Good Sunday morning.
WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT — “D.C.-area forecast: Accumulating snow likely Monday night,” by Capital Weather Gang’s Brian Jackson: “Tomorrow (Monday): Skies may start partly sunny, but should turn mostly cloudy as we head into the afternoon. … We’re not expecting any snow or rain to arrive until after 6 p.m. or so. We encourage you to stay tuned to the forecast during the day tomorrow, when we should have a better idea if snow might arrive early enough to disrupt the latter part of the commute home. Confidence: Medium-High.
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“Tomorrow night into Tuesday morning: Snow, or a mix of rain and snow, is likely to move in sometime around 6-9 p.m. from south to north. Accumulating snow is a good bet as the intensity of precipitation increases late evening into the overnight, and lows dip to the upper 20s to low 30s as winds become gusty from the northeast, before the snow tapers early-to-mid morning on Tuesday. But how much snow is a hard question, and amounts could vary greatly depending on the exact track of the storm and where the rain-snow line sets up. Some sleet is possible as well. Confidence: Low-Medium.” http://wapo.st/2nijW1V
— KEEP AN EYE on airport delays. Congress is in session this week. The House comes back into session Tuesday evening, but if the airports have delays, we bet they delay first votes.
**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/2lQswbh
JUST A REMINDER … — The FAA has warned pilots about “Temporary flight restrictions for VIP Movement” near Hagerstown, Maryland — right near Camp David. http://bit.ly/2mwPN0u
WE HEAR … The Congressional Budget Office is slated to release its score of the GOP health-care bill tomorrow. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS: The new narrative from Senate and House Republicans and the White House is that the health-care bill represents a “framework” that is going to get improved upon in the Senate. The White House is now encouraging improvements to the bill. This process is far from over.
— @MichaelLaRosaDC: “Overheard at brunch: ‘do you guys know what the best day is going to be? CBO score day!’ #thistown”
SPOTTED — Ivanka and Jared last night on a date night dining in a booth at BLT Prime at the Trump Hotel.
SNL’s COLD OPEN – “Alien Attack Cold Open”: PRESIDENT TRUMP (Alec Baldwin): “We are going to beat these aliens because we have the best military but we don’t win anymore and the aliens are laughing at us. They’re killing us and they’re laughing at us.” … GEN. BAXTER (Kenan Thompson): “But what about the aliens? They just vaporized the entire state of California.” TRUMP: “So then I won the popular vote?” GEN. BAXTER: “Sir, please, everyone in California is dead.” TRUMP: “Even Arnold?” GEN. BAXTER: “Sir, yes, we are dealing with a highly-advanced species here. They’re from Zorblatt 9.” … TRUMP: “Okay, we don’t know that they’re from Zorblatt 9. I’ve actually heard that Zorblatt 9 is very beautiful, very fantastic.” A SOLDIER: “Oh my God, does he have business ties on Zorblatt 9?” 5-min. video http://bit.ly/2mzjnma
— ALSO ON SNL LAST NIGHT – “Complicit”: “Introducing Complicit, a new fragrance for Ivanka Trump (Scarlett Johansson).” 2-min. video http://bit.ly/2mfwDtu
PALACE INTRIGUE — NYT A1, “U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Says He Was Fired After Refusing to Quit,” by Maggie Haberman and Charlie Savage: “The call to Preet Bharara’s office from President Trump’s assistant came on Thursday. Would Mr. Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, please call back? The following day, Mr. Bharara was one of 46 United States attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama asked to resign — and to immediately clean out their offices. … It was unclear whether the president’s call on Thursday was an effort to explain his change of heart about keeping Mr. Bharara or to discuss another matter. The White House would not comment on Saturday.
“However, there are protocols governing a president’s direct contact with federal prosecutors. According to two people with knowledge of the events who were not authorized to discuss delicate conversations publicly, Mr. Bharara notified an adviser to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that the president had tried to contact him and that he would not respond because of those protocols. Mr. Bharara then called Mr. Trump’s assistant back to say he could not speak with the president, citing the protocols.” http://nyti.ms/2ncjeq7
— IT’S WORTH NOTING that presidents typically get rid of the entire slate of U.S. attorneys when they come into office. It’s almost always messy and creates a slew of stories. Barack Obama got rid of attorneys in May 2009. BUT REMEMBER … TRUMPapproached Schumer about Bharara. Here’s Schumer’s statement at the time: “President-elect Trump called me last week and asked me what I thought about Preet Bharara continuing his role as U.S. Attorney. I told him I thought Preet was great, and I would be all for keeping him on the job and fully support it. I am glad they met and am glad Preet is staying on. He’s been one of the best U.S Attorneys New York has ever seen.”
