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President Trump doesn’t seem to be reading from the same playbook as his national security team as they respond to the escalating North Korea nuclear threat. Amid reports that the rogue state has miniaturized nuclear warheads to place on missiles and heating rhetoric from new sanctions, Trump promised “fire and fury like the world has never seen” should North Korea continue its threats against the U.S. It was a striking statement channeling Harry S. Truman’s comments on the A-bomb. He followed that Wednesday with inaccurate tweets about the U.S. nuclear arsenal. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis both urged deescalation in public comments. Tillerson said the American people had nothing to fear, as he stopped in Guam hours after the North Korean regime threatened the U.S. base there. And while Mattis warned about American capabilities, he indicated that North Korea would be loathe to make a first move on the U.S. White House aides explained that Trump’s comments were off-the-cuff, and not coordinated with his national security team.

Paul Manafort’s home is raided. Pence’s real power move. And the truth about Trump’s deportations.

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Must Reads

Trump, North Korea Trade Escalating Threats of Fire
And fury [Associated Press]

Mike Pence’s Real Power Move
Amid White House staff changes, the vice president has replaced his long-serving chief of staff with sharp-elbowed political operative Nick Ayers [Politico]

North Korea Now Making Missile-Ready Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Analysts Say
A dangerous escalation [Washington Post]

Trump Aides Copy Bush ‘Red Team’ Strategy in Tax Fight
White House turns to tighter organization after Obamacare loss [Bloomberg]

President Trump Has Sent Private Messages to Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller
Through his lawyer, Trump has sent private messages of “appreciation” to special counsel Robert Mueller. [USA Today]

Sound Off

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United states. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. Thank you.” — President Trump Tuesday

“Americans should sleep well at night.” — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday

Bits and Bites

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vents about Trump’s ‘excessive expectations’ regarding legislation [ABC]

FBI conducted predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home [Washington Post]

Rex Tillerson: ‘Americans Should Sleep Well at Night’ Despite North Korea Threat [TIME]

Senator Suggests McCain Voted Against Obamacare Repeal Because of His Brain Tumor [TIME]

The Republican Party Has a Big Problem: Insurgent Candidates [Associated Press]

Trump deportations lag behind Obama levels [Politico]

Trump Adviser Suggests Minnesota Mosque Attack Could Have Been Faked ‘By The Left’ [HuffPost]

Israel Held Secret Talks With Russia, U.S. Over Cease-fire in Southern Syria [Haaretz]

President Trump Endorses Luther Strange in Alabama’s GOP Senate Primary Election [Associated Press]

Behind The Jared And Ivanka PR Machine [BuzzFeed]

Wisconsin taxpayers would need until 2043 to recoup nearly $3 billion in Foxconn payments [Journal Sentinel]

You Can Now Rent Donald Trump’s Childhood Home on Airbnb for $725 a Night [TIME]

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