Kathy Griffin is a 59 year old American Comic. Born Kathleen Mary Griffin on 4th November, 1960 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA, she is famous for Vicki on Suddenly Susan in a career that spans 1980–present. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. Kathy Griffin is a member of the following lists: Emmy Award winners, American film actors and Former Roman ... Kathy Griffin and her partner of eight years, Randy Bick, tied the knot on New Year’s Eve and shared part of the ceremony for her fans to see! “Happy New Year and surprise! Kathy Griffin has married her partner Randy Bick in a New Year's Eve ceremony. The 59-year-old comedian surprised her social media followers with the news just hours earlier by announcing that she ... Kathie Lee Gifford is ready back on the dating scene, over two years after her husband Frank Gifford died at the age of 84 of natural causes. The two were married for 29 years before he passed. WATCH: Kathy Griffin on Her 18-Year Age Gap with Boyfriend Randy Bick: 'I Didn't Think It Would Last' The comedian thought the relationship would just be a one night stand, but five years later ... Kathy Griffin, 58, and longtime beau Randy Bick, who is 18 years her junior, are back together after splitting in November 2018. The comedian confirmed the update via social media. After she ... Kathy Griffin is ushering in a new decade with a new husband: The comedian married boyfriend Randy Bick early on New Year's Day and Lily Tomlin officiated — Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 1, 2020. Kathy was wearing a white dress and a black sash, her hair styled to perfection. Her new husband looked handsome in his suit and corsage too. Just before they kissed and danced as the year was changing at midnight, Kathy told her followers that ‘You’re going to die when you see the ... Kathy’s influence can also be found in publishing. Her boisterous and revealing memoir, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Griffin’s much-anticipated second book, Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index, was also a New York Times Best Seller. On New Year's Eve, Kathy Griffin Announced That She And Long-time Boyfriend Randy Bick Were Going To Be Getting Married. Just After Midnight, The Pair Tied The Knot In A Ceremony At Their Home.
LATEST on Steve Scalise – TRUMP visits hospital -- Shock on the Hill -- Dems hold off on gun debate -- WAPO: Special counsel investigating obstruction – FOX NEWS drops ‘fair and balanced’ slogan -- B’DAY: Alyssa Farah
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Good Thursday morning. THE LATEST ON STEVE SCALISE -- “Scalise remains in critical condition after mass shooting,” by Louis Nelson, John Bresnahan, and Jake Sherman: “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is in critical condition in a Washington hospital, and will require additional surgeries after a bullet pierced his hip, injured organs and caused ‘severe bleeding,’ according to a statement Wednesday night. Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, is in MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Northwest D.C., where he has had at least two procedures, and ‘multiple units of blood transfusion,’ the hospital said Wednesday night. Scalise was brought to the hospital in ‘shock,’ the statement said. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the hospital Wednesday night, and brought the Scalise family flowers.” http://politi.co/2ru9BWi
-- @realDonaldTrump at 9:41 p.m.: “Just left hospital. Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape - but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!”
STATEMENT FROM MATT MIKA’S FAMILY: “Matt suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He recently came out of surgery but remains in the ICU in critical condition and we expect him to stay there for at least several days. Our family is now here with him and we continue to ask for privacy and understanding while we focus on Matt and his recovery.
“Many have asked about Matt and what we can share about him. While the attack today was a terrible surprise, Matt’s presence on the ball field, helping longtime colleagues and friends was not. He is a very thoughtful, fun-loving person who is competitive and loyal; all things which contributed to his continued commitment to the Congressional Baseball Game.”
-- “Who were the people injured at Wednesday’s baseball practice shooting?,” by Rachael Bade, Theo Meyer, John Lauinger, and Kyle Cheney: http://politi.co/2tppcmG
**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook:http://politi.co/2lQswbh
THE VENEER, SHATTERED. Members of Congress have long thought of Washington as a safe space, of sorts. Sure, they engage in heated rhetoric in the Capitol, waging partisan war from early in the morning until late at night. But their life in Washington is quite sheltered: they exercise in a members-only gym. Many of them sleep in their offices in the Capitol complex. They eat and drink together at partisan social clubs. But we’re hearing a refrain we first heard in 2011, when Gabby Giffords was shot: we’re sitting ducks.
-- FROM USA TODAY’S HEIDI PRZYBYLA: “[L]awmakers including Cedric Richmond, D-La., had expressed fears last week about member safety. Richmond, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, raised his concerns directly to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.” https://usat.ly/2rjOi5E
Richmond is a good friend of Scalise’s, as well.
THE SENSE OF SHOCK in the Capitol -- especially the House -- is extraordinarily palpable. The mood was tense all day, and remained uncertain at night. Several House Republicans were texting us throughout the evening, wondering about the severity of Scalise’s injuries. Lawmakers are extraordinarily shaken. Forget party affiliation: Congress -- and Washington -- is a big saga with a set of predictable characters: lawmakers, aides, lobbyists, reporters. And when one gets hurt, sick, injured -- many realize it could easily be them. And a shooting like this is causing lawmakers and staff to take stock of their own safety. Countless lawmakers we spoke to throughout the day yesterday were rethinking their out-in-front, prominent roles in today’s political scene.
CAPITOL HILL REPORTERS were shaken up, as well. First of all, dozens of reporters work in the Capitol every day. And unlike the White House -- which regularly dumps all over reporters and decries their work product as phony -- lawmakers on the Hill are generally cordial with journalists in the Capitol and respect the job we do. We spend years covering lawmakers up close and oftentimes develop an easy rapport with people like Scalise -- savvy pols who successfully make their way up the leadership ladder. Scalise shows up at off-the-record happy hours for reporters at the annual Republican retreat. His office, like others, throws cocktail receptions to get to become better acquainted with Capitol Hill reporters. That doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t adversarial at times -- it most definitely is. It means building a personal relationship -- getting to know each other as human beings -- is important to both sides. We know Scalise, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer as politicians, but most of us have had many occasions to talk to them on a personal level, as well.
--“Photos: Following the aftermath of the congressional shooting” -- 43 pixhttp://politi.co/2sdsCd0
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP is getting bipartisan plaudits so far for his strong speech Wednesday, and his visit to Scalise family in the hospital Wednesday night.
HAPPENING TODAY -- Trump is giving a speech and signing an executive order on apprenticeships. Vice President Mike Pence will be in Miami to give the keynote address at the Conference on Prosperity and Security, a gathering focused on Central American political and security issues.
