Friday, August 24, 2018

Head of the Table

He's supposed to sit at the head of the table, 
not cook dinner, 
not even serve it 
but make sure the rules are followed, 
that everybody does their part, 
everyone gets their due, 
everyone gets fed... 
He's not the King and don't treat him like one.... 
You want a King, go to Russia..

Monday, August 20, 2018

Archaeologists find evidence of an ancient lost city in Kansas — Los Angeles Times

Archaeologists explore a rural field in Kansas, and a lost city emerges

By David Kelly

Of all the places to discover a lost city, this pleasing little community seems an unlikely candidate.
There are no vine-covered temples or impenetrable jungles here — just an old-fashioned downtown, a drug store that serves up root beer floats and rambling houses along shady brick lanes.
Yet there's always been something — something just below the surface.
Locals have long scoured fields and river banks for arrowheads and bits of pottery, amassing huge collections. Then there were those murky tales of a sprawling city on the Great Plains and a chief who drank from a goblet of gold.
A few years ago, Donald Blakeslee, an anthropologist and archaeology professor at Wichita State University, began piecing things together. And what he's found has spurred a rethinking of traditional views on the early settlement of the Midwest, while potentially filling a major gap in American history.
Using freshly translated documents written by the Spanish conquistadors more than 400 years ago and an array of high-tech equipment, Blakeslee located what he believes to be the lost city of Etzanoa, home to perhaps 20,000 people between 1450 and 1700.
They lived in thatched, beehive-shaped houses that ran for at least five miles along the bluffs and banks of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers. Blakeslee says the site is the second-largest ancient settlement in the country after Cahokia in Illinois.
On a recent morning, Blakeslee supervised a group of Wichita State students excavating a series of rectangular pits in a local field.
Jeremiah Perkins, 21, brushed dirt from a half-buried black pot.
Others sifted soil over screened boxes, revealing arrowheads, pottery and stone scrapers used to thin buffalo hides.
Blakeslee, 75, became intrigued by Etzanoa after scholars at UC Berkeley retranslated in 2013 the often muddled Spanish accounts of their forays into what is now Kansas. The new versions were more cogent, precise and vivid.
"I thought, 'Wow, their eyewitness descriptions are so clear it's like you were there.' I wanted to see if the archaeology fit their descriptions," he said. "Every single detail matched this place."
Kacie Larsen of Wichita State University shakes dirt through a screened box to see what artifacts may emerge. (David Kelly / For The Times)
Conquistadors are often associated with Mexico, but a thirst for gold drove them into the Midwest as well.
Francisco Vazquez de Coronado came to central Kansas in 1541 chasing stories of a fabulously wealthy nobleman who napped beneath trees festooned with tinkling gold bells. He found no gold, but he did find Native Americans in a collection of settlements he dubbed Quivira.
In 1601, Juan de Oñate led about 70 conquistadors from the Spanish colony of New Mexico into south-central Kansas in search of Quivira in the hopes of finding gold, winning converts for the Catholic Church and extracting tribute for the crown.
According to Spanish records, they ran into a tribe called the Escanxaques, who told of a large city nearby where a Spaniard was allegedly imprisoned. The locals called it Etzanoa.
As the Spaniards drew near, they spied numerous grass houses along the bluffs. A delegation of Etzanoans bearing round corn cakes met them on the river bank. They were described as a sturdy people with gentle dispositions and stripes tattooed from their eyes to their ears. It was a friendly encounter until the conquistadors decided to take hostages. That prompted the entire city to flee.
Oñate's men wandered the empty settlement for two or three days, counting 2,000 houses that held eight to 10 people each. Gardens of pumpkins, corn and sunflowers lay between the homes.
The Spaniards could see more houses in the distance, but they feared an Etzanoan attack and turned back.
That's when they were ambushed by 1,500 Escanxaques. The conquistadors battled them with guns and cannons before finally withdrawing back to New Mexico, never to return.
This bluff overlooks the spot where many believe Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate met a delegation of Etzanoans. (David Kelly / For The Times)
French explorers arrived a century later but found nothing. Disease likely wiped out Etzanoa, leaving it to recede into legend.
Blakeslee enlisted the help of the National Park Service, which used a magnetometer to detect variations in the earth's magnetic field and find features around town that looked like homes, storage pits and places where fires were started.
Then, relying on descriptions from the conquistadors, he discovered what he believes was the battle site in an upscale neighborhood of Arkansas City.
Volunteers using metal detectors found three half-inch iron balls under the field. Blakeslee said they were 17th century Spanish cartridge shot fired from a cannon. A Spanish horseshoe nail was also found.
It all lent credibility to the detailed accounts left by the conquistadors.
The battlefield sits in Warren "Hap" McLeod's backyard.
"It's a great story," he said. "There was a lost city right under our noses."
McLeod, 71, offered a quick tour of the area.
He started at Camp Quaker Haven overlooking the spot where Oñate would have encountered the Etzanoans. McLeod then drove up to the country club, the highest point in the city of roughly 12,500 people.
"Lots of artifacts have been taken from here," McLeod said.
(Los Angeles Times)
In 1994, thousands of relics were unearthed during road construction. In 1959, the renowned archaeologist Waldo Wedel wrote in his classic book, "An Introduction to Kansas Archeology," that the valley floor and bluffs here "were littered with sherds, flints, and other detritus" that went on for miles.
"Now we know why," McLeod said. "There were 20,000 people living here for over 200 years."
Local rancher Jason Smith, 47, said he had seen collections "that would blow your mind."
"Truckloads of stuff," he said. "Worked stone tools, flints. One guy had 100 boxes at his house."
Russell Bishop, 66, worked at the country club as a kid.
"My boss had an entire basement full of pottery and all kinds of artifacts," he recalled. "We'd be out there working and he would recognize a black spot on the ground as an ancient campfire site."
Bishop, who now lives outside Denver, has coffee cans full of arrowheads. He spread some on his counter.
"I don't think anyone knew how big this all was," he said. "I'm glad they're finally getting to the bottom of it."
Kansas State Archaeologist Robert Hoard said that based on the Spanish accounts and the evidence of a large settlement, it's "plausible" that Blakeslee has found Etzanoa.
Still, he would like more evidence.
The early Great Plains had long been imagined as a vast empty space populated by nomadic tribes following buffalo herds. But if Blakeslee is right, at least some of the tribes were urban. They built large towns, raised crops, made fine pottery, processed bison on a massive scale and led a settled existence. There were trade connections all the way to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan in Mexico.
"So this was not some remote place. The people traded and lived in huge communities," Blakeslee said. "Everything we thought we knew turns out to be wrong. I think this needs a place in every schoolbook."
And that may just be the beginning. Blakeslee has found archaeological evidence in Rice and McPherson counties for other large settlements extending for miles, which he believes existed around the same time as Etzanoa.
He has published his findings in the peer-reviewed journal Plains Anthropologist, and next spring he will present his evidence for Etzanoa at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. A bigger excavation is planned for next summer.
The Wichita Nation, based three hours south in Anadarko, Okla., is watching all of this carefully. Experts believe the Etzanoans were their ancestors.
"The accounts of Oñate and Coronado have been interpreted for years," said Gary McAdams, cultural program planner and historic preservation officer for the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, which number about 3,300. "We had a suspicion it was settled like this, but now it's starting to be documented, which makes it feel more real."
In the meantime, Arkansas City is trying to determine how to promote its new claim to fame. Etzanoa remains mostly underground or on private land. Yet that hasn't deterred interest.
"We get about 10 calls a day to see the lost city," said Pamela Crain, director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The vision is to have a visitors center. The other key is to persuade landowners to allow people onto their property."

