House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to reporters during her weekly news conference on Thursday, May 23. | M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO
TAKE STOCK OF WHAT JUST HAPPENED … Speaker
NANCY PELOSI just said the following things about President
-- HE MIGHT’VE COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES: “The president’s behavior in terms of his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing, it's very clear. It’s in plain sight. It cannot be denied. Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice. Yes, these could be impeachable offenses.”
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-- TRUMP’S FAMILY SHOULD STAGE AN INTERVENTION WITH THE PRESIDENT: “I wish him and his family, his administration and staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”
-- SHE INTIMATED THE PRESIDENT IS NOT IN CHARGE AT THE WHITE HOUSE: “I actually ardently pray for the president. ... Sometimes we’re talking to him, he agrees. And then I said one time, ‘Who’s in charge here? Because you agree and all of a sudden something changes.’ What goes on there? Who’s in charge? And he says he’s in charge. And I suspect that he may be. And I suspect he may be even more since yesterday, because I don’t think that any responsible assistant to the president of the United States would have advised him to do what he did yesterday.”
… EARLIER TODAY … HEATHER CAYGLE (@heatherscope): “‘His actions are villainous to the constitution of the United States,’ @SpeakerPelosi told Democrats during a closed-door meeting this morning about Trump.”
-- MORE: “‘He wants to be impeached, so he can be exonerated by the Senate,’ she adds.”
PELOSI seems exceedingly confident right now. It’s clear the White House is having a tough time dealing with her -- and the Democratic Congress -- and every blow-up with the president seems to help her internally. It’s a turn from Tuesday, when more and more Democrats were coming out of the woodwork, pressing her to impeach the president.
CONTEMPT VOTE TIMELINE -- @kyledcheney: “[House Majority Whip JIM] CLYBURN says week of June 4 is the target for a contempt vote on Barr. Says he’ll get a whip count going before then.”
-- SPOILER ALERT: It’ll probably be 235-197 -- on party lines.
NEW … “Bank CEO charged with bribing Manafort for Trump administration post,” by Natasha Bertrand: “A Chicago bank executive tried to bribe Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with roughly $16 million in loans after the 2016 election in the hopes of scoring a top Trump administration post, according to a federal indictment released on Thursday.
“Stephen Calk, then the CEO of the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, ‘sought to leverage his control over’ Manafort’s proposed loans in order to obtain a senior administration position, said court documents unsealed in the Southern District of New York. And Calk approved the loans even though he ‘was aware of significant red flags regarding’ Manafort’s ability to pay back the money.” POLITICO …
-- ANOTHER NUGGET, via Natasha: “The indictment also references a ‘Transition Official-1,’ who appears to be Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.”
DISASTER AID LATEST -- MARIANNE LEVINE: “Deal over disaster aid in flux as recess fast approaches”: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that the Senate would vote on a disaster aid bill before it leaves Washington for a weeklong recess. But with negotiations still in flux, it’s not clear what the Senate will be voting on. ...
“House Democrats sent an offer Wednesday night to Republicans, according to a Democratic aide. … In the absence of a deal, some raised the possibility that McConnell could bring up disaster aid legislation to the floor that failed in April over Trump’s insistence that Puerto Rico receive less funds. One Republican Senator said that while that was not the ‘preferred option,’ it would at least show that the Senate was trying.” POLITICO
Good Thursday afternoon.
WASHINGTON gathered today at the Newseum to honor the life of Robert Pear, the longtime New York Times reporter who passed away earlier this month. Speakers included NYT D.C. bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller, his brother Doug Pear, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Maureen Dowd, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), POLITICO Europe’s David Herszenhorn (a former NYT colleague), NYT’s Abby Goodnough and NYT executive editor Dean Baquet. Jennifer Steinhauer, a longtime NYT reporter, was the main organizer of the event.
FASCINATING … SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CALIF.) was on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday night, and ratings were big. It notched a 2.8 household rating, which means something like 3.4 million people watched -- more than watched Howard Stern with Colbert.
WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND -- @realDonaldTrump at 8:29 a.m.: “Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”
-- CONTEXT: “Putin out-prepared Trump in key meeting, Rex Tillerson told House panel,” by WaPo’s John Hudson and Josh Dawsey
… at 10:13 a.m.: “I was extremely calm yesterday with my meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, knowing that they would say I was raging, which they always do, along with their partner, the Fake News Media. Well, so many stories about the meeting use the Rage narrative anyway -- Fake & Corrupt Press!”>
Celebrate Women’s Suffrage at the Newseum: Join POLITICO Playbook co-author and Women Rule Editorial Director Anna Palmer and a panel of top political journalists at the Newseum on June 24th for a conversation marking the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage. The program will also celebrate best-selling novelist, revolutionary journalist, and early feminist activist Miriam Michelson, immortalized in a new book entitled, “The Superwoman & Other Writings by Miriam Michelson.” The book serves as a reminder of how a "girl reporter" leveraged fame and notoriety to keep the suffrage movement on the front pages in the early part of the 20th Century. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear from several of the top women covering politics today. RSVP
IRAN LATEST -- “Senior German diplomat in Tehran for nuclear deal talks,” by AP’s David Rising in Berlin
FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Warren, Ocasio-Cortez press Mnuchin for answers on Sears bankruptcy,” by Zach Warmbrodt: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Thursday called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to disclose more information about his role in the demise of Sears, where he served as a board member before the retailer's bankruptcy.
