Good Thursday morning. Just when we thought things in the Trump White House had settled down…
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POPPING LATE LAST NIGHT — “Sessions under fire over Russia meetings: Leading Democrats seek his resignation,” by Rebecca Morin, Josh Meyer and Austin Wright: “Top congressional Democrats called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign Wednesday after revelations that he had met with the Russian ambassador in the months before the election — meetings that Sessions did not disclose during his confirmation hearings. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led the effort late on Wednesday night, accusing Sessions of ‘lying under oath’ during confirmation proceedings about his contacts with the Russians. ‘The Attorney General must resign,’ Pelosi wrote in a statement. ‘There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians.’ Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House oversight committee, also called on Sessions to resign, as did Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“In a statement in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Sessions said, ‘I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.’ ‘I have no idea what this allegation is about,’ he added in his short statement. ‘It is false.’” http://politi.co/2mwv7al
— THE STORY that started it all: “Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose,” by WaPo’s Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller. http://wapo.st/2mhdx9E
SMART POINTS — @BresPolitico: “Senate Republicans not rushing to Sessions’ defense. Sense is clearly more info may drop, they’ve already been surprised by this revelation” … CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro): “Here’s the issue: Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters.”
“MORNING JOE” has Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) this morning. He was the one who asked Sessions in his confirmation hearing about Trump campaign contacts with the Russians. Sessions, at the time, said, “I’m not aware of any of those activities.” … “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” Franken is on around 8:20 a.m.
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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.), who appeared with Sen. John McCain at a town hall last night hosted by CNN’S DANA BASH: “If there is something there, and it goes up the chain of investigation, it is clear to me that Jeff Sessions, who is my dear friend, cannot make this decision about Trump. So they may be not — there may be nothing there, but if there’s something there if the FBI believes is criminal in nature, then, for sure, you need a special prosecutor. If that day ever comes, I’ll be the first one to say it needs to be somebody other than Jeff.”
— “White House staff told to preserve Russia-related materials,” by AP’s Julie Pace and Vivian Salama: “White House lawyers have instructed the president’s aides to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related investigations, three administration officials said Wednesday. The instructions, which were sent to White House staff on Tuesday, come after Senate Democrats last week asked the White House and law enforcement agencies to keep all materials involving contacts that Trump’s administration, campaign and transition team — or anyone acting on their behalf — have had with Russian government officials or their associates. The Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election, has also asked more than a dozen organizations, agencies and individuals to preserve relevant records.” https://yhoo.it/2mO81bj
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ANOTHER POTENTIAL BOMBSHELL — NYT A1, “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking,” by Matt Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Mike Schmidt: “In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
“American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates. … Sean Spicer, the Trump White House spokesman, said, ‘The only new piece of information that has come to light is that political appointees in the Obama administration have sought to create a false narrative to make an excuse for their own defeat in the election.’ He added, ‘There continues to be no there, there.’ …
“There was also an effort to pass reports and other sensitive materials to Congress. In one instance, the State Department sent a cache of documents marked ‘secret’ to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration. The documents, detailing Russian efforts to intervene in elections worldwide, were sent in response to a request from Mr. Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and were shared with Republicans on the panel.” http://nyti.ms/2lgy9io
DEADPAN OF THE DAY — From Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman on A1: “[The new tone during the speech] does not represent a pivot, it is not a fundamental change of approach, and it does not mean that Mr. Trump plans to abandon his tweet-first-and-ask-questions later style. But it is a recognition by the White House, from Mr. Trump on down, that what it had been doing was not quite working and that a softer sales tactic was needed to sell the same hard-edge populist agenda he campaigned on, people close to Mr. Trump said.” http://nyti.ms/2mhUagy
INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — CHRIS RUDDY, the CEO of Newsmax, went to see President Donald Trump Wednesday. He called Playbook to tell us about the Oval Office visit: “I brought Nancy Brinker over. Nancy, as you know, is the founder of [Susan G. Komen for the Cure]. … Trump was very interested to hear her ideas about prioritizing that in the administration and ways that some of the funding was granted in the past year to make sure it’s used for legitimate cancer research. Nancy made a presentation. The president had us in for about an hour in the Oval Office. He was very friendly and Reince [Priebus] was there. He asked a lot of good questions of Nancy, but he was also knowledgeable about the funding of the programs … He did say as I walked in … he said ‘Many people have told me it’s the best speech I ever gave.’ … I told him you’re the only person I know who is friends with both Billy Graham and Howard Stern. Very few people could have those relationships … He really lit up on that and went on a tangent about both Franklin Graham and Howard Stern. … He said that ‘Howard Stern’s telling people I don’t want to be president. He’s wrong. I love this job.’”
