“A short-term spending bill failed to advance in the Senate late Friday due to opposition from Democrats and some Republicans, virtually assuring a government shutdown at midnight,” the Washington Post reports.
New York Times: “Yet as the hours ticked down Friday toward what would be the first shuttering of the government since that 2013 showdown, Democrats betrayed little nervousness about pushing a shutdown, because they believe any immediate backlash will be long forgotten in a midterm election destined to revolve around another, even more polarizing president. If voters had forgotten the shutdown months later in 2013, they may forget it even more quickly in 2018. In the dizzying news cycle of the Trump era, voters can hardly remember what happened a few days ago.”
“House Republicans spent the end of the workweek telling everyone who would listen that the American people must be allowed to see a top-secret four-page document that could bring an end to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 elections,” the HuffPost reports.
“One thing about that document: Republican staffers wrote it.”
“The document, which alleges abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the FBI’s quiet counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in the final months of the 2016 election, was actually compiled by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee. That committee voted along partisan lines this week to allow any member of Congress to take a peek at the document themselves. Republican members soon flocked to a secure room to read the memo written by their allies — and then ran to tell the press about it.”
“A tabloid magazine held back from publishing an adult film star’s 2011 account of an alleged affair with Donald Trump after the future president’s personal lawyer threatened to sue, the Associated Press reports.
“In Touch magazine published its 5,000-word interview with the pornographic actor Stormy Daniels on Friday — more than six years after Trump’s long-time attorney, Michael Cohen, sent an email to In Touch’s general counsel saying Trump would aggressively pursue legal action if the story was printed.”
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney predicted Congress will reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown within the next day, The Hill reports.
Said Mulvaney: “I think there’s a deal in the next 24 hours.”
A new CNN poll finds 56% of Americans say avoiding a shutdown is more important than passing a bill to maintain the program allowing people brought to the US illegally as children to stay.
“Overall, about half of Americans say they would blame either Trump (21%) or his Republican counterparts in Congress (26%) should Congress fail to fund the government by the midnight Friday deadline. About a third, 31%, say they would hold the Democrats in Congress responsible, and another 10% say they’d blame all three groups.”
“Two months after a jury failed to come to a verdict in the corruption case against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, the Justice Department on Friday said they want to retry him,” Politico reports.
Josh Marshall: “This is so basic and runs so deep that people ignore it. But it’s worth repeating: shutdowns are part of the Republican brand. The facts, in this case, show the GOP is at fault. But even if they didn’t, even if the facts showed the opposite, the GOP would still have a hard time because again: shutdowns are part of the Republican brand. They invented them as a policy and legislative cudgel. They’ve used them consistently under Democratic presidents. And because Republicans are generally inimical to the idea that government is a positive force in people’s lives and valorize dramatic and high stakes political gambits they have consistently embraced the concept and strategy of government shutdowns.”
Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate John Kingston (R), who is pouring millions of his own dollars into his campaign, couldn’t name the U.S. House member who represents the district in which he lives, the Boston Globe reports.
“Kingston, who is campaigning to join the state’s congressional delegation as one of its major players, said he thought it was a Democrat from Cambridge… But then he went to the Internet and discovered who represents his hometown: Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), who has been in Congress since 2013. (She is indeed, a Democrat, but from Melrose.)”
“The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would consider a challenge to President Trump’s latest effort to limit travel from countries said to pose a threat to the nation’s security, adding a major test of presidential power to a docket already crowded with blockbusters,” the New York Times reports.
“The justices are likely to hear arguments in the latest case in the spring and to issue a decision in late June.”
“With less than 12 hours before a possible government shutdown, President Trump called Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) at midday Friday and invited him to the White House to discuss striking a deal,” the Washington Post reports.
“The meeting was set to take place as the federal government remained on a path toward closing at midnight. Senate Democrats had rallied against a short-term spending bill that does not offer protections for young undocumented immigrants or address other priorities such as disaster relief, and the House was threatening to adjourn, having already passed the bill Thursday night.”
Playbook: “There is some buzz that the two sides are interested in dealing and a shutdown could be avoided. This is very early buzz, at this moment. But there are a lot of hours left in the day and a lot can happen, multiple senior-level sources tell us. Behind the scenes, several sources are telling us the Senate is looking to deal to avoid a shutdown.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds substantially greater Republican risk in a government shutdown, with Americans by a 20-point margin saying they’re more likely to blame Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress than the congressional Democrats if one occurs.
Vanity Fair: “As the multiple probes into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia have spiraled onward, Republicans have increasingly moved to cast doubt on their origins, plunging the inquiries into a stew of partisan bickering. And though in recent weeks members of Congress have seemingly moved to bury the hatchet, a new report could re-ignite—and even worsen—partisan tensions.”
“According to McClatchy, the F.B.I. is investigating whether a top Russian banker with close ties to President Vladimir Putin illegally channeled money through the N.R.A. to bolster Trump’s bid for the White House. The revelation that the special prosecutor might target the gun lobby, arguably the most influential and sacrosanct faction of the Republican Party, could embolden G.O.P. lawmakers to bring a swift end to the Trump-Russia probe and hasten a Mueller ouster.”