N.Y. POST COVER – “PREETY HAPPY — Xmas comes early for de Blasio as Trump fires foe Bharara” http://nyp.st/2mOSwTx … N.Y. DAILY NEWS COVER —“WALKING TALL: Preet defies Trump, gets canned by Prez to go out as independent U.S. prosecutor” http://bit.ly/2mzEwfV
— POLITICO N.Y.’S JIMMY VIELKIND and COLBY HAMILTON in Albany:“Preet Bharara is out of a job. Will he run for another?”: “Preet Bharara announced he had been fired as the top federal prosecutor in New York in a tweet at 2:29 p.m. The first reply, within 60 seconds, came from New York City Public Advocate Tish James. Her message: ‘Run, Preet, Run.’ Bharara, a 48-year-old former aide to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, has followed in the footsteps of predecessors like Rudy Giuliani and Tom Dewey in creating as much of a political as a prosecutorial profile during his eight years as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan. … Mayor is one [option] — De Blasio is up for re-election this year, as are other elected officials in the Big Apple. And despite his Manhattan base, there’s a case to made for Bharara as a statewide candidate in 2018. He lives in Westchester County, north of the city, has brought more public corruption cases against the state’s elected class than the city’s and has frequently commented on what he sees as the ‘show me the money culture’ of the Capitol.” http://politi.co/2mWAJdF
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum): “Personally, I will mostly remember Bharara for his complete failure to hold anyone accountable for the mortgage/financial crisis.” … @jdawsey1: “Chief strategist Stephen Bannon was instrumental in removal of prosecutors, one senior official says. ‘He doesn’t care about Preet at all.’”
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Partnerships between Medicare Part D and PBMs help save each senior roughly $2,340 per year. PBMs have also helped Medicare Part D keep premiums stable since 2006. Learn more about how PBMs deliver value for patients and taxpayers: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
KNOWING BANNON — “During his political rise, Stephen K. Bannon was a man with no fixed address,” by WaPo’s Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg: “In the three years before he became Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon lived as a virtual nomad in a quest to build a populist political insurgency. No presidential adviser in recent memory has followed such a mysterious, peripatetic path to the White House. It was as though he was a man with no fixed address. He owned a house and condo in Southern California, where he had entertainment and consulting businesses, a driver’s license and a checking account. He claimed Florida as his residence, registering to vote in Miami and telling authorities he lived at the same address as his third ex-wife.
“At the same time, he routinely stayed in Washington and New York as he engineered the expansion of Breitbart News and hosted a live Breitbart radio program. By 2015, Bannon stayed so often at Breitbart’s townhouse headquarters on Capitol Hill that he kept a picture of a daughter on a mantle piece, beneath a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Bannon told a friend that year he was living in multiple cities, including Washington, New York, London and Miami, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post. The issue of Bannon’s legal residency has been simmering since last summer, shortly after he became chief executive of Trump’s campaign. The Guardian reported in an Aug. 26 story that he was registered to vote at a then-vacant house and speculated that Bannon may have signed an oath that he was a Florida resident to take advantage of the state’s lack of state income taxes.” http://wapo.st/2ncqMZW
— AND/BUT… Some cold water here from the Miami Herald’s Patricia Mazzei: “[L]ocal prosecutors are notoriously slow in closing out investigations that lead nowhere. And, six months later, it appears that little has come from the Bannon case. The Post’s confirmation of the still-open investigation, however, might actually pressure prosecutors to complete it. Bannon, it should be noted, never actually voted in Florida.” http://bit.ly/2mPkizn
FOR YOUR RADAR — “As North Korea’s arsenal grows, experts see heightened risk of ‘miscalculation’,” by WaPo’s Joby Warrick: “After a week in which Pyongyang successfully lobbed four intermediate-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, U.S. officials are no longer seeing North Korea’s weapons tests as amateurish, attention-grabbing provocations. Instead, they are viewed as evidence of a rapidly growing threat — and one that increasingly defies solution. Over the past year, technological advances in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have dramatically raised the stakes in the years-long standoff between the United States and the reclusive communist regime, according to current and former U.S. officials and Korea experts.