LEFT: Professor Donald Blakeslee of Wichita State University shows a black pot unearthed by student Jeremiah Perkins, behind him. RIGHT: Russell Bishop still has the arrowheads he collected as a kid in Arkansas City. (David Kelly / For The Times)
Limited tours began last spring, focusing on key historical and archaeological sites. Town leaders are hoping for a UNESCO World Heritage site designation.
Back at the dig site, all eyes were on Jeremiah Perkins as he lifted the hefty black potsherd from the dirt.
Blakeslee dropped into the pit for a closer look. It was the largest artifact of the summer, perhaps 12 inches high.
"That's a nice big cooking pot," he exclaimed.
Yet many mysteries remain about the people of Etzanoa.
"How were they organized? How did they farm the bluffs? How did they maximize bison herds?" Blakeslee asked. "The questions go on and on and on."
And the thought of that made him smile.
Kelly is a special correspondent.
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Donald Trump praises Hispanic border agent for speaking "perfect English"

Donald Trump praises Hispanic border agent for speaking "perfect English"

President Donald Trump paid tribute to the agents and officials charged with protecting the borders and enforcing immigration laws Monday by expressing his gratitude for "CBC," which is not a real agency, and complimenting an immigration official on his "perfect English."

During the "Salute to the Heroes" event at the White House honoring the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agencies, Trump invited a Border Patrol agent to speak about an operation in which he found 78 undocumented immigrants locked inside a tractor-trailer near Laredo, Texas.

"A human smuggler was arrested in Laredo for locking, and really locking, a horrible 78 illegal aliens inside of a trailer. The border patrol agent who caught the accused, and likely really saved many lives, he's here with us, and Adrian — where's Adrian? — Adrian's here with us," Trump said, scanning the crowd.
"Adrian come here, I want to ask you a question," said Trump, who repeatedly stumbled over the proper acronym for Customs and Border Protection throughout his speech. "You're not nervous, are you? Speaks perfect English."
("It's not the speechwriter's fault," Jennifer Jacobs, a reporter for Bloomberg, said on Twitter. "I'm standing next to the teleprompter Trump is reading from in the East Room and it says 'CBP.' But Trump has said 'CBC' over and over.")
But Trump's question for the agent was simple enough even for a novice English speaker. "How did you feel that there were people in that trailer?" the president asked. The agent thanked Trump and briefly described the operation.
More than 15 percent of the U.S. adult population — about 35 million citizens over the age of 18 — speak a language other than English at home, according to the Washington Post. And the Los Angeles Times noted in an April report that people of Mexican descent are increasingly applying for Border Patrol jobs as the agency ramps up its hiring.

During the speech, Trump also praised the agencies for throwing suspected gang members "the hell out of our country so fast your head would spin."

The event stoked ire from some of Trump's critics, who saw the praise as inappropriate given the thousands of migrant children recently separated from their parents at the border, many of whom are still awaiting reunification.

"Only this White House would give medals for taking thousands of immigrant children from their parents," Tom Jawetz, vice president for immigration policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, told Politico.
President Donald Trump paid tribute to the agents and officials charged with protecting the borders and enforcing immigration laws Monday by expressing his gratitude for "CBC," which is not a real agency, and complimenting an immigration official on his "perfect English." During the "Salute to the Heroes" event at the White House honoring the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agencies, Trump invited a Border Patrol agent to speak about an operation in which he found 78 undocumented immigrants locked inside a tractor-trailer near Laredo, Texas. "A human smuggler was arrested in Laredo for locking, and really locking, a horrible 78 illegal aliens inside of a trailer. The border patrol agent who caught the accused, and likely really saved many lives, he's here with us, and Adrian — where's Adrian? — Adrian's here with us," Trump said, scanning the crowd.
"Adrian come here, I want to ask you a question," said Trump, who repeatedly stumbled over the proper acronym for Customs and Border Protection throughout his speech. "You're not nervous, are you? Speaks perfect English."
("It's not the speechwriter's fault," Jennifer Jacobs, a reporter for Bloomberg, said on Twitter. "I'm standing next to the teleprompter Trump is reading from in the East Room and it says 'CBP.' But Trump has said 'CBC' over and over.")
But Trump's question for the agent was simple enough even for a novice English speaker. "How did you feel that there were people in that trailer?" the president asked. The agent thanked Trump and briefly described the operation.
More than 15 percent of the U.S. adult population — about 35 million citizens over the age of 18 — speak a language other than English at home, according to the Washington Post. And the Los Angeles Times noted in an April report that people of Mexican descent are increasingly applying for Border Patrol jobs as the agency ramps up its hiring. During the speech, Trump also praised the agencies for throwing suspected gang members "the hell out of our country so fast your head would spin." The event stoked ire from some of Trump's critics, who saw the praise as inappropriate given the thousands of migrant children recently separated from their parents at the border, many of whom are still awaiting reunification. "Only this White House would give medals for taking thousands of immigrant children from their parents," Tom Jawetz, vice president for immigration policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, told Politico.
Cover image: Adrian Anzaldua, border patrol agent, speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
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Unholy row over Wicker Man screening

Cathedral defends screening The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man depicts human sacrifice inside a giant structure which is set alight
A cathedral has defended its decision to screen two films which include a graphic sex scene, full female nudity and a Pagan sacrifice.

Some Christians believe that showing horror film The Wicker Man and the thriller Don't Look Now at Derby Cathedral is inappropriate.
Wardens from other churches have called for the screenings to be cancelled.
However, the Dean said the films won't be "showing God anything that he hasn't seen before".
"They are actually really powerful stories about faith and doubt and some of the things people wrestle with," the Very Reverend Dr Stephen Hance said.
He added the cathedral was "for everybody" and it needed to serve a wide range of people in Derby.
"The first thing we're trying to do is open the cathedral to new people," he said.
"It doesn't just belong to the people who go to church; it certainly doesn't belong to me; it doesn't just belong to religious people.
"This is Derby's cathedral and it needs to serve the needs of the people of Derby, as wide a range of the people of Derby as we possibly can."

Why are people objecting?

