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THE POST-MUELLER STATE OF PLAY …

— THE MOST DONALD TRUMP thing ever: The president probably would have obstructed justice had he been willing to fire ROBERT MUELLER himself. Instead, the notoriously conflict-averse Trump relied on aides — longtime Washington hands like then-White House counsel Don McGahn — who ignored his request to ax the special counsel.

— @realDonaldTrump, 5:31 p.m. Thursday: “I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!”

— CAPITOL HILL DEMOCRATS we spoke with Thursday believe Trump has done enough to deserve impeachment, even though they won’t say it publicly. The president tried to curb the Mueller probe on multiple occasions. They know they can’t remove him from office — they’d need 20 Republican senators — and they know that impeachment is not popular. So they’re kind of stuck. Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris and John Bresnahan on Democrats running from impeachmentNYT’s Nick Fandos: “Democrats Draw Closer to a Dicey Question: Whether to Impeach Trump”

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI scheduled a caucus conference call for Monday, and wrote this in a letter to her colleagues from Ireland, where she is on congressional travel: “The Mueller report states, ‘We concluded Congress has authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,’ which ‘accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.’ Congress will not be silent.”

ONE THING TO WATCH FOR … Do House Democrats censure Trump? It would be a way to publicly rebuke the president without launching the politically divisive option of impeaching him.

— REPUBLICANS, OF COURSE, ARE THRILLED. They believe there was no smoking gun, and they can see America beginning to move on. More from Melanie Zanona, Sarah Ferris and Burgess Everett

— MANY HILL INSIDERS were surprised at the lack of redactions in the report delivered to Congress.

— THE NEXT TURN OF THE SCREW is going to be A.G. BILL BARR’S testimony to the House and Senate Judiciary committees. Congressional hearings are almost never as useful as they could be. It will be interesting to see if Democrats can keep the process under control.

BIG NYT STORY … PETER BAKER and MAGGIE HABERMAN: “A Portrait of the White House and Its Culture of Dishonesty”: “The White House that emerges from more than 400 pages of Mr. Mueller’s report is a hotbed of conflict infused by a culture of dishonesty — defined by a president who lies to the public and his own staff, then tries to get his aides to lie for him.” NYT

— THE ORIGINAL HEADLINE was “A Portrait of the White House and Its Culture of Lies”

THE DEAD-TREE FRONT PAGES … NYT: “MUELLER REPORT LAYS OUT RUSSIAN CONTACTS AND TRUMP’S FRANTIC EFFORTS TO FOIL INQUIRY” WAPO: “Mueller details Russian interference, Trump’s attempts to disrupt probe” WSJ: “Mueller Report Explains Findings On Obstruction, Conspiracy”

CLICKER: “27 times Trump can’t remember”

Good Friday morning. A BRIEF INTERLUDE … CHECKING IN ON JOHN BOEHNER, via Bloomberg’s Anders Melin and Brandon Kochkodin: “The ex-U.S. House speaker is poised to collect $1.59 million in cash once shareholders approve Canopy Growth Corp.’s acquisition of Acreage Holdings Inc., regulatory filings show.

“If his former colleagues in Congress help make marijuana federally legal, he’d be eligible to receive Canopy shares worth about $16 million as of Thursday’s market close in exchange for his stake in Acreage. Boehner … was appointed to Acreage’s board last year. He currently holds 625,000 shares in the New York-based cannabis company, some of which still haven’t vested.” Bloomberg

WHAT’S ON TRUMP’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 10:34 p.m.: “Kimberley Strassel should get the Pulitzer. She is a treasure (and I don’t know her) who correctly called the Russia Hoax right from the start! Others who were soooo wrong will get the Prize. Fake News!”

BARR VS. MUELLER … JOSH GERSTEIN and DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “Bill Barr and Robert Mueller have been close friends for 30 years, from the Justice Department to family weddings and the Bible-study group attended by both their wives.

“Now they’re anchoring two ends of a legal high-wire act playing out through press conferences, congressional hearings and close-up reviews of the special counsel’s long-awaited findings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The bond between the two men has been stressed over the last month amid a volley of letters and closed-door negotiations among their aides. Finally, on Thursday, the release of Mueller’s final report showcased the large amounts of daylight between the veteran law enforcement officials on fundamental questions at the heart of Donald Trump’s presidency.” POLITICO

HUH?

RUDY’S FUTURE … DARREN SAMUELSOHN asked Trump lawyer RUDY GIULIANI in a phone interview about his next move, now that the Mueller report is out: “We haven’t talked about it. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of other things to do. There will probably be less time spent on it. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. …

“This has [gone on for] a long time and taken away from things I earn money with like practicing law elsewhere. I expect for sure I’ll cut down the time and maybe phase out. We’ll see. It depends on what’s there and who’s around. I’m a close friend [of Trump’s]. I still talk to him once or twice a week anyway.”

