Good Monday morning. Welcome to Donald Trump’s first full week as president. Expect that it will proceed at a breakneck pace — with votes on several of his Cabinet nominees, more executive orders and a midweek huddle with congressional Republicans as they try and get on the same page on issues critical to his 100-day agenda, including replacing Obamacare and tax reform.
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TODAY’S SCANDAL, NOW — Will the Trump administration ditch assigned seats in the press briefing? A few sources say yes. Will Sean Spicer call on a major news organization or wire first during his maiden press briefing today? We bet not. Will President Trump go to the Alfalfa Dinner, which is this Saturday in D.C.? Stay tuned.
YOU’RE INVITED! — PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW WITH SPEAKER PAUL RYAN — Shortly after the Republican retreat in Philadelphia ends Friday, Speaker Paul Ryan will sit down with us for a Playbook Interview event at the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill. We’ll ask him about the retreat with Senate Republicans and President Trump, and discuss what to expect in 2017. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and the event starts at 3 p.m. RSVP to email@example.com
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POWER TRIPLE BYLINE in the NYT — PETER BAKER, GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMAN, “Rocky First Weekend for Trump Troubles Even His Top Aides”: “President Trump’s first weekend in office unfolded much the way things often did during his campaign: with angry Twitter messages, a familiar obsession with slights and a series of meandering and at times untrue statements, all eventually giving way to attempts at damage control. The problem is that what works on the way to the White House does not always work once a candidate gets there. To the extent that there was a plan to take advantage of the first days of his administration, when a president is usually at his maximum leverage, Mr. Trump threw it aside with a decision to lash out about crowd sizes at his swearing in and to rewrite the history of his dealings with intelligence agencies. The lack of discipline troubled even senior members of Mr. Trump’s circle, some of whom had urged him not to indulge his simmering resentment at what he saw as unfair news coverage. Instead, Mr. Trump chose to listen to other aides who shared his outrage and desire to punch back. By the end of the weekend, he and his team were scrambling to get back on script.” http://nyti.ms/2jHTmhm
WARNING — “Trump injects uncertainty into fragile health insurance markets,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin and Sean Sullivan: “President Trump’s executive order instructing federal agencies to grant relief to constituencies affected by the Affordable Care Act has begun to reverberate throughout the nation’s health-care system, injecting further uncertainty into an already unsettled insurance landscape. The political signal of the order, which Trump signed just hours after being sworn into office, was clear: Even before the Republican-led Congress acts to repeal the 2010 law, the new administration will move swiftly to unwind as many elements as it can on its own — elements that have changed how 20 million Americans get health coverage and what benefits insurers must offer some of their customers. But the practical implications of Trump’s action on Friday are harder to decipher. Its language instructs all federal agencies to ‘waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay’ any part of the law that imposes a financial or regulatory burden on those affected by it. That would cover consumers, doctors, hospitals and other providers, as well as insurers and drug companies.” http://wapo.st/2jIaSCf
THE TRUMP WEST WING — “Breitbart writer expected to join White House staff,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Julia Hahn, a staff writer at Breitbart News, is expected to join the White House — a move that further underscores Breitbart’s influence in the new administration. According to two sources briefed on the move, Hahn’s title will be special assistant to the president and she is expected to primarily work under White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.” http://politi.co/2jHQ6mc
COMING ATTRACTIONS — NYT A18, “Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim,” by Eric Lipton and Adam Liptak: “A team of prominent constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers intends to file a lawsuit Monday morning alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments. The lawsuit is among a barrage of legal actions against the Trump administration that have been initiated or are being planned by major liberal advocacy organizations. … The suit, which will not seek any monetary damages, will ask a federal court in New York to order Mr. Trump to stop taking payments from foreign government entities. Such payments, it says, include those from patrons at Trump hotels and golf courses; loans for his office buildings from certain banks controlled by foreign governments; and leases with tenants like the Abu Dhabi tourism office, a government enterprise.” http://nyti.ms/2kiMme9
