YA DON’T SAY … WSJ A1 … THE PRESIDENT’S TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY: “Trump’s New Nafta Faces Mounting Resistance in Democratic House,” by William Mauldin: “President Trump’s push to revamp North America’s trade rules is hitting a roadblock in Washington as Democrats and labor groups demand changes, dimming its chances of passage before next year’s presidential election.
“As Congress returns from recess this week with a full plate of priorities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other prominent Democrats have signaled they won’t allow a vote on the administration’s new agreement with Canada and Mexico without certain changes.
“Democrats said they want to make it easier to enforce new rules designed to strengthen labor rights in Mexico, saying a lack of worker protections there is hurting wages and job prospects for U.S. workers. Trump administration officials said these concerns can be handled in follow-up legislation that would implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, or USMCA.” WSJ
EEK … WSJ’S ARUNA VISWANATHA and DUSTIN VOLZ: “China’s Spying Poses Rising Threat to U.S.”: “Chinese spies are increasingly recruiting U.S. intelligence officers as part of a widening, sustained campaign to shake loose government secrets.
“Senior U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have escalated their warnings characterizing Chinese espionage as the single most significant long-term strategic threat, encompassing both spycraft intended to steal government secrets and the sustained heist of intellectual property and research from the corporate and academic worlds.
“While the Trump administration has sought to emphasize the damage of Beijing’s economic espionage—an area of focus in bilateral trade talks—current and former U.S. officials say China has also grown bolder and more successful in traditional spy games, including targeting less conventional recruits.
“The effort is being abetted by an ocean of hacked personal data that may help pinpoint who is vulnerable to inducements.” WSJ
50-MINUTE PHONE CALL … RABBI YISROEL GOLDSTEIN, whose synagogue in San Diego was attacked Saturday, described his phone call from PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP to MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on “Kasie DC”: “I’ve never spoken to a president before. He was so gracious and generous with his words. Exceedingly comforting to me, to my community, and he spoke to me like a friend, like a buddy, and I didn’t realize I’m talking to the president of the United States of America.
“He is just exceedingly kind and sensitive and — and — and we spoke for close to 50 minutes. I thought to myself, for the president of the United States of America to take time out of his day, 50 minutes to talk to me about the issues at hand, was just absolutely incredible and admirable.”
ROUGH STUFF IN THE HOMETOWN PAPER … L.A. TIMES’ GEORGE SKELTON in Sacramento: “Kamala Harris can’t afford to be cagey about where she stands on the issues”: “Clarity, courage and candor. That’s what voters want from political candidates. Not circular claptrap.
“That’s especially true of candidates running in a crowded field of 20 for the Democratic nomination to take on President Trump next year. Voters are looking for differences. Everyone’s pounding on Trump. That’s no distinction.
“California Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s considered among the top tier of contenders, isn’t always performing up to speed. It’s not enough just to feed the voter base with red meat and focus group-certified talking points. Harris has long been afflicted with too much caution, as I’ve previously written.” LAT
AP’S ALEX JAFFE in Tipton, Iowa, JULIE PACE in Summerville, S.C., and HUNTER WOODALL in Portsmouth, N.H.: “Nominate a woman? Some Democratic women aren’t so sure”: “Iowa voters sent a record number of women to the Legislature during last year’s midterms. Women won two of the state’s most competitive U.S. House races, and a woman was elected governor for the first time.
“Yet across Iowa, there’s palpable anxiety among some Democratic women about nominating a female candidate to face off against President Donald Trump next year. ‘I want to be for a woman, but it’s just hard when you see a lot of other people not supporting women yet. I feel that America’s just not there yet,’ said Wendy McVey, a 20-year-old junior at Iowa State University who is most interested in Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman.
“And it’s not just Iowa. Across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, three of the first states to hold 2020 nominating contests, dozens of women told The Associated Press that they are worried about whether the country is ready to elect a woman as president. Their concerns are political and personal, rooted as much in fear of repeating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Trump as in their own experiences with sexism and gender discrimination.” AP
DAVID SIDERS and CHRIS CADELAGO: “Democrats see Biden as wobbly 2020 front-runner”: “In another election, at another time, the late entrance of a well-funded candidate leading in the polls might send convulsions through the primary field.
“But Joe Biden’s arrival into the 2020 race has not had that effect. No Democratic rival appears doomed. No one’s fundraising seems in danger of drying up. Instead, in joining the race, the former vice president has laid bare how unsettled the entire 20-candidate contest remains — and how many in the party don’t believe the 76-year-old Biden is prepared for the rigors of a modern campaign, or the demands of a party transformed.
“‘He’s been a corporate Democrat for years, and I think the Democratic Party is recognizing that our nominee and our party moving forward really has to be prepared to challenge the D.C. power structure,’ said Democracy for America Chairman Charles Chamberlain, whose group has supported Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders in the past. For Biden, he said, ‘The wheels are going to come off the cart.’” POLITICO
— OFF EMBARGO AT 6 A.M. — The International Association of Fire Fighters has endorsed Biden. 3-min. video
AFTER BIDEN … BULLOCK? … NATASHA KORECKI SCOOPS: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is making major staffing moves — including hiring in Iowa — the clearest sign yet that he’s nearing a White House run. Bullock just hired Galia Slayen to serve as communications director for his political committee, Big Sky Values PAC. Slayen would be the likely choice to slide into the same role on a presidential campaign.
SLAYEN recently served as comms director for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s successful 2018 campaign and has worked on statewide races across the country, including in Iowa, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.
ALSO COMING ON BOARD IS James Owens, who worked as comms director for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and was the states comms director for NARAL Pro-Choice America. Bullock is no stranger to Iowa and set off new 2020 buzz during a February trip there. His PAC is also bringing on Jeremy Busch, who just finished a stint in Iowa working on the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Democratic nominee Fred Hubbell. Busch was named Iowa press secretary to Bullock’s PAC.
Good Monday morning. SPOTTED at Robert and Dr. Elena Allbritton’s post-White House Correspondents’ Dinner garden brunch Sunday at their Georgetown home: Deval Patrick, Charles Rivkin, Joe Crowley, Marillyn Hewson, Elise Eberwein, Reps. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Reince and Sally Priebus, Peter Alexander, David Shulkin, Norah O’Donnell, Matt Mowers, Morgan Ortagus, Suzanne Clark, Lawrence O’Donnell, Niki Christoff, Jim Mahoney, Jeremy and Robyn Bash, Robert Hurt, Mandy Grunwald, Stephanie Schriock, Chris Wallace, Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) …
… Fred Ryan, John Rogers, Adrienne…