SPOTTED: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom at Paul in Foggy Bottom.
THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN, per Haaretz’s Jack Khoury and Amir Tibon: “Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, told Sky News Arabia on Monday that the administration’s peace plan will address all core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including borders. … We want to see Palestinians under one leadership that will allow them to live in dignity,’ Kushner told Sky News Arabia, adding that, ‘we are trying to come up with realistic solutions that are relevant to the year 2019.’” Haaretz
A BIG DEAL … NATASHA KORECKI: “Warren shuts down donor dinners, insider access”: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced Monday her campaign will shun fundraising through some of the old-fashioned means: dinners, donor calls and cocktail parties. In an email to supporters Monday, Warren also said she won’t sell access to big-name donors as candidates often do to raise money for a presidential bid.
“Warren has demonstrated as much in organizing events where she poses for photos with anyone who stands in line and requests it. Typically, candidates put a premium on such access, sometimes charging thousands of dollars for a personal photograph.” POLITICO
— ESCHEWING high-dollar fundraising is a big deal and represents a shift for Warren, and perhaps a new standard other candidates will feel pressured to follow. This comes as many Democratic candidates have already taken a second look at whether they will continue to accept corporate PAC checks and could have a longer-lasting impact on how big donors and industry try to curry favor with candidates.
HEADS UP — “Former campaign staffer alleges in lawsuit that Trump kissed her without her consent. The White House denies the charge,” by WaPo’s Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites: “In interviews with The Washington Post, and in the lawsuit, Alva Johnson said Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he exited an RV outside the rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016. Johnson said she turned her head and the unwanted kiss landed on the side of her mouth, which she called ‘super-creepy and inappropriate.’ …
“Johnson said she told her boyfriend, mother and stepfather about the incident later that day, an account all three confirmed to The Post. Two months later, Johnson consulted a Florida attorney about the unwanted kiss …
“Two Trump supporters that Johnson identified as witnesses — a campaign official and Pam Bondi, then the Florida attorney general — denied seeing the alleged kiss in interviews with The Post. … Johnson, an event planner who lives in Madison County, Ala., is seeking unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering.” WaPo … The complaint
— THE NEW YORKER’S RONAN FARROW: “A Lawsuit by a Campaign Worker Is the Latest Challenge to Trump’s Nondisclosure Agreements”: “A staff member of Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court in Florida on Monday, alleging that she experienced ‘racial and gender discrimination’ while working for the campaign, that she was paid less than male and white colleagues …
“The most legally significant aspect of Johnson’s suit may ultimately be something the complaint does not explicitly address: the pervasive use of nondisclosure agreements by Trump during his campaign and in his Administration.” The New Yorker
Good Monday afternoon.
THE LATEST ON VENEZUELA — NYT’S KATIE ROGERS in Bogotá, Colombia: “Pence, in Colombia to Meet Guaidó, Announces New Venezuela Sanctions”: “Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that the Trump administration would impose sanctions on additional Venezuelan officials and urged regional leaders to freeze assets of the state oil company, moving to increase international pressure on the embattled Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, to step aside. …
“On Monday, Mr. Pence also announced an additional $56 million in aid to Venezuela. And he urged Latin American nations to transfer the control of assets from Mr. Maduro to Mr. Guaidó. Mr. Pence warned of more punitive steps to come. ‘I want to assure you, President Guaidó, that the tragic events of the past weekend have only steeled the resolve of the United States of America,’ Mr. Pence said. ‘We are with you 100 percent.’” NYT
CLICKER … MARK LEIBOVICH in the NYT MAGAZINE on SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) … “How Lindsey Graham Went From Trump Skeptic to Trump Sidekick: ‘What happened to me?’ the senator asks. ‘Not a damn thing.’”
THE INVESTIGATIONS — ZACH WARMBRODT: “House Democrats target Trump’s personal finances”: “Democrats are launching an investigation to discover why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend the Trump Organization money when other banks wouldn’t and whether Russia was involved. …
“The House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees have been staffing up for their probes into the bank and Trump’s Russia ties. Democrats on the panels say that with Deutsche Bank they are willing to pursue a key area that Mueller may have avoided — crossing what Trump sees as a ‘red line’ into his personal finances.” POLITICO
— “Trump Tells His Lawyers: Stay for the Coming Legal Hellscape,” by The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng and Erin Banco
NEW — WAPO’S JOHN WAGNER: “Trump Organization asks House committee to cease investigations, citing an alleged conflict of interest”: WaPo
WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 6:32 a.m.: “We have a State of Emergency at our Southern Border. Border Patrol, our Military and local Law Enforcement are doing a great job, but without the Wall, which is now under major construction, you cannot have Border Security. Drugs, Gangs and Human Trafficking must be stopped!”
… at 6:58 a.m.: “Oil prices getting too high. OPEC, please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike — fragile!”
… at 7:40 a.m.: “Meeting for breakfast with our Nation’s Governors — then off to Vietnam for a very important Summit with Kim Jong Un. With complete Denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!”
… at 7:58 a.m.: “I hope our great Republican Senators don’t get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security. Without strong Borders, we don’t have a Country — and the voters are on board with us. Be strong and smart, don’t fall into the Democrats ‘trap’ of Open Borders and Crime!”
