Playbook scoop: The House GOP’s new immigration strategy

BREAKING — "Man firing shots and ‘spewing’ about president inside Trump National Doral shot by police," by Sun Sentinel’s Doug Phillips: "A man who was firing shots, waving an American flag and ‘yelling and spewing some information about President Trump’ was shot and wounded by police early Friday at Trump National Doral, the golf and spa resort owned by President Donald Trump in northwest Miami-Dade. The shooting … happened about 1:30 a.m., Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said during a pre-dawn news conference …

"’These officers did not hesitate for one second to engage this individual who was actively shooting in the lobby of the hotel,’ Perez said. … During the incident which played out quickly an officer from the Doral Police Department was hurt, but not from gunfire. He was taken to a hospital with a possible broken bone, officials said."

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — RNC RAISES Continue reading “Playbook scoop: The House GOP’s new immigration strategy”

Playbook: Republicans in the middle of an immigration nightmare

EVERY DAY IN THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY is a wild ride, but yesterday was particularly emblematic of the breakneck pace.

LET’S RECAP: 1. The White House released Trump’s financial disclosure, which showed he paid his attorney, who paid off a porn star — something he has denied (Trump’s financial disclosure 2. New details emerged on the Trump Tower meeting with Russians, including an effort by Donald Trump Jr. to coordinate statements after the meeting became public. 3. The Senate Intel Committee agreed with the intelligence community that Russians did in fact try to help Trump win the 2016 election. …

… 4. Trump’s former secretary of state took a veiled shot at his old boss saying lies are a threat to democracy. 5. The Senate, controlled by Republicans, rejected their own president’s approach to net neutrality. 6. House Republican leadership warned its own members they could lose Continue reading “Playbook: Republicans in the middle of an immigration nightmare”

Playbook scoop: Trump-aligned political group spending 1M to push red-state Dems to back Haspel

NEW … END OF AN ERA … BOB BAUER, long-time top Democratic political law expert, is leaving Perkins Coie. He has been with the law firm for more than 35 years. The former White House Counsel to President Barack Obama plans to do more teaching at the New York University School of Law and continue his writing and speaking about constitutional law, legal ethics and political reform. He will still continue to represent a number of clients as a solo practitioner and will co-counsel with Perkins Coie for some of those clients.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … AMERICA FIRST POLICIES, the political group designed to boost President Donald Trump’s policies, is spending nearly $1 million on TV and digital ads to try to pressure Democratic senators to vote to confirm Gina Haspel as CIA director.

THE SENATORS that are being targeted are CLAIRE MCCASKILL in Missouri, HEIDI HEITKAMP in North Dakota Continue reading “Playbook scoop: Trump-aligned political group spending 1M to push red-state Dems to back Haspel”

Playbook: ‘Big day’ in Jerusalem as U.S. embassy opens

U.S. EMBASSY OPENS TODAY IN JERUSALEM … DR. MIRIAM ADELSON — Sheldon’s wife — wrote the top story in Israel HaYom, the paper her family owns. The headline is “Big day for Israel and America.” in Israel for the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

— NAHAL TOOSI: “Trump’s Jerusalem bet defies direst predictions”

— NYT’S JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF DAVID HALBFINGER: “As Israel Celebrates Dream of Independence, Many See Nightmare Taking Shape”

— WAPO: “As Ivanka and Jared join embassy party in Jerusalem, Gaza braces for violence,” by Loveday Morris in Mefalsim, Israel, Ruth Eglash in Jerusalem and Hazem Balousha in Gaza City: “As Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump watch the plaque being unveiled at the new Continue reading “Playbook: ‘Big day’ in Jerusalem as U.S. embassy opens”

Happy Mother’s Day!

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S WEEK … Monday: TRUMP has lunch with VP Mike Pence. Tuesday: The president is speaking at the 37th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. He then lunches with Senate Republicans. Wednesday: The president hosts Uzbeki President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the White House. Thursday: The president is having lunch with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Good Sunday morning, and happy Mother’s Day! THE U.S. DELEGATION to the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has arrived in Israel. Video

SPOTTED: Michael Avenatti having dinner on Friday night with Ronan Farrow at Avra in midtown Manhattan.

THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE TO CONGRESS — @realDonaldTrump at 6:40 p.m.: “The Senate should get funding done before the August break, or NOT GO HOME. Wall and Border Security should be included. Also waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history. Democrats are doing everything possible to obstruct, Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Playbook scoop: What State is telling embassies about Jerusalem

BIG-MONEY BUZZ … PROTECT THE HOUSE, VP Mike Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s joint-fundraising committee, is working on organizing a massive D.C. fundraiser in June with the entire House leadership team. SPEAKER PAUL RYAN, MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE, REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS and REP. PATRICK MCHENRY are on the docket.

— INTERNALLY, House Republican leadership has been trying to project unity. This is a good opportunity. PROTECT THE HOUSE benefits Republican candidates who have tough elections.

Good Friday morning. AND, WELCOME TO THE REALITY OF WASHINGTON. … In the last two days, we’ve seen the world get introduced to two elements of D.C. that many of us know well: political intelligence and big-dollar fundraising. Here are a few things that happen in D.C. that might — but shouldn’t — catch some people by surprise:

— YES, Paul Ryan flew across the country to Continue reading “Playbook scoop: What State is telling embassies about Jerusalem”

Playbook: Oh, to be a House Republican

IT WAS A BAD NIGHT for House Republicans. As Steve Shepard, Elena Schneider and Scott Bland point out below, Rep. Evan Jenkins got his clock cleaned in the West Virginia Senate primary. Indiana Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita spent months whacking at each other in the Indiana Senate primary, allowing Mike Braun to waltz in and say, “wait, both of these guys are D.C. flunkies. Vote for me.” North Carolina GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger — who piqued the attention of the FBI in the recent past — lost.

WHEN HOUSE REPUBLICANS popped their heads up to take bigger roles, voters said “no thanks.” It’s a sharp contrast to past years, when House Republicans like Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and even Mike Pence launched successful bids for higher Continue reading “Playbook: Oh, to be a House Republican”

Playbook: A buckle-up type of week

BUCKLE UP… The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow dropped a bombshell story before 7 p.m. Monday that detailed extensive allegations of physical abuse and excessive drinking by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been one of the leading legal figures in the state against “Me Too” perpetrators like Harvey Weinstein ( He resigned by 10 p.m. …

… THE PRESIDENT is expected to announce whether he is going to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord today at 2 p.m. AP quoted Iran’s president as saying “It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this" …

… In West Virginia, Don Blankenship, a former coal CEO who spent time in prison, could win the GOP primary race tonight to run against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Blankenship has made outwardly racist Continue reading “Playbook: A buckle-up type of week”

Playbook: Haspel on the Hill today, after reports that she offered to withdraw her nomination

THE BIG PICTURE … DAVE WEIGEL and PAUL KANE, with a Salisbury, North Carolina dateline: “Republicans whose jobs once seemed safe are struggling for a 2018 survival strategy”: “Republican Rep. Ted Budd opened the calendar on his iPhone during a campaign day last week to reveal a jam-packed schedule — wake up at 4:55 a.m., breakfast with veterans, an opioid discussion in another county — and yet he was worried that it wasn’t enough.

“‘I’m getting nervous because of the white space I see,’ said Budd, pointing to the few blank lines on the schedule. Across the country, dozens of House Republicans who previously coasted to victory are for the first time facing credible and well-financed Democratic opponents — and working furiously to find a strategy for survival.”

PELOSI IN IOWA … AP’S TOM BEAUMONT: “Pelosi: Democrats have cash and environment to win House”: “These Continue reading “Playbook: Haspel on the Hill today, after reports that she offered to withdraw her nomination”

Giuliani says Trump might not comply with a subpoena, and says Cohen might’ve paid off more women

TRUMP’S WEEK: Tuesday: President Donald Trump is lunching with VP Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He’ll give remarks at a Federal Judges Association reception. Wednesday: The president hosts a Cabinet meeting. He will also participate in a celebration of military mothers. Friday: Trump is hosting a roundtable with CEOs of auto companies.

