NEWS -- GRACE KOH, special assistant to the president for technology, telecommunications and cybersecurity policy at the NEC, is leaving the White House. GAIL SLATER, previously general counsel of the Internet Association, is joining the administration.
Good Thursday afternoon. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP said he was making plans to visit Parkland, Florida, in a speech Thursday morning. Trump: “We are all joined together as one American family and your suffering is our burden also. No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school.” He made no call for any specific policy prescription, but said his administration is “committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” sidestepping the gun control debate.
THE PRESIDENT’S MORNING RESPONSE TO YESTERDAY’S SHOOTING -- @realDonaldTrump at 7:12 a.m.: “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
WHAT FLORIDA WOKE UP TO … PALM BEACH POST: “17 SLAIN BY GUNMAN AT BROWARD SCHOOL” http://bit.ly/2F1Kg9L … TAMPA BAY TIMES: “DEADLY TOLL: 17” http://bit.ly/2GfDVab … MIAMI HERALD: “A ‘DETESTABLE ACT’” http://bit.ly/2EurOKb
REMEMBER BUMP STOCKS? Remember background checks? Congress has a habit of not touching gun legislation. Do not expect that to change. ...
... BUT there is off-the-record recognition from our sources that it’s becoming politically tricky for Republicans to do nothing, all the time.
-- @kaitlancollins: “David Hogg, a high school student who survived the Florida shooting, just looked directly into the camera and made this plea to members of Congress: ‘We are children. You guys are the adults. Work together, come over your politics, and get something done.’” Video http://bit.ly/2BvJiD0
RYAN’S REACTION -- @AlexNBCNews: “Speaker Ryan in radio intv on Parkland, FL shooting: ‘it’s just a horrific, horrific, horrible shooting. I think we need to pray, and our hearts go out to these victims. And I think, as public policymakers, we don’t just knee-jerk before we even have all the facts and the data’”.
CHARGES FILED -- “More police expected at PBC schools after Broward mass shooting, gunman faces 17 counts,” by the Palm Beach Post’s Sandra Nortunen and Jennifer Sorentrue http://pbpo.st/2Bvubtk
-- BuzzFeed’s Brianna Sacks: “Last fall, a Mississippi bail bondsman and frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter,’ said a user [who shares the same name as the suspect].
“The YouTuber, 36-year-old Ben Bennight, alerted the FBI, emailing a screenshot of the comment to the bureau's tips account as well as calling the Mississippi FBI field office. He also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed it from the video. Agents with the bureau's Mississippi field office got back to him ‘immediately,’ Bennight said, and conducted an in-person interview the following day, on Sept. 25.” http://bzfd.it/2sw6I8m
SPLIT IN THE WHITE HOUSE … THE CABINET CALLS ON CONGRESS … “DeVos calls for congressional hearings on school shootings,” by Ayanna Alexander: “Following a shooting at a Florida high school that left more than a dozen dead, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Thursday that Congress should hold hearings on school shootings. ‘Congress needs to be holding hearings on these issues. And we’ve seen lots of discussion about this every time we’ve had another incident,’ DeVos said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.” http://politi.co/2EHCELX
-- WAPO’S DAMIAN PALETTA: “Mnuchin calls on Congress to look into gun violence issue after school shooting, breaking with rest of White House”: “‘I will say, personally, I think the gun violence -- it’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues,’ [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin said at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.” http://wapo.st/2EFneIh
ON IMMIGRATION -- @realDonaldTrump at 9:57 a.m.: “While the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working hard to come up with a solution to DACA, they should be strongly considering a system of Merit Based Immigration so that we will have the people ready, willing and able to help all of those companies moving into the USA!”
-- ELANA SCHOR and BURGESS EVERETT: “Senate set for face-plant on immigration”: “The Senate’s much-hyped immigration debate is heading toward a megaflop on Thursday. All three plans slated for votes are shy of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, likely leaving lawmakers with nothing to show for weeks of talks and Dreamers in limbo.
“A bipartisan agreement unveiled Wednesday faces intense skepticism from the left flank of the Democratic caucus and hardening resistance from many Republicans amid a White House campaign to defeat it. It would give an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship while spending $25 billion on border security.” http://politi.co/2EIJmkJ
-- Statement from the White House: “The Administration strongly opposes passage of the Schumer-Rounds-Collins Amendment. This Amendment would drastically change our national immigration policy for the worse by weakening border security and undercutting existing immigration law. … If the President were presented with an enrolled bill that includes the Amendment, his advisors would recommend that he veto it.”
-- @SecNielsen: “The proposal from Senators @ChuckGrassley , @JohnCornyn, et al would meet these four pillars and deserves the support of those who are serious about securing our borders and solving #DACA.”