… at 10:12 a.m.: “Since my election as President the Dow Jones is up 43% and the NASDAQ Composite almost 50%. Great news for your 401(k)s as they continue to grow. We are bringing back America faster than anyone thought possible!”
COMING ATTRACTIONS — SARAH KARLIN-SMITH: “‘It’s finally pharma’s turn’: Drug CEOs face Capitol Hill reckoning”: “The Senate Finance Committee hearing [Tuesday] is an ominous signal for the drug industry that major legislative reform is on the horizon. It’s reminiscent of previous hearings with businesses that proved to be turning points, leading to massive reforms of Wall Street banks, the health insurance industry and tobacco companies. …
“The industry is aware of the high stakes, and it is ready, drug company employees and lobbyists told POLITICO. Most of the seven drugmakers called to testify Tuesday are employing a range of outside help … The deep-pocketed drug industry could for years safely count on Republican allies to hold off major reforms, but that support is weakening after years of consumer outrage and largely Democrat-led attacks on drug prices. Trump, his health department and Congress are now closing in on the industry.” POLITICO
ON THE WORLD STAGE — “Taliban and U.S. Set to Begin Highest-Level Talks Yet on Ending Afghan War,” by NYT’s Mujib Mashal in Kabul
THE NEW MAJORITY — “House Democrats press the U.S. military about how it is screening for white nationalism and other extremism in the ranks,” by WaPo’s Dan Lamothe: “A series of incidents in which U.S. troops have been arrested in cases involving white nationalism is of ‘significant concern, particularly given their combat and weapons training,’ several House Democrats said in a letter on Monday.” WaPo
IMMIGRATION FILES — “Lawmakers Face Pressure to Resolve Fate of ‘Dreamers,’” by WSJ’s Louise Radnofsky and Natalie Andrews: “Potential legislation on the matter of Dreamers has support from both sides of the aisle, but Republicans would likely want to pair the bill with more border-security measures. Interest in the GOP-led Senate in taking up any bill is unclear.” WSJ
— DON’T TELL STEPHEN MILLER … Per pooler Tal Kopan of the San Francisco Chronicle, Trump this morning told governors that the country needs more legal immigration because unemployment is low: “We need people, we have to have people, and they have to come in, but they have to come in legally and through merit.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY — Trump also said this morning that “I hate controversy.”
CLIMATE FILES — “Cloud Loss Could Add 8 Degrees to Global Warming: A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century,” by Quanta Magazine’s Natalie Wolchover: “[N]ew findings reported today in the journal Nature Geoscience make the case that the effects of cloud loss are dramatic enough to explain ancient warming episodes … and to precipitate future disaster.” Quanta
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — HMM: “EPA regulator skirts the line between former clients and current job,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin: “Less than a month into his tenure as the top air policy official at the Environmental Protection Agency, Bill Wehrum hopped into the EPA’s electric Chevy Volt and rode to the Pennsylvania Avenue offices of his former law firm.
“There, he met with representatives of the nation’s largest power companies — including two groups that, shortly before, had been his paying clients — to brief them on the Trump administration’s plans to weaken federal environmental regulations. The Dec. 7, 2017, meeting is just one example of interactions between Wehrum, a skilled lawyer and regulator, and former clients that ethics experts say comes dangerously close to violating federal ethics rules. … Late last week, three Democrats … asked the EPA’s Office of Inspector General to investigate Wehrum’s conduct.” WaPo
HARRY REID SPEAKS — CNN’S DANA BASH: “Harry Reid wishes for George W. Bush again ‘every day’”: “Reid says he is now in remission, lucky that doctors caught his pancreatic cancer early and noting that it is almost always a death sentence because it is usually too late to treat when finally detected. But the chemotherapy treatment was especially brutal, compromising several vertebrae to the point where he needed two back surgeries and leaving him unable to walk much without assistance.
“‘My time has come and gone as being a Senator. I of course watch the news, read papers very closely. I miss the battle, but I understand that, that’s not for me now,’ he said.” CNN
— THE PRESIDENT RESPONDS … at 7:53 a.m.: “Former Senator Harry Reid (he got thrown out) is working hard to put a good spin on his failed career. He led through lies and deception, only to be replaced by another beauty, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer. Some things just never change!”
— FACT CHECK: Reid retired in 2016 after 30 years in the Senate. He was not thrown out.
