POLITICO Playbook: Golden State notebook

GOLDEN STATE NOTEBOOK … CALIFORNIA LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM — the Democratic nominee and favorite to become the next governor of California — sat down with us for a newsy interview yesterday in Los Angeles. The room was packed, and friendly to Newsom.

IN THE SAME WAY many Republicans see California as emblematic of what drags the country down, Newsom sees it as America’s leading light. “Something special is happening out here. As imperfect as those poverty rates are. As imperfect as our efforts around addressing affordability are.” He calls California “America’s coming attraction.”

— HE IS LOOSE — the way a candidate might be when they are the heavy favorite — and talks confidently about California. He acknowledges Sacramento desperately needs to make the tax climate more favorable so states like Texas don’t snatch jobs. He said he visited Rick Perry when he was governor of Texas Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Golden State notebook”

POLITICO Playbook: Omarosa amplifies Washington melodrama

ATTN. WEST WING … BULLETIN, at 4:16 a.m., from AP (@AP): “BREAKING: Turkish media: court rejects appeal for American pastor’s release from detention.”

— WSJ: “Turkey Raises Tariffs on a Number of U.S. Products: List includes rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics,” by Yeliz Candemir in Istanbul: “Turkey sharply raised tariffs Wednesday on some U.S. imports in response to U.S. sanctions on Ankara, the latest spat between the two NATO allies that has led to a currency crisis.

“A decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has raised tariffs on U.S. goods including alcoholic beverages, passenger cars, tobacco, cosmetics, rice and coal. ‘In response to the U.S. administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy, under the principle of reciprocity, the import duties on some products have been raised,’ Vice President Fuat Oktay said Wednesday on his official Twitter account.” Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Omarosa amplifies Washington melodrama”

POLITICO Playbook: Omarosa puts Trump on his heels

AN OMAROSA OBSERVATION … THIS IS the second time PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has been entangled with a woman who is equally adept at playing the media. First it was Stormy Daniels. Now it seems like Omarosa has gotten in Trump’s head.

OMAROSA IS someone who has known the president for years, and she has gone rogue. She’s publicly said she has betrayed Trump and the White House in the worst way — by surreptitiously recording what seems to be hours of private conversations that she might or might not release depending how events unfold. Oh, and by the way, she said on “Hardball” last night that she’d be glad to pass the tapes over to Robert Mueller should he ask.

SHE IS MAKING it clear that she is in control — not Trump and the White House. Buying her silence didn’t work. John Kelly’s suggestion she go quietly obviously fell Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Omarosa puts Trump on his heels”

POLITICO Playbook: Ellison denies abuse allegations

SIREN … ELLISON SPEAKS … ELANA SCHOR and HEATHER CAYGLE: “Ellison denies abuse allegations: ‘I never behaved in this way’”: “Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Sunday denied allegations posted on social media accounts linked to the family of his former girlfriend that he had behaved abusively towards her. Ellison, who is battling four challengers for his party’s nomination in the race for Minnesota attorney general, spoke out through his campaign after a Facebook post alleging past abuse began circulating. The post came from the son of his former girlfriend Karen Monahan. …

“The six-term House Democrat, who is also deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, issued a statement through his campaign denying the existence of the video portrayed in Austin Monahan’s Facebook post.

“‘Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,’ Ellison said in a statement. Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Ellison denies abuse allegations”

Trump’s diplomatic learning curve: Time zones, ‘Nambia’ and ‘Nipple’

Several times in the first year of his administration, President Donald Trump wanted to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the afternoon. But there was a problem. Midafternoon in Washington is the middle of the night in Tokyo — when Abe would be fast asleep.

Trump’s aides had to explain the issue, which one diplomatic source said came up on “a constant basis,” but it wasn’t easy.

“He wasn’t great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn’t going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time,” said a former Trump NSC official. “When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He’s more impulsive that way. He doesn’t think about what time it is or who it is,” added a person close to Trump.