“Pyongyang’s growing arsenal has rattled key U.S. allies and spurred efforts by all sides to develop new first-strike capabilities, increasing the risk that a simple mistake could trigger a devastating regional war, the analysts said. The military developments are coming at a time of unusual political ferment, with a new and largely untested administration in Washington and with South Korea’s government coping with an impeachment crisis. Longtime observers say the risk of conflict is higher than it has been in years, and it is likely to rise further as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seeks to fulfill his pledge to field long-range missiles capable of striking U.S. cities.” http://wapo.st/2nirjq1
CONNECTING THE DOTS — “Authorities Question CIA Contractors in Connection With WikiLeaks Dump,” by WSJ’s Shane Harris and Robert McMillan: “Investigators probing who may have provided WikiLeaks with classified information about the Central Intelligence Agency’s purported computer-hacking techniques are zeroing in on a small number of contractors who have worked for the agency and may have been disgruntled over recent job losses … Authorities on Thursday questioned a handful of contractors working in at least two locations in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. … In recent months, there has been talk of ‘bad blood’ in the small world of CIA contractors who are vital to the agency’s hacking projects … One group of contractors recently had been working for the CIA overseas and expected to be given new jobs with the agency in the U.S., but their positions were later eliminated.” http://on.wsj.com/2mzpx5I
ART OF THE DEAL — “To interest Trump, Afghanistan dangles investment opportunity,” by Michael Crowley: “When Donald Trump said in late January that America should have ‘kept the oil’ after invading Iraq—‘To the victor go the spoils,’ he declared—foreign governments were horrified. But one country is now actively promoting its natural resources to win Trump’s attention for its desperate cause: Afghanistan. The government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, has pitched Trump on its vast mineral reserves in an effort to keep the new president invested in the country’s fate. Afghanistan’s improbable investment pitch is a sign of a new Trump-era mindset, in which foreign leaders are selling their nations in more explicitly economic terms than ever before.
“Afghan officials say Trump, a veteran dealmaker, appears to be listening. ‘This is the first administration that is focused on Afghanistan’s economic potential, and we welcome that,’ said Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Washington. In a Dec. 3 phone call, Trump and Ghani discussed Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, whose value a Pentagon study has estimated at up to $1 trillion. An official Afghan readout of the call said that Trump told Ghani the U.S. wants to help Afghanistan develop its ‘tremendous natural resources.’” http://politi.co/2nszlfj
GOP FACING OBAMACARE HEAT — THIS ISN’T GOING AWAY — “Reps. Issa and Hunter confronted by protesters at separate town halls,” by the San Diego Union Tribune’s Teri Figueroa and Joshua Stewart: “Congressmen Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter were confronted by rowdy protesters Saturday at separate back-to-back town hall meetings. It was the first time the North County Republicans held forums with their constituents since Donald Trump became president, and in San Diego, like many parts of the country, the congressmen were met by opponents of the new administration’s agenda. Healthcare was a major topic of concern at both town halls.” http://bit.ly/2mzvYWu … The Sunday front http://bit.ly/2mWCAza
— “Democrats to turn Obamacare attacks against GOP in 2018,” by Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle: “The past four election cycles, Democrats have been battered and bruised by political attacks over Obamacare. Now, they say, the time has finally arrived to take the fight to Republicans. With the GOP in charge of Washington — and charging ahead with their own remake of the health care system — the Democratic Party is convinced that the politics of the ever-potent issue is shifting dramatically in their favor. House Democrats are angling to make the GOP’s plans to reverse Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and slash insurance subsidies the defining issue of the 2018 midterms. Some party officials privately say Democrats could ride a backlash over Obamacare repeal all the way to control of the lower chamber — and, in the Senate, stem what are expected to be heavy losses thanks to a Republican-leaning map.” http://politi.co/2ncugvJ
OBAMA WATCH — “Attempts to honor Obama legacy generate fury,” by Illinois Playbook author Natasha Korecki: “In the blue state of Illinois, where President Barack Obama launched his historic career, served as a senator and is widely lauded as a Chicago hometown hero, you would think proposing a holiday honoring him would be an easy call. Instead, state Rep. Andrew Thapedi was bombarded with a stream of death threats, ‘venomous’ emails and phone calls in the days after he introduced legislation for an Obama state holiday in Illinois.
