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Behind closed doors, and very quietly, lawmakers from both wings of both parties are scrambling to save DACA — a program that has protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
As improbable as it sounds, it currently appears that the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party has more leverage than the Stephen Miller wing of the Republican Party when it comes to DACA.
Obviously this could change. Nothing is solidified. But based on conversations with White House sources, top Hill aides from both parties, and immigration-restrictionist power-brokers, we have concluded that, at the moment, progressive Democrats hold a superior negotiating position to immigration hardliner Republicans.
This is because, on the DACA issue, President Trump has already blinked. Both publicly — in a Sep. 5 tweet, when he hinted he may reinstate DACA unilaterally if Congress can't save it — and privately, the president has indicated he doesn't have the stomach to let DACA die.
Stephen Miller, one of the White House's only immigration hardliners, is telling conservative activists that Trump will back legislation giving current DACA recipients legal status — aka amnesty — in exchange for legislation ending chain, or family, migration. And Miller doesn't want the must-pass December spending bill to include a DACA fix.
That appears to be a non-starter. Top Democratic Senate aides have told me they think it's hilarious that Miller thinks he can get this deal, and that chain migration isn't going anywhere.
Where that leaves us:
Just to reiterate: Everything is up in the air. But the above scenario seems the most likely outcome, since it would placate both progressives and moderate Republicans.
Bottom line: Despite the fact that Donald Trump became president running on a historically anti-immigration platform — promising to end DACA on Day One, build a wall, and slash legal immigration — it currently looks like Capitol Hill and the White House may find a solution that would make Jeb Bush proud.
Steve Bannon has sent two of Breitbart News' top reporters, Matt Boyle and Aaron Klein, to Alabama. Their mission: to discredit the Washington Post's reporting on Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct with teenagers.
A story that popped today — splashed over the Breitbart homepage — contains what the website claims is a major hole in the account of Leigh Corfman, who says Alabama Senate candidate, Moore, made sexual advances on her when she was 14 years old.
Klein reports from Birmingham, Alabama: "Speaking by phone to Breitbart News on Saturday, Corfman's mother, Nancy Wells, 71, says that her daughter did not have a phone in her bedroom during the period that Moore is reported to have allegedly called Corfman – purportedly on Corfman's bedroom phone – to arrange at least one encounter."
Why this matters: It's quite a head-scratcher as to why Breitbart thinks this bedroom phone detail matters. As Corfman's mother told Breitbart "the phone in the house could get through to her easily." Wells stands by her daughter's allegations. But the fact Breitbart is running stories like this shows the extremes to which it may go to discredit Moore's accusers.
Bottom line: This story is about to get even uglier, if that's imaginable. I expect more counter-attacks will play out in Breitbart News and other outlets over the coming days.
Another hard truth: Many Alabama voters hold the mainstream media in such low regard that they've dismissed the Washington Post's reporting entirely.
Axios' Ben Geman reports that the White House team at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, does not plan to discuss conditions under which the U.S. might remain in the Paris climate deal.
Why it matters: The world has little idea what President Trump means when he says he might be willing to keep the U.S. in the 2015 agreement if he can negotiate a better deal. As we reported here, the administration has yet to put meat on the bones of the idea.
What's next: The White House is hosting a meeting at the conference tomorrow to promote more efficient global use of fossil fuels, as well as nuclear power. The goal is a "pragmatic" discussion of how to address global warming while boosting energy security, economic growth and access to affordable power, a White House official said.
Big picture: Asked whether reducing global greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for the Trump administration, the official said it's a "lesser priority" than energy security and economic development, but added that it's "still a priority."
On the horizon: Trump is expected to pardon the White House turkey on Nov. 21, and he's then expected to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, according to a source familiar with his schedule.
The White House has gotten much less leaky since Gen. Kelly took over. But behind the scenes, lots of wacky stuff still happens.
A few weeks ago, more than a dozen senior officials gathered for a meeting in the White House's windowless Roosevelt Room. Kirstjen Nielsen, then Kelly's top deputy and now the pick to head DHS, was presiding, under the watchful eyes of the historic Teddy Roosevelt portrait.
Then in trundled Director of Policy and Interagency Coordination Carlos Diaz-Rosillo. He made a dramatic entrance, lugging what a source described as a "4 foot by 30 foot scroll."
The scroll was so hefty that Diaz-Rosillo had to recruit Peter Navarro, Trump's white-haired and wiry trade adviser, to help him haul it in.
Diaz-Rosillo and Navarro clumsily unfurled the giant scroll, as more than a dozen officials stared on non-plussed. Our sources say it was hard to discern the markings on the scroll; it appeared to be a byzantine array of lines, words, and empty boxes.
Diaz-Rosillo had an explanation, though, according to one source:
"This is to help with strategic communications," he announced.
The room fell silent.
After a few moments, Nielsen asked Diaz-Rosillo to explain the scroll to the group in an email.
Our sources have yet to see that email, or to solve the mystery of the giant scroll. We will update you if they do.