FBI Director Threatened to Resign

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the public urging of President Trump — has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed,” Axios reports.

“Wray’s resignation under those circumstances would have created a media firestorm. The White House — understandably gun-shy after the Comey debacle — didn’t want that scene, so McCabe remains.”

Trump Puts Tariffs on Solar Imports

“In the biggest blow he’s dealt to the renewable energy industry yet, President Trump decided on Monday to slap tariffs on imported solar panels,” Bloomberg reports.

“The U.S. will impose duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply… The tariffs are just the latest action Trump has taken that undermine the economics of renewable energy.”

More Tax Cuts Included in Government Funding Bill

New York Times: “The deal struck by Democrats and Republicans on Monday to end a brief government shutdown contains $31 billion in tax cuts, including a temporary delay in implementing three health care-related taxes.”

“Those delays, which enjoy varying degrees of bipartisan support, are not offset by any spending cuts or tax increases, and thus will add to a federal budget deficit that is already projected to increase rapidly as last year’s mammoth new tax law takes effect.”

Did Democrats Fold Now for Better Leverage Later?

Daily Beast: “Two truths emerged from a deal that the Senate cut on Monday to re-open the federal government after a weekend-long shutdown. The first is that Democrats caved. The second is that they find themselves somewhat better positioned for what is likely to be another, far more bitter, shutdown battle in the coming weeks.”

“Republicans no longer have children’s health care as a political cudgel against Democrats, since the bill that passed on Monday includes a six-year authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And McConnell is on the spot to follow through on his pledge to resolve the standoff over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”

Pennsylvania Court Throws Out State’s Congressional Map

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court “struck down the boundaries of the state’s 18 congressional districts, granting a major victory to plaintiffs who had contended that they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans,” the AP reports.

“The order from the Democratic-controlled court gives the Republican-controlled Legislature until Feb. 9 to pass a replacement and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf until Feb. 15 to submit it to the court.”

Stephen Wolf estimates that Democrats could gain several House seats with a new nonpartisan map.

Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation is controlled by Republicans, 13 to 5, even though Democratic voters outnumber registered Republicans.

Trump Privately Discussed Replacing Kelly

Vanity Fair: “Donald Trump’s relationship with John Kelly, his chief of staff, fraught from the beginning, may finally have gone past the point of no return. Two prominent Republicans in frequent contact with the White House told me that Trump has discussed choosing Kelly’s successor in recent days, asking a close friend what he thought about David Urban, a veteran Washington lobbyist and political operative who helped engineer Trump’s victory in Pennsylvania. Ivanka is also playing a central role in the search, quietly field-testing ideas with people.”

“Kelly’s departure likely isn’t imminent… Trump can also hardly afford another high-level staff departure, which would trigger days of negative news cycles.”

“But the prospect of a Trump-Kelly rupture became more probable as news of their clashes over immigration leaked. Last week, Kelly reportedly infuriated Trump when he told Fox News that Trump had ‘evolved’ on his position to build a southern border wall. Kelly further catalyzed Trump’s ire when he told Democratic lawmakers that Trump was ‘uninformed’ when he made his campaign promise to build the wall.”

RNC Blames Democrats for Shutdown In 5 Battlegrounds

“The Republican National Committee launched a six-figure campaign this weekend targeting 2.6 million voters in midterm battleground states with Democratic senators — Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The campaign blames Democrats for the government shutdown,” Axios reports.

“The GOP has raised a record amount of money, and is already using it to get involved in a few specific, crucial midterm races.”