“‘We’re digging a grave especially for you,’ Thapedi, a Chicago Democrat, said one of the emails warned after the bill was written up in a story on Breitbart.com. ‘It has been a hodge-podge of responses, from one end of the spectrum to the other: Joy, jubilation on one side; absolute, unadulterated venom on the other side.’ The business of honoring Obama’s legacy is turning out to be another reminder of the nation’s bitter divide, with one side eager to honor the legacy of the first black president and another positioned in stark opposition.” http://politi.co/2mf3qOG
SUNDAY BEST — HHS SECRETARY TOM PRICE talks to Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press”: TODD: “Okay, but I notice you ducked the aspect of whether you can guarantee that nobody will be worse off financially?” PRICE: “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through, understanding that they’ll have choices that they can select the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their family, not the government forces them to buy. So there’s cost that needs to come down, and we believe we’re going to be able to do that through this system. There’s coverage that’s going to go up. Remember Chuck, there are 20 million folks right now in this nation who said to the federal government, ‘Phooey. I’ll pay a penalty or I’ll take a waiver. I’m not even going to get coverage in the system that we currently have.’ That may be a system that works for government or insurance, but it doesn’t work for people. We need a system that works for people–”
TODD: “You accept this bill, you own this bill; President Trump accepts this bill, he owns this bill. Fair?” PRICE: “We strongly support the plan, which is this bill, the regulatory opportunity to modify the system in a way that works for patients, and the other pieces of legislation that are required that can’t go through on the first part.”
OMB DIRECTOR MICK MULVANEY to JAKE TAPPER (a birthday boy today) onCNN’s “STATE OF THE UNION” — TAPPER: “Nobody’s calling it Trumpcare or Ryancare. Nobody is putting their name on it.” MULVANEY: “Here’s what we’ve got. We have a framework. We have a really, really good bill that the White House did work with House and Senate leaders to come up with. But we encourage the House and the Senate to try and make the bill better. We’ve laid out the things that the president needs. It must repeal as much of Obamacare as it can, given the strange and arcane Senate rules that we have to use.” With video: http://bit.ly/2mPj2fu
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN to JOHN DICKERSON on CBS’S “FACE THE NATION” — DICKERSON: “There have been so many people picking at different pieces who have issues about it, on your side, on the other side. Tom Cotton, senator from Arkansas, Lindsey Graham, senator from South Carolina, have both said, ‘Let’s slow down. Why go so fast?’” RYAN: “That’s actually really puzzling to me. Why go so fast? Let me see. We ran for repeal and replace in 2010. We ran on repeal and replace in 2012, in 2014, in 2016. Oh, by the way, we spent six months last year developing a replacement plan. We ran on that replacement plan.”
DICKERSON: “But these senators know that. They’re not unfamiliar.” RYAN: “This has been a long and deliberative process. Suggesting that this is moving fast, going through four committees, going through regular order, saying we are going to do this for seven years, and now come to the point where we’re actually on the cusp of keeping our word, I hardly think that that is rushing things. The point I’d say is this is historic. This is historic, and it’s significant. And if we don’t act, the system’s going to collapse. And the beautiful thing about this plan that we’re proposing, it’s more freedom. It’s more choices. It’s more markets. It’s lower prices, which gets us better access.”
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-ARK.) to GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS on ABC’s “THIS WEEK” — STEPHANOPOULOS: “I know you were listening to Director Mulvaney right there. He says this is just a framework. This is the framework for repeal and replace. You’re going to have the chance to fix it in the Senate. Can this be fixed?” COTTON: “George, the bill probably can be fixed, but it’s going to take a lot of carpentry on that framework. As it’s written today, this bill in the House of Representatives cannot pass the Senate. And I believe it would have adverse consequences for millions of Americans and it wouldn’t deliver on our promises to reduce the cost of health insurance for Americans. So, I would say to my friends in the House of Representatives with whom I serve, do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the Senate and then have to face the consequences of that vote.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “So you’re saying House Republicans if they vote for this bill are going to pay the price without getting any benefit?” COTTON: “I’m afraid that if they vote for this bill, they’re going to put the House majority at risk next year. And we have majorities in the House and the Senate and the White House, not only to repeal Obamacare and get health care reform right, but to reform or taxes and our regulations and build up our military and to accomplish many other things. And I don’t want to see the House majority put at risk on a bill that is not going to pass the Senate. That’s why I think we should take a pause, try to solve as many as the problems on both Medicaid and the individual insurance market in this bill in the House and then allow the Senate to take its work up.”
ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY … — @FoxNewsSunday: “Gary Cohn on healthcare: The President is willing to accept improvements to the bill…anything that makes the bill better we will accept.” … “@Jim_Jordan on healthcare: The Speaker’s plan doesn’t repeal Obamacare…doesn’t bring down premiums or unite Republicans.”
