BOOKMARK THIS — “The definitive Trump-Russia timeline of events,” by Matt Nussbaum: http://politi.co/2iPoGyh
Good Tuesday morning and happy Halloween! WE HEAR — PRESIDENT TRUMP is looking to do a tax-related event Wednesday if House Republicans are able to get their tax bill out. We hear that Republicans are making a host of last-minute changes to the package. TRUMP will meet with SPEAKER PAUL RYAN this afternoon. VP MIKE PENCE is meeting today with House committee chairs in the Capitol.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST NIGHT — TRUMP CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY on LAURA INGRAHAM’S NEW FOX SHOW: “He called Robert E. Lee ‘an honorable man who gave up his country to fight for his state,’ said that ‘men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand,’ and argued that ‘the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War.’” http://nyti.ms/2A3PJu4
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TAKING STOCK OF MUELLER MONDAY …
ONE QUICK THING — There has been a lot of reporting that Steve Bannon is pressuring Trump to fight back against Robert Mueller. CNN’s Dana Bash tweeted: “I’m told Bannon pushing trump to be more aggressive against Mueller: urge gop to cut funding, withhold document production and more.” THERE’S NEXT TO NO WAY THIS WILL HAPPEN. Bannon can pressure Trump until he’s blue in the face. It is much more likely Congress will shield Mueller from being fired than strip funding from his effort.
INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — WAPO’s BOB COSTA, PHIL RUCKER and ASHLEY PARKER: “Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments”: “President Trump woke before dawn on Monday and burrowed in at the White House residence to wait for the Russia bombshell he knew was coming. Separated from most of his West Wing staff — who fretted over why he was late getting to the Oval Office — Trump clicked on the television and spent the morning playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close to him.
“The president digested the news of the first indictments in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe with exasperation and disgust, these people said. He called his lawyers repeatedly. He listened intently to cable news commentary. And, with rising irritation, he watched live footage of his onetime campaign adviser and confidant, Paul Manafort, turning himself in to the FBI.
“Initially, Trump felt vindicated. … But the president’s celebration was short-lived. A few minutes later, court documents were unsealed showing that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.” http://wapo.st/2lxYBF2
— “Trump Campaign Got Early Word Russia Had Democrats’ Emails,” by NYT’s Scott Shane: “The guilty plea of a 30-year-old campaign aide — so green that he listed Model United Nations in his qualifications — shifted the narrative on Monday of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia: Court documents revealed that Russian officials alerted the campaign, through an intermediary in April 2016, that they possessed thousands of Democratic emails and other ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. That was two months before the Russian hacking of the [DNC] was publicly revealed and the stolen emails began to appear online.
“The new court filings provided the first clear evidence that Trump campaign aides had early knowledge that Russia had stolen confidential documents on Mrs. Clinton and the committee, a tempting trove in a close presidential contest. … The disclosures added to the evidence pointing to attempts at collaboration between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, but they appeared to fall short of proof that they conspired in the hacking or other illegal acts.” http://nyti.ms/2zkZ0ka
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WHERE THINGS STAND — “Inside White House, a sense of both danger and relief in Mueller’s first moves,” by Josh Dawsey: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s first charges in his sprawling Russia investigation were a one-two blow that partially caught the White House off guard but also offered a measure of relief, according to several of President Donald Trump’s aides, advisers, lawyers and others close to the case. The indictments of former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates didn’t mention Trump or the campaign. And George Papadopoulos, who cut a plea deal, was a low-level adviser who had long separated from Trump’s orbit and was unknown to many senior officials.
