Good Sunday morning from Indian Wells, California, where the Koch brothers’ political network is gathering for its bi-annual retreat. Charles Koch did not mention President Donald Trump once in his opening remarks, but said 2016 was the most productive year for the billionaire’s political operation.
A ROUGH FEW DAYS for the White House. President Donald Trump’s immigration order was halted by federal judges and sparked international condemnation and protests across the country, and his first overseas operation in Yemen resulted in the death of a U.S. service member.
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— A FEW QUICK THOUGHTS: No matter what you think about this policy, it’s going to make life harder for Trump. First, it’s Trump’s biggest political blow since taking office. There are already a spate of legal challenges that will grab headlines for weeks. It’s splitting his party — only a handful of Republicans have spoken out against him but privately, a large number of GOP lawmakers are grumbling. If congressional Republicans were for this policy, they could pass legislation to codify it into law. They haven’t and probably won’t. They had no heads up from their president this was coming, and now they’re under pressure to defend this.
BREAKING THIS MORNING — “1 US service member killed, 3 wounded in Yemen raid,” by AP’s Ahmed al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen, and Maggie Michael in Cairo: “The U.S. military said Sunday that one service member was killed and three others wounded in a raid in Yemen targeting its local al-Qaida branch, marking the first-known combat death of a U.S. soldier under President Donald Trump’s new administration. U.S. Central Command said in a statement that a fourth service member was injured in a ‘hard landing’ in a nearby location. The aircraft — presumably a helicopter — was unable to fly afterward and was ‘intentionally destroyed.’ The Central Command statement said 14 militants from al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, formally known as ‘al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula,’ were killed in the assault and that U.S. service members taking part in the raid captured ‘information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.’ Yemeni security and tribal officials said the assault in Yemen’s central Bayda province killed three senior al-Qaida leaders.” http://apne.ws/2k5LWVq
**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/1M75UbX
BREAKING LAST NIGHT — WHAT THE WORLD IS TALKING ABOUT — “Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide,” by NYT’s Mike Shear, Nick Kulish and Alan Feuer: “A federal judge in Brooklyn came to the aid of scores of refugees and others who were trapped at airports across the United States on Saturday after an executive order signed by President Trump, which sought to keep many foreigners from entering the country, led to chaotic scenes across the globe. The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.
“The high-stakes legal case played out on Saturday amid global turmoil, as the executive order signed by the president slammed shut the borders of the United States for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Massachusetts, a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio and countless others across the world. …
“Lawyers who sued the government to block the White House order said the judge’s decision could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained upon arrival at American airports. Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled just before 9 p.m. that implementing Mr. Trump’s order by sending the travelers home could cause them ‘irreparable harm.’ She said the government was ‘enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals’ who had arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status.” http://nyti.ms/2jF4sFl
— IN BOSTON: “Boston judges temporarily block Trump edict on immigration,” by the Boston Globe’s Maria Sachetti: “At 1:51 a.m., Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein imposed a seven-day restraining order against Trump’s executive order, clearing the way for lawful immigrants from the seven barred nations … to enter the US. … The ruling prohibits federal officials from detaining or deporting immigrants and refugees with valid visas or green cards or forcing them to undergo extra security screenings based solely on Trump’s order. The judges also instructed Customs and Border Protection to notify airlines overseas that it is safe to put immigrants on US-bound flights. …
“The judges agreed, ruling that the lawyers had established a ‘strong likelihood of success’ that Trump’s order would violate immigrants’ constitutional rights and said immigrants are ‘likely to suffer irreparable harm’ as a result of the order. ‘The balance of harms favors the issuance of this temporary restraining order and its issuance is in the public interest,’ the judges said.” http://bit.ly/2kfUprb
— IN VIRGINIA: “Judge halts deportations as refugee ban causes worldwide furor,” by WaPo’s Jerry Markon, Emma Brown and Katherine Shaver: “Minutes after the judge’s ruling in New York, another came in Alexandria when U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema issued a temporary restraining order to block for seven days the removal of any green-card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport. Brinkema’s action also ordered that lawyers have access to those held there because of the ban. Several hours after the judicial rulings, the Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to implement Trump’s executive order. In a statement released early Sunday, the agency said ‘less than one percent’ of international air travelers arriving Saturday in the U.S. were ‘inconvenienced’ by the executive order. ‘President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,’ the statement said. ‘No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.’” http://wapo.st/2jiQEC4
— THE NEXT STEP?: “White House discussing asking foreign visitors for social media info and cell phone contacts,” by CNN’s Jake Tapper: “Amid the chaos and confusion of President Donald Trump’s new executive order on immigration and refugees, sources tell CNN that White House policy director Stephen Miller spoke with officials of the State Department, Customs and Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security and others to tell them that the President is deeply committed to the executive order and the public is firmly behind it — urging them not to get distracted by what he described as hysterical voices on TV.
