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Famous last words but our sources at the highest levels in the White House and on Capitol Hill genuinely believe two things could happen this week:
GOP leadership is nervous about jinxing either of these events, and nobody wants to make bold proclamations about healthcare in particular (given how burned they've been in the past), but the optimism is genuine. We're hearing from folks who've been cynical all along that they really think this could happen for the first time since version 1.0 failed.
What you need to know:
What the White House thinks: Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus both genuinely believe a vote is imminent. It's widely acknowledged within the West Wing that they made a mistake the first time around by outsourcing the process to Paul Ryan and HHS Secretary Tom Price.
A hot topic of conversation the past 48 hours among sources close to President Trump: Corey Lewandowski's decision not to register as a lobbyist. Lewandowski, who runs a political consulting firm that advertises its proximity to the White House, talks to the president regularly, including visits to the West Wing. But he insists he's doing no lobbying for his clients, whatsoever.
This situation is fast developing into a major PR problem for Trump's former campaign manager. I'm told multiple media outlets, including the New York Times, are investigating Lewandowski's firm. Politico's Ken Vogel and Josh Dawsey published a deeply-reported story a couple of days ago that says a second firm Lewandowski co-founded appears to have offered access to the President.
The key paragraph:
A document provided to an Eastern European politician by an international consulting firm that Lewandowski co-founded this year promises to arrange "meetings with well-established figures," including Trump, Pence, "key members of the U.S. Administration" and outside Trump allies. [Barry] Bennett...[Lewandowski's business partner]... said that he hadn't seen the Washington East West Political Strategies document. He acknowledged, though, that he and Lewandowski started the firm.
I asked Lewandowski on Sunday about his decision not to register as a lobbyist. He wouldn't explain himself, but instead kept telling me to contact his clients. Lewandowski then sent me a statement from his firm's lawyer John Mino, which said the firm and its employees "take their compliance obligation seriously," and are fully compliant with lobbying disclosure laws.
President Trump had a testy sit-down to mark his first 100 days with John Dickerson, host of CBS' "Face the Nation" (or, as Trump called the program to Dickerson's face: "Deface the Nation.")
Highlights that will echo into the week:
VP Mike Pence, to Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press":
Reince Priebus, White House chief-of-staff, to Jonathan Karl on ABC's "This Week":
The West Wing is a paranoid place, and officials there are constantly trying to root out the leakers. At the highest level in the White House, everyone (and I do mean everyone) talks to reporters off-the-record or on background. It's just that different high-level officials have their own favored reporters.
One simple leak-decoding tactic that some officials use: scan reporters' Twitter feeds to see who publicly defends or says sympathetic things about certain officials. Then keep that official's name in mind as the scoops roll in for that reporter.