POLITICO Playbook: Clyburn says House Democrats must win or else

 In Politics

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S WEEK … Monday: TRUMP is lunching with VP Mike Pence and hosting French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife for dinner at Mt. Vernon. Tuesday: Macron is at the White House for a host of meetings, and Trump will hold a press conference with him. Trump lunches with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then hosts a state dinner for Macron. …

… Thursday: The president and first lady host a Wounded Warrior Project Soldier ride. Friday: Trump has Team USA at the White House, and hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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SUNDAY BEST … CHRIS WALLACE spoke to FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: WALLACE: “Many foreign leaders over the last year have come to Washington, but this will be the first state visit of the Trump presidency. How do you explain your special relationship with the president and some have called you the ‘Trump Whisperer’.”

MACRON: “Look, I think — we have a very special relationship because both of us are probably the maverick of the systems on both sides. I think President Trump’s election was unexpected in your country and probably my election was unexpected in my country. And we are not part of the classical political system.

“Second, I think we are very much in line on some very critical issues of this world—and especially counter-terrorism and fight against ISIS. Third, I think we have a very strong personal relation — based on the different meetings we had and especially visits such your president gave to my country for Bastille Day in 2017.”

Good Sunday morning. Happy Earth Day!

SIREN … DAVID SIDERS in COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: “Clyburn urges full leadership shakeup If Democrats fail to retake House”: “‘If we’re still in the minority’ after Election Day, he told POLITICO following his annual fish fry here, ‘all of us have got to go.’ … With a younger class of Democrats clamoring to break into leadership, Clyburn, 77, appeared at the fish fry alongside Rep. Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat who challenged Pelosi unsuccessfully for her leadership position in 2016.

“Clyburn, the assistant minority leader and the highest ranking African-American in Congress, referred repeatedly to Ryan as a ‘good friend’ and a favorite drinking partner in Washington. A glass of Jack Daniel’s in hand at the fish fry, a mainstay on the Democratic Party circuit, Clyburn said he did not take Ryan’s leadership challenge personally, adding, ‘I understand exactly what he was saying.’

“Ryan has said he will not challenge Pelosi again. Of his position that the party would be better served if she weren’t speaker, he said, ‘My view on that has not changed.’” https://politi.co/2qQBxkQ

— THIS IS IMPORTANT: Clyburn has been at the leadership table for years. He is now the only member of House Democratic leadership who has voiced what many have said behind-the-scenes: that if Dems can’t win in November it’s time for new leadership. Many Democrats complain privately that even if they take the House, it is time for Nancy Pelosi and her team to step aside and make way for the next generation.

CLYBURN here is giving a subtle nudge under the bus to Steny Hoyer, too. Hoyer has shown practically zero interest in moving on from Congress.

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NYT’S ALEX BURNS in FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA: “Fearing Chaos, National Democrats Plunge Into Midterm Primary Fights”: “In districts from Southern California to Little Rock, Ark., and upstate New York, the party has begun interceding to help the Democrats it sees as best equipped to battle Republicans in the fall.

“The approach is laced with peril for a party divided over matters of ideology and political strategy, and increasingly dominated by activists who tend to resent what they see as meddling from Washington. A Democratic effort to undercut a liberal insurgent in a Houston-area congressional primary in March stirred an outcry on the left and may have inadvertently helped drive support to that candidate, Laura Moser, who qualified for the runoff election next month.” https://nyti.ms/2HIvsAG

COMING ATTRACTIONS — Tomorrow we will launch our latest PLAYBOOK POWER LIST, compiled in partnership with POLITICO’s Playbook community in D.C., the states, London and Brussels. The list features women who are having their moment in politics.

WHAT IS ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND THIS A.M. — @realDonaldTrump at 8:22 a.m.: “‘GOP Lawmakers asking Sessions to Investigate Comey and Hillary Clinton.’ @FoxNews Good luck with that request!”

