IN CASE YOU’RE ON THE MARKET … THE STATE DEPARTMENT is hiring for a “Senior Anticorruption Advisor” in Kyiv, Ukraine. The listing
BREAKING … REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-Calif.) raised a stunning $2.5 MILLION in the fourth quarter of 2019, a new filing showed. He has $8.1 MILLION in the bank. This is a massive, massive haul and pile of cash for a member of the House.
DEAL OF THE CENTURY UPDATE … BARAK RAVID (@BarakRavid): “BREAKING: The Foreign Ministers of the Arab League unanimously adopt a resolution rejecting the Trump peace plan”
— THE WHITE HOUSE heavily publicized the fact that ambassadors from Bahrain, Oman and the UAE were at the White House for the announcement of the deal. They are all members of the Arab League, as is Saudi Arabia.
ON IMPEACHMENT … THERE WERE TWO TRIALS GOING ON THIS WEEK in the Senate: One was an argument among a couple of Ivy-educated lawyers about who did what in Ukraine, who sent what email, when, why and how. This was important. But there was another trial. That one was about raw power, and the structural incentives that rule modern American politics. That was the trial the Republicans won — and many would argue it’s a temporary and hollow victory.
WHAT’S RIGHT AND WRONG is not what rules American politics in the modern era — and it’s especially irrelevant in Congress. The parties are geographically sorted. The Republican Party is nearly entirely homogeneous racially and uniform in its fealty to President DONALD TRUMP. The simple reality is this: With rare exception, you cannot win in today’s Republican Party without complete loyalty to the president.
CONGRESSIONAL POLITICS is not the place for political finesse or fancy legalese. It’s a game of brute political force — just ask NANCY PELOSI and MITCH MCCONNELL, two longtime players of this game.
HERE’S THE TRUTH: REPUBLICANS are not comfortable with the president’s behavior. They say it privately, some say it publicly on their way out. But they have no incentive to say this aloud no matter how egregious they believe the president’s behavior to be. To win as a Republican in any seat that’s at all marginal, you need to appeal to Republicans to vote.
THOSE DYNAMICS, perhaps more than anything else, explain what just happened on Capitol Hill.
BURGESS EVERETT and MARIANNE LEVINE: “Why four key Republicans split — and the witness vote tanked”: “When Lamar Alexander and Lisa Murkowski met privately in his third-floor Capitol hideaway on Thursday night, Alexander broke the news: He was going to vote against bringing in new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The Tennessee Republican explained the rationale to his Alaska colleague: That the House managers had proven their case against the president but that it still wasn’t impeachable conduct and therefore more information was unnecessary, according to a person familiar with the exchange. But Alexander did not lobby Murkowski to join him.
“Alexander also forwarded his statement announcing his decision to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who would soon send her own press release in favor of hearing from witnesses, a position shared by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
“The four Republican senators have been the crucial swing votes to help shape Trump’s trial, and they’ve been in constant communication for weeks. They banded together to devise holding the vote on witnesses in the first place, a deal that helped seal unanimous GOP support for the rules of the impeachment trial. And they were texting and calling each other with increasing regularity as Trump’s trial began in earnest.
“But on the biggest question of the impeachment trial, the group was going their separate ways. And their split decision will ensure Trump gets his speedy acquittal without the threat of new testimony that could upend GOP plans.”
CARL HULSE on NYT A1: “Once Skeptical, Senate Republicans Are All In on Trump”: “President Trump’s control of Senate Republicans is nearly complete. In their almost unanimous vote on Friday to bar new impeachment trial witnesses, they once again raised one of the big questions in Washington over the past three years: Will Senate Republicans ever step in against the president and say, ‘Enough?’
“Although many Senate Republicans have long expressed serious reservations about Mr. Trump’s character and conduct in office — and some went so far as to say the Democrats had successfully made their case against him — little daylight is visible now. In pressing inexorably toward their preordained vote of acquittal, Senate Republicans made it clear they see their fortunes and futures intertwined with the president’s, and are not willing to rock the 2020 boat.”
