Trump: "The wall will come later" - Axios
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Trump: "The wall will come later"

President Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House for Florida this morning. Andrew Harnik / AP

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement responding to President Trump's morning tweets surrounding DACA, agreeing that there was "no final deal" but rather general agreement on the following terms:

  • Trump will encourage the House and Senate to enshrine protections granted by DACA into law.
  • There will be a bipartisan border security package that still needs to be negotiated — but it will not include the wall, which Trump plans to continue to advocate at a later date.

Confirmation from POTUS: Leaving the White House for Florida this morning, Trump told the pool that "the wall will come later," adding that a deal is "fairly close" with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell both on board, but both sides have to "get past the border security."

More quotes from Trump:

  • "We're working on a plan — subject to getting massive border controls. We're working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people, brought here, no fault of their own. So we're working on a plan, we'll see how it works out. We're going to get massive border security as part of that. And I think something can happen, we'll see what happens, but something will happen."
  • "We want to get massive border security. And I think that both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, I think they agree with it."
  • "Mitch is on board, Paul Ryan's on board. We all feel — look, 92% of the people agree on DACA — but what we want is very, very powerful border security, okay?"

The full Pelosi/Schumer statement:

President Trump's Tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night. As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following:
We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act.
What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible. While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.
Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package. Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill.
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Selling Donald Trump

Trump on the campaign trail in Iowa. Photo: Jae C. Hong / AP

Anyone who sells — an idea, a candidate or a product — will be interested in debating this passage from "Let Trump Be Trump," the new book by campaign insiders Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie:

Early on in his time with us on the campaign, [digital director] Brad Parscale went to Mr. Trump and Jared [Kushner] and made this analogy: Imagine, he said, two television screens. The one on the left is a commercial for a new personal music device. The device is open so you can see its inner workings. It is a marvel of engineering. You can also see how sleek it looks on the outside, and the gold plating where you plug in the headphones.

The scene on the right has only a silhouette of a woman with long, curly hair dancing while listening to the device. The tagline is, "iPod, this is how it's going to make you feel."

Brad was new to politics. ... But he had been in the Web design business for many years, and he knew what sold and what didn't.

"The people want to know how it makes them feel," he said. "They want to buy the dance."

If Donald Trump was Twitter, then Hillary Clinton was LinkedIn. Her online presence was filled with long descriptions of stances and policies. ... She was the television screen on the left. But people ... didn't want a scripted intellectual connection. They wanted a visceral one. ... Trump ... made them dance.

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The week ahead: Alabama election, ACA deadline, and net neutrality vote

Here's what to watch out for this week:

  • Monday: President Trump holds a Space Policy Directive signing ceremony.
  • Tuesday: Polls are open in Alabama's special election, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. ... Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018.
  • Wednesday: Tax conference committee public hearing. This isn't where the actual decisions will be made — look for mostly just statements. But if there are major issues Republicans haven't solved by this point, this is where they could spill out into the open.
  • Thursday: The FCC votes on whether to repeal net neutrality rules. A repeal could allow internet providers to block or slow down content, or charge more for content like streaming video.
  • Friday: Last day of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage for 2018. Spoiler alert: It's likely to be way down from last year.
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5 things that could trip up the spending bill

Trump next to empty seats for Schumer and Pelosi at an aborted spending meeting last month. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Sure, Congress wants to go home for the holidays. But it also has to fund the government after Dec. 22. And there are a lot of things that could go wrong.

