Apr 21, 2017

Mattis behind closed doors: We need more defense spending

Jonathan Ernst / Pool photo via AP

Trump's Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has privately expressed concern to lawmakers the defense budget Trump has proposed is not enough to rebuild the country's military, according to CNN. Mattis has publicly aligned himself with the White House's request.

Why it matters: Republican defense hawks are not happy with Mattis' decision to stand down; the $603 billion defense budget isn't a 10% increase as the White House says, but instead is just 3% more than what Obama was already planning for 2018. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry are pushing for a number more like $640 billion.

Sticking point: The Pentagon was one of the few agencies in Trump's plan that got an increase in the first place, so it would be politically difficult to lobby for more at this point.

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Warren sees bump in national poll following Nevada debate

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren surged to 19% and second place in a CBS News/YouGov national poll released Sunday, trailing front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (28%) but edging out Joe Biden (17%) and Michael Bloomberg (13%).

Why it matters: The poll notes that only 42% of Democratic primary voters have made up their minds. While Warren underperformed in the first three states, her strong debate performance in Nevada last week may have given her campaign new life.

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.