THE HOUSE is out of session after 4 p.m. today. The Congressional Baseball Game is on. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park. More info and tickets herehttp://atmlb.com/2sCV4aM
--“The Congressional Baseball Game: A History in Pictures: How the most bipartisan event in Washington has changed over time” -- 10 pixhttp://politi.co/2rucdng
THE POLITICS -- “Democrats wary of reviving gun debate too soon,” by Seung Min Kim, Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle: “One year ago, Sen. Chris Murphy sprang into action almost immediately after a gun massacre at an Orlando nightclub - accusing Congress of an ‘unconscionable deafening silence’ and launching a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor. But the gun-control advocate who once argued that lawmakers should put forward ‘legislative action within an hour of a shooting’ was more circumspect on Wednesday after a shooting at a congressional baseball practice in the suburbs of Washington. One tragic incident, he acknowledged, won’t move the needle - even one that affected one of their own, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). …
“[T]he tone among even the most ardent proponents of stricter gun laws was dramatically different. In multiple interviews, several Democratic lawmakers urged that no, today was not the day to revive the dormant gun control debate. It was too soon, it hit too close to home - and lawmakers simply didn’t want to stand accused of politicizing a shooting that injured a colleague and friend.” http://politi.co/2t50qZx
-- JONATHAN MARTIN on A18 of the NYT: “Their Own Targeted, G.O.P. Lawmakers Want Looser Gun Laws, Not Stricter Ones.”http://nyti.ms/2s3RtBh
ON THE HOUSE FLOOR TODAY --HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY will “offer a resolution to commend the heroic actions of Capitol Police and other first responders, and recognize everyone affected by this tragic incident."
BEHIND THE SCENES -- FROM KYLE CHENEY, our incredibly versatile House reporter who spent the day in Alexandria reporting on the shooting: “In the course of reporting from Alexandria, I had two eye-opening encounters with witnesses that really gnawed at me during such a harrowing moment. I arrived at the ballpark less than an hour after the shooting and overheard one witness – a man possibly in his mid-20s -- excitedly describing the incident in vivid detail over the phone. It was still a murky situation at that point, so as soon as he hung up, I asked him if he could repeat to me what he had seen.
“The man immediately tensed up and told me that there was no way he’d talk to the media because he can’t stand the press and he thinks we’re all complicit in leaking (of what, I’m not sure). I told him I personally hadn’t ‘leaked’ anything but in fact knew and reported on some of the people on the field that morning – and that his information might help provide some clarity at a critical moment. He still refused. A short while later, while holed up in a coffee shop across from the field, I chatted with a young woman who also witnessed the aftermath. She said she took comfort when she found out the assailant had targeted members of Congress – not because she wished them any harm but because it would’ve been more unnerving, she said, had the violence been random. Both conversations were revealing about some of the sad realities we now live with.
“It’s only fair if I also mention that these encounters were exceptions on a day of many kindnesses. Most witnesses were forthcoming with as much detail as they could muster, and I watched as random passersby delivered Gatorade, iced tea and even a bag full of Chick-fil-A to police on the scene. And the police then shared the spoils with journalists, pedestrians and others baking in the Alexandria sun.”
WAPO SCOOP -- “Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say,” by Devlin Barrett, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horowitz: “The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said. …
“Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI. …
“The White House now refers all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz. ‘The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,’ said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.” http://wapo.st/2rjkqqo
-- WSJ’s Del Quentin Wilber, Shane Harris and Paul Sonne: “The special counsel also plans to interview Rick Ledgett, who recently retired as the deputy director of the NSA … While Mr. Ledgett was still in office, he wrote a memo documenting a phone call that Mr. Rogers had with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. During the call, the president questioned the veracity of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had interfered with the election and tried to persuade Mr. Rogers to say there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.” http://on.wsj.com/2sD4vXP
HUFFPOST and DRUDGE earlier this morning had pretty much the same banner – HuffPo: “BDAY PRESENT FOR PREZ: OBSTRUCTION INQUIRY” ... Drudge: “WASH POST BDAY PRESENT TO TRUMP: MUELLER PROBES OBSTRUCTION”.
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP -- “Manafort still doing international work,” by Ken Vogel: “Paul Manafort is at the center of an FBI investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s team and the Russians, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing business with international figures and companies, partly by claiming continued access to Trump, according to people familiar with his dealings.
“Manafort in recent weeks has either consulted or worked with a Chinese construction billionaire looking to expand his business overseas and a telecommunications firm interested in regulatory approval from governments in Asia and the Middle East, as well as an investment fund claiming links to the Chinese government, according to documents and interviews.
“Manafort quietly consulted on a proposal under which the Chinese fund — the China Development Fund — would invest $30 billion or more in the Puerto Rican government's bond debt and possibly the island's critical infrastructure, according to documents and interviews with four people familiar with the negotiations, including a Manafort business partner.
“One of the people, a lawyer involved in the discussions, said Manafort indicated that he could convince the Trump administration to support any resulting deal, because he’s remained in contact with Trump’s team, and that he played a role in helping to soften Trump's tough campaign rhetoric on China. ‘He’s going around telling people that he’s still talking to the president and -- even more than that -- that he is helping to shape Trump’s foreign policy,’ said the lawyer involved in the discussions.” http://politi.co/2rjtsDO
TARA PALMERI AND KEN VOGEL: “Trump huddled with donors on day of Comey testimony”: “On the same day last week that fired FBI Director James Comey delivered his damaging Senate testimony, President Donald Trump’s team summoned about a dozen top donors to the White House to rally support for Trump’s agenda. The donors -- including Ken Griffin, Doug DeVos, Tom Hicks, Jr., Bekah Mercer, Todd Ricketts, Tom Saunders, Paul Singer and Dick Uihlein -- gathered in the Roosevelt Room on June 8 for a briefing from Trump’s legislative director Marc Short, according to a senior administration official and other people familiar with the event.
“These people said that Trump himself stopped by the briefing to greet the donors, while Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway also spent time at the event. … A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the donor briefing. But a senior administration official said that topics covered during the briefing included healthcare, tax reform, the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, pending judicial nominations, the Paris accord and the Saudi arms sale. ‘[It was a] 'here's what we see as the legislative calendar and how you can be helpful' type of meeting,’ the official said.” http://politi.co/2rtB8HL
COMING ATTRACTIONS -- “Jeh Johnson to testify publicly in House Russia probe,” by Austin Wright: “Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is set to testify publicly next Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia’s election meddling, according to a congressional source. Johnson appeared earlier this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but the session was closed.” http://politi.co/2sCSeCE
IMPORTANT READ -- MEGYN KELLY SPEAKS -- NYT'S JIM RUTENBERG: "Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones and a Fine Line Between News and Promotion": "Where’s the line between covering a scoundrel as a news figure and giving him a promotional platform? The question has consumed Megyn Kelly this week, after she showed a trailer Sunday night of her coming feature on NBC about Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who has questioned whether the Sandy Hook school massacre truly happened and asserted that Sept. 11 was an inside job....
"'What we do as journalists is we shine a light on those with power, those with influence, those who have become culturally relevant,' she said. 'Of course, it’s upsetting to know that doing that causes any upset to the Newtown families, many of whom I know well. But I have to do my job.'... 'As journalists, we don’t get to interview only the good guys — that’s not journalism,' ... 'It’s going to be very difficult for us to keep an eye on the more controversial figures of our time if we never talk to them.'" https://nyti.ms/2tmhgmj
THE JUICE …
-- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. PRESIDENT: Trump celebrated his 71st birthday with dinner at the White House before going to visit Scalise in the hospital, per a pool report. Eric, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Jared Kushner, their kids and Tiffany were all there.
