White House and Hill GOP leaders are astonished by the unambiguous, far-reaching power of Steve Bannon and policy guru Stephen Miller over, well, just about everything:
Another satisfied customer ... Bannon, in a phone interview with NYT's Mike Grynbaum, who covers media, TV, and politics (story is on A1): "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while … I want you to quote this … The media here is the opposition party. They don't understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States."
Pre-conventional wisdom: A conservative leader told Axios' Jonathan Swan that Reince Priebus' people were feeling like they "won November and December," having filled the White House with so many loyalists. The spin was that Reince was outmaneuvering Bannon and would be the real power source. But now it's dawning on them, as Trump makes his early moves, that maybe they spoke too soon.
Democrats will almost certainly block Trump's Supreme Court nominee — regardless of who it is, as payback for Republicans tanking Obama's pick, Merrick Garland — and Republicans will almost certainly push the nuclear-option button. This will set a new precedent of 50 votes for Supreme Court confirmation, just like Republicans set the precedent that you now can refuse to fill a slot in a presidential election year.
"Additional pending [executive] orders … call for a review of cyber capabilities and vulnerabilities, in advance of what is expected to be greater use of offensive powers," per WashPost's Karen DeYoung and Phil Rucker.
Kim Strassel's "Potomac Watch" column in the Wall Street Journal, picks up on conservative chatter about "A GOP Regulatory Game Changer: Legal experts say that Congress can [use the Congressional Review Act to] overrule Obama regulations going back to 2009."
The White House didn't exactly seem broken-hearted when Mexican President Enrique Peno Nieto yesterday announced that because of the border-wall provocation, he was canceling next week's trip to Washington. Trump had tweeted shortly before the announcement: "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
The White House then floated a new payment mechanism as part of what AP branded Trump's "Chaotic Day." Axios' Stef Kight narrates: "After mentioning a 20% border tax for Mexico and then claiming it wasn't an actual policy proposal, WH press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the plans to pay for the wall are still in the works. BUT an import tax was the best plan. He added that any country the U.S. has a deficit with would be taxed, and claimed a 20% tax would bring in $10 billion, which would 'easily pay for the wall.'"
Trump v. Globalism, Act 4 … "German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang spoke out in favor of closer trade ties, signaling a global alliance opposed to the protectionist agenda of … Trump." (Bloomberg)
… from last night's interview with Fox's Sean Hannity:
Recode's Peter Kafka reports that Facebook "is going to start rewarding video makers who create longer clips. ... [I]t is tweaking its News Feed algorithm to emphasize longer videos that are able to retain their audience; the longer they hold them, the more likely Facebook is to promote them."
Amazon has been granted a patent for a robot to pack shipping boxes that are now filled by humans, per Axios' David McCabe.
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