HE DID IT … ANITA KUMAR in SEOUL — “Trump takes historic step into North Korea with Kim Jong Un”: “President Donald Trump on Sunday took a step no other sitting American president had before, crossing into North Korea with its leader, Kim Jong Un — a theatrical gesture meant to kick start stalled nuclear negotiations between the two countries. …
“It was a made-for-TV moment for the reality show-groomed president that unfolded at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Trump approached the border from the south, while Kim approached from the north. The two met at the line demarcating the two countries, grinned and shook hands.
“‘It is good to see you again,’ Kim said through an interpreter. ‘I never expected to meet you in this place.’
“‘Big moment,’ Trump said. ‘Big progress.’
— WAPO’S SEUNG MIN KIM in PANMUNJOM, with SIMON DENYER in SEOUL: “Trump becomes first sitting president to set foot into North Korea”
— WHAT IT MEANS: It’s hard to imagine any other president taking a bold step like this, let alone warmly embrace a third-generation tyrant who starves and imprisons his own people. But Trump has silenced the doubters within his own party, while Democrats have largely embraced his diplomatic efforts with Kim because they’d rather he try that than threaten ye olde fire and fury.
It remains to be seen, of course, whether Kim is simply using Trump to advance his own agenda, or whether he genuinely believes, as he said today, “we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past and try to create a new future.” Even Trump sometimes seems aware of this; as he put it, “It’s just a step. It might be an important step, it might not.”
Trump also said, per pooler Jerome Cartillier of AFP, that he “would certainly extend the invite” to Kim Jong Un to the White House. Even with real progress on denuclearization — which we haven’t seen yet — that would probably be too much for most members of Congress. Pic of Trump and Kim at the border
ONE THING WE NOTICED: IVANKA TRUMP, the president’s daughter and adviser, has been much more prominent on this trip. She was seen hobnobbing with the likes of IMF chief Christine Lagarde at the G-20 in Osaka, gave an official White House readout, promoted her Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative and delivered a few remarks to troops at Osan Air Base. She also apparently crossed into North Korea with her husband Jared Kushner, a brief visit she described as “surreal.”
TRUMP has now left Seoul aboard Air Force One, per the White House pool, headed for home.
— @realDonaldTrump: “Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!”
Good Sunday morning. Blake Hounshell and Daniel Lippman here.
THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK AHEAD – MONDAY:Trump has lunch with VP Mike Pence. THURSDAY: Trump delivers remarks at the Salute to America on July 4th. FRIDAY: Trump travels to Bedminster, N.J.
2020 WATCH … THE KAMALA BUMP — via Steve Shepard: “New polling from Morning Consult, conducted starting at the end of the debate Thursday night and running through all of Friday, now has Kamala Harris in a dead heat for third place with Elizabeth Warren. Both senators are at 12 percent, behind only Joe Biden (33 percent) and Bernie Sanders (19 percent). It’s only a roughly day-long chunk of Morning Consult’s weekly tracking of the Democratic primary, and the next full update won’t be available until Tuesday morning.
“But, compared to the results from the week ending June 23, the post-debate data show Biden losing 5 points, while Harris had gained 6 points. Sanders and Warren were mostly steady, but there is a red flag for Bernie: He was the only major candidate to see a significant drop in his favorability, according to Morning Consult.”
— KAMALA’S MONEY MACHINE — Our colleague Chris Cadelago emails: “Kamala Harris, capitalizing on her debate-defining confrontation with Joe Biden, raised more than $425,000 over 24 hours at a series of fundraisers across California. Biden was also in the state raising money.
“Racing to meet the second quarter deadline today, Harris’ campaign raised another $2 million online in the first day after the debate, exceeding the $1.5 million she took in during the first day of launching her bid.”
