2020 PREVIEW -- PRESIDENT TRUMP at 6:19 a.m. on the candidate many of his allies would least like to face: "Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!"
-- BIDEN on Tuesday, for context: “A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, 'I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it' … They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said 'no.' I said, 'If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'" http://abcn.ws/2pvYpFI
-- ALSO: Joe Biden and Donald Trump are not going to fight. Ever.
Good Thursday morning. THE BIG PICTURE: CONGRESS IS DONE, YA GOT WHAT YA GOT. There are 229 DAYS between now and Election Day. But after this omnibus spending bill passes this week, legislating is effectively over, and a big part of the political picture of the first two years of DONALD TRUMP’S presidency is frozen and ready for the voters’ review. Some might argue that if Democrats take the House, the heaviest period of legislating for Trump’s first term ends this week.
REPUBLICANS HAVE rewritten the tax code, boosted military spending, provided $1.6 billion to build the border wall with Mexico (the same wall Mexico was going to pay for), repealed health care’s individual mandate and rolled back a ton of regulations. They’ve done little on immigration and they will have passed a few minor gun-control measures.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR FOR THE REST OF 2018: Republicans will give vulnerable lawmakers a chance to score some minor legislative victories for messaging purposes. The Senate has confirmations to handle, as well.
BETWEEN NOW AND ELECTION DAY, you might see a few more items pop up from time to time, but the next six or so months are about campaigning for control of Congress.
TWO NIGHTS AGO, in a comment that drew little notice, PRESIDENT TRUMP told NRCC donors this about his campaign season plans: “I’ll be all over the country. Kevin, you’ll get me all over. Where is our Kevin? You’re going to get me all over the country, Kevin? And I’ll be complaining every single trip. But I’m going to get there.”
-- READ RACHAEL BADE: “House leaders’ biggest 2018 fear: The lazy Republican: GOP members who haven’t had a tough race in years are being warned to start running scared.” http://politi.co/2pyqH1x
HEADS UP … LATE YESTERDAY, House Republicans told us they would probably vote on the 2,232-page omnibus on early Friday morning. It made sense. A Thursday vote would’ve been too ambitious for a several-thousand page piece of legislation that came out Wednesday around 8 p.m.
THAT’S CERTAINLY NOT HOW Republicans promised to run the House. But things change. Republicans now seem to be interested in VOTING TODAY. Let's be clear: a vote on a 2,000-page bill is coming up less than 24 hours after it was posted. Of course, that’s subject to change too. AS OF NOW, the House is planning to hold their votes around 10:15 a.m. and be done for the day around 1:30 p.m.!
-- THIS WOULD GIVE the Senate a little more than a day to clear the package. Of course, a RAND PAUL filibuster would throw the whole schedule off course. We expect the bill to clear both chambers with a very healthy margain.
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: Republicans are launching a moderately risky gambit here. They’re giving themselves 48 hours to get a massive bill through the House and Senate. Yes, it’s expected to pass with wide bipartisan margins. But that doesn’t mean things can’t go awry.
LAWMAKERS are traveling to the late Rep. Louise Slaughter’s funeral in Rochester, New York, Friday morning. They are going on a military aircraft. HOUSE RULES CHAIRMAN PETE SESSIONS (R-TEXAS) is leading this congressional delegation. But if someone in the senate -- perhaps someone from Kentucky! -- launches a filibuster, Congress might want to pass a stopgap bill. But lawmakers will be gone.
CURIOUS TO SEE WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS SPENDING MONEY ON? Read the omnibus. Most lawmakers don’t -- you’d be ahead of them! http://bit.ly/2Ghhs0l
HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE gathered with his whip team late Wednesday in the Lincoln Room -- his hangout off Statuary Hall -- to hype them up as they got ready to count votes. He also sent out an email, which said the legislation “advances top priorities of President Trump and House Republicans.” Read Scalise’s email to House Republicans http://politi.co/2G36CYt
PRESIDENT TRUMP at 11 p.m.: “Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming. Most importantly, got $700 Billion to rebuild our Military, $716 Billion next year...most ever. Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”
ABOUT YESTERDAY ... BEHIND THE SCENES … WAPO’S BOB COSTA and JOSH DAWSEY: “Inside Trump’s snow day: A flurry of doubts over spending bill, then a truce”: “For once, it wasn’t a tweet. Instead, congressional Republicans were jolted Wednesday morning by phone calls from White House officials, who confided that President Trump was unhappy with the party’s nearly finalized spending deal.
