SHUTDOWN … DAY 21 … If this shutdown lasts through the day, this will be the longest funding gap in American history. This shutdown is not only stunning for its length, but because every side believes it is winning.
REPUBLICANS are pointing to the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, which showed Capitol Hill Republicans are not seen as being to blame here. DEMOCRATS look at PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and see an out-of-control executive pushing for an unpopular and ineffective border wall with divisive rhetoric.
THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY … Washington has been through tons of these legislative fights in the last 10 years. This might be the only time where there has actually been zero progress in three weeks. Like, none. Not one inch or scintilla of movement.
AT THIS POINT, it appears as if the president is likely to use some sort of executive authority — declaring a national emergency as the most likely scenario — to try to build the wall. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) said yesterday he should do it, with this line as the coda to the statement: “I hope it works.”
— TRUMP TO FOX NEWS’ SEAN HANNITY: “Now if we don’t make a deal with Congress most likely I will do that. I would actually say I would, I can’t imagine any reason why not because I’m allowed to do it. The law is 100 percent on my side.
“So if we can’t make a deal with Congress then we should be able to make a deal with Congress. If you look, Democrats in Congress, especially the new ones coming in, are starting to say, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t win this battle with Trump because of the fact that it’s just common sense, how can we say that a wall doesn’t work?’”
— WE HAVEN’T HEARD any freshman say that. Some freshman Democrats have been a bit more eager to negotiate than others, but we haven’t heard any of them say Trump is right on the wall.
IF TRUMP USES THE EMERGENCY declaration, Congress will move immediately to open government — and will be able to do so relatively quickly. For example, if Trump does this today, Congress could, feasibly, move a short stopgap immediately. People close to Trump tell us he will sign a government funding deal at that point, but then again, they’ve said a lot in this process that has turned out to be complete bunk.
Good Friday morning. WAPO’S ERICA WERNER, JOSH DAWSEY, MIKE DEBONIS and SEUNG MIN KIM: “Trump administration lays groundwork to declare national emergency to build wall”: “The White House has begun laying the groundwork for a declaration of national emergency to build President Trump’s border wall, a move certain to set off a firestorm of opposition in Congress and the courts but one that could pave the way for an end to the three-week government shutdown.
“The administration is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion allocated but not spent for civil works projects, two people with knowledge of the developments said Thursday.
“Trump has urged the Army Corps to determine how fast contracts could be signed and whether construction could begin within 45 days, according to one of the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the preparations.” WaPo
— WAPO’S ROBIN GIVHAN: “Trump treats the border like a natural disaster. He even dresses the part”
WHAT JARED IS SAYING: WSJ’S MIKE BENDER, KRISTINA PETERSON and PETER NICHOLAS: “Inside the West Wing, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been lobbying for restraint, according to White House officials. Declaring a national emergency, an option Mr. Trump has been leaning toward, shouldn’t be used to try to win a messaging war against Democrats opposed to a wall, Mr. Kushner said in a recent Oval Office meeting, these officials said.
“Instead, Mr. Kushner argued an emergency should be invoked only if it creates a clear path for the White House to build the wall, the key issue in the standoff between Mr. Trump and congressional Democrats that has led to the shutdown. ‘Let’s stop doing things just to do them,’ Mr. Kushner said, according to officials familiar with the meeting.” WSJ
THE IMPACT … “Airline safety ‘eroding’ as shutdown drags on,” by Brianna Gurciullo, Sam Mintz and Stephanie Beasley: “Virtually every segment of the aviation industry — from airlines to airports — is ramping up pressure on lawmakers and the White House to reopen the government, suggesting that a prolonged shutdown could seriously harm passengers and business.
“Air traffic controllers and other aviation industry workers reinforced the point with a rally outside the Capitol on Thursday, saying safety suffers when air traffic controllers, baggage screeners and Federal Aviation Administration technicians and inspectors are either furloughed or forced to work without pay as the shutdown enters its third week.