— NYT’s Annie Karni and Jeremy W. Peters: “Privately, people close to the White House said they viewed Ms. Harris as ‘very dangerous’ and the hands-down winner of the debate on Thursday. Others said they hoped the debate would serve as a warning for Republicans — including those in the president’s inner circle — who have been too dismissive of Mr. Biden’s less seasoned rivals.” NYT
SUNDAY BEST — SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-N.J.) on BIDEN to CHUCK TODD on NBC’s “MEET THE PRESS”: “We have seen from the vice president over the last month is an inability to talk candidly about the mistakes he made, about things he could’ve done better, about how some of the decisions he made at the time in difficult context actually have resulted in really bad outcomes. And this, this bad culture where you can’t admit mistakes, when you can’t speak to your vulnerabilities and your imperfections; we all have them.
“But when it comes to difficult issues of race, if you can’t talk openly and honestly about your own development on these issues, I think it’s very hard to lead our country forward so that we can actually deal with our past and rise to a better common cause and common future. We have one destiny in this nation and right now the Vice President to me is not doing a good job at bringing folks together. In fact, and I’ve heard this from people across the country, he’s causing a lot of frustration and even pain with his words.”
— BOOKER also told CHUCK TODD that he doesn’t know if Biden is “up to the task” on racial issues.
— LARRY KUDLOW on China talks resuming — he spoke to CHRIS WALLACE on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: “Resuming the talks, as the President said continuing the talks which had been interrupted for a while is a very big deal. I think that’s the banner headline from this and I think everybody’s going to be pleased at that. No promises, no deal made, there’s no timetable I want to emphasize that as the President said several times this is about the quality of the deal there’s no time table, there’s no rush.”
— JULIAN CASTRO spoke to GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS on ABC’s “THIS WEEK” — on the Trump-Kim meeting: “Well look, I am all for speaking with our adversaries, but what’s happened here is that this president has raised the profile of a dictator like Kim Jong-un and now three times visited with him unsuccessfully because he’s doing it backward. Usually what happens, as you know, George, is that there’s an intense amount of staff work that goes into negotiating how one of these talks is going to go so that you can hopefully get something out of it.
“We haven’t gotten anything out of it. And after they had the first summit, the Singapore summit, he told the American people that North Korea was no longer a threat. Then after that, they continued to test their nuclear weapons and they have not even abided by one of the commitments that they made originally, which was to give an inventory of their nuclear stockpile.”
— SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) told MARGARET BRENNAN of CBS’ “Face the Nation” that people “underestimate Joe Biden at your own peril” but said he has “got to up his game” before the next Democratic debate. Excerpt
— SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-Minn.) on the border bill to BRIANNA KEILAR on CNN’s “STATE OF THE UNION” (@CNNSotu): “‘I would have much preferred the House version and continuing to negotiate … but it is important to get the aid right now to the border and to these kids.’ Sen. @amyklobuchar, on Congress passing a $4.6 billion border bill.” Video
AN ODD BIDEN MOMENT … ‘5 YEARS AGO’? — Via pooler Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times, at a fundraising event in the home of public relations executive Roger Nyhus, a major progressive bundler:
“He suggested public sentiment has come far on gay rights issues in a short period of time, saying 5 years ago, if someone at a business meeting in Seattle ‘made fun of a gay waiter’ people would just let it go.
“The audience vocally pushed back at that, saying ‘Not in Seattle!’ Others said such comments wouldn’t have gone unchallenged much longer back than 5 years.
“Biden said times have changed, so that ‘Today, that person would not be invited back’ after making homophobic comments.”
— DAN DIAMOND (@ddiamond): “Back in 2014, Biden told a similar story about gay waiters, although he set the scene 15 years earlier — back in 1999.” What Biden said then
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) spoke to NPR’s Scott Detrow and New Hampshire Public Radio’s Josh Rogers for the NPR Politics Podcast: “Voter turnout has got to be more and more young people, more and more working class people, more lower-income people, who traditionally do not get involved. But you’re not going to have that turnout unless the candidate has issues that excite people and energize people.
