BREAKING ... KYLE CHENEY: "The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced Friday it has arrested a Virginia Beach man for threatening to murder Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.).
"Wallace Grove Godwin, 69, is expected to appear in a federal courthouse in Norfolk, Va. on Friday afternoon."https://politi.co/2Ghp4Qq
DO WE GET OUR MORNING BACK ? … THE PRESIDENT signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, principally, he said, because of the large boost in military spending. TRUMP said: “There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill. There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill.”
-- TRUMP also said he will “never sign another bill like this again -- I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it, it’s only hours old.”
-- TRUMP also wants more executive authority: “I’m calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for all government spending bills, and the Senate must end, must end, the filibuster rule and get down to work.”
--TRUMP on the overall number: “While we’re very disappointed in the $1.3 trillion -- nobody more disappointed than me, because the number is so large, it’ll start coming down -- we had no choice but to fund our military, because we have to have by far the strongest military in the world and this will be, by far, the strongest military that we’ve ever had.”
-- TRUMP on why he backed off a veto: “I looked very seriously at the veto. I was thinking about doing the veto. But because of the incredible gains that we’ve been able to make for the military, that overrode any of our thinking.”
TRUMP HAS A POINT and it’s a point many members of the House and Senate have made in the past week: why is Congress passing a 2,300-page bill just 24 hours after unveiling it? Trump called it a “ridiculous situation” -- and he has many sympathizers in the Capitol. BUT, if Trump was surprised by any element of this bill, his staff failed him. THEY WERE PART OF THE NEGOTIATION and very involved in the details. AND … They were up against a deadline. This was tricky stuff.
ALSO, Senate Republicans have said many times they will not end the 60-vote rule. This doesn't change anything.
THE NEW NORMAL … IN THE LAST 12 HOURS … PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP tweeted nice things about the massive government spending bill. The White House sent out a statement of the administration’s position, saying they were supportive of the bill. And the White House distributed talking points about just how good the bill was. Then he said this:
-- @realDonaldTrump at 8:55 a.m.: “I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.”
THIS ALL PRESENTS REPORTERS AND THE PUBLIC WITH A DILEMMA: How should we handle information out of the White House? They denied Gary Cohn was leaving. They denied H.R. McMaster was leaving. They denied there would be a shakeup on the legal team. They said he would sign the omnibus yesterday, no question. He ultimately did, but not before publicly threatening not to.
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE RIGHT, THEN WRONG … THEN RIGHT AGAIN: OMB DIRECTOR MICK MULVANEY, yesterday: “Is the president going to sign the bill? The answer is yes. Why? Because it funds his priorities.” SPEAKER PAUL RYAN, yesterday: “The President supports this bill. There’s no two ways about it.” THE WHITE HOUSE’S TALKING POINTS on the omnibus from yesterday: “The American People Win As President Donald J. Trump’s Priorities Are Funded”.
-- BTW: To make things weirder, before today, the White House invited a number of Hill aides to watch Marine One depart for Andrews Air Force base today at 4 p.m.
WHAT WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT … The two women who have accused the president of extramarital affairs. WONDER what he’ll do around 6:50 p.m. Sunday night before “60 Minutes” airs…
Good Friday afternoon. MORE TRUMP LEGAL TEAM TURNOVER? -- “White House lawyer McGahn eager to exit,” by Darren Samuelsohn: “[Don] McGahn, according to two of the sources, has signaled interest in returning to the Jones Day law firm where he previously worked and reprising a role he had during the 2016 campaign by handling legal matters for Trump’s re-election.
“But the exact timing for McGahn to make any move remains in flux. He’s told associates he’d like to leave the White House by the summer, but it could also be put on hold through the 2018 midterms.
“Concerned about the velocity of turnover inside his White House and beyond --Trump personal lawyer John Dowd resigned on Thursday, and the president has made changes atop the State Department, CIA and the national security adviser slot -- sources said Trump wants to have a new White House counsel in place who he’s comfortable with before clearing McGahn for the exits.” http://politi.co/2I0xrgh
KFILE’D -- “More anti-Muslim, conspiratorial tweets emerge from Trump’s pick for top UN migration job,” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott: “Ken Isaacs, the Trump administration pick to head the international organization that coordinates assistance to migrants worldwide, once wrote on Twitter that Austria and Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to keep refugees out.” http://cnn.it/2Ghenx7
HARASSMENT FILES -- “Mitch McConnell ‘should be ashamed’ for blocking sex harassment bill, congresswoman says,” by the Sacramento Bee’s Emily Cadei: “California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, one of the leading voices advocating for sexual harassment victims in Congress, is not happy that Congress just punted on what was perhaps its best chance of overhauling how harassment complaints are reported and adjudicated in Congress. She’s pointing the finger squarely at one person: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. ...