CONWAY VS. CONWAY, MEDICAL EDITION — Here’s KELLYANNE on Fox News, Thursday afternoon: “This has been a political proctology exam, and [Trump’s] emerging with a clean bill of health.”

And here’s GEORGE in a WaPo op-ed, Thursday evening: “Trump is a cancer on the presidency. Congress should remove him.” (Bio line: “George T. Conway III is a lawyer in New York.”) WaPo

SNITCHES GET STITCHES — “Trump allies who spoke freely to Mueller now in awkward position: Unlike a juicy newspaper story, the special counsel report names its sources,” by Andrew Restuccia, Gabby Orr and Daniel Lippman

“Just Some of the Times Mueller Documents Trump Insiders Lying to the Press,” by Washingtonian’s Andrew Beaujon and Ben Wofford

TOP TWEET — NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN (@maggieNYT): “An irony of the picture painted by the second volume of the Mueller report — for all the ‘burn it to the ground’ populism that Bannon is publicly associated with, he repeatedly is cited as preventing Trump from potentially crossing legal lines re Mueller.”

CHEAT SHEET — “The Mueller Report Is 448 Pages Long. You Need to Know These 7 Key Things,” by NYT’s Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman

— MIKE BLOOMBERG in Bloomberg Opinion: “Mueller Did His Job. Now It’s Our Turn: Americans know all they need to know when they next go to the polls.”

2020 WATCH — THE ATLANTIC’S ISAAC DOVERE: “Joe Biden Is Running for President”: “The former vice president will make his candidacy official with a video announcement next Wednesday, according to people familiar with the discussions who have been told about them by top aides. …

“Biden’s announcement video will draw in part on footage shot two weeks ago outside his old family home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he likes to bring people and tell stories about how his grandfather would sit at the kitchen table, talking about making ends meet.

“But the campaign is still making key decisions on what will happen next, including whether to go cute for a launch event by doing it on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, famous for the training montage from ‘Rocky,’ or whether to go for a powerful challenge directed right at Donald Trump by heading to Charlottesville, Virginia, where Trump infamously blamed ‘both sides’ of a neo-Nazi march in August 2017.” The Atlantic

— “Biden: Time to ‘take back’ the country,” by Stephanie Murray in Boston: “Joe Biden said on Thursday that it was time to ‘take back’ the country and treat the middle class with respect, as the former vice president warms up for a likely 2020 presidential run. ‘I’m getting so sick and tired of the way everybody’s being treated,’ Biden told a crowd of striking union workers here.

“‘We will take back this country. … I mean it. Don’t give up. Keep it going.’ Biden made the remarks at a union rally in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, where some of the 31,000 union workers for the New England-based Stop & Shop supermarket chain walked off the job last week after contract negotiations fell apart.” POLITICO

TRUMP’S FRIDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule. He’s in Palm Beach.

— WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY (@jdawsey1): “White House aide notes it’s supposed to rain in Palm Beach all day [Friday].”

BRAIN FOOD — “The Surprises in the Mueller Report: So what did we really learn about Trump, Russia and the power of the presidency? Some of the nation’s top legal minds unpack the document of the decade.” POLITICO Magazine

HILLARY’S TEAM WEIGHS IN — “Clintonworld stews over Mueller report,” by Alex Thompson: “‘Apparently it’s not criminal to help foreign agents carry out their plans to disrupt an election,’ said campaign manager Robby Mook. ‘I wish instead of just relitigating the past we would spend some time crafting laws to prevent this in the future.’ … Clinton spokespeople Jennifer Palmieri and Brian Fallon tweeted that impeachment hearings ought to be opened.” POLITICO

NATASHA BERTRAND, “When Trump won, Putin deployed his oligarchs”: “Mueller’s nearly 450-page report granularly describes … how [Russian President Vladimir] Putin explicitly encouraged his country’s wealthiest and most powerful businessmen to make contact with Trump’s transition team after the election. The directives help explain the ‘flurry’ of contact the oligarchs made with Trump’s associates in the weeks following the reality TV star’s unexpected victory, Mueller wrote.” POLITICO

WHAT WALL STREET IS READING — “Mueller Says UBS Executive Told Trump Team of Kremlin ‘Approach,’” by Bloomberg’s Max Abelson: “Wall Street executives combing through Robert Mueller’s report will notice the name of one of their own: Bob Foresman. He’s an investment banking vice chairman in New York at UBS Group AG, the biggest Swiss bank, after earlier stints working for Barclays Plc and Renaissance Capital in Moscow.

