have done a fantastic job. We will miss you." For her part, Haley says she's leaving basically because it was "time." Trump said she told him about six months ago that she was looking to depart at the end of the year, feeling two years was an adequate amount of time to serve the role. One thing she told the press this morning that she won't be doing is running against Trump in 2020, but she will be campaigning for him. Trump said Haley has done big things to help the attractiveness of his job posting: "She's made it a very glamorous position." Here's all the latest news on Haley and what went down.
But Why Now? And Who Will Take Her Place: Just seems weird to me -- to announce it just before mid-terms. And apparently also caught senior White House and State Department officials off-guard, too. It's also awkward timing, if I might add, one day after the swearing-in of Justice Brett Kavanaugh for one of Trump's top female senior administration officials to step down. Haley, by the way, said she will stay on through the end of 2018. Trump says he will name her replacement within the next two or three weeks, but one contender is Dina Powell, who was formerly part of the administration as deputy national security adviser. Betsy Klein did a solid explainer of Powell last year that is worth a re-read. Trump apparently has a list of contenders to take the job.
JAVANKA Shout-Out: Another note from Haley's remarks in the Oval, she gave Melania Trump thanks for being "very, very kind to me." And then she she effusively praised Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. "They do a lot of things behind the scenes that I wish more people knew about," said Haley, "because we are a better country because they're in the administration." A little too thick maybe tho? "Jared is a hidden genius that no one understands." Also, look who was in the room ...
Also, I Love This Capture: Olivier Douliery of the AFP and Getty Images is one of my favorite White House photographers because I feel like he sees things that are unique and off the main radar. Today, he caught Ivanka's facial expression right before the start of the Haley announcement in the Oval Office. No joke, I honestly really wonder what she's thinking here. Because I have a hunch she's also very much up for and into the idea of being ambassador to the UN.
Credit: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Trump Vs. Hillary, Part I-Have-Lost-Count: During the Oval Office Haley announcement, Trump was asked by a reporter about something Hillary Clinton said in an interview with CNN''s Christiane Amanpour that aired yesterday. Clinton stated she felt the Kavanaugh swearing-in ceremony was "a political rally," and that "further undermined the image and integrity of the court." Trump's response to the comments: "I guess that's why she lost. She doesn't get it. She never did. I knew that a long time ago."
What Washington is Talking About: The Washington Post obtained the last known images of columnist Jamal Khashoggi stepping into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul; President Trump said of Khashoggi, "I don't like hearing about it and hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now nobody knows anything about it." Vice President Pence tweeted that, "Violence against journalists across the globe is a threat to freedom of the press & human rights"; and after the fight to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said "the country will be just fine."
What America is Talking About: A state of emergency has been declared in than 100 counties in Alabama and Florida ahead of Hurricane Michael, and Google announced it's shutting down Google+ after a Wall Street Journal report found the company failed to disclose a bug that could have effected as many as 500,000 users. The bug was discovered the same month the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and Google reportedly did not disclose over worries they could face regulation.
Reminder: Today is the last day to register to vote in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.
Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Utah have some registration deadlines today but also offer additional ways to register.
Poll of the Day: Opposition to Kavanaugh grew from 41% last month to 51% today, according to a CNN poll out Monday. Democrats saw the largest increase (63% to 91%), but opposition to Kavanaugh among women, independents, and men all grew. Republicans saw opposition fall from in the same time period, from 10% to 6%.
Connecting Some Dots: Following The New York Times' reporting on Trump family tax schemes, the Washington Post connected some dots and found the sell-off of Fred Trump's real estate holdings in 2004 was followed in 2005 by a Donald Trump spending spree. "For the first time, he was operating without the safety net of his late father Fred's real estate empire," the Post wrote, making $177.3 million from the sale of his father's holdings and spending $149 million. He spent cash on 14 properties, also financed projects through loans from the private banking arm at Deutsche, and since 2012, he's owed himself $50 million through a company he owns called Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC that's headquartered in Trump Tower.
Kanye West is Heading to the White House: Kanye West is expected to visit Trump and Jared Kushner at the White House Thursday to discuss job opportunities for ex-convicts, increasing manufacturing jobs in Chicago, prison reform and reducing gang violence and violence in Chicago, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. West told TMZ last week he wanted to bring Colin Kaepernick to the White House, so perhaps he, too, will be a topic of discussion as well?
Taylor Swift is Performing Tonight at the AMAs: It will be Swift's first public appearance since announcing she's voting for Democratic candidates in the midterms, and her first awards show performance since the 2016 Grammys when she performed "Out of the Woods" and criticized Kanye West during an acceptance speech (she did attend the Billboard Music Awards in May, where she won Top Female Artist and Reputation won Top Selling Album, but she did not perform).
I asked on Twitter if people thought Swift would make any sort of political statement at the show and most don't think she will.
Trump Likes TSwift "About 25% Less Now": When asked about the TSwift news yesterday, Trump told reporters, "I'm sure Taylor Swift has nothing or doesn't know anything about her (Marsha Blackburn). Let's say that I like Taylor's music about 25% less now, OK?"
Trump does appear to be a fan, or at least a parent who puts up with 1989 playing in the car. Melania Trump posted a short video on Facebook of her husband driving as "Blank Space" played in December 2014. And Trump has tweeted @taylorswift13 twice, thanking her for a "beautiful picture" in August 2012 (I'm not sure what he's referring to. If you do, email me at email@example.com), and calling her "terrific" in an October 2012 tweet congratulating her on co-hosting the Grammy nomination special.
Street Art Sighting: This "Love Music Hate Racism" mural, in support of a group by the same name, was spotted in London earlier this spring.