In the Continue reading “Trump’s diplomatic learning curve: Time zones, ‘Nambia’ and ‘Nipple’”

Omarosa airs tapes on ‘Meet the Press,’ says Trump has ‘mentally declined’

CHUCK TODD played a tape on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS” that appears to have CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY firing Omarosa Manigault Newman. This is allegedly from the situation room in the White House. Again, let that sink in. An adviser to the president brought a recording device into the situation room to record the chief of staff. 20-second video

— OMAROSA first spoke to Kelly when he was firing her, according to a tape of their conversation aired on “Meet the Press.” Watch this video, which has Kelly saying that he wanted the departure to be friendly, so there would be no damage to her reputation. Video

— QUOTE OF THE MORNING … OMAROSA to Chuck: “Being used by Donald Trump for so long, I was like the frog in the hot water. You don’t know that you’re in that situation until it just keeps bubbling and bubbling. Continue reading “Omarosa airs tapes on ‘Meet the Press,’ says Trump has ‘mentally declined’”

Trump will hold Sept. 27 fundraiser for House Republicans

BREAKING … NEW YORK REP. CHRIS COLLINS SUSPENDING RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN ….Collins statement: "After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress.

"I will fill out the remaining few months of my term to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump’s agenda to create jobs, eliminate regulations, reduce the size of government, address immigration and lower taxes. I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing."

BEHIND THE SCENES … KEVIN MCCARTHY, the House majority leader, has been taking a more active and forceful role when it comes to keeping the majority. Continue reading “Trump will hold Sept. 27 fundraiser for House Republicans”

POLITICO Playbook: Avenatti in Iowa

HOW CONGRESS WORKS … REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R-N.Y.) was indicted two days ago for fraud, after he allegedly shared non-public information with his son about a biotech company for which he was a corporate officer. A lot of people were surprised that members of Congress could sit on corporate boards. They can. Collins — who is worth north of $50 million — reported on his financial disclosure form in April that he was on a number of boards.

— COLLINS IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS OF of Zepto Metrix Corporation and Audubon Machinery Corporation.

— COLLINS IS ON THE FOLLOWING CORPORATE BOARDS: Volland Electric Equipment Corporation and ICU Diagnostics Inc. He was on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, the company that got him in trouble.

HE SAYS HE he is not compensated for his work as a corporate director. His wife is paid by two of the Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Avenatti in Iowa”

POLITICO Playbook: Is the president a drag

IS THE PRESIDENT A DRAG? …

— WAPO’S BOB COSTA and JOSH DAWSEY, “‘Nothing bodes well’: Lackluster election results spark debate over Trump’s midterm role”: “A new round of lackluster showings by Republican candidates reignited a debate Wednesday within the GOP over whether President Trump will be a drag on the party’s chances in November and should stay out of some of the country’s most hotly contested races. Inside the White House, Trump aides are mapping out plans for the fall that would offer a variety of options to Republican candidates, including visits by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump to blue states and presidential tweets to bolster red-state allies.

“But mounting apprehension about Trump’s political capital lingered in Washington and on the campaign trail. In a flurry of elections on Tuesday — from the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, to the technology corridor in Washington state — Democrats turned out in Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Is the president a drag”

POLITICO Playbook: Republicans’ dueling political pictures

GOOD MORNING from COLUMBUS, OHIO.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS, who appear to be the narrow winners of last night’s special election here, face a conflicting political picture. Here’s the picture many of them want to see: They’ve won nearly every special election in the Trump era. Unemployment numbers are low. And private polling shows embattled incumbents faring well against their Democratic challengers.

BUT the other picture: Incumbents are getting outraised. Sky-high — and unsustainable — spending has masked a tough political environment. Several of the GOP victories in special elections have been wholly unimpressive. History tells us Republicans are near certain to lose the House. And last night, DANNY O’CONNOR appears to have come within 1,700 votes of toppling TROY BALDERSON for a seat that should be a walk for the GOP.