“Miller also noted on Saturday that Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones. If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry. Sources told CNN that the idea is just in the preliminary discussion level. The social media posts calling for jihad by San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik — made under a pseudonym and with strict privacy settings — are part of this discussion. How such a policy would be implemented remains under discussion.” http://cnn.it/2jF9Ybc
— WHAT TRUMP IS THINKING: @realDonaldTrump at 8 a.m. on the nose: “Somebody with aptitude and conviction should buy the FAKE NEWS and failing @nytimes and either run it correctly or let it fold with dignity!” … at 8:08 a.m.: “Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!”… at 10:03 a.m.: “Christians in the Middle-East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!”
WHAT TRUMP IS WAKING UP TO — WASHINGTON POST five-column headline: “Refugee ban causes worldwide furor” http://bit.ly/2kgr1kZ … N.Y. TIMES six-column banner headline: “JUDGE BLOCKS TRUMP ORDER ON REFUGEES” http://bit.ly/2kHkOev … N.Y. POST: “UNCLE SCRAM” with a photo of Uncle Sam, a map of the U.S. and a sign that says “Sorry, we’re CLOSED!” http://nyp.st/2kBsHTu
— THE TAKEAWAY: “President Trump’s First Defeat: The immigration order creates an international mess — and a political embarrassment,” by Blake Hounshell: “Now, what was meant as a bold assertion of presidential prerogative and a down payment on his promise to ‘eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth’ has dealt President Trump his first political defeat, and energized his opponents after a week of demoralizing developments. And it has sharpened divisions between those Americans willing to take extreme measures to prevent the possibility of future attacks–and those who view such steps as abhorrent and misguided.” http://politi.co/2kHsv4h
— A FEW QUICK THOUGHTS: No matter what you think about this policy, it’s going to make life harder for Trump. First, it’s his first big political blow since taking office. There are already a spate of legal challenges that will grab headlines for weeks. It’s splitting his party — only a handful of Republicans have spoken out against him but privately, a large number of GOP lawmakers are grumbling. If congressional Republicans were for this policy, they could pass legislation to codify it into law. They haven’t and probably won’t. They had no heads up from their president this was coming, and now they’re under pressure to defend this.
— GOPERS PUBLICLY OPPOSED TO THE BAN: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), and Barbara Comstock (Va.).
–FOR YOUR RADAR — @SenatorLankford: “We should value freedom & not surrender security. We can protect the homeland while upholding #religiousfreedom & refuge for the persecuted.” Lankford is encouraging the Trump administration to re-evaluate the executive order, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
— YOU SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED: Take Trump seriously and literally. He is doing exactly what he promised.
PR YOU CAN’T BUY — WHAT CHRIS LEHANE IS READING — “Airbnb offers free housing for refugees,” by USA Today’s Jefferson Graham in Los Angeles: “Airbnb, the hotel alternative service, is stepping up with a free offer for travelers not allowed into the United States, due to President Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations. … Co-founder Brian Chesky wrote on Twitter to stay tuned for more information on how this will work–and ‘contact me if urgent need for housing.’ He added: ‘Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected,’ and, ‘Open doors brings all of US together. Closing doors further divides US. Let’s all find ways to connect people, not separate them.’” http://usat.ly/2kBD1e7
TRUMP’S SUNDAY — President Trump is speaking with Salman bin Abd-Aziz, the king of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the UAE and Hwang Kyo Ahn, the acting president of South Korea. Trump is also screening the movie “Finding Dory” (trailer: http://bit.ly/2jj3zDQ) in the White House.