— WAIT… Weren’t White House aides saying a few weeks ago that Ruddy and the president barely knew each other?
NO TRAINING NECESSARY — “Trump’s team nixed ethics course for White House staff,” by Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey: “President Donald Trump’s team rejected a course for senior White House staff, cabinet nominees and other political appointees that would have provided training on leadership, ethics and management, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. The documents suggest the program could have better prepared officials for working within existing laws and executive orders, and provided guidance on how to navigate Senate confirmation for nominees and political appointees, how to deal with congressional and media scrutiny, and how to work with Congress and collaborate with agencies — some of the same issues that have become major stumbling blocks in the early days of the administration. But the contract was never awarded because after the election the transition team shifted its priorities, according to a letter the General Services Administration sent to bidders such as the Partnership for Public Service. The program was expected to cost $1 million, the documents show.” http://politi.co/2mOtu3O
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — NEW VIDEO — PRICE STARTS HEALTHCARE SALES JOB — After weeks of keeping mum as he awaited Senate confirmation, HHS Secretary Tom Price is beginning to try to sell the Trump administration’s healthcare vision. Price’s team is releasing out a new video today featuring the Georgia Republican talking to the camera mostly about Obamacare’s problems. “Our current laws were designed to empower Washington. Our new laws will be designed to empower you,” he says. Price promises Americans access to the health care they want, protections for preexisting conditions and that “nobody is left behind.” http://bit.ly/2lZn6Y7
— VP MIKE PENCE will be joined by Price in Cincinnati today.
THE LATEST ON THE TRAVEL BAN — “U.S. to Remove Iraq From Travel-Ban List,” by WSJ’s Laura Meckler and Gordon Lubold: “The White House’s decision to remove Iraq from a list of countries subject to a travel ban came amid concerns in Washington and Baghdad the ban would undercut relations with a critical ally in the fight against Islamic State. There was pushback in Iraq and at the Pentagon after President Donald Trump, citing terrorism concerns, signed an executive order suspending travel to the U.S. for people from seven Muslim-majority nations, including Iraq. A court put that order on hold, and the Trump administration has been working on a new version to address the concerns. … Beyond the removal of Iraq, the new executive order will scale back the original version in several ways in an effort to put it on stronger legal and political footing, people familiar with the planning said. It won’t apply to existing visa holders or to legal U.S. permanent residents. It will remove a preference for religious minorities, typically Christians, in refugee applications. It still will temporarily suspend admission of refugees but no longer indefinitely bar those from Syria. It will also include a 10-day delay before taking effect, one person said.” http://on.wsj.com/2mhIlqJ
UNDER LOCK AND KEY — “Republicans Hide New Obamacare Draft Under Shroud of Secrecy,” by Bloomberg’s Billy House and Arit John: “House Republican leaders have a new version of their major Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. They just don’t want you to see it. The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House Energy and Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room … Nobody will be given copies to take with them. The unusual secrecy is a reflection of the sensitivity — and the stakes — surrounding the GOP effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, a top priority of President Donald Trump, who has yet to offer his own plan. Republican leaders are trying to avoid a repeat of what happened last time. When an outdated draft leaked last week, it was quickly panned by conservatives.” http://bloom.bg/2mw8pPs
