TRUMP’S SCHEDULE TODAY
10:40 a.m.: President Donald Trump will host the 2018 White House Business Session with a group of governors.
11:45 a.m.: Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
12:30 p.m.: Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
2:30 p.m.: Trump will meet with credit union representatives.
3:15 p.m.: Trump will meet with House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
THE GUN CONTROL PUSH: From the New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Jonathan Martin and Thomas Kaplan: “Lawmakers will return to Washington on Monday facing intense public pressure to break their decades-long gridlock on gun control, a demand fortified by a bipartisan group of governors calling for Congress to take action to protect against mass shootings. But even as members of both parties said it might be difficult for Congress to remain on the sidelines after the school massacre this month in Parkland, Fla., lawmakers have no clear consensus on even incremental changes to gun restrictions, let alone more sweeping legislation. Over a weeklong recess, Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate remained largely silent on gun legislation, a reflection of the significant obstacles to passing even modest measures this year. Many Republicans fear primary challenges from the right in the midterm elections this fall and do not want to be pushed into difficult votes. Democrats are not eager for legislation that they deem too incremental. And with lawmakers of both parties looking to wrap up their work to focus on their campaigns for re-election, the time to pass any significant legislation is running short. If the past is prologue, Congress will do nothing.”
INSIDE THE WEST WING: From POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson: “President Donald Trump’s decision to punt the issue of whether Jared Kushner can keep his access to sensitive government secrets without a full security clearance to his chief of staff, John Kelly, has put him in a tricky position, stuck between the rules on one side and the president’s family on the other. Trump's ad hoc decision not to intervene in the clearance process on behalf of his son-in-law and senior adviser in effect left both Kelly and Kushner in limbo, prolonging an uncomfortable situation that White House aides say is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Kelly does not plan to recommend to the president that he grant Kushner a waiver, but he is unlikely to resign if Trump ultimately decides to do so, according to a person familiar with his thinking. There have been times over the past year when the president, still a relative newcomer politics, has not fully understood the scope of his powers. During the course of discussions over whether to pardon former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example, he was not aware that he could pardon somebody during the course of a criminal proceeding, according to one White House aide. But Trump has a better understanding of the wide-ranging extent of his power over the clearance process, aides say, which is virtually absolute. Through his executive power, he could solve Kushner’s clearance headache with the stroke of a pen.”
TRUMP AIMS TO SHRINK GOVERNMENT: From the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin: “With lawmakers poised next month to approve new priorities for agency funding for the first time since the president took office, the bureaucratic bloodletting can officially begin. … Until now, the administration has been largely prevented from making such moves because the government has been operating under a series of continuing budget resolutions. Those generally require agencies to maintain funding for existing programs. … The ground is about to shift, however. Having cut a deal earlier this month to increase agency spending over the next two years, lawmakers expect in March to approve formal appropriations bills that will allow them to re-order agency priorities.”
THE BIG PICTURE: From POLITICO’s Tim Alberta: “If you’re a conservative with something critical to say about President Donald Trump, watch your back. That was the implication Saturday afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where a panelist who rebuked the president, as well as the event’s organizers, had to be escorted out of the building by a three-man protective detail.”