DMITRY PESKOV, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, to FAREED ZAKARIA on CNN’s “FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”: ZAKARIA: “So let me ask you very directly, did the Russian government have any collaboration or serious communication back and forth with Donald Trump’s campaign during the election campaign last year?” PESKOV: “The answer is very simple, no. And the fact that Russia is being demonized in that sense comes very strange to us. And we are really sorry about that, because this — the whole situation takes us away from the perspective of getting our relationship to a better condition. We — quite unexpectedly, we faced a situation when Russia all of a sudden became, let’s say, a nightmare for the United States. And we sincerely cannot understand why American people and American politicians started the process of self-humiliation. You’re self-humiliating yourself, saying that a country can intervene in your election process.”
WE’RE HEADED TO SXSW — Come join us for our inaugural AUSTIN, TEXAS,event, TOMORROW at the WeDC House (340 E 2nd Street). We will be talking with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego about all things politics. Doors will open at 11 a.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/2mUXXNG
— IN AUSTIN? Have a good sighting? Know of something fun going on? Email us!
PLAYBOOK POOL SELECTION SUNDAY– WE’RE ALMOST LIVE! It’s Selection Sunday and almost time to create your team for the Playbook Pool bracket challenge!WHAT TO DO: 1) Tonight after the teams have been selected, head to our website http://bit.ly/2mf53N1 and make your picks. 2) Be sure to list your “sponsor” – aka, the Playbook that referred you. (D.C., N.Y., N.J., Mass., Fla., Ill., Calif.). 3) Choose wisely – you’ll be up against POLITICO insiders, VIPs and elected officials 4) Sit back and compete to win prizes including Amazon Echo’s and Dots (where you can listen to Playbook in 90 seconds), BEATS headphones, Snapchat Spectacles and more (not to mention major bragging rights). 5) Brag to your friends as you see your name atop the leader board. Make sure to submit by the first four games on Tuesday!
COOL — @michaelluo: “Siren: On Monday, @NewYorker will publish long lost F. Scott Fitzgerald short story.”
BATTLE ROYALE — NYT A1, “Putin and Merkel: A Rivalry of History, Distrust and Power,” by Alison Smale and Andrew Higgins in Berlin: “Ms. Merkel, 62, is now the undisputed leader of Europe, weary but resolute, the stolid defender of an embattled European Union and of Western liberal values. Mr. Putin, 64, is now the equivalent of a modern Russian czar, who wants to fracture Europe and the liberal Western order. He has outlasted George W. Bush and Barack Obama in America, and Tony Blair, David Cameron, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy in Europe. … Now Europe’s fate is on the line, with coming elections in the Netherlands, France, possibly Italy and in Germany, where Ms. Merkel is seeking a fourth term as chancellor. If not on any ballot, Mr. Putin is a shadow figure in every race, inspiring angry European populists who embrace his nationalistic ethos, while Russia is also suspected of meddling through cyberhacking and spreading disinformation. Toppling Ms. Merkel would mean Mr. Putin had bested his last rival.” With a Strobe Talbott cameo http://nyti.ms/2lQ8Y6X
YIKES — “Calif. man carrying Mace arrested on White House grounds after scaling fence,” by WaPo’s Peter Hermann, Ian Shapira and Carol Leonnig: “The suspect — identified as Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26 — made it all the way to the exterior of the White House, which he walked alongside, and then hid behind a pillar before he was spotted and apprehended near the South Portico entrance. The court document released Saturday evening … suggests that the first realization of an intruder was when a uniformed agent saw the suspect, up to 200 yards from where he entered. The U.S. Secret Service declined to answer questions about how the man penetrated so deep onto the White House grounds, citing an ongoing investigation. … According to the criminal complaint, Tran told the arresting officer: ‘I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment.’” http://wapo.st/2mPdnpF
IN THE WILDERNESS — “An uphill climb in the Rust Belt for Democrats,” by the Boston Globe’s Vicky McGrane in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: “To understand the challenge facing Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats as they chart a path out of their Trump nightmare, you can’t do much better than to spend a few minutes with the amiable fellow in a diner booth in blue-collar Pennsylvania, as he tucks into a plate of eggs-over-easy and sausage and ponders Donald Trump.
“John Randazzo is a registered Democrat who twice voted for Barack Obama, whose 2008 visit to the Avenue Diner near Wilkes-Barre is memorialized with a plaque and a special red stool at the counter. In 2016, Randazzo was among Rust Belt defectors who helped put Trump in the White House — the sort of voter who prompted the president to boast last month that he was giving the GOP a rebirth as the ‘party … of the American worker.’