— “No breakthrough on Obamacare repeal,” by Jen Haberkorn, Burgess Everett and Adam Cancryn: “Senate Republicans aren’t backing the latest House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying they are reserving judgment until House leaders provide key details about the proposal they intend to advance as soon as next week. … Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the plan is still in a ‘state of transition.’ There was an apparent decision by senators not to discuss the meeting in public or litigate the party’s differences for a day, as several normally chatty GOP senators refused to talk about even the broadest parameters of the meeting. One source said Republican leaders do not view the public infighting as productive and are hoping to put a pause on it.” http://politi.co/2lC7fxT
IN FOGGY BOTTOM — “Jon Huntsman Is in Running to Be Russia Ambassador,” by NYT’s Mark Landler: “Eight years after he was sent to China by a Democratic president, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate, is under consideration to be President Trump’s ambassador to Russia, people briefed on the deliberations said. And like eight years ago, there is a political dimension to the choice: Sending Mr. Huntsman to Moscow would remove him as a primary challenger to Utah’s 82-year-old Republican senator, Orrin Hatch — just as when former President Barack Obama chose him for Beijing in 2009, it was seen as a way to keep him off the field during the 2012 presidential campaign.” http://nyti.ms/2mwaoTY
SOMEONE’S GOTTA DO IT! — “White House gives Griffin a look to be secretary of Army,” by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Frank Lockwood: “White House officials approached Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin early last month to see whether he’d be interested in serving as Army secretary. Since then, senior advisers to President Donald Trump have met with the Little Rock Republican, inviting him to Washington, D.C., for interviews. … As a lawmaker, Griffin served on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, among others. He also worked in the White House during the George W. Bush administration, later serving as the interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.” http://bit.ly/2mwB2fy
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Homeland Security offers support to Jewish communities,” by David Cohen: “The Department of Homeland Security is offering support to Jewish communities in the wake of recent waves of bomb threats, DHS Secretary John Kelly said in a statement Wednesday. ‘In light of the nature of the threats to Jewish Community Centers, I have directed DHS to heighten our outreach and support to enhance public safety,’ Kelly said.” http://politi.co/2lCmmXQ
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: MORE ABRAMOFF/ROHRABACHER TIES — Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-Calif.) screenplay “Baja” has been kicking around Hollywood for a long time, and has become an interesting footnote in the colorful congressman’s life. He wrote the movie before he was elected to Congress in 1989. In 2008, he optioned the film to Joseph Medawar for $23,000 before Medwar was indicted and convicted for swindling people out of millions of dollars. (Rohrabacher got in hot water over setting up meetings with DHS for Medwar after he paid him for the film.) Medawar’s option expired. But in 2015, Rohrabacher found a new man to help him out: Jack Abramoff’s brother Robert.
ROBERT ABRAMOFF is a Hollywood attorney, and Jack brought him the film. “Jack showed the screenplay to his brother, which Rep. Rohrabacher wrote decades ago, before becoming a congressman,” Rohrabacher’s spokesman Ken Grubbs told us. “Robert liked it and paid him a $10,000 option. Once. No other payments. The screenplay has not been sold. It is not considered sold until it goes into production. As of now, no production is planned.”
JACK ABRAMOFF SAID: His brother’s “company attempted to set the project for production, engaging a prominent director, Chris Cain, who rewrote the project in a way that did not comport with the production company’s vision of the project, so they decided not to continue after their option on the project expired. That is quite normal and frequent in the entertainment industry. I am not involved with that production company and this project, other than to help one of my best friends, Dana, with what I think is a good film.” We reported earlier this week (http://politi.co/2mOE5eV) that Rohrabacher and Abramoff were involved with the strongman leader of the Congo to try to assemble an alliance of African nations to defeat Boko Haram.