It famously includes scenes in which Britt Ekland's character is shown dancing naked, and Edward Woodward's character is burned to death inside a giant wicker man.
Don't Look Now, also from 1973, includes a graphic sex scene which was cut from the film by the BBC when it premiered on television.
Over the decades many observers have suggested that the leading actors, Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, were having unsimulated sex, although Sutherland has always rejected this.
Steve Dunning, a church warden from within the diocese of Derby, said: "I just think it isn't appropriate to show these films in a place of worship that is consecrated and hallowed, and therefore it compromises the spiritual integrity of the cathedral.
"There is also a broader issue in terms of, why does the cathedral need to show films when there are multiplex cinemas in Derby?"
Kristin Simmons, a deputy warden from another church, said: "Derby Cathedral is a reflection of every parish church in Derbyshire.
"Of course the cathedral can and should be open and used for outside events, but they should not be adverse to the Christian perspective; the cathedral is primarily a place of worship.
"One film depicts a human sacrifice of a Christian man who recites Psalm 23 and 'curses' people upon his death, and in the other, the protagonist is employed to restore a church building; it involves séances and communication with the dead and a very explicit sex scene.
"As someone else pointed out to me, Holy Communion will be celebrated nine hours later in the same seats."

The films were chosen by Dr Alex Rock from the nearby Quad cinema, who is a member of the congregation himself.
"I have a really good relationship with Derby Cathedral and care about it a lot, and I thought this was a really good opportunity to stimulate discussion around the space itself and to kind of experience the space in a completely different light," he said.
He described the films as "some of the greatest examples of British cinema that have ever been made".
Image copyright Shutterstock
Image caption The Wicker Man is set on a remote island where the inhabitants are practising a form of paganism
"This programme is designed to celebrate the heritage of British cinema in a fantastic heritage space," Dr Rock added.
The films are part of a season of film screenings called Quad in Residence at Derby Cathedral, which begins on 7 September.
Other films include Monty Python's Life of Brian, a religious satire telling the story of a man who is mistaken for Jesus, and which has itself sparked controversy in the past.
Sister Act, in which Whoopi Goldberg's character is forced to join a convent, is also being screened.

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Do we owe Sinéad O’Connor an apology for speaking the truth about church child abuse?

Do we owe Sinéad O'Connor an apology for speaking the truth about church child abuse?

Irish singer Sinead O'Connor performs on August 11, 2013, in Lorient, western of France during the Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient.FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Following the shocking revelations of 70 years of abuse of children by Pennsylvania priests, we owe Sinead O'Connor an apology.

Her declaration back in 1992 that the Catholic Church was rotten to its core and pedophile priests and their enablers were the real enemy was true.
It caused a massive worldwide reaction when she tore up a picture of the then Pope on Saturday Night Live in October 1992 and declared, "Fight the real enemy."
We now know that the pedophile scandals were rampant during the era of Pope John Paul, who chose to turn a blind eye. O'Connor was calling out the right person.
Before Spotlight, before the worst of the American and Irish church scandals, O'Connor called it right and only got abuse in return.
The enemy has become very obvious since then. The revelation that a Pennsylvania grand jury found that more than 1,000 children in six dioceses there had been molested by 300 Catholic priests over the past 70 years while successive church officials covered it up is truly shocking.
Imagine if 300 imams were named as sex abusers of children. The Muslim religion would likely be banned and the imams driven out or jailed.
There is no reason to believe that Pennsylvania is an outrider and that similar scandals were not omnipresent in other dioceses.

"The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up": Grand jury report details "systematic cover-up" of priest sexual abuse in Pennsylvania
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 14, 2018
The report is sickening. "During the course of this investigation, the Grand Jury uncovered a ring of predatory priests operating within the [Pittsburgh] Diocese who shared intelligence or information regarding victims as well as exchanging the victims amongst themselves. This ring also manufactured child pornography . . . [and] used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims."
According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a boy named George, "was forced to stand on a bed in a rectory, strip naked and pose as Christ on the cross for the priests. They took photos of their victim, adding them to a collection of child pornography which they produced and shared on church grounds."
It proves that the culture of pedophilia goes very deep and covering it up was the immediate priority. Many of the men involved still serve, notably Long Island bishop John Barres (who recently, incredibly, castigated women for using birth control).
Also, involved was Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl who, ironically, is accompanying the Pope to Ireland next week and speaking on the World Meeting of Families (no gay couples allowed, but pedophile cover-up merchants welcome it seems).
We may only be scratching the surface, as the grand jury said it believed the "real number" of abused children there might be "in the thousands."
O'Connor had the bravery to point out the reality of the pedophile scandal that would engulf the church. She tore up the pope's picture drawing massive protest down on herself.
A week later as Saturday Night Live's host, Joe Pesci, displayed the same torn photo during his monologue, saying he had taped it back together. He received huge applause.
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Double the front camera, double the leak: Google Pixel 3 XL again captured in spy shots

Google Pixel 3 XL again captured in spy shots

The Google Pixel 3 XL was spotted in the wild last week and promptly photographed. Today, another pair of images better showcasing the next Made by Google device have emerged. Captured at a better angle, these flatter photos again detail the notch, as well as the phone's backside.
In addition to being published by MobileSyrup, these shots again appear to be taken on Canadian public transportation. In fact, this could be the same device from the same tester as last week given a number of similarities.
Thanks to the images being captured head-on and in closer proximity, we have a better view of the display and two front-facing cameras. Clearly visible, the lenses flank the noticeably smaller pill-shaped speaker grill up top.
Meanwhile, given the width of the notorious notch, it appears that even the status bar icons to the right can't be fully displayed and are thus truncated by a dot. Visible on the left, the rounded marker is followed by vibration, network status, and battery icon with percentage. Meanwhile, the time and several app notifications are visible to the left.
Update: As noted by commenters, this Pixel 3 XL does not appear to be in a case.
The glass shade is clearly visible, while the camera and flash are in the exact same arrangement as the Pixel 2 XL. Meanwhile, the picture shows off how the glass window seemingly slopes into the device's frame. Unfortunately, given the hand placement, the fingerprint sensor and Google 'G' logo are not visible.