-- ISAAC DOVERE is reporting that Lambda Legal is opening up a D.C. office and plans to raise an additional $25 million over the next for years in an effort to ratchet up the fight against the Trump administration. Sharon McGowan, who was until January a top attorney in the Justice Department’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama, is running the office. http://politi.co/2sdDcRd
-- SPOTTED: Chris Ruddy, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) having an animated conversation in the lobby of Trump Hotel on Tuesday night.
-- SENATE LEADERSHIP FUND reported dropping $443,104 to boost Sen. Luther Strange’s (R-Ala.) candidacy. … The CHAMBER OF COMMERCE reported $153,491 in spending on behalf of Karen Handel in Georgia.
THE ALLEGED SHOOTER -- “James Hodgkinson’s long descent into rage: ‘Nobody really knew anything about him,’” by Lorraine Woellert, Josh Meyer and Alan Greenblatt: “James T. Hodgkinson lived a seemingly comfortable existence back home. He had a wife, friends and a pool where he hosted parties. How and why his life ended on a blood-soaked field halfway across the nation remains largely a mystery to investigators trying to piece together his life. Anger, plain and simple, seemed to be one driver. A man prone to aggressive outbursts, Hodgkinson had grown increasingly angry at the political order in recent years, lashing out online against President Donald Trump and other Republicans. ...
“Hodgkinson was no stranger to law enforcement. He had a lengthy arrest record and seemed prone to violent fits. Most recently, he had been warned about shooting a high-powered gun in the vicinity of his neighbors’ houses. ... In April 2006, he was arrested on firearms and battery charges after he allegedly punched his girlfriend in the face and pulled a 12-gauge shotgun on a witness, Joel Fernandez, who had attempted to intervene.” http://politi.co/2s4g6Ot
THE BIG PICTURE -- “How an Annual Ballgame Has Kept Congress Civil,” by Ben Strauss for Politico Magazine: “What might seem like just a bunch of middle-aged men reliving their high school glory, has become in recent years a meaningful tribute to the painfully nostalgic notion of old-fashioned bipartisanship in an increasingly divided nation. And so while one baseball team -- this one made up of Republican Congressmen and Senators -- cowered behind fences and trees to save their lives, their ostensible opponents -- a group of Democratic lawmakers -- gathered in a dugout 10 miles away in Northeast Washington. They stood arm in arm, and prayed for their colleagues.” http://politi.co/2sviQpp
-- “Obama reaches out to Sen. Flake after shooting,” by Elana Schor: “Former President Barack Obama reached out to Sen. Jeff Flake Wednesday morning in the wake of the shooting at the GOP’s congressional baseball game practice to extend his ‘best wishes and prayers’ for the victims, the Arizona Republican said.” http://politi.co/2t4QeQM
GARRETT GRAFF in POLITICO Magazine, “How Congress Failed to Plan for Doomsday: What would happen if some crazed gunman or terrorist massacred Congress? We don’t really know—and that’s bad news for our democracy”: “One idea floated was that each member of Congress should designate his or her own list of successors in case of incapacitation—with those successors serving until either the next regular election or the member regained the ability to hold office. Several states, including Delaware and Texas, had passed similar bills during the 1950s and 1960s at the height of the Cold War to reconstitute their state legislatures following a nuclear attack. Two former House speakers, Thomas Foley and Newt Gingrich, endorsed that ‘expeditious path’ to solving the congressional continuity issue and preserving the House’s directly elected ‘legitimacy.’” http://politi.co/2rjrgfy
FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Turkish Guards Will Be Charged in Embassy Protest, Officials Say,” by NYT’s Nick Fandos: “Law enforcement officials plan to announce charges Thursday against a dozen members of the Turkish president’s security detail for their involvement in a brutal attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence here last month, two American officials said on Wednesday. ... The police planned to announce the charges at a news conference on Thursday morning.” http://nyti.ms/2s3N6GE
NOT THE ONION -- “Rodman gives Kim the gift of Trump: ‘The Art of the Deal,’” by AP’s Eric Talmadge in Pyongyang: “Dennis Rodman has delivered a message from President Donald Trump to North Korea -- sort of. On Thursday, the former NBA player gave the country’s sports minister a copy of Trump’s book ‘The Art of the Deal,’ a present intended for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It wasn’t signed by Trump, who was Rodman’s boss for two seasons of the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ reality TV show. Rodman has said his visit has nothing to do with the White House.” http://apne.ws/2rz07EJ
MEDIAWATCH -- GABE SHERMAN in NYMag, “Fox News Is Dropping Its ‘Fair & Balanced’ Slogan”: “As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements. According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’ ... [One] executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.’ It is hard to overstate the significance of what shedding ‘Fair & Balanced’ means for Fox News. (It would be like the New York Times giving up ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print.’) Ailes invented the slogan when he launched the network in 1996, and over the years it became a quasi-religious doctrine among Fox’s anchors and viewers. ... In the annals of modern advertising, ‘Fair & Balanced’ will be considered a classic.” http://nym.ag/2sdxEWZ
SPOTTED last night at the Third Annual Sandy Hook Promise Gala at the Mellon Auditorium: The three co-chairs: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.). Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who were honored for the Toomey-Manchin bill and No Fly No Buy, respectively. Emcees were Sandy Hook parents Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley, who replaced Megyn Kelly after she interviewed Alex Jones, the media figure who alleges the massacre is a hoax. ALSO SPOTTED: Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Rachel Kelly, Joe Dunn, David Bonine, Cynthia Pullom, Ian Rayder, Lou Constantino, Francis Creighton, Cindy Brown, Bruce Heiman, Liz Allen and Nasim Fussell.
OUT AND ABOUT -- On the near 45th anniversary of the Watergate break-in (June 17, 1972), Steve Clemons held a discussion last night at the Watergate Hotel titled “Watergate Then and Now,” where Steve interviewed Scott Stossel, Jennifer Rubin, McKay Coppins and Thomas Mallon. SPOTTED: Rakel and Jacques Cohen, Jeff David, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Kevin Baron, Sally Quinn, Quinn Bradlee, Harris Wofford, Matthew Charlton, Yael Luttwak, James Barbour, Kathy Gilsinan, Will Hiley, Robb Harleston, Ron Christie, Neil Munro, Jed Shein, Annie Groer, David and Danielle Frum, Tomicah Tillemann, Indira Lakshmanan, Allen Abel, Kevin Chaffee, Grover Norquist, Michael Mael, Gary Silversmith, U.K. Ambassador Kim Darroch, Armanda Downes, Max Neuberger.