“Speier suggested McConnell specifically wants to ‘weaken’ a provision in the House’s sexual harassment proposal that would require members of Congress to pay for settlements of harassment complaints and other types of workplace discrimination out of their own pocket. But she said that ‘The one thing the American public made overwhelmingly clear was that Members must be held personally and financially responsible for their misdeeds.’” http://bit.ly/2HW5xCg
-- “#MeToo Called for an Overhaul. Are Workplaces Really Changing?” by NYT’s Jodi Kantor: “Five months after allegations against Harvey Weinstein led to the mass baring of past secrets, the focus is turning to the future. Government is stepping up efforts: In Washington, the House of Representatives is preparing to train every worker, down to the most junior intern, and state legislators across the country are proposing ambitious new laws. Corporate boards and investors from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are going on the offensive, probing for problems to avoid being surprised.
“Entrepreneurs are developing apps and programs to help victims discover if their harassers have targeted others. Women in entertainment, advertising and other industries are demanding fundamental shifts, including more females in leadership roles. The #MeToo moment has generated widespread calls for change, but the revelations about the sheer pervasiveness of harassment illuminate how tough it will be to extinguish.” http://nyti.ms/2GhnUEp
THE VICTIM IN TUESDAY’S SCHOOL SHOOTING -- “16-year-old victim of Maryland school shooting dies, sheriff's office says,” by The Baltimore Sun’s Ian Duncan http://bsun.md/2Giv9fq
IN PARKLAND -- Florida Playbooker MARC CAPUTO: “‘Oh my God…It’s fake’: Far right falls for hoax about Broward County sheriff”: “[Broward County’s Democratic sheriff, Scott] Israel for the past month has been assailed as everything from a ‘rapist’ to a philanderer to a crooked cop thanks to three old YouTube videos in which a mystery woman accused him of impregnating her when she was 17 and forcing her to get an abortion. The videos together have been viewed almost 130,000 times since the Feb. 14 shooting.
“But all of it was a lie, the woman and her attorney, Yechezkel Rodal, now tell POLITICO, which found her by combing internet videos and social media.” http://politi.co/2uaEmRY
DIPPING HIS TOE BACK IN THE WATER… -- Former Sen. AL FRANKEN posted a lengthy post on Facebook blasting Attorney General Jeff Sessions for “repeatedly [demonstrating] a lack of candor – under oath – about his own interactions with Russians.” The post http://bit.ly/2umjUhl
ANOTHER COMMITTEE WANTS ZUCKERBERG -- Ashley Gold: “The leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee today called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before their panel amid the controversy over reports that Trump-linked Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained data on 50 million Facebook users. Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and ranking member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said many questions have been raised over Facebook’s responsibilities and obligations and it's time to hear from the Facebook CEO.” https://politi.co/2GitG8A
ON THE WORLD STAGE -- “U.S. busts ‘massive’ Iranian hacking scheme,” by Eric Geller: “The Justice Department on Friday revealed charges against an Iranian hacking ring that prosecutors say spent years pilfering research and documents from over 100 American universities and government agencies.
“Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, called it a ‘massive and brazen cyber-assault’ and ‘one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns ever prosecuted’ by U.S. officials.” http://politi.co/2HZcfYd
REMEMBERING ZELL MILLER -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jill Vejnoska: “Zell Miller, a former two-term governor and U.S. senator who gave birth to Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, has died at the age of 86, his family said Friday in a statement.