“In a letter to Mnuchin, the liberal icons said they were ‘deeply concerned by the financial engineering and potentially illegal activity’ that took place at Sears while he was a board member, leading to thousands of lost jobs. Warren and Ocasio-Cortez also asked Mnuchin whether he has been involved in any discussions about Sears' pension plans as a board member of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that oversees private pension plans.” POLITICO
HEADS UP -- “TSA predicts record-breaking summer travel as employees head to the border,” by Stephanie Beasley: “TSA is bracing for its busiest summer ever, even as airports worry that screening lines could balloon with DHS siphoning employees away from TSA and Customs and Border Protection to bolster its presence at the southern border.
“TSA acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell told POLITICO that the agency is working to staff up in anticipation of ... a more than 4 percent increase in travel volumes estimated compared to last summer. More than 260 million passengers are expected to come through airport checkpoints between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends — May 23 through Sept. 3 — she said. And TSA is planning to hire an additional 2,000 employees, including bag screeners, she said.” POLITICO
DEEP DIVE -- NYT’S PATRICIA COHEN: “What Reparations for Slavery Might Look Like in 2019”: “[I]n the early phase of the 2020 presidential campaign, the question of compensating black Americans for suffering under slavery and other forms of racial injustice has resurfaced. The current effort focuses on a congressional bill that would commission a study on reparations, a version of legislation first introduced in 1989.
“Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have declared their support, including Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. The reparations issue raises profound moral, social and political considerations. Still, the economic nuts and bolts of such a program have gotten scant public attention: Who would be paid? How much? Where would the money come from?” NYT>
POLITICO LAUNCHES NEW GLOBAL PODCAST: Trade. Technology. The environment. The globe is beset by profound challenges that know no political bounds. Are our world leaders up to the task of solving them? POLITICO’s newest podcast, “Global Translations” presented by Citi and launching on June 6, goes beyond the headlines, uncovering what’s really at stake with the most pressing issues, the political roadblocks for solving them, and the ideas that might propel us forward. Subscribe to receive the first episode at launch.
2020 WATCH -- TALKER … WAPO’S ELISE VIEBECK and
ANNIE LINSKEY: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren worked on more than 50 legal matters during her career as a professor at Ivy League law schools, charging as much as $675 an hour to advise a variety of clients, from people with asbestos disease to a corporation facing possible liability over ruptured breast implants.
“Warren’s presidential campaign released a list of 56 cases on her website on Wednesday night, revealing a far higher number of cases than Warren (D-Mass.) had previously disclosed and lending detail to an aspect of her career that she rarely discusses in public. When she first ran for the Senate in 2012, Warren came under pressure from her Republican opponent and the news media to discuss her legal work. At the time, she released a list of just 13 cases without saying whether it represented a full accounting; at least one other case came to light during the race.” WaPo …
-- “Inside the 2020 Democrats’ survival strategies,” by Natasha Korecki and David Siders: “The 23 candidates chasing the Democratic nomination are piling up events and plowing resources into the four early presidential states, telegraphing which states they’re prioritizing and which ones they’re writing off.
“The campaigns are loath to discuss the primary season map in terms of must-win states or contests they don’t think they can win. But already the outlines of their strategies are showing. Interviews with nearly two dozen campaign officials, party leaders and grassroots activists in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina reveal that staffing decisions, travel schedules and field organizations are starting to have an impact at the county and precinct level.” POLITICO
-- “Spirituality guru Williamson locks in 2020 debate spot,” by Steve Shepard and Zach Montellaro
-- ZACHARY SIEGEL for
POLITICO MAGAZINE: “How Joe Biden’s Drug Policies Supercharged the Opioid Crisis: For decades, he promoted the War on Drugs. Now, experts say Biden’s laws worsened the opioid epidemic in the very places he says he can win in 2020.” POLITICO Magazine
-- “Facebook Backs Away From the Hard Sell on Political Ads,” by WSJ’s Emily Glazer and Jeff Horwitz: “Facebook Inc. said it stopped paying commissions to employees who sell political ads, as the tech giant overhauls how it engages with campaigns ahead of elections in 2020.
“Once seen as a growth area, political ads are now viewed within Facebook as more of a headache, according to former employees and campaign staffers who work on digital strategies. In the wake of revelations about Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, senior leaders at the company debated whether it should cease running political ads entirely, former employees familiar with the discussions said.” WSJ
-- “Return of the Republican civil war?” by Alex Isenstadt and James Arkin: “The Club for Growth is attempting to nudge Rep. Mark Walker, a third-term evangelical pastor, into the 2020 Senate race. This week, it completed a poll suggesting that [Sen. Thom] Tillis would be vulnerable to a challenge from the right — particularly against Walker.
“It’s a striking break for a group that had ceased backing primary challenges to establishment-aligned lawmakers, a posture that put it squarely against party leadership. Five years after its last attempt to topple a sitting senator, the organization is once again signaling its interest in taking on incumbents.” POLITICO