2020 WATCH — “Booker walks 2020 tightrope: Cory Booker insists he’s not interested in the presidency, but his role in the Trump resistance has Washington assuming otherwise,” by Burgess Everett and Gabriel Debenedetti: “Booker is younger than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, more charismatic than Sherrod Brown, better known than Martin O’Malley. He’s mastered social media and built a unique profile over the past 15 years as a telegenic politician that stands to resonate with an increasingly young, urban party. And his voting record is reliably liberal, despite critics on the party’s left flank. Some of his moves seem to encourage the speculation, between last summer’s veepstakes, his hobnobbing with early state delegations during July’s convention, an interview with one of New Hampshire’s top TV reporters in January, and even his move to join the Foreign Relations committee.” http://politi.co/2iTOMiZ
HILLARY WATCH — “Hillary Clinton plots her next move,” by Gabriel Debenedetti in Little Rock, Arkansas: “The recently vanquished candidate has told some associates she’s looking at a spring timeline for mapping out some of her next political steps. Still recovering from her stunning loss, a political return is far from the top of Clinton’s mind, with much of her planning focused around the kinds of projects she wants to take on outside the partisan arena, like writing or pushing specific policy initiatives. … There have been no conversations about starting her own political group but Clinton has spoken with leaders of emerging Democratic-leaning organizations about their work, and has discussed possible opportunities to work with Organizing For Action, former President Barack Obama’s initiative. Among the potential political priorities she has mentioned to associates are building pipelines for young party leaders to rise and ensuring that a reconstructed [DNC] functions as an effective hub that works seamlessly with other party campaign wings.” http://politi.co/2kiZIXC
TIM ALBERTA’s POLITICO MAGAZINE DEBUT — “Meet the ‘New Ted Cruz’: He was supposed to battle Hillary Clinton for the White House. Now, he’s playing nice with the GOP establishment he once scorned—and making friends with Donald Trump”: “[E]veryone understands that Cruz’s pursuit of the presidency is on hiatus. This explains why [Jeff] Roe wanted the job of White House political director; why more than half a dozen former staffers have secured administration posts; and why, according to multiple sources, his non-profit is cutting its staff to zero. The 125 square-foot office Cruz’s team rented last summer at 300 New Jersey Ave., against a breathtaking backdrop of the Capitol, will soon be vacant. The group will be repurposed to assist Cruz with some issue advocacy, but no longer is it a presidential campaign-in-waiting. Its two employees—[Paul] Teller and Bryan English, Cruz’s Iowa director, who moved his family to D.C. to help run the new organization—expected they’d be joined by a host of new colleagues in the run-up to 2020. Instead, both are looking for work. …
“Cruz appears intent on building—and in some cases repairing—personal relationships with Republican senators. He started a weekly basketball game in the Russell Building, for example, and has been urging colleagues to attend. (Cruz is said to be a surprisingly good jump-shooter with miserable form.) Tim Scott has played, and Marco Rubio is said to be joining soon. In another development, Cruz, who has long used his back-corner booth at the Capital Grille to schmooze with activist leaders and think-tankers, has lately been inviting fellow senators. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dan Sullivan of Alaska ate with Cruz on separate nights recently, and Rubio joined him for a post-campaign meal last year. … According to multiple people who have dined with him since the election, Cruz— known for his love of red wine over lengthy dinner dialogues—abstained entirely from alcohol. (This isn’t a conversion to teetotaling. Cruz, who grew noticeably heavier during the campaign, is trying to lose weight—and is currently locked in a pound-for-pound competition with Roe.)” http://politi.co/2kiEfKf
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — “NRCC Announces Senior Staff for the 2018 Cycle”: “John Rogers, Executive Director: Rogers has been at the NRCC since 2011. He has served in three different capacities at the Committee: Regional Political Director, Deputy Political Director and Political Director. … Joe Pileggi, Political Director … During the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, Joe served as a Regional Political Director at the NRCC. … Emma Nelson, Finance Director: Most recently, Nelson worked as a Regional Finance Director for the [NRCC] …
“Matt Gorman, Communications Director … Gorman was previously the Strategic Campaign Communications Director for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) … Gorman also recently served as rapid response director and national spokesman for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign. … Ted Peterson, Digital Director: In 2016, Peterson oversaw the NRCC Independent Expenditure’s $8 million digital media buy. … Sean Philbin, Research Director: Philbin recently served as the research director and strategic communications advisor for the Senate Leadership Fund and American Crossroads for the 2016 cycle.” http://politi.co/2k7DhBo
COUNTERPROGRAMMING — Democratic leaders, elected officials, alumni from the Obama and Clinton campaigns and other progressives are launching #MuteMonday. Keying off of the success of the Women’s March, the operatives are planning to unfollow Trump’s personal and official Twitter handles and then follow a new progressive organization or leader of their choice.
— SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR: Liberal groups, particularly pro-immigration reform outlets, are working behind the scenes to try to line up congressional support in case Trump targets so-called Dreamers with an executive action. Their goal: create momentum for a legislative fix with bipartisan support so Dreamers aren’t deported.
HAPPENING TODAY — Trump is hosting a breakfast with business leaders, plans to sign executive orders, attend the daily briefing and have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. This afternoon, he is holding a listening session with union leaders and workers, hosting a bicameral leadership reception and meeting with Speaker Ryan and other congressional lawmakers. The Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is slated to vote on Rex Tillerson’s nomination to be Secretary of State.
THE NEW ADMINISTRATION — “Trump struggles to shake his erratic campaign habits,” by Josh Dawsey: “That Donald Trump chose to spend the first 48 hours of his presidency feuding with the news media over crowd sizes, crowing about his win in front of a wall of killed CIA agents, spreading inaccurate information and firing off tweets didn’t shock his supporters or critics. But it showed two likely hallmarks of the Trump administration, according to interviews with people involved in and close to his government. First, his team will be very combative, even when the facts are not on their side, trusting that their political base dislikes the news media and will believe them no matter what. … [S]econd, when Trump grows angry, he will usually want the strongest response possible, unless he is told no, and that he will often govern or make decisions based off news coverage.” With a Chris Ruddy cameo http://politi.co/2k7jrWY
— “Could Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ put lives at risk?” by Isaac Dovere and Josh Dawsey: “‘Alternative facts” could kill, warn national security and other government veterans, and eventually could unravel the fabric of democracy and America’s standing in the world. This weekend, it was crowd size. By next week, it could be how many troops were killed, and who was responsible for the attack. Or how successful the American response was. Or whether there is an actual threat to homeland security that requires government action. Or even a dispute with a foreign government over a sensitive detail in negotiations.” http://politi.co/2jfUl9L
VIDEO DU JOUR — @ABC: “Pres. Trump greets FBI Director James Comey during First Responders ceremony at the White House: ‘He’s become more famous than me.’” http://bit.ly/2k7c0ix
DEEP DIVE — EVAN OSNOS in The New Yorker, “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich”: “Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.” http://bit.ly/2j3MB7I
FOR YOUR RADAR — TOP OP-ED: “Trump Can Correct a Bush Error: The conviction of ‘Scooter’ Libby was an injustice. He deserves a pardon,” by Fred Barnes in the WSJ: “President Trump has an opportunity to correct an injustice that President Bush left behind and President Obama failed to address: the conviction of Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame affair. Mr. Libby was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and an adviser to Mr. Bush from 2001-05. In 2007 he was convicted of lying to a grand jury three years earlier. President Bush commuted his 30-month sentence but not a $250,000 fine or 400 hours of community service. And he declined to pardon Mr. Libby.” http://on.wsj.com/2jHTQE9
— WE HEAR that Barnes’s op-ed is just the start of a growing drumbeat of Libby sympathizers who will continue to press the issue in the coming weeks in conservative media outlets.