“Beyond the obvious concern of having an air traffic controller distracted by worries about personal finances while performing a high-stress job, many are also concerned about falling behind on everything from aircraft inspections to training the next generation of air traffic controllers, since the FAA controller academy is shuttered.” POLITICO
— WAPO’S DAMIAN PALETTA: “To keep a shut down government running, White House ventures into uncharted territory”: “White House officials on Wednesday asked federal agencies to send them a list of stalled services they would like to resume to minimize the public impact of the federal shutdown, three people familiar with the directive said.” WaPo
— NYT’S KATIE ROGERS: “At White House, Empty Desks and Unpaid Bills as Trump Shows No Sign of Relenting”: “The White House has stopped paying its water bill. Desks of some furloughed employees, whose job can include such drudgeries as helping their bosses work the copy machine, sit empty in the West Wing.
“And the Secret Service agents Mr. Trump was so impressed with, down to the officers who check IDs and wave black SUVs in and out of the gates surrounding the complex, are all working unpaid — everyone in the Secret Service is, according to an official at the agency.” NYT
— “Now on Craigslist, Facebook: Household items from furloughed workers trying to make ends meet,” by WaPo’s Taylor Telford: “A federal worker in Morgantown, W.Va., took to Facebook this week to sell welding tools, left behind by his deceased father-in-law. Another, a die-hard Star Wars fan in Woodbridge, Va., did the same with a life-size replica of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. A single father in Indiana hosted a sale on eBay with five pages of things found around the house, including Bibles, Nintendo bedsheets and Dr. Seuss neckties.
“‘Sells for $93.88 at Walmart. Asking $10,’ a government worker wrote on a Craigslist ad for a Lulu Ladybug rocking chair. ‘We need money to pay bills.’ As hundreds of thousands of federal workers brace for their first missed paychecks of the government shutdown this week, some have become immersed in the frantic financial calculus of choosing what they can live without.” WaPo
— NYT’S GLENN THRUSH (@GlennThrush): “Just got an email informing me that there will be a food bank at the Tampa Airport for federal workers, because that’s what’s going on in America.”
RBG WATCH — ELIANA JOHNSON and GABBY ORR, “Trump White House urging allies to prepare for possible RBG departure”: “The White House is reaching out to political allies and conservative activist groups to prepare for an ailing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the Supreme Court — an event that would trigger the second bitter confirmation battle of President Donald Trump’s tenure.
“The outreach began after Ginsburg, 85, on Monday missed oral arguments at the court for the first time in her 25 years on the bench. The justice, who was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, announced in late December that she underwent a surgical procedure to remove two cancerous growths from her lungs.
“The White House ‘is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process,’ said a source familiar with those conversations, who spoke on background given the delicate nature of the subject. ‘They’re doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren’t caught flat-footed.’” POLITICO
ON THE WORLD STAGE — “Trump and Pompeo Embrace Autocrats and Disparage Opponents at Home,” by NYT’s Mark Landler: “President Trump has long claimed that he puts ‘America first’ overseas. But in two remarkable statements on Thursday, Mr. Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, explicitly favored foreign autocrats over elected American leaders. Mr. Pompeo chose Cairo, the site of President Barack Obama’s 2009 address to the Islamic world, to deliver a caustic, point-by-point repudiation of Mr. Obama’s message.
“He paid tribute to Egypt’s repressive president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, for his courage in supporting Mr. Trump’s alternative approach. About an hour later, on the South Lawn of the White House, Mr. Trump said that China’s Communist Party bosses negotiated in better faith than the Democratic leaders in Congress, with whom the president is in a bitter standoff over his border wall that has shut down much of the federal government.” NYT
FROM ELIANA JOHNSON: “Army Secretary Mark Esper, who accompanied President Trump to the border Thursday, is among the candidates the president is considering to be his Defense Secretary. Esper was a classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in West Point’s class of 1986.
