THE INEVITABLE TURBULENCE — SEUNG MIN KIM, BRIAN FALER and COLIN WILHELM: “With GOP on the verge of a tax victory, Rubio throws in a wrench: The Florida senator is demanding a more generous child tax credit to win his vote”: “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has finally thrown down the gauntlet and is saying no — at least for now.
“In a surprise move Thursday, the Florida Republican announced that he will not support the landmark tax bill that faces its final stretch of negotiations and debate before it can be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature. After weeks of private maneuvering on the Senate’s tax bill and public tweeting about the legislation’s flaws, his statement casts some doubt on whether Republicans will successfully clear their tax bill in the Senate, particularly if absent senators and other undecided Republicans tip the final margin against the GOP. …
Story Continued Below
“‘I can’t in good conscience support it unless we are able to increase the refundable portion of it,’ Rubio told reporters on Thursday. ‘There’s a way to do it, and we’ll be very reasonable.’ … Rubio said he’s received no assurances his concerns will be addressed, though he said Trump alluded to them Wednesday in a speech. Asked of the likelihood of Republican leaders making changes to address his concerns, Rubio said, ‘We’re about to find out.’” http://politi.co/2ywL15T
— WHAT WE HEARD … NEWSY: The text of the bill was locked down last night, and it has moved in Rubio’s direction. We’ll see if it’s enough to sway the Florida Republican to support the bill. The package is likely to become public early this evening.
REMEMBER: This bill is scheduled for a vote in the early part of next week. House Republican negotiators are scheduled to sign the negotiated conference report today between 10 a.m. and noon. House Republicans have a conference call today to brief their lawmakers on the package.
— A NOTE ON PROCESS: If the House passes the tax bill first, we have been told it would limit Senate Democrats’ ability to slow the floor process down with motions to send the bill back to conference. There are also risks with the House going first — Democrats can raise points of order that could force changes to the bill. But if everything goes smoothly, this tax bill could be to the president’s desk by Wednesday. And then, Congress turns its attention to keeping the government open.
Good Friday morning. FAIR QUESTION, VLAD — NYT’S NEIL MACFARQUHAR and IVAN NECHEPURENKO in MOSCOW: “With an eye to his presidential candidacy, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia promoted his domestic record throughout his annual national news conference on Thursday. But he did save a few jabs for the United States on election meddling and Olympic doping — at one point asking members of Congress, ‘Are you normal at all?’ …
“On North Korea, also known as the Democratic Republic of North Korea, Mr. Putin mocked Congress for condemning Russia while seeking its help. ‘You are interesting guys,’ the president said with a smirk. American lawmakers appear to be good-looking, well dressed and smart, he said, but they ‘are placing us on the same shelf with D.P.R.K. and Iran while simultaneously pushing Trump toward solving the North Korean and Iran nuclear problems through joint efforts with us. Are you normal at all?’” http://nyti.ms/2Bsn4Cn
— THE HUDDLE: “In phone call, Trump thanks Putin for praise, looks for help on North Korea,” by Henry C. Jackson: “President Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Thursday, talking about how they can work together to resolve the situation involving North Korea’s nuclear program, the White House said. Trump also used the call to thank Putin for ‘acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference,’ according to a White House read out of the call.
“The leaders talked for about 10 minutes, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster didn’t participate in the call, a White House official said. The call offered fresh evidence that Trump will continue to work with Putin, in spite of potential political liabilities. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential ties to Trump’s campaign has cast a negative light on U.S.-Russia relations. Trump, though, has continued to view Putin as a potential ally, particularly when it comes to dealing with North Korea.” http://politi.co/2ktgXTI
ANOTHER LOOMING PROBLEM — “Health program for 9 million kids falls victim to partisan squabbling,” by Jen Haberkorn: “Everyone in Congress claims to be a champion of children’s health. But funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program ran out Sept. 30. And some lawmakers worry it might not be replenished until early next year.
“It’s a mess that can happen only in Washington: Even a bipartisan program that covers 9 million poor and middle-class children is caught up in partisan squabbling, with Republicans and Democrats split over how to pay for renewed funding and placing blame on the other party. But with unified GOP control of the government, voters and the program’s enrollees — who are beginning to get notices that money could be running out — could hold Republicans responsible if the program remains in limbo.” http://politi.co/2AtIVWj
VIDEO OF THE DAY — BRUTAL — @SenWhitehouse: “MUST WATCH: Republican @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump’s US District Judge nominees basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one. Hoo-boy.” http://bit.ly/2kvy8UA
— UH, WOW.