— WAPO’S BOB COSTA and ASHLEY PARKER: “‘The center of the orbit’: Endangered Republicans go all-in on Trump”: “‘There’s nothing in the middle of the road other than dead possums and yellow lines,’ said Will Ritter, co-founder of Poolhouse, a center-right ad agency. ‘Like no other president before, Republican voters want you to wrap yourself around Trump. There is no upside to doing any distancing.’”
NYT ED BOARD: “A Dishonorable Senate”: “Make no mistake: The Senate may acquit Mr. Trump, but it will not, it cannot, exonerate him. Mr. Trump is the most corrupt president in modern times, a reality Americans will continue to be reminded of — by continuing investigations by the House, which should immediately issue a subpoena to Mr. Bolton; by a trio of cases in the Supreme Court that seek to reveal Mr. Trump’s shady finances; and, of course, by the behavior of the man himself.”
HOW IT’S PLAYING … FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS: NYT BANNER: “SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK WITNESSES, 51 TO 49, CLEARING A PATH FOR THE PRESIDENT’S ACQUITTAL”
TOP HALF of the L.A. Times front page is political stories: Big photo of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), MATT PEARCE on Iowa and an impeachment package. LAT A1 …
… DENVER POST banner headline: “SENATE: No witnesses” … It’s packaged with a story on impeachment manager, Rep. JASON CROW (D-Colo.), with this headline: “Crow brings soldier’s-eye view to Congress trial of president” …
… CHICAGO TRIBUNE with a shot of a happy-looking MITCH MCCONNELL after the witness vote. … PORTLAND PRESS HERALD notes that “Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Mitt Romney” voted “in favor of Democrats’ push for witnesses” …
… VICKY MCGRANE’S story from Portsmouth on the front page of the BOSTON GLOBE has this headline: “N.H. voters would rather talk about anything else” than impeachment …
… COLUMBUS DISPATCH: “Portman says ‘No’ on more witnesses, will back Trump”
Good Saturday morning.
PALM BEACH POST front page: “Trump back in town after beneficial vote: Weekend visit to include Trumpettes gala, Super Bowl party”
THE STORY THAT’S NOT GETTING ANY BETTER: “Trump administration announces mandatory quarantines in response to coronavirus,” by WaPo’s Erica Werner, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Lenny Bernstein and Lena H. Sun: “The Trump administration on Friday dramatically escalated its response to the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic by announcing quarantines and major travel restrictions that officials said were meant to limit contagion.
“The measures, which could affect thousands of people around the world, represented a marked expansion of the federal government’s response after initially downplaying potential risks.
“The White House declared a ‘public health emergency’ and — beginning on Sunday at 5 p.m. — will bar non-U.S. citizens who recently visited China from entering the United States, subject to a few exemptions. Shortly after the White House announced the new restrictions and said there were six confirmed U.S. cases, a seventh case was confirmed in Santa Clara County, Calif.”
FLIP FLOP! … “Major union flips support from Sanders to Biden,” by Marc Caputo: “Joe Biden scored the endorsement Saturday of a major transit union that officially backed Bernie Sanders in 2016. ‘Joe has been very supportive of the labor movement for the last 40 years. He stands for working families. We recognize he’s a great candidate,’ John Costa, international president of the 200,000-member Amalgamated Transit Union, told POLITICO. ‘We think Joe can beat Donald Trump.’”
TOP-ED … RAHM EMANUEL in the WSJ: “Democrats May Be Blowing Their Chance”
LAT/EL PASO, TEXAS: “A sideshow no more: Michael Bloomberg’s fast ascent unnerves rivals,” by Evan Halper: “His recent rise in polls — he’s surpassed former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and New York businessman Andrew Yang in polling averages nationwide — and his focus on amassing a big advantage when California, Texas and other big, delegate-rich states vote on ‘Super Tuesday,’ March 3, is turning political forecasting on its head and unnerving rivals.