“‘I honestly feel that he’s thinking like the average American right now, what he wants to get done,’ said Randazzo, 70, a retired hydraulics company manager who has watched the quality of life here slip as the decades passed. ‘I’m on board. I know he’s trying hard.’ He doesn’t think much of the Democrats clamoring to win voters like him back. Asked about Warren, Randazzo suggested that the Massachusetts senator, who is arguably the Democrats’ highest-profile advocate for the working class, is out of touch and lumped her in the same category as the entrenched House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. ‘Her and Pelosi, they’ll never get my vote the way they’re acting,’ said Randazzo. ‘They are completely the opposite of what Donald Trump stands for. He says one thing, they disagree and it’s the other thing, and it’s ridiculous.’” http://bit.ly/2ncLBVt
BORDER WARS — “Here’s why law enforcement groups are divided on legislation to turn California into a ‘sanctuary state’,” by L.A. Times’ Jazmine Ulloa: “Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones says he does not want his deputies to enforce immigration laws. But he is worried about a bill that seeks to turn California into a so-called sanctuary state. At a news conference last week at the state Capitol, led by Republican lawmakers, he slammed the state Senate legislation, which would ban law enforcement agencies like his from using resources to enforce federal immigration laws. ‘If [Senate Bill] 54 passes, it will allow dangerous, violent career criminals to slip through the cracks and be released back into our communities,’ Jones said, standing next to a photo of a young man killed by a drunk driver who was in the U.S. illegally. Sheriffs across the state have echoed Jones’ opinions on the proposal. Some stand to lose millions of dollars in federal contracts to house immigrant detainees. But for other law enforcement agencies and associations, taking an official position has been far more complicated. They have found themselves torn on whether its provisions would help or harm public safety.” http://lat.ms/2myCgE8
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Partnerships between Medicare Part D and PBMs help save each senior roughly $2,340 per year. PBMs have also helped Medicare Part D keep premiums stable since 2006. Learn more about how PBMs deliver value for patients and taxpayers: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
WHAT STEVE BANNON IS READING – “In liberal Hollywood, a conservative minority faces backlash in the age of Trump,” by L.A. Times’ David Ng on the Sunday front: “For the vast majority of conservatives who work in entertainment, going to set or the office each day has become a game of avoidance and secrecy. The political closet is now a necessity for many in an industry that is among the most liberal in the country. … Since the presidential election, some conservatives feel that their political beliefs are more of a career liability than ever — even for those traditional Republicans disenchanted by President Trump.” http://lat.ms/2nsv63x … A1 PDF http://bit.ly/2lQjPO0
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS PROFILE — “Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a rising star in Trump’s orbit,” by AP’s Catherine Lucey and Ken Thomas: “In recent weeks, Sanders has taken on a notably more prominent role in selling Trump’s agenda, including on television and at White House press briefings. As White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s public profile has fluctuated in recent weeks amid criticism of his performance, Sanders has increasingly become a chief defender of Trump in some of his toughest moments. … She is married to a Republican consultant and they have three young children. … Sanders has consulted with friends from the state about her new role, including Mack McLarty, the former Clinton chief of staff, who she said counseled her to appreciate the ‘historic opportunity’ to work in the White House. Her rising profile has come with ups and downs. Sanders says she is turning off social media alerts because she has been flooded with criticism.” http://apne.ws/2nshLZ9
HILL WATCH — “If Russia Inquiry Is Not ‘Legitimate,’ Democrats May Abandon It,” by NYT’s Emmarie Huetteman: “Democrats know that the current moment of even tentative comity on the Republican-controlled [House] panel may offer their best chance for scrutinizing links between people close to President Trump and Russian officials. Still, Democrats are bracing for fights over subpoenaing witnesses and documents — including, possibly, Mr. Trump’s tax returns — since Republicans have balked at an outside, independent inquiry into what intelligence officials say was an unprecedented intrusion into an American election by a foreign power. … Representative Jackie Speier [D-Calif.] … said the committee’s Democrats — all nine of whom were interviewed by The New York Times — would not hesitate, ‘under certain circumstances,’ to pull their support.” http://nyti.ms/2ncrsP6
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, who is back stateside:
–“How the CIA Forgot the Art of Spying,” by “Alex Finley” in the March/April Politico Magazine: “In the War Zones [after 9/11], CIA officers were constantly partnering with military personnel. In Langley we started to see officers show up in cargo pants and Under Armour shirts. Buzz cuts appeared everywhere.” http://politi.co/2nfeGMn
