NEW … USMCA WATCH: SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL’S trade team, led by Erica Suares and Jay Khosla, will begin holding listening sessions with the business community in the coming weeks. The goal: replicate a similar process McConnell’s team deployed during tax reform, according to a source familiar with the plan.
IN 2018, MCCONNELL’S TEAM pushed tax reform through with stunning efficiency. Backing of the business community will be critical as Congress tries to pass a rewrite of NAFTA.
THIS IS THE WEEK … All of Washington is waiting for A.G. BILL BARR to release the redacted Mueller report. No one knows exactly what potential bombshells the report could entail for PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, but the general consensus is this could be a pretty bad week for the administration that has leaned in aggressively on the “no collusion” part of Barr’s summary.
— DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “The Insiders’ Guide To the Mueller Report”
— NYT’S ANNIE KARNI and MAGGIE HABERMAN: “Emboldened by His Attorney General, Trump Confronts Mueller Report Head-On”: “Mr. Trump is purposefully escalating his language, people who know him said, expressly to enliven his base of supporters and to enrage his political rivals and the news media. He has revived an idea that his administration rejected — sending immigrant detainees to so-called sanctuary cities — in part, people close to him said, to distract from the report.” NYT
IMMIGRATION LATEST — “White House Weighs Broader Immigration Curbs,” by WSJ’s Louise Radnofsky and Rebecca Ballhaus: “President Trump and his top aides are weighing rules designed to clamp down on countries whose nationals overstay short-term visitor visas as part of a broader push for new ways to curb immigration.
“The effort would target nationals of countries with high overstay rates of such visas, which include the African nations of Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to Department of Homeland Security data. The U.S. as part of a new rule would tell the countries’ governments that if rates don’t reverse, then future visas could be shorter or harder to get…
“The White House also is seeking to push through other rules that would tighten student and investor visas, and it is pursuing what some describe as its most ambitious goal on immigration: preventing immigrants from coming or becoming citizens if they are likely to use publicly funded benefits. The overstay proposals, for visas known as B1 or B2s, haven’t been previously reported.” WSJ
— NYT’S EILEEN SULLIVAN and MICHAEL SHEAR: “Trump Sees an Obstacle to Getting His Way on Immigration: His Own Officials”
Good Monday morning. Happy Tax Day! BEN WHITE has the latest: “On Tax Day, Trump tax cuts remain deeply unpopular”
JOHN BRESNAHAN and HEATHER CAYGLE: “Pelosi: Capitol Police working to ‘safeguard’ Omar after Trump 9/11 tweet”: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms ‘are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar, her family and her staff’ following a tweet by President Donald Trump. …
“Pelosi’s announcement highlighted what has become an extraordinary situation — the speaker of the House is worried about the safety of one of her own members following a statement by the president of the United States.
“An Omar aide said on Sunday that ‘there has been an increase in threats’ against the Minnesota Democrat following Trump’s tweet. Omar’s office reports such threats to the FBI and Capitol Police, the aide said.” POLITICO
2020 WATCH … TRUMP’S CASH HAUL: AP’S ZEKE MILLER: “President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press.
“The haul brings the campaign’s cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign. The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26.” AP
— HOW MAYOR PETE’S ROLLOUT PLAYED … NYT, Trip Gabriel in South Bend: “Pete Buttigieg Announces Official Start to 2020 Campaign”: “Pete Buttigieg, the young Midwestern mayor whose presidential bid has been an unlikely early focus of attention from Democratic voters and donors, kicked off his campaign on Sunday and proclaimed his hometown’s revival was the answer to skeptics who ask how he has the “audacity” to see himself in the White House.” NYT
— WaPo, Bob Costa in South Bend: “Pete Buttigieg says he can beat Donald Trump in 2020”: “Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of this northern Indiana city who in just weeks has vaulted from being a near-unknown to a breakout star in the Democratic Party, officially started his presidential bid here on Sunday, presenting himself as a transformational figure who is well positioned to beat President Trump, despite being young and facing off against many seasoned rivals.” WaPo
— POLITICO, Daniel Strauss in South Bend: “Rising Buttigieg formally launches presidential campaign”: “Surging in early primary polls, Democrat Pete Buttigieg officially kicked off his presidential bid on Sunday, starting a new phase of the campaign as one of the main candidates to watch just three months after he launched an exploratory committee to little fanfare.” POLITICO
— “Can Bernie Sanders really win over Trump voters?” by WaPo’s Sean Sullivan in Madison, Wis.: “The most striking example of this strategy will play out Monday night when Sanders appears at a town hall meeting hosted by Fox News Channel, an outlet many Democrats detest and one the party has blocked from hosting a debate. Sanders says it’s important to talk to Fox viewers directly and tell them Trump misled them.