“‘I struggle with how to answer where this is going,’ said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a University of Virginia publication that tracks campaigns. ‘It is different than anything we have seen before.’ As other candidates swarm Iowa on caucus day Monday, Bloomberg will have California all to himself for a campaign blitz, touching down in Sacramento, Fresno and Compton. …
“‘I like that he is here,’ O’Rourke said during a brief interview. ‘I strongly believe we have a chance to deliver the [state’s] 38 electoral college votes to the Democratic nominee. But it won’t happen of its own accord. It’s going to take a massive level of organizing and a significant investment. … The fact that he’s willing to do that … bodes very, very well for the state, and may bode well for his candidacy.’” LAT
STATE OF THE ART … ALEX ISENSTADT: “The extreme measure one House Republican is taking to win over Donald Trump”: “GOP Rep. Thomas Massie is running for reelection in Kentucky. So why is he running TV ads in Florida? Like most everything in Republican politics, the answer has to do with one person: President Donald Trump.
“With Trump planning to go to his Mar-a-Lago club for Super Bowl weekend, Massie, a four-term Kentucky congressman, is purchasing TV advertising time in South Florida on the president’s favorite channel, Fox News. Massie’s goal: Communicate to the president that his Republican primary challenger, attorney Todd McMurtry, is a ‘Trump hater.’
“The libertarian-minded Massie has broken with Trump on an array of key issues, which McMurtry has highlighted repeatedly since launching his campaign earlier this month. But Massie’s new commercial aims to turn the tables on McMurtry, who is branding himself as a staunch Trump ally in lockstep with the president ahead of the May 19 primary.” POLITICO
WHAT THEY’RE READING IN DES MOINES … NYT’S MICHAEL GRYNBAUM: “A Scrappy Iowa Start-Up Is the ‘It’ Read for Political Insiders”: “The best political journalism you’ve never heard of is coming from a scrappy start-up in the East Village. The East Village of Des Moines, that is.
“Iowa Starting Line, a no-frills news outlet that started out as a rookie reporter and his Twitter account, is the new must-read of the 2020 campaign. Elite reporters follow it. Candidates care about it. And at a painful time in the local news business, its six-person staff has started to rival The Des Moines Register for scoops and influence in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus.”
THE PRESIDENT’S SATURDAY: The president is at Mar-a-Lago and has no events scheduled.
REMEMBER THIS ONE? … WAPO’S CAPITAL WEATHER GANG: “New emails show how President Trump roiled NOAA during Hurricane Dorian”
CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 16 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman (@dlippman):
— “Who Killed Two Journalists in Ukraine? And Why?” by Will Englund in WaPo Magazine: “A complicated war. A controversial trial. A challenge to easy assumptions about good and evil on the battlefield.” WaPo Magazine
— “The Pitfalls and the Potential of the New Minimalism,” by The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino: “The mantra of ‘less is more’ still obeys a logic of accumulation—but it hints at genuinely different ways of thinking.” New Yorker
— “James Corden’s Do-Over,” by Michael Schulman in The New Yorker: “The late-night TV host sees his job as a chance to spread joy.” New Yorker
— “Educated Fools Why Democratic leaders still misunderstand the politics of social class,” by Thomas Geoghegan in TNR – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “America’s Democrats have become the party of meritocracy; which may sound like a good thing, until you consider that the very idea of meritocracy is an insult to working-class Americans who may reasonably feel that their merits have gone unrewarded.” TNR