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How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington

How to Get Rich in Trump's Washington

When the phone call to Trump went through, Stryk saw the geography of a new world forming before his eyes. Interests that spent millions of dollars studying Washington and shaping it to their liking had been taken totally by surprise by Trump's win. The rules had changed, and no one was sure what the new ones were. For Stryk, it was the opportunity he had been waiting for. As he saw it, the lobbying old guard — the guys that threw down black Amex cards at Joe's Crab and sent fat quarterly bills to clients they barely did any work for — were on the defensive. New people would have a chance. People like Stryk.
New Zealand was a prime example. Groser and his staff had spent months researching Hillary Clinton, calculating who among her vast claque would win positions of power and influence in her administration. The main thing they knew about Trump was that he had sworn to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the complex 12-nation trade deal that Groser helped negotiate. Stryk, offering to work free, had a proposal. New Zealand would throw the biggest party of Trump's inauguration. Stryk would put the new administration's leading lights in the room; Groser would do the rest. ''It was about building brand recognition for New Zealand,'' Stryk explained. ''If we can get them there, then forever, bad or good, Trump and New Zealand are a co-brand.''
In the tumult following Trump's win, Stryk was discovering that many of his old friends — most of them fellow Washington backbenchers, B-listers and understudies — had vaulted to positions of unexpected influence. A guy Stryk knew at the inaugural committee put out the word among Trump alums that New Zealand's party was the week's hot ticket. Stryk called a friend at Salem Media, the right-leaning media-and-talk-radio company, which signed on as a party sponsor. Another friend, the actor Jon Voight, agreed to attend as a special celebrity guest.
In January, hundreds of guests packed into to the embassy's chancery, among them dozens of Trump-campaign alumni and future West Wing staff. Stryk rented a tuxedo jacket for the occasion. Groser gave a Trump-friendly speech, lauding the end of political correctness and the dawn of a new era in Kiwi-American relations. ''We had a party that rocked, frankly,'' he told me recently. In one night, New Zealand had upended Washington's elaborate diplomatic pecking order. Diplomats and social secretaries at other embassies were left wondering how the country had pulled in so many Trump V.I.P.s. Trumpworld, previously inscrutable and unreachable to Groser's team, was now populated by friendly faces. ''Robert showed, 'I'm connected,' '' he told me.
Groser decided to hire Stryk full time. Not long after, Stryk pulled $250,000 out of his savings, moved his family to the Washington suburbs and started hiring.
There are about 10,000 registered lobbyists in Washington — roughly 20 for every member of Congress — and thousands more unregistered ones: consultants and ''strategic advisers'' who are paid to help shape government policy but do not disclose their clients. By whatever name, they are the people companies and countries hire to help roll back regulations, unstick bids, tweak legislation or get meetings. Lobbying is at once Washington's most maligned, enduring and essential industry. Underpaid young politicos and retiring lawmakers depend on Beltway lobby shops — known as ''K Street'' after the city boulevard that once housed many of them — for the high-six-figure salaries that will loft them into Washington's petite aristocracy. Congress needs K Street, too: After decades of cutting its own staff and research arms, much of Capitol Hill's institutional memory and policy expertise now resides in the lobbying industry. But the private sector needs lobbyists the most. The modern federal government is so sprawling and complex that it practically demands a specialized class of middlemen and -women.
Over the decades, lobbying has evolved from a niche trade of fixers and gatekeepers to a sleek, vertically integrated, $3-billion-a-year industry. A good lobbyist doesn't go into a meeting asking for legislation; she or he already has the bill drafted, a coalition of businesses and trade groups poised to support it, a policy brief to hand out to reporters and to the officials positioned at dozens of decision points throughout the bureaucracy and relationships with advertising and polling firms to manage the public rollout. Everyone has a lobbyist — or three, or 50 — and the lobbyists know everyone. K Street is majestic and immovable, veined through Washington like fat through a prime steak.
Like virtually every other candidate for president, Trump campaigned against this thicket of money and influence, positioning himself as an outsider who would ''drain the swamp.'' This pledge would soon prove more rhetorical than real, but it contained a grain of truth. Trump arrived in Washington with a relatively short baggage train of Beltway relationships and obligations. He didn't read policy briefs; he barely had policies. His inner circle was a hodgepodge of Breitbart alumni, nominally Democratic financiers, Trump Organization employees on loan, the odd reality-show star and Republicans who would have been unemployable in almost any other administration. The smart money in Washington — K Street and K Street's clients, the big corporations and trade associations — didn't quite know what to expect. But mostly, they didn't know whom to call.
''Many companies want to understand: What are the president's priorities?'' Corey Lewandowski told me in February, a few weeks after the inauguration. ''But there are so few people in Washington who have a relationship or an understanding of him.'' Lewandowski, the president's former campaign manager, was happy to tell you that he was one of the few exceptions.
Lewandowski's journey from obscure New Hampshire political operative to celebrity power broker was emblematic of how Trump's election scrambled Washington's hierarchies. Much like Stryk, Lewandowski had spent years in the lower ranks of conservative politics and lobbying. Being hired as Trump's campaign manager moved Lewandowski into the political big time, and being fired, midway through the race, did little to dislodge him. There were speaking gigs, a stint as a reliably pro-Trump pundit on CNN. At one point last year, Lewandowski even tried selling a book, tentatively titled ''Let Trump Be Trump''; Stryk, introduced to Lewandowski by a mutual friend, helped him shop the proposal. ''Corey had a brand,'' Stryk told me, and that brand was valuable. HarperCollins offered Lewandowski $1.2 million, an astounding figure for a campaign manager — though the deal evaporated when Lewandowski refused to show HarperCollins a copy of his nondisclosure agreement with Trump.

