AP’S ZEKE MILLER (@ZekeJMiller): “Trump says he's considering attending opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. ‘If I can, I will,’ he says in Oval Office spray with Netanyahu”
TWO QUICK MEDIA BITES … PAT HEALY has been named politics editor of The New York Times. He’ll lead coverage of the midterms and the 2020 election. http://bit.ly/2CY5l2d
-- TOP TALKER -- JAY SOLOMON in Columbia Journalism Review: “The source: How hacked emails and a yacht in Monaco ended my career at The Wall Street Journal” http://bit.ly/2FSwUNv
Good Monday afternoon. Today was the original deadline the president set to come up with a legislative solution for Dreamers.
RYAN VS. TRUMP ON TARIFFS -- “Republicans blitz Trump to head off tariffs,” by Rachael Bade and Doug Palmer: “Speaker Paul Ryan has personally spoken with the president and tried to warn him of the economic dangers of entering a trade war as well as the political backlash that could crush Republicans in the mid-terms elections. Republicans fear that voters could pay the price in the form of higher prices, completely undercutting their central campaign message of an improving economy.
“‘We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,’ said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong. ‘The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardize those gains.’
“One of the top authors of the tax package, Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), has also waded in to try to talk Trump down. Brady and trade subcommittee chairman Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) have drafted a letter to Trump expressing worry about ‘the prospect of broad, global tariffs on aluminum and steel imports,’ said Lauren Aronson, a Ways and Means spokeswoman.” http://politi.co/2I7C9tG
-- EARLIER THIS MORNING … STORY SENT AROUND BY SPEAKER PAUL RYAN’S OFFICE -- “Stocks fall as trade war fears rattle investors,” by CNBC’s Fred Imbert: “Stocks traded lower on Monday as investors mulled over potential U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. … President Donald Trump announced last week the U.S. will implement a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.” http://cnb.cx/2I3vqko (h/t Jonathan Allen)
-- THIS IS A REAL SHOWDOWN between the Hill GOP and the Trump administration. Congress has the ability to block this -- but, as Rachael notes, whether it has the votes to block this is another question.
-- HOW YOU’LL KNOW IF REPUBLICANS ARE SERIOUS: If they attach language to a must-pass spending bill at the end of the month to prevent Trump from placing tariffs on steel and aluminum.
-- TRUMP on if he’ll back down on tariffs, per pooler John Fritze of The Baltimore Sun: “No, we're not backing down. … We had a very bad deal with Mexico, we had a very bad deal with NAFTA.”
-- DEPARTMENT OF DISSONANCE: Republicans say if they sell the tax bill, they’ll keep their Hill majorities, because people will realize they have more money and it’s because of the GOP. The tariff bill -- promoted by the White House -- could result in higher prices just months before Election Day.
LET’S HEAR MORE … NYT’S RICHARD PADDOCK in BANGKOK: “A Belarusian escort with close ties to a powerful Russian oligarch said from behind bars in Bangkok on Monday that she had more than 16 hours of audio recordings that could help shed light on Russian meddling in United States elections.
“The escort, Anastasia Vashukevich, said she would hand over the recordings if the United States granted her asylum. She faces criminal charges and deportation to Belarus after coming under suspicion of working in Thailand without a visa at a sex-training seminar in the city of Pattaya.
“Ms. Vashukevich, who described herself as close to the Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg V. Deripaska, said that audio recordings she made in August 2016 included discussions he had about the United States presidential election with people she declined to identify. …
“‘If America gives me protection, I will tell everything I know,’ Ms. Vashukevich said on Monday. ‘I am afraid to go back to Russia. Some strange things can happen.’” http://nyti.ms/2I7gQIv
IF YOU READ ONE THING -- The New Yorker’s JANE MAYER: “Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier”: “In the spring of 2017, after eight weeks in hiding, Steele gave a brief statement to the media, announcing his intention of getting back to work. On the advice of his lawyers, he hasn’t spoken publicly since. But Steele talked at length with Mueller’s investigators in September. It isn’t known what they discussed, but, given the seriousness with which Steele views the subject, those who know him suspect that he shared many of his sources, and much else, with the Mueller team.
“One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as ‘a senior Russian official.’
“The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. …
“The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy -- and an incoming President. As fantastical as the memo sounds, subsequent events could be said to support it.” http://bit.ly/2Fed1zr
ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND -- @realDonaldTrump at 6:47 a.m.: “We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must..” … at 6:53 a.m.: “...treat our farmers much better. Highly restrictive. Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S. They have not done what needs to be done. Millions of people addicted and dying.” … at 7:57 a.m.: “To protect our Country we must protect American Steel! #AMERICA FIRST” …
… at 8:22 a.m.: “Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November? Wanted to discredit so Crooked H would win. Unprecedented. Bigger than Watergate! Plus, Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling.”
JAVANKA WATCH -- “Roles reduced, Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s fate uncertain,” by the AP’s Jonathan Lemire and Catherine Lucey: “Those close to the couple insist the duo has no plans to leave Washington.