FROM MORNING MONEY — TREASURY SECRETARY STEVE MNUCHIN said this Wednesday on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business show. “We’re working very closely with the House and the Senate and coming up with a combined plan. We will be coming out with that in the near future and our objective is to pass tax reform by the August recess. And, I think, that’s a very aggressive timetable. Neil Cavuto: “So, by August voted, done, agreed?” Mnuchin: “And, signed.” BEN WHITE, your Morning Money author, says everyone he talks to thinks this is ridiculous. Everyone we talk to thinks that, as well. Republicans haven’t even started Obamacare yet. They don’t have a viable budget from which they can start tax reform. If they complete tax reform by early 2018, it should be considered a success.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: JOHN KERRY has signed with the Washington Speakers Bureau. Kerry will be the fifth out of the last six secretaries of state to sign with the speaking firm. The Boston Globe also reported Kerry will serve as Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s first “visiting distinguished statesman.” http://bit.ly/2mhlhIy He is also leading a global initiative at Yale University and has begun writing a memoir.
— THE NEW DEMS raised $700,000 Wednesday night for the DCCC at a fundraising dinner at the W Hotel. SPOTTED: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, more than a dozen New Dem members, Howard Moon of Amgen, J.D. Grom of the New Dems, John Michael Gonzalez of Peck Madigan Jones, Heath Bumgardner of Boeing, Priya Dayananda of KPMG, Joel Kopperud of CIAB.
— JON WARD, senior political correspondent at Yahoo News, is working on his first book. It’s about Ted Kennedy’s 1980 run for president against Jimmy Carter. Ward said it’s an effort to tell a story of an epic internal battle in the Democratic Party with the last remaining Kennedy brother trying to keep the FDR coalition together against Reagan’s coming revolution. “I started working on this book in early 2013, as Dems were euphoric over Obama’s reelection, and Republicans were lost and in the wilderness. Four years later, I’m finishing it at a time when Democrats are at the lowest point they’ve been at since 1980,” he told us. Jon’s publisher is Twelve with Hachette, and the book will be published in the next year.
HAPPENING TODAY — PRESIDENT TRUMP is visiting the USS Gerald R. Ford in Norfolk, Va. The Senate will hold a confirmation vote for Trump’s HUD Secretary pick Ben Carson. The Senate will also hold a procedural vote to begin the process to confirm Rick Perry as secretary of Energy. PAUL RYAN goes to Rhode Island today. http://bit.ly/2mcWxRA
YOU’RE INVITED — OUR PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW WITH HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI couldn’t have come at a newsier time. The California Democrat is calling for Sessions to step down amidst reports of him meeting with Russian officials before the November election. She’s sitting down with us Friday morning at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.). We’ll talk with Pelosi about how Democrats are going to combat Trump, the DNC’s election of a new chairman and whether Democrats will be willing to help Donald Trump pass any of the massive initiatives he has promised. This program is sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Doors open at 8:20 a.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/2mjyTDN
WELCOME TO WASHINGTON — “Trump administration has found only $20 million in existing funds for wall – document,” by Reuters’ Julia Edwards Ainsley: “President Donald Trump’s promise to use existing funds to begin immediate construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has hit a financial roadblock, according to a document seen by Reuters. The rapid start of construction, promised throughout Trump’s campaign and in an executive order issued in January on border security, was to be financed, according to the White House, with ‘existing funds and resources’ of the Department of Homeland Security. But so far, the DHS has identified only $20 million that can be re-directed to the multi-billion-dollar project, according to a document prepared by the agency and distributed to congressional budget staff last week. The document said the funds would be enough to cover a handful of contracts for wall prototypes, but not enough to begin construction of an actual barrier.” http://reut.rs/2mc57je
