TRUMP’S NOT HIS ONLY CLIENT … SPOTTED: RUDY GIULIANI was seen Friday morning in circuit court in Broward County, Florida. Pic http://bit.ly/2G7eaZm
DARREN SAMUELSOHN caught up with Giuliani on phone as he was driving around, having just stopped by one of his Palm Beach Condos to pick up some things. Giuliani declined to name the client but said it was ‘some old business’ he had to deal with before he left Greenberg Traurig. He said she was a young woman – a personal friend - who didn’t need to be dragged into the press. ‘I’d prefer if they didn’t get a lot of attention.’ He confirmed it was an insurance-related case. Giuliani said: “It’s all been settled … It had nothing to do with the president.” He added: “This one is over.” Steve Rossi was his co-counsel who had him admitted to the bar for that specific case in South Florida.
-- ON THE HOUSING FRONT: Giuliani also said he’s looking for a new Palm Beach home as his two condos are up in the air per the divorce from his third wife, Judith Nathan. ”If you hear of a nice home on a golf course let me know,” Giuliani said. “My boss doesn’t have homes on his golf courses.” He said he likes old Palm Beach where he has lots of friends and that he plays both of Trump’s courses in Jupiter and in Palm Beach, where he is a member.
-- BEST QUOTE: “I could be a commercial for Palm Beach.”
Good Friday afternoon. FOLLOW THE MONEY… “EXCLUSIVE: Special counsel probing donations with foreign connections to Trump inauguration,” by ABC’s John Santucci, Matthew Mosk, Katherine Faulders and Soo Rin Kim: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned several witnesses about millions of dollars in donations to President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee last year, including questions about donors with connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, sources with direct knowledge told ABC News.
“Those interviewed included longtime Trump friend and confidant Thomas Barrack, who oversaw the fundraising effort, as well as individuals familiar with the massive inaugural fund, according to sources with direct knowledge. … The billionaire runs a fund with hundreds of millions in real estate and private equity holdings in the Middle East. Barrack oversaw the largest inaugural fundraising effort in U.S. history, bringing in $107 million – more than double what President Barack Obama raised for his first swearing-in festivities.
“According to a source who has sat with the Mueller team for interviews in recent weeks, the special counsel is examining donors who have either business or personal connections in Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Several donors with those ties contributed large sums to the non-profit fundraising entity – gifts that topped out at $1 million dollars, according to public records.
“Special counsel investigators have also asked witnesses about specific inauguration donors, including American businessmen Leonard Blavatnik, and Andrew Intrater, according to sources familiar with the Mueller sessions. Neither has been accused of any wrongdoing.” https://abcn.ws/2IbyBWB
THE COHEN EFFECT -- “AT&T public policy chief out after Michael Cohen firestorm,” by Steven Overly: “AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told employees that the firm's top public policy official will retire following the revelation that the firm hired President Donald Trump's embattled personal attorney as a political consultant, a move Stephenson characterized as a ‘serious misjudgment.’
“‘There is no other way to say it -- AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake,’ Stephenson told employees. Bob Quinn, the senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, will retire, Stephenson’s memo states. The public policy shop will report to general counsel David McAtee for ‘the foreseeable future.’” https://politi.co/2GahCm4 … The full memo from CNBC https://cnb.cx/2KUCDor
-- STAT’S ED SILVERMAN: “‘Yesterday was not a good day for Novartis,’ wrote Vasant Narasimhan, a physician and former McKinsey consultant, who joined the drug maker more than a decade ago and oversaw global drug development before being promoted to chief executive this past February. …
‘We made a mistake entering into this engagement and as a consequence are being criticized by a world that expects more from us,’ he continued. ‘Personally, for my family it was also a difficult day as unfounded stories spread through the U.S. news… I went to sleep frustrated and tired.’” http://bit.ly/2G87HgC
ON THE CALENDAR -- “Trump to huddle with Senate Republicans next week,” by Burgess Everett: “President Donald Trump will address Senate Republicans at a private party lunch next Tuesday, GOP leaders said Friday. The president will discuss ongoing negotiations with North Korea as well as the economy, said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, who chairs the GOP’s policy committee.” https://politi.co/2G5GXxb
TRUMP SPEAKS DURING AUTOMAKER CEO ROUNDTABLE … per pooler Annie Linskey of the Boston Globe: Q: "Mr. President do you still have confidence in Administrator Pruitt.?" TRUMP: “Yes I do." (Pruitt was awkwardly seated close to Trump.)
Q: “Are you concerned that NAFTA may adversely affect the auto industry?” TRUMP: "We'll see what happens … I've never been a NAFTA fan as you know. NAFTA has been a terrible deal."
HMM… -- “Documents Reveal How Russian Official Courted Conservatives In U.S. Since 2009,” by NPR’s Tim Mak: “Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin traveled frequently between Moscow and various destinations in the United States to build relationships with figures on the American right starting as early as 2009, beyond his previously known contacts with the National Rifle Association.
“Documents newly obtained by NPR show how he traveled throughout the United States to cultivate ties in ways well beyond his formal role as a member of the Russian legislature and later as a top official at the Russian central bank. These are steps a former top CIA official believes Torshin took in order to advance Moscow’s long-term objectives in the United States, in part by establishing common political interests with American conservatives.” https://n.pr/2jSOHdb
SUSAN GLASSER in the New Yorker: “The Price of Getting Inside Trump’s Head: Michael Cohen has profited from it, but we’re all Trumpologists now”: “Of course, there’s always an element of Kremlinology in how we cover the White House. Every Administration has its secrets, its hidden power centers, and murky decision-making; in a company town like Washington, lobbyists and reporters have long been paid to figure out who’s really got the king’s ear and who’s on the outs, and, above all, to determine what the President is actually going to do. …
“But, at least in Administrations of old, there was a process to pay attention to, meetings where actual decisions were made, policy rollouts planned in advance as a result of those decisions. … Under Trump, so many of those old habits have disappeared in such a short amount of time. Many of this President’s major decisions -- from appointing Cabinet secretaries to pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal -- are completely opaque and, in many cases, shockingly process-free.