OUT AND ABOUT IN NYC -- The Hudson Institute Wednesday night hosted its spring reception in New York at the home of Joe and Marlene Ricketts. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley sat down with Hudson CEO Ken Weinstein for an off-the-record chat about her role as U.S. Ambassador to the UN. Haley said she told Trump “I’m not going to be a talking head or a wallflower” when he offered her the job. On Jim Mattis, she said “I think he’s the coolest guy I’ve ever met ... other than (her husband) Michael.” SPOTTED: Joe and Marlene Ricketts, Todd Ricketts, Silvie Legere, Paul Singer, BofA’s Jeffrey Peek, Annie Dickerson, Angela Meyers, Ed Cox, Deputy UN Ambassador Jon Lerner, Hudsonians Ken Weinstein, John Walters, Scooter Libby, Walter Russell Mead, Chris DeMuth
SPOTTED at a Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner party last night for new COO Lindsey Reynolds (longtime COO of the DNC) and new partners Elizabeth Sena and Kristi Lowe: Anna Greenberg, John Hagner, Al Quinlan, Lauren Dillon, Jeremy Rosner, Dan Sena, Earl Fowlkes, Jeremy Baker, and Maureen Garde.
SPOTTED Tuesday night aboard the super yacht of philanthropists John Evans and Steve Wozencraft for New America’s Bretton Woods II at Sea event where attendees discussed how to address global risks though strategic investments in social impact and development: Canada’s UN Ambassador and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s confidant Marc-Andre Blanchard, top World Bank official Aly Rahim, Bretton Woods II director Tomicah Tillemann, Facebook’s Craig Mullaney, Sovereign Investor Institute chairman Scott Kalb, Edelman’s Peter Segall, Georgetown Dean Joel Hellman, and representatives from the White House, State Department and USAID.
TRANSITIONS -- LIZ JOHNSON has joined U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as director of its office of public affairs, where she will direct the agency’s global communications efforts. She was previously the communications director for former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and most recently served as spokeswoman for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch during the Senate confirmation process. ... Jessica Jennings, formerly with the Dem Convention and HFA, is the new director of communications at the University of Maryland. She’s been working with Indivisible since their launch post-election and was previously press secretary at the British Embassy in Washington.
... Briannon Gillis has recently joined Emergent BioSolutions as PAC manager on the government affairs team. Previously she was a PAC fundraiser for Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Mark Udall, Reps. Paul Tonko, Matt Cartwright, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Tom Suozzi, and Louise Slaughter, as well as finance director for Kathleen Matthews. ... Henry Darwin has been hired to serve as chief of operations for the EPA. He previously was COO for the Doug Ducey administration since August 2015. ... Julie Kearney, VP of regulatory affairs for the Consumer Technology Association, was picked yesterday as the new president of the Federal Communications Bar Association.
--“Emily’s List taps a Washington outsider as executive director,” by WaPo’s Philip Rucker: “Emily Cain, who helped lead fellow Democrats to the majority in the Maine House of Representatives in 2012, has been tapped to try to do the same for Democrats nationally at the helm of Emily’s List, which works to elect pro-choice Democratic women to offices ranging from city councils to the presidency.” http://wapo.st/2t4xW2b
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Becca Ginsberg Rutkoff, head of D.C. and regional communications for Google (and a birthday girl today), and Robby Rutkoff, VP for corporate social responsibility at Guggenheim Partners, welcomed their first child, Henry Langer Rutkoff late Monday night. Henry, Mom and Dad are home from the hospital and eating like champs. Picshttp://bit.ly/2sCOiSl
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent. How she’s celebrating: “My birthday falls on my son’s last day of kindergarten this year. It’s a half day, which means I get to spend most of it with him. What could be better?” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A:http://politi.co/2s4msxq
BIRTHDAYS: Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff for Harry Reid now senior strategic advisor at CAP Action ... Dan Schwerin (hat tip: brother Josh) ... Sarah Hurwitz (h/t Michael Kikukawa) ... Becca Ginsberg Rutkoff, Google comms. maven ... Ryan Chittum, reporter for International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ... Fox News star Marie Harf, the pride of Granville, Ohio and former senior advisor for strategic comms. to Secretary Kerry (h/t Steve Clemons) ... Alyssa Farah, comms director and senior adviser for the House Freedom Caucus, is 28 (but actually ageless) ... AP’s Evan Vucci ... Johnny Hallyday ... former House Majority Whip Tony Coelho, now an advocate for the disabled, is 75 ... ABC News digital journalist Ali Rogin is 3-0 ... Politico’s Brian Faler ... Reps. Adam Smith and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) are both 52 ... Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) is 42 ... NYT’s Clifford Levy is 5-0 ...
... MSNBC producer William Rabbe ... Joseph Brazauskas, staff director for the subcommittee on environment for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is 35, celebrating by playing the Pizza Party game and Mall Madness over happy hour on Friday night with friends (h/t Kristina Baum) ... former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kans.) is 66 ... former Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.) is 75 … Jamie Greenheck, global managing director of food, beverage and ag at FleishmanHillard ... Susan Toffler, a CNN alum ... former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is 63 … Tim Wilson is 36 ... Sara Libby … Abigail Wuest ... Jana Plat ... David Dreyer … Deborah Lukovich … Sue Grady (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... former Va. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is 6-0 ... Morgan Feist ... Steven Stafford ... Karen Townsend ... Nick Luna ... Scott Monaghan is 6-0 ... Jim Belushi is 62 ... actress Helen Hunt is 54 ... Courteney Cox is 53 ... Ice Cube is 48 ... Neil Patrick Harris is 44 (h/ts AP)
BREAKING OVERNIGHT: Massive fire in west London -- WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE: TRUMP slaps down House Republicans’ health care bill -- POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL: Voters trust Comey over Trump -- B’DAY: Brian Fallon
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(Daniel Lippman) via POLITICO - TOP Stories
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. PRESIDENT. Donald Trump turns 71 today (h/ts Reince and Spicer).
BREAKING OVERNIGHT ... THE LATEST FROM LONDON FIRE -- “6 dead in London fire; figure expected to rise” – AP/London: “London’s Metropolitan Police say six people have died in the devastating fire that engulfed a west London apartment block. Police say the number is expected to rise. Police commander Stuart Cundy says he can ‘confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days.’ Cundy says many others are receiving medical care. Some 50 people are being treated in hospitals after a massive fire set a 24-story apartment block in west London ablaze overnight.” http://apne.ws/2srBxu0
--THE GUARDIAN: “The blaze rapidly engulfed the full height of the 24-storey block, and was still burning strongly more than six hours later, with a thick pall of dark smoke visible across the capital. Residents could be seen waving and screaming from their windows, as firefighters wearing breathing apparatus fought to rescue them from their flats. Shortly before 8am, the London fire commissioner, Dany Cotton [said:] ‘In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never ever seen anything of this scale.’” http://bit.ly/2rgHyFN
Good Wednesday morning. IMAGINE IF you’re a House Republican, and voted for the leadership’s health-care bill in May after being told that you were doing the newly elected president a solid. You listened to the White House’s pleading -- perhaps you got a phone call from Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus or even the president himself. The administration was on the Hill nonstop to push their legislation. You explained to your constituents that the late-in-the-game changes made to the bill helped cover more people. You celebrated with him in the Rose Garden after passage.