SENATE WATCH — “Polls shows [Elizabeth] Warren is no sure bet for re-election next year,” by Massachusetts Playbook’s Lauren Dezenski: “A new poll released [by MassINC Polling Group and WBUR] on Monday morning shows that 46 percent of Massachusetts voters think it’s time for someone else to have a shot at the Senate … Fifty one percent of the poll’s respondents approved of Warren while 37 disapproved — a dip from an April 2015 poll showing a 62 percent approval rating and a 21 percent disapproval rating. While it’s still early to handicap the 2018 race, a relatively underwhelming field of potential Democratic primary challengers and Republican opponents means that while there is an opening, it is narrow.” http://politi.co/2kiPW3B
THE MAN BEHIND OBAMACARE — “Slavitt’s new mission: Rescue Obamacare,” by Joanne Kenen and Dan Diamond: “Andy Slavitt’s job was to run Obamacare. Now he’s trying to save it. Slavitt stepped down on Friday as acting administrator of CMS, the sprawling federal agency that oversees the Affordable Care Act. Later that day, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that could blow much of the law apart. In an exclusive exit interview with POLITICO, Slavitt on Sunday said he won’t return to his lucrative career as a health-care entrepreneur in Minnesota. He’ll stay on part-time in Washington to seek a bipartisan ceasefire in the health care wars that preserves as much of Obamacare as possible, although he recognizes it will take on a more conservative cast.” http://politi.co/2jPwzCe
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JIM RUTENBERG in the NYT, “‘Alternative Facts’ and the Costs of Trump-Branded Reality”: “When Donald J. Trump swore the presidential oath on Friday, he assumed responsibility not only for the levers of government but also for one of the United States’ most valuable assets, battered though it may be: its credibility. The country’s sentimental reverence for truth and its jealously guarded press freedoms, while never perfect, have been as important to its global standing as the strength of its military and the reliability of its currency. … Disinformation was for dictatorships, banana republics and failed states. Yet there it was on Saturday.” http://nyti.ms/2jRR9lX
MEDIAWATCH — BEN SMITH in the NYT: “Why BuzzFeed News Published the Dossier”: “BuzzFeed News decided to publish the dossier, with appropriate context and caveats, for two related reasons, and only after we had spent weeks with reporters in the United States and Europe trying to confirm or disprove specific claims. First, the documents were in wide circulation among top intelligence and elected officials and news organizations. They were being fought over — and acted on — at the highest levels of power. But the rest of the country was getting only the occasional glimpse of those battles, never the source documents themselves…. Second, the dossier’s contents spilled into view last week when CNN broke the news that both President Obama and Mr. Trump had received an intelligence briefing that included a synopsis of the document, whose allegations CNN summarized as ‘compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.’ We at BuzzFeed News had, of course, considered that someone else would post the dossier, and planned in that case to follow by adding what we knew on it. We hadn’t anticipated what actually happened: a bombshell report that described the document, while the document itself remained secret. That halfway position ran contrary to how we think of our compact with our audience: You trust us to give you the full story; we trust you to reckon with a messy, sometimes uncertain reality.” http://nyti.ms/2jgD5kR
TOP TWEET — @MerriamWebster at 12:32 p.m. Sunday: “A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.”
TRANSITIONS — “Ex-Homeland Security Chief to Rejoin New York Law Firm,” by NYT’s Elizabeth Olson: “Jeh C. Johnson, who has stepped down as secretary of Homeland Security, is rejoining the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he formerly worked. He will be a partner in the firm’s litigation department. … In his new role at Paul, Weiss, a 900-lawyer firm, Mr. Johnson will advise clients, including boards of directors, on crisis management, government and internal investigations, high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters, as well as legal aspects of cybersecurity and other security matters. He will have offices in New York and Washington.” http://nyti.ms/2jfYkmQ
–Emily Schlichting, who served in the Obama administration as chief of staff for HHS’s assistant secretary for legislation, has been named health policy adviser for Sen. Patty Murray on the Senate HELP Committee.
HILLARY ALUMNI — JESSE FERGUSON in the Richmond Times Dispatch, “The resistance starts in Richmond”: “The election of Virginia’s governor is the first chance the voters of this country will get to speak up about the Trump administration. …. Many people have said that the 2018 midterm elections are our version of Star Wars’ ‘New Hope’ where we fight back against the Death Star. If that analogy is to hold true in 2018, then 2017 in Virginia is going to be our ‘Rogue One,’ where the seeds of the resistance are sown.” http://bit.ly/2k7f7Hh
IN THE STATES — “J.B. Pritzker snags Sacks as he explores governor’s bid,” by Illinois Playbook’s Natasha Korecki: “As J.B. Pritzker explores a 2018 bid for governor, he has tapped an array of advisers that includes influential Democratic donor Michael Sacks, POLITICO has learned. Sacks, GCM Grosvenor CEO and a top personal adviser to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, called Pritzker ‘extraordinary’ and offered his backing should Pritzker ultimately file campaign papers. Sacks was the lead donor to the anti-Gov. Bruce Rauner political action committee, LIFT — Leading Illinois for Tomorrow — in last November’s legislative battles, and has long financially backed Emanuel’s campaigns and funded Democratic efforts in Illinois and elsewhere.” http://politi.co/2iTdm3f
SPOTTED on a Southwest flight from DCA to IND: Rev. Jesse Jackson sitting one row in front of Mike Pence’s mother and brother. In the terminal, he was “surrounded by high schoolers taking selfies. He very kindly obliged all. Including one who took off his Make America Great Again hat first.” … Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) brunching with her family at Due South in Navy Yard … Freshman Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.) strolling around Navy Yard.