“Sanders’s approach faces a significant test in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where many white, working-class voters were drawn to Trump’s fiery populist message in 2016. Sanders argues that he can reclaim these voters by convincing them he can deliver the economic relief they were seeking all along.” WaPo
— “Gillibrand raises $3 million in first quarter,” by Elena Schneider
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … BIG HAUL FROM HOUSE MINORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE … SCALISE, the No. 2 House Republican, raised $4.3 million in the first quarter of 2019, and transferred $1.87 million to the NRCC.
DEFEND THE SENATE, a joint fundraising committee affiliated with Senate Republicans, raised $2 million last quarter, and got big checks from: Ken Griffin, the billionaire hedge fund magnate, who gave $287,700; Charles Schwab who gave $272,100; and Paul Singer, the hedge fund manager, who gave $224,200.
R.I.P. 2-STATE SOLUTION … WAPO’S ANNE GEARAN and SOUAD MEKHENNET: “Trump peace package for Middle East likely to stop short of Palestinian statehood”: “President Trump’s proposal for a ‘deal of the century’ to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict promises practical improvements in the lives of Palestinians but is likely to stop short of ensuring a separate, fully sovereign Palestinian state, according to people familiar with the main elements of the effort.
“The White House is expected to roll out its long-anticipated peace package later this spring or by early summer, after more than two years of effort by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Officials have kept details of the plan secret, but comments from Kushner and other U.S. officials suggest that it does away with statehood as the starting premise of peace efforts as it has been over the past two decades.” WaPo
TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president will leave the White House at 10:40 a.m. en route to Minneapolis. He will then head to Nuss Truck and Equipment in Burnsville, Minn., at 12:35 p.m. Central time. Trump will hold a roundtable discussion on the economy and tax reform at 1 p.m. before returning to Washington.
INCOMING! … CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski (@KFILE): “Pretty incredible track for Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore. Listening to an old interview between the two in summer 2015. Kudlow compares Trump’s immigration plans to the Holocaust. Moore calls Trump’s politics ‘crazy’ and an ‘extreme nativist.’”
DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR UPDATE … BERNIE VS. CAP — The Sanders campaign blasted the Center for American Progress in a letter obtained by the NYT’s Ken Vogel and Sydney Ember: “The letter airs criticisms shared among his supporters: That the think tank, which has close ties to Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment, is beholden to corporate donors and has worked to quash a leftward shift in the party …
“‘This counterproductive negative campaigning needs to stop,’ Mr. Sanders wrote to the boards of the Center for American Progress and its sister group, the Center for American Progress Action Fund. ‘The Democratic primary must be a campaign of ideas, not of bad-faith smears. Please help play a constructive role in the effort to defeat Donald Trump.’” NYT … The letter
— FLASHBACK: Bernie Sanders speaking at a CAP conference last year, where he thanked the think tank for “all the important work CAP has done over the years”: YouTube
— Pelosi disses Ocasio-Cortez: “Lesley Stahl: ‘You have these wings — AOC, and her group on one side –’ … Speaker Nancy Pelosi: ‘That’s like five people.’” “60 Minutes” video and transcript
BRAIN FOOD: Why so many Americans don’t realize they got a tax cut: NYT
THE ATLANTIC’S ELAINA PLOTT on GEORGE P. BUSH: “The Next George Bush: In a time of outsider politics, can the ultimate insider resurrect his family’s brand?”
SPY GAMES — “F.B.I. Bars Some China Scholars From Visiting the U.S. Over Spying Fears,” by NYT’s Jane Perlez: “The F.B.I. has mounted a counterintelligence operation that aims to bar Chinese academics from the United States if they are suspected of having links to Chinese intelligence agencies. As many as 30 Chinese professors in the social sciences, heads of academic institutes, and experts who help explain government policies have had their visas to the United States canceled in the past year, or put on administrative review, according to Chinese academics and their American counterparts.” NYT
DATA POINT DU JOUR, via the NYT’s Kirk Semple in Honduras: “Last year, the [World Bank] reported that climate change could lead at least 1.4 million people to flee their homes in Mexico and Central America and migrate during the next three decades.” NYT … World Bank report
POMPEO ABROAD — WaPo’s John Hudson (@John_Hudson) in Peru: “I asked Peru’s foreign minister what he might do if sanctions against Maduro start negatively impacting the humanitarian situation in Venezuela. [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo stepped in & said I ‘shouldn’t ask questions like that’ & accused me of blaming the crisis on the U.S.”
