Power Briefing: Trump watched ‘bits and pieces’ of Comey’s ABC interview

- April 16, 2018

BREAKING AT THE BOSTON MARATHON -- “Desiree Linden, Yuki Kawauchi capture Boston Marathon victories,” by The Boston Globe’s Matt Pepin and Rachel Bowers: “For the first time in 33 years, an American woman has claimed victory at the Boston Marathon. Desiree Linden took the lead around the 35-kilometer mark and did not look back, capturing her first major marathon win by a wide margin as she crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds. …

“Meanwhile, Yuki Kawauchi of Japan completed a wild come-from-behind win, overtaking defending champion Geoffrey Kirui and his 1-minute-31-second lead at the 25.2-mile mark. Kawauchi’s unofficial time is 2:15:54.” http://bit.ly/2HFIgFO

Good Monday afternoon. BREAKING IN NEW YORK: “Cohen Names Trump and GOP Donor as Clients Ahead of Hearing,” by Bloomberg’s Bob Van Voris and David Voreacos: “Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he gave legal advice to three clients in the past year, including the president and Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“Cohen declined to identify the third client in a filing in Manhattan federal court, where he will appear Monday at a hearing to determine whether federal prosecutors can review materials seized in an FBI raid on his office, home and hotel room last week.

“U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood on Monday will consider Trump’s extraordinary request that she block his own Justice Department from viewing evidence seized by the FBI. https://bloom.bg/2HqnWdQ

-- @mkraju: “Despite mounting legal troubles, Michael Cohen is still a part of the RNC finance committee, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel says on @NewDay.”


A HEADLINE BEN RAY LUJAN WON’T LIKE … “Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking,” by WaPo’s Dan Balz and Scott Clement: “Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victories in November.

“The poll finds that the gap between support for Democratic vs. Republican House candidates dropped by more than half since the beginning of the year. At the same time, there has been a slight increase in President Trump’s approval rating, although it remains low. Measures of partisan enthusiasm paint a more mixed picture of the electorate in comparison to signs of Democratic intensity displayed in many recent special elections.” https://wapo.st/2J0ifQR

… AND A HEADLINE KEVIN MCCARTHY WON’T LIKE … WSJ: “Some Republicans See House Speaker Race as an Open Field: Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise lead a shadow contest to succeed Paul Ryan” https://on.wsj.com/2H2z7Kb


THINK HE WATCHED LAST NIGHT? -- @realDonaldTrump at 8:25 a.m.: “Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!”

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS on AF1, via Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner: “He saw bits and pieces … didn’t watch the whole thing. I think it’s pretty similar -- we didn’t learn anything new. Comey is a self-admitted leaker. He’s been proven to be dishonest and I think his credibility is really at hand and it’s quite interesting that he would question someone else’s when he has such a lack of credibility himself.”

-- GARRETT GRAFF’s Comey book review in Rolling Stone, “James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’ Is a Study in Contradictions, Inside and Out”: “Comey’s book is strongest at its simplest, when it’s just a straightforward memoir of a lawyer who has risen through the ranks of the Justice Department to be inside some of the most interesting crises of the post-9/11 era. It’s filled with the fun, anodyne details that make Washington memoirs so human: How the 6-foot, 8-inch Comey, used to ducking to enter the Situation Room’s low doorway, miscalculated one day while wearing a taller-than-normal pair of shoes and cracked his head on the door jamb, and then spent the briefing hoping President George W. Bush wouldn’t notice that his head was bleeding. Or how the famously prudish John Ashcroft chastised him for using the word ‘turd’ in another meeting.” https://rol.st/2H4It4d

… AND ON CURRENCY DEVALUATION at 8:31 a.m.: “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!”

-- Context from WaPo’s Damian Paletta: “The accusation, delivered without any evidence or corroboration, directly contradicts a report issued Friday by Trump’s Treasury Department, which did not accuse either country of artificially lowering the value of its currency. Instead, the report found China’s currency had recently moved in a direction that should benefit U.S. exporters.” https://wapo.st/2H6jj5j


PRUITT’S PROBLEMS …

-- WAPO: “The [EPA] administrator installed a $43,000 soundproof phone booth at agency headquarters last fall. An investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that the installation violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which prohibits an agency from paying more than $5,000 to redecorate or furnish a presidential appointee’s office without approval.” https://wapo.st/2qBoG6h

ON THE WORLD STAGE -- “Chemical weapons experts blocked from Syrian attack site, U.K. says,” by CNN’s Jamie Tarabay and Angela Dewan: “A fact-finding team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria on Saturday, the same day the U.S., U.K. and France carried out airstrikes against Syrian government targets in response to the April 7 attack in Douma.

“But by Monday, the team had still not been granted safe passage, according to the U.K. envoy to the OPCW, Peter Wilson. The U.S. expressed concerns that Russia may have tampered with evidence at the site.” https://cnn.it/2IZmE6E

TRUMP INC. -- “Trump businesses made millions off Republican groups and federal agencies, report says,” by McClatchy’s Anita Kumar: “President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015, according to a new report to be released Monday.