“Trump had been up since dawn, keeping an eye on cable-television programs and venting to friends and aides as snow blanketed the executive residence. He complained that the $1.3 trillion proposal included just $1.6 billion for constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border -- not the $25 billion his administration had sought, according to five people familiar with the discussions.
“Trump also griped about a proposed tunnel heading into New York -- a project beloved by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) -- that he has ferociously tried to block as part of the negotiations. …
“Ryan arrived at the White House around lunchtime in his caravan of SUVs. Vice President Pence attended the meeting, as did senior aides to the attendees. McConnell joined by speakerphone.
“Over the next 45 minutes, gathered together in the residence, they all made their pitch to Trump in support of the spending agreement, the people said. They argued that he was getting money for the border wall at a level the White House had been signaling was acceptable. They told him that he was also getting infrastructure funding -- one of his priorities. They told him the significant tick up in funding for the military was included and politically popular.” http://wapo.st/2GR82WR
AWESOME CLICKER -- NOLAN MCCASKILL: “The ‘Worst Bosses’ in Congress?”: “Everyone has an opinion, and many have horror stories to back them up. But now LegiStorm — the online portal that tracks Capitol Hill’s workforce in detail — is putting hard data to the debate over the worst bosses in Congress.
“The site is out with a new feature -- actually titled ‘Worst Bosses?’ -- that shows the members of the House and Senate with the highest turnover. The organization used salary data from 2001 to 2016 to determine the 10 offices in each chamber that have the highest annual turnover rate, with a formula that weights the departure of senior officials higher than lower-level staff. Leadership offices, where frequent turnover is expected, were excluded.” http://politi.co/2G1HNvL
BOMBSHELL -- NYT’S DAVID KIRKPATRICK and MARK MAZZETTI: “How a Witness for Mueller and a Republican Donor Influenced the White House for Gulf Rulers”: “A cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation worked for more than a year to turn a top Trump fund-raiser into an instrument of influence at the White House for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to interviews and previously undisclosed documents. Hundreds of pages of correspondence between the two men reveal an active effort to cultivate President Trump on behalf of the two oil-rich Arab monarchies, both close American allies.
“High on the agenda of the two men — George Nader, a political adviser to the de facto ruler of the U.A.E., and Elliott Broidy, the deputy finance chairman of the [RNC] — was pushing the White House to remove Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, backing confrontational approaches to Iran and Qatar and repeatedly pressing the president to meet privately outside the White House with the leader of U.A.E. Mr. Tillerson was fired last week, and the president has adopted tough approaches toward both Iran and Qatar.” http://nyti.ms/2pvN7AB
THE TARIFFS -- “U.S., China Sharpen Trade Swords: As China braces for U.S. trade action on aluminum, steel and intellectual property, it is drawing up tariffs for U.S. farm products,” by WSJ’s Lingling Wei, Bob Davis and William Mauldin: “Chinese officials, facing punitive U.S. trade policies that are set to be announced Thursday, are preparing to respond with their own tariffs focused on U.S. exports of soybeans, sorghum and live hogs, according to the people with knowledge of the matter. The U.S. is among the top suppliers of these products to China. …
“China’s potential retaliation is calibrated to hit states that helped elect Donald Trump in 2016, the people said. Mr. Trump won eight of the top 10 soy and hog-producing states, and seven of the top 10 sorghum states.” http://on.wsj.com/2pwybSS
WHAT DANIEL IS READING – “‘Elected to lead, not to proofread’: Typos, spelling mistakes are commonplace in Trump’s White House,” by WaPo’s David Nakamura: “Among the many casualties of Washington’s protocols in the Trump era has been a lack of rigor to the accuracy of the printed word -- whether it’s the president’s typo-filled tweets or the White House’s error-prone news releases. … In Trump’s world, Air Force One became ‘Air Force Once’ on the president’s public schedule. The White House sought ‘lasting peach’ in a news release touting efforts to broker a deal between Israel and Palestinian territories. And another release announced the departure of an East Wing aide to work for Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.), who was reincarnated as Rep. Hill in the next sentence.” http://wapo.st/2FWvTaE
THE CABINET -- “Zinke brought security team to vacation in Turkey and Greece, records show,” by Ben Lefebvre: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his wife took a security detail on their vacation to Greece and Turkey last year, official documents show, in what one watchdog group said could be a ‘questionable’ use of taxpayer resources. Zinke has faced questions for months over his travel expenses and use of official resources, as have other members of President Donald Trump's administration such as EPA leader Scott Pruitt, who was revealed Tuesday to have spent $30,000 on security for an official trip to Italy last year.