INSIDE THE NSC — “McMaster rolls back Flynn’s changes at NSC: Trump’s new national security adviser is eliminating positions created by his ousted predecessor,” by Eliana Johnson, Nahal Toosi and Ken Vogel: “President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, is taking steps to streamline the National Security Council — starting by eliminating positions created by his short-lived predecessor Michael Flynn … McMaster did away this week with two deputy assistant spots, one overseeing the NSC’s regional desks and another overseeing transnational issues, according to a senior White House aide. The move comes less than two weeks into McMaster’s tenure. It’s a sign that, in a White House where a handful of the president’s political aides hold considerable sway over matters both domestic and foreign, McMaster has some power — and autonomy — to reshape his organization the way he sees fit. Additional changes are believed to be in the works. It remains unclear whether K.T. McFarland, a Trump favorite who serves as deputy national security adviser, will remain on the NSC. Also unknown is whether Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, will stay on the principals committee of the NSC.” http://politi.co/2lgba7c
43 SPEAKS — Former President George W. Bush told “Sunday TODAY” host Willie Geist, “I don’t see how [deporting millions] would work” when asked about President Trump’s immigration policy. “I think somebody who’s vested time and effort and can make a contribution to our country will be a really good citizen. And in Texas, we grew up with a lot of people of Hispanic heritage, and we’re used the contributions they have made to our State and to our country.” The extended interview airs this weekend. http://on.today.com/2lger6z
MMM HMMM — L.A. TIMES: “Former President George W. Bush says his recent remarks have been misconstrued as criticism of Trump,” by Seema Mehta: “‘I’m asked the question, ‘Do I believe in free press?’ and the answer is absolutely, I believe in free press … because the press holds people to account,’ he said. ‘Power is very addictive and it’s corrosive if it becomes central to your life and therefore there needs to be an independent group of people who hold you to account. And so I answered that question and of course the headlines were, ‘Bush criticizes Trump.’ And so therefore I needed to say, ‘There should be a free and independent press, but it ought to be accurate.’ … ‘I don’t want to make the president’s job worse, no matter what political party it is. It’s a hard job,’ Bush said. ‘Sometimes my remarks can be construed as criticism. They’re certainly not meant to be, and after I finish this book tour you probably won’t hear from me for a while.’” http://lat.ms/2mwAjeg
2018 WATCH — “With a single speech, Trump rattles 2018 landscape,” by Gabe Debenedetti and Kyle Cheney: “It’s far too early in his term to speculate about what the 2018 political climate might look like. And one speech can’t paper over a polarizing policy agenda. But if a large part of Democrats’ plan for the 2018 midterm elections was to let Trump stumble his way into a pile of Republican losses, his speech to Congress on Tuesday night reminded them it would not be that easy. At the same time, it reassured Republicans spooked by recent town hall intensity that the president might not be the flat-out liability he once seemed in the chaotic early days of his presidency.” http://politi.co/2mcoyc0
WORLD WATCH — “Austerity? Not on This Saudi Itinerary,” by NYT’s Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura in London: “You could call it bling diplomacy. As part of a monthlong tour in Asia to promote economic ties, King Salman of Saudi Arabia arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday to great fanfare, accompanied, the news media said, by a retinue with a net worth in the billions of dollars, including about 1,500 people, among them 25 high-ranking princes, 10 ministers and more than 100 security personnel. They arrived in six Boeing passenger jets and one Lockheed C-130 Hercules, a military transport aircraft carrying 506 tons of cargo, two Mercedes-Benz S600 limousines and two electric elevators for the king’s personal use. An Indonesian freight company told the Antara news agency that it employed 572 workers just to deal with the delegation’s luggage. The king, 81, used a golden-hued escalator to descend from a jet painted with the words ‘God Bless You.’” http://nyti.ms/2lCCaKh
