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July 13, 2018

When Tom Newton Dunn, political editor for British tabloid The Sun, interviewed President Trump in Brussels on Wednesday, "his mood was nervous, I think, his arms were crossed a lot," he told BBC Radio 4's Today on Friday. The Trump interview, which The New York Times characterized as "a remarkable breach of protocol, publicly undercutting Prime Minister Theresa May," was published just as guests were leaving the black-tie dinner May threw for Trump Thursday night. In it, Trump criticized May's newly published Brexit plan, said it endangered a U.S.-Britain free trade deal May has been promising, and said May's political rival Boris Johnson "would be a great prime minister," among other comments damaging to May.

Newton Dunn said that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to end the explosive interview after the allotted 10 minutes, but Trump "swatted her away" and "kept on talking." It was an "amazing experience" interviewing Trump, because "nobody tells him what to say or nobody tells him off once he's said it, and he'll say it for as long as he wants," he told BBC Breakfast. "I felt it was like being in the court of an imperial Chinese emperor from the 15th century." Talking to him one-on-one, "I mean, he certainly isn't Barack Obama," Newton Dunn added. "He perhaps doesn't quite have the poise that Barack Obama had, you know, as a wise and great leader of men. But, you know, he gave us one hell of an interview, and I think there's a lot to be said for answering an honest question honestly."

Trump "knows an awful lot about Britain," cares what Britons think about him, and is "a true Brexiteer," Newton Dunn told the BBC. "He's really quite stung by the criticism he's been getting, the treatment he was going to get when he arrived. ... He knew all about the baby blimp. I think it hurt him." Peter Weber

8:04 a.m.

First lady Melania Trump is once again speaking out against the media, this time slamming some journalists and authors as being mere "opportunists."

Trump sat down with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday and was asked about the hardest part of being first lady. She pointed to what she called "the opportunists who are using my name or my family name to advance themselves." This, she explained, includes comedians, journalists, performers, and authors, although she did not name names.

Trump went on to say that this "doesn't hurt" but that it bothers her because they are "writing the history, and it's not correct." She kept up her media critique, saying the press likes to "focus on the gossip" when she'd like them to "focus on the substance and what we do, not just about nonsense."

The first lady has frequently offered criticism of the way she's covered in the press during her sporadic media interviews, telling ABC News in October that she specifically wore her now infamous "I really don't care, do you?" jacket as a statement to the media because she wishes they "would focus on what I do and on my initiatives than what I wear." She also said in that interview that she is the "most bullied person in the world." Watch Trump's interview with Hannity below. Brendan Morrow

7:10 a.m.

On Thursday, Apple announced that it is building a new $1 billion campus in Austin, its third in the Texas capital. The new 133-acre campus will start with 5,000 employees and have the capacity for 15,000 employees. Austin's current Apple workforce of about 6,200 employees already makes it Apple's second-largest center of employment, after the company's Cupertino headquarters. "With the planned expansion," Axios notes, "Apple is on track to be Austin's largest private employer." The new campus will have jobs in engineering, research and development, sales, finance, customer support, and operations.

Apple also announced plans to set up new offices in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City, a part of greater Los Angeles famous for its movie and TV studios. Within the next few years, as it works to fulfill its promise to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023, the company is also expanding its operations in New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Boston, and Boulder, Colorado. Peter Weber

6:28 a.m.

Other than former Major League slugger Jose Canseco, one of the few people to publicly say he's interested in serving as President Trump's next chief of staff was Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. On Wednesday, Trump told Meadows he's out of the running. "The president told him we need him in Congress, so he can continue the great work he is doing there," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

There's mixed reporting on how seriously Trump considered Meadows as Chief of Staff John Kelly's successor. As of Tuesday night, Politico reports, former senior administration officials and outside conservatives were saying "there seemed to be a 50 percent chance he would get the job." But "others in Trump's circle" told The Washington Post that "this week's boomlet around Meadows was overstated and that he was never close to being offered the job."

Meadows had been asking Trump's allies about what legal and political challenges being Trump's chief of staff would entail, four people told the Post. But "conscious of the fallout from another candidate saying thanks but no thanks, the White House made sure to stress that it was Trump who told Meadows that he wanted him to remain in Congress," Politico reports.

Trump says he's considering about 10 candidates, and some of the people being named as live candidates include former Trump campaign deputy chairman David Bossie, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. "Trump told advisers on Tuesday that he liked the guessing game surrounding the position, and the number of names out there showed that people were interested in the position and in joining his administration," the Post reports. Below, you can watch former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) take himself out of the running live on CNN Tuesday night. Peter Weber

5:03 a.m.