“Miller was a keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention -- and a Republican National Convention. A veteran politician who really wanted to be a minor-league shortstop. A man unswervingly loyal to his mountain roots who came to be seen as a traitor by many in his political family. A statesman who never strayed from his basic principles, yet seemed utterly unpredictable.” http://bit.ly/2HXzMbM
BETTER THAN YOUR SEAT ON THE ACELA -- “Train Buffs Are Traveling Cross-Country in Super Luxe Railcars Hitched to Amtrak Trains,” by WSJ’s Nancy Keates: “Renovating and restoring cars at the highest end can cost more than $1 million. To travel, owners pay Amtrak $2.90 per mile, plus additional fees for services. Add the expenses of crew and connection transportation, and a cross-country trip can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Storing the cars costs about $600 to $1,000 a month. Private rail travel evokes images of the Vanderbilts and Woolworths sipping tea as they recline in plush leather armchairs, trundling through the countryside down to Palm Beach.” http://on.wsj.com/2GhFN5X
WHAT A TOWN! -- “The Agency That Protects Top Diplomats Trains at Le Diplomate,” by Washingtonian’s Jessica Sidman http://bit.ly/2I0RATB
-- @NationalMallNPS: “PEAK BLOOM UPDATE: BRRRRRR!!!! With continued colder than average temps (Feb was warmer than March has been this year), the blossoms lack the heating degrees needed to keep the #BloomWatch on track. And with no warmup on the horizon, peak bloom is now forecast for April 8-12.”
MEDIAWATCH -- Sarah Scully has been hired as a field producer on season three of Showtime’s “The Circus,” which comes back April 15. She previously was a segment producer at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 30-second teaser http://s.sho.com/2HWfVdf
SPOTTED: Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in line at DCA Friday morning -- Pic http://bit.ly/2HVIKXe … Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) getting a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in Washington Harbour this morning … Wolf Blitzer at Cafe Milano Thursday evening. … John Dowd at the Palm today (h/t Michael Duga)
OUT AND ABOUT -- Pool report: “Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor hosted the Sphinx Medals of Excellence Celebration dinner at the Supreme Court … Sphinx addresses the lack of inclusion in classical music throughout the entire pipeline, from music education to career advancement. Sotomayor told some attendees in casual conversation during the event that she wore Lord & Taylor or Macy’s which are the only two places she shops for clothes. Sotomayor said she turned down a Carolina Herrera couture dress for her SCOTUS oath of office because it didn’t fit her personality and instead went with a simpler jacket from Lord & Taylor.”
SPOTTED: John D. Evans, Steven Wozencraft, Dipanwita Das, Richard Graves, Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, Daniel Penchina, Ambs. Mark Brzezinski, Frank Baxter, Nancy Brinker, Lisa Gable, and Kenneth Quinn, Jonathan Capehart and Nick Schmit, Sandip Bhagat, Nihal Krishan, Alex Charlton, Jane Chu, Bill Carson, Teresa Clark, and Mike Hyter and his wife Tisha.
-- SPOTTED last night at Albright Stonebridge’s “spring reception” (even though it had snowed the day before): Madeleine Albright, Carlos Gutierrez, Julie Mason, Dan and Aviva Rosenthal, Peter Selfridge, Evan Ryan, Prem Kumar, Jane Harman, Carol Giacomo, Nicole Elkon, Mary Clare Rigali, Chris Farley.
-- SPOTTED at a Progressive Policy Institute pre-recess happy hour at Acqua Al 2 last night: Kristen Hawn, Mark Henson, Cachavious English, John McCarthy, Scott Peterson, Rachel Kelly, Ernie Jolly, Brad Howard, Arthur Sidney, Lio Barrera, Dana Gray, Brandi Davis, Sarah Goggans, Izzy Klein, Will Marshall, Lindsay Lewis, Anne Kim, Rob Keast, Cody Tucker and Jana Platt.
-- SPOTTED last night at a preview screening for “Chappaquiddick” at Landmark E Street Cinema hosted by The Federalist (trailer https://bit.ly/2CKK1RR): executive producer Mark Ciardi, Mark and Molly Hemingway, Daniel Turner, Chris Bedford, Sean and Alyssa Hackbarth, Gabby Morrongiello, Nicole Fisher, Sarah Lee, Mary Katherine Ham, Phil Klein, Ben Jacobs.
TRANSITIONS -- Parita Shah joined Pandora as head of public affairs on its government relations and public policy team. She was chief of staff at the Millennium Challenge Corporation and Department of Commerce spokesperson during the Obama administration. … Robert Yoon, a CNN alum, will be a visiting professor of journalism at the University of Michigan.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Jeremy Nordquist, chief of staff for Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and a former state senator in the Nebraska legislature, and Shannon Nordquist, PT, DPT, who works at Medstar National Rehabilitation Network, on Thursday welcomed John Thomas Nordquist, who was born at 2:07 p.m. at 9lbs 1oz. He “is a serious-minded policymaker who pulled himself up by his bootstraps. Got to lay the groundwork for 2060.” Pics https://bit.ly/2ugtDFP ... https://bit.ly/2IMxeyn