“Interestingly, that could create a hitch for his nomination. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs, is also a West Point graduate, a matter that could spark concern if Trump taps Esper that the Army would have too much influence on the country’s national security apparatus.”
2020 WATCH — NATASHA KORECKI and ELENA SCHNEIDER: “Gillibrand plans first Iowa visit”: “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is pursuing a trip to Iowa next weekend, three sources with knowledge of the potential 2020 contender’s planning told POLITICO. The New York Democrat, who just won reelection to her Senate seat last November, is planning events in Iowa as well as courting on-the-ground staffers in the first presidential caucus state.” POLITICO
— “Sen. Gillibrand eyes Troy, New York, for 2020 campaign base,” by AP’s Juana Summers and Julie Pace: “Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is looking at basing a potential 2020 presidential campaign in Troy, New York, a small upstate city on the banks of the Hudson River, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. …
“The selection of Troy, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Manhattan, could allow Gillibrand to highlight her roots in upstate New York, where she was born and later represented in Congress before being appointed to the Senate.” AP
— “Sherrod Brown plans Iowa trip as top aide accelerates 2020 prep,” by Daniel Strauss
— “Sanders apologizes to women on 2016 campaign who were ‘harassed or mistreated,’” by CNN’s Gregory Krieg
THE NEWBIES — “Exasperated Democrats try to rein in Ocasio-Cortez,” by Rachael Bade and Heather Caygle: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already making enemies in the House Democratic Caucus — and some of its members are mounting an operation to bring the anti-establishment, democratic socialist with 2.2 million Twitter followers into the fold.
“The effort, described by nearly 20 lawmakers and aides, is part carrot, part stick: Some lawmakers with ties to Ocasio-Cortez are hoping to coax her into using her star power to unite Democrats and turn her fire on Republicans. Others simultaneously warn Ocasio-Cortez is destined for a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy.
“‘I’m sure Ms. Cortez means well, but there’s almost an outstanding rule: Don’t attack your own people,’ said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). ‘We just don’t need sniping in our Democratic Caucus.’” POLITICO
— ZACH WARMBRODT: “Ocasio-Cortez may take on Wall Street, fellow Democrats on finance panel”: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is poised to win a seat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee, in what would be a victory for progressives fighting to curb Wall Street’s clout in Washington and inside the Democratic Party itself.” POLITICO
BOOKMARK THIS — DARREN SAMUELSOHN in POLITICO Magazine: “The Only Impeachment Guide You’ll Ever Need”
TRUMP’S FRIDAY — The president will host a roundtable on border security at 2:30 p.m.
MARTIN MATISHAK: “‘The secretary barely testified’: Pelosi rebukes Mnuchin after Russia sanctions meeting”: “House Democrats excoriated Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday following a classified briefing about the Trump administration’s decision to ease economic sanctions on three companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
“‘One of the worst classified briefings we’ve received from the Trump administration,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. ‘The secretary barely testified.’ She said that while lawmakers did receive an intelligence assessment, officials ‘spent most of the time reading an unclassified document … wasting the time of the members of Congress.’” POLITICO
COMING ATTRACTIONS … “Michael Cohen will testify publicly to Congress,” by Josh Gerstein and Martin Matishak: “Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer who has implicated the president in campaign finance crimes, will testify publicly to the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7.” POLITICO
THE INVESTIGATIONS — NYT A1, “Prosecutors Examining Ukrainians Who Flocked to Trump Inaugural,” by Ken Vogel, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti in D.C. and Iuliia Mendel in Kiev: “Serhiy Kivalov, a Ukrainian lawmaker known for pro-Russian initiatives, took photos of [Donald and Melania Trump dancing to “My Way”], as well as of his coveted tickets and passes to the soiree where it took place, the Liberty Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, posting them on Facebook and declaring that ‘it was an honor’ to attend. He was one of at least a dozen Ukrainian political and business figures who made their way to Washington for the inauguration, several of whom attended the Liberty Ball. Most had more on their dance cards than just parties.