PAGE SIX — “Beau Biden’s widow having affair with his married brother,” by Emily Smith: “The widow of Joe Biden’s late son Beau Biden has started a romantic relationship with Beau’s brother Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s younger son. Hallie was devastated when her husband, Beau, died after suffering from brain cancer in May 2015. But she has since struck up a romance with Beau’s brother Hunter, 47, who has separated from his wife, Kathleen. We’re told Hallie and Hunter are now officially a couple. The astonishing family drama caps a difficult period for the Bidens following the death of Beau at age 46. … Former Vice President Biden confirmed the relationship to Page Six and said that he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have given their blessing to the couple.” http://pge.sx/2lWEfn0
MEDIAWATCH — “PBS Newshour and the Washington Press Club Foundation Create Journalism Fellowship in Honor of Gwen Ifill” http://to.pbs.org/2mInhHt
— The White House News Photographers Association is holding its annual photojournalism contest – “the Eyes of History”. Some of the categories with lots of great pictures — The 2016 campaign: http://bit.ly/2lZF2lC … The inauguration: http://bit.ly/2mcFe2V … “Political Picture Story”: http://bit.ly/2mOAf5E … Capitol Hill: http://bit.ly/2lgMeN8 … D.C. insiders: http://bit.ly/2lZsCKm … “Political Portfolio”: http://bit.ly/2lgPM1M … Photographer of the year and political photo of the year: http://bit.ly/2mJ7DLS
FOR HAMBY AND SALITERMAN — “Snap IPO pricing values group at $19.7bn: Messaging app’s float is biggest tech company new issue since Alibaba,” by FT’s Hannah Kuchler in San Francisco and Nicole Bullock in New York: “Snap priced its shares at $17 a piece, above its indicated range, as investors lapped up the largest US tech listing in years. The owner of the Snapchat messaging app surpassed a proposed price of $14 to $16 set last month — putting Snap’s market capitalisation at $19.7bn. The offering, which will raise $3.4bn, was several times subscribed, according to one person familiar with the company. Some investors in the initial public offering have agreed not to sell their shares for at least a year, an effort to produce price stability. Shares will debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday with top executives on hand for the bell-ringing ceremony.” http://on.ft.com/2lZsJWq
SPOTTED at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s 10th anniversary party last night at the Newseum: former VP Joe Biden, Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Olympia Snowe, Dan Glickman, Allyson Schwartz, Jason Grumet, Robert Traynham, Michael Steele, Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas), Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jason Kander, Henry Cisneros, and BPC staff past and present including Jon Yuan and Abbey Brandon.
SPOTTED last night at Cafe Milano: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and fiancé and Scottish actress Louise Linton. Separately at Cafe Milano, Washington Post owner and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Steve Clemons of The Atlantic was there as well as the Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel … At Cafe Milano on Wednesday for lunch: former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), a birthday boy yesterday … At Fiola Mare for lunch yesterday: Louise Linton, Jackie Fain Duberstein with Hilary Ross, wife of Wilbur… Sara Murray and Corey Lewandowski at Joe’s Stone Crab (at the bar) … Michael Isikoff on the phone yesterday evening on the floor below Morton’s Steakhouse … Bill de Blasio walking near the White House without his security detail, deep in conversation with an unknown man.
HAPPENING TONIGHT — The Congressional Hockey Challenge, 7 p.m. at the Kettler Iceplex. It raised more than $120,000 for the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club in Anacostia, the NHL Scholarship of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and USA Warriors Ice Hockey. On Wednesday night, they had their annual party with the Stanley Cup at the UPS townhouse. SPOTTED: UPS’s Nick Lewis and Annie Policastro, Leslie Elliott of District City Consulting, Reps. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Eric Paulsen (R-Minn.), John Brassard (member of the Canadian parliament), NHL’s Ken Martin, Dave Ogrean of USA Hockey, Tyler Lawrence, Scott Gunn, Doug Davenport, Brian Cohen, Kathleen Black, George Lowe, Robert Land, Justin Wormmeester and Tim Ehlert.
OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at a preview screening last night of “Lion,” hosted by MPAA and 21st Century Fox: Kris Jones, Charlie Green, Joanna McIntosh, Diane Strahan, Vans Stevenson, Alicia Leahy, Ben Staub, Josh Rogin, Mike Castellano, Joel and Katrina Brubaker, Charlie Greene. Trailer http://bit.ly/2lCyXdz
TRANSITIONS — Lee Carosi Dunn is moving from Google’s head of election sales to head the company’s White House strategy and outreach. She was Google’s GOP Senate lobbyist in the past, and worked on the Hill, at the FCC and was a judicial clerk. … Max Pappas will head Google’s outreach and public policy partnerships. He was a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and worked for Freedom Works and Barbour Griffith and Rogers. …
… Ian Russell is joining Beacon Media after six years at the DCCC … Stephanie Fontenot Marrs is going to the NFIB. She was Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) digital director and worked on the inauguration for him. Kent Wilson is starting at Target, working on state and local government relations for Maryland, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois. He was previously at General Mills. … Elliot Williams has joined the Raben Group as principal; he most recently was deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at DOJ. http://politi.co/2lCIcuD
OBAMA ALUMNI — Terence Szuplat — one of President Obama’s two foreign policy speechwriters for eight years and deputy director of White House speechwriting in the second term — is starting a new venture. Global Voices will offer strategic communications and speechwriting to leaders, companies and NGOs in the U.S. and around the world. http://bit.ly/2lvzrBs
BANNER PUBLIC AFFAIRS is opening two offices in California – one in LA and one in San Francisco. They have also hired Peter Hillan, an alum of FleishmanHillard and MSLGroup, to oversee its expansion on the West Coast. http://politi.co/2mbXJEC
ENGAGED – POLITICO front end developer Steve Stiles recently got engaged to Katie Hettle, a marketing manager at the Casualty Actuarial Society. They met at the Gold’s Gym in Rosslyn. He proposed during a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. After dinner the first night, he took her down to the beach for a walk and found a little gazebo. Pics http://politi.co/2mc4hmN … http://politi.co/2lWGZ3R … The ring http://politi.co/2lv4gX7
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Edward Parkinson, director of government affairs at FirstNet (the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network), and Courtney Parkinson of Heidrick and Struggles have welcomed Elizabeth “Liza” June Parkinson at 11:01 p.m. Tuesday night. Baby and mother doing well. Pic http://bit.ly/2mOjZl5
–Nicole Mortier, VP of public affairs firm Lugar Hellmann Group, and Jeff Mortier, co-founder and Partner at government relations firm Farragut Partners, have welcomed Henry Michael Mortier. He arrived at 8:01 p.m. last night weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces and 22 inches long. Pic http://bit.ly/2lX8j1W
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Kevin Madden, partner at Hamilton Place Strategies – he’s celebrating with Jaclyn and their three sons over dinner at home. “Basically, the boys see their Dad’s birthday as just an excuse to have a big chocolate cake” — read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2lCkCxU
BIRTHDAYS: Ashley Chang – pride of Atlanta, loyal Stanford alumna – is celebrating in her hometown by campaigning for Jon Ossoff, candidate for Georgia’s 6th district congressional seat (hubby tip: Ben Chang) … Aaron Sherinian, chief comms and marketing officer for the U.N. Foundation (hat tip: Ben) … Owen “O.G.” Gallo … Tali Kauflin … Joe Brettell, manager of external engagement at Apache in Houston and a FleishmanHillard alum (champion hat-tipper) … author Tom Wolfe is 87 … former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is 64 … former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is 62 … Brookings’ Robin Lewis … Emily Miller, senior political correspondent at One America News Network … Eric Bolling of Fox News (h/ts birthday boy Joe Brettell and Sergio Gor) … Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) is 52 … Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.) is 74 … Ernesto Vargas … Carter Baum, Sen. Moran’s press secretary (h/t Jordan Langdon) … Kaylee Berger, the pride of St. James, NY and Sen. Schumer’s deputy director of scheduling, is 25 (h/t Shannon Kula) …
… Dylan Colligan of Javelin and an FP1 Strategies and House Republican Conference alum … Katherine Harris Neel, partner at H2 Partners LLC and alum of Christie and RAGA … AFP public affairs guru Levi Russell … Eric Phillips … Sally Rosen, senior coordinating producer at WME|IMG and a CBS News alum … Kevin Benore … Adrian Uribarri … Jonathan Pelto … Gary O’Connor is 44 … B-J Certain … Eric Dolan, managing editor at The Raw Story … Grant Winter … Joe Garofoli, senior political writer at S.F. Chronicle … Yuri Beckelman, deputy COS for Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and an AFL-CIO alum … Erik Hotmire … Eric Phillips, the pride of Madison, Wisconsin (h/t Teresa Vilmain) … NFL quarterback Ben “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is 35 (h/t Tony Fratto) … former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is 86 … author John Irving is 75 … Jon Bon Jovi is 55 … Chris Martin (Coldplay) is 4-0 (h/ts AP)
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