“The money went to Trump’s airplanes, hotels, golf courses, even a bottled water company during the presidential campaign and the first 15 months of his presidency, according to a compilation of known records of the spending by Public Citizen obtained by McClatchy. But it was Trump’s campaign itself that spent the biggest chunk by far -- about 90 percent, or $13.4 million.” http://bit.ly/2H5jFZV

THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL EX-CADDY -- ROBERT DRAPER in The New York Times Magazine: “Dan Scavino, the Secretary of Offense”: “[N]ow that [Trump’s supporters] had turned out for Trump and he was America’s 45th president, what did he still need Scavino for? I spent the next six months trying to find out, even as the ranks of ‘originals’ dwindled. Keith Schiller left in September.

“Soon after Hope Hicks exited the building on March 29, Scavino -- now the longest-tenured Trump employee in the White House -- took over her office, just outside the Oval. By these measures, he was one of the most powerful people in Washington, despite the fact that no one could explain what Scavino did for a living. …

“One of Scavino’s main roles is the care and feeding of his boss’s ego. He has learned how to fend off any negativity with a ready supply of superlatives. … Scavino, Hicks told me, would ‘tell him how things are playing with his people. That’s a gauge for him that the president takes seriously.’ Checking in with the base is as easy as looking at his phone.

“Scavino’s old friend offered an example: ‘Dan would scroll through his Twitter feed and if Franklin Graham says something particularly complimentary, he’ll say, ‘Look what Franklin Graham just wrote.’ Or if [CNN show host] Brian Stelter says something particularly stupid, he’ll run over and say, ‘Look what Fake News is doing.’” https://nyti.ms/2H4IEfQ

MEDIAWATCH -- “Report for America Supports Journalism Where Cutbacks Hit Hard,” by NYT’s Nellie Bowles: “Report for America, a nonprofit organization modeled after AmeriCorps, aims to install 1,000 journalists in understaffed newsrooms by 2022. Now in its pilot stage, the initiative has placed three reporters in Appalachia. It has chosen nine more, from 740 applicants, to be deployed across the country in June.” https://nyti.ms/2H2Y5ox

OUT AND ABOUT IN LOS ANGELES … ROB and MICHELLE REINER hosted a book party for Obama alum Pat Cunnane’s “West Winging It: An Unpresidential Memoir” ($16.80 on Amazon https://amzn.to/2H2k834). Rob and Pat talked about getting involved in the midterms. SPOTTED: Bobby Schmuck, Ferial Govashiri, Jeremy Bernard, “The Post” producer Tim White, Madeleine Dean (candidate for Pennsylvania’s fourth congressional and the author’s mother) and CAA TV agent Jonas Brooks.

SPOTTED: Ed Henry with Nats manager Dave Martinez in the Nats locker room on Sunday on 42 Day, in which all MLB players wore 42. Henry wrote “42” about Jackie Robinson. Pic http://bit.ly/2qAqtbD

TRANSITIONS -- Darci Vetter was named general manager for public affairs in Edelman’s D.C. office. She was previously a consultant on international trade and was the chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. … Casey Black started on Monday as press secretary for Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). She most recently was press secretary for Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and previously was on Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) comms team. … CNN hired Sarah Westwood to cover the White House. … The Obama Foundation announced its inaugural class of fellows. The 20 fellows represent 11 different countries. Full list of fellows http://bit.ly/2IZTnbU

ENGAGED -- Sam Jammal, Democratic candidate for Congress in California’s 39th district and an alum of Tesla, the Obama Administration and Capitol Hill, proposed to Jennifer Molina, press secretary for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and alum of the Clinton campaign and the Center for American Progress. The proposal took place as a surprise at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, where Jennifer was doing a photo shoot with her family. They are both already on their way back to California. Instapics http://bit.ly/2qzYBEw

-- Quentin Scholtz, legislative aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), recently proposed to McKinley Mason, executive assistant to the Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams. “He proposed at the site of the original Capitol Columns located in the National Arboretum to signify the place they first met, working in the Capitol.” Pics by Hannah Yoest http://bit.ly/2H2VlHW ... The ring http://bit.ly/2JL0lTq ... The proposal http://bit.ly/2GYzq4N

-- Matt Flunker, digital director on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and former digital and press aide to Gov. Walker’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, as well as in his official office, proposed to Rachel Miller, a traveling nurse. The couple met at UW-Madison. “He proposed in Georgetown along the water. Then he had her family and a few friends fly in and after he asked, which was also a surprise.” Pic http://bit.ly/2ITcOTy

WELCOME TO THE WORLD – BUSH ALUMNI: Jonathan Felts, the last WH political director under Bush 43 and now a public affairs consultant in Raleigh, and Courtney Felts, a speechwriter for U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on Wednesday welcomed Truman Beckett Felts. “Courtney worked to try to set a new record for delivery time arriving at the hospital at 4:50 and delivering 46 minutes later (not a record -- Maxwell beat him by a minute).” Pics http://bit.ly/2GZXE2r ... http://bit.ly/2HfiQ43

BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Tom Johnson (@TomMJohnsonJr), general counsel of the FCC. A fun fact about Tom: “I met President Nixon trick-or-treating at his home in Park Ridge, New Jersey, in 1993 -- the year before he died. Instead of candy, the President gave out signed cards wishing kids a Happy Halloween. My only regret is that I didn't go as Kissinger.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2HpGPxf


 

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