“That means you have to be talking about Medicare-for-all. You have to be talking about raising the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour. You have to be talking about making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and canceling student debt. You’ve got to be talking about climate change and a bold response to the planetary crisis.” NPR
POLITICO MAG’S TIM ALBERTA in MIAMI: “Unhappy with Their 2016 Coronation, the Democrats Start a 2020 Circus
WHAT THE E-RING IS READING … BRYAN BENDER: “Pentagon study: Russia outgunning U.S. in race for global influence”: “The U.S. is ill-equipped to counter the increasingly brazen political warfare Russia is waging to undermine democracies, the Pentagon and independent strategists warn in a detailed assessment that happens to echo much bipartisan criticism of President Donald Trump’s approach to Moscow.
“The more than 150-page white paper, prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and shared with POLITICO, says the U.S. is still underestimating the scope of Russia’s aggression, which includes the use of propaganda and disinformation to sway public opinion across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. The study also points to the dangers of a growing alignment between Russia and China, which share a fear of the United States’ international alliances and an affinity for ‘authoritarian stability.’
“Its authors contend that disarray at home is hampering U.S. efforts to respond — saying America lacks the kind of compelling ‘story’ it used to win the Cold War.” The white paper
SCOTUS WATCH … WAPO’S ROBERT BARNES: “They’re not ‘wonder twins’: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh shift the Supreme Court, but their differences are striking”: “According to data compiled by Adam Feldman, who runs the website Empirical SCOTUS, [Neil] Gorsuch and [Brett] Kavanaugh have disagreed more than any pair of new justices chosen by the same president in decades.
“Kavanaugh was about as likely to be in sync with his liberal seatmate Elena Kagan as his fellow conservative Gorsuch, Feldman’s research shows.”
YIKES — “Venezuelan Navy Captain Accused of Rebellion Dies After Signs of Torture,” by NYT’s Anatoly Kurmanaev in Caracas: “A Venezuelan Navy captain accused by the government of plotting a rebellion has died in custody a week after his arrest, underlining President Nicolás Maduro’s increasingly ferocious repression campaign amid a spiraling economic crisis. The captain, Rafael Acosta, is the first of more than 100 active and retired Venezuelan officers jailed by the government on treason charges to die in custody after allegations of torture. … [H]is lawyer, Alonso Medina Roa. Captain Acosta … said the captain had been detained in good health.” NYT
FOR JARED … NYT: “Palestinian Who Attended Trump-Backed Bahrain Conference Is Arrested,” by Isabel Kershner in Jerusalem and Mohammed Najib in Ramallah: “About a dozen Palestinian businessmen defied the official Palestinian boycott of the Trump administration’s economic conference in Bahrain last week. Once there, most of them tried to maintain a low profile and keep their names out of the news media.
“The delegation returned to the West Bank on Thursday. But officers of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service arrested one of them, Saleh Abu Mayala, on Friday night as he was walking from his car to his home in the West Bank city of Hebron … Mr. Abu Mayala was later released, Jason D. Greenblatt, the White House’s special Mideast envoy, said in a post on Twitter.” NYT
NAHAL TOOSI, “How Trump’s ‘weaponized’ use of foreign aid is backfiring”: “Aid groups working in Venezuela are eager to receive planeloads of humanitarian assistance from the United States, hoping to alleviate severe food and medicine shortages throughout the country. But many of them don’t want the U.S. label attached to it. President Donald Trump has so closely linked U.S. humanitarian assistance to his attempt to oust Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro — even placing goods along the country’s border as an incentive for Venezuelans to revolt — that some groups are asking U.S. officials if they can strip legally required U.S. branding from aid sent to Venezuela, three aid officials told POLITICO.” POLITICO
RESEARCH DU JOUR — The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf (@conor64): “Overall, the evidence suggests that when a prominent figure apologizes for a controversial statement, the public is either unaffected or becomes more likely to desire that the individual be punished.” The research paper, by Columbia University’s Richard Hanania: “Does Apologizing Work? An Empirical Test of the Conventional Wisdom”