“Unlike Pruitt, Zinke was not conducting government business during his two-week vacation, which included stops in Istanbul and the Greek Isles. The documents do not reveal exactly how many security personnel accompanied the couple, who paid for them, how much they cost or whether they traveled with Zinke and his wife, Lola, for the entire trip. Interior provided U.S. Park Police officers for Zinke’s security because of worries of violence in the region, department spokeswoman Heather Swift said.” http://politi.co/2u6DEp1
NOT ONLY US! … “EPA says Pruitt predecessors took expensive international trips too,” by Emily Holden: “EPA pushed back on criticism over Administrator Scott Pruitt’s expensive travel today, highlighting data showing his predecessors in the Obama administration spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on international trips, too. But while the calculations by EPA show former Administrator Gina McCarthy frequently visited other countries, she always flew coach, even on long flights where agency rules may have allowed her to upgrade. EPA says Pruitt traveled first class because of the high number of threats to his safety. McCarthy made 14 trips to other countries in her three-and-a-half-year tenure, totaling $731,000 for her, staff and security to fly and stay abroad, EPA said.” For Pros http://politico.pro/2HRD0xm
THE INVESTIGATIONS (AND WHAT MIGHT SOON BE PART OF THE PROBE) …
-- “Fired FBI official authorized criminal probe of Sessions, sources say,” by ABC News’ Mike Levine: “Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a ‘lack of candor,’ McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
“Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move. One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.” http://abcn.ws/2DKRLzz
-- “Special Counsel studies Trump campaign ties to Cambridge Analytica, sources say,” by ABC News’ Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, Megan Christie and Benjamin Siegel: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team for the last several weeks has had a growing interest to better understand the relationship between the campaign, the [RNC], and Cambridge Analytica, sources tell ABC News.
“Sources tell ABC News several digital experts who worked in support of Trump’s bid in 2016 have met with Mueller’s team for closed-door interviews. The staffers, most of whom were employed by the RNC, served as key members of the 2016 operation working closely with the campaign and the data firm, the sources said. The company worked closely with the Republican candidate’s political team.” http://abcn.ws/2u8b9XM
-- “Inside the Trump campaign’s ties with Cambridge Analytica,” by CNN’s Sara Murray, Maeve Reston, Dana Bash and Evan Perez: Paul Manafort, then the campaign chairman, worried that the data firm was ‘full of shit.’ Manafort emailed a fellow political operative to get his read on Cambridge. The operative, Doug Watts, worked with the firm during Ben Carson’s presidential campaign and told Manafort he was unimpressed, according to sources familiar with the exchange. Manafort shared his assessment, the sources said. The Trump campaign hired the firm anyway. …
“In late summer 2016, campaign officials pitted a Cambridge model against one from the RNC. The goal was to identify potential Trump supporters. Both models relied on the same raw data set from the RNC, according to two former campaign officials. But the RNC’s outcome was far more accurate. ‘Cambridge failed miserably,’ one former campaign official said. ‘At that point it was sort of like, OK, the emperor has no clothes.’” http://cnn.it/2FTyCl7
THE ATLANTIC’S ELAINA PLOTT: “Kellyanne Conway Edges Toward Accepting the Job of Communications Director”: “Kellyanne Conway is moving closer to accepting President Donald Trump’s offer for her to succeed Hope Hicks as White House communications director, if only on an interim basis, according to multiple sources who have spoken with her. … When Hicks announced her resignation earlier this month, Conway said in a Fox News segment that she wasn’t interested in the job. But Trump has continued to urge her to change her mind, as have many rank-and-file White House communications staffers, some of whom see Conway as a mentor.” http://theatln.tc/2FXZWdP
JARED CO. -- “NYC agency investigating more than a dozen Kushner buildings,” by AP’s Bernard Condon: “New York City’s buildings regulator launched investigations at more than a dozen Kushner Cos. properties Wednesday following an Associated Press report that the real estate developer routinely filed false paperwork claiming it had zero rent-regulated tenants in its buildings across the city.
“The Department of Buildings is investigating possible ‘illegal activity’ involving applications that sought permission to begin construction work at 13 of the developer’s buildings, according to public records maintained by the regulator. The AP reported Sunday that Kushner Cos. stated in more than 80 permit applications that it had zero rent-regulated tenants in its buildings when it, in fact, had hundreds.
