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August 6, 2018

Most presidents vacation in August, and most presidents play golf. President Trump is doing both during his 11-day "working vacation" at his company's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. And other than a roundtable on prison reform scheduled for Thursday, Trump "will, unless things change, be on 'Executive Time,'" says Jonathan Swan at Axios, referring to the unscheduled time Trump typically spends watching cable news and tweeting. Unlike last year, when "his senior staff often scrambled to fill his time — planning events and scheduling golf games with people who might engage him in productive conversation," Swan said, "now his staff have largely given up on futile efforts to supervise him, leaving the president's schedule open and unstructured."

Trump is doing more than tweeting and watching TV, Swan reports. He likes to golf in the morning, dine in the clubhouse with guests, mix with club members, and frequently talk on the phone — "and staff often have no idea who he's talking to." If Trump's taking some much-needed R & R, though, his staff and Secret Service detail are working around the clock. Trump's liberal and erratic use of Twitter "means his press and legal teams can never truly switch off," Axios says, and his proximity to guests poses a challenge to his protective agents. "Bedminster is really something," a source who's spent time there with Trump tells Swan. "People in a swimming pool all day, 15 yards from POTUS's house." Read more about Trump's "summer playground" at Axios. Peter Weber

12:01 p.m.

The sixth mass extinction is coming.

A draft report from the United Nations obtained by Agence France-Presse says that up to 1 million species of living organisms face extinction as a result of human influence.

The report, which is set to be revealed on May 6, adds that the loss of biodiversity, while closely linked, poses "no less of a threat" than climate change. Deforestation has led to the loss of greenhouse gas-absorbing trees, polluted waters are killing protein-rich fish and limiting clean drinking water, and pollinating insects are dying rapidly.

The pace of species loss is reportedly already "tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, than it has been, over the last 10 million years." Wild mammal biomass is down 82 percent, per AFP. The causes of species loss are shrinking habitats, hunting, climate change, pollution, and invasive species, all of which can be traced to human actions.

"We need to recognize that climate change and loss of nature are equally important, not just for the environment, but as development and economic issues as well," Robert Watson, chair of the U.N.-mandated body that compiled the report told AFP. He added that only "transformative change" can stop the damage. Read more at Agence France-Presse. Tim O'Donnell

11:29 a.m.

It turns out college students want to elect the same old white men as everyone else.

Just like pretty much every poll out there, a new survey from university news site College Reaction shows college students have chosen former Vice President Joe Biden as their top 2020 pick across the political spectrum. After Biden, five more white men fall in line before we reach a woman candidate, making it clear that the supposedly more progressive college crowd isn't too different after all.

After Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) comes in second with 15.1 percent in the College Reaction poll. President Trump is a close third, with Beto O'Rourke not far behind. Next up is Pete Buttigieg, and even clearly unforgotten 2016 GOP contender John Kasich falls into the mix before a woman candidate. Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) are both tied for seventh place with 5.5 percent among college students, per the survey.

Biden and Sanders' places at the top of the line aren't a huge surprise given their name recognition and 2016 track record, respectively. What's more shocking is Buttigieg's recent rise, even as a relative no-name whose political experience is limited to being the mayor of Indiana's fourth largest city. His ascent has largely been chalked up to his folksy yet prodigious vibe, which GQ's Julia Ioffe sums up under more blatant terms.

The College Reaction poll surveyed 1,052 college students online from April 4-8, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Find the full survey here. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:53 a.m.

Cable news — the great influencer of the 21st century.

It's no surprise that networks like CNN and Fox News attract viewers with very different biases, who hold starkly different editorial lines, but a new analysis from The Washington Post shows just how staggering those differences are.

The analysis, which looks at poll results released on Monday by HuffPost and YouGov, shows that more than 75 percent of those who followed reports about the Mueller investigation on Fox News believe the findings clear President Trump of any wrongdoing. Less than 25 percent of CNN viewers feel the same way. The separation remains consistent throughout the polling, including on questions about whether Trump tried to obstruct justice and the seriousness of Trump's relationship with Russia.

The Post made an important distinction in its analysis, however. While Republicans still tend to favor Trump's innocence, they did poll at a lower rate when compared to the general category of Fox News viewer, suggesting the news network one chooses to watch is a clearer indication of an individual's support for the president than political affiliation.