President Trump "is still searching for a new chief of staff," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "Like any job working for Trump it comes with dental, paid sick leave, and free government housing for five to 10 years." The White House said Tuesday that current Chief of Staff John Kelly will stay on through "at least Jan. 2" to ensure "a very peaceful and pragmatic transition." Colbert translated: "So they fired Kelly, can't find anybody else, make him stay to train his successor. It's like saying to your girlfriend, 'Hey, I'm breaking up with you, but I'm going to need you to stay on until at least prom to ensure a peaceful and pragmatic transition to Becky over there.'"

The president keeps getting turned down, like "a reverse Apprentice," but "Trump says he's flooded with résumés for the chief of staff job" and is considering 10-12 contenders, Colbert noted. One reason filling the job is so hard is that the candidate apparently has to meet the approval of Jared and Ivanka, "so congratulations to new Chief of Staff Mohammed bin Salman," he deadpanned. Trump told Reuters his chief of staff criteria, and Colbert suggested "he's really looking for his soul mate, him." He tried to decipher a cryptic quote from Trump about Hillary Clinton and money.

Trump also told Reuters that he's not worried about impeachment because "I think the people would revolt if that happened." Colbert found that plausible. "Yes, it's true: The people would take to the streets, vandalizing champagne bottles, grinning with rage, blocking traffic with their protest dancing. It would be absolute pandemonium." He demonstrated. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:06 a.m.

A court in Melbourne, Australia, has convicted Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's finance chief, on five counts of "historical sexual assault offenses," according to several media reports. The trial, which began Nov. 7, has been subject to a strict gag order in Australia. Pell has denied all allegations of sexual abuse. In the case at hand, Pell, 77, was convicted Tuesday of sexually assaulting two choir boys at Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, when he was archbishop of Melbourne. He will be sentenced and taken into custody in February, Crux reports, though his lawyers are likely to appeal the convictions.

Pope Francis appointed Pell as the Vatican's secretary for the economy in 2014 and placed him on his nine-member council of advisers, or the C9, in 2013. Pell, who took a leave of absence in 2017 to fight the abuse charges, was removed from the council at the end of October, the Vatican said Wednesday, along with Chilean Carcinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa — who stands accused of covering up for abuser priests — and Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya.

"The Holy See has the utmost respect for the Australian courts," Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Wednesday. "We are aware there is a suppression order in place and we respect that order." Pell, the highest-ranked Catholic official ever tried and now convicted of sexual abuse, still faces additional charges dating back to the 1970s. Peter Weber

3:13 a.m.

Chinese authorities have detained Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, the second Canadian citizen arrested in China this week, and Canada is increasingly concerned that China is retaliating over Canada's arrest of Chinese business executive Meng Wanzhou at America's request. Chinese officials said Thursday that Spavor, an entrepreneur with longstanding ties to North Korea, is being investigated on suspicion of harming China's state security. The former Canadian diplomat arrested Monday night, Michael Kovrig, is being investigated on the same charge, Chinese state media reports.

The U.S. accuses Meng of conspiring to mislead banks about her company, telecom giant Huawei, violating sanctions against Iran, but President Trump suggested on Tuesday that he might intervene in the case, tying Meng's arrest to his trade spat with China and U.S. national security. Canada protested Trump's apparent politicization of what Canadian and U.S. officials strongly insist is a solely legal affair.

China has not linked the detention of the Canadians to Meng's arrest, but "in China there is no coincidence," Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said after Kovrig's arrest. "Unfortunately Canada is caught in the middle of this dispute between the U.S and China." Still, "the detention of Kovrig and possible detention of Spavor reflect an increasingly bold approach to international disputes under President Xi Jinping," The Associated Press notes. "China has often retaliated against foreign governments and corporations in diplomatic disputes, but rarely by holding foreign nationals." Peter Weber

2:23 a.m.

Vox's Matthew Yglesias appears to have something of a political crush on Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and he certainly isn't alone. AOC, as she's known, "is the biggest star in the Democratic Party," with "incredible wit, charisma, social media savvy, and basic political smarts," Yglesias writes, and she "constantly dominates the conversation — living rent-free in the heads of conservatives, racking up magazine profiles and Twitter followers, engaging supporters on Instagram in a heretofore unprecedented way."

In fact, Yglesias writes, "I kind of think she should run for president." AOC is 29, of course, and therefore ineligible to be president. But the "completely ridiculous constitutional provision" that you have to be 35 is "just one of these weird lacuna that was handed down to us from the 18th century but that nobody would seriously propose creating today if not for status quo bias," he argues. He laid out his case. AOC took a pass.

Yglesias suggests amending the Constitution, not that AOC run and "dare the Supreme Court to stop her," but it doesn't seem unreasonable to let her start her first job in government before tackling the biggest job in government. Yglesias has an answer for that, too: Yes, "she's too left-wing for some and would need to demonstrate an ability to staff up and run a big operation while getting up to speed on the dozens of random issues that get tossed your way over the course of a national campaign. But that’s what campaigns are for!" You can read his entire argument — including: "One good sign that AOC should run for president is that she has a nickname — AOC" — at Vox. Peter Weber

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