THIS IS MAGNIFIED BY PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, who seems to boast that the public perception of the 2018 electoral climate Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Republicans’ dueling political pictures”

POLITICO Playbook: A clean test of the political climate in Ohio

JUST POSTED … NYT MAGAZINE’S MARK LEIBOVICH on PAUL RYAN: “NOT GOING THERE: The strange end of Paul Ryan’s speakership”: “Ryan announced in April that he would not be seeking re-election, ending a 20-year run in Congress that, for most of it, seemed to be on a straight-up trajectory. Ryan’s official reason for leaving was that his ‘family clock was ticking’’ and he no longer wanted to be a ‘weekend dad.’ But it’s easy to suspect otherwise, and not just because that is a clichéd excuse:

“Ambitious 48-year-old politicians at the peak of their powers don’t suddenly just decide to quit because they’ve discovered that their teenage children are growing up fast back in Wisconsin. Ryan should, by rights, be riding out of town at the pinnacle of his starlit Washington career. Yet he remains a distinctly awkward match to a moment — and president — that seem certain Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: A clean test of the political climate in Ohio”

POLITICO Playbook: All eyes on Ohio

THE STORY THAT MATTERS the most this week is in Columbus, Ohio, where Republican Troy Balderson will face off against Democrat Danny O’Connor for a solidly red House seat. This race will give us a good sense of the landscape at the moment. It’s a Republican district that the GOP has held for 35 years and Cook rates as an R+7. So a Democratic win or anything close would indicate that the Ds have a massive advantage going into November.

ALEX ISENSTADT in WESTERVILLE, OHIO: “Democrats surging on eve of pivotal special election”: “The entire Republican Party machinery has converged on this suburban Columbus district for a furious eleventh-hour campaign aimed at saving a conservative House seat and averting another special election disaster.

“But in the final days ahead of Tuesday’s election, signs were everywhere that Democrats are surging — from recent polling to the private and public statements of Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: All eyes on Ohio”

Trump escalates attacks on press

WHAT’S ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 7:38 a.m. tweeting from Bedminster, N.J.: “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!”

… at 8:35 a.m.: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

… at 8:45 a.m.: “…Why aren’t Mueller and the 17 Angry Democrats looking at the meetings concerning the Fake Dossier Continue reading “Trump escalates attacks on press”

Trump escalates attacks on press

WHAT’S ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 7:38 a.m. tweeting from Bedminster, N.J.: “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!”

… at 8:35 a.m.: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

… at 8:45 a.m.: “…Why aren’t Mueller and the 17 Angry Democrats looking at the meetings concerning the Fake Dossier Continue reading “Trump escalates attacks on press”

Immigration wars: Judges order full restart of DACA, Trump administration has ‘sole burden’ to locate migrant parents

BREAKING — ON THE WORLD STAGE — “Trump letter to Kim Jong Un given to North Korea’s top diplomat at ASEAN summit,” by WaPo’s Carol Morello and Shibani Mahtani in Singapore: “According to an account given by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, U.S. ambassador Sung Kim, traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, gave the letter from President Trump, in a white envelope, to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho immediately after Ri and Pompeo shook hands and returned to their seats at a group photo during an ASEAN summit in Singapore.

“Nauert said Pompeo told Ri, ‘We should talk again soon,’ and Ri replied in fluent English, ‘I agree. There are many productive conversations to be had.’ Nauert said that, beyond the brief exchange at the group photo, Pompeo and Ri did not have a more formal meeting.” WaPo

THE LATEST ON IMMIGRATION — “Judge Continue reading “Immigration wars: Judges order full restart of DACA, Trump administration has ‘sole burden’ to locate migrant parents”

POLITICO Playbook: What the White House should be worried about

REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS don’t agree on much these days, but perhaps the thing we hear the most from both on Capitol Hill is just how intense congressional investigations will get if the House or Senate flip.

ON THE LEGISLATIVE FRONT, it’s clear PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will have to adjust to a new reality. But an equally important thing to think about is just how many subpoenas will be flying if Democrats have control of the House.