'We don't want to sell ourselves as just the Trump guys. But maybe that's what it takes for the first few years.'
Through it all, Lewandowski remained close to Trump and spoke to him often. But after the election, the White House job Lewandowski hoped for never quite materialized. Now Lewandowski, too, was on K Street. He had joined up with another former Trump aide, Barry Bennett, to start a lobbying firm called Avenue Strategies.
Unlike other people on K Street, Lewandowski did not pretend to be an expert on the legislative calendar or the fine points of the Administrative Procedure Act. He was an expert on Trump. ''There are just so few people in Washington who know the president,'' Lewandowski told me in February. ''It's a comparative advantage.'' He was not shy about playing up their friendship. He sometimes tweeted from the White House grounds. When journalists or other visitors came to his office, on Pennsylvania Avenue a few blocks from the White House, he would point out his window to where, he claimed, he could see the president's bedroom.
His mind-meld with Trump was what made him valuable to clients, Lewandowski explained to me. ''I think what I bring is a level of understanding of the president's thought process,'' he said, ''only because I had the privilege of being next to him for so long.'' He was doing as many as nine or 10 meetings a day: Chief executives, prominent Republicans, even other lobbying firms wanted his advice. He offered it freely, Lewandowski told me. He wanted to be helpful. ''You know what a guy said to me the other day?'' he said. '' 'You've got a hot hand. Just remember, that hand's not going to be hot forever.' ''
One good source of business was the president's habit of calling chief executives to the White House for televised meetings. In January, when the chief executive of Whirlpool was summoned by Trump to discuss how to revive American jobs, the company asked Avenue Strategies to advise it. As one lobbyist who shared clients with Lewandowski put it to me, companies like Whirlpool needed to know the lay of the land inside the White House: How much sway did Wilbur Ross have? Was Steve Bannon for real? And what should the company do if Trump started dumping on it on Twitter?
Everyone had seen what happened to Lockheed Martin. Lockheed, the federal government's single biggest contractor, is a powerful presence inside the Beltway. But through the winter, Trump had lashed out at the company over cost overruns on the F-35 fighter jet. The company's shares dropped each time, taking Lockheed's value down by billions of dollars. These were the kinds of problems that Lewandowski believed others on K Street couldn't help with. ''If you're a corporate C.E.O. and the president has tweeted at you and your stock has dropped 4 percent, you say: 'Why am I paying all these guys so much money?' '' Lewandowski said. The old model of Washington influence wouldn't work on Trump, he believed. ''They don't know him, and they don't know any of his guys, and they don't understand how he thinks.'' Eventually Lockheed, too, turned to Avenue.
Over the course of a few conversations with the company's Washington office, Bennett told me, they advised Lockheed on how Marillyn Hewson, its president and chief executive, should approach conversations: ''Short, direct, honest answers,'' as Bennett recounted it for me later. ''Feel free to educate the president. In the end, it's going to be transactional.'' The next time Hewson met with Trump, a week before the inauguration, she came bearing gifts: a potential F-35 price cut and a promise to add jobs at a Texas plant.
The Twitter attacks ceased. By the end of February, Trump was praising Lockheed. ''They've just announced eighteen hundred new jobs,'' Trump told reporters after a meeting with Hewson and other manufacturing executives. ''I have to say this, Marillyn, you've gotten a lot of credit because what you did was the right thing.''
Lewandowski's help did not come cheap. A typical boutique lobbying firm might charge $10,000 to $15,000 a month. A big lobbying or law firm, with teams of para­legals or assistants and high overhead, might charge twice that, with a three-month retainer. Avenue sometimes asked for as much as $50,000 a month — a top-shelf price on K Street — and Lewandowski on occasion tried to go higher. But there were plenty of takers: By midwinter, Avenue had ''more than a dozen, less than 50'' clients, Lewandowski told me at the time.
The demand was so great that would-be Trump-whisperers were popping up in Washington like toadstools after a rainstorm. The former Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich, a ''senior adviser'' to the lobbying practice at Dentons, the world's largest law firm, was hawking a book titled ''Understanding Trump.'' Established K Street firms were grabbing any Trump people they could find: Jim Murphy, Trump's former political director, joined the lobbying giant BakerHostetler, while another firm, Fidelis Government Relations, struck up a partnership with Bill Smith, Mike Pence's former chief of staff. All told, close to 20 ex-aides of Trump, friends and hangers-on had made their way into Washington's influence business.
Credit Ad by Delcan & Company. Photo illustration by Sam Kaplan for The New York Times. Prop stylist: Gozde Eker.
Beltway experience was not necessarily required. Squire Patton Boggs formed a ''strategic alliance'' with Michael Cohen, Trump's self-described ''personal attorney'' from New York, who had scant government experience. There was also Brad Gerstman, a brawny Long Island lobbyist and P.R. man who had done work for Trump in New York over the years. On election night, Gerstman was so sure Trump was going to lose that he got on a plane to Israel. As Gerstman tells it, his business partner called as soon as he landed. ''Why the hell are you in Tel Aviv?'' his partner asked. ''We have an office to open in Washington.'' Gerstman hung up and went to his hotel, where he looked out over the Mediterranean, put a cigar in his mouth and listened to the congratulatory messages piled up in his voice mail. In January, he set up an office in downtown Washington. ''We don't want to sell ourselves as just the Trump guys,'' Gerstman told me. ''But maybe that's what it takes for the first few years.''
Many of the Trump-connected lobbyists told me they were turning away as much business as they accepted. One person offered Lewan­dowski $250,000 just to get the president to tweet about him. A lobbyist who worked on Trump's inaugural committee told me of a billionaire who, within a week of the inauguration, offered a million dollars if the lobbyist could arrange for his picture to be taken in the Oval Office with the new president. ''You can make $2 million if you want,'' Bennett told me, sounding almost apologetic. ''It's like: 'I've got a gold mine in Eastern Europe.' Or: 'My client is suing the I.R.S. — can you help?' ''
Not all of the new arrivals affected to be part of a revolution. One day this spring, I met with Brian Ballard, a veteran Florida lobbyist and top-tier Republican fund-raiser. Ballard had recently opened an office in Washington just a few blocks from the new Trump International Hotel. He had known Trump since the 1980s, and he later started lobbying regulators and state officials on behalf of Trump's golf courses and his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, but he was practical about the realities of politics. Like most of Florida's Republican old guard, he started the 2016 campaign backing the state's former governor, Jeb Bush, before switching to the state's junior senator, Marco Rubio. Once it became clear that Trump would lead the Republican ticket, Ballard enthusiastically joined the campaign as Trump's Florida finance chairman.
Ballard, who is 56, had a ruddy Florida tan that marked him as new in town, and the serene confidence of a man who saw no way he could lose. At his office, an attractive receptionist led us into a spotless conference room. ''I'm not an expert in Washington, D.C.,'' Ballard told me when we sat down. ''I'm an expert in lobbying.'' In Florida, Ballard had a blue-chip list of corporate clients: Google, pharmaceutical companies, Big Sugar. His business plan was simple: to sign up his Florida clients for Trump-related advice in Washington. ''When I was on the campaign, they didn't want to pitch in,'' Ballard said of his clients. ''And now they say: 'How do I figure out what is going on here?' ''
By the end of his first 100 days in office, it seemed, Trump had not so much drained the swamp as enshrouded it with a billowing fog of uncertainty. No previous president had changed his mind more often, or contradicted his cabinet so frequently, or permitted such vicious ideological combat under his White House roof. Many clients just wanted to know what they could safely ignore. ''White Houses are always somewhat opaque places of fascination, where you don't quite know who is up and who is down, or how decisions are ultimately reached,'' said Bruce P. Mehlman, a prominent Republican lobbyist who served in the George W. Bush administration. ''The added complexity here was there was not a single consistent governing philosophy. It was not clear if the president saw trade the way that Gary Cohn sees it or the way Steve Bannon sees it.''
Moreover, some of the usual paths through the bog were now closed. Hundreds of senior administration jobs were going unfilled, as Trump's cabinet secretaries battled with his inner circle over potential hires from among the Republican regulars in Washington. One lobbyist at a well-regarded firm with numerous financial clients told me that his problem was less that he didn't know whom to call than that there was no one to call: Infighting and vetting problems had stymied so many appointments at the Treasury Department that many of the offices were empty.
All of this had inadvertently created an entirely new business model for Trump's friends and former employees. In normal times, K Street did much of its business on Capitol Hill, where the churn of legislation offered unending opportunity to deliver goodies for clients. But the power vacuum in Trump's cabinet agencies, and the inexperience of his West Wing staff, seemed to offer a different kind of opening. It was easy to imagine that a single phone call, coming from the right person, could redirect a major policy initiative. Some of the old firms would do O.K., Lewandowski thought — the ones that had relationships in Congress, that understood the intricate ballet of lawmaking. But the real action, he was betting, would be at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. ''I think this particular administration is really going to be driving the agenda,'' he told me. ''Not Congress.''
After New Zealand, Stryk's phone barely stopped ringing, and he quickly built up his own shop. Stuart Jolly, the ex-Trump campaign aide who worked out the phone call for New Zealand, became the new president of S.P.G. Stryk hired a former Central Intelligence Agency station chief and a few other ex-military and intelligence types, people who had contacts and expertise abroad. He also brought on an earnest young small-town lawyer from Oregon named Jacob Daniels, whom he met through his vineyard business. Daniels had been working out of his car, mostly on drunken-driving cases, when Stryk recommended him to Jolly for a job with the Trump campaign. Daniels ended up as the campaign's second in command in Michigan, where Trump became the first Republican to win in almost 30 years, making Daniels a Trumpworld rising star. Now he was Stryk's vice president of policy.
On a balmy spring day in April, I met Stryk and a few of his colleagues on a terrace at the Army-Navy Country Club, a sprawling and immaculate golf club near the Pentagon; S.P.G. still didn't have a proper office. Stryk wore cowboy boots and a T-shirt under a rumpled black sport coat. Most of K Street, he told me, was ''a washing machine. Money just goes from one firm to another. No one creates any new wealth.'' Stryk's own politics leaned libertarian, he told me; despite his firm's ties to the Trump team, he didn't think of himself as particularly Trumpy. One of the new hires, a Democratic foreign-policy veteran, had been good friends with Paul Wellstone, the liberal senator who died in 2002. ''We're here for the opportunities,'' Stryk said. ''Not for the ideology.''
Credit Photo illustration by Sam Kaplan for The New York Times. Card by Delcan & Company. Prop stylist: Gozde Eker.
Stryk was focusing not on nervous companies but on nervous countries. He and his new team had made a list of the governments S.P.G. wanted to work for — NATO allies mostly, nothing iffy like Ukraine or Pakistan — and with New Zealand as his calling card, they pitched S.P.G. as the go-to foreign lobbying and advisory firm in Trump's Washington. Historically, foreign lobbying has been a specialized business dominated by a few big firms. Stryk viewed them as he viewed the rest of the lobbying industry: as a cartel ripe for disruption. Stryk pitched his clients policy expertise, round-the-clock work habits and personalized service.
Stryk believed his team could penetrate the uncertainty surrounding the White House. He wanted to be a ''calming resource for foreign countries and businesses,'' he told me — and there was a lot of calming to do. Over the course of a few months, the new president had managed to start a trade war with Canada, picked a fight with the prime minister of Australia and hinted that the United States might need to pull out of NATO. He also wanted to slash the State Department budget, and through the spring and summer, many senior jobs at State would remain unfilled. Everyone, even close allies, was looking for Sherpas and back doors. R. Nicholas Burns, the veteran American diplomat, told me that Trump's denuded State Department had left diplomats from perhaps a hundred countries — most of them smaller nations — without their traditional liaison to the United States government. ''There's never been anything like this, ever,'' Burns said.
Trump's statecraft had a way of generating new business in other ways, too. The president of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, was not a popular figure in Barack Obama's Washington: A right-wing populist who preached closer ties to Russia, he once banned the United States ambassador from Prague Castle, the Czech seat of government. Trump, naturally, invited him to Washington, and Zeman's government hired Stryk's firm to help plan the state visit. New Zealand needed to talk to the administration about a new bilateral trade agreement, now that Trump was withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. A Korean trade association wanted help planning a conference in Washington but didn't know anyone in the Trump White House. Stryk's people got on the phone, cold-calling around the Commerce Department to find a senior official who would speak at the event. ''Most lobbyists are afraid of a 'no,' '' Stryk said. ''A 'no' means you have no juice. I'm not afraid of 'no.' ''

