TRUMP AGENDA: Graham-Cassidy would sow chaos, per analysis
Benjy Sarlin, on the chaos that could be sowed by the GOP's new health care plan: "The latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare would set the stage for a decade of new health care fights as states struggle to cover residents with less money and an unstable source of funding. A new analysis of the Graham-Cassidy bill by Avalare Health, an independent consulting firm, found states would receive $215 billion less from 2020 to 2026, when the bill's biggest changes take effect, than under current law."
POLITICO, on how the vote may unfold: "The Senate will vote next week on the latest bill to repeal Obamacare — but the outcome is anything but certain. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to put a bill written by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to a vote, hoping that a looming Sept. 30 deadline to pass the bill with just 50 votes will create enough pressure to finally pass a repeal of the health care law, his office said… McConnell has told colleagues he will only bring up the bill if it will succeed. The statement does leave some wiggle room to not proceed with a vote."
And here's Leigh Ann Caldwell and Kasie Hunt on the battle of Trump vs. Rand Paul.
The Washington Post's Greg Sargent writes that the states set to lose the most under Graham-Cassidy have A LOT of potentially vulnerable House Republicans (especially in California and New York) who are up for re-election next year.
The Washington Post looks at this question: Is Bernie Sanders' single-payer push to blame for the renewed momentum for Obamacare repeal, or could the Republicans' moves end up helping the Vermont senator's cause?
"President Donald Trump is leaning toward decertifying the Iran nuclear deal and putting the decision of whether the United States withdraw from the accord in the hands of Congress, according to four sources — including a senior administration official — familiar with the White House deliberations," writes our NBC News team. "Such a move would come before an Oct. 15 deadline and would trigger a 60-day window for lawmakers to determine whether to reimpose sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. The president's goal during that time is to prod America's European allies, who are part of the nuclear deal, to agree to renegotiate some provisions and pressure Iran back into talks."
More, from the New York Times: "If negotiations were to reopen in some form, the challenge for Mr. Trump would be how to persuade Iran to make further concessions. The sanctions that forced Iran to the table under Mr. Obama have been lifted, so Mr. Trump would have less leverage. And it is not clear what, if anything, he would be willing to offer to strike a deal."
From one of us(!): "President Donald Trump's approval rating has inched up, and more than 70 percent of Americans support his recent deal with Democratic leaders to provide hurricane relief and keep the government open for 90 days, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. But the same poll finds that only a third of the public believes Trump has accomplished much as president, and fewer than 30 percent back his handling of health care, race relations and the violent episode in Charlottesville, Va."
First reported in the Washington Post: "Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions. Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said."
Here's more on the story, from NBC's Ken Dilanian and Tom Winter.
And speaking of Manafort… "Paul J. Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Trump who is at the center of investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is working for allies of the leader of Iraq's Kurdish region to help administer and promote a referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq," according to the New York Times.
And also in the New York Times: "Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump's most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials. Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved "great pressure" on him."
OFF TO THE RACES: Gillespie releases "hard-hitting TV ad" in Virginia
NBC's Jane Timm has a deep dive into partisan redistricting — and how an upcoming Supreme Court case could change it.
AL-SEN: From AL.com: "The head of Sen. Luther Strange's campaign fundraising committee is listed on federal tax documents as an officer in the nonprofit agency federal prosecutors say was used to bribe an Alabama lawmaker who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges this month."
Biden will campaign for Doug Jones.
Roy Moore is up with a new ad pushing back on "false negative" advertising against him.
WV-SEN: West Virginia's party-switching governor told Republicans that he supports Joe Manchin's reelection, per the Metro News.
VA-GOV: "Ed Gillespie, who for years pressed fellow Republicans to make their party more welcoming to minorities, on Wednesday unveiled a hard-hitting TV ad that blames his Democratic rival for Virginia governor for the resurgence of the MS-13 street gang."