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Wake Up To Politics - March 27, 2018

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Tuesday, March 27, 2018. 224 days until Election Day 2018. 952 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com. Tell your friends to sign up to receive the newsletter in their inboxes at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe!

Census to add question on citizenship

Via the New York Times:

"The 2020 census will ask respondents whether they are United States citizens, the Commerce Department announced Monday night, agreeing to a Trump administration request with highly charged political and social implications that many officials feared would result in a substantial undercount."

"In a statement released Monday, the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had 'determined that reinstatement of a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census questionnaire is necessary to provide complete and accurate census block level data,' allowing the department to accurately measure the portion of the population eligible to vote."

"But his decision immediately invited a legal challenge: Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, plans to sue the Trump administration over the decision, a spokeswoman for Mr. Becerra said late Monday."

"Critics of the change and experts in the Census Bureau itself have said that, amid a fiery immigration debate, the inclusion of a citizenship question could prompt immigrants who are in the country illegally not to respond. That would result in a severe undercount of the population — and, in turn, faulty data for government agencies and outside groups that rely on the census. The effects would also bleed into the redistricting of the House and state legislatures in the next decade."

Inside the White House

Porter: President Trump has stayed in touch with his disgraced former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, the New York Times reports, and "has told some advisers that he hopes Mr. Porter returns to work in the West Wing." Porter resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse from two ex-wives.

--- The lesson: In Trumpworld, no one is out forever.

--- Washington Post's Josh Dawsey tweets: "A number of people in West Wing, while not defending Rob Porter's conduct, say morale has dropped, protocols are ignored and the president has become more erratic since he left."

Stormy Daniels: President Trump has privately attacked Stormy Daniels, the Washington Post reports, although he has been uncharacteristically silent in public about the adult film actress' claim that they had an affair. According to the report, he has been advised that attacking her on Twitter or to the press would be futile, and (for now) he has listened.

--- The latest: Daniels sued Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday, saying that he defamed her by denying her claims about Trump. Daniels added Cohen as a defendant in her existing lawsuit against Trump, which is an attempt to be released from a non-disclosure agreement she signed in the days before the 2016 presidential election.

--- Daniels' interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday drew 22 million viewers, the program's most-watched episode since a 2008 post-election interview with the Obamas. According to the Washington Post, Trump was one of them.

--- Big picture: "After Stormy Daniels, Republicans Face a Referendum on Trump's Conduct" (NYT) Including quotes from Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA), the latest GOP lawmaker to announce plans to resign - and the first to cite Daniels in his explanation of why he is stepping down.

Kushner probe: White House lawyers are "examining whether two loans totaling more than $500 million to Jared Kushner’s family business may have violated any criminal laws or federal ethics regulations," per the Wall Street Journal.

Spotlight on Mattis: As the president shakes up his national security team, one man stays standing: Defense Secretary James Mattis. A sampling of recent profiles explaining how Mattis has been able to stand up to President Trump and still stay in his good graces:

"Why Trump Hasn't Fired Mattis" (Politico Magazine)

"Donald Trump’s Staff Shake-Up Leaves Jim Mattis in a Key Role" (WSJ)

"Can Jim Mattis Hold the Line in Trump's 'War Cabinet'?" (NYT Magazine)

Shulkin: Speculation continues over the status of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, amid reports that President Trump has indicated to associates that he is preparing to fire the Obama holdover. White House spokesman Raj Shah did nothing to quiet the whispers on Monday when he declined to offer support to Shulkin at the daily press briefing, responding to a question on the Cabinet secretary's status: "I have no personnel announcements to make at this time."

Legal team: Two more attorneys — former federal prosecutors Tom Buchanan and Dan Webb, both partners at Winston & Strawn — have turned down offers from President Trump to join his Russia investigation legal team, Politico reports. They join other prominent attorneys, such as Theodore Olson and Emmet Flood, who have declined to join the president's defense team, which now consists mainly of just two lawyers: outside attorney Jay Sekulow and White House lawyer Ty Cobb.

Daily Data

President Trump's approval rating is at its highest level since the 100-day mark of his administration, a new CNN poll finds. According to the survey, 42% approve of Trump's job performance, a 7-point jump from last month.


Trump: At 11am, President Trump receives his intelligence briefing. At 1:45pm, he signs a proclamation for Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A. At 2:15pm, he meets with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

At 7:05pm, Trump departs the White House for a private residence, where he will arrive at 7:25pm. At 7:30pm, Trump has dinner with supporters at the private residence. At 8:35pm, he departs the private residence for the White House, returning at 8:55pm.

Pence: Vice President Mike Pence travels to Fargo, North Dakota today to participate in a reception for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's Senate campaign and address an America First Policies "Tax Cuts to Put America First" event. He also travels to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he will participate in a "Protect the House" event hosted by Great America Committee.

America First Policies and Great America Committee are both outside groups supporting the President's agenda; the latter is led by Vice President Pence.  

White House: At 2pm, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders holds an on-camera press briefing.

Congress: Both houses of Congress are on recess.


In Monday's newsletter, I gave the wrong date for Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It took place in December 2012.

*All times Eastern