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But Stryk's greatest coup was Saudi Arabia. Gulf-state oligarchs spend tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying in Washington and larding influential think tanks with grant money, and Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest spenders. The country's then-crown prince and minister of the interior, Mohammed bin Nayef, was an exception: He enjoyed deep ties to the American intelligence apparatus under President Obama and had never needed a lobbyist. This spring, however, Trump invited Nayef's chief rival — Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince and the king's son — to a formal White House lunch. The lunch sent ripples through Riyadh. Did Trump favor Salman? Accidentally or on purpose, Trump had just waded into Saudi Arabia's treacherous succession politics. Nayef found himself in need of guidance.
In May, S.P.G. signed a contract to provide ''congressional and executive branch brand engagement'' to the Saudi Ministry of the Interior — Nayef's domain. Stryk did not want to reveal much about his work for the Saudis, but lobbying records show that the fee was $5.4 million, payable up front.
That was the other thing about foreign lobbying: It paid even better than corporate lobbying. Inevitably, Stryk had competition.
In keeping with Trump's America First campaign pledge, Barry Bennett once told reporters that Avenue would not work for foreign governments. Foreign politicians were another matter. By March, Bennett was sitting in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel with an Albanian party leader named Lulzim Basha.
Basha was the young chairman of the Democratic Party of Albania, the country's conservative party, which was looking to unseat the ruling Socialist Party in elections scheduled for June. Basha borrowed liberally from Trump's playbook; he had attacked the Socialists for being in bed with crime syndicates and, simultaneously, with George Soros, whose foundation was active in Albania. His slogan was ''Make Albania Great Again.'' Now, according to Bennett, Basha wanted help beating the Socialists in June — and who better to advise him than a couple of Trump-campaign veterans? Bennett told me that it was a cordial meeting and that he later sent Basha a proposed contract. ''I told him we'd love to be his political consultant,'' Bennett said. (Through a representative, Basha declined to comment.)
Through an intermediary, the Albanian Democrats also reached out to Ballard, who was making his own push into foreign lobbying. He had brought on board a couple of partners with experience in Eastern Europe and Latin America, including a former Democratic congressman and a former ambassador. ''They called me,'' Ballard said of Basha's party. ''I wouldn't know Albania in an atlas.'' Ballard told them he couldn't help them. He was already working with the Albanian Socialists.

