BREAKING -- “Pence to announce new Venezuela sanctions in speech on Monday: aide,” by Reuters’ Roberta Rampton https://reut.rs/2FSldF1
NEW …. NRCC CUTS NATIONWIDE DIGITAL AD ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF A PELOSI SPEAKERSHIP … Last week, Nancy Pelosi told the Boston Globe that she thought Democrats would win the House, and she said she would run for speaker. The NRCC told us then they were going to cut an ad … and here it is:
-- “ALL AT STAKE”: Script: “She’s at it again. [FOX TV CLIP]: ‘Nancy Pelosi is already looking beyond this year’s midterm election to taking back the speaker’s gavel.’ ‘I will run for speaker, I feel confident about it.’ [NARRATOR]: With Pelosi as speaker, everything we’ve fought for will come undone. [PELOSI on MTP]: ‘I wanted a … I’d love a single payer.’ [TV read]: ‘Democrats will raise your taxes if they take back control of Congress, that’s what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi now says.’ [NARRATOR]: This November, it’s all at stake.” The 38-second clip: http://bit.ly/2InKcp5
-- REPUBLICANS are, quite clearly, hoping they can inject Pelosi into the midterm elections. Pelosi, meanwhile, told the Globe last week that the more she gets attacked, the more money she raises.
SPEAKING OF ... We’ll sit down with NANCY PELOSI TOMORROW in D.C. Six months ahead of Election Day. The event is at the Liaison Hotel (415 New Jersey Avenue, NW). Doors open at 8 a.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/playbookpelosi
FOR YOUR RADAR … MICHAEL FLYNN is going on “Montana Talks” radio Tuesday at 9 a.m. http://bit.ly/2I0ITc8
Good Monday afternoon. RESCISSIONS UPDATE -- SARAH FERRIS: “Trump spending cut proposal now expected at $15B”: “The White House is expected to scale up its spending cuts proposal to $15 billion, according to multiple Republicans familiar with the request. The Trump administration had last week planned to send Congress a package of $11 billion in spending reductions, but since then some conservatives have demanded a more austere approach, those Republicans said. …
“The administration will still send the request to Capitol Hill this week, but it will no longer be sent today, as had earlier been predicted. Now, the package is expected as early as Tuesday, those familiar with the plan said. They said it is still set to tap only funding from years past, not the omnibus.” https://politi.co/2FSw9SV
ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND -- @realDonaldTrump at 6:53 a.m.: “To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State...No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!”
… at 7:04 a.m.: “My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists. Think of that, in these very dangerous times, we have the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror. Win Gina!” ...
… at 7:27 a.m.: “The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime. There is no O, it’s called Fighting Back” … at 7:39 a.m.: “The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice...and just wait ‘till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!” ...
… at 9:26 a.m.: “Lisa Page, who may hold the record for the most Emails in the shortest period of time (to her Lover, Peter S), and attorney Baker, are out at the FBI as part of the Probers getting caught? Why is Peter S still there? What a total mess. Our Country has to get back to Business!” … at 9:35 a.m.: “Is this Phony Witch Hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the Mid-Term Elections, which is what the Democrats always intended? Republicans better get tough and smart before it is too late!” ...
… at 10:08 a.m.: “The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!”
WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY IS TOMORROW … -- @danmericaCNN: “Blankenship responds to Trump: ‘The President... doesn’t know me and he doesn’t know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary.’ He added: ‘The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the US Senate and promote the President’s agenda.’” … “Blankenship added: ‘Tomorrow, West Virginia will send the swamp a message -- no one, and I mean no one, will tell us how to vote. As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it.’ No one, I guess, includes the President.”
-- BACKSTORY … NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN: “At McConnell’s Urging, Trump Asks West Virginians Not to Vote for Don Blankenship”: “Mr. Trump’s decision to speak out on the race came after Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whom Mr. Blankenship has targeted in a deeply personal manner, urged the president in a telephone call to weigh in against the controversial former coal executive, according to a Republican official familiar with the conversation.” https://nyti.ms/2jC2SDq
PRUITT PROBLEMS -- “‘Smoke and Mirrors’: Emails Detail Pruitt’s Drive for Secrecy at the E.P.A.,” by NYT’s Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman: “Details from [a March 2017 breakfast with utility executives], and dozens of other official appearances from Mr. Pruitt’s scandal-plagued first year at the E.P.A., have until now been hidden from public view as a result of an extraordinary effort by Mr. Pruitt and his aides to block disclosure of the bulk of his daily schedule.
“But a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club, the environmental group, has resulted in the release of 10,703 pages of documents that detail Mr. Pruitt’s plans for travel and appearances nationwide. The documents offer visibility for the first time not only into many of his appearances but into the agency’s pursuit of secrecy as well.” https://nyti.ms/2FRHVNv
ON THE WORLD STAGE -- “Why U.S. companies are changing their websites to please China,” by CNN’s Daniel Shane and Julia Horowitz: “Washington and Beijing clashed this weekend over Chinese demands that more than 30 international airlines, including some U.S. carriers, change their websites to remove any information that could suggest that Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are not part of China. The pressure on the airlines is just the latest flashpoint over how Beijing treats American companies.
“The White House, which slammed the demands as ‘Orwellian nonsense,’ said they are ‘part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.’” https://cnnmon.ie/2FRqyfL
CAMPAIGN STOP -- “Stung by criticism, DNC hires more minorities, elevates women,” by NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald: “Nearly half of the [DNC’s] staff are now people of color and 51 percent are women, according to a new report to be published by the DNC Monday. The report was prepared as the party responds to criticism that it has taken minority voters for granted while overlooking them for jobs and contracts.” https://nbcnews.to/2KDEL3v
AFTERNOON READ -- “This American Is A General For A Foreign Army Accused Of War Crimes In Yemen,” by BuzzFeed’s Aram Roston: “Stephen Toumajan spent most of his professional life as an officer in the US Army — but these days the country he serves is not the US but the United Arab Emirates. He is a major general for the Emirati military, according to his own statements and a UAE government website.
