Justin Green

"Massive turmoil" at Heritage Foundation

Cliff Owen / AP

Jim DeMint, the president of the Heritage Foundation and former Tea Party firebrand senator from South Carolina, is on the rocks at the Heritage Foundation, according to Politico, which reports the organization plans to force him out.

The quote: An unnamed GOP operative told Politico there is "massive turmoil over there right now..."

What it means: Heritage, via its political arm, has leaned into primary battles against moderate Republicans under DeMint's leadership. Judging by the quotes in the Politico piece, Heritage board members and advisers are ready to dial it back.


Ted Cruz introduces "EL CHAPO Act" to pay for the wall

Cliff Owen, Eduardo Verdugo / AP

Senator Ted Cruz wants to use assets seized from drug lords such as El Chapo, the Mexican kingpin who was recently extradited to the U.S., to pay for border security and the border wall.

  • The idea: U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits and other assets from El Chapo. They also routinely seize the assets of other drug dealers and traffickers.
  • The Cruz quote: "Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border."
  • The acronym's meaning: Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order
  • Why it matters: President Trump is trying to figure out how to pay for his border wall, which will require American taxpayers to front the bill, but Republicans aren't helping at the moment.

New attack will have a "big effect" on French elections, says Trump

The attack: An unnamed suspect, who was known to police as an extremist, killed one police officer and seriously hurt another in a shooting yesterday in Paris. The French authorities are investigating it as an act of terrorism, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Trump's response:


Report: Fox holds emergency meetings on ousting O'Reilly

The Murdoch family has decided Bill O'Reilly has got to go, according to NYMag's Gabriel Sherman, who is probably the best-sourced reporter on Fox News.

  • Next steps: Fox execs are meeting this morning to figure out an exit plan, and the parent company's board meets on Thursday.
  • Sticking points: Cash — Roger Ailes got $40 million, and O'Reilly has a contract that pays $20 million a year — and whether O'Reilly gets to go back on air to say goodbye to his viewers.
  • Potential successors: Eric Bolling, Dana Perino and Tucker Carlson, per Sherman.

House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz won't run for re-election

Rick Bowmer / AP

Rep. Jason Chaffetz will retire after this term, as first reported by BuzzFeed News' Alexis Levinson and confirmed by Chaffetz in a Facebook post:

"After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018. Since late 2003 I have been fully engaged with politics as a campaign manager, a chief of staff, a candidate and as a Member of Congress. I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career. Many of you have heard me advocate, "Get in, serve, and get out." After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018."

Why it matters: Chaffetz chairs the powerful House Oversight Committee, and spent much of 2016 investigating Hillary Clinton's emails. He's been less visible during the Trump administration.

Upcoming Utah political races after 2018: Governor in 2020.


Outside Trump group hires Brian Walsh

America First Policies has named Brian O. Walsh, a partner at RedPrint Strategy and former president of the American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, as its new president.

Walsh told Axios he was "honored to have the opportunity" to work with the group to have a "strong presence in the policy debate" on administration priorities such as tax and health care reform. Politico's Alex Isenstadt had it first.

Walsh will join former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, who departed the Trump administration late last month to give "badly needed air cover for the President's agenda."

Background: America First Policies is led by longtime figures like former Pence advisers Nick Ayers (chairman of the board) and Marty Obst, in addition to Trumpworld figures Brad Parscale and Katrina Pierson. David Bossie and Rick Gates, the other founders of the group, have already departed.


Kremlin TV on Trump, then and now

Andrew Harnik / AP

The shift from reasonable Trump to dangerous Trump is well underway in the Russian media, as demonstrated nicely by this pair of comments from Russian journalist Dmitry Kiselev, who heads the Kremlin-backed Rossiya Segodnya (which isn't the same thing as RT):

  • September 2016: "Trump's leading in the race. His ability to state things as they are, and his intention to end the recent extreme Russian-American tensions — all this puts him in a very risky situation. Now they may just kill him."
  • April 2017: "The world is a hair's breadth from nuclear war... War can break out as a result of confrontation between two personalities; Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Both are dangerous, but who is more dangerous? Trump is."

Why it matters: This is a good, albeit imperfect, way to see what Putin is thinking. As a Kremlin spokesman said of Kiselev, "His position is close, but not every time."


Justin Trudeau's plan to legalize marijuana in Canada

Richard Drew / AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced legislation to make Canada the second country on Earth to legalize marijuana. The bill is expected to pass, according to The New York Times.

The details:

  • Provinces will be in charge of determining how the drug is distributed and sold.
  • It'd only be legal for those 18 and older.
  • Households will be able to grow up to four plants, but they anticipate most people using licensed commercial vendors.

Sticking points: The big one is how to test users for impairment, primarily when driving. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is testing a pair of options, per the New York Times. Diplomats will also be put to work making sure legalization doesn't cause Canada trouble when it comes to international treaties.


64% of Republicans want to see Trump's tax returns

Evan Vucci / AP

The big number: 80% of Americans want President Trump to release his tax returns, including 64% of Republicans, according to a MoveOn.org poll conducted by Global Strategy Group.

The shiny object: Trump shows no signs of changing his mind, so while this may help galvanize Democratic organizing for upcoming policy fights and the mid-terms, it's extremely unlikely that this will help voters see Trump's tax returns.

Why it matters: Media attention on the 120 marches planned on Saturday (more here from Jonathan Swan) may be focused on Trump's tax returns, but it will also see messaging on overall taxes and tax reform, which is a Trump priority for this summer. Republicans want to broadly cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, while Democrats oppose those efforts.

More numbers:

  • 67% of those polled said corporations "pay less than their fair share" in taxes, compared to 12% who said they do.
  • 92% said the wealthy have too many tax loopholes, and 90% said corporations have too many loopholes.

Methodology: Nationwide online survey among 1,211 registered voters. Conducted April 5-9.


Trump: Putin is backing "an evil person"

Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik via AP

President Trump, in an interview with Maria Bartiromo that will air shortly on Fox Business, said the U.S. is "not going into Syria," even after last week's missile strikes.

The eye-popping quote: He also called Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad an "animal," saying it was "very bad for Russia" that Vladimir Putin is backing an "evil person".