“Two sections of the 400-plus-page report describe efforts by Foresman: He unsuccessfully tried to meet with Donald Trump during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about a Kremlin request, and later he used his Russia knowledge to pursue a job in the administration.” Bloomberg

ELON UPDATE … WAPO’S MICHAEL LARIS: “Elon Musk’s latest plan: Two 35-mile tunnels from D.C. to Baltimore”: “[T]he electric-car pioneer’s latest … plan … is to build two 35-mile tunnels from Washington to Baltimore that would carry autonomous Teslas or their corporate cousins at 150 miles per hour, on rubber tires, getting from city to city in about 15 minutes.” WaPo

“[T]he proposed station terminals would be located on New York Avenue, northwest of D.C.’s Union Station, and in the Camden Yards area of downtown Baltimore.” POLITICO

TRADE WIN — “U.S. wins WTO ruling against China grain import quotas”: Reuters

TRADE REALITY CHECK — “Trump’s Mexico-Canada deal would bring minimal economic gains, trade agency says,” by Sabrina Rodríguez and Megan Cassella: “The new pact, which President Donald Trump has portrayed as a ‘truly groundbreaking achievement,’ would raise U.S. GDP by $68.2 billion, or 0.35 percent, by the sixth year after it enters into force, the independent panel found. The USMCA would also create 176,000 U.S. jobs, increasing employment by 0.12 percent, according to the analysis.

“The ITC’s highly anticipated assessment of the replacement deal for NAFTA is expected to drive debate as the USMCA is considered on Capitol Hill and discussed in 2020 election campaigns. But the report’s forecast of a minimal increase in the GDP could make it more difficult for Trump to sell the deal to Democrats and labor groups, who have been pushing for a number of changes before the agreement gets a vote.” POLITICORead the report (PDF)

IMMIGRATION LATEST … NYT’S SIMON ROMERO in Albuquerque: “A right-wing militia group operating in southern New Mexico has begun stopping groups of migrant families and detaining them at gunpoint before handing them over to Border Patrol agents, raising tension over the tactics of armed vigilantes along the border between the United States and Mexico.

“Members of the group, which calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots, filmed several of their actions in recent days, including the detention this week of a group of about 200 migrants who had recently crossed the border near Sunland Park, N.M., with the intention of seeking asylum. They uploaded videos to social media of exhausted looking migrant families, blinking in the darkness in the glare of what appeared to be the militia’s spotlights.” NYT

WHERE THEY ARE NOW – “Scott Pruitt left the EPA mired in scandal. Now he is lobbying Indiana lawmakers,” by the Indianapolis Star’s Emily Hopkins: “Pruitt, the embattled former administrator of the U.S. [EPA], registered Thursday as a lobbyist with state regulators. Pruitt’s filings with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission identify him as a self-employed consultant and list RailPoint Solutions LLC as his sole client. His lobbying topics include ‘energy’ and ‘natural resources.’” Indy Star

NEXT UP — “Trump Administration to Launch New Opioid-Addiction Initiative,” by WSJ’s Thomas Burton: “The Trump administration is launching a $350 million opioid-addiction research and treatment initiative to reduce opioid-overdose deaths by as much as 40% in communities in four particularly hard-hit states. The three-year research and treatment project, the latest in a series of moves by the government to address the opioid-abuse epidemic, will focus on as many as 60 towns in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.” WSJ

VALLEY TALK — “Federal investigation of Facebook could hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable on privacy, sources say,” by WaPo’s Tony Romm: “Federal regulators investigating Facebook for mishandling its users’ personal information have set their sights on the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, exploring his past statements on privacy and weighing whether to seek new, heightened oversight of his leadership.

“The discussions about how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook’s data lapses have come in the context of wide-ranging talks between the Federal Trade Commission and Facebook that could settle the government’s more than year-old probe.” WaPo

MEDIAWATCH — WAPO’S SARAH ELLISON: “American Media Inc. is selling the National Enquirer for $100 million to James Cohen, CEO of Hudson News, ending an association between a longtime friend of President Trump and the tabloid that illegally attempted to bury embarrassing news about Trump during the 2016 election. …

“The decision to sell came after Anthony Melchiorre, the hedge-fund manager whose firm controls AMI, became disillusioned with the reporting tactics of the Enquirer and the legal and political pressure that resulted from them, according to people familiar with the deliberations.” WaPo

REMEMBERING JAMES MCCORD WaPo’s Emily Langer, Harrison Smith and Kate Morgan: “James W. McCord Jr., a retired CIA employee who was convicted as a conspirator in the Watergate burglary and later linked the 1972 break-in to the White House in revelations that helped end the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, died June 15, 2017, at his home in Douglassville, Pa. He was 93. … Mr. McCord’s death was first reported in ‘Dirty Tricks,’ a 2018 history of the Watergate investigation by filmmaker Shane O’Sullivan.

