Jan 11, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: President Trump has rejected a bipartisan plan to increase border security and let DACA recipients stay in the country, Sen. Dick Durbin told CNN this afternoon.

P.S. — WaPo's Josh Dawsey reports Trump saying in the Oval Office when asked to restore protections for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and countries in Africa: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

1 big thing: Trump's great clarification

This morning's presidential shot/chaser was one for the record books:

  • Trump tweet one (7:13 am): "'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.' This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?"
  • Trump tweet two (9:14 am): "With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!"

After the fact: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today there was "no conflict at all" between Trump's tweet and the White House's policy in favor of renewing FISA.

Why it mattered, per Axios' Jonathan Swan:

  • Trump did a double backflip, on Twitter, over a policy issue of grave national security importance. Senior GOP aides described the first tweet as among his most irresponsible ever.
  • The scramble to find out who fed him this idea settled on two suspects: Senator Rand Paul, who admitted to speaking to Trump, and Trump’s favorite morning TV show, Fox & Friends. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Steve Doocy and the gang have vastly more power over the president’s mind than some of his paid advisers.
  • Many on Capitol Hill consider this a disturbing thought. 
  • White House Chief of Staff John Kelly likes to tell people that he wasn’t hired to control Trump’s Twitter feed and that he pays no attention to the tweets. That sounds nice; but it doesn’t work in practice.
  • This morning shows how Trump’s Twitter feed can roil the legislative process. Yes, it all turned out ok — Trump reversed himself and the House passed the bill — but could easily have more serious consequences in the future. 
2. What you missed

Activists wear a mask of Emmanuel Macron as they demonstrate in front of the venue where Germany's conservative CDU/CSU union and the social democratic SPD party for exploratory talks on forming another governing alliance. Photo: John MacDougall / Getty Images

  1. Walmart's newsy day: The largest private employer in the U.S. is raising its starting wage and giving bonuses to employees, citing tax cuts. It's also closing 63 Sam's Club stores. The numbers ... The economics.
  2. Vladimir Putin complimented Kim Jong-un as a "shrewd and mature politician" who has "won this round" against the United States. Quote.
  3. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be leading Trump's economic delegation to Davos, the globalist conference. The full delegation.
  4. Axios' Dan Primack obtained text from journalist Emily Chang's book that identifies the host of one of a sex and drug party parties attended by the tech elite as Steve Jurvetson, the venture capitalist and Tesla Motors director who quit his firm late last year in order "to focus on personal matters." Details.
  5. Ronan Farrow has a three-year deal with HBO to produce investigative documentaries, following his bombshell New Yorker piece on Harvey Weinstein. More.
3. 1 fun thing

For the first time, scientists have identified a complex molecule in a distant part of the solar system, bringing scientists closer to solving a 30 year old astronomical mystery: why the universe glows.

Mike Allen