Here's how plugged-in appropriations experts are ranking the dangers over the next two weeks:

  • Immigration: This is the biggest danger. Democrats will push hard for legal status for the "DREAMers" — people who are in the country illegally who came here as children. And there's no sign that Republicans are willing to put it in the year-end bill. "I don't see how a majority of this Congress leaves without some resolution," said Jim Dyer, a former House Appropriations Committee Republican staff director.
  • No tax deal before the spending bill: If Republicans can't pass a final version of the tax bill by Dec. 22, President Trump could easily pressure Congress to stay in town by refusing to sign a government funding extension until lawmakers finish the tax bill.
  • Defense vs. domestic spending: Democrats could make trouble if a funding bill includes a big boost for defense spending, but nothing for domestic programs.
  • CHIP funding: The Children's Health Insurance Program has expired, and Republicans had said the year-end bill was where its funding would be extended — but they still haven't figured out how to pay for it. Expect pushback from Democrats, and maybe governors, if it doesn't happen.
  • ACA payments: Republican Sen. Susan Collins wants two fixes for the Affordable Care Act — a bipartisan renewal of payments for insurers and a separate set of "reinsurance" funds — as a condition for her to vote for a final tax bill. That could cause problems if the House doesn't go along, which it probably won't.

One more thing: A larger problem, Dyer said, is "the general level of rhetorical excess" — partly driven by the White House.

  • His point: Most of the problems are solvable. It just takes cooler heads.
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Sneak Peek: Pence to the pyramids

Pence listens as Trump announces his Jerusalem move. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

With President Trump's announcement on Jerusalem lighting up the Middle East, Vice President Mike Pence embarks Saturday on his first trip to Israel since taking national office.

The vice president will be gone for a week, with stops in Egypt and Germany:

  • Pence takes off from Washington, lands in Tel Aviv and goes straight to Jerusalem for a bilateral meeting with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Pence then will light a menorah at the Western Wall.
  • An aide said that Pence's message in Israel will be that Trump, as he said in his speech recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, is committed to working for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Pence will use his meetings with leaders in the region to reaffirm the administration's commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East and to "defeat radicalism."
  • On Monday, Pence will give the signature speech at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. The speech will be aimed at the region overall. Pence will emphasize that he is there on behalf of the president, and detail why Israel is a most cherished ally of the United States.
  • Pence will then fly to Cairo for a bilat with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The two will discuss security and joint efforts to fight ISIS.
  • Pence will visit the pyramids and will talk with media with the ancient wonders as a backdrop.
  • Pence will fly home through Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and will do a meet-and-greet with troops.

The takeaway: A key theme for Pence's remarks and interviews will be U.S. efforts to stop persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the region.

Go deeper: Palestinians won't meet with Pence.

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Exclusive: Policy official leaving White House

The White House South Portico is adorned with Christmas lights. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Paul Winfree is leaving the White House, according to a senior administration official with knowledge of the decision. Winfree, who declined to comment, has resigned from his position as Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Director of Budget Policy.

  • Why this matters: Winfree's departure is part of what we've been forecasting will be a wave of White House staff departures after year one of the Trump presidency. His last day in the White House will be Friday.

Winfree, a respected policy wonk with strong ties to the conservative movement, is the second senior official to announce a departure in three days. Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell told colleagues she's leaving to return to her family in New York.

What Winfree has been telling friends and colleagues:

  • He and his wife are expecting a second baby boy in a few weeks.
  • He'll return to the Heritage Foundation, where he will run economic policy.
  • He also plans to start his own policy consulting business. -
  • Starting in February, he will teach a seminar on policymaking at a top university, where he will draw on his experiences working in the White House, the U.S. Senate, and with think tanks.
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Scoop: Trump's closing argument on taxes

Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

On Wednesday, President Trump will deliver his closing argument on tax reform to an audience made up largely of young people and middle-class families whose personal stories will be laced into his remarks.

Trump's remarks at the Treasury Department, next door to the White House, are expected to lay out how the once-in-a-generation tax cut/reform bill will create economic opportunity and brighter futures.

  • Aides say Trump will display his dealmaking/closing skills as he makes his case to the American people, while continuing to work behind the scenes to iron out final details.
  • A source close to the White House told me: "There's no way we would have been here had he not pushed for this to happen before Christmas."