RUNNING THE SHOW — “Trump orders ISIS plan, talks with Putin and gives Bannon national security role,” by WaPo’s Phil Rucker and David Filipov: “President Trump on Saturday ordered the Pentagon to devise a strategy to defeat the Islamic State and restructured the National Security Council to include his controversial top political adviser as he forged a partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their first official phone call. Trump and Putin spoke for one hour and vowed to join forces to fight terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, according to the White House and the Kremlin, signaling a potential shift in U.S.-Russian relations that have been marked by high tension.
“Meanwhile, Trump signed a presidential memo directing the Pentagon to submit a plan within 30 days to defeat the Islamic State, an effort to make good on his campaign promise to more aggressively confront Islamist terrorism than his predecessor did. … Counseling Trump in the effort will be Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist whose influence inside the administration is expanding far beyond politics. In a separate presidential memo, Trump reorganized the National Security Council to, along with other changes, give Bannon a regular seat on the principals committee — the meetings of the most senior national security officials, including the secretaries of defense and state. That memo also states that the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will sit on the principals committee only when the issues to be discussed pertain to their ‘responsibilities and expertise.’ In the previous two administrations, both were included as regular attendees.” http://wapo.st/2jF3UPY
KOCH DONORS HUDDLE — Republican mega donors swarmed the swanky Renaissance Esmeralda Indian Wells Resort and Spa just outside of Palm Springs, California, for their semi-annual retreat this weekend. And while President Donald Trump dominated the headlines over executive orders and talk of his first week in office, there wasn’t a single mention of Trump in Charles Koch’s opening remarks. Koch and his political network did not support Trump’s presidential bid. Still, Koch described 2016 as “the most productive year” in the network’s history. He told the roughly 550 donors, all of whom contributed at least $100,000 to the efforts, that they are “just getting started.”
KOCH wasn’t the only one looking to sidestep the Trump question. Mark Holden, co-chair of the Koch seminar network, and Tim Phillips, head of Americans for Prosperity, both took several passes at condemning some of Trump’s early moves that appear to be at odds with their policy objectives, including Trump’s refugee executive order. “There has been some good things for sure [regulatory reform, Keystone pipeline resubmitted], but it’s too soon to tell though,” Holden said. “It’s only been a week.”
— TEAM TRUMP M.I.A.: The Koch retreats usually provide a platform for top elected officials, donors and operatives to mix and mingle, but there is no official Trump presence in Palm Springs. Even likely attendees like Marc Short, a long-time top political advisor to the Koch brothers who was recently named Trump’s legislative liaison, skipped the event.
— NETWORK TO UP ITS SPENDING: Top network officials predicted that the Koch brothers various tentacles would spend between $300 million and $400 million on just politics and policy in the 2018 election cycle. That is an increase from roughly $250 million in the 2016 cycle. ONE THING TO WATCH: Officials stressed that while they would continue to run ads, there would be even more money and attention spent on increasing the group’s grassroots ground game.
— ELECTED OFFICIALS ONSITE: Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.), David Perdue (Ga.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Mike Lee (Utah) and James Lankford (Okla.). Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (who also attended the Alfalfa dinner), Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.
— PREPARED TO FIGHT GOP ON BORDER ADJUSTMENT TAX:Holden told reporters the network is going to hold lawmakers accountable if they support a border adjustment tax as part of a larger tax reform proposal. The border adjustment plan — which taxes imports instead of exports — is the cornerstone of the GOP plan, and President Trump has recently expressed support. “There aren’t elections for a couple of years,” Holden acknowledged. Still, he said the Koch network is “hopeful we can get with leadership and have them think about better ways to do this that would achieve their goal of reforming our tax code, which needs to happen, but not by passing on a huge new burden.” The group also plans to “help individual House members understand would you really want to go home and explain a $1.2 trillion tax on consumers over the next 10 years on the folks in their districts?” AFP’s Phillips said.
