TODAY, AT THE WHITE HOUSE …
-- TRUMP ON TARIFFS, via WaPo’s Phil Rucker: “I’m sticking with 10 and 25 initially. I’ll have a right to go up or down depending on the country and I’ll have a right to drop out countries or add countries. I just want fairness, because we have not been treated fairly by other countries.”
REPUBLICANS have said for years that they wanted to instill certainty in the economy. Trump is basically saying he’ll do what he wants when he wants to do it.
-- TRUMP ON GARY COHN: “He may be a globalist, but I still like him. … He’s going to go out, make another couple hundred million, and then he’s going to maybe come back. He might come back, right? We’ll be here--” A voice, off camera: “Absolutely.” Trump: “--another seven years, hopefully -- that’s a long time. But I have a feeling you’ll be back.”
-- TRUMP ON BACKGROUND CHECKS: “Background checks are moving along in Congress. I think moving along pretty well. You know, you've been covering Congress for a long time. Some things like even background checks, making them tougher, it's never that easy, but it is moving along and a lot of great things are being done. We're making it much tougher. A lot of things are happening right now as we speak.”
THIS IS NOT TRUE: Gun legislation is not moving in any significant way.
Good Thursday afternoon. OUR MISTAKE … EVERYBODY LOVES A GOOD SPOTTED in Playbook, but today we got it wrong. A usually very reliable tipster passed off really bad information to Anna about a party last night at the Metropolitan Club. The going away party was for Reed Cordish. Gary Cohn was there, as was Ivanka Trump, who read a note from Jared Kushner, who was traveling back from Mexico; Kellyanne Conway, retiring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and NIH Director Francis Collins. We apologize for the error.
SWAMP CHECK -- “What swamp? Lobbyists get ethics waivers to work for Trump,” by the AP’s Michael Biesecker, Juliet Linderman and Richard Lardner: “President Donald Trump and his appointees have stocked federal agencies with ex-lobbyists and corporate lawyers who now help regulate the very industries from which they previously collected paychecks, despite promising as a candidate to drain the swamp in Washington.
“A week after his January 2017 inauguration, Trump signed an executive order that bars former lobbyists, lawyers and others from participating in any matter they lobbied or otherwise worked on for private clients within two years before going to work for the government.
“But records reviewed by The Associated Press show Trump’s top lawyer, White House counsel Don McGahn, has issued at least 24 ethics waivers to key administration officials at the White House and executive branch agencies.” http://bit.ly/2G7gKQC
HEATHER CAYGLE: “Record-breaking number of women run for office”: “More than a quarter-century after the ‘Year of the Woman,’ women still make up only one in five elected officials on Capitol Hill. But this election cycle, more women are signing up to run for the highest elected offices than ever before -- so far, at least 575 women have declared their intention to run for the House, the Senate or governor.” http://politi.co/2G5SzSw
#WOMENRULE -- ANNA is holding a live #WomenRule podcast at SXSW with former Texas state legislator WENDY DAVIS and Milk Bar CEO CHRISTINA TOOSI. WHEN: Monday at 12:30 p.m. WHERE: Fairmont Wisteria Room. http://bit.ly/2If87UH
-- NEW: POLITICO is launching the WOMEN RULE CANDIDATE TRACKER for the 2018 midterms. The #WomenRule franchise is teaming up with the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University and the Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center to track women running for office in 2018 and provide real-time analysis. http://politi.co/2G7i6ec
ABOUT LAST NIGHT -- NYT’s KEN VOGEL: “Venturing Into the Swamp, Trump Dines With Major Donors”: “President Trump dined at the ornate Georgetown home of [C. Boyden Gray,] a prominent Washington lawyer on Wednesday night with wealthy donors who are expected to play crucial roles in financing his re-election campaign. …
“Attendees included donors and operatives who are working to raise money for the America First groups, such as the Dallas financial executive Roy W. Bailey and the Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm, as well as the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., according to someone briefed on the list of attendees and published reports.” http://nyti.ms/2FtWeIR
THE TRADE PLAN ... KIND OF -- “U.S. Asks China for Plan to Reduce Trade Deficit by $100 Billion,” by WSJ’s Lingling Wei: “The Trump administration is asking Beijing for a plan to cut the annual U.S. trade deficit with China by $100 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
“President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that Washington had asked Beijing for a $1 billion reduction -- less than 0.3% of the countries’ annual trade gap or around one day’s worth of the trade imbalance. His tweet was off by $99 billion. According to the people, Trump administration officials made the request to Liu He, the main architect of China’s economic policy, last week when he was in Washington.” http://on.wsj.com/2FrOKWy
INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE -- “White House meets with group urging English as official U.S. language,” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Debra Saunders: “Stephen Guschov, the executive director of ProEnglish, told the Review-Journal that he and ProEnglish Director of Government Relations Dan Carter have met with staffers who work under Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“An official from Pence’s office confirmed that a staffer met with ProEnglish ‘for an informational meeting to hear out their policy priorities,’ while an official from Trump’s press office confirmed that ‘a mid-level staffer from domestic policy met with (Guschov) as a courtesy measure.’” http://bit.ly/2FpPUSE
SIGN UP FOR PLAYBOOK POOL -- Sign up for the 2nd Annual Playbook Pool and face off against readers from our Playbooks from around the country. Prizes include Apple Watches, AirPods, GoPros, Google Homes, Snapchat Spectacles and more. Create your bracket after Selection Sunday this week. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED: We’re delivering Playbook basketballs to House and Senate offices next week. Tweet a fun photo with your basketball with #PlaybookLoyal and we’ll retweet it! Sign up now http://bit.ly/2Ga22bL
ON THE WORLD STAGE -- “Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel -- and Can’t Agree on a Meeting,” by Bloomberg’s Nick Wadhams: “The top diplomats from Russia and the U.S. are spending their Thursday evening at a five-story Sheraton Hotel in Ethiopia’s capital. But with the two countries’ relationship at a post-Cold War low, the envoys can’t even agree on whether they want to meet.