HuffPost and YouGov polled a random sample of 1,000 U.S. citizens of voting age selected from YouGov's opt-in Internet panel between April 18 and April 19. The margin of error is 3.3 percent. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

10:08 a.m.

President Trump is truly easing into the post-holiday workweek.

Starting with a Fox News clip tweeted just before 9 a.m. on Monday, Trump has sent more than 50 tweets and retweets in the past 24 hours. And looking at his public schedule, which is chock full of Easter Egg Rolls and Easter Egg Roll breakfast receptions, it's pretty easy to see where he got the time.

After getting home from his Mar-a-Lago resort at 7 p.m. on Easter Sunday, Trump seemingly didn't have anything scheduled until an in-house pool with reporters at 9 a.m. the next day. But that didn't seem to last long, as Trump was already calling out former Secretary of State John Kerry for giving Iran "VERY BAD advice" by 9:37 a.m. His "congratulations" tweet in response to news that CNN's ratings had dropped actually came three minutes after he was supposed to be at the White House Easter Egg Roll's breakfast reception.

That holiday tradition kept Trump busy until noon, when he revealed in a tweet that he wouldn't nominate Herman Cain for the Federal Reserve Board. His 1:30 p.m. intelligence briefing then seemingly only took half an hour, as he was back on the tweet game by 2:05 p.m., and sent off a few dozen retweets throughout the rest of the day.

On Tuesday, Trump got to work attacking the "Fake News New York Times" before 6 a.m. He then seemingly spent some quality time with his favorite show, Fox & Friends, ultimately firing off a dozen tweets before his 9 a.m. pool call with reporters and proving that Trump's executive time is alive and well. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:55 a.m.

In the early stages of the primary, most Democratic presidential candidates have avoided discussing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling, instead focusing on policy. But after Attorney General William Barr released the redacted version of Mueller's report last Thursday, it has started come to the forefront, and talks of impeachment have followed.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Monday evening became the fourth candidate to officially back Congress beginning impeachment proceedings against President Trump during a CNN town hall at Harvard University.

Harris' announcement follows Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who was the first candidate to do so last Friday. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam (D) also said they believed the Mueller report reveals grounds for impeachment, per The Hill. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that Trump "deserves" impeachment, but the issue should be left to Congress.

Most Democrats in the ever-growing field, including frontrunners like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have argued that Congress should continue investigating Trump before deciding whether to launch the impeachment process. Tim O'Donnell

9:33 a.m.

One of the women who has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate touching is not remotely satisfied with his response.

Lucy Flores, the former Nevada assemblywoman who said in March that Biden made her feel uncomfortable by touching her shoulders and kissing her on the back of the head in 2014, told Fox News that Biden joking about the allegations was "so incredibly disrespectful."

Biden in a speech delivered amid the controversy made light of the allegations, jokingly pointing out twice that he had obtained permission to hug someone. This came after a video in which Biden promised to adjust his behavior and be more mindful of people's personal space.

Flores told Fox News that Biden's jokes "demonstrated that the words that he said — that he was going to take this very seriously, that he was going to listen and he was going to learn — to me, that indicated that he didn't mean that at all if literally the next day he was joking about it."

Biden, who is expected to announce his 2020 presidential campaign this week, has said he regrets making the women who have accused him of inappropriate conduct uncomfortable but has declined to directly apologize, saying in early April, "I'm sorry I didn't understand more" but "I'm not sorry for any of my intentions" and "I'm not sorry for anything that I have ever done." Brendan Morrow

8:50 a.m.

Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski implored President Trump to change the channel after his latest string of angry tweets about the show.

Trump on Tuesday morning tweeted seemingly out of nowhere that "Morning Psycho (Joe)" helped get him elected but that it's a "really bad show with low ratings" that pales in comparison to Fox & Friends.

The hosts of Morning Joe were quick to respond, with Brzezinski exasperatedly saying upon learning Trump had tweeted about them, "Tell him to stop watching. This is a sickness. He's got to stop."

Joe Scarborough sarcastically took the opposition position, thanking Trump for watching and for suggesting they're influential enough to swing a presidential election. He also mocked the president for being a "loyal viewer," saying he "watches every day" and "just can't quit us."

Scarborough embraced the "Morning Psycho" nickname, though, even instructing his producers to put a chyron on screen that read, "Morning Psycho Responds to Faithful Viewer." Brendan Morrow

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