–“The Man Who Wants to Unmake the West,” by Michael Crowley in Politico Magazine: “Europeans are starting to worry that Steve Bannon has the EU in his crosshairs. Here’s how the White House could genuinely help pull it apart.” http://politi.co/2mLnQCP
–“Cooking for the Pope: Bartolomeo Scappi, the Renaissance’s most innovative chef, revolutionized the culinary arts,” by Edward White in Paris Review: “To his supporters, these banquets were an example of the best of the new papacy, celebrating the glory of God in all his forms. To his critics—and there were vast numbers of them—the bacchanalia showed that the Protestants had a point. A Venetian ambassador recorded a sixty-course meal that featured monkey brains, parrot tongues, Turkish fish and wines and fruits from all across the Mediterranean.” http://bit.ly/2lMNOXb (h/t TheBrowser.com)
–“The Fascinating Tale of Ronald Reagan’s Ugandan Granddaughter,” by The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift: “Maureen Reagan and her husband adopted a little girl from Uganda. How they got to America provides a lesson that Congress—and the president—should heed.” http://thebea.st/2mWr9Hu
–“How the World’s Heaviest Man Lost It All,” by Justin Hecker in GQ: “Paul Mason used to weigh close to 1,000 pounds. Now that he’s shed almost all of it, freeing himself from his tomb of a body, he’s facing a question that’s heavy in its own right: How should he spend the rest of his life?” http://bit.ly/2mLl93U (h/t Longform.org)
–“Pizzas, Loudspeakers and Moms: The U.S. Military’s Unorthodox Mission Against Joseph Kony,” by WSJ’s Michael M. Phillips in Obo, Central African Republic: “In final push to vanquish Joseph Kony’s murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, the U.S. is waging a psychological battle to draw the last rebels from the Central African bush.” http://on.wsj.com/2mWtClf
–“How Algorithms Can Help Beat Islamic State,” by WSJ’s Joe Rago: “He ‘changed the world’ by combating child porn. Now his software could suppress terrorists online.” http://on.wsj.com/2mSziN6
–“It’s Time to Read John O’Hara Again,” by Charles F. McElwee III in The American Conservative: “The forgotten author reminds us that frustration with the establishment is a long American tradition.” http://bit.ly/2muBCaM
–“Trump’s Dictator Chic,” by Peter York in Politico Magazine: “I wrote a book [‘Dictator Style: Lifestyles of the World’s Most Colorful Despots’] about autocrats’ design tastes. The U.S. president would fit right in.” http://politi.co/2nfgYeA … Related photo gallery http://politi.co/2mcrzG9 … $15.80 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2mP7gSn
–“Meet Silicon Valley’s Secretive Alt-Right Followers,” by Josh Harkinson in Mother Jones: “I investigated the role of ‘alt-techies’ in the extremist movement emboldened by Trump.” http://bit.ly/2n9niaG
–“Disowning Ivanka: The Art World Stares Down the First Daughter,” by Nate Freeman in Art News: “For years, the daughter of our new president remained on the outskirts of the art circuit, occasionally buying art and attending events. But after she married real estate developer—and now senior White House advisor—Jared Kushner in 2009, she began moving away from the art world’s periphery and closer to its center.” http://bit.ly/2mSjQRq
–“Will Ivanka Trump’s Brand Be Even Bigger Without Ivanka? (It’s Complicated),” by Yael Kohen in Refinery29: “How do you run a brand that sells a real person’s life — one that she’s out there living very publicly — when you can no longer mention, refer to, or show her? And when she’s refraining from interacting with the brand entirely, too?” http://r29.co/2musXoO
–“Inside the Internet’s War on Science,” by BuzzFeed’s Stephanie M. Lee: “Welcome to the corner of the internet that’s hell-bent on convincing you that GMOs are poisonous, vaccines cause autism, and climate change is a government-sponsored hoax. The message is traveling far and wide.” http://bzfd.it/2mLyA45
–“Bernie Sanders on Trump and the resistance: ‘Despair is not an option,’” by The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington: “The senator talks about his fight to make the Democratic party more attractive to working-class people – and on taking his progressive populism to the heartland in order to topple Trump.” http://bit.ly/2lQ9Ecq
KRISTEN WELKER IN NYT “VOWS” COLUMN — “For NBC’s Kristen Welker, Love Took Its Time,” by Brooke Lea Foster: “Ms. Welker, an NBC News correspondent, recalled a point in her late 30s when most of her friends were having babies, and she was having trouble meeting the right guy. In low moments, she would wonder, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ But mostly she had talked herself into a certain peace about her inability to find love, reminding herself, ‘This happens for everyone else, but it may not happen for me.’ Still, in October 2014, when mutual friends set her up on a date with John Hughes, a marketing director at Merck in Philadelphia, she was optimistic … When Ms. Welker asked him where he got his news, Mr. Hughes said he enjoyed listening to ‘On Point’ by Tom Ashbrook, an in-depth news podcast on NPR. Ms. Welker was scheduled that week to be a guest on the show. Mr. Hughes was in awe when he heard this. ‘Suddenly, I was so cool to him,’ Ms. Welker said with a laugh.” With 7 pics http://nyti.ms/2mWkEVi
SPOTTED: Sean Spicer yesterday at the Georgetown Apple Store … Jenna Bush Saturday on the American Airlines flight from LAX to Austin.