“But a soft landing spot has emerged if they choose to take it. At a senior staff meeting Wednesday, Kushner spoke about the 2020 campaign at Kelly’s behest, talking up the selection of Brad Parscale to run the campaign, according to an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions. Kushner has a close relationship with Parscale, whom he recruited to work on the 2016 campaign. …
“One veteran of the 2016 campaign suggested that there had always been a tentative plan for Kushner to resume a role on the re-election campaign but not this early in the president’s first term.” http://bit.ly/2FgqLtE
DEEP DIVE -- REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-Calif.) profiled by National Review’s JIM GERAGHTY -- Nunes on last week’s NYT story that House Republicans on the intel committee leaked Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) texts: “We’re not investigating Warner, we don’t give a sh** about him … No member [of the committee] looked at [the texts]. The staff looked at them and said, ‘We don’t want to have anything to do with this.’” http://bit.ly/2FSvLWd
BANNON’S EUROPEAN TOUR -- Q&A with Die Weltwoche before his public speech tomorrow in Zurich: “The signal for Europe [from the Italian elections] is that the commentators and the Financial Times of London and the Wall Street Journal and what I call the party of Davos, the globalist elite, have been dismissing ever since the French elections. There’s really a populist national revolt, it’s building steam. This is a global phenomenon.” http://bit.ly/2oPGLLS
TRUMP INC. -- “The Trump Organization Ordered Golf Course Markers With the Presidential Seal. That May Be Illegal,” by ProPublica’s Katherine Sullivan: “In recent weeks, the Trump Organization has ordered the manufacture of new tee markers for golf courses that are emblazoned with the seal of the President of the United States. Under federal law, the seal’s use is permitted only for official government business. Misuse can be a crime. …
“Eagle Sign and Design, a metalworking and sign company with offices in New Albany, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, said it had received an order to manufacture dozens of round, 12-inch replicas of the presidential seal to be placed next to the tee boxes at Trump golf course holes. Two tee markers are placed on the ground at the start of a hole on golf courses to indicate where golfers should stand to take their first swing.” http://bit.ly/2FhypE7
HUH? -- “Democratic Congressman Confirms Relationship With Farrakhan, Unbothered By ‘The Jewish Question’,” by The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson: “Democratic Illinois Rep. Danny Davis confirmed in an interview Sunday that he has a personal relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite, and said he isn’t bothered by Farrakhan’s position on ‘the Jewish question.’ …
“‘That’s just one segment of what goes on in our world. The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth. For those heavy into it, that’s their thing, but it ain’t my thing,’ [Davis] said.” http://bit.ly/2I4kTVV
THE NATION’S LARGEST POLICE FORCE -- “Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People -- And Still Keep Their Jobs,” by BuzzFeed’s Kendall Taggart and Mike Hayes: “Secret files obtained by BuzzFeed News reveal that from 2011 to 2015 at least 319 New York Police Department employees who committed offenses serious enough to merit firing were allowed to keep their jobs.
“Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer. Some were guilty of lesser offenses, like mouthing off to a supervisor. …
“In every instance, the police commissioner, who has final authority in disciplinary decisions, assigned these officers to ‘dismissal probation,’ a penalty with few practical consequences. The officer continues to do their job at their usual salary. They may get less overtime and won’t be promoted during that period, which usually lasts a year. When the year is over, so is the probation.” http://bzfd.it/2I3bDBH
MEDIAWATCH -- BIG GET -- ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos landed the first one-on-one interview with former FBI Director JAMES COMEY since he was fired. It will air on April 15.
-- Matt Sobocinski has been hired as senior video producer at Gannett. He is currently executive director of video operations at POLITICO. … Elizabeth Williamson is joining NYT’s Washington bureau as a feature writer. She was previously a national politics writer for the paper’s editorial board. … Jillian Hughes will be a producer for “Face the Nation” starting Wednesday. She has been covering the White House for CBS for seven years.
SPOTTED -- Tom Friedman at DCA getting on a NYC-bound shuttle.
TRANSITIONS -- Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) team announced a slew of moves: John LaBombard will be deputy campaign manager for her re-election campaign, and Sarah Feldman will become communications director and Jonas Edwards-Jenks will be press secretary in her Senate office. … Michelle Altman has been promoted to chief of staff in Sen. James Lankford’s (R-Okla.) office …
… Torunn Sinclair has started as Martha McSally’s campaign comms director for Senate. He previously was the communications director at the Arizona Republican Party. … Samuel Garrett-Pate has been hired as comms director for Equality California. He most recently has served as senior account executive at RALLY. … Alyssa Hackbarth started today at CRC Public Relations as an account executive. She previously was manager of public affairs and digital strategy at the American Legislative Exchange Council.
-- TRUMP ALUMNI: Former Trump campaign operatives Healy Baumgardner and Tana Goertz have launched the consulting firm U.S. China Exchange Group.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Jacqueline Roche, a director in Johnson & Johnson’s global affairs and policy office in D.C., and fiancée Derryk Downey, a firefighter/paramedic for the City of Annapolis Fire Department, recently welcomed Sloane O’Brien Roche Downey, born at 7lb 9 oz. 19.5 inches. Pic http://bit.ly/2I2BTvO
BONUS BIRTHDAY: Sabrina Eaton, Washington correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer (h/t Anthony DeAngelo)