“The false filings were made while Kushner Cos. was run by Jared Kushner, now senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. The false filings were all signed by a Kushner employee, sometimes by its chief operating officer. None were signed by Jared Kushner himself.” http://bit.ly/2IFH7hk
-- THE INTERCEPT: “Saudi Crown Prince Boasted that Jared Kushner Was ‘In His Pocket,’” by Ryan Grim, Alex Emmons, and Clayton Swisher: “In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession. In the months that followed, the President’s Daily Brief contained information on Saudi Arabia’s evolving political situation, including a handful of names of royal family members opposed to the crown prince’s power grab …
“What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown.
“Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so. … One of the people MBS told about the discussion with Kushner was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to a source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emirati crown prince and others that Kushner was ‘in his pocket,’ the source told The Intercept.” http://bit.ly/2pwUBE8
STEVEN OVERLY: “Zuckerberg and Sandberg lean out: The Facebook executives’ response to the Cambridge Analytica crisis risks unraveling their public images and potential political futures”: “‘The signal they’re giving is that they need a new management team and that’s tragic, because Mark and Sheryl are immensely talented,’ Roger McNamee, an early investor and adviser to Facebook. ‘The notion that they don’t have the courage to face their critics and face up to the mistakes they made, I find baffling.’” http://politi.co/2GQMWIg
-- YA DON’T SAY! “What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge about what Congress is trying to learn. So if that’s me, then I am happy to go,” Zuckerberg said in an evening interview on CNN. “What I think we found so far is that typically there are people whose whole job is focused on an area. But I would imagine at some point that there will be a topic where I am the sole authority on, and it will make sense for me to do it.”
-- ZUCKERBERG Q&A with Wired’s Nicholas Thompson who asks: “How confident are you that Facebook data didn’t get into the hands of Russian operatives—into the Internet Research Agency, or even into other groups that we may not have found yet?” Zuckerberg: “I can’t really say that. I hope that we will know that more certainly after we do an audit.” http://bit.ly/2puEU07
SPOTTED at Porter House in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center on Wednesday night: Ryan Lizza, Olivia Nuzzi and Ben Ferguson having dinner and drinks ... Preet Bharara and Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti having dinner at a nearby table ... Joy Behar at another table … Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons arriving at Dulles from London – he’s in town for the Global Food Security Symposium.
LATE NIGHT BEST – STEPHEN COLBERT: “Stephen Works Out With Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg invited Stephen to Washington, D.C., to settle the case of ‘Do you even lift?’” 6-min. video http://bit.ly/2GREJnn
SUNDAY SO FAR … “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: Stoneman Douglas High School Students Cameron Kasky and Delaney Tarr. Panel: Newt Gingrich, Julie Pace, Jason Miller and Juan Williams. Power Player: Second Lady Karen Pence.
YOU’RE INVITED … Join us for our first Playbook University in North Carolina with GOV. ROY COOPER on March 29 at Penn Pavilion at Duke University. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/2IqsO09
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has endorsed John Chiang for governor of California, and stars in a new ad, a take on the Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” ads. http://bit.ly/2pwaz0p … Let America Vote has made a new PSA video, produced by NowThis, reuniting the cast from “The West Wing”. http://bit.ly/2IHYJct
JUST POSTED -- BEN SCHRECKINGER in GQ -- “When Trump Met Stormy Daniels: The Strange Story of Four Wild Days in Tahoe”: “It was mid-summer, 2006. The real estate developer had just turned 60 and had jetted west for the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, joining a pantheon of American notables, Lance Armstrong, Dan Quayle, and Ray Romano among them. … An accounting of those four days in Tahoe … reveals a strange period in the future president’s life, a moment when he’s laying the groundwork for not one, but three scandals. Indeed, looking back now, the portrait that emerges … is one of a lonely Trump racked by private malaise, stumbling into a three-quarter life crisis that years later he would eventually try to resolve by launching a vanity campaign for president of the United States.” http://bit.ly/2pwo5RK
FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Boris Johnson, Britain’s Top Diplomat, Compares Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany,” by NYT’s Ivan Nechepurenko and Maya Salam: “Britain’s top diplomat, Boris Johnson, told Parliament on Wednesday that the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, would use the World Cup this summer as a propaganda tool much as Hitler used the 1936 Olympic Games to glorify Nazi Germany. … Mr. Johnson said that only 24,000 Britons had bought tickets to the soccer matches, compared with 94,000 at the same point before the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.” http://nyti.ms/2DKLy6X