NOW YOU HEAR THE PRESIDENT has gone behind closed doors and told senators the House bill is “mean” and says it doesn’t do enough to cover people. Wouldn’t that anger you? Well, it’s angering a lot of House Republicans, who believe their president put them at political risk with that comment. A Senate health care bill was always going to be more moderate than the House version. If you're a House Republican, are you going to help the White House next time after the president privately just dumped all over you after you cast a vote for him? A lot of GOP lawmakers are buzzing about it, and many are none too pleased with the president right now. Story: “AP sources: Trump tells senators House health bill ‘mean,’” by Alan Fram. http://apne.ws/2t0vZnB
ONE MORE QUICK THOUGHT -- Republicans on the Hill spent years decrying behind-the-scenes machinations of government. Now they have an attorney general that is refusing to discuss his conversations with the president. And a Senate majority that seeking to pass a major health-care bill without hearings.
FOR THE WEST WING -- “Poll: Voters trust Comey over Trump,” by Steven Shepard: “Voters have greater faith in former FBI Director James Comey to tell the truth than in President Donald Trump, who has disputed the veracity of Comey’s sworn testimony before a Senate committee last week. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted in the days following Comey’s appearance before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 45 percent of voters said they trust Comey more to tell the truth, compared to 32 percent for Trump. Twenty-three percent have no opinion.” http://politi.co/2rvcoJY
NYT A1, GLENN THRUSH, MAGGIE HABERMAN AND JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS -- “Trump Stews, Staff Steps In, and Mueller Is Safe for Now”: “[T]he president ... began entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe, according to several people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s interactions. … For now, the staff has prevailed. ‘While the president has every right to’ fire Mr. Mueller, ‘he has no intention to do so,’ the White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters late Tuesday.
“But people close to Mr. Trump say he is so volatile they cannot be sure that he will not change his mind about Mr. Mueller if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised. And his ability to endure a free-ranging investigation, directed by Mr. Mueller, that could raise questions about the legitimacy of his Electoral College victory, the topic that most provokes his rage, will be a critical test for a president who has continued on Twitter and elsewhere to flout the advice of his staff, friends and legal team.”
“Among the aides most alarmed by the idea of firing Mr. Mueller … was Reince Priebus … Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, has also advised against firing Mr. Mueller. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, supported firing Mr. Comey, but he has been less pugnacious lately, administration officials said. Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, has adopted a more temperate tone, telling her husband that she believed the appointment of Mr. Mueller would speed resolution of the Russia scandal and expressing her view that he would be exonerated, according to two people with direct knowledge of her advice.” http://nyti.ms/2rpXNEu
-- @nickconfessore: “The first senior Trump official to leave and write a dishy tell-all about life in the White House is going to make a lot of money.”
DARREN SAMUELSOHN, “6 explosive moments that could still come in Russia probe: The president and his attorneys are showing an increasing willingness to play hardball”: “The Trump-Russia investigation is moving at a breakneck pace compared with past White House scandals. ... [H]ere are six potent powder kegs awaiting Trump, Mueller and Congress: Executive privilege ... Lawyer versus lawyer: More than a dozen lawyers are already working on behalf of Trump and his associates in the Russia investigation ... Trump’s tax returns ... A grand jury: The federal courthouse in Washington could become the center of the political universe. ... [T]he Constitution Avenue location is a likely spot where he might convene a grand jury for witness testimony in his investigation and for potential criminal indictments. ... Presidential interference ... Indictments ... As Mueller brings the probe to a close, he could face perhaps the most explosive of all decisions: whether to prosecute the president himself.” http://politi.co/2t0Sdpn
GARY COHN MANAGING FED CHIEF SEARCH -- WSJ’S NICK TIMIRAOS and KATE DAVIDSON -- “Officials won’t publicly outline any timetable for their decision or shortlist of candidates. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s term runs through January, and President Donald Trump didn’t rule out her reappointment in an April interview. Ms. Yellen’s reappointment isn’t an outcome many observers expect because of Mr. Trump’s fierce criticism of her during the final weeks of last year’s presidential campaign. But his willingness to consider her speaks to the amicable relationship they have forged since Mr. Trump took office, observers say.
“Since taking office, the president and his advisers haven’t publicly questioned the Fed’s actions -- including its decision to raise short-term interest rates in March. The Fed has also signaled it is likely to raise rates again at its two-day meeting that concludes Wednesday. An alternative to Ms. Yellen could be Mr. Cohn, who became Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser after a 26-year career at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Mr. Cohn has emerged as a key intermediary in the administration’s relationship with the central bank.” http://on.wsj.com/2tl4Z1p
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Trump administration is holding two “listening sessions” today at the White House. At 10 a.m., HHS SECRETARY TOM PRICE and CMS ADMINISTRATOR SEEMA VERMA are meeting with 13 doctors for an Obamacare session. List of the doctorshttp://politi.co/2rZIcu0
NEC DIRECTOR GARY COHN is then hosting one on tax reform at 2:30 p.m. The participants: Mitch Bainwol of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; Jake Jones of the Alliance and the Daimler Group; Curtis Magleby of the American Automotive Policy Council and Ford; Matt Blunt of AAPC, Victoria Barnes of AAPC and GM; Howard Hakes, Cody Lusk and Rachel Robinson of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, Robert Redding and Robert Wills of the Automotive Service Association, John Bozella and Paul Ryan of Global Automakers, Doug Murtha of Global Automakers and Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Steve Handschuh and Lacy Wilson of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association; David Regan, Mark Scarpelli, and Pete Welch of the National Auto Dealers Association; and Damon Lester of the National Association of Minority Dealers.
THE BIG PICTURE -- NANCY COOK and ANDREW RESTUCCIA: “Trump tries to master the art of the tiny”: “Bill Clinton salvaged his presidency by focusing on small-ball policy wins. Now Team Trump is trying to master the art of thinking tiny. Faced with a rising drumbeat of scandal stemming from ongoing Russia probes, President Donald Trump is continuing to pursue a big, complicated legislative agenda -- repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax system and passing an infrastructure package.
“Any of those would be hard to achieve in perfect circumstances, but with the GOP ideologically fragmented and the White House distracted by legal trouble, it’s increasingly difficult to imagine Trump landing a big win. Veterans of past White Houses say if the president wants to keep Republican voters on his side, it’s time to turn his attention to putting forward discrete, achievable policy proposals that he can actually get done. ...
