NO TIE VOTE ON WITNESSES! — E&E NEWS’ @geofkoss: “MURKOWSKI tells me she’s a NO on witnesses.”
— ALASKA GOP SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI: “Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.” The full statement
OK SO, WE’RE GOING TO TRY TO MAKE SENSE of something that even we don’t really fully understand ourselves at this point.
AS OF THIS MORNING, people on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue began whispering that the trial was likely to extend to next week. Why? We got no good answers. The range of explanations included: The White House wanted it to, they didn’t want to be acquitted today, and they wanted to be acquitted after the State of the Union.
YEAH, THIS MAKES absolutely no sense to us, either.
THE WITNESS VOTE is still on track for today. But how the trial ends — and when — is not at all clear. MONDAY is the Iowa Caucus and TUESDAY is the State of the Union — the biggest audience President DONALD TRUMP will have before November.
WE’D CAUTION YOU THIS: Timing is subject to change. Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL and Senate Minority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER have to figure out how to end the trial.
MCCONNELL announced a recess around 3 p.m.
READ JOHN BRESNAHAN and BURGESS EVERETT for more on this.
NADLER HEADING BACK TO NEW YORK … @RepJerryNadler: “I am sorry to not be able to stay in Washington for the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial but I need to be home with my wife at this time. We have many decisions to make as a family. I have every faith in my colleagues and hope the Senate will do what is right.”
THE NEWEST BOMBSHELL … NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN and MIKE SCHMIDT: “Trump Told Bolton to Help His Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Book Says”: “More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.
“Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.
“Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.” NYT
WHAT THEY SAID THIS MORNING …
— SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.): “I don’t think 10 people in America want this to go to next week.”
— SCHUMER on how he sees the endgame playing out: “I’m going to talk with my caucus. I do believe this: I believe that the American people should hear what every senator thinks and why they’re voting the way they’re voting, and we will do what we can to make sure that happens but I’m not going to get into any details. I have to discuss it with my caucus.”
WATCH FOR THIS … IF TRUMP IS ACQUITTED, will someone file a censure motion immediately?
Happy Friday afternoon.
DEVELOPING … “2 in custody after police-involved shooting near Mar-a-Lago, officials say,” by ABC 25 WPBF News: “According to officials, the Florida Highway Patrol was in pursuit of a black SUV. It was heading towards two security checkpoints at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
“The SUV tried to breach both security checkpoints while heading towards the main entrance, officials said. The vehicle then fled the scene while being pursued by FHP and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. Officials went on to say that the vehicle has been located and two individuals are in custody.” WPBF
— THE PRESIDENT is scheduled to go to Mar-a-Lago tonight.
DAVID ROGERS SPEAKS … “Republican judges do Trump’s bidding on border wall”: “President Donald Trump’s border wall is churning up a second constitutional crisis all by itself on the sidelines. The wall is not the issue. Instead, it is the extreme steps taken to undercut Congress’ constitutional power over spending and the response thus far by the judicial branch, which has run for cover in a manner that strains credibility. … [W]ith a troubling consistency, the outcomes match whatever political party chose the judge making the decision.” POLITICO
POMPEO ABROAD — “Pompeo pledges ongoing support for Ukraine in Kyiv visit,” by AP’s Matthew Lee in Kyiv: “[Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday and rejected allegations that vital military aid and a White House visit were or continue to be conditioned on a probe into the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival to Trump. ‘It’s just simply not the case. We will find the right time, we will find the appropriate opportunity’ for the visit, Pompeo said.” AP
3 DAYS TO IOWA … JOHN DELANEY DROPS OUT, via Quint Forgey
— DEEP DIVE from NATASHA KORECKI in Des Moines: “Did Warren Get Her Ad Campaign Wrong in Iowa?”: “[A]mong campaign staffers and media strategists, the caucuses will also serve as a referendum for a crucial question in the dark arts of campaign messaging: What’s the most effective way to reach voters in 2020? Should campaigns go heavy on digital spending, or do it the old-fashioned way, on TV?