— “‘Women to One Side, Men to the Other’: How the Border Patrol’s New Powers and Old Carelessness Separated a Family,” by ProPublica’s Dara Lind: “Under Trump, Border Patrol agents wield nearly unchecked power over the fate of migrants — and their seemingly random decisions can cleave families apart.” ProPublica
— “Peggy Siegal Sends Her Regrets,” by Maureen O’Connor in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue: “For years, the publicist was an essential New York party host and omnipresent player in the annual Oscars swirl. Then her past relationship with Jeffrey Epstein came to light. Will she ever live it down?” VF
— “‘I’m Radioactive,’” by Emily Yoffe in Reason’s Oct. issue: “Journalist Jonathan Kaiman is one of the least famous, least powerful men to be brought down by the #MeToo movement. A year later, the fallout continues.” Reason
— “Every Time Palestinians Say ‘No,’ They Lose,” by NYT’s Bret Stephens: “Things rarely go well for those who try to live history backward.” NYT
— “Climate Change Is a Political Crisis, Not a Reproductive One,” by Ramin Skibba in Undark: “Asking millennials to forego children in the name of climate change only lets the fossil fuel industry off the hook.” Undark (h/t TheBrowser.com)
— “Science for Sale,” by David Michaels in Boston Review in an excerpt from his new book “The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception”: “By using a variety of ploys to manufacture doubt, a whole industry of science-for-hire experts helps corporations put profits over public health and safety.” Boston Review … $25.49 on Amazon
— “The Ghost Hunter,” by Leah Sottile in the Atavist: “For hundreds of years, there were rumors of a shipwrecked treasure on the Oregon coast. But no one found anything, until Cameron La Follette began digging.” Atavist (h/t Longreads.com)
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPOTTED at a funeral service for Jim Lehrer on Friday at the National United Methodist Church: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Jane Harman, Tom Brokaw, Roger Rosenblatt, Robin MacNeil, Chuck Hagel, Lynda and Chuck Robb, Gordon Peterson, Judy Woodruff, Mark Shields, David Brooks, Don Graham, Susan Dentzer, Michael Beschloss, Bert Pena, David Ignatius, Fred Graefe and Kathleen Matthews.
SPOTTED at a party at Kate Seelye and Andrew Tweedie’s house Friday night celebrating Kim Ghattas’ new book “Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East” ($19.49 on Amazon): EJ Dionne, Margaret Brennan, Marcus Brauchli, Vivian Salama, Nicole Gaouette, Jennifer Ludden, Blake Hounshell, Sarah Robbins, Dana Milbank and Anna Greenberg, Hussain Haqqani and Farah Ispahani, Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen, Jason and Yegi Rezaian, Chris Schroeder and Glenn Kessler.
SPOTTED at the “First-in-the-Nation Primary” trivia night at the Rex Theater in Manchester, N.H., on Friday night: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), who won the competition, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Brad Cook, Susan Daggett, Donna Soucy, Ray Buckley, Joyce Craig, Kathy Sullivan, Lucas Meyer and Mike Vlacich.
TRANSITIONS — Miguel Rodriguez will be director of North America government affairs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He previously was SVP for government affairs at the Center for American Progress. … Wendy Anderson is now senior counselor for defense and intelligence at Palantir. She previously was general manager for defense and national security at SparkCognition and is an Obama alum. … James Burnham is now counselor to A.G. Bill Barr. He previously was deputy assistant attorney general at DOJ.