2020 WATCH — NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN and ALEX BURNS in Des Moines, Iowa: “Rust Belt, Sun Belt or Both? Democrats Seek the Best Route to the White House”: “As the Democratic race takes flight, with one or more candidates entering the race almost every week, [Iowa voter Rahul] Parsa’s viewpoint represents one side of a long-simmering debate within the party: Should Democrats redouble their efforts to win back the industrial heartland that effectively delivered the presidency to Donald J. Trump, or turn their attention to more demographically promising Sun Belt states like Georgia and Arizona? …
“The dispute is not merely a tactical one — it goes to the heart of how Democrats envision themselves becoming a majority party. The question is whether that is accomplished through a focus on kitchen-table topics like health care and jobs, aimed at winning moderates and disaffected Trump voters, or by unapologetically elevating matters of race and identity, such as immigration, to mobilize young people and minorities with new fervor.” NYT
— ALEX THOMPSON: “Progressive activists push 2020 Dems to pack Supreme Court”: “The recently created organization aptly named ‘Pack the Courts’ told POLITICO they have raised over $500,000 to jump-start their effort and have partnered with Demand Justice, a progressive group founded in 2018 that is trying to match the Republican organizing efforts around the Judiciary. …
“The effort is likely to prompt more debate among Democrats as to whether they should fight to restore norms and civility that have dissipated in the Trump era or engage in tougher, brass-knuckle politics.” POLITICO
AT FOGGY BOTTOM — NBC’S DAN DE LUCE: “Fewer Americans are opting for careers at the State Department: The number of Americans taking the State Dept. exam to become diplomats has dropped to the lowest level since 2008.” NBC
— FLASHBACK — Aug. 12, 2017: DANIEL LIPPMAN and NAHAL TOOSI, “Interest in U.S. diplomatic corps tumbles in early months of Trump”
TRUMP INC. — “Trump Organization reports small bump in foreign government profits in 2018,” by WaPo’s Jonathan O’Connell: “The Trump Organization said Sunday that it had donated the company’s 2018 profits from its business with foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, the second year in a row that President Trump’s company has made such a move in an attempt to avoid running afoul of an anti-corruption provision of the Constitution. The donation was for $191,538, up from last year’s donation of $151,470, according to a check dated Feb. 20 and made out to the Treasury, a copy of which the company provided.” WaPo
MEDIAWATCH — WaPo has announced the launch of the Jamal Khashoggi Fellowship to provide “an independent platform for journalists and writers to cover and offer their perspectives from parts of the world where freedom of expression is threatened or suppressed.” The first recipient is Hala Al-Dosari, a Saudi scholar and activist. The announcement
TRANSITIONS — Tim Geithner and Sally Susman will be the new co-chairs of the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Haley Byrd, a CNN reporter and Weekly Standard alum, married Evan Wilt, marketing and operations director at Capital Community Properties and alum of World Mag, at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine, Fla. Pic … Another pic
- Dominic Raab warns France its trawlers will have 'zero access' to British fish without a Brexit deal - and confirms that the UK WILL 'enforce our waters' as Royal Navy gunboats are put on standby to patrol the Channel
- PM insists he is 'not at war with the North' as Sunak denies waiting until LONDON was in lockdown to step up coronavirus bailout after he unveils £3bn-a-month splurge to keep self-employed afloat and stop bars and restaurants laying off millions of workers
- David Cameron faces questions over links with billionaire Tory donor Sir Anthony Bamford
- COVID-19: Germany extends UK travel ban to 6 January - despite EU urging countries to lift restrictions
- So what's in Boris's Brexit deal? PM gives ground to Brussels over UK fish but claims victory over competition rules and EU laws, with agreement to maintain counter-terror and crime-fighting partnerships
- Get ready for blast off Britain: Boris's Brexit deal is set to help boost the economy by 6.1% next year and add to post-Covid boom - as PM promises tougher border controls and urges all MPs to back him in 30 December crunch vote
- Christmas still in peril: Hancock warns it's 'too early' to know if Covid cases will fall enough to lift national lockdown on December 2 - and PHE boss says tiered restrictions must be 'strengthened' if it is
- Boris Johnson praises 'fantastic' new trade agreement with Canada: UK's second major Brexit deal 'will help us bounce back from Covid', PM says
- What to Watch for in 2021: Will the Trumps Haunt Us Forever? | Opinion
- Boris must hold firm on Christmas & trust us to use great British common sense
- City tycoon Cruddas to land long-awaited House of Lords seat
- Families WILL be allowed to meet over Christmas but face 25-DAY lockdown to pay for five days of festive freedom under Government plans - as Covid cases drop to 19,609 and deaths fall to 529
- Biden tells Trump to sign the COVID bill NOW with $600 checks for Americans so 'millions can make ends meet' and avoid 'devastating consequences' after President demanded $2,000 direct payments
- 'Merkel wants Britain to walk across broken glass': Chance of No Deal Brexit 'hits 80%' as Boris Johnson takes personal control of preparations before talks expire TODAY and UK insiders blame German intransigence
- 'We've taken back control': Boris Johnson hails historic 'Canada-style' trade deal with the EU saying the UK is master of its own 'destiny' again as propaganda war rages with No10 claiming victory - but Ursula von der Leyen says Brussels was 'strong'
- 'The message is that it is No Deal': Supermarkets told to begin preparing for panic-buying as the likelihood of a hard Brexit 'hits 80%' as Boris Johnson takes personal control of preparations with trade talks with the EU due to expire TODAY
- VIETNAM NEWS DECEMBER 28
- 'Glad tidings of great joy': Boris Johnson presents his Brexit gift to Britain in Christmas video message as Tory Brexiteers AND Labour look set to back agreement in Parliament vote next week
- VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES DECEMBER 17
- Stacey Abrams rejects comparison between her refusal to concede and Trump's
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