PAGING SCOTT PRUITT … EMILY HOLDEN: “New Pruitt question: Where are his emails?”: “An examination of [EPA] chief Scott Pruitt’s government email accounts has uncovered only one message he wrote to anyone outside EPA during his first 10 months in office — a number that has watchdogs questioning whether he is communicating in private.
“EPA says Pruitt mainly holds discussions in person or over the phone, which would explain the meager electronic trail for his external communications. But Pruitt’s critics remain suspicious — especially in light of all the steps the agency has taken to conceal his activities, from refusing to release his meeting calendars to installing a $43,000 soundproof booth in his office.
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“Oversight groups said it seems implausible that someone as active as Pruitt, who meets frequently with political and industry allies, would have sent only a single email to someone outside EPA. … It’s not unprecedented for high-ranking government officials to shun email, but Pruitt has in the past used his private email for official business when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general.” https://politi.co/2lpDW2X
IMMIGRATION VOTE PUNTED TO NEXT WEEK … THERE IS A THEORY in some corners of GOP leadership that there is no way to craft an immigration bill that will pass with only Republican votes. The party is looking to test that proposition.
INSTEAD OF BEING CONTENT with failure, Republicans decided late yesterday to delay a vote on its immigration bill until next week. They will rewrite the bill and add ag visa provisions and e-Verify — two elements that tripped up negotiations over the last few weeks — to mollify concerns and get votes.
TO GIVE A SENSE of how quickly things changed in the House Republican Conference, consider this: at 6:22 p.m., Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) — the party’s chief deputy whip — left a meeting and told us the vote would be today. At 6:39 p.m., sources in the meeting texted to say the decision had been reversed, and the bill was going to be rewritten.
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN’S goal here was to dismantle the discharge petition and give people a vote on a safely Republican bill. Now it seems like the GOP has gotten itself in a full-blown immigration negotiation, in which the conservatives and moderates are in near open war, and the leadership is trying to thread the needle without getting too involved. In the middle of an election year. With the Senate extraordinarily unlikely to act. And the House up for grabs.
PASSING A BILL will still be a herculean task, and there are plenty of people in the GOP leadership who think pushing this into another week is a massive mistake.
AP BULLETIN, 10:23 p.m.: “BREAKING: Administration official tells AP: About 500 children reunited with families after separation at border since May.”
Good Friday morning. REMEMBERING CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: WAPO’S ADAM BERNSTEIN: “Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68. The cause was cancer of the small intestine, said his son, Daniel Krauthammer. …
“‘I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking,’ Dr. Krauthammer wrote in a June 8 farewell note. ‘I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny. I leave this life with no regrets.’
“A star of page and screen, Dr. Krauthammer … was one of the highest-profile commentators of his generation. In addition to his syndicated weekly column in The Post, which garnered him a Pulitzer in 1987, he was a marquee essayist for magazines across the political spectrum, including Time, the New Republic, the Weekly Standard and the National Interest foreign policy journal. He also was a near-ubiquitous presence on cable news, particularly Fox.” https://wapo.st/2tsH41x
— HOW WAPO IS REMEMBERING HIM: “The Post will publish a full page in tomorrow’s paper dedicated to him, featuring selections from some of his most distinctive columns and an op-ed from fellow Post columnist, George F. Will. Post colleagues and friends Donald E. Graham, Colbert I. King, Hiatt and Will pay tribute to Charles, in a video.” https://wapo.st/2K03hiR … The video https://wapo.st/2Ihtnbf
#THISTOWN — DANIEL LIPPMAN and BEN SCHRECKINGER in Politico Magazine’s July/August Cities issue: “Young Trumpies Hit D.C.: … And D.C. hits them right back”: “Washington is a hipper city now than it’s ever been, a place where staffers, especially young staffers who want to drink and date and live normal millennial lives, would want to live. The problem is, if you work for Trump, it’s also more hostile territory than it’s ever been. …
“Faced with open antagonism, Trump’s millennials over the past year and a half have quietly settled on the margins: a stretch of Washington that spans from the Wharf-a shiny new development three blocks south of the National Mall-southeast along the Waterfront and into Navy Yard, on the banks of the Anacostia River. …
“‘I have gotten yelled at a few times walking out of work,’ lamented one White House staffer. … While under normal circumstances, you could expect young White House officials to work their job titles into conversations at the earliest opportunity, the Trump crew has learned to use the types of dodges more commonly deployed by employees of the CIA. …
“When it comes to disclosing their affiliation with Trump, no ground is more fraught than courtship. ‘Trump supporters swipe left’ — meaning ‘don’t even bother trying’ — might be the single most common disclaimer on dating app profiles in Washington.’” https://politi.co/2KbmH3r
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MELANIA IN TEXAS … DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ TODD GILLMAN in MCALLEN: “First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced visit to McAllen on Thursday to see for herself the conditions facing migrant children separated from parents under her husband’s zero-tolerance policy.