ANOTHER STRIKE AGAINST THE TRAVEL BAN -- “Second appeals court rules against Trump travel ban 3.0,” by Josh Gerstein: “A second federal appeals court has ruled against President Donald Trump's latest travel ban executive order, but the decision has already been overtaken by action at the Supreme Court. The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, 9-4, that the Trump directive limiting visitors from six majority-Muslim countries and two other nations is likely unconstitutional because it was driven by anti-Muslim animus.” http://politi.co/2EKEWKo
-- “Dozens of refugee resettlement offices to close as Trump downsizes program,” by Reuters’ Mica Rosenberg: “Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing to shutter more than 20 offices across the United States and cut back operations in more than 40 others after the State Department told them to pare their operations, according to plans seen by Reuters. The slated closures, which are being reviewed by the State Department for final approval, follow President Donald Trump’s decision to dramatically reduce the number of refugees that will be allowed into the United States in 2018.” http://reut.rs/2EIASu4
VALLEY TALK -- “Tech Luminary Peter Thiel Parts Ways With Silicon Valley,” by WSJ’s Douglas MacMillan, Keach Hagey and Deepa Seetharaman: “Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is relocating his home and personal investment firms to Los Angeles from San Francisco and scaling back his involvement in the tech industry, people familiar with his thinking said, marking a rupture between Silicon Valley and its most prominent conservative.
“Mr. Thiel has also discussed with people close to him the possibility of resigning from the board of Facebook Inc., the people familiar with his thinking said. His relationship with the social-networking company -- where he has been a director since 2005, the year after its founding -- came under strain after a dispute with a fellow director over Mr. Thiel’s support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and a related confrontation over boardroom leaks with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg last summer, the people said. However, Mr. Thiel feels he can still help the company and is likely to remain on the board at least for now, one of the people said.” http://on.wsj.com/2o0gjzI
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE… -- NYT’s MAGGIE HABERMAN and KEN VOGEL: “Trump’s Inaugural Committee Paid $26 Million to First Lady’s Friend”: “President Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to First Lady Melania Trump, while donating $5 million — less than expected — to charity, according to tax filings released on Thursday. The nonprofit group that oversaw Mr. Trump’s inauguration and surrounding events in January 2017, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, had been under pressure from government advocacy groups to reveal how it spent the record $107 million it had raised from wealthy donors and corporations. …
“[T]he mandatory tax return it filed with the Internal Revenue Service indicates that the group’s charitable donations included only an already publicized $3 million for hurricane relief, plus a total of $1.75 million to groups involved in decorating and maintaining the White House and the vice president’s residence. The 116-page filing indicates that the overwhelming majority of the funds went toward expenses related to the inauguration, with the biggest share -- nearly $51 million -- split roughly evenly between two companies.
“One of the companies, Wis Media Partners of Marina del Rey, California, was created in December 2016 by a longtime friend of Mrs. Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, according to a person familiar with the firm. Ms. Winston Wolkoff made her name planning Manhattan society galas and has subsequently been brought on as a senior adviser to the first lady’s official government office.” http://nyti.ms/2EGp6Am
DEPT OF TRANSPARENCY -- “Trump administration agrees to post visitor logs for some White House offices,” by Josh Gerstein: “The Trump administration has agreed to settle a pending lawsuit by making monthly public postings of details on visitors to some parts of the White House, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the drug czar's office. However, there is no sign the Trump White House plans to reverse its decision to abandon the Obama administration's policy of releasing information on visitors to the White House's core offices, including the senior officials in the West Wing.
“The non-profit group Public Citizen filed suit last August, arguing that the Secret Service had illegally rebuffed requests for visitor logs for White House offices covered by the Freedom of Information Act. … [I]n response to the suit, the White House has agreed to a system where batches of records will be sent from the Secret Service to White House information technology personnel, who will sort the visitor requests based on White House email address and send the data to OMB or the applicable White House office, which will then post it.” http://politi.co/2EJ2QWo
TUNE IN -- ANNA joined the Aspen Insight podcast to talk about the increasing partisanship of Congress with Aspen Institute Vice Presidents Dan Glickman and Mickey Edwards. http://bit.ly/2sxP1Fv
MEDIAWATCH -- Ailsa Chang has been named a host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and Noel King a host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Up First”. Both previously worked at NPR’s “Planet Money,” where they will still contribute.
SPOTTED: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) dining at Joe’s Seafood last night … Boris and Lauren Epshteyn last night at Filomena, where they have been going on Valentine’s Day 14 of the last 15 years. … Jeb Bush wheeling his suitcase through Union Station in jeans and a quilted jacket … Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) last night at E St. Cinema
TRANSITIONS -- Erin Neal launched her own firm called Velocity Government Relations. She previously worked at SIGNAL Group.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Meghan Sullivan, associate VP of legislative affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association and a John Sununu alum, and Patrick Belica, managing director at SL Capital Strategies, on Wednesday welcomed Margaret Ann Belica, who joins her big brother, Harry, who’s two and a half years old. Pic http://bit.ly/2HgEQZj