Playbook Power Briefing: SUPREME COURT pauses IMMIGRATION WARS on the Hill … for now

- Februari 26, 2018

BLOOMBERG SCOOP, by Mark Gurman and Debbie Wu: “Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features.”

AP at 12:39 p.m.: “WASHINGTON (AP) -- Trump Organization says it has donated hotel profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, but won’t say how much.”

Good Monday afternoon. BIG -- “Supreme Court rejects Trump request to weigh in quickly on Dreamers,” by Josh Gerstein: “The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the administration’s request to speed up the legal fight over protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, after President Donald Trump decided last year to end the program.

“The Justice Department had asked the justices to skip the usual appeals court process and review a district court judge’s ruling requiring the administration to resume renewals of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Supreme Court declined the request Monday with no justices dissenting. The high court could still weigh in later, but the move suggests the justices want to allow one or more appeals courts to take up the question before considering it.

“The justices’ action is a mixed bag for the immigrants known as Dreamers. It means that as the legal process grinds on in federal courts, people who received work permits and protection from deportation through DACA will likely be able to keep renewing their participation. The work permits, which grant legal work authority in the U.S., are good for two years.”

-- THIS MEANS that Congress is exhaling big time. Republicans and Democrats no longer need to rush to prevent deportations -- since the court just let DACA stay in place. That March deadline, well, is no longer a deadline.

-- White House statement from spokesman Raj Shah: “The DACA program – which provides work permits and myriad government benefits to illegal immigrants en masse – is clearly unlawful.” (h/t WSJ’s Mike Bender, today’s pooler)

TRUMP, via AP’s Zeke Miller: “President Donald Trump is telling the nation’s governors that he would have run into the deadly Florida high school shooting ‘even if I didn’t have a weapon.’

“The president is again finding fault with officers who didn’t stop the Florida gunman who carried out the massacre earlier this month. Trump says the deputies ‘weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners.’ He tells 39 of the nation’s governors, ‘I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.’”

-- COUNTERPOINT … MIAMI HERALD: “I’m no coward, says deputy who didn’t go inside Parkland school during massacre,” by David Ovalle: “Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, in a statement released through his lawyer Monday, said his actions during the Valentine’s Day massacre ‘were appropriate under the circumstances.’”

“Peterson ‘heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings on the school campus,’ according to the release. ‘BSO trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes with other law enforcement.’

“‘Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,’ according to the statement sent from the office of Fort Lauderdale attorney Joseph DiRuzzo.”

-- TRUMP also said he lunched with the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox over the weekend and was surprised reporters didn’t find out. It was not on his schedule or discussed with the pool over the weekend.

-- BLOOMBERG’S JEN EPSTEIN (@jeneps): “‘I don’t want teachers to have guns. I want people who have a natural talent’ like hitting a golf ball to have guns, Trump says, explaining who he believes should have guns in schools. Via @JenniferJJacobs”.

TRUMP ON BUMP STOCKS, via Bender: “‘I don’t care if Congress doesn’t’ act, he said. ‘We’re getting rid of it,’ he added later.”

CONOR LAMB, a Democrat running for a Pennsylvania House seat, is running an ad highlighting that he said on the “front page of the newspaper that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi.”

NOT EVERYBODY IS SHYING AWAY FROM PELOSI -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI will headline HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIR JOE CROWLEY’s annual National Women’s History month commemoration March 12 at the New York Botanical Garden. Crowley is some Democrats’ favorite to lead the party in a post-Pelosi world.