“The White House seems to be getting the message. For months, executive branch actions to unwind or rewrite regulations got little notice. But in recent weeks, wonkier policies are getting more fanfare, with briefings for reporters and appearances by Cabinet officials in the press room. On Wednesday, Trump is expected to announce the reorganization of government job training programs at the Labor Department as part of the White House’s ‘workforce development week’ -- the latest in the administration’s recent efforts to highlight tangible, limited goals like privatizing air traffic control or slashing regulations. An administration official said the White House is planning more policy-themed weeks in the coming months, including one on energy tentatively scheduled for late June. The official said the weeks are aimed at unifying the White House’s message.” http://politi.co/2s9zQP9
THE HEARING -- “5 takeaways from Sessions’ Russia testimony,” by Seung Min Kim and Josh Gerstein: “Sessions’ go-to line: ‘I don’t recall’ … The ‘I don’t recall’ line was a reliable response from the attorney general during the nearly three-hour grilling, particularly about one of the biggest questions raised before his testimony - whether he had further undisclosed meetings with Russian officials. … Senate Republicans run interference. While Democrats were harsh toward Sessions, nearly all Republicans treated him gingerly. … Sessions rattled under pressure. The still-new attorney general has had little practice at the witness table, and it showed as he became rattled under questioning from Democrats who have accused him of not being forthcoming about his interactions with Russian officials. …
“Sessions and his deputy show some daylight. Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were testifying on Capitol Hill simultaneously Tuesday, but they weren't always in sync. One such moment came when Sessions testified that Comey likely had an obligation to notify Congress when new evidence emerged in the probe into Hillary Clinton's State Department emails last October. … Unasked questions. … The most glaring: Did Sessions ever offer to resign due to Trump’s dissatisfaction with his job performance, as several news outlets have reported? The attorney general might have punted, but his reaction might have betrayed the answer.” http://politi.co/2rZVt60
SURROUND-SOUND -- “Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers sue Trump citing business conflicts,” by USA Today’s Steve Reilly: “Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress filed a lawsuit against President Trump on Wednesday morning alleging that his continued ties to his business empire violate the U.S. Constitution. The unprecedented legal action accuses Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts or titles from foreign governments without congressional approval. The lawsuit will have the greatest number of congressional plaintiffs of any lawsuit against the president in the nation’s history, according to Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee’s top-ranking Democrat. ‘We do this not out of any sense of pleasure or partisanship, but because President Trump has left us with no other option,’ he said.” https://usat.ly/2szveo0
-- Democratic lawmakers will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. in the LBJ Room.
-- THE ORIGINAL SCOOP. HEATHER CAYGLE, on June 7: "Democrats to sue Trump over conflicts of interest"http://politi.co/2rvm2fS
REMINDER: WE ARE STILL AT WAR -- “Trump gives Pentagon authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan,” by WaPo’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff: “President Trump has given the Pentagon new authority to decide the troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official said Tuesday. The move could lead to a deployment of thousands more troops as commanders decide the way forward in the 15-year-old war. The U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly, said the move is similar to the April decision that gave the Pentagon more authority to set troop levels in Iraq and Syria. The change, the Pentagon said, was so units could deploy at their proper strength to better maintain unit cohesion.” http://wapo.st/2smOKDF
VIRGINIA GUV RACE: NORTHAM VS. GILLESPIE -- GREGORY SCHNEIDER in WAPO: “Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam won the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia Tuesday by an unexpectedly wide margin, and Republican Ed Gillespie held off a surprising challenge from Donald Trump acolyte Corey A. Stewart for that party’s nomination. …
“[G]illespie edged past Stewart by just over a percentage point — fewer than 4,500 votes. … The nation was watching Virginia as a political laboratory for how the political parties handle the deep divisions that followed last year’s election of President Trump. The establishment forces seemed to win out, as Virginia voters resisted efforts to pull further to the right or left. Perriello channeled the energy -- and endorsement -- of progressive leader Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as he tried to shake up the Democratic Party, but fell short in his bid to bring in enough new voters from among the young and working class to overcome Northam’s command of the Democratic machine, including the endorsement of nearly every Democratic elected leader in state or federal office.” http://wapo.st/2srh5cL
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- THE OBAMACARE POLITICAL WAR: Save My Care -- a group working to pressure lawmakers not to kill the Affordable Care Act -- is spending six figures on radio ads in Alaska, Maine, Nevada and West Virginia to urge senators to oppose repealing the law.
-- SCRIPT from the West Virginia ad: “Behind closed doors in Washington, they’re working in secret to rush through a health-care repeal bill that will devastate care for West Virginians – hitting our rural communities and hospitals the hardest But it can’t pass without Senator Capito. She’ll be a deciding vote. She’ll decide whether your costs go up by thousands of dollars … whether you’re one of the hundred twenty thousand West Virginians who will lose coverage altogether.
“Capito will decide whether your rural hospital can keep its doors open. … whether Medicaid is gutted … whether you or your loved one will lose access to opioid abuse treatment. Capito will even decide whether insurers can impose lifetime limits on your coverage. Unless Senator Capito votes no on healthcare repeal, the doors to affordable healthcare for West Virginia could be closed for good. Call Senator Capito at 304-347-5372 and tell her to vote no on health-care repeal.” Audio of all the radio spotshttp://bit.ly/2tkTjf7
COMING ATTRACTIONS -- “Meadows: Freedom Caucus eyeing $1.5 trillion debt ceiling increase,” by Rachael Bade: “Some House Freedom Caucus conservatives want to raise the debt ceiling by a smaller amount than the Trump Administration would like -- just long enough to clear the 2018 mid-term elections, the group’s leader said Tuesday. The Freedom Caucus has not taken an official position on a specific number. But Chairman Mark Meadows emerged from a group meeting Tuesday night saying some of his conservative compadres are looking at a $1.5 trillion lift in the nation’s borrowing cap. The North Carolina Republican said that’s smaller than the $2.5 trillion he believes the White House wants.” http://politi.co/2tl0GDn
-- NOTE: These decisions are driven by anticipated market reaction. The GOP leadership and the White House are unlikely to agree to anything that will rattle markets.
INTERESTING READ -- “Jewish Groups Struggle to Gain White House Access Points,” by Jerusalem Post’s Michael Wilner: “Jewish American organizations long active in Washington politics are struggling to communicate with the Trump administration, scavenging through old Rolodexes and e-mail lists to find points of access into the president’s small policy team. A traditional structure governed these communications before the Trump era: Presidents since Jimmy Carter have hired White House Jewish liaisons to serve as point men for the community. But the position has been vacant since January 20, and the White House has no plans to fill it, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.” http://bit.ly/2t0OurM
THE JUICE …
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Country Star Kalie Shorr will sing her hit “Fight Like A Girl” at Congressional Women’s Softball Game (CWSG) one week from today, June 21 at 7 p.m. at Watkins Recreation Center. Shorr’s song has received over 1.6 million streams on Spotify and is the walk-up song for the Member team co-captain Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). Celebrity base umpires for the game include Mystics STAR Elena Della Donne, Erica May-Scherzer, Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer’s wife, and Monica Abbott, the top female softball player in the nation (and first to sign a $1-million contract). The CWSG raises funds for the Young Survival Coalition and is taking place the same week as the 45th anniversary of Title IX.
-- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a national summer-long campaign on Wednesday afternoon called “Our Lands, Our Vote.” They are spending $500,000 initially to support national monuments, and the campaign will try to submit 250,000 comments to Interior in support of protecting them.
-- THE SPIGOT IS STILL OPEN IN GEORGIA: The GOP leadership aligned Congressional Leadership Fund disclosed another $105,514 in Georgia’s sixth congressional district to boost Karen Handel and try to take down Jon Ossoff, according to an FEC report made public Tuesday.