'White Houses are always somewhat opaque places of fascination, where you don't quite know who is up and who is down, or how decisions are ultimately reached. The added complexity here was there was not a single consistent governing philosophy.'
When a friend referred the Socialists to him, Ballard told me, he had two questions. ''I asked: 'Is it a democracy?' Yes. 'Are they an ally of the U.S.?' Yes.'' The Socialists had a story that was becoming increasingly familiar in Washington. After Trump won, most of the American diplomats their government had worked with seemed to vanish, and no one replaced them. One Albanian official, who asked not to be identified by name, told me his government felt that ''we had to increase our presence in Washington.'' I asked him how his government picked Ballard. ''The internet makes it easy,'' he told me. ''You just Google.''
But as companies and countries vied for Trump's ear over the spring, the new Trump lobbyists found themselves competing with one another as much as with the established Washington firms. Ballard, for example, had explored working for members of the Venezuelan opposition. (''I'm no world-peace guy,'' he told me, ''but I think I can help a little bit.'') Lewan­dowski's firm, meanwhile, was pitching Citgo, the American subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. (Avenue eventually signed Citgo, and in August the Trump administration would partly exempt the company from a new round of sanctions on the Venezuelan government.) Ballard was also working out a $1.5 million contract with Turkey — which put him up against Brad Gerstman, Trump's old New York guy. Gerstman's firm, Gotham Government Relations, had signed up a company linked to Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric whom the Turkish government blames for fomenting last year's failed coup.
Not many lobbyists wanted to represent the Gulenists, partly because Trump appeared to have already picked a side. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey won a widely disputed referendum in April granting himself expanded powers, Trump called to congratulate him. When Erdogan visited the White House some weeks later, Trump praised the bravery of Turkish soldiers and talked about beating ISIS together.
I watched Erdogan and Trump's joint news conference on TV with Gerst­man, who had been hired to spread the word about Erdogan's worldwide oppression of Gulenists. When Erdogan referred to the Gulen ''terrorist organization,'' you could see Trump purse his lips during the translation, then nod a few times. It wasn't totally clear what the president was nodding about. Gerstman remained hopeful. ''Our view is that six months from now, everything is going to look different,'' he told me. ''It's fluid. It's dynamic.'' He looked thoughtful. ''One thing we know about President Trump is he's not afraid to change.''
One afternoon in late April, Jolly, Stryk's marquee Trumpworld hire, called me out of the blue. He was leaving S.P.G., he said. He told me he had grown uncomfortable with the firm's auditions for foreign clients, so he was going back to his own political-consulting business.
Stryk was having his own qualms. Lewandowski had beaten him on some pitches, Stryk was told by prospective clients, by promising that he could get Trump on the phone — a promise Stryk felt he could not make. ''We don't sell access to Trump,'' he told me. ''I don't know Donald Trump.'' He was increasingly impatient with the notion that he was simply providing entree to the new administration. He was in negotiations to acquire a small design and branding firm. He saw S.P.G. evolving into something bigger and more stable, a full-service ''advisory'' company that could compete with the most sophisticated shops on K Street — and beyond. Stryk saw Lewandowski's firm, and some of the others associated with the new administration, as short-term plays. They could sell access or surf the disruption, but he aimed to outlast it. ''Do they have business outside of this Trump phenomenon?'' Stryk mused. ''The talk around town is, how long does this last before the business goes back to the establishment?''
Among the new arrivals, Ballard, at least, was doing pretty well. After only a few months in Washington, he had signed up more than 30 clients: energy companies, insurers, Amazon, American Airlines. The new Washington office would soon be on track to make $15 million in 2017, almost as much as his firm reported making in Florida last year. Ballard, unlike some of his competitors, was at ease in the swamp. He didn't want to beat the Washington establishment; he was here to join it. ''There's no big firm that should worry about us,'' Ballard told me. ''We augment other people, or they augment us. The Trump guys are not going to take over the town.''
If anything, the Trump guys were learning the downsides of proximity to the president. By spring, the Justice Department had appointed a special counsel to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, an investigation that would quickly reach into the president's inner circle. The various White House factions seemed to spend as much time planting negative press on one another as they did figuring out what the president should do. When the White House got involved in big legislative battles, like the Obamacare repeal effort, it tended to hurt, not help.
Proximity was proving an especially mixed blessing for Lewandowski. A stream of news stories had detailed promises he was supposedly making to clients, which he mostly denied — not just phone calls with Trump but also visits with White House officials and even access to Trump's Twitter account. In late April, Politico reported that Lewan­dowski and Bennett also owned another, separate company called Washington East West Political Strategies. This new firm, a vehicle for overseas consulting, had circulated at least one written proposal promising to arrange meetings with Trump and other administration officials, seeming to undercut Lewandowski's earlier denials. I later obtained a copy of the proposal, which named the potential client: Edi Rama, Albania's Socialist prime minister. The new firm — or as Bennett later explained, a business associate in Europe, acting without authorization — had pitched opposing candidates in the same campaign.
Credit Magnet by Delcan & Company. Photo illustration by Sam Kaplan for The New York Times. Prop stylist: Gozde Eker.
Official Washington professed itself to be aghast at Lewandowski, who did not bother to couch his sales pitches in the Beltway's customary euphemisms: He was what they pretended not to be. Ethics watchdogs cast him as living proof of the hollowness of Trump's campaign promise to ''drain the swamp.'' Lewandowski disagreed. In his view, the swamp was the sprawling, unresponsive bureaucracy, not the people you paid to help you get your phone calls returned. Still, friends of Lewandowski's told me that White House officials had advised him to keep a lower profile.
By that point, it was hard to know exactly how well Avenue was doing. As the summer recess drew near, the firm had disclosed fewer than 10 lobbying clients. Among them were a San Diego-based environmental consulting firm and an Ohio payday lender — valuable clients, but not quite blue-chip. For every Whirlpool that asked Lewandowski for help, his rivals told me, there was another big company that decided he was too radioactive. Lockheed never actually signed a contract with Avenue; when news leaked of Lewandowski's role in advising it on Trump, a Lockheed spokesman issued a carefully worded statement that ''Lockheed has not retained Lewandowski, or his lobbying firm.'' In the same way that most big chief executives turned up their noses at Trump during the campaign but now hoped he would deliver tax reform and sweeping deregulation, they wanted Lewandowski's help without being too closely associated with him.
Then, too, Lewandowski's clout wasn't always what he promised. Puerto Rico's government, for example, hired Avenue to help ease the island's fiscal crisis. But the job pitted Lewandow­ski against a coalition of hedge funds that owned much of Puerto Rico's debt, and whose former lobbyist Trump had installed on his National Economic Council. The swamp's old guard prevailed: In late April, as Puerto Rican officials were begging Congress for more federal funding, Trump publicly dismissed their cause in his trademark fashion. ''Democrats are trying to bail out insurance companies from disastrous #ObamaCare, and Puerto Rico with your tax dollars,'' Trump tweeted. ''Sad!''
In a sense, Lewandowski's biggest problem was the president himself. Lewandowski had bet that the White House would be the center of energy and action in Trump's Washington, but instead the Trump administration was being swallowed by its own chaos. Divided by factions and backbiting, unable to wield full control of the bureaucracy or execute on many of its own ambitions, the administration was in danger of becoming a minor player in the policy debates of the day. Many companies were coming to the conclusion that on complex issues like tax reform, their energies were better directed at lawmakers on Capitol Hill — and their money better spent at the traditional lobbying firms stocked with ex-lawmakers and their former aides.
Moreover, despite Trump's campaign pledges, many of the agencies he now oversaw had proved more than friendly to the legions of longtime Beltway lobbyists working for the energy, telecommunications and other industries. In many cases, Trump had hired them outright: By the summer, he had appointed more than 100 lobbyists to jobs in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, the Federal Communications Commission and elsewhere. Their old clients didn't need much help from the new Trump guys on K Street. They already knew exactly whom to call.
Perhaps that's why the traditional lobbying shops were doing just fine. As for protecting clients from Trump's Twitter howitzer — well, that had turned out to be easier than it looked, several lobbyists told me: Just show up in person, promise the president you'll create some jobs and publicly give him the credit. ''You make it about Trump and you link it to jobs, and you could be Russia or China and he will support you,'' one told me. ''It is that unsophisticated.''
Lewandowski's office, when I finally got to see it, turned out to be a cramped room with scuffed yellow walls. His desk held a couple of commemorative Trump pens and a warm can of Monster energy drink. A new whiteboard, still in its wrapping, leaned against one wall; a carry-on suitcase leaned against another. I could see the White House, but only if I leaned over his desk and craned my neck.
''There it is,'' Lewandowski said, a little halfheartedly, pointing out the window. His day had not gotten off to a great start. That morning, Puerto Rico had filed for a territorial version of bankruptcy. A prominent watchdog group had sent a letter to the Justice Department asking officials there to investigate why Lewandowski had never registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a World War II-era law that imposes stringent disclosure requirements on Americans representing foreign governments in Washington. (Though Bennett and other Avenue employees had registered as lobbyists, Lewandowski insisted that most of his business was advising clients on strategy, not setting up meetings or contacting officials on their behalf, the kind of work that requires you to register.) Politico had struck again, revealing Avenue's Citgo contract. Technically, the United States-based company was owned by the left-wing government of Venezuela, whose vice president the Trump administration had accused of drug trafficking.
Lewandowski told me he didn't work directly for foreign governments, notwithstanding the stories and documents. Not that he wouldn't be good at it — you know, if he wanted to. ''I don't work for foreign governments, but if I were a foreign government, and I wanted to hire people who understood how to get to the president, there are a small number of people I would think of,'' Lewan­dowski said. As he spoke, he seemed to recover his familiar brio. ''The establishment is so afraid of President Trump they will do anything. Which includes hiring individuals who have purported to be tied to the White House who really aren't.''