SPOTTED: Republican pollster — and close Kevin McCarthy pal — Frank Luntz having lunch with Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) yesterday afternoon at the National Democratic Club. Ryan ran against Nancy Pelosi for House Democratic leader.
GOOD TO KNOW — “White House: Trump would be ‘very unhappy’ if Speaker Ryan left,” by Nolan D. McCaskill: “‘The president did speak to the speaker not too long ago and made sure that the speaker knew very clearly — and in no uncertain terms — that if that news was true, he was very unhappy with it,’ Sanders said. ‘The speaker assured the president that those were not accurate reports and that they look forward to working together for a long time to come.’” http://politi.co/2AJRoZN
****** A message from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates: The UAE and the US are partnering to create economic growth and jobs for people in both countries. For eight years in a row, the UAE has been the top market in the Middle East and North Africa for US exports. http://politi.co/2y8BB0m ******
FOGGY BOTTOM INTRIGUE — “Trump allies say Tillerson has ‘not learned his lesson’ and cannot continue in job for long,” by WaPo’s Josh Dawsey and Anne Gearan: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed focused this week on rebooting his image as a beleaguered Cabinet member on the outs with his boss and his own employees — holding a rare town hall with employees, promising foreign trips into 2018 and saying he is ‘learning’ to enjoy his job. But then he went off script by offering another invitation for diplomatic talks with nuclear-armed North Korea, putting him at odds once again with President Trump and senior White House officials, who are increasingly exasperated with the secretary of state and say he cannot remain in his job for the long term. …
“Tillerson, one White House official said, ‘had not learned his lesson from the last time,’ when Trump publicly rebuked his top diplomat on Twitter over the wisdom of talking to North Korea. A senior U.S. official said foreign diplomats and leaders often ask if Tillerson is speaking for the administration and when he will depart. Another White House aide said White House officials, diplomats and other Cabinet secretaries largely deem the former ExxonMobil chief executive ‘irrelevant.’” http://wapo.st/2Bq9Dml
FBI WATCH — “Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited,” by AP’s Eric Tucker: “A draft statement former FBI Director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the ‘tone and substance’ of the remarks, a Republican senator said Thursday. Some of the edits proposed to the May 2016 draft, obtained by The Associated Press, appear to soften the gravity of the bureau’s findings. Comey, for instance, initially wrote that the FBI believed that Clinton and her aides were ‘grossly negligent’ in their handling of classified information, language also contained in the relevant criminal statute.
“But the text was edited to say they were simply ‘extremely careless’ in their use of a personal email server, a phrase Comey adopted for his July 5 public announcement that the FBI would not be recommending charges. Comey’s ultimate statement also omitted language asserting that the ‘sheer volume’ of information classified as secret at the time it was shared made it reasonable to believe that the former secretary of state and her aides were grossly negligent. In addition, while Comey initially said it was ‘reasonably likely’ that ‘hostile actors’ had gained access to Clinton’s email server, the text was edited to say that such an intrusion was ‘possible.’” http://bit.ly/2Cakk9i
— “Democrats want to know why Justice Department released FBI texts,” by Darren Samuelsohn: “Democrats pressed the Justice Department on Thursday to explain why it released salacious, anti-Donald Trump text messages exchanged between two FBI employees who are still under investigation for their work on the Russia special counsel investigation. Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerrold Nadler of New York and two other panel Democrats asked for a full review of DOJ’s decision making that led to Tuesday night’s release of about 375 texts that the FBI officials — Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — sent over a 15-month period during the 2016 presidential campaign. The Democratic lawmakers called Justice’s decision an ‘unusual move’ after the texts were given to Congress and a select group of reporters earlier this week.” http://politi.co/2kvu1Ia
RUSSIA DRIP DRIP — “Music promoter dangled possible Putin meeting for Trump during campaign,” by WaPo’s Ros Helderman and Tom Hamburger: “About a month after Donald Trump launched his presidential bid, a British music promoter suggested his Russian pop-star client could arrange for the new candidate to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post. The July 2015 offer by publicist Rob Goldstone came about a year before he set up a meeting for Trump’s eldest son with a Russian lawyer who he said had incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Goldstone’s overture came as he unsuccessfully urged Trump to travel to Moscow later that year to attend a birthday celebration for his client’s father. ‘Maybe he would welcome a meeting with President Putin,’ Goldstone wrote in a July 24, 2015, email to Trump’s longtime personal assistant, Rhona Graff.” http://wapo.st/2ywj4em
TRUMP’S FRIDAY — The president will attend the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony this afternoon in Quantico, Virginia. He will also go to the Marine Corps Air Facility where he will visit Marine Helicopter Squadron One before leaving for Camp David.
