Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 7.25.18

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* The phrase “agreed to work toward” suggests very little happened: “The United States and the European Union stepped back from the brink of a trade war on Wednesday, after President Trump said the Europeans agreed to work toward lowering tariffs and other trade barriers, and to buy billions of dollars of American exports, from soybeans to natural gas.”

* Pakistan: “A blast near a polling station killed dozens of people Wednesday as Pakistan voted in a general election pitting cricket hero Imran Khan against the party of jailed ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”

* Trump had an ethics lawyer? “One of the White House’s top attorneys plans to leave the administration by the end of the summer, according to four people familiar with his plans. The departure of Stefan Passantino, the deputy White House counsel responsible for policing ethics for Trump officials, will leave a huge hole in the White House’s legal operation, where the 51-year-old has operated as the number two to top attorney Don McGahn.”

* This is unwise: “The White House will stop routinely releasing summaries of calls President Donald Trump has with foreign leaders, according to person familiar with the plan, ending a longstanding practice.”

* Bringing out the worst in people: “The Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday said the organization is ‘disappointed’ with members who heckled the press during a speech by President Donald Trump at the 2018 VFW convention and were ‘happy’ to have members of the media at the event.”

* I hope you caught Rachel’s coverage of this last night: “The Russian Ministry of Defense slammed US Gen. Joseph Votel Tuesday, accusing America’s top military commander in the Middle East of discrediting President Donald Trump’s position after Votel expressed hesitancy about working with Russia in Syria.”

* Sorry, Devin Nunes: “Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told CNN Tuesday he believed there were ‘sound reasons’ for judges to approve the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, in yet another break between the Republican leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees.”

* The power of lobbyists: “The House voted Tuesday to repeal the excise tax on medical devices, with nearly five-dozen Democrats joining all but one Republican in backing the bill.”

* Why is the deficit approaching $1 trillion? “Corporate income tax collections are near a 75-year low, as a share of the economy, after a new law reduced rates and allowed companies to deduct investments immediately.”

* Some of these ideas actually have merit: “Trying to ease gridlock in Congress, a bipartisan group of frustrated House members is coming forward with a rules overhaul intended to give rank-and-file lawmakers more say.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.