TOP TALKER -- MATT FLEGENHEIMER’S first piece for the NYT MAGAZINE: “How Long Can John Kelly Hang On?”: “Even among Trump critics, Kelly once inspired uncommon sympathy. ... Kelly’s responsibilities seemed uniquely masochistic: He was the chief disciplinarian in a famously undisciplined White House. ‘You never run into somebody like Trump in the military,’ [former Clinton chief of staff Leon] Panetta told me. ‘They’d usually get kicked out.’ …

“His confirmation [as DHS secretary] process was mostly incident-free, specked with the kind of John Wayne dialogue that had dazzled Trump from the start. Before Kelly’s Senate hearing, an aide who helped him prepare, Blain Rethmeier, noticed the general had neglected to attach a flag pin to his lapel. ‘Blain,’ Kelly told him, declining the pin, ‘I am an American flag.’” With cameos by Philippe Reines, Juliette Kayyem, John Allen, Mark Hertling, Chris Whipple and Mark Krikorian

THE LATEST ON GUN LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS -- “Fate of Manchin-Toomey background check proposal hinges on Trump, lawmaker says,” by Cristiano Lima: “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Monday the fate of a bipartisan bill to expand background checks on gun sales that repeatedly failed to pass through the Senate is now in the hands of President Donald Trump. …

“‘We’re not going to bring it back unless the president signs on,’ Manchin said during a radio interview with West Virginia’s MetroNews. ‘I think it’s imperative that he has to get on board with what he feels he’s comfortable with.’”

NOT AN INAPPROPRIATE QUESTION? -- NBC’s PETER ALEXANDER to IVANKA TRUMP: “Do you believe your father’s accusers?” IVANKA: “I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated there’s no truth to it. I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many other daughters. … I believe my father, I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.” Video

-- IVANKA is not only the president’s daughter, she is also one of his senior advisers. She was at the Olympics representing the U.S. government and says she focuses on women’s issues. Many women have accused her father -- who is also her boss -- of sexual misconduct.

IVANKA pens an op-ed on, “The Olympics proves America is stronger when kids from all backgrounds play sports”:

-- AP’S ZEKE MILLER (@ZekeJMiller): “FAA: Trump to be in Palm Beach Friday and Saturday.”

ANOTHER SETBACK FOR TRUMP ADMIN IN COURT -- “Civil Rights Act Protects Gay Workers, Appeals Court Rules,” by NYT’s Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer: “A federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled on Monday that federal civil rights law bars employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation. The case, which stemmed from the 2010 dismissal of a Long Island sky-diving instructor, was a setback for the Trump Justice Department, whose lawyers found themselves in the unusual position of arguing against government lawyers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“The E.E.O.C. had argued that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars workplace discrimination based on ‘race, color, religion, sex or national origin,’ protected gay employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”


-- CNN’s MANU “MOSCOW” RAJU and JEREMY HERB -- “In Russia probes, Republicans draw red line at Trump's finances”: “Top Republicans on Capitol Hill have made a concerted decision in their Russia inquiries: They are staying away from digging into the finances of President Donald Trump and his family.

“Six Republican leaders of key committees told CNN they see little reason to pursue those lines of inquiry or made no commitments to do so -- even as Democrats say determining whether there was a financial link between Trump, his family, his business and Russians is essential to understanding whether there was any collusion in the 2016 elections.

“Republicans have resisted calls to issue subpoenas for bank records, seeking Trump's tax returns or sending letters to witnesses to determine whether there were any Trump financial links to Russian actors -- calling the push nothing more than a Democratic fishing expedition.”

-- “Manafort’s LA bankruptcy fight may offer new avenue for Mueller probe,” by Reuters’ Nathan Layne: “Federal prosecutors who have already indicted President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on charges of money laundering, bank fraud and covertly lobbying for pro-Russian interests may have additional leverage arising from a loan he received while engaged in the bankruptcies of properties in California, several former law enforcement officials say.

“Reuters has found new information about Manafort’s handling of the loan and its potential link to the bankruptcies as Special Counsel Robert Mueller seeks to pressure Manafort to cooperate with his investigation into Trump’s campaign team and possible collusion with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. At issue is whether the failure to disclose a loan from a lender that was also the main creditor in the California bankruptcy cases represented an illegal concealment of material information.”