— TO BE CLEAR: Attorney General Jeff Sessions works at the pleasure of Trump.

… at 8:50 a.m.: “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake News NBC just stated that we have given up so much in our negotiations with North Korea, and they have given up nothing. Wow, we haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!” …

… at 9:02 a.m.: “….We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won’t – only time will tell….But the work I am doing now should have been done a long time ago!”

HOUSTON CHRONICLE FRONT PAGE: “BARBARA BUSH LAID TO REST” http://bit.ly/2HnFp3n … FRONT PAGE of the EAGLE (Bryan-College Station): “A FINAL SALUTE” http://bit.ly/2qSa0yJ

— FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS … PHOTO of George W. and Laura Bush, Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Melania Trump and George H.W. Bush http://bit.ly/2qPn2xT

REMEMBERING BARBARA BUSH — AP’s Juan A. Lozano in Houston: “Barbara Bush was remembered as the ‘first lady of the Greatest Generation’ during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled a Houston church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of raising him and his siblings ‘“a benevolent dictatorship” — but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.’

“She was widely admired for her plainspoken style during her husband George H.W. Bush’s presidency and was known as ‘The Enforcer’ in her high-powered family. Jeb Bush said he could feel her presence Saturday inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church and that she would likely have given him advice: ‘Jeb, keep it short. Don’t drag this out,’ he said to chuckles.

“He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes. He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother — known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and white-gray hair — was ‘beautiful’ until the very end.” http://bit.ly/2Hk6sjS

— Greta Van Susteren: @greta: “Invited to Barbara Bush’s funeral was the owner of her favorite pizza restaurant…he and his wife sat next to me. She wanted to include people who were a part of her life and she loved their restaurant. It was not all big names but all very important people to her.”

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PYONGYANG REPORT — “What Does Kim Jong-un Want? U.S. Fears Answer Is ‘Give a Little, Gain a Lot,’” by NYT’s Mark Landler in Washington and Choe Sang-Hun in Seoul: “As North Korea’s reclusive ruler, Kim Jong-un, prepares for a landmark meeting with President Trump, he has seized the diplomatic high ground, making conciliatory gestures on nuclear testing and American troops that have buoyed hopes in South Korea and won praise from Mr. Trump himself, who called it ‘big progress.’

“But Mr. Kim’s audacious moves are unsettling officials in the United States, Japan and China. Some suspect he is posturing in advance of the summit meeting, as well as a separate meeting this coming week with South Korea’s president, and has no real intention of acceding to demands that he relinquish his nuclear weapons.

“They worry that his gestures could put Mr. Trump on the defensive in the difficult negotiations to come, by offering symbolically potent but substantively modest concessions in place of genuine disarmament — what one senior American official labeled a ‘freeze trap.’ …

“In Washington, most officials and experts believe that the North Korean leader is determined to cement his country’s status as a nuclear state while escaping the chokehold of economic sanctions. His concessions on nuclear testing and the presence of American troops in South Korea, they said, are calculated to prod the United States into easing such penalties, even before the North dismantles its arsenal.” https://nyti.ms/2HPtjkl

HOW WE FIGHT TODAY … “A Shadowy War’s Newest Front: A Drone Base Rising From Saharan Dust,” by NYT’s Eric Schmitt in Air Base 201, Niger: “Rising from a barren stretch of African scrubland, a half-finished drone base represents the newest front line in America’s global shadow war. At its center, hundreds of Air Force personnel are feverishly working to complete a $110 million airfield that, when finished in the coming months, will be used to stalk or strike extremists deep into West and North Africa, a region where most Americans have no idea the country is fighting.” https://nyti.ms/2HiD3CM

THE NEXT FRONTIER — “GOP split as banks take on gun industry,” by Zach Warmbrodt: “Major banks are cutting off business with the gun industry, roiling Republicans who want to respect the financial decisions of private institutions while still showing their unyielding support of the Second Amendment.

