Playbook: Scalise readies a joint-fundraising committee

 In Politics

NEW THIS MORNING … THE SPRING PLAYBOOK POWER LIST … This morning we are unveiling our latest POLITICO Power List, featuring 20 women who are having their moment in politics. Compiled with the help of our Playbook community in D.C., the states, London and Brussels, it’s a look at operatives navigating the midterm elections to those negotiating the terms of Brexit and leading a nationwide gun control movement. These women will be leading the political discussion for years to come. THE FULL LIST

… Betsy Ankney, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign manager … Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif) … #MeToo cofounder Tarana Burke … San Francisco Board of Supervisors president and mayoral candidate London Breed … RNC Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon …

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Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) … Gun control activist Emma González … Tessa Gould, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s (D-N.D.) chief of staff … Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James … Shahira Knight, deputy director for economic policy at the National Economic Council …

… Jessica Mackler, independent expenditure director for the DCCC … European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström … New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy … Parker Poling, chief of staff in the office of the House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry … Monica Popp, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) chief of staff …

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, a candidate in Massachusetts seventh district … United Kingdom Home Secretary Amber Rudd … Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications … Jackie Schutz Zeckman, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign manager for his Senate bid … Sabine Weyand, deputy chief Brexit negotiator for the European Commission

PLAYBOOK PREVIEW … STEVE SCALISE, who is recovering from surgery, is getting ready to launch a new joint-fundraising committee that will help him bring big dollars into GOP coffers ahead of the election. The committee will be called “Geaux Red.” It’s common for members of leadership to set up these accounts, which allow them to raise money efficiently for themselves, candidates and the party committee. This effort will allow Scalise to shuffle money to candidates who are “lagging behind their opponents.” …

… BUT everything Scalise does at this point is viewed by many of his colleagues as part of a tit for tat with KEVIN MCCARTHY, the No. 2 House Republican. Scalise endorsed McCarthy a few weeks ago to be the next top GOP leader. To be fair, to be in leadership is to be in constant competition with your colleagues about who is doling out more money.

PALACE INTRIGUE … RACHAEL BADE: WHERE THINGS STAND WITH CMR — “The one woman in Republican leadership is under siege”: “If 2018 is the year of the woman, don’t tell Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The lone female member of House Republican leadership is under siege in D.C. and back home in Washington state. In Congress, several fellow GOP members are pining for her job, questioning her effectiveness as chairwoman of the conference and weighing whether to challenge her. At the same time, McMorris Rodgers has suddenly found herself at risk of losing her seat altogether — a Republican in a blue-trending state with a Democratic wave potentially on its way.

“But assuming she survives her own reelection, Republicans will be hard-pressed to push McMorris Rodgers out of her post in leadership heading the conference’s communications strategy. She still enjoys support from many Republicans and, more important, she’s a prominent female figure in a conference dominated by men: Only 9 percent of House Republicans are female.”

RYAN’S REPLACEMENT?, via the AP: “A former driver for House Speaker Paul Ryan who has been active in Wisconsin Republican politics for years announced Sunday he is running to succeed Ryan in Congress. Bryan Steil, an attorney from Ryan’s hometown of Janesville and a member of the UW Board of Regents, becomes the likely Republican front-runner after the field of better-known potential candidates cleared for his entry.”

THIS WEEK … EMMANUEL MACRON will address a joint session of Congress Wednesday. White House Correspondents Dinner is this weekend. Festivities begin Thursday night.

— BUT this will take up lots of oxygen… AP/LONDON: “Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge in labor with 3rd child”

WSJ’S JESS BRAVIN on ROD ROSENSTEIN’S INTERESTING WEEK … “As if Rod Rosenstein’s week hadn’t been stressful enough, an unexpected package from the White House arrived Friday afternoon at his office at the Justice Department. He opened it carefully.

“‘These are my official Donald Trump cuff links,’ said a surprised Mr. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. As the official overseeing Mr. Trump’s bête noire, the special counsel probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Mr. Rosenstein isn’t used to plaudits from the White House.

“But the gift, sent by White House counsel Don McGahn, recognized another duty Mr. Rosenstein is assuming Monday: representing the administration before the Supreme Court, where he will argue a sentencing case from New Mexico.”

— AP’S MARK SHERMAN: “Travel ban case is justices’ first dive into Trump policy”: “The Supreme Court has so far had little to say about Donald Trump’s time as president, even as the nation has moved from one Trump controversy to another. That’s about to change.