“Buttigieg and Warren conducted almost a controlled experiment in these two approaches during the final months of 2019. Perhaps surprisingly, it was the millennial candidate who went retro. Warren’s campaign leaned heavily on a modern, digital-first strategy early in the campaign, believing that the traditional, broad-brush medium of television wouldn’t be effective until later in the contest. Buttigieg invested early, consistently and heavily in television.” POLITICO
— NOW WARREN’S ON TV! — “Warren debuts new ads in late ‘electability’ push,” by Alex Thompson: “The ads argue that the Massachusetts senator is the candidate best equipped to unite the Democratic Party next fall and seek to address the fear among voters that a woman can’t win because of entrenched sexism. The ads cast Warren as a unity candidate.”
— RYAN LIZZA dispatch from Des Moines: “The unexpected joy at a Trump rally in Iowa”
BLOOMBERG STAKING IT ALL ON CALIFORNIA? … SACBEE: “Michael Bloomberg to visit Sacramento, Fresno on Monday: ’Our Iowa is California,’” by Bryan Anderson: “Bloomberg has adopted an unorthodox strategy for the 2020 primary, skipping the four earliest voting states in the nation, spending more than $250 million on political ads and going all-in on California — the most delegate-rich state in the nation.”
BEYOND THE PRIMARY … MARC CAPUTO and CHRIS CADELAGO: “Democrats launch massive battleground plan led by Obama general”: “Dubbed Organizing Together 2020, the effort was assembled by one of Barack Obama’s battleground gurus, Paul Tewes, and is hiring hundreds of staffers in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. The party’s biggest union supporters and top progressive groups, as well as several governors, are powering the initiative …
“The organizing effort, which experts estimate could cost between $20 million to $60 million, would end after the nomination, at which point the nominee’s campaign would absorb the cost of staff and field offices.” POLITICO
WAR REPORT — “Taliban’s Continued Attacks Show Limits of U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan,” by NYT’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff: “The Taliban and other groups carried out a record number of attacks in Afghanistan during the last several months of 2019, according to an inspector general report released Friday. The increase in violence occurred during a period in which President Trump tweeted that the United States was ‘hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!’
“The number of attacks, detailed in the quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a government watchdog formed in 2008, highlights once more the disparity between talking points on suppressing the Taliban and the reality on the ground: Despite a concerted bombing campaign and American and Afghan offensive ground operations, Taliban fighters are still able to attack at levels similar to those a decade ago.” NYT
IMMIGRATION FILES — “Fewer Asylum Seekers Have Lawyers Under Trump Administration Policy,” by WSJ’s Alejandro Lazo in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico: “People seeking asylum in the U.S. are less likely to have legal representation under a Trump administration policy that sends them to await court hearings in Mexican border cities, recently released research shows.
“Among immigrants issued initial immigration-court notices between January and November of last year, about 4% of people under Remain in Mexico had attorneys, compared with 32% of those in immigration court who live in the U.S., according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, a research organization that tracks such data.” WSJ
OOPS … ARTHUR ALLEN: “How the feds missed their chance at a coronavirus vaccine”: “[T]wo scientists from the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development had developed the vaccine against another coronavirus, SARS — but that epidemic ended before their vaccine was ready. And once the crisis was over, most of their funding dried up. …
“That was a big missed opportunity. They and other scientists say SARS should have been seen as a coronavirus warning shot, not an isolated outbreak, and it should have triggered federal investments like the billions sunk into flu vaccines a decade or so earlier. They want the federal government to act rapidly now to declare a public health emergency, get a vaccine developed, have it approved by the FDA and ready to slow the Wuhan virus’ march across China and globe. Based on past experience, though, the chances of all that falling into place fast enough to turn the tide aren’t great.” POLITICO
E-RING READING — “Thousands Face Furloughs as U.S.-South Korean Talks Hit Impasse,” by WSJ’s Andrew Jeong in Seoul: “President Trump’s demands that South Korea foot more of the bill to host American troops have created another cost issue: the lack of a deal means the U.S. will soon run out of money to pay 9,000 local workers.