“The latest dispute began a few weeks ago when reporters realized that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would be in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the same time. Tillerson is at the start of a five-nation tour expected to focus on security and counterterror issues. Lavrov is further along on his own trip to the continent, although Ethiopia is the only destination on both diplomats’ schedules.” https://bloom.bg/2FsW5VU
SECURITY CLEARANCE WOES -- “DHS official jailed over domestic violence case says he handles ‘high volume’ of classified information,” by WaPo’s Elise Viebeck: “A senior career official with the Department of Homeland Security who served jail time for an alleged assault on his wife handles a ‘high volume’ of classified information in his role as an intelligence briefer, according to his online résumé. ...
“[Lawrence] Curran’s case, detailed in more than 100 pages of public records obtained by The Washington Post, raises questions about the clearance review process at a time when access to classified information is under heightened scrutiny at top levels of the government, including at the White House.
“There is no rule triggering automatic suspension or revocation of security clearances when government workers are arrested, charged or sentenced in connection with criminal conduct. The process generally relies on an honor system in which clearance holders are expected themselves to report serious issues with law enforcement. If a security clearance is suspended or revoked, the employee may appeal to try to regain it.” http://wapo.st/2G6c5hP
HMM… -- “Amid renewed scrutiny, Erik Prince to host fundraiser for Russia-friendly congressman,” by CNN’s Rebecca Berg: “Blackwater founder Erik Prince will host a fundraiser this month for Russia-friendly Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, as Prince faces new questions over a 2017 meeting currently being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. …
“The fundraising event, slated for March 18 at Prince’s Middleburg, Virginia residence, is expected to be attended by GOP Reps. Tom Garrett Jr. and Dave Brat, and Lt. Colonel Oliver North, according to an invitation obtained by CNN. Tickets start at $1,000 for the general reception, although donors paying $2,700 will also be invited to attend a VIP event beforehand.” http://cnn.it/2FpJvXC
MEDIAWATCH -- Veronica Bautista started this week as Brianna Keilar’s producer at CNN. She was previously a producer on CNN’s “New Day”.
-- “Overlooked: Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now we’re adding the stories of 15 remarkable women,” by Amisha Padnani and Jessica Bennett http://nyti.ms/2FqX49k
REMEMBERING CHUCK CAMPION -- Chuck Campion, one of the co-founders of Dewey Square, died last night. He had been involved in every presidential election since 1980 and was a special assistant to former Vice President Walter Mondale.
TRANSITIONS -- Chuck Rosenberg joined Crowell & Moring as senior counsel. He is a former chief of staff to the FBI director and acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. … Nasdaq’s Jeremy Skule has been promoted to EVP of marketing and comms. (h/t JC)
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Sara Eisen, an anchor on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” and recently named co-anchor of “Power Lunch” and Matthew Levine, head of U.S programming at Bloomberg TV, recently welcomed Samuel Harrison Levine. Pics by Miriam Dubinsky Photography http://bit.ly/2FitGG2 ... http://bit.ly/2FqcPgw
-- Amy Pellegrino, health policy director for the Senate Aging Committee under Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Ian MacFarlane, executive director of the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters, recently welcomed Amelia Frances MacFarlane. “Amelia shares a birthday with her great-grandmother Frances as well as with Sen. Snowe.” Pic http://politi.co/2Fvz7kp
BONUS BIRTHDAYS: GPG’s Josh McCafferty is 25 (h/t Alex Byers) … Quorum’s Kanyinsola Ajayi (h/t Spencer Launer, whose birthday was yesterday) … (was yesterday): Bloomberg food and agriculture reporter Lydia Mulvany … (was Saturday): Mike Yelovich