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Andrew Harnik / AP

When Nancy Pelosi walked into her office dining room yesterday, CNBC's John Harwood called out, "Look, it's the big loser from the healthcare debate." Harwood was mocking President Trump's unconvincing claim that Democratic leaders Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were the real losers of last week's Republican healthcare fiasco.

Pelosi laughed at Harwood's joke. She said she'd read a newspaper headline that called Trump the "closer" but the 'c' was obscured by the fold. Over a lunch of chicken and avocado sandwiches, with about a dozen reporters, her mood ranged from happy to jubilant.

Bottom line: Pelosi is in a good place. She's got more leverage than she did a week ago and knows how she'll use it. House Republican leaders face a government funding crisis at the end of April and they may need Pelosi's help to pass the bill. And Trump, after failing with his Republican-only health care strategy, now wants Democrats to help him reform the tax code.

Here's what Pelosi told us:

  • She's willing to use her leverage to extract major concessions from Republicans who may need her to support their CR — the bill that funds the government — or, later in the year, the debt ceiling.
  • One way she'll use that leverage: she won't let Republicans do anything to damage the Affordable Care Act, such as cutting the payments to insurers in Obamacare marketplaces.
  • She wants Trump to move quickly on a "big jobs bill" that includes some corporate and middle income tax cuts coupled with government spending to stimulate growth.
  • But she's demanding the infrastructure spending happens on her terms. She told Trump she won't support a "tax bill disguised as an infrastructure bill." Translation: she won't back a Republican bill that spurs infrastructure development by offering tax breaks to investors. She wants the government to spend real money building everything from roads and bridges to broadband networks.
  • She thinks lowering prescription drug prices is an immediate area where Democrats can find common ground with President Trump.

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.