Kasich Allies Feeling Out Top GOP Donors

“Close allies of John Kasich have reached out to prominent GOP donors to gauge their interest in backing the Republican Ohio governor against President Donald Trump in a possible 2020 showdown,” CNBC reports.

“Kasich has not decided whether he will run for president in 2020, but Republican megadonors have indicated to his top political lieutenants that they are willing to back him over Trump under certain circumstances.”

“A Democratic wave this fall could indicate to donors that a change is needed at the top of the party.”

Christie’s Portrait Will Cost Taxpayers $85K

Bergen County Record: “To most people, the image that sums up Chris Christie’s time as governor is the picture of him on that beach closed to everyone else, in that chair with his family and friends while the public was shut out of state parks on a holiday weekend during a government shutdown.”

“The image that Christie wants to officially mark his time as governor and the one that the public is paying for will be painted by an Australian artist… At a total of $85,000, Christie’s portrait will cost more than what his three predecessors combined paid to have their images hang in commemoration of their political service.”

7 Risk Factors for House Republicans

The Cook Political Report identifies “seven risk factors” for House GOP incumbents in the midterm elections:

  • Sits in a district with a Cook PVI score of R+5 or less Republican.
  • Sits in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.
  • Received 55 percent of the vote or less in the 2016 election (or a 2017 special election).
  • Voted in favor of the American Health Care Act in the May 4 roll call vote.
  • Voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the December 19 roll call vote.
  • Raised less money than at least one Democratic opponent in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Has a Democratic opponent with at least $200,000 in cash on hand as of March 31.

“Only one incumbent, Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), has all seven risk factors. Eight incumbents have six risk factors, 23 incumbents have five, 23 incumbents have four and 32 have three.”

DNC Files Lawsuit Alleging Collusion to Disrupt Election

“The DNC filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.”

“The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC filed suit against former president Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.”

The Hellfire Club

A new novel from Jake Tapper is out next week: The Hellfire Cluba political thriller set in 1954.

New York Times: “It’s an ambitious debut, a meticulously researched work of historical fiction with a byzantine plot punctuated by explosive, Dan Brown-esque twists: a shootout at the Capitol, blackmail, murder, corruption, a stolen dossier, a terrorist attack at the House of Representatives and a top secret society made up of senior lawmakers, lawyers, chief executives and lobbyists, whose elite members engage in absinthe-fueled debauchery and other unsavory acts.”

About the Comey Memos

James Hohmann: “These memos only got released because Republicans lawmakers demanded they be turned over and threatened to hold Trump officials at the Justice Department in contempt if they weren’t, even raising the specter of impeachment. It’s hard to overstate how irregular it is for DOJ to release evidence central to an ongoing federal investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing whether Trump obstructed justice, and these notes would be key building blocks of any obstruction case.”

First Read: The Comey memos hurt Trump more than they help him.

Slate: Why were Republicans so desperate to release the embarrassing Comey memos?

Arizona Teachers Vote for Statewide Walkout

“Arizona teachers voted for a statewide walkout next week, escalating their push for higher pay and increased school funding,” CNN reports.

“The Arizona Education Association announced Thursday night that its members voted to strike. Of the more than 57,000 votes tallied, 78% of school employees in the state were in favor of a walkout.”

56 GOP House Seats Are Now Vulnerable

Cook Political Report: “Multiple indicators, including generic ballot polls , President Trump’s approval ratings and recent special election results, point to midterm danger for Republicans. But without robust race-by-race polling, it’s trickier to predict individual races six months out.”

“Our latest ratings point to 56 vulnerable GOP-held seats, versus six vulnerable Democratic seats. Of the 56 GOP seats at risk, 15 are open seats created by retirements. Even if Democrats were to pick up two-thirds of those seats, they would still need to hold all their own seats and defeat 13 Republican incumbents to reach the magic number of 218. Today, there are 18 GOP incumbents in our Toss Up column.”

“That Toss Up list is likely to grow as the cycle progresses. Out of the 65 GOP incumbents rated as less than ‘Solid,’ 49 were first elected in 2010 or after, meaning more than three quarters have never had to face this kind of political climate before. And, Democrats have a donor enthusiasm edge: in the first quarter of 2018, at least 43 sitting Republicans were out-raised by at least one Democratic opponent.”

Lawmakers Concerned a New NAFTA Deal Wouldn’t Pass

Playbook: “Senior Republican aides on Capitol Hill are growing increasingly concerned about their ability to ratify a NAFTA deal that the White House cuts. They worry that if the president’s negotiators come to an agreement in the coming months, they will not have the support to pass it. It’s the middle of an election year, and trade politics are particularly thorny on Capitol Hill.”

“It is getting almost no attention but Congress would have to ratify a new NAFTA deal — Trump can’t do this alone. The Trump administration has done absolutely nothing to prepare the Hill for a bruising trade vote in the middle of an election year, according to key aides involved. GOP leadership is well aware of the void. When the Trans-Pacific Partnership cleared the Capitol, it benefited from a multi-year, multi-million dollar lobbying campaign.”

Politico: “One strategy that has seemed to gain favor is to force a congressional approval on the new NAFTA by withdrawing from the existing pact even before the new one is ready. The thinking is that Congress will have to approve whatever terms are in the new deal quickly, lest the U.S. is left hanging without an agreement with two of its largest trading partners.”

How Trump Lied to Get on the Fortune 400 List

Jonathan Greenberg: “In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was.”

“The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself. When I recently rediscovered and listened, for first time since that year, to the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse: Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him.”