One Republican Would Subpoena Trump’s Taxes

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told Maine Public Radio that she wants a vigorous investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence last fall’s presidential election.

“Asked whether that could include issuing a subpoena for the tax returns that Trump has refused to release, Collins said it could if that is what is required to find out if the president had undisclosed connections to the Russians.”

Said Collins: “I don’t know whether we will need to do that. If it is necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect that we would.”

Christie Could Land Sports Talk Radio Job

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could soon be in contention as host of a sports talk radio show “that would keep him in the public eye with a megaphone in the country’s largest media market,” the Bergen Record reports.

“The same attributes that catapulted Christie to national fame in his first term – unabashed volubility and acerbic reflexes – translate well to sports talk radio, radio industry experts say, and those qualities may soon serve him in a second act that is potentially far more lucrative and certainly less consequential.”

Trump Won’t Offer His Own Health or Tax Plans

CNBC: “A more hands-off approach than Trump has previously signaled doesn’t mean that the Republican agenda won’t succeed… For the agenda, the risk is that the absence of White House plans may complicate prospects for achieving consensus between the more ideologically aggressive House and a more centrist Senate. For individual Republican members, the risk is that a president of their party may turn against controversial elements of tax or health plans after they’ve voted for them.”

“For now, lawmakers and congressional aides say the White House has worked closely with them as they craft their own approaches. When it’s ‘go time’ for legislation, as one House leadership aide put, Republicans are counting on Trump to provide the strong public advocacy needed to overcome political resistance.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“An organization that agonized about whether to invite gay dudes so moderate they probably don’t take off their blue blazers when they have sex but thinks Milo has to be there because he has star power just shows you the corrupting power of celebrity.”

National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg, quoted by Politico, on CPAC disinviting Milo Yiannopoulos as their keynote speaker.

Trump Is Sinking Like a Rock

A new Quinnipiac poll finds President Trump with a negative 38% to 55% job approval rating, his worst net score since he took office.

  • 55% to 40% say he is not honest
  • 55% to 42% say he does not have good leadership skills
  • 53% to 44% say he does not care about average Americans
  • 63% to 33% say he is not level-headed
  • 64% to 32% say he is a strong person
  • 58% to 38% say he is intelligent
  • 60% to 37% say he does not share their values

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “President Trump’s popularity is sinking like a rock. He gets slammed on honesty, empathy, level headedness and the ability to unite. And two of his strong points, leadership and intelligence, are sinking to new lows. This is a terrible survey one month in.”

Democrats Face Urgency of 2018

“Near a nadir of political power, Democrats across the country say their comeback must begin with key races next year — and warn that failure to make big gains in state races in 2018 will doom them to another decade in the minority in Washington,” The Hill reports.

“More than three-dozen states will choose governors in the next two years, while voters pick state legislative candidates in thousands of districts across the country.”

“In the vast majority of cases, those legislators and governors will draw new political boundaries following the 2020 census that will determine just how competitive the battle for the U.S. House of Representatives will be in the following decade.”

Mexico Will ‘Not Accept’ U.S. Immigration Policies

Mexico will not accept new “unilateral” U.S. immigration proposals, and will not hesitate in approaching the United Nations to defend immigrants, Reuters reports.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said “the new U.S. proposals would be the main point of discussion for upcoming meetings, which will take place between Mexican officials, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Wednesday and Thursday.”

The Resistance Has the Upper Hand

Jonathan Chait: “It is worth noting that, so far, normal political countermobilization seems to be working quite well. ‘The Resistance,’ as anti-Trump activists have come to be known, has already rattled the once-complacent Republican majorities in Congress, which Trump needs to quash investigations of his corruption and opaque ties to Russia. Whatever pressure Trump has tried to apply to the news media has backfired spectacularly. His sneering contempt has inspired a wave of subscriptions that have driven new revenue to national media, which have blanketed the administration with independent coverage. Popular culture outlets, rather than responding to Trump’s election by tempering their mockery, have instead stepped it up, enraging the president.”

“If Trump has a plan to crush his adversaries, he has not yet revealed it. His authoritarian rage thus far is mostly impotent, the president as angry Fox-News-watching grandfather screaming threats at his television that he never carries out. The danger to the republic may come later, or never. In the first month of Trump’s presidency, the resistance has the upper hand.”

How to Keep Trump Off Twitter

President Trump’s former campaign staffers “claim they cracked the code for tamping down his most inflammatory tweets, and they say the current West Wing staff would do well to take note,” Politico reports.

“The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk.”

Fight Erupts Over Transgender Students’ Rights

“A fight over a draft order that would rescind protections for transgender students in public schools has erupted inside the Trump administration, pitting Attorney General Jeff Sessions against the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos,” the New York Times reports.

“Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order and told President Trump that she was uncomfortable with it… The order would reverse the directives put in place last year by the Obama administration to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. Mr. Sessions, who strongly opposes expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, fought Ms. DeVos on the issue and pressed her to relent because he could not go forward without her consent.”

Cabinet Picks Clash with White House Over Hiring

Politico: “The White House’s deep involvement in hiring decisions across the government is frustrating some of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet secretaries, spurring early tussles between the president’s advisers and leaders of federal agencies. White House officials have sometimes rejected candidates who have previously criticized the president — even if they boast sterling credentials or have the endorsement of top Republicans. And they’ve often imposed their choices on agencies.”

“Many Cabinet nominees joined the administration believing they’d have wide latitude to pick lieutenants, but they’re beginning to realize Trump’s powerful advisers are looking over their shoulders. The White House’s approach has already slowed hiring — and the dozens of vacancies at key agencies could make it more difficult to implement some of Trump’s policy proposals.”

Kasich and Trump Disagree on Who Called Meeting

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), an outspoken critic of President Trump, is scheduled to meet with the president at the White House on Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

But the two Republicans are already disagreeing on who called the meeting.

“Kasich adviser John Weaver said on Twitter late Monday the ‘tentative’ meeting with Trump was scheduled ‘because the president asked.’ But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted Tuesday it was Kasich who sought the meeting with Trump – not the other way around.”