'We're here for the opportunities. Not for the ideology.'
The next day, Lewandowski announced he was quitting Avenue. In a lengthy interview with Bloomberg, he explained that Bennett and their employees had been using his name to drum up business he didn't want, exposing him to criticism and sullying his reputation. He insisted he had never asked Trump for anything. ''People want to see me fail,'' Lewandowski grumbled.
''I feel bad for Corey,'' Bennett told me when I went to see him the following week. ''He didn't do anything wrong. But he's a lightning rod.'' Bob Dole, he pointed out, had just signed a $500,000 contract for work on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a violence-racked country run by a kleptocratic strongman. But no one in Washington gave Bob Dole a hard time.
''He thought he could go in'' — into the White House — ''during the second wave,'' Bennett said of Lewandowski. K Street was just a way station for him, Bennett suggested, while he waited for the only job he truly wanted — the one he could picture when he gazed out his window, down Pennsylvania Avenue. ''Looking back on it, he probably should never have owned a chunk of a lobbying firm. In the media's mind, every client we had was Corey's client.'' But even with Lewandowski gone, Bennett said, there was plenty of work. ''All of K Street is doing well right now,'' he said. ''Chaos is good for everyone's business.''
Lewandowski, I soon learned, hadn't really left the swamp. He had merely receded into the nebulous ranks of Washington's unregistered lobbyists. In July, he founded a new firm, Lewandowski Strategic Advisors. He offered clients ''strategic advice and counsel,'' according to a copy of one contract I obtained, and had picked up at least one client from Avenue, the Ohio payday lender. He was back on TV more and more, energetically defending Trump and plumping for various private interests. At one point, I got a tip that he had been spotted in Taipei, Taiwan. He wouldn't tell me what he was doing there, or for whom he was working — ''I'm just a private citizen,'' he texted — but weeks later, he tweeted about the Trump administration's decision to approve a $1.42 billion arms sale to the country. He hadn't yet landed that White House job, but he was in the West Wing often, and he had a new Twitter avatar: a picture of himself standing on the stairs to Air Force One. Newt Gingrich's publisher had bought Lewandowski's Trump book, and by the end of the summer, he had added yet another gig, joining Trump's official super PAC, American First Action. Lewandowski had absorbed the swamp's most essential trait: adaptability.
Not long ago, Stryk opened a proper Washington office, right in Georgetown, a stone's throw from the Four Seasons. The new space was undecorated and unmarked, and there wasn't much there yet but a couple of laptops. But Stryk was buoyant. He was about to sign two more big foreign lobbying clients, the governments of Afghanistan and Kenya, along with a pharmaceutical firm. Saudi Arabia had canceled its S.P.G. contract after Stryk's client, the crown prince, was deposed in a palace reshuffle, and New Zealand's foreign ministry had decided that its embassy no longer needed Stryk's services. But in Stryk's view, these were just hiccups. Competitors around town — big firms that had never given him the time of day — were starting to ask around about S.P.G., wondering who they were and how they were getting so much business.
In about a month, Trump's ham-handed defense of white nationalists and white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville would prompt most of the chief executives serving on White House advisory councils to quit in protest. It would cost the chief executives something, losing their face time with this impressionable, transactional president — and their loss would be K Street's gain. Those same companies would now just rely more on their lobbyists, or on the trade associations they belonged to, to drive their agendas.
But as we sat down in his new conference room, Stryk was already looking beyond the Beltway. He saw Trump's disruption spreading beyond Washington, to foreign capitals and overseas markets. The chaos in Trump's government was creating a vacuum abroad, one that entrepreneurs like Stryk could fill with deal-making and private diplomacy. ''I want to grow a business that's 200 million a year,'' Stryk told me. ''You're not going to get that arranging dinners in Washington.''
The new contracts with Afghanistan and Kenya, Stryk explained, were prototypes for the kind of business he wanted to do, an escape from the washing machine. The Afghans and the Kenyans didn't just want help with the Trump administration. They wanted help with everything: attracting American investment, troubleshooting problems in other foreign capitals, finding companies that could build them roads or manage their health care records.
So recently, Stryk had begun pitching investors on a new venture: a $5 billion private-equity fund that would specialize in infrastructure and procurement. One side of the business, the lobbying, would identify government customers abroad; the other side would invest in companies that could deliver what those governments needed. Secure voting systems, border-security hardware — the opportunities were limitless. ''It is our job, as conservatives and capitalists, to take the chaos and do with it what we can,'' Stryk said. ''Our goal is to take an environment that was created by the president and use it to —'' He paused for a second, thinking. ''To do some good.''
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