— PAGING CLAIRE MCCASKILL: Phillips also predicted Missouri will be the 28th “right to work state in just a few weeks.”
INSIDE THE ALFALFA DINNER — The global elite — business executives, politicians and media figures — closed down 16th Street last night for the Alfalfa dinner, the 104-year-old club’s annual fete. Vice President Mike Pence spoke, saying that it wasn’t long ago he thought Reince Priebus was a “mid-size hybrid.” Mike Bloomberg, the club’s incoming president, said that Trump couldn’t come to the dinner because he was on the phone with Vladimir Putin, joking that we’ve all had bosses that call us on the weekend.
— ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIGHT was when the club nominated former Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be Alfalfa’s nominee for president of the United States. Gates joked that of the 35 Russian officials Barack Obama kicked out of the U.S., 18 were from the embassy and 17 were from Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee.
ÅSUNDAY BEST — SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY.) on ABC’s “This Week”: MARTHA RADDATZ:“Do you support President Trump’s temporary immigration ban from these predominantly Muslim countries?” MCCONNELL: “Well, I think it’s a good idea to tighten the vetting process. But I also think it’s important to remember that some of our best sources in the war against radical Islamic terrorism are Muslims, both in this country and overseas. And we have had some difficulty in the past getting interpreters as you suggested in the earlier segment who are helpful to us treated properly” … RADDATZ: “So it sounds to me like you are opposed to certain parts of this. If we’re detaining or holding back people who have helped Americans in the fight.” MCCONNELL: “Well, obviously I’m against that.” RADDATZ: “A religious test then you’re opposed to certain parts of this.” MCCONNELL: “Look, the president has a lot of latitude to try to secure the country. And I’m not going to make a blanket criticism of this effort. However, I think it’s important to remember, as I said, a lot of Muslims are our best sources in the war against terror.”
— WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF REINCE PRIEBUS to CBS’s John Dickerson on “Face the Nation”: DICKERSON: “Let me ask you about this question of a Muslim ban. The president said, ‘It’s not one.’ The president also said, ‘Christians will be prioritized.’ In putting out this executive order, did you check with the other Muslim countries the United States is allied with to anticipate the backlash you would get from this?” PRIEBUS: “Well, for second, but hang on a second. The order also says ‘Persecuted Muslims have priority as well.’ So I mean, that’s a piece that’s just getting totally un– either, however you want to call it, misreported or not fully reported. It doesn’t just say ‘Christians.’ It also says ‘Persecuted Muslims get priority as well’ so this is not a Muslim ban, John. This is, all this is is identifying the seven countries. And the reason we chose those seven countries was those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama Administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country. Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further, but for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries. This is an 80% issue, John–”
— KELLYANNE CONWAY to Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday”:@FoxNewsSunday: “Today on #FNS, @KellyannePolls tells Chris: the ‘judge in Brooklyn’s stay of order really doesn’t affect the executive order at all’ … .@KellyannePolls on #executiveorder: ‘This nonsense that this is a Muslim ban. This is a ban on travel, prospective travel from countries.’”
— SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OHIO) to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union”: @CNNSotu: “‘You have an extreme vetting program that did not get the vetting it should have had,’ @senrobportman (R) tells @jaketapper #CNNsotu … Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) on Trump’s immigration order: ‘We ought to take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense.’”
TOP TWEETS — Ryan Mac (@RMac18): “Google cofounder Sergey Brin at SFO protest: ‘I’m here because I’m a refugee.’ (Photo from Matt Kang/Forbes)” http://bit.ly/2jiXgjC … @StacyStClair: “Attorneys have set up shop at the O’Hare McDonald’s as they work to get the 18 people held out” http://bit.ly/2kHlzEt … Jessica Lussenhop (@Lussenpop): “This man’s wife made it through customs after hours. She’s Iraqi. This man in cap & his son gave them a Purple Heart” http://bit.ly/2jiYag5 … Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti): “Both @tomperez and @PeteButtigieg protesting at IAH. @harrisonjaime on the way.” http://bit.ly/2kHmQLL … “Here’s @TomPerez and @PeteButtigieg together at the Houston airport” http://bit.ly/2jj7ZL1 …
… @kimkingsley: “International arrivals @Dulles_Airport” — 20-second video http://bit.ly/2jrPX4x … Dustin Volz (@dnvolz): “In email to worldwide staff, Apple CEO Tim Cook says of immigration executive order: ‘I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.’” http://bit.ly/2jKlf7v …@JustinTrudeau: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada” … @justinamash: “Like Pres. Obama’s executive actions on immigration, Pres. Trump’s executive order overreaches and undermines our constitutional system.” … @elonmusk: “Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They’ve done right, not wrong & don’t deserve to be rejected.”