“Negotiations between Washington and Seoul are at an impasse over shared military costs for the 28,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea. The previous arrangement expired Dec. 31. This week, the U.S. military told its South Korean workers they faced a furlough starting April 1, citing insufficient funds to pay their salaries.” WSJ
THE CURRENT SOTU PLAN — “Trump team plans a non-impeachment State of the Union,” by Gabby Orr: “On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump will relaunch his 2020 campaign. Likely clear of imminent threats to his presidency, the president plans to use his annual State of the Union speech as a fresh start for his re-election bid … Despite facing a captive audience that includes Democrats who have spent the last few months trying to remove Trump from office, the president is resolved to not even mention impeachment.” POLITICO
MEDIAWATCH — WAPO’S ERIK WEMPLE: “The Atlantic made Rahm Emanuel a contributing editor. Then, suddenly, he wasn’t”: “What happened? A strongly worded letter happened, that’s what. A group of black staffers at the Atlantic sent objections to Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg and other Atlantic leaders. … Those unique circumstances relate to Emanuel’s handling of the murder of black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke … The letter from Atlantic staffers took issue with Emanuel’s mea culpa.” WaPo
— “The Dispatch Wants to Be the Anti-Breitbart,” by The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins: “Last year, [Jonah Goldberg] left his perch at National Review and joined a handful of prominent conservative writers to launch The Dispatch, a new media venture with a mission that’s as straightforward as it is radical: producing serious, factually grounded journalism for a conservative audience.
“In interviews, editors told me they aim to fill a growing void on the right’s media landscape, which they described as oversaturated with hot takes and starved of reporting, obsessed with lib-ownership and uninterested in facts. … Instead of chasing cheap clicks, the company is courting paid subscribers with a portfolio of email newsletters, podcasts, and a soon-to-be-paywalled website.” Atlantic
— Longtime New Yorker deputy editor Pamela Maffei McCarthy is stepping down in May after 27 years at the magazine. She’ll be succeeded by Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn.
TV TONIGHT — Bob Costa sits down with Jake, WaPo’s Karoun Demirjian, NYT’s Carl Hulse, USA Today’s Susan Page and NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe at 8 p.m. on PBS’ “Washington Week.”
IN MEMORIAM — ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: “Anne Cox Chambers, philanthropist, diplomat and Chairman of Atlanta Newspapers, has died. She was 100.” AJC
SPOTTED at the Library of Congress on Thursday night, when the LBJ Foundation awarded the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: James Taylor (who performed “Sweet Baby James” in her honor), Constance Wu, Holland Taylor, Nina Totenberg, Bill Moyers, Sunny Hostin, Lynda Johnson Robb and Chuck Robb, Luci Baines Johnson, Catherine Robb, Lynn Novick, Larry Temple, Mark Updegrove, Ben Barnes, Tom Johnson, Ron Kirk, Tom Daschle, Lloyd Hand and Cappy McGarr.
TRANSITIONS — Ryan Jackson is joining the National Mining Association to head government relations. He currently is COS at the EPA. More for Pros … Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and his former COS Joey Songy are joining a new consulting firm, which will now be called Bryant Songy Snell Global Partners. Clarion Ledger …
… Kari Mavian, Chris Prendergast and Hicks Winters have recently joined Dow’s federal lobbying team. Mavian most recently handled regulatory affairs for SI Group. Prendergast most recently served as a counsel for Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). Winters most recently handled state and federal government affairs for LafargeHolcim. … Tyler Threadgill will be VP of federal government affairs at LKQ Corp. He previously was COS to Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.).
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Ted Newton, president at Gravity Strategic Communications, and Megan Sowards Newton, partner at Jones Day, on Monday welcomed Catherine (Cate) Victoria Newton, who came in at 7 lbs, 9 oz and 19.5 inches. Pic
— Jared Rizzi, reporter and host of the “At the Table” podcast, and Katie Devine, director of business case development at World Wildlife Fund, on Thursday welcomed Rowan Rizzi-Devine, who came in at 9 lbs, 5 oz. Pic