“At a shelter housing 55 kids, most of them from Guatemala, she shook hands and asked their favorite school subjects and what music they liked. She practiced counting in English with them and encouraged them to be nice to one another.
“Outside their earshot, she gently but insistently made clear that she would like to see children reunited with their parents, fast. ‘They are scared without their family,’ she said at a briefing with federal officials and personnel at the shelter. ‘And I’d also like to ask you how I can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible.’” http://bit.ly/2MdQ1DF
— @katierogers: “‘Good luck,’ the First Lady told detained a group of detained children as she left a shelter in Texas, per pool.”
‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’ — THE JACKET, via NYT’s Vanessa Friedman: “The assumption implicit in the outrage is that the message was meant for those Mrs. Trump was meeting. But here’s the thing: The first lady has had some experience with the attention paid when she boards planes.
“She knows everyone is going to be watching. Remember back in August 2017 when she walked across the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in sky-high Manolo stilettos during the Texas flood crisis? At that time, the shoes seemed to symbolize her enormous remove from the trauma, and she became the target of great opprobrium for the choice.
“To accept the idea she just threw the Zara jacket on in practically the same situation because — hey, it was close at hand and she was maybe a little bit cool (or something like that) is simply unbelievable. … The jacket, after all, which is reportedly sold out and is not from the current season, retailed for $39. It may be the least expensive garment the first lady has worn while representing the administration.” https://nyti.ms/2lqj3EJ
— @StephGrisham45: “Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted @flotus greatly. If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids – rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe – we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children. #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket”.
— @realDonaldTrump: “‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’ written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!”
TWEET OF THE DAY: BURGESS EVERETT (@burgessev): “Guys, the ‘I really do care’ jacket was being laundered”.
PAGING WAPO EDITORS … This moment was made for Robin Givhan. On Thursday, she posted beautiful photos on Instagram of Zanzibar with “#vacation.”
IN ANY OTHER WHITE HOUSE, an aide would likely step in and say, “OK, I understand you might be cold, but maybe that jacket isn’t the right one for today.” For a woman who is under an extraordinarily high-powered microscope, it was a stunning thing to wear.
ABOUT THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER — “Trump administration asks court to alter decree to OK family detention,” by Josh Gerstein: “The Justice Department asked a federal judge on Thursday to alter a decades-old settlement in order to allow the Trump administration to implement a new policy for detaining families taken into immigration custody after crossing the border with Mexico.
“The emergency motion, filed with U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles, seeks to change provisions in the so-called Flores agreement that typically bar detention of minors for more than 20 days, as well as a requirement that children be held in facilities licensed as state-approved daycare centers.” https://politi.co/2loXCnD
— @maggieNYT: “People in White House sound as confused as everyone else about what happens after the president’s EO, which McGahn was against him signing. There’s inter-agency disagreement about what it means. Trump now essentially tunes his chief of staff out, Trump driving the train.”
WAPO’S DAN LAMOTHE, SEUNG MIN KIM and NICK MIROFF: “Pentagon will make room for up to 20,000 migrant children on military bases”: “The Defense Department will house up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on military bases in coming months, a Pentagon official said Thursday, the latest twist in the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement effort.