THANK YOU for all who joined us last night for a really fun inaugural Playbook Holiday party at the National Restaurant Association.
FOR YOUR RADAR — “UN official who visited Pyongyang sees ‘high risk’ of miscalculation,” by CNN’s Mick Krever and Joshua Berlinger: “A UN official who just returned from Pyongyang, where he spent several days speaking with North Korean officials, has said he is ‘really worried about an accidental move toward conflict.’ Jeffrey Feltman, an American who is the United Nations undersecretary-general for political affairs, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that he is concerned about a ‘lack of communication’ and the ‘high risk of some kind of miscalculation.’” http://cnn.it/2zdillX
THE TICK TOCK — “Disney Agrees to Buy Key Parts of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 Billion Deal,” by WSJ’s Ben Fritz, Amol Sharma and Sarah Rabil: “21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch invited Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger to his winery in Los Angeles last month as the executives were trying to nail down a deal that would mark a turning point in both of their careers. After a lunch of chicken and salad, the executives opened a bottle of Chardonnay and walked through the vineyard to hash out terms under which Disney would buy Fox assets, people familiar with the discussions said. A few weeks later, as the talks reached the final stretch, the same property was threatened by a 422-acre brush fire that swept through the upscale Bel Air neighborhood. The winery survived, and so did the deal.” http://on.wsj.com/2zc79WM
— @gabrielsherman: “Trump spoke with Murdoch ahead of Disney deal to make sure Murdoch wasn’t selling Fox News, person briefed on the call said”. … @adrian_gray: “Trump favorability among Fox viewers (%): Jun: 90 … Oct: 74 … Dec: 58 (Suffolk)”. http://bit.ly/2zetHXa
KFILE — “Homeland Security senior adviser promoted birtherism, said Obama knew ‘nothing about the black American experience,’” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, Chris Massie and Nathan McDermott: “A White House senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security previously promoted conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama’s birthplace, lamented the ‘Zimbabwe-fication of America,’ and mocked the LGBT community. Frank Wuco has served as the White House adviser to DHS since January and now leads a team tasked with helping to enforce President Donald Trump’s executive orders, including the administration’s travel ban.” http://cnn.it/2kw4fDN
****** A message from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates: With trade in aviation, high tech, and defense, the UAE delivers a $19 billion trade surplus for the US. These exports support hundreds of thousands of American jobs. They also help the UAE diversify its economy. By working with the US, the UAE has become a center for innovation and opportunity in the Middle East. http://politi.co/2y8BB0m ******
SEXUAL HARASSMENT FILES — “Dozens Of Members Of Congress Sleep In Their Offices. In Light Of Harassment Allegations On Capitol Hill, Some Say That Needs To Change,” by BuzzFeed’s Lissandra Villa and Paul McLeod: “For members of Congress, living in their Capitol Hill offices has long been seen as a quirky display of frugality. But a handful of politicians are coming forward to say the practice is unprofessional and needs to end. Capitol Hill may be the only workplace in the nation where dozens of offices turn into the boss’s bedroom at a certain hour. … ‘I think it is unseemly. I’m not saying that these persons are engaged in sexual harassment. It is just wrong,’ California Rep. Jackie Speier told BuzzFeed News. ‘We should prohibit living in your offices, and we should allow members to deduct the cost of their living expenses here up to a certain amount.’” http://bzfd.it/2AL4Pso
— “Three more women accuse California assemblyman of sexual misconduct,” by L.A. Times’ Melanie Mason and Seema Mehta: http://bit.ly/2CaAf7N
MEDIAWATCH — NBC News has hired Rebecca Sinderbrand to join its digital politics team as senior Washington editor. She was most recently deputy national political editor at WaPo.