“But Mueller’s moves also provided some of the strongest evidence yet of potential collusion between the campaign and Russia and created a new layer of issues in an unfolding probe that has helped keep the president’s approval ratings below 40 percent, driven him periodically mad and distracted from a cohesive agenda. … While the White House had been girding for a Manafort indictment, senior officials were caught off guard by a more unsettling development — a plea deal with Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser who said he lied to the FBI about conversations with Russia-linked officials, in which he was promised ‘dirt’ and ‘thousands of emails’ regarding Hillary Clinton.” http://politi.co/2xEQhoj
WHO IS GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS — “Mystery swirls around Trump adviser’s Russia contacts,” by Josh Meyer: “He seemed to emerge out of nowhere: George Papadopoulos was a low-level foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump virtually unknown even within Washington national security circles. But on Monday, news that the young energy consultant struck a plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller made Papadopoulos’s opaque background and murky role within Trump’s campaign one of the most important mysteries in American politics. …
“A court transcript released Monday night referred to Papadopoulos’s ‘ongoing efforts to cooperate’ with Mueller’s probe—raising the question of whether he could incriminate other Trump associates. White House and Trump allies dismissed Papadopoulos as a minor figure whose multiple contacts with the Russians amounted to meaningless freelancing. One Trump campaign national security advisor who worked closely with Papadopoulous described him as a hapless and unpaid volunteer for Trump who ‘didn’t advise him on anything.’” http://politi.co/2z6z6Q3
— “Carter Page: I may have discussed Russia in emails with Papadopoulos,” by Brent D. Griffiths: “Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said he might have exchanged emails about Russia with a fellow adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president’s campaign and possible collusion with the Russian government. ‘It may of come up, yeah,’ Page told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes when asked whether he exchanged emails with George Papadopoulos and whether the two discussed Russia. As he has in the past, Page repeatedly declined to provide direct answer to questions about his role on Trump’s campaign.” http://politi.co/2A1dzXc
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READ PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT — “Where Is Bob Mueller Headed Next?” – Politico Magazine: “After charges against two Trump campaign members, and a guilty plea from a third, where will the special counsel’s investigation go from here? Eleven legal experts chart a course.” http://politi.co/2hplVAk
— “The not-so-hidden message in Mueller’s court filings: The special prosecutor’s indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates — and the plea deal struck with low-level adviser George Papadopoulos — suggest a road map for additional charges still to come,” by Darren Samuelsohn: “Robert Mueller delivered a punch in the rapidly expanding Russia investigation by simultaneously indicting Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, two of the most prominent figures in Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. But the special counsel sent a more powerful signal to others around the president with the public release of a plea deal struck with low-level loyalist George Papadopoulos, which was full of details about the former foreign policy adviser’s email traffic to still-unnamed high-ranking campaign officials about a ‘request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.’
“‘In unsealing it, he knows he’s sending messages to at least three or four other operatives and their lawyers that he’s got somebody in his corner who could be damaging to their interests,’ said Randall Samborn, a former senior aide on the George W. Bush-era special counsel investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. … He said Manafort and Gates are now on track for a criminal trial that begins anywhere from nine to 16 months from now. And in the meantime, Mueller with his Monday disclosures has helped to insulate himself against presidential attacks by filing the criminal charges against two of Trump’s highest-ranking campaign aides.” http://politi.co/2zl0db7
–ELIANA JOHNSON: “[F]ormer White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is pushing Trump to take action against Mueller, urging him in particular to defund the investigation, according to several sources familiar with Bannon’s thinking – a move that would defang Mueller without the president formally firing him.” http://politi.co/2zTL1hs
GREAT QUOTE — NYT’s Ken Vogel: “‘He could have kept running campaigns for the Yanukovychs of the world, and nobody would have cared,’ said Hector T. Hoyos, one of Mr. Manafort’s closest friends and business partners … Mr. Manafort … is the godfather of Mr. Hoyos’s daughter. Had things not gone south, Mr. Hoyos said, ‘it would have been a huge business windfall for Paul.’” http://nyti.ms/2zTgjF6
AROUND THE TAX REFORM HORN …
— BLOOMBERG’S SAHIL KAPUR: “Key GOP Senator Susan Collins Lays Out Her Demands for Tax Bill”: “Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said Monday she’s opposed to two tax breaks for the wealthy that her party leaders are pushing for, indicating that her vote won’t be easy to win on President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority.
“‘I do not believe that the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year,’ Collins said during an interview with Bloomberg News. ‘I don’t think there’s any need to eliminate the estate tax.’ Repealing the estate tax and cutting the individual rate from 39.6 percent for top earners ‘concern me,’ she said, adding that she’s conveyed her opposition to party leaders.” https://bloom.bg/2zk6RhJ WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Collins is a key vote. Her demands matter.
DATA DU JOUR – per Morning Consult: “The average senator’s approval ranking has dropped by eight net percentage points since the first quarter of 2017. … Among the 25 senators with the largest approval drops over this time period, 18 are Republicans and 7 are Democrats. … Susan Collins’ net approval among Maine Republicans dropped from +38% to -2% over the last quarter, a 40 point swing. Lisa Murkowski’s net approval among Alaska Republicans dropped from +33% to +2%, a 31 point swing.
“Dean Heller’s net approval among Nevada Republicans dropped from +41% to +16%, a 25 point swing. McConnell is the least popular senator and growing increasingly unpopular: The Senate Majority Leader maintains his title as the least popular senator in America, with 33% of Kentucky voters approving and 55% disapproving. This represents a net 15% drop since Q2.” http://bit.ly/2zlaEeX
TONY PODESTA’S FALL — “The sudden fall of Washington’s ultimate powerbroker,” by Anna Palmer and Theo Meyer: “Tony Podesta has epitomized the height of Washington influence and wealth for two decades. He has a home in Washington a few doors down from Barack Obama, a villa in Italy, an apartment in New York and a multi-million-dollar art collection. He’s been a K Street rainmaker, holding fundraisers for the party’s top elected officials and mingling with the most powerful liberals in the country. Last week, he attended Hillary Clinton’s 70th birthday party.