HAPPY 12th ANNIVERSARY to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. They were married Jan. 22, 2005. http://bit.ly/2k7wCY1
ENGAGED – Asawin “Swin” Suebsaeng, social media editor/reporter at The Daily Beast and a Mother Jones alum, proposed to Elizabeth Nolan Brown, associate editor at Reason.com. They met on Twitter. Pic http://bit.ly/2kj58lD
WELCOME TO THE WORLD – Julianna Goldman, correspondent at CBS News and a Bloomberg alum, and Michael Gottlieb, a partner at Boies, Schiller and Flexner, post on Facebook: “Introducing Abner Sam Gottlieb. He made his debut at 2:46 [Saturday] morning, weighing in at 8 lbs 4 oz (roughly half of which appears to be his head of hair).” Pics http://bit.ly/2k7gpSs … http://bit.ly/2jfSGRC
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Norah O’Donnell, celebrating at The Polo Bar with Geoff, Gayle and Charlie — read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2jgECr5
BIRTHDAYS: Politico is 10 … John Heilemann, the pride of L.A., is 51 … Caroline Krueger (hat tips: Clem and Clark) … Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is 7-0 … Politico Director of Photography Scott Mahaskey … Politico’s Patrick Reis, Kelsey Sutton and Annie Snider … Antonio Villaraigosa, former L.A. mayor, is 64 … Annie Shuppy of CQ … Alexander Castellanos (the younger) of Purple Strategies is 33 … Aliyah Frumin, MSNBC.com political reporter … Eric Koch, managing principal at Precision Strategies, former comms. director for NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and inexplicable Patriots fan (h/ts Stephanie Cutter and Kam Mumtaz) … Christina Lonigro, spokeswoman for UNDP, and the pride of St. Louis … Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa..) is 53 … former Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Penn.) is 85 … former Rep. Joe Baca (R-Calif.) is 7-0 … Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order SVU actress and Joyful Heart Foundation President … Brian Cooke, executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, is 34 … Seth Wickersham, senior writer at ESPN The Magazine … Aretae Wyler, chief administrative officer and general counsel at Atlantic Media … Erik Olson, principal at Venn Strategies and Ron Kind’s former chief of staff …
… legendary photojournalist and former Marine David Douglas Duncan is 101 – “one of DDD’s most iconic photos: the signing of the surrender of the Japanese on board the USS Missouri. He now lives in France. … If there’s anybody worthy of being given a medal, he’s it, and not only for longevity” (h/t Iraqi Amb. to the U.S. Fareed Yasseen) … Laura Keiter, comms director for Media Matters for America … Mark E. Tullis … ABC7 alum Alex Parker … Harvard Institute of Politics’ Amy Howell, who is the gateway between smart students and D.C. internships … Katherine Grainger, principal at Civitas Public Affairs … Matthew Hoppler … Marygrace Galston … ABC7’s Suzanne Kennedy … Adam Parker … Peter Rosenstein … Jessica Vandenberg … Lily Johnson … Sarah West … Aidan Giesser … Will Winterhof (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Michelle Cangelosi, director of corporate engagement at Rotary International … Jay Riestenberg of Common Cause … Jessica Binzoni … Erika Gudmundson … Hayden Pruett Wilson … Aida Cipriani … Princess Caroline of Monaco is 6-0 … actress Tiffani Thiessen is 43 (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/2jDeRSZ ******
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