KUSHNER INC. -- “Kushners Near Deal With Qatar-Linked Company for Troubled Tower,” by NYT’s Charles Bagli: “The company controlled by the family of the White House adviser Jared Kushner is close to receiving a bailout of its financially troubled flagship building by a company with ties to the government of Qatar, according to executives briefed on the deal.
“Charles Kushner, head of the Kushner Companies, is in advanced talks with Brookfield Properties over a partnership to take control of the 41-story aluminum-clad tower 666 Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to two real estate executives who have been briefed on the pending deal but are not authorized to discuss it. Brookfield is a publicly traded company, headquartered in Canada, one of whose major investors is the Qatar Investment Authority.” https://nyti.ms/2rRZbx9
AN ALL-HOUSE ELECTION SECURITY BRIEFING for tonight with the FBI director, Homeland Security secretary and DNI has been postponed for next week. The speaker’s office cited scheduling issues.
THIS MORNING … SPEAKER PAUL RYAN said Bob Mueller should be able to finish his job, but he’d like to see him wrap up. … ON IMMIGRATION: CNN’S PHIL MATTINGLY asked Ryan if there was as bill that could get to the White House and get President Donald Trump’s signature. RYAN said: “Not with 218 [Republicans]. So the question is, could we have a bill that has a vast majority of Republicans that some Democrats would support. What’s the combination?”
WE THINK that’s going to be really, really tough, since Ryan also said the president hasn’t shifted his view on immigration policy.
KYLE KONDIK: “The Democrats’ Drive for 25 in the House: An Update” http://bit.ly/2IK5AFj
Good Thursday afternoon. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY? -- @realDonaldTrump at 7:28 a.m.: “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History...and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!”
… at 7:56 a.m.: “Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN IMBEDDED INFORMANT.’ Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”
… at 9:52 a.m.: “Despite the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted Witch Hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history - by far! Sorry to the Fake News Media and ‘Haters,’ but that’s the way it is!”
ATTN. CORY GARDNER -- “Independent voters hold more positive view of Bredesen than Blackburn, new poll finds,” by the Tennessean’s Joel Ebert: “Independent voters in Tennessee have a significantly more positive view of former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen than Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a new poll [from Vanderbilt University] shows, as the race to replace U.S. Sen. Bob Corker continues to heat up.
“Further, a majority of Republicans even say they have a favorable view of Bredesen. … The poll, released Thursday, found 69 percent of independent respondents had a favorable view of Bredesen. Just 44 percent of independents had a positive view of Blackburn.” https://tnne.ws/2GtdgGu
(NO) MEETING PREP -- “President Trump ‘Doesn’t Think He Needs’ to Prepare Much for His Meeting With North Korea's Kim Jong Un,” by Time’s Brian Bennett and Tessa Berenson: “With just one month until a scheduled sit-down with North Korea’s leader, President Donald Trump hasn’t set aside much time to prepare for meeting with Kim Jong Un, a stark contrast to the approach of past presidents.
“‘He doesn’t think he needs to,’ said a senior administration official familiar with the President’s preparation. Aides plan to squeeze in time for Trump to learn more about Kim’s psychology and strategize on ways to respond to offers Kim may make in person, but so far a detailed plan hasn’t been laid out for getting Trump ready for the summit. …
“Another White House official told TIME ‘there is a robust, whole-of-government effort underway to prepare for President Trump’s upcoming meeting,’ but declined to elaborate on internal discussions or preparations beyond that statement.” https://ti.me/2Gsj1UR
ON THE WORLD STAGE -- “North Korea’s Sudden Shift Puts South’s Leader on the Spot,” by NYT’s Choe Sang-Hun in Seoul: “For [South Korean President Moon Jae-in], the North’s reversal brought home the difficulties in playing matchmaker between his country’s most fearsome foe and its most important ally, both countries run by an impulsive and often unpredictable leader.
“It shows the extraordinarily difficult challenge that Mr. Moon confronts. He faces skepticism from both Pyongyang and Washington that he can be an honest broker. North Korea still considers South Korea an American stooge. In the United States, conservatives who have the president’s ear worry that progressive South Korean leaders like Mr. Moon will ease sanctions, breaking ranks with Washington in their eagerness to reconcile with the North.” https://nyti.ms/2rNeacy
WAR REPORT -- “U.S. Has Spent $2.8 Trillion on Terrorism Fight, Study Finds,” by WSJ’s Jessica Donati: “The U.S. has spent as much as $2.8 trillion on the fight against terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a study published Wednesday.
“The report from the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank said the figure included spending on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, in addition to homeland-security efforts and overseas programs. Spending on counterterrorism reached a peak of $260 billion in 2008, accounting for more than a fifth of the government’s discretionary budget.” https://on.wsj.com/2GqK6I0
MEDIAWATCH -- “Suzanne Scott Named CEO of Fox News,” by Variety’s Brian Steinberg: “Veteran programming executive Suzanne Scott was named chief executive of the Fox News unit of 21st Century Fox, part of the continuing reorganization of the company as it prepares to sell the bulk of its assets to Walt Disney Co.
“She will report to Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch, who will lead the recalibrated company. Fox News will perhaps be the largest financial contributor to the parent corporation. Fox News said Jay Wallace would serve as president of the Fox News unit, as well as executive editor.” http://bit.ly/2rPfhbP
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION -- @MayorBowser: “Qatar and the @DowntownDCBID teamed up years ago to deliver City Center DC. Today, they’re doing it again to deliver late night Metro service to Caps fans. Beat the rain and Lightning, take Metro and let’s #GoCaps! @Amb_AlThani @QatarEmbassyUSA #ALLCAPS”
SPOTTED: Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) having dinner last night at the Jefferson Hotel with Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) … Boris Epshteyn speaking with Rudy Giuliani this morning at 1100 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn -- he interviewed him for the Sinclair daily segment, “Bottom Line with Boris” – pic http://bit.ly/2IO26BC
OUT AND ABOUT -- SPOTTED at ASCAP’s “We Write The Songs” event at the Library of Congress last night: Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) -- who played harmonica on stage with Jason Mraz (pic http://bit.ly/2rPTWOI) -- and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Carla Hayden, Paul Williams, Beth Matthews, David Israelite, Joe Keeley, Tyler Grimm, Shannon Sorenson, Brendan Belair, Jennifer Lackey, Mike Love of The Beach Boys, Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers and Brandy Clark.
TRANSITIONS -- Matt Kellogg joined HSBC as SVP of public affairs. He was most recently deputy assistant secretary at the Department of the Treasury. … Tom Szold, Charlie Szold and Shawn McCoy have started a private equity firm called Blue Zone Partners, which closed on its first deal late last week. Tom Szold is an alum of the Carly campaign while brother Charlie is a David Young alum and has also served as comms director for the Republican Party of Iowa. McCoy was Iowa comms director for the Romney 2012 campaign and is president and publisher of InsideSources.
HAPPY 38th ANNIVERSARY to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Cindy McCain.
BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Phillip Stutts, CEO of Go BIG Media and author of “Fire Them Now”. How he got his start in politics: “In San Diego working for the Dole/Kemp 1996 Republican National Convention -- recruiting and training volunteers.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2GpusNi