FOR EXAMPLE, take a look at this BuzzFeed story by Tarini Parti and Jeremy Singer-Vine. “Democratic Senators Want An Investigation Into Trump’s Air Force One Tours”

FOR RIGHT NOW, Democrats can ask for whatever investigation they want, but they won’t get a blessed thing. If Democrats take control of the House, they’ll have subpoena power, and they can drag whoever they want to the Capitol for an interview or hearing. It is, perhaps, the Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: What the White House should be worried about”

POLITICO Playbook: Trump mulls a pre-election shutdown with Rush, and a pre-election anti-Pelosi ad

SIREN … REPUBLICANS are becoming increasingly concerned that they will lose the special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, which would be a horrible sign for their election prospects this fall.

FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS, Republicans involved in the race said internal polling had Republican TROY BALDERSON beating Democrat DANNY O’CONNOR by a high single or low double-digit margin. But the race has tightened, and the election is five days away. A public poll conducted by Monmouth had Balderson up by one point yesterday.

THIS WOULD BE a tough loss for Republicans to explain away. This district has been held by Republicans — Pat Tiberi and John Kasich — for 35 years. They got the candidate they wanted in Balderson. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the GOP super PAC, has spent $2.4 million. The NRCC has kicked in $1.3 million.

THE PRESIDENT will be in the district Saturday, Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Trump mulls a pre-election shutdown with Rush, and a pre-election anti-Pelosi ad”

POLITICO Playbook: It’s 2010 all over again

IT’S 2010 ALL OVER AGAIN … In 2010, Republicans were running to take over the House on promises that were hard to keep. They were saying they would repeal Obamacare with Barack Obama in the White House. They were promising to cut spending by billions of dollars, threatening to not raise the nation’s borrowing limit. The party was ascendant, but becoming deeply split along stark ideological lines.

REPUBLICANS TORMENTED Obama with a steady stream of investigations and subpoenas. They launched Washington into endless crises over six years.

— FAST FORWARD TO 2018: Democrats are running to take over the House, with candidates promising to abolish ICE, and insure all Americans through a “Medicare for all” program. The party is becoming increasingly split — self-avowed socialists are ascendant. The base is hungry for impeachment — something the Democratic leadership has tried desperately to tamp down

THIS WILL HAVE REAL IMPACT. As Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: It’s 2010 all over again”

Republicans abuzz over Schmidt’s divorce from GOP

Steve Schmidt’s public break from the GOP and quiet departure from his corporate PR gig earlier this summer are fueling speculation in Republican circles that that he’ll advise a presidential bid by his longtime client, former Starbucks chief Howard Schultz, or another Democratic candidate in 2020.

Questions about Schmidt’s future began to swirl in June when he announced his departure from the GOP in a series of tweets embracing the Democratic Party. It was a rare act of defiance in a party that has mostly fallen in line behind President Donald Trump — one that has many Republicans talking about what exactly Schmidt plans to do next.

Working for a Schultz campaign would complete Schmidt’s decade-long process of estrangement from the Republican Party after spending much of his career at its highest levels.

For now, he remains mum on his future plans and his conversations with Schultz.

“I don’t have Continue reading “Republicans abuzz over Schmidt’s divorce from GOP”

POLITICO Playbook: Inside Paul Manafort’s lobbying world

THE TRUTH ABOUT PAUL MANAFORT … Paul Manafort allegedly evaded taxes. That’s what he is going on trial for beginning today. But his situation is instructive in thinking about the current corporate climate in D.C.

— BEING A LOBBYIST AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. Blue chip clients — Fortune 500 companies, and the like — used to shell out massive retainers to lobbyists for basic government-relations work. No longer. So many lobbyists who want to keep up their high-flying lifestyle or make their corporate overlords happy have gone overseas to represent despots and strongmen who are willing to pay piles of dough because they have massive reputational problems and have a hard time finding someone willing to take up their cause in the U.S.

FOREIGN CLIENTS are often willing to pay ten times the fees for a sliver of the work. That’s created a skewed incentive structure Continue reading “POLITICO Playbook: Inside Paul Manafort’s lobbying world”