“They attended meetings and orchestrated encounters at Trump International Hotel with influential Republican members of Congress and close allies of President Trump. Representing a range of views, including a contingent seen as sympathetic to Moscow, they positioned themselves as brokers who could help solve one of the thorniest foreign policy problems facing the new administration — the ugly military stalemate between Russia and Ukraine and the tough sanctions imposed on Moscow following its seizure of Crimea.” NYT
— HARTFORD COURANT’S NEIL VIGDOR: “Paul Manafort resigns from Connecticut bar ahead of misconduct hearing”
MEDIAWATCH — Charlie Warzel will be a writer at large at the NYT. He most recently was senior technology writer for BuzzFeed. The announcement
SUNDAY SO FAR …
“Face the Nation”: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … Julián Castro … House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) … Jeh Johnson. Panel: Michael Crowley, Jeff Goldberg, David Nakamura and Seung Min Kim
“Meet the Press”: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Panel: Cornell Belcher, Al Cardenas, Carol Lee and Peggy Noonan
“FOX News Sunday”: Panel: Karl Rove, Josh Holmes, Jane Harman and Juan Williams
“State of the Union”: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). Panel: Luis Gutierrez, S.E. Cupp, Karen Finney and Michael Caputo
“Inside Politics”: Julie Pace, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Nia-Malika Henderson and Mike Bender
SPOTTED at a sit-down dinner last night hosted by Amy Baier and Franco Nuschese at Cafe Milano celebrating Bret Baier hosting “Special Report” for 10 years this month: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Kellyanne Conway, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Abby Blunt, Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Chris Wallace, Robert and Dr. Elena Allbritton …
… Martha MacCallum, Jonathan Karl, Fred Ryan, French Ambassador Gérard Araud, Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar, UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, David Rubenstein and Raul Fernandez. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dropped by to say hello.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: C.R. Wooters, principal at Mehlman Castagnetti. What he’s been reading recently: “I had the opportunity to interview Henry Timms, the author of the book ‘New Power’ on our podcast. It’s a great book and he is a fascinating guy. He runs the 92nd St. Y in New York and started ‘Giving Tuesday’. It’s a brilliant look at the way social change is taking place. Much of his thinking is very applicable to the new cadre of politicians and their campaigns. If you don’t want to read the book listen to my interview.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Travis Shank … Alex Stone, director of the WH Management Office (hat tips: Brian Jack and Grace McCaffrey) … Steven Law … Ben Finkenbinder, director of executive comms and strategic programs at Salesforce, is 34 (h/t Ben Chang) … Rashida Jones, SVP of specials for MSNBC/NBC News … Mary Podesta … ABC News’ Caragh Fisher O’Connor … Walter Mears … Alex Sarp … Joe Lai is 38 … Caroline Ingram … Ben Barrett of New America … Ashley Czin, senior director of policy and research at PhRMA (hubby tip: Mike) … Jonathan Kott, senior adviser and communications director for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), “who can’t seem to win his own fantasy football league, losing this year to Marc Schloss” (h/t Marc) … Melissa Miller … Randy Borntrager … Goldman Sachs’ Cat Morris … Blair Brandt (h/t Matthew Swift) …
… Gerald Rafshoon (h/t Sally Quinn) … Alex White … Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) is 59 … Colton Henson … William Nelligan … Ron Phillips … former Italian PM Matteo Renzi is 44 … Anne Cronin … Daria Grastara, head of political strategy at Realtime Media (h/t Melissa Brown) … Mike Reamy … John Dao … Jim Hightower … John Sonsalla … UNH’s Dante Scala … Chris Jusuf … Rachel Rodgers … Helen Gym … Catherine Andrews … Kevin Mooney … John Milne … Brooke Anderson … former Canadian PM Jean Chretien is 85 … John Emerson, former ambassador to Germany (h/t Teresa Vilmain)