“The agreement comes after the Department of Health and Human Services made the request. Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a military spokesman, said Thursday that the Pentagon will support it. In a notification to lawmakers, the Pentagon said Wednesday night that officials at HHS asked whether beds could be provided for children at military installations ‘for occupancy as early as July through December 31, 2018.’” https://wapo.st/2MMuh2V
BORDER TALES …
— “For a 6-Year-Old Snared in the Immigration Maze, a Memorized Phone Number Proves a Lifeline,” by ProPublica’s Ginger Thompson: “As the U.S. attempts to reunite migrant families, children will bear the burden of helping to identify who and where their parents are. The 6-year-old girl heard asking to call her aunt on an audio recording from a detention facility this week has an advantage.” http://bit.ly/2IfAIbg
— “The chaotic effort to reunite immigrant parents with their separated kids,” by WaPo’s Kevin Sieff in Brownsville, Texas: “Each of the mothers had a different memory of the moment she was separated from her child. For some, it was outside a Border Patrol station just north of the Rio Grande, shortly after being apprehended.
“For others, it was after an interrogation by federal authorities in a bitterly cold air-conditioned office. Jodi Goodwin, an attorney in Harlingen, Tex., has heard more than two dozen variations of those stories from Central American mothers who have been detained for days or weeks without their children. So far, she has not been able to locate a single one of their offspring. ‘It’s just a total labyrinth,’ she said.” https://wapo.st/2yxTICt
TRUMP INC. — “Trumps and Kushners Cut Ties on Hotel Deals That Raised Eyebrows,” by NYT’s Ben Protess and Steve Eder: “The Trumps and the Kushners are parting ways — not the White House power couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, but their family businesses on hotel collaborations in New Jersey, according to people briefed on the situation. Kushner Companies and the Trump Organization recently dropped plans for the Trumps to manage an oceanfront hotel that the Kushners are building at the Jersey Shore. The companies also terminated an arrangement that had the Trumps managing a hotel outside New York City in Mr. Kushner’s childhood hometown, Livingston, N.J.
“Ethics watchdogs had taken aim at President Trump and Mr. Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, for retaining stakes in their family businesses while the companies were financially entangled in New Jersey.
“The families’ dealmaking, the watchdogs suggested, could have influenced Mr. Trump’s judgment about Mr. Kushner’s role in the administration. And Bobby Burchfield, the Trump Organization’s outside ethics adviser, had also asked questions about the potential collaboration with the Kushners on the Jersey Shore property.” https://nyti.ms/2MKGQf8
THE LATEST ON TRADE — “Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight,” by AP’s Paul Weisman: “The European Union is set Friday to slap tariffs on $3.4 billion in American products, from whiskey and motorcycles to peanuts and cranberries. India and Turkey have already targeted U.S. products, ranging from rice to autos to sunscreen.
“And the highest-stakes fight still looms: In two weeks, the United States is to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing has vowed to immediately retaliate with its own tariffs on U.S. soybeans and other farm products in a direct shot at President Donald Trump’s supporters in America’s heartland. The tit-for-tat conflict between the United States and China — the world’s two largest economies — is poised to escalate from there.” https://bit.ly/2K0pkpC
BEN LEFEBVRE and NICK JULIANO: “Zinke met with real estate developer, Halliburton chairman at Interior office”: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met at department headquarters in August with Halliburton Chairman David Lesar and other developers involved in a Montana real estate deal that relied on help from a foundation Zinke established, according to a participant in the meeting and records cited by House Democrats late Thursday.
“Zinke, Lesar and the others later discussed the development project over dinner that night, the participant in the meeting confirmed to POLITICO. The new details raise further questions about Zinke’s involvement in the project, and whether his conversations with the developers — especially in Interior’s office — violated federal conflict of interest laws given Halliburton’s extensive business before this department. POLITICO reported Tuesday that a foundation Zinke established a decade ago agreed to let the Lesar-backed development build a parking lot on foundation land.
“Zinke has told POLITICO that he was no longer involved in the foundation’s operations since becoming secretary in March 2017, and that has he ‘resigned as president and board member’ of the foundation when he joined President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. But he has not said whether he continued holding discussions with the developers, who are pursuing a multi-use project in his hometown of Whitefish.” https://politi.co/2MbxIPw … Ben and Nick’s original Zinke/Halliburton scoop https://politi.co/2IgsDTH
TRUMP’S FRIDAY — At 12:15, the president will participate in a ceremony credentialing newly appointed ambassadors to Washington (closed press). At 2:30 p.m., Trump will speak about immigration with “Angel Families” (pooled coverage). Angel Families are people who have lost relatives due to the actions of illegal immigrants. In the evening, Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend the U.S. Marine Corps evening parade (pooled coverage).