BIRTHDAYS: Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) is 76 … Michael Kives of K5 Global … Fred Barnes, Washington Examiner senior columnist and Fox News commentator, is 77 … Todd Inman, COS to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao … ABC’s Ali Dukakis and Jordyn Phelps … Liz Breckenridge … Jamie Radice … Christine Halloran … Marc Elias of Perkins Coie (h/ts Jon Haber) … Mara (Sloan) Boroughs … Crossroads Strategies’ Mat Lapinski … Matt Moon, VP of advocacy at the Business Roundtable … Andrew Friedman is 33 … Everfi’s Ashley Hicks … Joseph Jones … Miguel Ayala is 41 … Alexa Kissinger … Dan Arbell … AIPAC’s Tara Brown … Erin Dooley … Icelandic PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir is 44 … Gray Barrett … Aria Kovalovich of the House Science Committee (h/t Alan McQuinn) … Bloomberg News’ Michelle Jamrisko … Natalie Cucchiara, senior coordinating producer for NBC’s “Meet the Press” …
… Jake Siewert, of Goldman Sachs, is 56 … Abigail O’Brien, communications director/deputy COS for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) (h/t Henry Marcel) … Rachel Walker … David Redl … Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC … Jason Russell … David Barnhart, founding partner at Locust Street Group … Tara McGowan, founder & CEO of Acronym (h/t Kyle Tharp) … Willa Prescott … Meaghan Burdick, founding partner of 14th Street Strategies … Deloitte’s Jaime Berk … Emmett McGroarty … CBS’ Alana Anyse … Uber’s Alex Luzi … Susan Coll … NBC’s Catherine Kim … Maria Reppas … Dan Chmielewski … Josh Nelson … Alex Otwell … Karl Bach … Kelly Collins … Ian Patrick Hines … Ken Klippenstein … Norm Sklarewitz (h/t nephew Kevin Bohn) … Zachary Tumin … Jordan Lillie … Michael Frias … Carter Bell … Bill Sweeney … Luke Peterson … Carrie Goux (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Willie Gross
THE SHOWS, by Matt Mackowiak, filing from Austin:
— NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Pete Buttigieg … Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). Panel: Cornell Belcher, O. Kay Henderson, Rich Lowry and Anna Palmer (live from Des Moines).
— “Fox News Sunday”: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) … Alan Dershowitz … Franco Harris … Iowa panel: Brit Hume, Marie Harf and Karl Rove … Miami/Super Bowl panel: Michael Strahan, Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson (live from Miami).
— CNN’s “State of the Union”: Pete Buttigieg … Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Panel: Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Brianne Pfannenstiel, Jen Psaki, Andrew Gillum and Scott Jennings.
— ABC’s “This Week”: Guests to be announced. Panel: Rahm Emanuel, Chris Christie, Matthew Dowd, Yvette Simpson and Sara Fagen.
— CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Robert O’Brien … Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) …Pete Buttigieg … Ronna McDaniel … CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto … Ed O’Keefe.
— CNN’s “Inside Politics”: Jonathan Martin, Jeff Zeleny, Julie Davis, MJ Lee, Vivian Salama, Rachael Bade and Jackie Kucinich (live from Des Moines).
— Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: Roger Goodell … Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … Steve Bannon … House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) (live from Miami).
— Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Susan Ferrechio … Matthew Continetti … Capri Cafaro … Bret Baier … Martha MacCallum … Jim Gray.
— CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Jared Kushner … Ezra Klein.
— CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Sam Donaldson, Jill Filipovic and Julian Zelizer … panel: Alexi McCammond, Astead Herndon and Art Cullen … Robby Soave.
— Univision’s “Al Punto”: Ivan Kasanzew and Diego Balado … Sonia Sotomayor … Luis Megid … Mike Bloomberg … Juan Guaidó … David Bisbal.
— C-SPAN: “The Communicators”: Brad Smith … “Newsmakers”: Stephanie Schriock, questioned by CQ Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman and National Journal’s Alex Clearfield … “Q&A” : Kathryn D. Sullivan.
— MSNBC’s “Kasie DC”: Troy Price … Catherine Lucey … Errin Haines … Brittany Shepherd … Jeremy Peters …Maria Teresa Kumar … Dan Balz … Jenna Johnson … Karine Jean-Pierre … Carol Hunter.
— Gray TV’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren”: Andrew Yang … Tom Steyer … Troy Price (broadcast from Des Moines).
— Sinclair’s “America This Week with Eric Bolling”: Tony Sayegh … Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) … Tommy Hicks, Jr. … Henry Olsen …Seb Gorka … Ameshia Cross.
— “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or Stitcher): David Kochel.