Sep 6, 2017

Trump's Art of the Deal? Not so much

President Trump handed Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer the deal of the century this morning.

One top Republican described the move to me as the legislative equivalent of giving an entire stockpile of weapons to Democrats and inviting them to take the entire Republican Party hostage. Republicans are in a state of shock.

Sources inside and close to leadership have used the full range of expletives in text messages reacting to what Trump did this morning. I've yet to speak to a White House official who can convincingly explain Trump's logic.

Here's what Trump did:

He ignored the pleas of his own Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and of Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and he sided with the Pelosi-Schumer plan to combine Hurricane Harvey relief funding with extending the debt limit and funding the government, both for three months. (GOP leaders wanted to extend the debt limit for 18 months.)Republican leadership sources say Democrats were bluffing and would never follow through on their threat to oppose a longer-term debt ceiling increase.Why this matters: Hurricane Harvey gave Republican leadership a rare opportunity to take the most controversial and politically toxic item — the debt ceiling — off the table for the rest of this Congress. Trump has blown up that opportunity.

When the debt ceiling and government funding bills expire in December, Democrats will have all the leverage, because Republicans can't pass a CR or debt ceiling without Democratic votes.That will also force Republicans to support a funding bill that legalizes the protection of illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children (the DACA program that Trump says he'll end in six months if Congress doesn't act.)

A top Republican close to leadership captures the prevailing sentiment on Capitol Hill today: "Dems bluffed their way into total victory."

Go deeper

Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.

Murkowski calls Mattis' Trump criticism "true and honest and necessary and overdue"

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Thursday that she agreed with former Defense Secretary James Mattis' criticism of President Trump, calling it "true and honest and necessary and overdue."

Why it matters: Murkowski, who has signaled her discomfort with the president in the past, also said that she's "struggling" with her support for him in November — a rare full-on rebuke of Trump from a Senate Republican.

Facebook to block ads from state-controlled media entities in the U.S.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Thursday it will begin blocking state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the U.S. this summer. It's also rolling out a new set of labels to provide users with transparency around ads and posts from state-controlled outlets. Outlets that feel wrongly labeled can appeal the process.

Why it matters: Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, says the company hasn't seen many examples yet of foreign governments using advertising to promote manipulative content to U.S. users, but that the platform is taking this action out of an abundance of caution ahead of the 2020 election.