“Some of the world’s largest companies — BAE Systems, Wal-Mart and Lockheed Martin — have paid him piles of cash to represent them in the Capitol. His firm’s receipts reached nearly $30 million in 2010, and his company has swelled to nearly 60 employees. But now, the 74-year-old D.C. fixture is showing this town that what took decades to build can implode in a day. ‘There’s a lot of shock value because of who it is,’ said Ivan Adler, a veteran headhunter at The McCormick Group. ‘His personality is mammoth enough and it has all kinds of implications — I think it will cause people to really take a look at making sure they cross their t’s and dot their i’s, because you never know what could happen.’” http://politi.co/2zSod1E
THE JUICE …
— AIR WARS: SENATE MAJORITY PAC is spending more than $1 million on a TV and digital ad campaign supporting Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and defending her record on taxes. The ad will run on broadcast, cable and digital for three weeks in Milwaukee, Green Bay, La Crosse and Wausau. The ad http://bit.ly/2zk9kZT … ALSO: FREEDOM PARTNERS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, the Koch-linked group, reported $1.6 million in spending against Baldwin yesterday.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: SENATE LEADERSHIP FUND is out with a polling memo showing Alabama Republican Roy Moore up 56 percent to 39 percent against Democrat Doug Jones, with 49 percent “definitely” supporting Moore. The memo http://politi.co/2z14nEo
YOU’RE INVITED — KEVIN BRADY, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, will sit down with Jake and Anna FRIDAY at noon to discuss the Republicans’ tax plan. The bill will be introduced this week, so we’ll have plenty to talk about. The event will be at THE NEWSEUM (555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW). RSVP http://bit.ly/politicobrady Outside cameras welcome!
NEW “OFF MESSAGE” PODCAST — What Preet makes of Monday’s Mueller news: “‘Hard to tell, but the George Papadopoulos guilty plea tells us (a) Mueller is moving fast (b) the Mueller team keeps secrets well (c) more charges should be expected and (d) this team takes obstruction and lying very, very seriously,’ Bharara said, referring to the former unpaid Trump campaign adviser, whose plea deal rocked Washington on Monday. ‘That should be of concern to some people.’ Talking to Isaac Dovere for the ‘Off Message’ podcast, Bharara wouldn’t answer if he was investigating Trump when he was fired in March.
“‘There would be people who would know what we were looking at, including the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, because we provided summaries of significant and sensitive cases that we were working. And that’s all I’ll say.’ Bharara says this is just a standard answer, that he never talks about investigations or cases. But his mention of Sessions lingers in the air.
“His read on Trump’s repeated phone calls to him during the transition and after: ‘Why not have people on your side, because like the Godfather says, the Godfather may come to you for a favor. You don’t know what that is, you don’t know if it will ever come. But my suspicion is that one day it might have come.’” The full story http://politi.co/2z7fImf … Subscribe to the podcast http://apple.co/2e2dLvm
HOW WASHINGTON WORKS — “Google, Facebook will testify to lawmakers they’ve splashed with cash,” by Steven Overly and Nancy Scola: “When Google and Facebook testify before Congress on Russian election interference this week, they’ll face committees filled with lawmakers who have collectively received hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations from the companies. Since 2009, Google and its employees have contributed to all but three of the 55 lawmakers who now sit on the Senate Judiciary, Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence committees, which are all holding hearings this week on Russian online disinformation, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Facebook and its employees gave to 40 of those lawmakers, the data show.