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, it's Ego Week — or, more precisely, a week about overcoming egos:

  • A source familiar with Republican negotiations says: "You have the usual institutional tensions: The House always thinks the Senate is rolling them via parliamentary threats. Then you have the personalities: the egos of chairmen, and jostling between senators" — many of them feeling empowered.
  • Why it matters, per the source: "We know Rs are on the hot seat ... Things are taking longer than we have time for. ... But no room for failure here. We have no time."
  • Republican leadership is aiming to have the conference report, reconciling the House and Senate versions, complete by Friday.
  • Then both chambers need to pass it by simple majority, with the aim of getting it to Trump's desk by Wednesday, Dec. 20.
  • All this intersects with Shutdown Week, after Trump signed a bill Friday to keep the federal government running through Friday, Dec. 22, just ahead of Christmas Eve weekend.

Be smart: Republicans expect to pull this off. Since both chambers have voted for a version of the tax bill, there's no incentive to tank it now. But with this much urgency and this little time, lots of players have leverage — meaning more drama before this is baked.

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How many people pay the estate tax in each state

A key difference between the House and Senate tax bills that will have to be resolved this week is how they handle the estate tax, which is levied on a small number of multi-millionaires. The House repeals the tax after a few years, while the Senate raises the exemption.

Data: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Note: Estimates unavailable for Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sound smart: Many Republicans want to fully repeal the tax, but pushing for even more tax relief for the wealthiest people in America is a politically volatile position to take. Even if supporters try to push hard for full repeal behind the scenes, expect Democrats to be outraged.

The policy: Currently, estates worth more than $5.49 million (or $10.98 million when passed down from a deceased couple) are subject to a 40% tax. The House doubles the size of the estate tax exemption, then repeals the tax after 2024. The Senate doubles the exemption until the tax sunsets beginning in 2026.

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NYPD adjusts interview techniques for sexual assault victims

New York police officers march. Photo: Andres Kudacki / AP

Amid a flood of sexual misconduct allegations — some of which have turned into police investigations — the New York Police Department has taken a new approach to questioning victims, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The bottom line: "The focus that’s occurring on sexual criminal conduct coming out of the Hollywood celebrities and members of Congress may be a watershed moment,” NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Osgood told the Journal. He says more sensitive and open-ended questioning techniques may lead to breakthroughs in cold cases that have been abandoned for years.

The backdrop: Police tactics in dealing with victims of sexual assault have long been controversial, with critics saying harsh questioning puts undue scrutiny on victims and pushes them to silence. These critcisms were thrown into the spotlight when ProPublica, in conjunction with the Marshall Project, published "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" — an investigative project which showed how a police department in Washington state coerced a woman into retracting a rape allegation.

NYPD detectives in the Special Victims division received training in Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) techniques this year. The methods include asking victims of sexual assault open-ended questions such as, "Tell me about your experience," instead of specifics about the perpetrators appearance and the time and place of the incident.

How it works: Such specific details are "stored in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which shuts down during traumatic events. In FETI training, the detectives are instructed to ask broad questions that tap into a victim’s primitive brain, which maintains sensory information of those events. Channeling this part of the brain can result in a more substantial narrative," per Osgood.

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White House: "Unfortunate" that Palestinians won't meet with Pence

Vice President Pence's office has called the decision by Palestinian officials not to meet with Pence on his visit to the region "unfortunate. The Palestinians are refusing to meet with Pence over President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The statement:

"The Vice President very much looks forward to traveling to the region to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President el-Sisi. It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the Administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work putting together a plan."
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Schiff: There's "damning" evidence of Trump-Russia collusion

Schiff is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff — the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee investigating contact between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin — said the evidence of coordination is "pretty damning" on CNN's "State of the Union."

"We have all of these facts in chronology, you'd have to believe that these were all isolated incidents, not connected to each other — just doesn't make rational sense ... We do know this: the Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help, the Russians gave help and the president made full use of that help. That is pretty damning, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not."