“Some Republicans, enraged at moves by Citigroup and Bank of America to distance themselves from some retailers and gun manufacturers, have called on government agencies to cancel contracts with the banks and defer deregulation proposals that would benefit them. But other Republicans want to keep their hands off, saying lenders are free to decide who they do business with.

“It’s a conundrum that puts the free-market principles at odds with gun rights, and Republicans across the board are genuinely split over how to react to moves by some of the biggest financial institutions in the country.” https://politi.co/2qQiozI

COHEN WATCH — “Michael Cohen, once at pinnacle of Trump’s world, now poses threat to it,” by WaPo’s Michael Kranish, Tom Hamburger and Ros Helderman: “When Donald Trump won the presidency, his longtime attorney Michael Cohen seemed in position for a coveted spot in the senior ranks of the White House. At one point, Cohen topped a list of five candidates for White House counsel, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. He suggested to some Trump allies that he might make a good chief of staff. But when Trump built his West Wing team, the brash New York lawyer did not make the cut.

“Some in Trump’s inner circle worried about blowback from Cohen’s associations and unorthodox tactics in fixing the New York developer’s problems, Trump associates said. Among those opposed, the associates said, were Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. For his part, Cohen had warned Trump against giving Ivanka Trump and Kushner White House jobs, saying the president would be hammered by complaints of nepotism, according to two people familiar with the matter.” https://wapo.st/2K5A5mF


— NYT A1, “Scott Pruitt Before the E.P.A.: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money,” by Steve Eder and Hiroko Tabuchi in Oklahoma City (print headline: “E.P.A. Chief’s Ethics Woes Have Echoes in His Past”): “Early in Scott Pruitt’s political career, as a state senator from Tulsa, he attended a gathering at the Oklahoma City home of an influential telecommunications lobbyist who was nearing retirement and about to move away.

“The lobbyist said that after the 2003 gathering, Mr. Pruitt — who had a modest legal practice and a state salary of $38,400 — reached out to her. He wanted to buy her showplace home as a second residence for when he was in the state capital. ‘For those ego-minded politicians, it would be pretty cool to have this house close to the capitol,’ said the lobbyist, Marsha Lindsey. ‘It was stunning.’ Soon Mr. Pruitt was staying there, and so was at least one other lawmaker …

“The property was held by a shell company registered to a business partner and law school friend, Kenneth Wagner. … The mortgage on the Oklahoma City home, the records show, was issued by a local bank that was led by another business associate of Mr. Pruitt’s, Albert Kelly. Recently barred from working in the finance industry because of a banking violation, Mr. Kelly is now one of Mr. Pruitt’s top aides at the E.P.A. and runs the agency’s Superfund program. …

“According to real estate records, the 2003 purchase of the house for $375,000 came at a steep discount of about $100,000 from what Ms. Lindsey had paid a year earlier — a shortfall picked up by her employer, the telecom giant SBC Oklahoma.” https://nyti.ms/2qRRVAX

NOT A CLOSER — Utah Republican delegates force Mitt Romney into a primary election with state lawmaker Mike Kennedy in the race for the U.S. Senate,” by the Salt Lake Tribune’s Lee Davidson and Courtney Tanner in West Valley City: “After 11 hours of political elbowing and shoving at the Utah Republican Convention — held appropriately at a hockey arena — delegates forced Mitt Romney into a primary election against state Rep. Mike Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race. In fact, Kennedy — a doctor and lawyer — finished in first place at the convention with 51 percent of the vote to Romney’s 49 percent.

“The former GOP presidential nominee fell far short of the 60 percent needed to clinch the nomination outright. … Romney blamed his second-place finish — out of a dozen Republicans seeking the seat of retiring seven-term Sen. Orrin Hatch — on delegates’ dislike of candidates like him who hedge their convention bids by also gathering signatures to ensure at least a place on the primary ballot.” http://bit.ly/2Hl9n7Y

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