🥞 Happy Sunday!
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The truism that debt and deficits matter is fading away among policy elites, Axios editor-in-chief Nicholas Johnston writes:
That's after the national debt passed $22 trillion, the most ever — $2 trillion of that while Trump was in office.
This is a rare zone of agreement for left, right and center:
Why it doesn't matter, from Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin: inflation, which over the past decade or so has been a non-factor, even after back-to-back years of above-trend growth and government spending binges.
The two arguments:
Debt matters ... Axios Future editor Steve LeVine warns against a "glib new gospel."
Debt doesn't matter ... Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon: "There is no evidence from 240 years of American history that the level of the national debt has ever really mattered."
1 fun thing: A man named Ian Hammond proposes improving American's balance sheet by selling Montana to Canada. The price? Just $1 trillion.
Michael Cohen's team is working to find drafts of a false statement he made to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project in 2017 "that would reflect who edited what, and turn them over to lawmakers," the WashPost reports.
The Post adds: "[T]he House and Senate intelligence committees pressed Cohen this week on whether he had had any discussions about a possible pardon."
After his week from hell at home and abroad, President Trump sought solace by breaking the record for longest speech of his presidency, "basking in adulation" for 2 hours and 2 minutes at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.
And he drew laughter and applause when he used a vulgarity — twice, for good measure — in referring to the Russia investigation as "this phony thing that now looks like it's dying":
Bob Costa points out in the WashPost's lead story that "[a]cquiescence to Trump is now the defining trait of the Republican Party":
At CPAC, Trump took note of the meandering nature of his remarks:
Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered "the most personal remarks of his political career" as he launched his new campaign in Brooklyn, per CNN's Gregory Krieg:
The race entered a new phase this past week as governors tried to crack the senator scramble, AP's Bill Barrow writes:
For the first time, a commercially built and operated spacecraft designed to carry a human crew docked today at the International Space Station from U.S. soil, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman writes.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted: "A new generation of space flight starts now with the arrival of @SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the @Space_Station."
"Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered Paintings and an Art-World Feud ... No one had spotted a new painting by the Dutch master for four decades — until the scion of a storied Amsterdam family found two."
Ivanka Trump spoke at last night's 134th Gridiron Club, staged by elite journalists for official Washington, and told the audience that she was appearing on behalf of her father.
The Gridiron dinner signature is a series of skits sung by journalists and outside ringers, spoofing both parties and the press — "singe, don't burn" is the credo.
The opening number was set to "Bohemian Rhapsody":
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a bad dream, no escape from Sean Hannity.
Don’t miss that tweet, it’s our new foreign policy.
I’m just a poor hack, fact-checking frantically.
I’ll give them three or four Pinocchios — could be high, could be low.
Hard to say if I know, doesn’t really matter to them — to them.
The opening Democratic skit was set to "Seventy-Six Trombones" from "The Music Man":
Seventy six unknowns hit the campaign trail
With a hundred and ten embeds right at hand.
The opening Republican skit was set to Billy Joel’s "You May Be Right," with a cast member depicting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Midterms came we crashed our party .
Voters made us say we’re sorry.
Then we backed ourselves against his wall. ...
The Senate is a combat zone
I make decisions on my own.