SNAPS — “Here Are Some Of The Most Powerful Images From Airport Protests Across The US” http://bzfd.it/2jET7Fe
HILL WATCH — “Hill Republicans duck Trump immigration furor,” by Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan: “President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries is costing him little support on Capitol Hill, where GOP leaders are either defending him or dancing around questions about his hugely controversial action. While there is a small but vocal contingent of Republicans who are openly critical of Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees and other countries, most Republicans are either sitting back to watch how it plays out or gently chiding him over the matter. They don’t like the rollout of Trump’s executive orders and they don’t how it affects some American allies overseas, but GOP lawmakers – wary of Trump and his diehard supporters – are largely standing behind him despite past criticisms.” http://politi.co/2jj9VDt
— “President Donald Trump’s immigration ban felt in South Carolina, recent Clemson graduate taken off flight,” by Charleston’s Post and Courier’s Gregory Yee: “For recent Clemson University graduate Nazanin Zinouri, a trip to see family turned into a nightmare. The Greenville resident, who graduated last year with a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and won the university’s Janine Anthony Bowen Graduate Fellow award, flew to Tehran to visit her family when she heard about an immigration ban signed by President Donald Trump on Friday. … Zinouri shared her story on social media Saturday afternoon. ‘On Wednesday, we started hearing rumors about new executive orders that will change immigration rules for some countries including Iran,’ she wrote in a Facebook post.
“‘Before I knew it, it was actually happening. Even though I didn’t want to leave my family, I quickly booked a ticket to get on the next flight back.’ Zinouri said she left Iran a few hours after Trump signed the executive order and flew to Dubai where officials checked her documents. She was questioned for 40 minutes before boarding a flight to Washington, D.C., according to the post. After she got on the flight, two officers ordered her to disembark. Zinouri has lived in the United States for almost seven years, according to her post. ‘No one warned me when I was leaving, no one cared what will happen to my dog or my job or my life there,’ she said. ‘No one told me what I should do with my car that is still parked at the airport parking. Or what to do with my house and all my belongings. They didn’t say it with words but with their actions, that my life doesn’t matter. Everything I worked for all these years doesn’t matter.’” http://bit.ly/2kFWCx0 … See her Facebook post http://bit.ly/2kHrsBs
****** A message from JPMorgan Chase & Co.: More than 5 million young Americans are neither working nor in school. As Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase notes: “The number of young people who graduate from high school without the necessary skills to compete is one of the greatest moral and economic inequities of our time.” Learn how the company’s $75 million New Skills for Youth commitment aims to help. http://politi.co/2kkMLZZ ******
CNN’S JAKE TAPPER — “WH: No mention of Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day because others were killed too”: “The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews or anti-Semitism because ‘despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,’ administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday. Hicks provided a link to a Huffington Post UK story noting that while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, 5 million others were also slaughtered during Adolf Hitler’s genocide, including ‘priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.’ Asked if the White House was suggesting President Donald Trump didn’t mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust because he didn’t want to offend the other people the Nazis targeted and killed, Hicks replied, ‘it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day.’” http://cnn.it/2jj6EUJ
UNSOLVED MYSTERY — “Officials say intruder gained access to GOP retreat,” by Kyle Cheney and Rachael Bade: “Officials who organized this week’s closed-door conference of House and Senate Republicans believe an ‘unauthorized person’ gained access to the event and may be the source of audio recordings distributed to the press. In a letter to lawmakers obtained by POLITICO, officials from the Congressional Institute said that a woman ‘infiltrated’ the GOP retreat — held in downtown Philadelphia — on Thursday and identified herself as a lawmaker’s spouse. She snuck into the event on the same day that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence addressed lawmakers. ‘She was able to gain access using counterfeit credentials,’ Institute officials wrote to lawmakers, who noted that she went through security screening and was ultimately asked to leave at 6:30 p.m. that night.” http://politi.co/2jhQKtB