“The justices’ first deep dive into a Trump administration policy comes in a dispute over the third and latest version of the administration’s ban on travel from some countries with majority Muslim populations. Opponents of the policy and some lower courts have labeled it a ‘Muslim ban,’ harking back to Trump’s campaign call to keep Muslims from entering the country. The high-stakes arguments at the high court on Wednesday could offer some indication about how a court that runs on respect for traditions and precedent will deal with a president who regularly breaks with convention.”

NYT’S MARK LANDLER: “[Barack] Obama will deliver a lecture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, whom he eulogized after his death five years ago by saying he ‘makes me want to be a better man.’”

JOHN HARRIS on JAMES BENNET: “‘I Don’t Like to Be Called a Nazi’”: “James Bennet, the editor of the New York Times editorial page, lately has been waging his share of battles, which he no doubt would be enjoying more if he did not give a damn about rude things combatants say about him and his publication. But he does give a damn.

“Bennet, whom I’ve known since we were both covering Bill Clinton’s White House, has faced a succession of social media uproars over the past year as he revamps and modernizes the Times opinion section. Even as the page has retained its historically liberal bearings, and regularly lacerates President Donald Trump, it is now regarded with suspicion by some loud voices on the left.

“There was a backlash to Bennet’s hiring of conservative columnist Bret Stephens (who wrote skeptically about the evidence for manmade climate change), as well as to his abortive attempt to bring on tech writer Quinn Norton (the hiring was quickly reversed after Twitter posters exposed a friendship with a neo-Nazi). These and other moves by Bennet to enliven his pages caused such intense distress by some at the Times that, in recent months, he met with a group of aggrieved colleagues — the transcript of which later leaked — and wrote an all-staff memo that explained his philosophy of debate.”

****** A message from AARP: There are 197 days until the 2018 midterm elections. You may be surprised to learn which voters are poised to have the most influence. STAY TUNED for an exciting announcement tomorrow in Playbook. ******

IMPRESSIVE REPORTING … THE GUARDIAN’S JON SWAINE: “Michael Cohen case shines light on Sean Hannity’s property empire: Fox News host who said Trump’s fixer ‘knows real estate’ has a portfolio that includes support from Department of Housing and Urban Development, a fact he did not mention when interviewing secretary Ben Carson last year”

CONFIRMATION WATCH — More than 100 retired military generals and admirals have written a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, raising questions about Gina Haspel’s nomination to be CIA director. Signers include nine former four-star generals, including the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Hugh Shelton, former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Charles C. Krulak, and former U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona. The letter

HMM — “Bolton chaired nonprofit that fanned anti-Muslim news amplified by Russia,” by NBC News’ Heidi Przybyla: “John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, chaired a nonprofit that has promoted misleading and false anti-Muslim news, some of which was amplified by a Russian troll factory, an NBC News review found. The group’s authors also appeared on Russian media, including Sputnik and RT News, criticizing mainstream European leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron.

“From 2013 until last month, Bolton was chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based advocacy group that warns of a looming ‘jihadist takeover’ of Europe leading to a ‘Great White Death.’”

THAW ON THE PENINSULA? — “SKorea halts propaganda broadcasts before summit with North,” by AP’s Hyung-Jin Kim in Seoul: “South Korea halted anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts across the rivals’ tense border on Monday ahead of inter-Korean talks this week that are expected to focus on the North’s nuclear program, Seoul officials said. Seoul had blasted anti-Pyongyang messages and K-pop songs from border loudspeakers since the North’s fourth nuclear test in early 2016. Pyongyang quickly matched Seoul’s campaign with its own border broadcasts and launches of balloons carrying anti-South leaflets across the border.”

OK! — “Cambridge Analytica Data Scientist Aleksandr Kogan Wants You To Know He’s Not A Russian Spy,” by BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac: “Aleksandr Kogan wants to set the record straight. ‘I am not a Russian spy,’ he tells BuzzFeed News aboard a Saturday evening flight to the British capital. On Tuesday, the Cambridge University researcher is set to testify here in front of a parliamentary committee that is looking to determine whether the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica influenced global elections and the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote. …

“[Brown] admitted that he did violate Facebook’s developer policy by harvesting user data and transferring it to a third party — but said that he was being unfairly pilloried as just one of many people who did this. In following up on the controversy, Facebook has vowed to find them all.”

WHAT PETER NAVARRO IS READING — “Tariff Dodgers Stand to Profit Off U.S.-China Trade Dispute,” by NYT’s Keith Bradsher in Shanghai: “Want to avoid American tariffs? In China, a company called Settle Logistics says it knows a way. Specifically, that way goes through Malaysia — a 4,600-mile diversion compared with sending a shipping container from China straight across the Pacific to the United States.

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