MEDIAWATCH – “Meredith Plans to Lay Off 1,000 People at Time Inc.,” by WSJ’s Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg: “Meredith Corp. said it intends to lay off 1,000 staffers at Time Inc. over the next 10 months in addition to 200 positions it cut this week, part of a push to reduce expenses following its acquisition of the storied magazine publisher in January. … Separately, Meredith said it is exploring the possible sale of Time Inc. titles including the flagship Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money. A person close to the situation said most of the inbound interest in each of the four titles hasn’t been from strategic buyers but rather from wealthy individuals interested in the subject area.” http://on.wsj.com/2ptzqSG
-- “This Public Relations Firm Has Been Secretly Placing Articles In Conservative Publications,” by BuzzFeed’s Jane Lytvynenko: “Conservative media has long been the home for impassioned arguments against the welfare state, gun control, and taxes. But if you look closely at key conservative sites including the Daily Caller, Breitbart, the Washington Examiner, and the Daily Wire, you’ll see another track of articles, no less passionate for just how obscure its targets are. Say, contact lens regulations. … 33 articles across 10 publications identified by BuzzFeed News … were part of an effort by the firm Third Dimension Strategies, known as TDS, to covertly influence policy debates since 2016. The topics ranged from contact lenses and internet lending to attack pieces against Elon Musk. The authors were often young students or recent graduates who are active in conservative student politics. … TDS … is headed by Republican consultant and commentator Jim Terry.” http://bzfd.it/2DMhqYN
TRANSITIONS … CAITLIN CONANT has been named political director of CBS News. She is currently executive director of communications for CBS News in Washington and is a Rubio and Portman alum.
BIRTHDAYS OF THE DAY: Rebecca Miller Spicer, SVP for communications and public affairs at the National Beer Wholesalers Association. What’s she’s been reading recently: “I just finished reading ‘The Day the Crayons Came Home.’ It’s a powerful sequel to ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ with complex character development and dramatic personal journeys. The kids love it – especially when it’s read with funny voices! As for beach reading this summer, I’m looking forward to diving into my husband Sean’s ‘The Briefing,’ which will be coming out in July. I hope I get a copy signed by the author!” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2IJb7J9 … Myrna Blyth, SVP and editorial director of AARP -- Q&A: http://politi.co/2pxSjDU
BIRTHDAYS: Wolf Blitzer is 7-0 … Senate President Pro Tem Orrin Hatch is 84 ... House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) is 63 ... NBC White House reporter Ali Vitali (hat tip: Jeremy Diamond) ... Sarah Feldman, Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) press secretary … Daniel Knowles, an Africa correspondent for The Economist (h/t Daniel Strauss) ... Adam Frankel, former Obama speechwriter now senior director for CEO communications at PepsiCo (h/t Jon Banner) … Brad Luna … The Daily Show’s Matt Negrin is 31 ... Washington Examiner’s Josh Siegel ... Politico’s Victoria Hartman and Julia Tripodi ... Square’s Peter Lezama ... Chris Taylor ... Giovanni Hashimoto ... Jeff Cohen, EVP of political and public affairs at the Federation of American Hospitals ... Rick Allen … Charles Burton, director of gov’t affairs at AMG, is 33 ... John Stauffer, global lead of APCO Worldwide’s digital practice ... Nancy Nathan ... Ashley Brooke Bauman, director of marketing and comms at the City of Tampa ... Daniel Doherty ... cartoonist Rob Tornoe ... Tony Green ... Lyzz Schwegler …
… Kathryn Jean Lopez ... Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of Glossier, is 33 ... Kevin Ellis, co-founder and partner at Ellis Mills Public Affairs (h/t Jon Haber) … Matt Williams, communications director for Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), is 34 (h/t Mitchell Rivard) … Bob Gardner, top GOP ad consultant to President Gerald Ford, Dick Cheney and others … Sarah Mars Bowie, assistant VP for the public affairs practice at Finn Partners (h/t Hadley Dreibelbis) … Jim Mills, a Fox News and C-SPAN alum ... Jessica Reinis … Lindsey Craig ... writer/producer Matthew Leib ... Roger Nyhus ... Alan Jenkins of The Opportunity Agenda ... Rhonda Binda ... David Edmund Black ... Ammi Chaveas ... Jeremy Bloom ... Kaswar Klasra ... Sennaya Samy Muthukrishnan ... Mercury managing director Jonathan Greenspun … Andrew Hawkins, senior transportation reporter at The Verge … Ben Fractenberg ... Patrick Manion ... Kate Head ... Julie Stauch ... Kristin Brost ... Tom Lindenfeld ... Ann Clancy ... Connor Corcoran ... Mitra Nelson.