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
–“America Is Still the Future,” by Andrew Sullivan on the cover of NYMag: “There are times when becoming a citizen of this country means simply finding a final home. And there are times when it demands, even commands, something more.” http://nym.ag/2j75x8Z … The cover http://bit.ly/2jiEvrY (h/t Longreads.com)
–“Russia: Life After Trust,” by Michael Idov in NY Mag: “One imagines life in an autocratic regime as dominated by fear and oppression: armed men in the street, total surveillance, chanted slogans, whispered secrets. But residents of a hybrid regime such as Russia — an autocracy with the façade of a democracy — know the Orwellian notion is needlessly romantic. Russian life is marked less by fear than by cynicism: the all-pervasive idea that no institution is to be trusted, because no institution is bigger than the avarice of the person in charge.” http://nym.ag/2k7pZYw (h/t TheBrowser.com)
–“Rising popularity of Indian restaurants in Britain” – The Guardian on Jan. 24, 1957: “There must be about a dozen in the Manchester district, at least a hundred in London, and they are spreading over the rest of the country fast.” http://bit.ly/2kwXB2J
–“This granular life,” by Carlo Rovelli in Aeon Magazine: “That the world is not solid but made up of tiny particles is a very ancient insight. Is it humanity’s greatest idea?” http://bit.ly/2jiZwm7 (h/t ALDaily.com)
–“Insane Clown President,” by Matt Taibbi in Penguin in an excerpt from his new book: “[A]n unapologetic account of Donald Trump and the world of contemporary American politics.” http://bit.ly/2k7vPt3 … $15.90 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2kxqbgc
–“How Author Timothy Tyson Found the Woman at the Center of the Emmett Till Case,” by Sheila Weller in Vanity Fair: “With a renewed cultural interest in the 1955 murder that catalyzed the 20th century civil rights movement, an interview with the author of a new book [‘The Blood of Emmett Till,’ out Jan. 31] who tracked down the long-hidden woman at its center.” http://bit.ly/2kd7dhX … Pre-order — $19.80 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2kdgKWn
–“Is American Democracy Strong Enough for Trump? The case against panic,” by Francis Fukuyama in Politico Magazine: “Americans believe deeply in their constitutional system, in large measure because its checks and balances were designed to provide safeguards against tyranny and the excessive concentration of executive power. But that system in many ways has never been challenged by a leader who sets out to undermine its existing norms and rules. So we are embarked on a great natural experiment that will show whether the United States is a nation of laws or a nation of men.” http://politi.co/2jAYLWx
CLICKER – Interview with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett at Columbia University discussing their “hopes for the future”: http://bit.ly/2jrURP9
SPOTTED: Sen. Richard Shelby yesterday helping his wife try on coats at Neiman Marcus in northwest D.C. … Bob Costa yesterday at brunch at Blue Duck Tavern.
ENGAGED — CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil proposed to NBC News correspondent Katy Tur on a lazy Saturday morning at their home in New York. Pool report from Alex Moe: “After Katy spent the last year and a half on the road covering the presidential campaign and election of Donald Trump, there is no where else she would have wanted to be when Tony popped the question! They celebrated with delicious food and cocktails Saturday evening reminiscing about their chance encounter in the makeup room at work that lead to their happily ever after.” Pic http://bit.ly/2jKf6bL
THE ALFALFA DINNER — Robert Allbritton hosted a pre-Alfalfa dinner cocktail party at the Capital Hilton. SPOTTED: Barbara Allbritton, John Kerry with a one-man security detail, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his daughter Meghan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Don Graham and Amanda Bennett, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Peyton Manning, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, former Michigan Gov. John Engler, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Donna Shalala.
