Sneak peek ... Roger Stone, the flamboyant Republican operative known for light suits and dark arts, met President Trump in 1979, when they were introduced by Roy Cohn, one-time counsel to Joseph McCarthy. Stone, an alumnus of Nixon and Reagan campaigns, was a top adviser to Trump in the early months of this presidential campaign, then departed amid personality conflicts in August, 2015, with each side claiming to have fired the other. Stone stayed in touch with Trump, and kept notes on the advice he quietly gave Trump Tower throughout the campaign (some solicited, some not).
Stone will be out Jan. 31 with a campaign memoir, "The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution" — the title cheekily echoing the Teddy White classics. A copy of the book was "leaked" to Axios AM. Among the memorable passages:
Stone is rightly controversial, reviled on the left and even by some on the right. But he has worked for the Trump Organization, the Trump Shuttle, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, and several Trump political explorations. So in the current rush to understand Trump, Stone stands as a longtime insider:
Important gossip on Capitol Hill: Some conservative lawmakers are worried that tax reform might NOT get done this year, because Obamacare repeal plus Supreme Court fight will take way more time than the Trump White House anticipates -- plus paying for it will be more contentious than supporters think. Some fear Mitch McConnell will move too slow in Senate. Others warn this is much more complicated than Trump thinks. Still, GOP leadership insiders say Paul Ryan's obsession with it will help jam it through.
Jonathan Swan reports from the Republican congressional retreat in Philadelphia that House Ways and Means chair Kevin Brady made a forceful pitch behind closed doors for the border adjustment tax, which boosts taxes on imports and reduces them on exports. The tax could raise $1 trillion, and Republican leadership believes tax reform depends on it.
But some members made clear in their questioning that they don't like it, and a number of advocates are getting wise to the fact that the tax needs to be rebranded. "Trump is all about the branding," a senior House member told Axios. This member now calls it a border adjustment "fee." Others, he says, are calling it a "mechanism."
The president continues to use his first week in office to plunge into controversy, relishing the blockback rather than trying to round the edges:
The president to ABC's David Muir yesterday, in his first network interview since the inauguration, on his self-indulgent remarks at the CIA on his first full day in office: "I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time. … Take out your tape -- you probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it."
Sentence of the day … Peter Baker in an NYT front-page analysis, "An Itchy Twitter Finger in the Oval Office": "Rarely if ever has a president been as reactive to random inputs as Mr. Trump."
Maggie Haberman has a phoner with Trump on life in the White House, which he seems to be savoring: "[T]he president … called his press secretary a 'superstar.' … The kitchen has been stocked with the same types of snacks that Mr. Trump had on his private plane, including Lay's potato chips. …
"Trump is in the meantime pondering his first break away from the White House, a potential trip to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., possibly the weekend of Feb. 3."
Because of his friendship with the president, one of the most powerful Cabinet secretaries will be Commerce's Wilbur Ross, a 79-year-old Wall Streeter who has been put in charge of trade negotiations and policy. Ross is on the cover of the forthcoming issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, in a profile by Max Abelson:
"Trump's proposed cabinet has a net worth of more than $6 billion. Ross is by far the richest, worth $2.9 billion … Ross is positioned to become the most powerful Commerce boss in years. … To the extent that the Trump administration is an experiment in government by—and possibly for—the ultrawealthy, Ross would be its public face."
Bloomberg's Brad Stone — author of the juicy Amazon book, "The Everything Store" — will be out Jan. 31 with "The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World." Bloomberg Businessweek this morning posts an excerpt: "Few companies have altered city life as deeply and as swiftly … Airbnb and Uber, their headquarters only a mile apart in San Francisco, are among the fastest- growing startups in history by sales, market value, and number of employees."
Axios' Kim Hart has a handy "What to expect" guide to ways the Trump administration may regulate and try to influence the media: "There is a faction inside the White House, including chief strategist Steve Bannon, who do not have a romantic view of Silicon Valley and want to find ways to punish companies that create wealth, not jobs, or move too many jobs overseas." Check out her easy-to-scan, bulleted piece, "How Trump's media obsession could collide with regulation of it."
The paradox of Dow 20,000 … Greg Ip, one of the smartest thinkers in journalism, nails it in a Wall Street Journal front-pager: "Britain is leaving the European Union, a protectionist is in the White House, the front-runner in France's presidential election wants out of the euro. Yet paradoxically, investors have concluded the world is getting less risky, not more … It is hard to explain this with economic fundamentals … What has changed is how investors assess the balance between upside and downside risks."
Several stories have examined what it means for Trump to have so many Goldman Sachs alumni in top positions. The WashPost today looks through the other end of the telescope at what it mean for the bank:
Screen-time shocker: … Bloomberg gets cheeky: "Get off Facebook, Dad. No, really, you're spending, like, seven hours a week on there." Don't tell your kids but, middle-aged men spend more time than millennials on social media, according to Nielsen."
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