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
— “How Oxford university shaped Brexit — and Britain’s next prime minister” – FT: “Simon Kuper returns to the place where Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt began their climb.” FT
— “Why Weather Forecasting Keeps Getting Better,” by Hannah Fry in The New Yorker: “The stakes can be so much higher than whether you’ll need an umbrella today.” The New Yorker
— “Marianne’s Faithful,” by Leslie Bennetts in the June 1991 issue of Vanity Fair: “There is a new prophet for the New Age— and she’s no Tammy Faye Bakker. Marianne Williamson is a liberal, Jewish ex-lounge singer from Texas who preaches about Jesus, Jung, and the S&L crisis, and whose supporters—including Bette Midler, David Geffen, Cher, and Shirley MacLaine—raise big bucks for her good works. But, as Leslie Bennetts reports, some wonder if Williamson’s real mission is to shine brighter than the stars who follow her.” VF
— “The Polygamist Accused of Scamming the U.S. Out of $500 Million,” by Jesse Hyde and David Voreacos in Bloomberg Businessweek: “Prosecutors have charged Jacob Kingston, a member in a shadowy Mormon offshoot known as the Order, with collecting a half-billion dollars in biodiesel credits his company didn’t deserve.” Bloomberg Businessweek (hat tip: Longform.org)
— “Tower of Industries,” by Andrew Curry in Columbia Journalism Review: “Axel Springer found a digital identity. Will journalism remain part of it?” CJR
— “Etonians,” by James Wood in the London Review of Books: “Near the end of our time at school, the headmaster instructed us in how we should comport ourselves in the world. The Etonian, he said, is one who can go into any room, mingle with any social group, be at ease and put others at their ease. The Etonian is marked by his air of ‘effortless superiority’. ‘Effortless superiority’ was the ideal. If you aren’t forever performing your superiority but are elegantly obscuring it, you don’t alienate people suspicious of your privilege.” LRB (h/t TheBrowser.com)
— “Irreconcilable Rockefellers,” by Lisa DePaulo in Vanity Fair’s January 2000 issue: “When blonde, virginal Amy Whittlesey, 22-year-old daughter of Reagan’s ambassador to Switzerland, married 39-year-old artist George O’Neill, great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller Jr., it seemed she’d found the perfect combination of father ﬁgure and Prince Charming. Instead, she was headed for years in the gated Wasp enclave of Mountain Lake, in central Florida—and what she describes as a nightmare of inﬁdelity, perversion, and guns that led to her hospitalization for depression.” VF
— “He Cyberstalked Teen Girls for Years — Then They Fought Back,” by Stephanie Clifford in Wired – per Longreads.com’s description: “While a student at Belmont High in Belmont, New Hampshire, Ryan Vallee — under the name of Seth Williamson — would initially befriend teen girls by texting them about their favorite ice cream or the name of their pets. They thought he was been sweet. He was after clues to their social network passwords. His aim? To hack their accounts in a bid to extort them for nude selfies. If he didn’t get what he wanted, his demands escalated.” Wired
— “Yossi and the Mossad,” by Robert Rockaway in Tablet Magazine – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “Interesting if true. A retired Mossad agent recounts some of his adventures in the 1960s and 1970s. They include: Re-routing the plumbing in a Swiss hotel to intercept the waste from Hafez al-Assad’s lavatory; shooting a Swiss banker with ties to the Japanese Red Army; blackmailing an Egyptian newspaper editor; getting a drug smuggler out of a Brazilian prison; and running a jailbreak for himself plus a colleague in Switzerland.” Tablet Magazine
— “Hooked,” by Josh Dean in Bloomberg Businessweek: “A raging heroin addiction fueled a former Boeing engineer’s yearlong, 30-bank robbery spree.” Bloomberg Businessweek
— “‘Start finding me, boys’ — inside the rescue of Lt. Col. Dave Goldfein,” by Stephen Losey in Air Force Times. Air Force Times
— “Blood, Sweat, and Batteries,” by Vivienne Walt and Sebastian Meyer in Fortune in Aug. 2018: “Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, an essential ingredient in our smartphones and electric cars, comes from one of the planet’s poorest countries. All too often it is mined by children.” Fortune