–Amb. Yousef Al-Otaiba, Catherine Reynolds, John Rogers, Fred Ryan, Robert Johnson, Ret. Gen. Jim Jones, Fred Smith, Frederick Kempe, Vernon Jordan, Bret Baier and Franco Nuschese hosted an exclusive after-party last night at Café Milano following the Alfalfa dinner. Guests could order anything they wanted food-wise and there was lots of champagne and caviar. SPOTTED: Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, Elaine Chao, Ben Carson, Dina Powell, John Kerry, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Kevin Plank, Raul Fernandez, Dan Gilbert, Ajay Banga, Randall Stephenson, Mary Barra, Robert and Barbara Allbritton, John Snow, Jeff Bezos, Cal Ripken, Mark Ein, Carol Melton, Steve Clemons, Tammy Haddad, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Donna Shalala.
–SPOTTED at Mark Paustenbach’s Georgetown house at a party last night celebrating the DC visit of Kiki and Tim Burger and their daughter Dahl: Kevin Sheridan, Paul Kane, Michael and Mary Kathryn Steel, Rodell Mollineau and Sheena Arora, Matt Dornic, Erin McPike, Jay Newton-Small, Christine Delargy, Nick Massella, Anu Rangappa, Liz Johnson, Brian Danza, Garance Franke-Ruta.
BIRTHDAYS: Speaker Paul Ryan is 47. He will be spending the day with family (hat tip: his staff) … Liza Harris is 18 (h/ts Mom and Dad, Ann O’Hanlon and John Harris, plus Griffin and Nikki) … Robyn L. Bash, VP of gov’t relations and public policy operations at the American Hospital Association (hubby tip: Jeremy) … Tom Collamore, SVP of comms. and strategy at U.S. Chamber (h/t Blair Latoff Holmes) … Laura Rosenberger … Kim Ghattas (h/ts Ben Chang) … Politico Massachusetts Playbook author Lauren Dezenski … Jocelyn Frye, former domestic policy adviser to the First Lady now at CAP … Kristy Schantz, managing editor at Newsy and a C-SPAN and CNN Crossfire alum … Politico alums Monica Melton and Stephen Hagenbuch … Laura Bush alum Tarah Donoghue … Seth Appleton … Kate Oliver … Endeavor Creative Director Thomas DiFonzo (h/t Kurt Bardella) … Barbara Fiala, managing partner at Baobab Group (h/t Qianwei Zhang) … Henry Ross, a 3L at Columbia Law doing an internship this semester in the criminal division at DOJ (h/t fiancée Charlotte Dillon) … Stephanie Gunter, public affairs events manager at Google in D.C. … Rich Rubino is 39 … Eric Roston, sustainability editor for Bloomberg …
… Brian Donahue, founder and CEO at CRAFT | Media/Digital … Michael Bassik, MD/EVP and president of digital operations at MDC Partners, is 38 (h/t Jack Smith) … Sam Conchuratt of Senate Finance Cmte. … former Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) is 55 … Anne-Marie Fowler … DGA alum Jess Caraway … Casey Sparks, alum of NextRequest and NCC Media … Robyn Cooke … RNC alum Geoff Smith, who worked for the inaugural committee … Nate Brookshire … Karen Showalter … Andrew Chaveas … Suphattra Chadakaew … Jack C. Benjamin Jr … Steve Pummill … Jeannie Vilmain … Dave Neil … Shirley Krug … Mike Gronstal … Jonathan Bray … Jerry Hollander … Casey Sparks … Tom Selleck is 72 … Oprah is 63 … actor-director Edward Burns is 49 … Adam Lambert (“American Idol”) is 35 (h/ts AP)
****** A message from JPMorgan Chase & Co.: As part of its $75 million New Skills for Youth initiative, JPMorgan Chase is giving $20 million to ten states – Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin – to help shrink the youth unemployment rate. The grants will help expand skills and technical education programs that prepare more students to compete for well-paying jobs that don’t require a four year degree. The ultimate goal is to help set the students up on a pathway to economic growth and opportunity. Learn more: http://politi.co/2jqDqS0 ******
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