— VP MIKE PENCE will have lunch with Justice Clarence Thomas, whose birthday is today, at 12:45 p.m., and will speak to the president elect of Columbia.
SUNDAY SO FAR – CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Panel: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Carlos Gutierrez, David Urban and Neera Tanden
— CNN’s “Inside Politics” hosted by John King: Jonathan Martin, Julie Davis, Manu Raju and Margaret Talev
— “FOX News Sunday”: Jeh Johnson … Panel: Rich Lowry, Donna Edwards, Andrew McCarthy and Juan Williams. Power Player: Leonard Leo
— ABC’s “This Week”: Jon Karl, Matt Dowd, Chris Christie, Donna Brazile and Cecilia Vega
SCOOP — “Conservative breakup: Club for Growth splits with Jamestown Associates,” by Alex Isenstadt: “The anti-tax group Club for Growth has split with the prominent Republican advertising firm Jamestown Associates, a rare breakup in the tight-knit world of conservative politics that could have ripple effects for GOP candidates across the country. On March 20, Club for Growth President David McIntosh sent a memo to his staff effectively severing its relationship with Jamestown Associates, which it had previously endorsed at a time when mainstream Republican Party groups were blacklisting the firm.
“McIntosh’s memo, which was obtained by POLITICO, alleged that Jamestown Associates had promised prospective clients that hiring the firm would put them in line to receive an endorsement from the Club for Growth — a powerful imprimatur in Republican primaries that often precedes hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending.
“The organization also bundles contributions directly to its favored candidates. ‘This is simply not true,’ McIntosh writes in the memo. ‘Needless to say, if Jamestown Associates is telling or implying to candidates they can ensure the Club PAC’s endorsement, then that would raise significant ethical questions about their veracity and business practices.’” https://politi.co/2tuXiHH
K-STREET FILES – Daniel Lippman and Marianne LeVine in Politico Influence: “The National Restaurant Association’s general counsel Christopher Rodgers sent a memo Wednesday to employees informing them that the group’s former top lobbyist Cicely Simpson ‘has raised certain allegations…relating to her employment and the termination of her employment’ and that ‘this situation may lead to litigation’ …
“POLITICO reported Friday that Simpson left the National Restaurant Association amid internal discord and high employee turnover within her division [https://politi.co/2LVwrf]. In a copy of the memo obtained by POLITICO, Rodgers writes that ‘it is very important for the Association to identify and preserve any and all documents, including electronic documents, and other information that may be relevant, regardless of whether they support our position in this matter.’” The memo https://politi.co/2MMBIY0
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SORRY SCOTT! “WH proposal would disband security details for Pruitt and at other agencies,” by ABC News’ Lucie Bruggeman: “A new proposal from the White House to streamline security personnel for government agencies would do away with embattled [EPA] Scott Pruitt’s controversial and costly security detail.
“The proposal, buried in the administration’s latest government reform and reorganization plan, suggests assigning the U.S. Marshals Service to protect branch heads, effectively centralizing security needs for the EPA and other agencies under the Marshals’ umbrella.” https://abcn.ws/2lpz9i3
NYT’S SHANE GOLDMACHER and JEFFERY MAYS: “For Democrats Challenging Party Incumbents, Insurgency Has Its Limits”: “[Suraj] Patel has waged the most millennial of campaigns [against Rep. Carolyn Maloney]. On a recent Thursday evening, he was sitting in a former bar in the East Village that he uses as his campaign headquarters. His campaign manager handed him one of three phones that was logged into the dating app Tinder, and Mr. Patel began furiously swiping right. All around the bar — adorned with blue-velvet booths and a sound system that was playing Kanye West — campaign volunteers, logged onto Tinder, Grindr or Bumble, were doing the same thing.