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION -- WHAT LUKE RUSSERT IS READING -- Restoration Hardware becoming Wawa in Georgetown? -- PoPville http://bit.ly/2tkYCej
NYT’S MIKE ISAAC in SAN FRANCISCO: “Uber Embraces Major Reforms as Travis Kalanick, the C.E.O., Steps Away”: “In Uber’s continuing attempt to repair its reputation over a series of scandals stemming from its bad-boy culture, its co-founder Travis Kalanick said he would take a leave of absence as chief executive. The company also announced it would embark on a sweeping reorganization to ensure that executives are more closely supervised by its board of directors.
“At a packed meeting with employees on Tuesday morning, Uber released 13 pages of recommendations compiled as part of an investigation into sexual harassment and other wrongdoing conducted by the former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and his law firm, Covington & Burlington.
“But even as Uber promised to reform itself, an exchange between board members onstage highlighted the company’s challenges. In front of employees, the board member Arianna Huffington talked about how having one female director typically leads to more female directors. David Bonderman, a fellow board member and a founding partner at the private equity firm TPG, replied that adding more women to the board would result in ‘more talking.’ The remark left people aghast, according to those who were there, and set off a storm of criticism on Twitter. Mr. Bonderman later apologized to Ms. Huffington and Uber’s employees in an email, before resigning from the board a few hours later.” http://nyti.ms/2snxNcu
… Holder’s reporthttp://bit.ly/2s00cEM
SCOOP -- “Most Trump real estate now sold to secretive buyers,” by USA Today’s Nick Penzenstadler, Steve Reilly and John Kelly: “Since President Trump won the Republican nomination, the majority of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.” https://usat.ly/2sncIyu
DROPPING OUT -- “Brian Burns withdraws as Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Ireland,” by Irish Central’s Niall O’Dowd: “Brian F. Burns, the US ambassador-designate to Ireland has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job, citing health issues, IrishCentral has learned. It is believed that Burns and President Trump exchanged letters in which the attorney and leading Irish American philanthropist revealed his reasons for stepping aside. Burns, 81, was considered a remarkably good choice by Trump, given his long career of devotion to Irish issues, including the creation of the John J. Burns Library at Boston College and as a senior official of the American Ireland Fund.” http://bit.ly/2tkT83r
POLITICO MAGAZINE: “Meet the Two Princes Reshaping the Middle East: But for good or ill?” by Simon Henderson: “The dramatic and sudden effort to isolate Qatar, like the fateful intervention before it in Yemen, sprang from the shared vision of two princes. Depending on your point of view, they may be the harbingers of a new and better Middle East—or reckless architects of disaster. Indeed, the region’s most important relationship may be the dynamic duo of Muhammad bin Salman, the 31-year-old deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and Muhammad bin Zayed, the 56-year-old crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the lead sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates. ... Together, they have shrewdly cultivated President Donald Trump, who is eager to show that he has a new strategy for defeating terrorism and confronting Tehran.” http://politi.co/2ruILZl
-- “Trump’s move to deport Iraqi Christians stirs outcry,” by Nahal Toosi: “President Donald Trump is facing anger and potential political blowback as his administration ramps up efforts to deport Iraqi Christians, a group he’d pledged to protect from what the U.S. calls a genocide in the Middle East. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over the weekend detained dozens of Iraqi Christians and others to send back to Iraq. Many of them were picked up in Michigan, a swing state that Trump barely won in 2016 and the home of a sizable number of Christians from Muslim-majority countries who backed Trump during the presidential campaign.” http://politi.co/2rg856c
MEDIWATCH -- “Layoffs To Hit HuffPost This Week,” by BuzzFeed’s Steven Perlberg: “The HuffPost newsroom is bracing for a round of layoffs this week, according to four people familiar with the matter. The cuts are said to be coming as early as Wednesday. ... The Wall Street Journal reported last week that about 15% of employees, or 2,100 people, will lose their jobs at Yahoo and AOL, which have become a combined entity called Oath.” http://bzfd.it/2sn5OcV
SPOTTED -- at Walter Russell Mead’s 65th birthday party last night: Elliott Abrams, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and his wife Anna, Scooter Libby, former Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, Adam Garfinkle, Ben Haddad, Hannah Thoburn. Cotton gave a toast.
SPOTTED: Justin Fairfax, newly elected Virginia Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, thanking his family, friends and supporters last night at Arlington’s William Jeffrey’s Tavern ... Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y) joining callers at the DCCC last night making phone calls in support of Jon Ossoff ahead of the special election. The phone bank was organized by Slaughter and Democrats in the NY delegation. Picshttp://bit.ly/2snsBVE
… University of Michigan Football head Coach Jim Harbaugh and UM Grad Ryan Eaton of Quicken Loans government relations team in the Delta Sky360 Club taking in the Nationals-Braves Game on Tuesday night in DC. Pichttp://bit.ly/2ruKC0v
OUT AND ABOUT – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sergio Gor hosted an off the record Bourbon tasting last night in the senator’s Russell office featuring four of Kentucky’s best bourbons. SPOTTED: Tara Palmeri, Gabby Morrongiello, Paul Bedard, Donna Cassata, Ted Fioraliso, Peter Doocy, Doug Stafford, Matthew Hawes, Alex Pappas, Juliegrace Brufke, Walt Cronkite, Michael Memoli, Jeremy Herb, Burgess Everett, Suzanne Kianpour, Matt Boyle, Amanda House, Nihal Krishan, Alex Bolton, Cherie Paquette, Rob Lockwood, Elise Norris, Kerry Young, Andrew Desiderio, Kevin Cirilli.
-- SPOTTED at the 17th annual interfaith Ramadan Iftar dinner last night, hosted at the Mt. Vernon estate of Ray and Shaista Mahmood: DHS Secretary John Kelly, Former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and Meryl Chertoff, Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), former Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono and Reshanty Bowoleksono, Japanese Ambassador Kenichirō Sasae, Pakistani Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, former U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom Rabbi David Saperstein, Father Mark Morozowich of Catholic University, Imam Mohamed Maged of the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Virginia, Pastor Bob Roberts of Northwood Community Baptist Church, Keller, Texas, Imam Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Grover and Samah Norquist, Suhail A. Khan and Jana Plat, John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation and Mary Lee Malcolm.
-- The Institute for Education and Coach Kathy Kemper partnered with Sylvie Lucas, the Ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States, for their #IFEWomeninPower dinner last night at the Grand Duchy Embassy in Dupont Circle. Jennifer Griffin, who covers national security and the Pentagon at Fox News, was the special guest in an off the record convo. SPOTTED: Nancy Cordes, Kristen Honey, Finland Ambassador to the U.S. Kristi Kauppi, Jordanian Amb. Dina Kawar, Rwanda Amb. Mathilde Mukantabana, Jennifer Rudy, Sita Sonty, Cori Zarek, Cecilia Vega, and Jan Smith.
TRANSITIONS – The DNC has hired Sabrina Singh to serve as its deputy communication director in charge of the regional media program and coalitions media. She comes from American Bridge, where she served as the deputy communications director. ... Whitney Mitchell Brennan has been promoted to communications director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), previously she served as deputy communications director. Alexandria Phillips joined Gillibrand’s office this week as press secretary. A HFA alum, she was previously director of surrogates and media affairs for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. …
… Mercury has hired Fernando Espuelas, a veteran journalist who co-founded StarMedia, to be co-chairman. http://politi.co/2rpLBDP
... Cambridge Analytica has named Ben Shankle and Laquan Austion as VPs to jointly lead the firm’s political operations in D.C. Shankle most recently spent two years as the data director for the Republican Party of Florida. Austion most recently worked on Lyft’s government relations team where he oversaw all east coast markets. http://politi.co/2rpYpdi
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Kristin Huguet, in comms at Apple
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Brian Fallon, CNN contributor, president of Barracks Row Media and senior advisor for Priorities USA. How he’s celebrating: “I will spend most of the day fending off bad jokes about sharing a birthday with Donald Trump. Next week, I am going home to Boston with my wife and kids, and my brother and I will be at David Ortiz’s number retirement ceremony at Fenway on June 23rd.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A:http://politi.co/2s9kSbR
BIRTHDAYS: Mack McLarty, No Labels Vice-Chair and former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton (h/t Dennis Craig) ... Dan Schwerin, former director of speechwriting for Hillary Clinton ... House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is 78 ... Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) is 63 ... Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) is 73 ... former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is 74 ... The U.S. Army is 242 … Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships (h/t Erika Masonhall) ... Leon Wieseltier is 65 ... Russian-born billionaire and philanthropist Leonard “Len” Blavatnik is 6-0 (h/ts Jewish Insider) ... Anthony Zampelli, LA for Rep. Dan Donovan, is 25 (h/t Joe Kalmin) ... Christopher Gahan, former COS to Sens. Pat Toomey and Judd Gregg who is now VP of federal relations and GR at Northwestern Mutual, is 43 ... Amber Marchand, managing director at Hamilton Place Strategies (h/t Ken Spain) ... Alexandra Veitch, VP of gov’t relations at CSRA ... Regan Page is 27 ... Danny Gaynor, in strategy and messaging at Nike ... cheese-loving Kristen Bartoloni, partner at Silver Street Strategies …
... Sara Armstrong, COS of the RNC (h/t Ryan Mahoney) … Iowa Republican donoactivist Bruce Rastetter is 61 … Chris Bleak … Brussels-based Politico tech reporter Laurens Cerulus is 3-0 ... Bill Wasserman of M+R (h/t Jon Haber) ... Jon Lentz, editor-in-chief at City & State ... Shomik Sarkar, former director of reporting for HFA, now a data scientist at the DNC (h/t Eric Heggie) ... Sarah Chen ... WaPo’s Josh Hicks, covering Maryland politics, is 37 ... Leslie Ogden ... former Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams … Chris Liddell-Westefeld … Carol Apelt ... Quinn Johnson … Mary Ann Preskul … Linda Beitelspacher … Scot Ross, the pride of Pittsburgh … Dee Simpson (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... Brandon Hall is 42 ... Rachel Williams Ellis ... Ashley Samelson McGuire ... Roland Rydstrom ... Kenan Block, an MSNBC alum, is 63 ... Pat Proctor is 46 ... Bob de Maria .. David Parsons ... Andrew Bair ... Boy George is 56 ... International Tennis Hall of Famer Steffi Graf is 48 (h/ts AP)
Trump Needs an Intervention
by Andrew Exum via Master Feed : The Atlantic
The District of Columbia—and much of the rest of America—will grind to a halt on Thursday when fired FBI director James Comey takes the stand to testify before the U.S. Senate. Comey’s testimony
—and, more importantly, the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller—will cast a shadow over this presidency and its prospects for success. But for me, this past fortnight has been the most worrying of this presidency for what it says about the judgement and decision-making of the president himself. And America’s elected officials cannot wait for the investigation to run its course.
From the very beginning, moderate and conservative hopes for Donald Trump have centered around the idea that the president, an accomplished businessman, might not know a lot about how the levers of government work but would surround himself with a top-notch team to whom he would defer on matters of grave importance to the nation and its security. This is what I heard from folks back home in Tennessee who voted for the president, and in the weeks after his election, I was flooded with excited emails forwarded by my father telling me all kinds of apocryphal (and some true) tales about Trump aides—Jim Mattis in particular.
There were problems with this notion from the start, like the idea that the president was a successful businessman
or that he would actually appoint the most qualified people for positions of power instead of, say, Ben Carson and Betsy DeVos.
Nonetheless, on national-security issues, the president did appoint a number of men and women that Washington began to refer to as “the adults in the room.” These adults included the president’s secretary of state, his secretary of defense, and the man who replaced Mike Flynn as the national-security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
But to paraphrase Politico’s Susan Glasser
, the problem with the adults in the room is that they’re not actually in the room. On three separate issues over the past two weeks—the decision not to affirm Article 5 of the NATO charter, the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, and the tweets that placed the United States on the side of the Saudis and Emiratis in their spat with Qatar—the president took actions either without first consulting his advisors, or which contradicted their advice.
Under our system of government, the president has every right to disregard the counsel of his advisors—as President Obama did, for example, when he elected not to strike chemical-weapons sites in Syria in 2013 before first consulting the Congress. But supporters of this particular president—who were assured his own callowness would be offset by the sage advice of others—have more right than most to feel misled.
Or do they?
As the longtime Trump-watcher Maggie Haberman noted
, “What is amazing is capacity of people who watched the campaign to be surprised by what they are seeing. Trump is 70. Ppl [sic] don't change.”
Put another way, and as I have argued before
, the principal challenge for this presidency was never going to be process or staffing—though both remain an issue
. The principal challenge for this presidency is the temperament and character of the president himself, and no one who has watched Donald Trump over time—or even over the course of 2016—can claim to be shocked or disappointed by what they are seeing now.
Over the past two weeks alone, Donald Trump has turned his back on the most successful military alliance in history in the face of renewed Russian aggression, abdicated global leadership on climate to the Chinese, and served notice to the Gulf emirate out of which the United States and its coalition partners are running the air wars over Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The only people who have benefitted from the president’s actions are America’s enemies.
Thus far, the Republican reactions to Trump’s actions have ranged from tepid support to silence to—at the harshest—an exasperated shake of the head
from the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Many Republicans still view Trump as the flawed vessel through which they can carry out their domestic agenda.
Worse, some conservative writers and thinkers—the so-called anti-anti-Trumpers, many of them I know to be men and women of deep moral convictions—have elected not even to try defending the indefensible and to instead have decided to aim their criticisms at Trump’s critics or the media. This is how we end up spending three days discussing Kathy Griffin instead of, say, the appropriateness of obstruction of justice charges against the president. It’s a morally bankrupt way to approach this president, and it was never going to be a sustainable approach for the duration of Trump’s time in office.
But elected Republicans need to step up their game in criticizing this president, and do it where it matters most: on the cable news channels to which—like many old white men—he is perpetually glued
. Republicans, for the sake of their country, need to stage a very public and televised intervention with the man to whom they have pinned their electoral and political hopes. The president may not listen to his national-security adviser or to the secretary of defense, but we know he listens to Fox & Friends. So Republicans need to start going on Fox and MSNBC’s Morning Joe and loudly speaking truth to power.
Surely they’re not too scared to do that?
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