SUSAN GLASSER talks to REP. JERRY NADLER (D-N.Y.) for The New Yorker: “The New York Congressman Who Could Lead an Impeachment Charge Against Trump”: “The indictment of thirteen Russians by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, on charges of manipulating the 2016 U.S. election had just been released, and Nadler said he believed that Trump’s refusal to retaliate for the Russian intervention was as serious as if an American Commander-in-Chief had failed to respond to the 1941 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

“‘It’s a fundamental attack on our way of life. It’s a very fundamental attack on the U.S. And it has to be taken seriously, and Trump is not doing his job,’ Nadler said. ‘What if Roosevelt had said, after Pearl Harbor, ‘We’re not sure who did it. Maybe it was the Chinese. Maybe it was somebody else’? And used that as an excuse not to respond?’

“So, I asked, is that an impeachable offense? ‘Potentially,’ he answered. ‘He is not carrying out his duties.’ Then again, Nadler added, ‘Impeachment is a political act, and you have to make a lot of judgments. Is it an impeachable offense if he persists in not doing his office? Yeah, I’d say it is. But just because it’s an impeachable offense does not mean he should be impeached. It’s a different judgment.’”

THE FIXER -- “Trump’s Longtime Lawyer, Michael Cohen, Knows Way Too Much. So Why is He Still in Exile?,” by The Daily Beast’s Brandy Zadrozny and Asawin Suebsaeng: “Instead of relocating to Washington along with Ivanka and Jared, Cohen moved his office just six blocks south of Trump Tower and with plans to travel between D.C. and New York in service of President Trump.

“His title -- personal attorney to the president -- is misleading. He is not acting as an attorney in the way most people think of the job. He is not representing Trump in court against any of the women who accused the president of sexual assault; that’s Marc Kasowitz’s job. And he is not helping Trump with any crises or fallout extending from the Russia investigations; the president already has a team for that. He remains, very much, a mysterious operator, one whose methods and past work continue to generate embarrassing headlines.”

UNRAVELING THE ACA, CONTINUED -- “Trump’s Obamacare Changes to Push Up Premiums, Report Projects,” by Bloomberg’s John Tozzi: “The Trump administration’s efforts to loosen health insurance rules will increase premiums for Obamacare plans by double-digit percentages in most states next year, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute.

“Monthly payments for a traditional health insurance plan sold through Obamacare will go up by 18 percent, on average, in 43 states where there aren’t limits on less-comprehensive but less-expensive coverage the administration is calling for, according to the Washington-based policy group.” analysis

MEDIAWATCH -- Kyle Daly is joining POLITICO Pro as deputy editor on the tech team. He previously worked at Bloomberg Law. Liz Crampton also recently joined POLITICO Pro as an agriculture and food policy reporter.

SPOTTED: Georgetown president Jack DeGioia having breakfast this morning with Ted Leonsis at the Four Seasons

TRANSITIONS -- Beth Solomon is now managing director of external affairs and development of CARE. She is an alum of Clinton’s 2016 campaign. ... Hannah Hummelberg started today at DHS as special assistant to the chief of staff. She is an NRSC and McConnell foreign policy team alum. … Robbie Myers started today as digital director for the Department of Energy. He previously was digital director at the Senate Republican Conference. …

… James Owens is now the communications director for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) campaign for Senate. Owens was previously head of states and campaign communications for NARAL Pro-Choice America and is a Mark Udall alum. … Former CIA executive director Meroe Park will be EVP of the Partnership for Public Service. … Derek Gianino is rejoining the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition as director of national engagement. He was previously director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber, and was at USGLC previously. … Kristen O’Neill is joining Wynne Health Group next week as a VP. She was most recently health policy director for Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas).

WEEKEND WEDDING -- David Fishman, managing director and partner at Global Gateway Advisors and a FleishmanHillard alum, on Saturday married Kolby Loft, senior associate at Alston & Bird and a Credit Suisse alum, at Flora Farms in San José del Cabo, Mexico. Pic ... NYT announcement


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