“The widespread giving to members of both parties is part of the industry’s broader effort to gain a greater voice in Washington policy debates in recent years. Those relationships may now prove helpful as Google and Facebook, along with Twitter, confront the biggest political crisis in Silicon Valley’s history. Company executives will be grilled this week about how Russia manipulated their platforms to influence last year’s election — and what steps they are taking to prevent future meddling.” http://politi.co/2A36HbS
— “Google’s Dominance in Washington Faces a Reckoning,” by WSJ’s John D. McKinnon and Brody Mullins: http://on.wsj.com/2gOtXSo
— CNN’S DYLAN BYERS — “Facebook will inform lawmakers this week that roughly 126 million Americans may have been exposed to content generated on its platform by the Russian government-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017, CNN has learned.” http://cnnmon.ie/2zlynf6
— FLASH BRIEFING on Facebook, Google Hearings: POLITICO and The Information are partnering to offer an insider flash briefing for real-time analysis, key takeaways, and the impact that Congressional testimony about Russian involvement in the 2016 Election by representatives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will have. Jessica Lessin will moderate a discussion and Q&A featuring POLITICO’s Nancy Scola and The Information’s Cory Weinberg. Sign up for the Flash Briefing http://bit.ly/2zQfeOo … Sign up for POLITICO’s Morning Tech http://politi.co/2gVhVuj
BUSINESS BURST – “50 Companies to Watch in 2018”: Bloomberg Businessweek: “Bloomberg Intelligence analysts identified 50 publicly traded companies—out of the 6,000 they track … AT&T, Alaska Air Group, Danone SA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Gap Inc., Kraft Heinz Co., PaylPalHoldings Inc., Qualcomm Inc., and Tesla are among the 50 companies spread across multiple categories, from e-commerce and entertainment to pharmaceuticals, tech, and finance.” https://buswk.co/50toWatch2018
HOLLYWOODLAND — “‘House of Cards’ Ending With Sixth and Final Season at Netflix,” by the Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell: “Netflix is currently in production on a sixth and final season of House of Cards, the landmark drama that signaled its aggressive push into original programming. The final run of House of Cards, which stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as ruthless and ambitious beltway couple, will debut its last 13 episodes in 2018. … Official word on its conclusion, which has been in the works since the summer, comes at a problematic time for Spacey. The star and executive producer is embroiled in sexual assault scandal, with an actor alleging that Spacey made aggressive advances towards him when he was just 14.” http://bit.ly/2lxhd84
SPOTTED: Susan Rice at the Anti-Defamation League’s annual “Concert Against Hate” at the Kennedy Center … J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K., at Hillary Clinton’s book tour event last night in Chicago. They got a shout-out from Hillary during her talk, per a tipster.
ENGAGED – Michael Bars, deputy director of strategic communications at Freedom Partners, proposed to Cherie Short, who was most recently VP of external affairs at Concerned Women for America and is a Huckabee and McCain alum. “We first met in 2011 at CPAC in Woodley Park a few years prior to dating. After the proposal, the bride-to-be was surprised by a group of close friends for a small celebration in Georgetown Sunday evening.” Pic http://bit.ly/2gWZWDP
TRANSITIONS — NED PRICE has been named a Fellow with New America’s International Security Program. The former CIA and NSC spokesman is also an NBC News analyst and a lecturer at GWU. … Adrianne Marsh has joined AKPD Message and Media as a principal in the firm’s D.C. office. She is a former campaign manager and longtime adviser to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
— @JohnAvlon: “Meet the newest Beast! Delighted to welcome @TaylorLorenz to our team as a tech reporter – she’s a rare force – welcome to @thedailybeast!”
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Peter Pasi, VP of political sales at Visto. How he’s celebrating: “I’ll be trick-or-treating with my wife Hallie, my daughter Sara, and many of my neighbors.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2hpGWeb
BIRTHDAYS: Sam Tanenhaus … Frank Bruni … Jane Pauley is 67 … Dan Rather is 86 … Archana Mehta (hat tip: Manu) … Michael Kruse … Luke Mullins … Marilyn Thompson, on special assignment at WaPo … The New Yorker’s Susan Orlean … Brad Spahn (h/t Jon Haber) … Olivia Alair Dalton, SVP of comms and marketing for Human Rights Campaign … Lisa Hagen, campaign reporter for The Hill (h/t Zach Montellaro) … Howard E. Friedman, former president of AIPAC, is 52 … Cathy Cavender … Ryan Morgan, CEO of Veracity Media (h/t Haley Brown) … Laura Oatman, a Democrat running for Congress in the 48th congressional district of California … social entrepreneur Adam Braun is 34 (h/t Jewish Insider) …
… Kenny Thompson Jr., senior director of gov’t and external affairs at PepsiCo, is 37 … Politico New Jersey’s Linh Tat … former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) is 45 … The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff … Clementine Krueger … Marilyn Rosenthal, national director for progressive engagement at AIPAC … actress Piper Perabo, who attended the Women’s Convention in Detroit over the weekend … Chris Stelmarski, VP of digital strategy at Murphy Vogel Askew Reilly … Jon Seaton is 42 … Rachel Bauer Taylor, a Mike Pompeo alum … Kay Ryon Daly … Barbara Laker … Ellen Warren … Rhea Lam … Carol Mason … John Rowley … Sarah Patch … John McCaslin … Ellen Warren … Sarah Patch … Bobby Pitts … Kim McElyea Traczyk … Brian Kettenring (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)
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