“He commands the UAE’s military helicopter branch at a time when that country’s forces are fighting one of the world’s deadliest conflicts: the brutal war in Yemen … To be a UAE general is a step up for Toumajan, who left the US Army as a lieutenant colonel and once had a side gig running a women’s bust–enhancement business in Tennessee called Breast Wishes.
“More importantly, it represents a marked escalation of the role US private military contractors play in foreign conflicts. While military contractors have become deeply entwined in warfare all over the world, they traditionally have stuck to strict limits: advising, training, and supplying foreign armies -- but not actually serving in them. It’s the distinction between being a contractor and a mercenary. Toumajan’s role blurs that distinction.” https://bzfd.it/2FTZCfg
TV TONIGHT – SHAWNA THOMAS has produced a special episode of “VICE News Tonight” on HBO, which airs tonight. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at 30-year-old Democrat Katie Hill’s campaign to become the next representative from Los Angeles County’s most conservative district. Two clips for Playbookers -- Hill on sexism on the campaign http://bit.ly/2FUjK1a ... Fundraising http://bit.ly/2wmwGNy
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION -- “ Metro wants to rebuild 20 station platforms in three years, creating SafeTrack-like disruptions,” by WaPo’s Faiz Siddiqui: “ There will be no service on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines south of Reagan National Airport for 98 days beginning in May 2019, as the transit agency embarks on a full-scale platform rebuilding project spanning six stations, part of an effort to rebuild 20 station platforms over three years.
“The work will focus on rebuilding crumbling station platforms that the agency says pose a safety risk to riders, and will mark Metro’s first major capital project since securing $500 million a year in dedicated funding.
“But the project, outlined in board documents posted to the agency’s website Monday, is another blow to Blue and Yellow line riders who endured substantial slowdowns and service disruptions during four SafeTrack surges last year.” https://wapo.st/2FQADK7
TRANSITIONS -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has joined Cozen O’Connor as senior adviser for Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies and counsel of their law firm. Christi Mayer has joined him at Cozen as a policy adviser in the public strategies shop. … Camille Gallo is now regional press secretary for Florida at the NRSC. She previously as communications director for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.).
-- Blake Seitz started today as a speechwriter for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). He previously was a speechwriter for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). … Andrew Bowins is now the Entertainment Software Association’s senior vice president of communications and industry affairs. He was previously an executive director at KPMG. Nika Nour is now head of public affairs and strategic advisor to the CEO at ESA.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- Caren Auchman, SVP and head of the Washington office of LEWIS PR Global Communications and a Chris Dodd and Henry Waxman alum, married Aaron Bregman, history teacher at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. “The couple met on Jswipe (and Tinder, so it was definitely beshert). The wedding ceremony and reception were in the Hotel Monaco in D.C., with the afterparty around the fire pits in the courtyard bar Dirty Habit.” Pics http://bit.ly/2Il7lIw ... http://bit.ly/2I0TeVI ... http://bit.ly/2K2fiQ3
SPOTTED: Bryan DeAngelis and Kate Lynch, Mara Lee, Kristin Lee and Kevin Griffis, Perry Bacon and Anne Blaylock Bacon, Danielle Yates and David Quinalty, Erin Seidler, Steph Cappa and Dan Cox, bridesmaids Leah Seigle and Allison Preiss, Micah Winograd, Rebecca Schevitz, Dan and Lizzie Wessel, JJ Jerrell, Greg Higgins, Milla and Steve Kasulke.
-- “CNN’s Brooke Baldwin and James Fletcher Are Married,” by TVNewser’s Chris Ariens: “Baldwin married James Fletcher in front of friends and family at The Barn at Liberty Hills, an event space in the Hudson Valley north of New York City, Saturday. ... Fletcher is a producer and creative director. Many of Baldwin’s CNN colleagues were at the wedding, including Dana Bash [and her partner Spencer Garrett], Don Lemon, Wolf Blitzer,” Jeff Zucker and Poppy Harlow. Pics http://bit.ly/2KG6AIJ
-- BUSH ALUMNI: Greg Jenkins, principal at North Bay Strategies and a Bush WH alum, and Robert Pittman, assistant county counsel for Sonoma, married this weekend on the Mendocino Coast in California. “Bob and I met in 2007 when we were living and working in Newport Beach, Calif.” Pics http://bit.ly/2wkel3U ... http://bit.ly/2jCwfFS
SPOTTED: Israel Hernandez, Brooks Altshuler, Georgia Godfrey, Leslie Beyer, Steve Atkiss, Lauren Willis, Todd Beyer, Nina Bishop, Denise Dunckel, Erin Dobson, Kim Palmese, Jack McDougle, Paul Morse, Tim Isgitt, Stacey Silva, Keith Hensley
WELCOME TO THE WORLD – Michael Irwin, director of IT operations at POLITICO, and Michael Zurat, director of engagement solutions at Cognosante and a Booz Allen Hamilton alum, post on Facebook: “Baby William arrived promptly at 7:42 p.m. ... weighing in at 8lb 9.7oz and 21in long. Surrogate mother and daddies are doing well!” Pics http://bit.ly/2wkmzcb ... http://bit.ly/2rwja4z
BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: John Scofield, partner at S-3 Group. He’s celebrating in his home state of Oregon with friends and family. How he got his start: “Got started in politics through an internship with Sen. Mark Hatfield also from Oregon, offered a job after internship and never left D.C. 23 years in D.C.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2I3REm1