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead turned 55
BIRTHDAYS: Mitt Romney is 7-0 — he celebrated last night in Utah with the family and Ann Romney made the governor’s favorite meal: meatloaf cakes — pic http://bit.ly/2ncG7tP (hat tips: wife Ann and former staffer Ryan Williams) … CNN’s Jake Tapper is 48 … Chris LaPlaca (@espn_chris) … broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 81 (For those of you old enough to remember “NBC News Overnight”: “And so it goes!”) … author Carl Hiaasen is 64 … former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is 69 … Matt Bravo of Steve Scalise’s team … Andrew Young — politician, diplomat and civil rights activist — is 85 … Eric Burns, founder/partner at Bullfight Strategies and a Media Matters alum … James Ball, special correspondent at BuzzFeed UK and a Guardian alum … Rachel Greenberg, daughter of Tammy Haddad, is 18 — she’s celebrating by walking with the Dog Tag Bakery float to salute the work with disabled veterans of the late Father Rick Curry in today’s St. Patrick’s Day parade … Hugh Maska-Jackson … Marcy Stech, former VP of comms at EMILY’s List, Priorities USA alum, semi-pro accordion enthusiast, and the pride of Duluth, Minn. … Alex Vargo, LD for Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) (h/ts Ted and Andrew Bell) … Politico’s Reed DesRosiers (h/t Rachel Schindler) … Neil Fried … Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is 49 … Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) is 67 … Riley Barnes, speechwriter for Sen. Cornyn and the pride of Uvalde, Tex., is 3-0 (h/t Sorelle Wyckoff) … Scott Comer, president of Fortune Hill Group … Ashley Ludlow, attorney at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth … Chase Delano, brand strategy analyst at Sullivan … Lewis Laskin, president of EB-5 Worldwide …
… Remi Yamamoto, expert playlist curator, press secretary for Tom Perriello, and a Hillary and Precision alum, celebrating at a brunch with friends (h/t Ian Sams) … Kathleen Siedlecki, EVP and U.S. director of health impact at Weber Shandwick (h/t Jon Haber) …Reuters’ Emily Stephenson (h/t Liana Baker) … Slate’s Jim Newell is 32 … Morning Consult’s Tara Jeffries, Stokesdale, N.C.’s hometown girl made good, is 24 (h/t Eric Garcia) … Melissa Ryan, former head of D.C. strategy team at Trilogy Interactive and a Feingold/Obama alum … Theresa Jansen … Jeff “The Conductor” Miller … Brian Weiss, alum of SBA, TechNet, Feinstein, and UPenn, and most importantly, the pride of Philly … Frank McDougall, Dartmouth Health’s chief lobbyist, is 67 … David Sheon … Noah Flessel … Steven Stenberg, partner of The Strategy Group … Aaron Kraus, director of market activation and policy at Greenworks Lending … Sam Noel, son of Jonathan Noel and Kate Disston Noel … Jeff Lande … James Srodes … Baker Ellett … Yana Calou … Talia Schmidt, editor at Families USA … Nick Woodfield … Rebecca Dishotsky … Stacey Grundman (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Liza Minnelli is 71 … singer-songwriter James Taylor is 69 (h/ts AP)
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Government programs aren’t always known for coming in under budget, but with the help of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the Medicare Part D program has done just that – save taxpayer money while providing quality prescription drug benefits for seniors. PBMs work to negotiate significant cost reductions for seniors, saving each beneficiary roughly $2,340 per year. But this private-sector, cost-saving solution not only works on behalf of seniors, PBMs also partner with employers, unions, health plans, state governments and public sector retirees to manage increasing drug costs and keep their workforce and members healthy. Learn about the private sector solution keeping seniors and workers healthy and bending the drug cost curve: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
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