MSNBC’s “KASIE DC” — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Carly Fiorina, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) … Panel: Ashley Parker, Yamiche Alcindor, Michael Steel, Geoff Bennett and Rachael Bade
SUNDAY SO FAR – CBS’ “Face the Nation”: Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
— NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Panel: Al Cardenas, Helene Cooper, Stephanie Cutter
and George Will
— ABC’s “This Week”: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) … Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
— CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen.-Elect Doug Jones (D-Ala.) … Panel: Ana Navarro, Jen Psaki, Michael Caputo and Karine Jean-Pierre
— CNN’s “Inside Politics,” hosted by John King: Jonathan Martin, Eliana Johnson, Sara Murray, Sahil Kapur
SPOTTED: At Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Christmas party: Stuart Jolly, Scott Mason, Jeff Kimbell, Graham Hill, Jakob Johnsen, John Criscuolo and John Mashburn. … John Boehner walking out of the Department of Interior at 6:15 p.m. … John Kerry boarding the 2:27 p.m. JetBlue flight from BWI to Boston. He was in Annapolis at the Chapel at the Naval Academy on Thursday morning to deliver a eulogy for a former staffer who passed away, Captain Spencer Abbot. … Mark McKinnon getting a drink last night at the Ritz Carlton West End.
HOLIDAY PARTY CIRCUIT – Pool report: “The National Confectioners Association and the Senate Press Secretaries Association teamed up for the third annual Cocktails & Candy Canes holiday reception on Thursday night. Held at the Harold Black speakeasy above Acqua Al 2, Hill staff, communicators, downtowners, and members of the media toasted the holiday season and treated themselves to chocolate and candy.”
SPOTTED: Megan Whittemore, Ben Jenkins, Andrew Kovalcin, Matt and Rebecca Haller, Byron Tau, Alex Gangitano, Amos Snead, Kathryn Lyons, Hillary Alverie, Lauren Fox, Marisa Schultz, Jared Michael, Mike Gallagher, Jacqueline Policastro, Nika Nour, Ben Khouri, Casey Contres, Joe Carapiet, Charles Carroll.
SPOTTED at NAM’s annual holiday party at its headquarters themed after its “Creators Wanted” digital campaign: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and John Larson (D-Conn.), Grover Norquist, George and Susan Allen, Ken Thomas, Zeke Miller, Ginger Gibson, Bloomberg’s Cheryl Bolen, Poppy MacDonald, Colin Wilhelm, Robert Donachie, Frank and Kelly Sadler, Mark Brunner, Quentin Roach, John Cummins and Gill Stevens, Lisa Nelson, Suhail Khan.
SPOTTED at the office of the Solicitor General “Holiday Reception” at DOJ Thursday evening: Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Noel Francisco, Brett Kavanaugh, Hashim Mooppan, Edwin Kneedler, Jody Hunt, Matt Whitaker, Mike Carvin
SPOTTED last night at Caroline Wren’s 4th annual Bluebonnet Fundraising Christmas party: Reps. Ed Royce (R-N.Y.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Andrew Rafferty, Dan Knight, Rob Lockwood, Martina Egerer, Alex Stroman, Dave Catanese, Alex Schriver, Ninio Fetalvo, Taylor Mason, Tyler Lane, Logan Dobson, Michael Short, Natalie Strom, Molly McCarthy, Alex Catanese, Keeley Hanlon, Torrey Shearer, Sally Atwater McLeod, Ken Farnaso, and Sean Buckley.
SPOTTED last night at the 23rd annual Latkes and Vodkas party, hosted by Bluelight’s Steve Rabinowitz and Aaron Keyak at their Woodley Park offices: Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, Alan Gross, Joan Nathan, Hadar Susskind, Aaron Magid, Noam Neusner, Tevi Troy, Chris Jones, Matt Nosanchuk, Josh Cohen, Rabbi Batya Glazer; William Daroff, Abby Cable, Jim Gerstein, Matt Berger, Corey Jacobson, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Sarah Arkin, Tricia Enright, Michael Wilner, Josh Lederman, Felicia Schwartz, Chanan Weissman, David Lauter.
OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at the world premiere last night of “The Post” at the Newseum (trailer http://bit.ly/2ocR0x4 … pics by Dan Swartz: Fred Ryan talking to Tom Hanks http://bit.ly/2B3Adzc … Steven Spielberg http://bit.ly/2zexWlx … Meryl Streep http://bit.ly/2yxarjS): Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Amy Pascal, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Chris Wallace, Fred Hiatt, Jim Acosta, John Harris, Jim VandeHei, Karen Tumulty, Blake Hounshell, Major Garrett, Marty Baron, Mike Allen, Paul Begala, Sam Feist, Wolf Blitzer, Lally Weymouth, Sally Quinn and Quinn Bradlee, Janet Yellen, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Reps. Larry Bucshon, Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), and Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Warren Buffett, Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Steve and Jean Case, Jeff Bezos, Kate Capshaw, Rita Wilson, Jeff Small and David Linde and Jonathan King.
— Marty Baron also interviewed Tom one-on-one earlier in the day — seen in the audience: Amy Pascal, VA Secretary David Shulkin, German Amb. Peter Wittig, Japanese Amb. Kenichiro Sasae, EU Amb. David O’Sullivan, James Baker, Chris Dodd, Bob Woodward, Elsa Walsh, Sally Quinn, Quinn Bradlee, Tammy Haddad, Tony Fratto, William McCarren, Alex and Caitlin Conant, Tommy “McFly” Pavlick, Kelly Collis, Marni Goldberg, Scott Mulhauser, Michael Steel, Marion Blakey, Meredith Baker, Katie Hinman, Evan Burfield, Erin McPike.
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Edelman’s Makena Dingwell
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: David Adler, CEO of BizBash. A fun fact about David: “After selling Washington Dossier, I worked for British media Lord Robert Maxwell developing custom media, during that time in 1989, I presented Donald Trump with the first ‘Trump Magazine’ by actually printing a dummy version and unveiling it in front of him at his Trump Tower office. He tried to hire me rather than the company I was working for so I declined the opportunity.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2Crbd5i
BIRTHDAYS: Donna Brazile … Meridith Webster … Lauren French, comms director for Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) (hat tips: Kelley Hudak and Mitchell Rivard) … Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is 63 … Jeff Le … Matt Paul (h/t Dave Barnhart) … Danyell Tremmel … Fox News’ Griff Jenkins is 47 … Politico’s Bobby Moran … Anna Jager … Heather Booth … Erin Dwyer, senior director of stakeholder engagement at the Center for Audit Quality … Bill Knapp, managing director at SKDKnickerbocker (h/ts Jon Haber) … Alison Omens … Patrick Oakford … Spike Mendelsohn is 37 … Emmanuel Chan … Ret. Gen. John R. Allen is 64 … Israel “Izzy” Ortega … Deborah Koenigsberger … Steve Duno … Tony Kreindler, senior director of gov’t relations at Environmental Defense Fund, is 48 … Tyler Maland Black … Jordan Richardson …
… Kristen Scholer, senior anchor at Cheddar … former Amb. to Italy John Phillips … Lenny Young, chief of staff for Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) … Gavin Ross, LA for Rep. Brownley (h/ts Samantha Greene) … Theana Yatron Kastens … Diane Kepley … CAP’s Devon Kearns … Tara Corrigan of the Messina Group (h/t Ty Matsdorf) … Emily Pierce … Rita Lenane … Sarah Sullivan … Abby Matousek … Jimmy LaSalvia … Julie Winkelman … Mark Siedlecki … Schuyler Softy … Mark Patterson, partner and firmwide co-chair of the public and strategic affairs group at Perkins Coie … Andy Polesovsky … Jan Eberly … Brian Haley … Jim Dornan … Holly Lane … Karen Hicks … Tim Dickson, the pride of Iowa City, Iowa, is 6-0 … Carson Pfingston … Maggie Brickerman … Laura Nevitt … Tanya Bjork (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)
****** A message from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates: The UAE is a major investor in the US. UAE FDI in the US totaled $26 billion in 2016 – in sectors ranging from financial services, to transportation, to consumer products. That means jobs for thousands of Americans and liquidity for capital markets across the country. The UAE and the US are united in prosperity. http://politi.co/2y8BB0m ******
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