SPOTTED: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Eastern Market on a Lyft scooter while she was out and about with family. … Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) Sunday afternoon at the UMBRELLA pop-up on 14th Street. … Ryan Zinke last night having dinner at Cafe Milano … Marianne Williamson on Sunday night at Tony & Joe’s in Georgetown.
NEW … MIKE SPAHN, Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) longtime chief of staff, is joining Precision Strategies as managing director. Spahn worked with Precision founder Stephanie Cutter in Ted Kennedy’s office.
TRANSITIONS — Tyler Lechtenberg, who was a senior White House speechwriter for both former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, and Sarah Gouda, most recently a speechwriter to the president of Planned Parenthood, have joined Fenway Strategies. … Izzy Santa has joined BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) as an SVP in the firm’s public affairs and crisis practice. Santa was previously director of strategic communications at the Consumer Technology Association.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Emily Benavides, deputy communications director for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), married Mike Thom, deputy political director at the NRCC. The couple met on the Jeb 2016 campaign and the religious wedding was in Marbella, Spain. They had a civil ceremony performed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh in February that Portman attended. Instapics
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — OBAMA ALUMNI: Lauren Crawford Shaver, partner at Forbes Tate Partners and an HFA and Obama HHS alum, and Timothy Shaver, a procurement manager at EYA, LLC in Bethesda, on Thursday welcomed Samantha Lynn Shaver, who came in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, 21 inches long. Pic … Instapic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Max Neuberger of Jewish Insider and Circuit Corp. A trend he thinks deserves more attention: “I’ve become more impressed lately with religion’s ability to create mutual respect in a way that politics hardly can. Take the United Arab Emirates, which just a few months ago officially recognized its growing Jewish community in Dubai. I had the chance to visit the community earlier this year and was struck by how conversations with leading government officials began with discussions of the commonalities of the Abrahamic faiths as means to establish comfort and respect in a way that talking politics simply would not.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Pete Rouse … Kathryn Wellner, senior adviser at the State Dept. Bureau of Public Affairs (hat tip: Matt Mowers) … Laura Lee Lewis … United’s Frank Benenati … John F.W. Rogers, EVP, COS and secretary to the board at Goldman Sachs, is 63 (h/t Dina Powell) … Linda Bloodworth-Thomason … DHS’s Jason Lamote … Tom Rosenstiel, executive director at American Press Institute (h/t Jon Haber) … Amie Parnes (h/ts Jonathan Allen and Ben Chang) … USA Today’s Ray Locker is 59 … Alex Miller Murphy … Grace Mary Aylmer … Leslie Shedd, SVP at Firehouse Strategies (h/t Kurt Bardella) … Jamie Geller … POLITICO’s Anna Gronewold and Taylor Hawkins … Rishi Banerjee … Dana Gansman … FERC’s Mary O’Driscoll … Susan Schuman (h/t Hilary Rosen) … Newsha Ghaeli … Irish Times’ Suzanne Lynch … King Philippe of Belgium is 59 … CISA’s Jason Lamote (h/t Scott McConnell) … Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) is 36 …
… Sarah Bloom Raskin, Rubenstein fellow at Duke Law and former Treasury deputy secretary … Brandon Lynaugh … Alexandra Hudson (hubby tip: Kian) … Bart Jackson (h/t Andrew Bates) … Sander R. Gerber … Kristin McCarthy … Alan Butkovitz is 67 … John Harney, night editor at Bloomberg in D.C. (h/t son David) … Phil Goldfeder … former Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), now a senior adviser at Covington, is 78 … Rachel Kleinfeld … Rachel Gartner Clark … Kathryn Garza … Nina Rees, president and CEO of National Alliance for Public Charter Schools … Steven Clift … Cheyenne Hopkins, SVP of public affairs at the Bank Policy Institute … Michael Taube … Jonathan Singer is 35 … Boeing’s Kate Bernard … Rajan Trivedi … Katie Scharf Dykes … Brian Montopoli, producer at MSNBC … Stan Melton Jr. … Robyn Swirling … Jaimey Sexton … Carol A.O. Wolf … Claudia Cardinale (h/t Nadia Szold) … Rosemary Potter (h/t Teresa Vilmain)