Overnight reviews from Asia weren’t kind to President Donald Trump’s Wednesday’s promise of “fire and fury” if North Korea didn’t stop threatening the United States. From USA Today:
New Zealand’s premier admonished him for remarks “not helpful” in a “very tense” environment. Australia’s prime minister said “maximum economic pressure” was the only way to deal with North Korea. In Japan, where Nagasaki was marking the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city, Mayor Tomihisa Taue said anxiety was spreading “that in the not too distant future these weapons could be used again.”
On the other hand, one of Trump’s top evangelical advisers, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, refused to blink at the prospect of Armageddon:
“When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.”
This morning brings a huge shake-up in the world of Georgia journalism: Morris Communications Co., publisher of daily newspapers in Savannah, Athens and Augusta, will sell those properties – along with 10 other newspapers — to GateHouse Media. Billy Morris will continue as publisher for the Augusta Chronicle and oversee editorial page policy for the Georgia papers.
Morris Communications will shift to a focus on “lifestyle publications, property development and new business,” according to the announcement in the Chronicle.
The U.S. Justice Department has flipped in a high-profile voting case in Ohio, siding with the state in its effort to purging from its rolls thousands of people who have not voted recently, according to the Washington Post. The move is part of a campaign by the Trump administration to support broader controls on voter eligibility.
The Justice Department has also waded into Georgia’s long-running dispute with Florida on Tuesday with a legal filing that suggested that the imposition of new limits on Georgia’s water consumption might not lead to more water for its neighbor. Read the whole story here.
Talk of Vice President Mike Pence positioning himself for a potential 2020 presidential bid has unleashed a flood of stories about his aggressive new chief of staff, former Georgia operative Nick Ayers. Politico quotes a White House source saying Ayers “walks around like he owns the place.” There’s more:
Ayers is a schmoozer whose crisis-management skills the vice president has come to rely on. Given their close relationship, several administration officials said that his hiring was unsurprising. Nobody was more frustrated than Ayers, for example, at the sluggish response to reports that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had deceived Pence about his meetings with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak — including the vice president himself, according to a person familiar with the situation — and Ayers has consistently pushed Pence to get off his hind legs and show some attitude.
During the campaign, Ayers served at Bannon’s behest as the chief conduit between Pence World and the president’s core team, working with them on the vice presidential vetting process, for example — and spent the last two weeks of the race traveling with the president. “He’s a Trump guy,” Bannon said.
Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker adds this bit from his bombshell interview with Anthony Scaramucci on Ayers:
“Why is Nick there? Nick’s there to protect the Vice-President because the Vice-President can’t believe what the [bleep] is going on.”
Time magazine built a nifty widget to determine if you could qualify for a green card under Sen. David Perdue’s new “merit-based” legal immigration bill. Bonus points if you’ve won an Olympic medal recently or a Nobel. Also worth checking out our AJC colleague Saurabh Datar’s breakdown of how the current system works.
Speaking of the Perdue immigration bill, a new poll from Morning Consult/Politico released this morning found that 44 percent of 1,992 voters surveyed supported passing the bill. The number was far higher among Republicans, at 70 percent. The broader concepts of establishing a point system for would-be migrants, limiting the number of refugees permitted to enter the country and emphasizing skills more in the application process all polled higher than 50 percent.