“So, instead, we are left to scour the President’s Twitter feed, consult old campaign speeches like oracles, and hang on the words of the Roger Stones and Chris Christies of the world as we devour the latest intel on who has walk-in privileges to the Oval Office.” http://bit.ly/2G62c23
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-Ky.) in POLITICO Magazine: “Why Isn’t Gina Haspel Coming Clean About Torture?”: https://politi.co/2rzSd0j
BEYOND THE BELTWAY -- “Schneiderman succession jockeying grips New York,” by Gloria Pazmino and Jimmy Vielkind in New York: “A wide pool of potential contenders quickly emerged following [Eric] Schneiderman’s surprise resignation Monday night amid abuse allegations, ranging from three members of the state’s congressional delegation to New York City Public Advocate Tish James. Schneiderman had played a key role among Democratic state attorney generals in challenging the Trump administration, and the question of who succeeds him will have implications for future City mayoral races — and possibly even this year’s gubernatorial primary.” https://politi.co/2KX1xU2
AFTERNOON READ -- WaPo’s DAN BALZ: “Loyalty, unease in Trump’s Midwest: Voters gave Trump a chance. Some remain all in. Others have grown weary of the chaos”: “[Dennis] Schminke lives in a section of the Upper Midwest that responded enthusiastically to Trump, as a candidate and an incoming president. In this region, the Trump presidency is viewed as both reassuring and exhausting, a welcome poke in the eye at elites and the Washington power structure coupled with endless and often self-inflicted distractions. What is also apparent is that, 16 months into Trump’s presidency, many voters here have recalibrated their feelings and intensity of support for the man they backed in 2016.
“This report traces the long arc of those changing perceptions, from the initial recognition of Trump as an unforeseen political force to the expectations during the early weeks of his presidency, and then through various chapters of chaos, dysfunction and policy changes. The story is told through the voices of the voters -- and the degree to which the reservations are now stated more explicitly than they were in early 2017.” https://wapo.st/2jP4Pwl
TV TONIGHT -- Bob Costa has the NYT’s Peter Baker, WaPo’s Anne Gearan, and VICE News’ Shawna Thomas on tonight at 8 p.m. on PBS’ “Washington Week”.
MEDIAWATCH -- Melanie Buck has been named executive producer of “Cuomo Prime Time” on CNN. She was previously executive producer of CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper,” and Abigail Crutchfield will replace her as executive producer on Tapper’s show.
-- Jen Scott joined POLITICO as chief of staff to the CEO. She most recently was at the Advisory Board Company.
-- Li Zhou is heading to Vox, whe she’ll cover Congress and the midterms. She’s spent two years at POLITICO as a pro technology reporter.
SPOTTED: former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen walking into 400 North Cap this morning to do a Sky News hit. ... Keith Schiller this morning in the lobby of the Trump Hotel – he was carrying a folded bag for his suit.
SPOTTED at a reception at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP’s grand opening in its new offices on New York Avenue: Jonathan Schiller, Karen Dunn, Bill Isaacson, Mike Brille, Michael Gottlieb, William Jackson, Robert Cooper, Josh Riley, Amy Mauser, Lisa Barclay, Rich Feinstein, Stacy Grigsby, Hamish Hume, Hampton Dellinger, Travis LeBlanc, Jim Denvir, David Snyder, Abby Dennis, Josh Friedman, Sam Kaplan, Meryl Governski, David Ignatius, Jamie Gorelick, Mark Ein, Sam Feist, Tamera Luzzatto, David Leiter, Bill Schultz, Sophia McCrocklin, Devlin Barrett, Julianna Goldman, Aruna Viswanatha, Aaron Schiller, Sadie Gurman, Molly Levinson, Ricki Seidman, Emily Porter, Alfred Levitt, Neil Eggleston, Drew Fitzgerald.
-- SPOTTED at the Watergate Hotel for Direct Impact’s 30th anniversary celebration last night: Michael Fleischer, Kathy Jeavons, Brian Noyes, Tim Lyons, Bill McQuillen, Patrick Kerley, David Cunningham, Judith Fouts, Karen Moore, Rebecca Devine, Carson Chandler, Michael Layne, Al Upchurch, Michael Szudarek, Mark Graul, Karen Slifka, Jim Gwinner, Greg Foster, Scott Dunaway, Travis Thomas, Andy Poarch, Rob Jones, Matt Rexroad, Rob Coon, Harris Vaughan, Ed Matricardi, Anne Hathaway, Tim Phelps.
TRANSITIONS -- Stephen Worley is joining the International Franchise Association as senior director of communications next Monday. He was previously deputy communications director for the Senate Appropriations Committee … Michael Dale-Stein is going to Sunshine Sachs to be a senior account director. He was previously a senior communications adviser for Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and is an alum of former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Molly Morrissey will be Smith’s new press secretary.
BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jo Ling Kent, NBC News correspondent. How she got her start in journalism: “An internship at ABC News in New York, then got my first job in their Beijing bureau. I later became a field producer at CNN in Beijing and then joined NBC News as a campaign embed reporter covering the 2012 presidential campaigns. I got my start on air in Hartford as an investigative reporter at NBC Connecticut.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2GahCm4