“But the news did not appear in local or national media outlets … Mr. McCord served in the CIA for 19 years, including as chief of the agency’s physical security division, before his supporting, at times sensational role in the events that precipitated the first resignation in history of a U.S. president.” WaPo

SUNDAY SO FAR …

  • FOX

    “Fox News Sunday”: Rudy Giuliani … Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) … Panel: Jason Riley, Jane Harman, Gillian Turner and Bob Woodward. Power Player classic: Marlon Bundo, the Pence family bunny

  • CBS

    “Face the Nation”: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) … Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Panel: Lynne Olson, Susan Page, Evan Thomas and Robert Caro (guest host: Bob Schieffer)

  • NBC

    “Meet the Press”: Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). Panel: Jonah Goldberg, Hallie Jackson, Joshua Johnson and Amy Walter

  • CNN

    “State of the Union”: Rudy Giuliani. Panel: Barbara Comstock, Jennifer Granholm, Scott Jennings and Symone Sanders

  • CNN

    “Inside Politics”: Michael Shear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Manu Raju and Rachael Bade

SPOTTED: Ivanka Trump in Dulles airport Thursday afternoon after arriving back from her four-day trip to Africa, where she visited Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire.

OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at the 40th birthday party for Marty Obst on Thursday night at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton: VP Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Morgan Ortagus, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Boris Epshteyn, Jeff Miller, Majida Mourad and Dave Bossie.

— SPOTTED Thursday night at the home of Jim and Kate Lehrer to celebrate Erik Tarloff’s book “The Woman in Black” ($17.70 on Amazon): Laura Tyson, Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Margaret Carlson, Elizabeth Drew, Afsaneh Beschloss, Vernon and Ann Jordan, Melanne and Phil Verveer, Gordon Peterson, Peter Hart, Tom O’Donnell, Michael Kinsley, Sarah Newhall and Elliot Tarloff, Anne Lewis and Carolyn Peachey.

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Zach Zaragoza, state director for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) (hat tip: Zach Hudson) … (was Wednesday): Jonathan Brodo

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Felix Gillette, enterprise editor for Bloomberg News’ media, entertainment and telecom team and a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek. How he got his start in journalism: “About a year after graduating from college, I got an internship at the Washington City Paper that eventually turned into a full-time job. I’d grown up in the District, and being a staffer at the City Paper was a license to write at insane lengths about any D.C.-centric topic that struck my fancy — dueling hot dog vendors, despotic historic preservationists, intractable rat populations, Smithsonian taxidermy, Mussolini’s brain, Marion Barry, Danny Wuerffel.” Playbook Plus Q&A

BIRTHDAYS: Alleigh Roday, senior adviser and COS for the secretary of the Air Force (hubby tip: Zack) … Joanne Ochsman … Martha Newton, deputy undersecretary for international affairs at DOL … Chad Pittman … Claire Murray … Mark Rusthoven … James Littlefair … CNN’s Emily Kuhn (h/t Matt Dornic) … Sheinelle Jones, co-anchor of NBC’s “Weekend Today,” is 41 … Jon Dominic Garcia … conservative consultant Jim Kelly … Seth Solomonow … Jonathan Levy, VP of strategic initiatives at EVgo … Sarah Flaim … Louis Agnello (h/t Kurt Bardella) … Jonathan Battaglia of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (h/t Ian Kullgren) … Ally Schmeiser … Courtney Sieloff …

… Caitlin Hayden, VP of comms for the Aerospace Industries Association (h/ts Ben Chang and Alex Wagner) … Tory Brown … Stateline.org’s Sophie Quinton … Ron Kaufman, senior adviser in the public policy and regulation practice at Dentons … Abbey Schubert … Linden Zakula … Katie Delzell, director of development at AAN/CLF, is 28 (h/ts hubby Taylor Haulsee and Blake Waggoner) … Lori Yates (h/t Lindsay Walters) … Laura Lee Burkett … Ryan Nabil … Vic Beck, director of comms at Northrop Grumman … Mudar Zahran … Libby Wuller … William Carter … Bob Kocher … Anya van Wagtendonk … Todd Levett … POLITICO Europe’s Kritasha Gupta … Orde Kittrie … Russ Ferguson … Luke Swarthout … Jamie Bennett … AARP’s Mary Liz Burns … Peter Giangreco … Staci Appel (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

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