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — “Lillian Cunningham, Jim Tankersley” — N.Y. Times: “Ms. Cunningham, 35, is a journalist at The Washington Post, where she has created and hosted several podcasts on American history, including ‘Moonrise,’ ‘Presidential’ and ‘Constitutional.’ She graduated with general honors from the University of Chicago, and received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern. … The groom, 41, is a domestic correspondent in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, where he covers taxes and economic policy. He graduated from Stanford.” With a pic. NYT
–Lauren Ehrsam, director for strategic comms at the NSC and a DOJ alum, on Saturday married Jason Gorey, COO of the non-profit No One Left Behind. The couple married at Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, Va. with a reception at Fish Market in Alexandria. The couple were introduced by their mutual friend Scott Weinstein at a masquerade ball. Pic … Another pic
SPOTTED: best man Bobby Panzanbeck, Rod Rosentein and Lisa Barsoomian, Asawin Suebsaeng, Lachlan Markay, Ben Jacobs, Jonathan Swan and Betsy Woodruff, Brian Morgenstern, Tricia McLaughlin, Kelsey Kats, Matt Wolking, Melissa Brown, Juliegrace Brufke, Ashley Pratte, Chris Bedford and Katie Frates, Benny and Katelyn Johnson, Jacob Wood, Jon Nicosia, Sergio Rodriguera Jr., Tommy Joyce and Katelyn Petroka, Gordon James Meek, Lee Ferran, Bill McMorris and Suhail Khan.
— “Elizabeth Paton, James Wise” — N.Y. Times: “The bride, 32, is the Styles correspondent in Europe for The New York Times and is based in the London bureau. She has a master’s degree in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University. … The groom, 33, is a partner in Balderton Capital, a venture capital firm in London, and a founder of the Social Business Trust, a London-based charity. He received a master’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics at Christ Church, Oxford University.” With a pic. NYT
REMEMBERING LUIS ALVAREZ — “Former NYPD detective and 9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez dead at 53,” by N.Y. Post’s Eileen AJ Connelly: “Luis Alvarez, an NYPD detective who suffered from cancer brought on by his time at Ground Zero — died Saturday, nearly three weeks after joining comedian Jon Stewart in a moving plea to Congress to replenish the fund for 9/11 victims. The 53-year-old retired Bomb Squad officer was scheduled to start his 69th round of chemo the next day — but his doctors said his liver shut down and there was nothing more they could do.” NYP
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Kyle Plotkin, COS for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), is 37. Trends he thinks deserves more attention: “Two issues. The first is very on brand and on message for my current job: Addiction to our phones and apps. Technology is a gift and a curse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a luddite by any means. I try every new app that’s introduced and I think technology can help our society, but it’s also omnipresent in our lives and we don’t unplug often enough. The second is school lunches. Access to healthy, fresh food is a luxury, but school lunches are increasingly processed. This is an area that needs more mainstream attention and disruption.” Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Adam Kennedy, W.H. research director and deputy assistant to the president – profile (h/t Andy Hemming) … former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is 8-0 … The Atlantic’s David Frum is 59 (h/t Tim Mak) … Alina Selyukh, NPR business correspondent … former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) is 6-0 (h/t Tim Griffin) … Brian Stewart, media relations director and comms manager at MoveOn.org … Paul Cheung, director of journalism and tech innovation at the Knight Foundation … John Legittino, CEO of Advoc8 … Kara Wheeler, director of political affairs at MetLife, is 32 … Dov Hikind is 69 …
… Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk … Uber’s Evangeline George … Zack Christenson … Dan Judy of North Star Opinion Research … Laura Turanchik … Bob McBarton … Josefina Carbonell … Robyn Shapiro … Ward Carroll of the U.S. Naval Institute … photographer Gregory Beals … Chevron’s Will Cappelletti … Jake Stafford … Tatiana Kotlyarenko … Montana State Rep. Ellie Boldman-Hill Smith … Douglas Waller is 7-0 … Elizabeth Blackney … Roxanne Conlin is 75 … Alexandra Acker-Lyons, president of AL Advising … Dan Leistikow … Kenzie Bok … Norm Sterzenbach (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)