Trump Almost Brought Nunes Into His Administration

New York Times: “The Trump team was so impressed with Nunes that, according to the transition official, it considered bringing him into the administration. A few weeks after the election, the congressman traveled to Trump Tower, where, according to transition officials, he and Trump discussed the possibility of his becoming the director of national intelligence and overseeing an ambitious reorganization of the intelligence community. But Trump ultimately decided to shelve those plans and appoint as director a less disruptive figure, Dan Coats, a former Indiana senator. Besides, with Pompeo leaving Capitol Hill for Langley, Trump’s circle believed that Nunes would be even more valuable to the administration if he remained in Congress, running the Intelligence Committee.”

“Some 17 months later, that looks to have been a remarkably prescient decision — as Trump appears to have been able to influence Nunes to a remarkable degree.”

Exchange of the Day

Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock spoke to CNBC‘s John Harwood:

HARWOOD: What do you advise people as a matter of strategy to do about situations like Conor Lamb found himself in when he was running? You want a Democratic majority. He’s trying to win a very Trumpy district. And he says in the campaign, “I don’t support Pelosi for speaker.” How do you feel about that and what do you advise women candidates in more conservative districts to say to that question?

SCHRIOCK: We need to win. So if you feel like you’re in a district that you need other make those types of positions, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win.

HARWOOD: You don’t care?

SCHRIOCK: We just have to win. We have to take back the majority, and that’s really critically important.

Quote of the Day

“When we get to it, we collectively as a country will know it — as we did with, like, Richard Nixon… You don’t just treat… the policy standard of impeachment as a political tool.”

— Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), quoted by Axios.

Trump’s False Claims About Moscow Could Aid Mueller

Politico: “A conscious effort by Trump to mislead the FBI director could lend weight to the allegation—contained in a largely unverified private research dossier compiled by a former British spy in 2016—that Trump engaged in compromising activity during the trip that exposed him to Russian government blackmail.”

“It has also likely caught the eye of special counsel Robert Mueller, legal analysts say. False statements to Comey about the trip could demonstrate that Trump has ‘consciousness of guilt,’ according Pete Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor who worked for special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of national security-related leaks during the George W. Bush administration.”

“That could bolster a legal case against Trump.”

Pruitt’s Support Erodes In the Senate

Politico: “Scott Pruitt’s wall of GOP support developed some new cracks on Monday, with three key Senate defenders calling for hearings into the embattled EPA administrator’s recent controversies. The three, including staunch Pruitt ally Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), all said they supported hearings by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to look into the former Oklahoma attorney general’s actions.”

Flipping Cohen May Not Be That Easy

Politico: “Getting Michael Cohen to rat out President Donald Trump may not be as simple as it sounds. Although Trump’s detractors are rooting for Trump’s personal attorney to ‘flip’ on the president and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller to escape a potentially harsh prison sentence, legal obstacles make it difficult for lawyers to expose their clients’ guarded secrets.”

“Even if Cohen is determined to break his confidences with Trump, legal ethics might deter federal prosecutors from coaxing him to betray his professional confidences with Trump, legal veterans and experts say.”

Arizona’s Special Election May Be Close

“It has been decades since Phoenix’s western suburbs have seen a congressional election with any real suspense,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“Since 1977, only two people — Bob Stump and Trent Franks — have represented the area in the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of the 8th Congressional District’s reputation as a Republican stronghold, Democrats haven’t even bothered to put a candidate on the ballot since 2012.”

“On Tuesday, voting ends in the special election to replace Franks, the veteran House Republican who resigned in December amid a sexual-misconduct scandal. Republican Debbie Lesko is the favorite to replace him because of her party’s 17-percentage-point registration advantage in the district. But at a time when independents, and even some Republicans, nationally are increasingly wary of the GOP, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni has mounted a serious challenge to Lesko.”

Trump Pick to Lead Veteran’s Affairs In Trouble

“Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee are raising concerns about allegations involving Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump’s nominee to lead the department of Veterans Affairs and are reviewing them to determine if they are substantial enough to upend his nomination,” CNN reports.

“Committee members have been told about allegations related to improper conduct in various stages of his career.”

McSally Alleges Sexual Abuse by High-School Coach

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) “said she was sexually abused by a coach when she was in high school, an experience that she said shaped some of the biggest decisions in her life,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Ms. McSally, a Republican who is running for the Arizona U.S. Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, has spoken before of being sexually harassed during her 26 years in the Air Force, where she became the first female pilot to fly in combat. But she hasn’t previously discussed publicly her high-school track coach’s alleged sexual abuse.”

Trump Tax Provision Gives $17B Break to Millionaires

A congressional report finds the wealthiest Americans will benefit the most from President Trump’s tax deduction for owners of “pass-through” businesses, NBC News reports.

“The deduction, which ranges up to 20 percent, will shower $40.2 billion in tax breaks on owners of pass-throughs — largely businesses owned by an individual or a partnership, or those ‘S’ corporations that kick income and losses to shareholders for tax purposes — in 2018, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated. The provision was included in the larger overhaul of tax rates enacted in December.”

Trump Convinced Paul to Support Pompeo Nomination

“President Trump personally intervened to convince a committed Republican naysayer to back Mike Pompeo for secretary of state, possibly securing the backing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a favored adviser whose committee vote, if not his ultimate confirmation, seemed in grave jeopardy,” the Washington Post reports.

“Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who pledged to oppose Pompeo the day after he was nominated, tweeted about Trump’s outreach and his newfound support for Pompeo on Monday just moments before the committee vote started, seemingly saving face for the nominee, who was expected to fail the panel vote but secure the support of the full Senate later this week.”

Court Says Colorado Lawmaker Can’t Be On Ballot

“Six-term Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) should be kept off the Republican primary ballot this year, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday in a decision that — if upheld — could end the longtime conservative lawmaker’s congressional career,” the Denver Post reports.

“The ruling finds in favor of a lawsuit that contended Lamborn didn’t properly petition his way onto the ballot because of problems with those he hired to gather signatures for his re-election bid.”