1/ The Pentagon has prepared a plan for a preemptive strike on North Korea’s missile sites should Trump order an attack. The plan calls for B-1B heavy bombers originating from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to attack approximately two-dozen North Korean missile-launch sites, testing grounds, and support facilities. The B-1 bomber plan is one of several options under consideration. (NBC News)

2/ James Mattis warned North Korea that its actions will cause the “end of its regime” and the “destruction of its people.” Despite the defense secretary’s stern ultimatum, Mattis has consistently said that he prefers to resolve issues over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs through diplomacy. (ABC News / CNN)

3/ Trump turned to Twitter this morning to continue his attacks on North Korea and assert that the US nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful than ever before. Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!” (Washington Post)

4/ North Korea’s military dismissed Trump’s warning as a “load of nonsense,” warning that “only absolute force can work on [Trump].” A North Korean general said they’ll have a plan by mid-August to fire four mid-range missiles into the waters 18 to 25 miles from Guam. He called it a “historic enveloping fire at Guam.” (Associated Press)

5/ Rex Tillerson urged Americans to remain calm despite Trump and North Korea’s continued exchange of threats. He said Americans should have “no concerns,” adding that “Americans should sleep well at night,” because “nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.” (Associated Press)

6/ Lawmakers in both parties criticized Trump’s warning to North Korea that it would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang keeps threatening the US. Democrats called Trump’s a reaction overly “bombastic” and “unhinged,” with the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee saying that Trump has undermined US credibility “by drawing an absurd red line.” John McCain said, “The great leaders I’ve seen don’t threaten unless they’re ready to act and I’m not sure President Trump is ready to act.” (CNN)

7/ Trump’s ominous warning to Pyongyang yesterday was entirely improvised. In discussions with advisers beforehand, Trump had not run the language by them, which has now escalated the confrontation with North Korea to a new level. (New York Times)

8/ One of Trump’s evangelical advisers says “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.” Robert Jeffress, a pastor at a Texas megachurch, released a statement saying that “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.” (Dallas News / Washington Post)

9/ Trump pushed back on Mitch McConnell’s “excessive expectations” line about the legislative progress and his agenda, tweeting that “After 7 years of hearing Repeal and Replace, why not done?” in reference to Republicans’ promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The White House director of social media, Dan Scavino, added his own take: “More excuses. @SenateMajLdr must have needed another 4 years - in addition to the 7 years – to repeal and replace Obamacare.” (Vox / CNN)

10/ FBI agents raided the Virginia home of Paul Manafort last month, using a search warrant to seize tax documents and foreign banking records. The predawn raid at the home of Trump’s former campaign chairman came on July 26, one day after he voluntarily met with the Senate Intelligence Committee. In that meeting, Manafort provided investigators with notes from the 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Hours after the raid, Trump attacked Jeff Sessions for not firing Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director. (Washington Post / New York Times)

11/ The Trump campaign has started to turn over thousands of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling. The Trump campaign has turned over 20,000 pages of documents, while Manafort has provided about 400 pages, and Trump Jr. about 250 pages. (Bloomberg)

12/ An unarmed Russian Air Force jet flew over the Pentagon, Capitol, and CIA as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air. The flight is the 10th this year, which requires that the Russians give at least 72 hours notice and that the mission has American personnel on board as observers. (Politico / CNN)

poll/ 81% of self-identified Trump voters approve of the job he’s doing. However, just 18% of all registered voters “strongly approve” of his job performance. 64% of voters say the country is going in the wrong direction. (Politico)