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Financial Times lead story says French markets show rising fear of a win by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the female Trump, in April elections:
"Traders have been on edge after they failed to predict [Brexit and Trump], ... and investors said the sharp moves on Monday were a sign they were steeling themselves for more jolts this year."
James Athey of Aberdeen Asset Management: "Markets underpriced the political risks in 2016 and they are determined not to do the same again ... Investors want greater rewards for the risks they see in French, Dutch, German and possibly Italian elections this year to destabilise the region."
Connecting the dots ... "The US moneyed and political elite is fighting back against Trump," by Quartz Washington correspondent Steve LeVine: "From the Super Bowl to Silicon Valley and federal court, the deplored American elite—corporate heavyweights, billionaires, the old political establishment—is attempting to form a wall against what they regard as a threat to the way the modern world works."
Mike Gerson column in WashPost: "Republicans are on the horns of a bull in a china shop. ... [O]pposing Trump in public risks Twitter attacks and primary challenges. In Trump's amoral, counterpunching ethic, even the mildest criticisms can result in massive retaliation. Trump has already succeeded in creating an atmosphere of intimidation in Washington."
Trump to O'Reilly, re Obama: "It's a very strange phenomenon. We get along, I don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me. ... [I]t was a great inauguration -- loved every minute of it -- and I got along with him. In fact, people were sort of surprised, I finished, I turned around he was smiling, I was smiling, we were saying hello."
O'Reilly interjected: "I don't know if he was happy with that speech."
Trump: "I don't know, but he seemed to be. But this isn't just a knock on him: We've been going down the wrong path for many years beyond him."
HuffPost's Ryan Grim reports that Andrew Puzder, Trump's nominee for Labor, employed an undocumented immigrant as household help.
Statement via Puzder spokesman: "My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S. When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the State of California and submitted all required paperwork."
Grim: "The woman ... declined the offer, fearful that it would lead to detainment and deportation."
N.Y. Times' Alan Rappeport: "The revelation potentially could derail a nomination that has elicited controversy because of Mr. Puzder's views on overtime pay, sick leave and automation."
Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for Education, is expected to be approved around noon today "by the narrowest possible margin, with Vice President Pence expected to break a 50-50 tie," AP reports.
GOP Hill sources tell me that putting all the "replace" parts of health reform in place could take YEARS. CNN, Wall Street Journal, N.Y. Times all have stories about health reform taking longer than expected.
In his interview with Bill O'Reilly, which Fox is spacing out over three nights, Trump hedges on deadlines for his agenda:
In a Times front-pager, "Reality Chills Heated Words on Health Law," Mike Shear and Robert Pear say of that last quote: "That admission is sure to be a serious disappointment for the president's most fervent supporters, who sent him to Washington believing that he would move quickly to dispatch the health law."
Infrastructure wish lists ... In a process that began during the transition, governors from at least 44 states this week will sending the administration a wish list of 300 infrastructure projects, ranging from dredging to light rail to safe water to Interstate widening. McClatchy has 20 examples.
Risks of Trump infrastructure bank ... AP's Joan Lowy and David Lieb: " [E]conomists and transportation experts warn the government could end up rewarding investors in projects that would have been built even without credits."
N.Y. Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak, in a piece on "How Trump Chose His Supreme Court Nominee," saves the best for last: "Trump's team is already looking down the road, weighing the choices should Justice Anthony M. Kennedy decide to step down."
"Disney CEO Iger [turns 66 on Friday] Seen Likely To Extend Stay," per Wall Street Journal front-pager: "Few believe internal executives are poised to ascend and contend it would be tough for an outsider to take over in less than 16 months."
Washingtonian magazine's "100 Very Best Restaurants" (February cover; not online yet):
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