SHOT … JAKE TAPPER on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: “Do you know of any other payments like this one?” KELLYANNE CONWAY: “I do not. They did not cross my desk as campaign manager.” (via @brianstelter)

CHASER … ABC’S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS speaks to RUDY GIULIANI about payments Michael Cohen might have made to other women: “I have no knowledge of that but I would think, if it was necessary, yes. He made payments for the president, or he conducted business for the president, which means he had legal fees, monies laid out and Continue reading “Giuliani says Trump might not comply with a subpoena, and says Cohen might’ve paid off more women”

Stormy times

Good Saturday morning. Kentucky Derby post time tonight is 6:46 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC. Gold Cup is also today in Warrenton, Virginia.



— NYT, A1: MIKE SHEAR, MAGGIE HABERMAN, JIM RUTENBERG and MATT APUZZO: “Trump Is Said to Know of Stormy Daniels Payment Months Before He Denied It”: “President Trump knew about a six-figure payment that Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, made to a pornographic film actress several months before he denied any knowledge of it to reporters aboard Air Force One in April, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. …

“It was not immediately clear when Mr. Trump learned of the payment, which Mr. Cohen made in October 2016, at a time when news media outlets were poised to pay her for her story about an alleged affair with Continue reading “Stormy times”

Another EPA political aide to depart amid Pruitt controversies

Another political aide is departing EPA, sources told POLITICO Friday, making him the fourth staffer to exit the agency this week amid the raft of ongoing investigations into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s expensive travel, security spending and condo rental.

John Konkus, the second-in-command on the public affairs team and who has worked with Pruitt since helping prepare him for his Senate confirmation, is leaving for a top communications job at the Small Business Administration, according to two sources with knowledge of the move.

Sources close to EPA expect more political appointees to leave soon. On Thursday, EPA’s top spokeswoman Liz Bowman announced she was heading to a job on Capitol Hill, and on Tuesday, Pruitt’s lead security agent and Superfund task force head both quit. Last month, policy chief Samantha Dravis and agriculture adviser Jeff Sands left.

Konkus worked with EPA’s regional offices and will help SBA Administrator Linda McMahon to Continue reading “Another EPA political aide to depart amid Pruitt controversies”

Kellyanne’s expanded role

POLITICS RIGHT NOW: The Catholic speaker of the House tried to force the Catholic House chaplain to resign. A week later, he un-resigned and essentially accused the speaker’s chief of staff of an anti-Catholic bias. The speaker’s chief of staff issued a rare on-record statement denying his allegation. The speaker backed down, allowing him to stay …

THE PRESIDENT of the United States is in a prolonged feud with a porn star. His attorney’s office and residence were raided, then it came out that his calls were being logged. A Republican candidate for the Senate in West Virginia — a man who has been in prison for violating mine safety — is suggesting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rich because of his wife’s Chinese family. News reports indicate the Republican candidate has, himself, expressed interest in Chinese citizenship. The Senate majority leader’s wife — a two-time Cabinet secretary Continue reading “Kellyanne’s expanded role”

Playbook: Fallout from Giuliani bombshell on Trump Stormy Daniels payment

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … THE SENATE LEADERSHIP FUND is layering another attack ad on MONTANA SEN. JON TESTER. The digital spot has PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP at a rally saying Tester voted “in favor of sanctuary cities … weak on the border, didn’t vote for tax cuts, he took a gentleman, Ronny Jackson, an admiral in the Navy, Tester started throwing out things that he’s heard. They’re not true. … Well I know things about Tester that I can say too.”

Narrator: “Jon Tester shamefully smeared Trump’s VA nominee, yet shamefully defended Obama’s VA secretary even in the face of obvious failure.” Back to Trump at the rally to close the ad: “We need to drain the swamp. We need to vote against guys like Jon Tester.” The 60-second spot:

BOMBSHELL — WAPO’S DEVLIN BARRETT, BOB COSTA and JOSH DAWSEY — “Giuliani: Trump repaid attorney Cohen Continue reading “Playbook: Fallout from Giuliani bombshell on Trump Stormy Daniels payment”

EXCLUSIVE: Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy launching big-money fundraising swing in May and June


— MCCARTHY and RYAN will appear with VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE at the Protect the House events (Protect the House is the joint McCarthy-Pence fundraising vehicle. CLF is the House GOP super PAC). In May, the two will attend events in Illinois, two in Washington and in New York for CLF, and in South Florida for Protect the House. They will also do a June swing in Pennsylvania and Texas which will include stops for both fundraising outfits. Protect the House will have an event in Midland, Texas, in June.

