I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, April 19, 2018. 201 days until Election Day 2018. 929 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: There will be no newsletter sent out tomorrow. I'll be back in your inbox on Monday!
COHEN: "One of President Donald Trump’s longtime legal advisers said he warned the president in a phone call Friday that Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and close friend, would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges."
"Mr. Trump made the call seeking advice from Jay Goldberg, who represented Mr. Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president not to trust Mr. Cohen. On a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, Mr. Cohen “isn’t even a 1,” he said he told Mr. Trump." (Wall Street Journal)
--- "President Donald Trump and his outside advisers are increasingly worried that his longtime personal attorney might be susceptible to cooperating with federal prosecutors."
"Two sources close to the president said people in Trump’s inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen — long seen as one of Trump’s most loyal personal allies — might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump." (Politico)
POMPEO: "No Democrats have said yet they'll support Mike Pompeo, keeping the CIA director's fate unclear as the Senate prepares to vote on his nomination to be secretary of state."
"With Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky already opposed and Sen. John McCain back in Arizona battling cancer, Republicans would need a single Democrat to vote in favor of Pompeo should each of the 49 remaining GOP members vote for the nomination. Should they lose more Republicans, more Democrats would be needed to get the nomination across the finish line." (CNN)
--- "The White House on Wednesday cast CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s meeting with North Korea’s leader as evidence of his qualification to be President Donald Trump’s top diplomat, putting a political spin on his act of high-stakes nuclear diplomacy."
..."The revelation was timed to shore up Pompeo’s image as a diplomat capable of executing sensitive negotiations on the president’s behalf, according to a senior administration official—and to undermine Democratic efforts to portray him as a warmonger unsuited to lead the country’s diplomatic corps." (Politico)
--- President Trump called Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday urging him to meet with Pompeo in an attempt to sway him to support his nomination, Paul told reporters. "I'm open to meeting right now and we'll see what happens in the meeting," the Kentucky senator said. When asked on Wednesday about Paul's opposition to Pompeo, Trump replied: "I will say this about Rand Paul: He's never let me down."
--- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote on Pompeo's nomination on Monday. If Paul and all 10 committee Democrats vote "no," the nominee heads to the Senate floor with an unfavorable recommendation from the panel. Only one Cabinet secretary is on record as having been confirmed without a favorable recommendation from committee: Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace in 1945.
ROSENSTEIN: "Two of President Trump’s top legislative allies met with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein this week to press him for more documents about the conduct of law enforcement officials involved in the Russia probe and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, according to three people who were not authorized to speak publicly about the discussion."
"Rosenstein’s meeting at his office Monday with Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) came days after Meadows, an influential Trump confidant, warned Rosenstein that he could soon face impeachment proceedings or an effort to hold him in contempt of Congress if he did not satisfy GOP demands for documents." (Washington Post)
--- "The House Judiciary Committee has prepared a subpoena for the Justice Department to obtain copies of former FBI Director James Comey's memos documenting his encounters with President Donald Trump, according to sources familiar with the Republican-led committee's plans." (Politico)
--- Asked at a joint press conference with the Japanese Prime Minister on Wednesday about firing special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, President Trump declined to rule it out. "They've been saying I'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they're still here," he responded.
NORTH KOREA: "Sweden and Switzerland are among the places the White House is considering for an unprecedented summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to people familiar with the matter." (Bloomberg)
--- Trump on Wednesday on the potential summit with Kim Jong Un: "If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. If the meeting, when I'm there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting, and we'll continue what we're doing or whatever it is that we'll continue. But something will happen."
TAX CUTS 2.0: "House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) aims to pass another massive tax cut this summer, which Republicans hope will rev up the GOP base and improve the standing of Republicans at the polls."
"But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is under pressure to block a vote, which Republican campaign strategists worry could allow red-state Democrats to vote for additional tax cuts and undermine one of the GOP’s most effective lines of attack in conservative-leaning states: that Democrats voted against a big tax cut last December." (Washington Post)
SPEAKER RACE: "The House Freedom Caucus may be willing to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy for speaker — if the California Republican agrees to help one of their members become House majority leader or GOP whip." (USA TODAY)
PRUITT: "Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the office is opening a probe into Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's spending since he took over the helm of the agency."
"Mulvaney said that OMB will look into the violation of federal spending laws on a 'secure phone booth' for Pruitt's office at EPA headquarters." (ABC News)
HALEY: "In the span of 24 hours, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has done what none of her colleagues in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet have before: successfully telegraphed to her boss that she will not quietly suffer his public humiliations." (Politico)
2020: "A wide array of House and Senate Republicans are not yet ready to endorse President Donald Trump's bid for a second term, a reflection of the deep uncertainty on Capitol Hill over his political standing amid growing problems at home and abroad. (CNN)
MCDOUGAL: "The tabloid news company American Media Inc. agreed to let a former Playboy model out of a contract that had kept her from talking freely about an alleged affair with Donald J. Trump."
"The settlement agreement, reached on Wednesday, ends a lawsuit brought by the model, Karen McDougal, and protects the president from being drawn into a legal case involving efforts to buy the silence of women who had stories to tell about him during the 2016 campaign." (New York Times)
THE SENATE: "Newborns will now be allowed on the Senate floor after senators voted unanimously Wednesday to allow infants under the age of 1 added to the short list of people who can enter the exclusive area."
"The request to change Senate rules was made by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who was the first sitting senator to give birth. She gave birth to Maile Pearl Bowlsbey on April 9. (NBC News)
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TRUMP: President Trump travels to Key West, Florida today to visit Naval Air Station Key West, the headquarters of Joint Interagency Task Force South, a multiservice/multiagency task force under United States Southern Command. He will receive a briefing from Joint Interagency Task Force South, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). Trump then returns to his private club at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has spent much of the week.
PENCE: Vice President Mike Pence meets with German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz today.
SENATE: The upper chamber votes today to confirm James Bridenstine to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Bridenstine's nomination was barely advanced on Wednesday, in a 50-49 vote, which was briefly tied when Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) originally voted "no" before changing his mind. Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma, has faced criticism for his lack of scientific qualifications and past comments on climate change.
HOUSE: The lower chamber is not expected to hold any votes today.
*All times Eastern