“Mr. Patel calls it Tinder banking: Participants set up an account with a picture of an attractive person, usually not themselves, and begin seeking matches. Mr. Patel uses a picture of his brother. He compared it to the practice of creating a fake online persona to lure someone into a relationship. ‘It’s kinda like catfishing,’ he admitted, ‘but you are telling people who you are.’ When someone responds, Mr. Patel replies with a political pickup line: ‘Hi Sarah. Are you into civic engagement?’ He soon reveals who he really is.” https://nyti.ms/2IeldAw
MEDIAWATCH — WAPO’S SARAH ELLISON: “National Enquirer sent stories about Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen before publication, people familiar with the practice say”: https://wapo.st/2IePzmt
— “‘When Your Owner is Richer Than God, It’s Easier to Get Uppity’: Discontent at the Washington Post as the Union Targets Jeff Bezos,” by Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo: “The new economy’s archetypal disrupter was a dead-tree media hero for saving the paper. But now his journalists want a bigger cut. ‘Bezos has done amazing things for this place,’ says one staffer. ‘But the disaffection with Silicon Valley monopolies may be coming home to roost.’” http://bit.ly/2MIa5iN
TRANSITION – POPPY MACDONALD will be the first managing director of Steve Ballmer’s USAFacts as it gears up for the 2018 and 2020 cycles. She is currently the president and COO of POLITICO. At POLITICO, MacDonald led the business strategy for the launch of POLITICO Pro and new products including Legislative Compass, and custom-brand programs like “What Works.”
— BALLMER is making the rounds in DC today: a reporter breakfast hosted by Bloomberg’s Al Hunt, a Penn Wharton conference at the Capitol, and a Bipartisan Policy Center lunch with Senate staff.
SPOTTED: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) at gate 35X at DCA waiting for a flight to Bangor, Maine.
SPOTTED at the Austrian Ambassador’s residence: Austrian Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner and Gudrun Faudon, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Gayle Wicker, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Bobbi Barrasso, Sylvie Lucas, Justice Stephen Breyer and Dr. Joanna Breyer, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson and Candy Carson, Rep. Dr. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) and Leah Dunn, Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Lynn Gorguze, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Ritu Khanna, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) and Kathleen Rooney, Lloyd and Ann Hand, Ret. Gen. James and Diane Jones, Dirk and Katrin Wouters, Henne and Lena Schuwer, Meret Orazov and Dr. Irina Orazova and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Renee Hudson.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jill Colvin, White House reporter for The Associated Press. How she got in journalism: “Somewhat accidentally. I’d worked at my college paper and done several journalism internships, but never thought it was something I’d do as a career until I was in grad school in London, getting a master’s degree in sociology, and bored out of my mind. I cold-called and emailed every news organization in the city until finally The Washington Post’s lovely bureau chiefs at the time responded and decided to let me help out around the office with some research and reporting. Watching them work together on a series about injustices against women around the world was inspiring, and I was hooked.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2lqmF9L
BIRTHDAYS: Brit Hume is 75 (hat tip: James Rosen) … Washington Post Live executive producer Michael Falcone, celebrating with friends at a “Day-After Solstice” party tonight at the Line Hotel (h/t Annie Linskey) … former VA Secretary David Shulkin is 59 … Mary Jo Scarborough … Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is 69 … Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is 85 … Erin Brockovich is 58 … GOP fundraiser Dana Harris … Justice Clarence Thomas is 7-0 … Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) is 58 … ICANN’s Carlos Reyes is 29 … Megan Chan, WaPo’s director of digital operations … Kirk Whitworth … Zach Stewart … Andrew Malcolm, national politics columnist for McClatchy … Derek Hunter … Bryan Jung … Antoine Rolin … Brian Rell … Steven Smith … Joni Smith, Scottish affairs counselor to North America (h/t Mitchell Rivard) …
… Robert Sinners, special assistant at GSA … Pia Carusone … Pat Griffin … Alisa Robbins Doctoroff is 6-0 … Andy Rubin is 56 … Lauren Weiner, political communications manager at the ACLU (h/ts Stephanie Cutter and Jeff Solnet) … Grayson Miller … Katie Byerly of Albright Stonebridge Group … Politico’s Kaitlyn Burton and Adrienne Hurst … Kate Ralston … Chris Hofmann … CBS News alum Jackie Adams … CAP’s Luke Bassett … Fox News’ Brian Doherty … Lori Kelley … Kristie Robinson … Kyle Taylor is 37 … John Romero … Mike Moodian is 41 … Mike Carter-Conneen … Dustin Olson … Zach Stewart (h/t Teresa Vilmain)
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