— VIEW THIS AS A PASSING OF THE TORCH, OF SORTS. CLF, the major House GOP super PAC, raises and spends tens of millions of dollars for House Continue reading “EXCLUSIVE: Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy launching big-money fundraising swing in May and June”

Playbook: Pelosi’s giant first quarter

NEW: HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI raised $16.1 million for House Democrats in the first quarter of 2018, a massive pile of cash that brings her total this cycle to $66.7 million. She is outpacing her fundraising of the 2016 cycle by nearly $10 million, according to sources familiar with the effort. Pelosi has an unmatched ability to raise cash, and that’s crucial for any Hill leader. Her ability to raise money for the party is always the subject of chatter in the Capitol. NEXT UP: Pelosi is doing fundraisers in New York, Boston, Tampa and south Florida this recess.

A MESSAGE FROM WHCA PRESIDENT MARGARET TALEV: “I want to tell you how much your kind words meant to me following my personal remarks at [Saturday] night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner about the roots of my belief in journalism’s essential role.

“I also have heard from members expressing Continue reading “Playbook: Pelosi’s giant first quarter”

Being mean isn’t funny. It’s mean.

THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK: Monday: Trump meets with the president of Nigeria. Tuesday: The president presents the Commander in Chief’s trophy to the Army football team, meets with the crew of Southwest Flight 1380 and meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Wednesday: Trump speaks at the National Teacher of the Year reception. Thursday: Trump participates in an event for the National Day of Prayer.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT … MICHELLE WOLF took it too far. Make fun of someone’s politics. Make fun of their quirks. Don’t make fun of them as a person. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is supposed to be a light-hearted affair that honors good journalism and raises scholarship money. Sure, it’s gotten a bit out of hand. But there’s no reason to be mean. Mean isn’t funny. As John Boehner used to say, it costs nothing to Continue reading “Being mean isn’t funny. It’s mean.”

Playbook: Comey launches media blitz

Good Monday morning. THE PRESIDENT is in Florida until late this week. The House is scheduled to be in session until Thursday, but is likely to skip town Wednesday afternoon. Welcome to campaign season. … Pulitzer Prizes will be announced at 3 p.m. today.

BREAKING OVERNIGHT … “Trump wants to review material seized from personal lawyer before federal investigators,” by WaPo’s Devlin Barrett: “The request underscores the high stakes in an ongoing legal fight in federal court in New York, where Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, is also fighting to get a chance to review material seized as part of a criminal investigation of his business dealings.

“Trump’s request, in the form of a letter from other lawyers representing him, could further complicate a hearing set for Monday afternoon. During that session, lawyers for Cohen are expected to tell the judge overseeing the case how many legal clients he has Continue reading “Playbook: Comey launches media blitz”

Trump unleashes a Sunday morning tweetstorm on Comey, Syria, the Clintons, Lynch

NEW WSJ/NBC POLL: “Democrats Maintaining Advantage Over GOP in Voter Sentiment Poll”: “While Democratic interest in the election rose from March, the spike didn’t translate into gains for the party in a broader measure of the political climate: Asked which party should control the next Congress, voters favored Democrats over the GOP by 47% to 40%, down from a 10-point spread last month.”

— IN MAY 2010, six months before Republicans won 63 seats, voters were evenly split — 44% to 44% — when asked who should control Congress.

WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 7:42 a.m.: “Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, Continue reading “Trump unleashes a Sunday morning tweetstorm on Comey, Syria, the Clintons, Lynch”

TRUMP’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” MOMENT … 8:21 a.m. Saturday … After a night of bombing in Syria: “A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

U.S. ATTACKS SYRIA — AP’s Robert Burns, Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller: “Allied missiles struck at the heart of Syrian chemical weapons arsenal in a show of force and resolve aimed at punishing the Assad government for a suspected poison gas attack against civilians and deterring the possible future use of such banned weapons. …

“Syria’s chief allies, Russia and Iran, called the use of force by the United States, Britain and France a ‘military crime’ and ‘act of aggression’ with the potential to worsen a humanitarian crisis after years of civil war. The U.N. Security Council Continue reading “TRUMP’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment”