INSIDE MOSCOW’S MIND — AP/MOSCOW at 5:33 a.m. “Russian president says accusations of Trump collusion by his opponents damage U.S. political system.”
THE DECEMBER TIMELINE — Here’s a rough sketch of what you should expect for the next week. Friday: Republicans are scheduled to release their tax bill. Monday through Wednesday: Congress is going to finish up its tax debate. Remainder of the week: Government funding, which expires Friday, Dec. 22.
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THERE IS NOW A CHANCE the House will move first on the tax bill now, according to multiple people involved in the talks. The Senate was supposed to vote Monday, followed by the House. But now there’s chatter the House will vote first, so they can push through a government-funding bill while the Senate wrestles with the tax bill.
— THE PROBLEMS. ABSENCES: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is in the hospital. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) hasn’t voted in the past few days. GOVERNMENT FUNDING MISGIVINGS: House Republicans had a tense internal meeting yesterday afternoon, in which they laid out their plan to fund the Pentagon for a year, while keeping the rest of the government on a short-term spending plan that runs to Jan. 18. House Republican leaders are facing pressure to pass that bill, and leave town — an attempt to force the Senate to swallow it. But the Senate cannot pass this package — and most House Republicans recognize this. It’s a dangerous game of chicken. If they leave town, the government could shut down. Competing pressures abound: Texans want disaster money, hawks want defense money and some conservatives say they’re tired of kowtowing to the Senate.
Good Thursday morning. BREAKING — “John McCain, battling brain cancer, in Walter Reed from effects of treatment,” by WaPo’s Paul Kane: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for recovery from the side effects of another round of treatment for brain cancer … McCain, who missed a third straight day of Senate votes Wednesday, has been undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to treat glioblastoma, the terminal form of brain cancer he was diagnosed with in July. McCain has been undergoing treatments since early September at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, next to Walter Reed.” http://wapo.st/2jUgr1y
TAX DEAL! — “House, Senate Republicans Reach Deal on Final Tax Bill,” by WSJ’s Rich Rubin and Siobhan Hughes: “The highest-earning Americans will get a lower tax rate and corporations will pay slightly more than in previous plans under a deal House and Senate Republicans reached on the party’s competing tax-overhaul bills. Full details of what is likely to be a $1.4 trillion tax cut over a decade will be released this week. If the House and Senate both pass the measure in votes that could come next week, President Donald Trump could sign it into law before Christmas.
“‘We’ve got a pretty good deal,’ Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R- Utah) told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. Republicans hashed out the agreement without input from Democrats in advance of a formal meeting of the bipartisan House-Senate conference committee on Wednesday, and they announced the deal just before heading to a lunch at the White House with Mr. Trump. Democrats complained about the closed process, but to no avail.
“The agreement would set the top individual tax rate at 37%, two people familiar with the deal said. That is lower than today’s 39.6% and lower than the top rate in each of the bills that passed the House and Senate.” http://on.wsj.com/2Binx9Z
BANNON VS. MCCONNELL — “Republican civil war erupts anew,” by Eliana Johnson and Alex Isenstadt: “Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama — far from settling the score between the McConnell and Bannon wings of the Republican Party — instead touched off another round of internecine GOP infighting over who’s to blame for the party’s loss in one of the most conservative states in the country.
“From the outset, the race served as a proxy war between the tight-lipped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a paragon of the party establishment, and Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who has dedicated himself to disrupting everything McConnell represents. Now, both sides are blaming the other for Tuesday’s loss, with each painting the results as a case study in the other’s political ineptitude.
“Bannon has argued from the outset that Republican leaders have positioned themselves against the president, determined to thwart his agenda. But McConnell and his allies are using Tuesday’s results to tell the president — whom Bannon helped to cajole into the race on Moore’s behalf — that his former chief strategist is a political liability.” http://politi.co/2AlOuG5
— TRUMP, BANNON STILL TALKING: “Behind the scenes, some advisers hoped the loss would persuade Mr. Trump to stop listening to Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist who has vowed war against the Republican establishment. But Mr. Trump talked with Mr. Bannon for 15 minutes by phone on Tuesday, aides said, and seemed disinclined to cut the adviser from his circle.” http://nyti.ms/2j3TMiJ
SOMETHING NEW — “Trump’s unexpected reaction after Alabama loss: Magnanimity,” by Annie Karni: “President Donald Trump, famous for his tantrums and his Twitter tirades, appeared to take the loss of Roy Moore, the scandal-tarred Republican candidate he backed in the Alabama special Senate election, in stride on Wednesday as he basked in a soon-to-be victory on tax reform. ‘A lot of Republicans feel differently, they’re happy with the way it turned out,’ Trump conceded, speaking to reporters ahead of a tax reform meeting at the White House. ‘But I would have, as the leader of the party, I would have liked to have had the seat. I want to endorse the people that are running.’
“Setting aside his personal disappointment, Trump phoned the Democratic victor in the Alabama race, Doug Jones, congratulating him on the win and inviting him to visit the White House, even as Moore was still demanding a recount. It was a muted reaction to a stunning loss from a gut-trusting president who had endorsed the candidate against the advice of his own political shop and family members – and who rarely admits to being wrong. Trump didn’t go quite that far – on Twitter, he wrote that ‘I was right!’ for believing that Moore could not win a general election.” http://politi.co/2ApCLXf
DEMS ON OFFENSE — NYT’S SHERYL GAY STOLBERG: “Senate Democrats, buoyed by their upset victory, demanded that Republicans delay the final vote on a large tax overhaul until Mr. Jones can be sworn in. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called on Mr. McConnell to ‘hit pause’ on the tax vote. Mr. McConnell has no intention of doing so.
“‘It would be wrong for Senate Republicans to jam through this tax bill without giving the newly elected senator from Alabama the opportunity to cast his vote,’ Mr. Schumer said. Mr. Schumer cited precedent: the 2010 election of Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, to the seat that had been held for decades by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The Senate was weighing President Barack Obama’s health care bill at the time, and Democrats delayed the final vote — even though Mr. Brown’s election cost them their 60-vote filibuster-proof majority.” http://nyti.ms/2o1tFOB
BOSTON GLOBE’S DEVRA FIRST: “We tried to find the rabbi Roy Moore’s wife said they’re friends with. Here’s what happened” http://bit.ly/2C4CObb
****** A message from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates: The UAE and the US are partnering to create economic growth and jobs for people in both countries. For eight years in a row, the UAE has been the top market in the Middle East and North Africa for US exports. http://politi.co/2y8BB0m ******
A POLITICAL FORESHADOWING? — JOHN BRESNAHAN and ELANA SCHOR — “How Republicans are experiencing 2010 in reverse”: “A first-term president and unpopular congressional leaders are pushing a controversial legislative agenda that sparks a nationwide movement from the infuriated opposition. Retirements are suddenly putting the majority’s safe seats in play. Party leaders jam major legislation through Congress on a partisan vote, and are in such a hurry to pass it they’re rewriting it by hand hours before a vote. They lose control of their message and can’t find an easy way to get back on track. Then comes a stunning upset in a Senate special election for a seat the majority party had controlled for decades.
“That year was 2010, when Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in the Massachusetts’ Senate race to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy previewed a tea-party fueled Republican revolution that swept the GOP into power on Capitol Hill. But after Democrat Doug Jones’ upset in Alabama on Tuesday, it could also describe the political trajectory of 2017 – except with Democrats instead of Republicans on the winning side. Many Republicans insist that the similarities are superficial, that Brown’s shocking 2010 victory in deep-blue Massachusetts was a referendum on Obamacare while Tuesday’s win by Jones in dark-red Alabama only happened because of a deeply flawed Republican candidate, Roy Moore. They also point out that the U.S. economy is growing, job growth is strong and unemployment is low, all of which are dramatically different from 2010.” http://politi.co/2o3pNwr
— “Alabama win stokes Democratic Senate majority hopes,” by Kevin Robillard: “Democrats’ special election win in Alabama has cracked open a path to the Senate majority in 2018 that looked all but impassable before Tuesday night. The party will still have to defend 10 incumbents next year in states carried by President Donald Trump in 2016 — a long shot even in the best political environment — in addition to snagging Republican-held seats in Nevada and Arizona. But the party no longer needs to stage an upset in another forbidding red state — like Tennessee and Texas — on top of that.
“A long shot? Absolutely. Impossible? Not anymore. ‘I worry that the Senate is in play. I didn’t think that before yesterday,’ said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and partner at Firehouse Strategies who worked for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. ‘If the political environment is still like this in 11 months, Democrats might be able to defend their incumbents and pick up the seats they need out west.’” http://politi.co/2j4poEX
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: DSCC victory memo. http://politi.co/2yrE6ej
ABOUT THAT INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN — “Democrats cool to Trump’s infrastructure pitch,” by Lauren Gardner and Tanya Snyder: “The White House is preparing to unveil its long-awaited $1 trillion infrastructure plan soon after President Donald Trump signs the GOP tax overhaul, hoping to begin 2018 with another big legislative win — but its approach is already drawing resistance from Democrats who are in no mood to cooperate.
“The plan set for release in January is expected to call for as much as $200 billion in federal spending over the next decade, with the rest coming from private investment, state or local funding and cuts to other federal programs. An administration official added new details this week, telling POLITICO that a wide variety of projects — from bridges to broadband — would have to compete for federal assistance, while showing they’re prepared to put their own money on the table. …
“None of the package’s details so far are music to the ears of Democrats, who have pitched their own proposal for $1 trillion in new federal infrastructure money and who have said they won’t support a plan stuffed with budget cuts and environmental rule rollbacks. An infrastructure package would need 60 votes in the Senate, making Democrats the key to its success, even before Alabama Sen.-elect Doug Jones’ upset victory Tuesday.” http://politi.co/2CgViGz
YIKES — “Ex-Farenthold aide shares new details of vulgar and abusive behavior,” by CNN’s MJ Lee: “A former senior aide to Rep. Blake Farenthold has approached the House Ethics Committee to share a damning account of working for the Texas Republican, with the intent of describing the congressman as verbally abusive and sexually demeaning — and his congressional office as an intensely hostile environment that drove the aide to physical and emotional distress.
“Michael Rekola, who was Farenthold’s communications director in 2015, described in an interview with CNN new details of the congressman’s abusive behavior. It ranged from making sexually graphic jokes to berating aides — bullying that Rekola says led him to seek medical treatment and psychological counseling, and at one point, caused him to vomit daily. One comment from the congressman was especially personal.
“Rekola was about to leave town to get married in July 2015, when, he said, Farenthold, standing within earshot of other staffers in his Capitol Hill office, said to the groom-to-be: ‘Better have your fiancée blow you before she walks down the aisle — it will be the last time.’ He then proceeded to joke about whether Rekola’s now-wife could wear white on her wedding day — a clear reference, Rekola said, to whether she had had premarital sex. …
“Those crude remarks in the summer of 2015 marked just one of many instances in which Farenthold made sexually charged comments to or in the presence of aides, Rekola said. During the nine months that he worked for the congressman, Rekola said, he was also subject to a stream of angry behavior not sexual in nature — screaming fits of rage, slamming fists on desks and castigating aides, including regularly calling them ‘f**ktards.’” http://cnn.it/2yrcVQH
— THIS REPORTING is almost certain to result in another round of questions about whether Republican leaders should force Farenthold to resign.
WOW — “Democratic lawmaker: Women’s clothing an ‘invitation’ to harassment,” by Heather Caygle: “Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) made the comments during a private Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday to discuss sexual harassment issues, according to two Democratic sources in the room. ‘I saw a member yesterday with her cleavage so deep it was down to the floor,’ Kaptur said, according to the sources present. ‘And what I’ve seen … it’s really an invitation.’ The comments left many others in the room stunned, the sources said. Kaptur said women on Capitol Hill should have to abide by a stricter dress code, like those adopted by the military or corporations.” http://politi.co/2yrl3R7
LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER’S DANIEL DESROCHERS and MORGAN EADS: “Accused of molesting teen, Ky. Rep. Dan Johnson commits suicide”: “A Kentucky lawmaker who on Tuesday denied accusations that he molested a 17-year-old girl in 2012 died Wednesday night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Bullitt County coroner. State Rep. Dan Johnson died of a single gunshot wound on Greenwell Ford Road at an undetermined time Wednesday night, Bullitt County coroner Dave Billings confirmed.
“Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted the following statement Wednesday night: ‘Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson…My heart breaks for his wife and children…These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America…May God shed His grace on us all…We sure need it…’” http://bit.ly/2zbuyrn
SPOTTED: Barack Obama dining at District Winery last night. He was there for the Obama Foundation holiday party. ALSO SPOTTED: Valerie Jarrett, Ray Mahmood, Barry White, Howard Gutman and Michelle Loewinger, Frank White, Ankit Desai and Nora Connors.
TRUMP’S THURSDAY — The president will have lunch with VP Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. He will participate in an event focused on deregulation and will meet with RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel.
— ABOUT THE DEREGULATION EVENT, from the White House: “The President will be updating the nation tomorrow on the administration’s promise to remove two regulations for every one added … and the overall effort to rid the federal government of bad, excessive, and outdated regulations. This occurs as the administration releases its first ‘Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,’ a detailed look at how the administration manages the burden Washington puts on job creators and American tax payers.”
THE JUICE …
— SPOTTED: REINCE PRIEBUS in Taipei keynoting a lunch — co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation — about U.S. policy in Taiwan. Pics http://bit.ly/2AWKbCe … http://bit.ly/2zbxDId EXCERPTS: “America First, in many ways, means getting our house in order to ensure our continued staying power in the world – including here in the Indo Pacific. It means building internal resiliency in the face of changing external dynamics. … Pyongyang grew accustomed to the United States simply ignoring its threats while the DPRK built its arsenal. But I can tell you, President Trump isn’t willing to allow Kim Jong Un to increase his capabilities to threaten the United States, or our allies.”
— GU POLITICS is announcing its spring 2018 fellows. The Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy fellows class will include: Nadeam Elshami, former chief of staff to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and now EVP at Signal Group; Steven Law, president and CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS; Dorothy McAuliffe, first lady of Virginia; Eugene Scott, political reporter at the Washington Post; Katie Walsh Shields, former deputy Trump White House chief of staff and senior adviser and former chief of staff at the RNC. http://bit.ly/2ynXTLv
BACK STORY — NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN and YAMICHE ALCINDOR: “Omarosa Manigault Newman to Leave White House Job Next Month”: “One of the president’s prominent African-American supporters, Ms. Newman served as the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. But the division, which was absent a clear leader for most of the year, atrophied with her in a key position.
“Two people close to the administration said Ms. Newman neglected to find enough attendees for a Black History Month event early in the administration, for instance. And the office — which is crucial for building coalitions — became seen as what one person close to the White House described as the ‘island of misfit toys,’ where people who could not be slotted into other roles were sent. … Three administration officials described reports of Ms. Newman being hauled off the White House grounds as overstated.
“Still, all three said that there was a precipitating event that finally got Mr. Trump on board with an effort by John F. Kelly, the current chief of staff, to remove her. Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, was apprised throughout, one of the officials said. The event was kept at a close hold, and most advisers were uncertain about what happened, the officials said.” http://nyti.ms/2AGhflm
— @maggieNYT: “The White House, where officials and Trump have accused news outlets of putting out false info intentionally, put out that Omarosa’s last day is Jan 20, all amicable etc. If so, why did Secret Service deactivate her pass last night?”
LOST ON MAIN ST., SOUTHAMPTON — “Security detail loses Wilbur Ross in Hamptons takeout joint,” by Page Six’s Ian Mohr: “It was the case of the missing cabinet member in the Hamptons last week when — well-heeled sources tell us — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross seemed to lose his security detail leading to an awkward search at a tony takeout joint. A source tells Page Six that guests grabbing grub at the Golden Pear cafe in Southampton were taken aback on Friday when agents entered asking if anyone had seen the secretary. …. ‘They gave out cards that said “Commerce Department security” — and told the owner, “If you see him, will you call us immediately?” … [A]nother source told us … that Ross was simply a few minutes late to grab a sandwich and meet his security squad at an assigned time.’ http://pge.sx/2ysci9I
BUSINESS BURST — “As Bitcoin Soars, Advocates Seek to Head Off New Restrictions,” by Bloomberg’s Mark Niquette: “Advocacy groups are gearing up in Washington for a lobbying push in 2018, looking to limit legislation that would subject cryptocurrencies to more regulation and change tax-reporting requirements. Organizations such as the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Coin Center Inc. and the Bitcoin Foundation say applying the measures would stifle innovation. Their top targets include a Senate bill that would include digital currency in an overhaul of money-laundering laws, requiring more entities to police potentially illicit transactions.” https://bloom.bg/2ChG2JB
****** A message from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates: With trade in aviation, high tech, and defense, the UAE delivers a $19 billion trade surplus for the US. These exports support hundreds of thousands of American jobs. They also help the UAE diversify its economy. By working with the US, the UAE has become a center for innovation and opportunity in the Middle East. http://politi.co/2y8BB0m ******
MEDIAWATCH — “PBS Suspends ‘Tavis Smiley’ Following Sexual Misconduct Investigation,” by Variety’s Daniel Holloway: “PBS has suspended late-night talk show ‘Tavis Smiley’ amid misconduct allegations against its host and namesake. ‘Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,’ the public broadcaster said.
“‘PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.’” http://bit.ly/2ADvnMc
— “New York Times D.C. bureau adds fact-checker,” by Jason Schwartz: “With greater scrutiny on media accuracy than ever, The New York Times has added a new, never-before-heard-of position to its D.C. bureau: fact-checker. ‘Given how much copy we’re moving these days, given how intense the atmosphere is, we’re just doubling down on making sure everything is as airtight as it can be,’ said Peter Baker, the Times’ chief White House correspondent. ‘It’s probably long overdue.’ … Times Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller said she hired Emily Cochrane, an intern, for the job in August to help deal with the Trump-era rush of news.” http://politi.co/2yru4tL
— “Ousted ‘Young Turks’ reporter files $23.5 million suit against HuffPost,” by Cristiano Lima: “A former reporter for the digital program ‘The Young Turks’ is suing HuffPost for $23.5 million, alleging libel and defamation over a since-deleted post detailing allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him. In court documents filed with the Supreme Court of New York on Wednesday, Jordan Chariton seeks relief and monetary damages over an article, published in the contributors section of HuffPost, in which activist Christian Chiakulas accused the progressive reporter of committing sexual misconduct against former colleagues, including sexual assault. The post was later taken down after Chariton cast it as false and defamatory online. (Chiakulas later republished the allegations on a different platform.)” http://politi.co/2BkCeJY
SPOTTED last night at “Sing! An Irish Christmas” at the Kennedy Center: VP Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Amy Simon, Paige and Jameson Cunningham … at the Trump hotel last night: Jim Sullivan and Jeff Loveng at Benjamin Bar … Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and his wife at a table at Benjamin Bar … Katrina Pierson leaving BLT Steak.
HOLIDAY PARTY CIRCUIT — SPOTTED at the TechNet holiday party last night at Fig & Olive: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), Reps. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Jeff Dobrozsi, Ian Rayder, Steve Hartell, Mike Ward, Josh Pitcock, Jason Mahler, Israel Hernandez, Carol Danko, Yebbie Watkins, Beth Jafari, Sara Fischer, Jack Smith, Tiffany Watkins, Craig Albright, Heather Podesta, Linda Moore, Alex Burgos, Sue Hothem, Gideon Lett, and Dave Toomey
SPOTTED at the Entertainment Software Association holiday party last night at the Rock & Roll Hotel: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Sean Spicer, Michael Beckerman, Norberto Salinas, Alex Wirth, David Najjab, Alan Lewis, Heather Pond, Connie Partoyan, Kaya Singleton, Nika Nour, Tyler Crowe, Gabe Brotman, Boyd Stephenson, Fred Dombo, Tim and Shana Teehan.
SPOTTED at Locust Street Group’s holiday party last night at the Showroom downtown (the party had a mechanical surfboard, an avocado bar and lots of cocktails): Ben Jenkins, David Barnhart, Sean and Rebecca Spicer, Robby Zirkelbach, Elena Tompkins, Andrew Kovalcin, David Culver, Patrick Mellody, Craig Gordon, Chris Gindlesperger, Matt Haller, Lyndon Boozer, Jeff Zeleny, Bennett Richardson, Jack Smith, Brad Bosserman, Hunter Moorhead, Hugh Gamble, Katy Summerlin, Devin O’Malley, Fred Brown, Rudy Takala, Benny Johnson, Lauren Ehrsam and Jason Gorey, Caitlin Carroll, Neil Grace, Alex Stroman, Laura Howard, Chris Bedford, Lauren Culbertson, Kelly Klass, Allison Schneider.
— Pool report: “The Bipartisan Congressional Hanukkah Party hosted by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Lee Zeldin took place under the gold-gilded ceiling of the Members Room of the Library of Congress, and featured remarks by the hosts, VA Secretary David Shulkin, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, and Rabbi Michael Safra.”
SPOTTED: Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), French Hill (R-Ark.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), former Rep. Ron Klein, William Daroff, Lori Weinstein, Dorian Karp, Matthew Ellison, Jeremy Blumstone, Mark Hetfield, Joshua Karp, Dana Klein, Emma Nelson, Jesse Hunt and Matt Gorman.
SPOTTED at a reception for GOP leaders at French Ambassador Gérard Araud’s Kalorama residence last night: Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.), RNC co-chairman Bob Paduchik, former RNC chairmen Michael Steele and Bob Duncan, Sean and Rebecca Spicer, Doyle Webb, Tony Parker, Terry Campo, José Cunningham and Gregory Nelson, Marisa Schultz, Michael Moroney and Francesca Chambers, Dennis Lennox, Saul Anuzis, Alex Pfeiffer, Joely Friedman, Bob Cable and Joanne Young.
SPOTTED at an America First party last night at the Trump hotel: Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr., Boris Epshteyn, Katrina Pierson, Laura Howard, Cara Mason, Sheriff Dave Clarke and Brian O. Walsh.
TRANSITIONS — Douglas Sellers has been named the chief of staff at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Before joining OPIC, he served as personal aide and policy advisor to Mick Mulvaney, the OMB director, and also worked for Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) as legislative aide for financial services policy.
–OBAMA ALUMNI — Patrick Gaspard will become the new president of the Open Society Foundations on Jan. 1. Gaspard is the former ambassador to South Africa and was White House political director in Obama’s first term. … Doug Frantz, who was most recently deputy secretary general at OECD and has also served as former assistant secretary of State for public affairs, is joining the firm the Global Situation Room.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Trey Ditto, CEO of Brooklyn-based firm Ditto PR. How he’s celebrating: “My wife and I are going to Tokyo Record Bar in NYC. They do a whiskey pairing with your meal. Our reservation is at 11 p.m., so don’t expect any Friday morning pitches.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2j3xqOh
BIRTHDAYS: CNN’s Abigail Crutchfield … Matt Beynon, senior communications strategist at BrabenderCox … Michael Ovitz is 71 … Stephanie Allen, manager of external relations at Promontory Financial Group … Raffi Williams, director of comms at HUD … John Ullyot … David Vennett … Kristin King, chief of staff at the George W. Bush Institute … Grace Gallo … Jude Barry (hat tip: Jon Haber) … Ryan Boles of USAID … Ryan Hagen … Bloomberg healthcare reporter Zach Tracer … former Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Beazley is 69 … Suzanne Wrasse … Christopher Marcisz … Schuyler Ebersol … Sloane Speakman … Barry Karas (h/t Sam Tubman) … Elizabeth Wenk (hubby tip: Christopher) … Cindy Chetti, SVP of gov’t affairs at the National Mulitfamily Housing Council (h/t Lisa Costello) …
… Kirsten Powers, CNN political commentator and USA Today columnist … N.Y. Daily News editor Arthur Browne … NYGOP executive director Jason Weingartner … Politico’s Grace McKellip … Allison Schneider of Locust Street Group … Katie Johnson … Chuck Rocha … Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) … Howard Welinsky is 68 … Seth Siegel is 64 … Rebecca Brown … Ted Frank … Robin Schatz … Elizabeth Vale … Kyra Jennings … Kathryn Prael … Erin Daly Wilson, director of appointments for Texas Speaker Joe Straus (h/t Ed Cash) … Karen Maginnis … Lynne White … Derrick Max is 51 … Joan Mower … Sylvester Giustino is 39 … Quincy Hicks Crawford … Lesslie Hall … Lori Smith Johnson … R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. … Carol Plath Hainsey (h/t Teresa Vilmain)
****** A message from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates: The UAE is a major investor in the US. UAE FDI in the US totaled $26 billion in 2016 – in sectors ranging from financial services, to transportation, to consumer products. That means jobs for thousands of Americans and liquidity for capital markets across the country. The UAE and the US are united in prosperity. http://politi.co/2y8BB0m ******
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