POLITICO Playbook: Scoops: McCarthy and Pence’s 3-million-dollar night, and Spicer’s new Trump-world gig

 In Politics


— VP MIKE PENCE and HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY raised an astounding $3.2 MILLION for PROTECT THE HOUSE, their joint fundraising committee, last night at a large-scale, big-dollar fundraiser at the Trump Hotel. SPEAKER PAUL RYAN, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE and about three dozen other members of the House were at the event. Protect the House is a committee designed to help vulnerable House Republicans.

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— SEAN SPICER’S NEW TRUMP-WORLD GIG. Spicer is the new senior adviser and spokesman for America First Action, the Trump aligned super PAC. Spicer will appear and speak Monday night at the super PAC’s summit at the Trump Hotel. He will continue to consult for other entities, as well, through his newly created firm, Rigwil LLC.

UPDATE … SENIOR HOUSE REPUBLICANS tell us they don’t think any immigration bill will pass the chamber. There are two bills that will come to a vote: Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bill, which is favored by many of the party’s conservatives, and a compromise bill. The vote is likely next Thursday, we’re told.

THE LATEST ON KUDLOW — from MORNING MONEY’s BEN WHITE: “Larry Kudlow, the top White House aide who suffered a mild heart attack on Monday, said he will return to work in the administration. In a text message on Wednesday evening, Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told POLITICO that he would ‘of course’ be back on the job in the coming days.”

Good Thursday morning. The DOJ’s inspector general report about the FBI’s conduct during the 2016 election comes out today. This will be a thick read — hundreds of pages — and will dominate the news cycle. Kyle Cheney and Elana Schor break down the stakes of the report https://politi.co/2t7ammt

ALSO TONIGHT … The Congressional Baseball Game at Nats Park. RACHAEL BADE and KYLE CHENEY: “When Scalise’s animal house went on hiatus” https://politi.co/2laeDC3

HELP WANTED! “Trump White House advertises at a Hill job fair amid staff exodus,” by Annie Karni: “The White House – which has been having trouble filling positions as it bleeds staffers – is now trying to find recruits at a conservative job fair on the Hill. ‘Interested in a job at the White House?’ is the subject line of an email that was blasted out widely to Republicans on the Hill late Wednesday advertising the upcoming event. It promises that ‘representatives from across the Trump administration will be there to meet job seekers of every experience level.’

“A person familiar with the planning said that Johnny DeStefano, who oversees the White House personnel department, and Sean Doocey, a deputy assistant to the president for presidential personnel, are expected to be on hand, among other officials from the West Wing. The flyer lists positions open in the White House as well as a handful of government agencies including Defense, Interior, Commerce, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, NASA, Energy, and Treasury.

“The ‘Executive Branch Job Fair’ is scheduled for Friday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, according to a flyer attached to the email. ‘There are positions currently open and we are looking for the most competent conservatives to recommend,’ the flyer, shared with POLITICO, reads. … A job fair is seen as an unusual step for a White House to take. … A former Obama administration official said it would have been unheard of in the previous administration.” https://politi.co/2JKyFxm

REVOLVING DOOR … “Sarah Sanders, Raj Shah planning to depart the White House,” by CBS News’ Jackie Alemany: “Two of the most visible members of the Trump administration are planning their departures, the latest sign of upheaval in a White House marked by turmoil. Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are both heading for the exits, according to sources inside the White House and close to the administration. Sanders … has told friends that she plans to leave the administration at the end of the year. Shah is also considering his exit, but he has not yet settled on an exact date.” https://cbsn.ws/2ycxbuC

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec): “Does @CBSNews know something I don’t about my plans and my future? I was at my daughter’s year-end Kindergarten event and they ran a story about my ‘plans to leave the WH’ without even talking to me. I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS”.

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T.V. LAST NIGHT … VA. SENATE CANDIDATE COREY STEWART talks to CNN’S CHRIS CUOMO: CUOMO: “Forget about the left, forget about Trump. Focus on you, because he picked you. He likes you. He likes what you’re about. And I want to talk about what you are about, because this guy [Paul] Nehlen isn’t the only one in your past, now is he? You also cotton to someone else named Hines. You took his endorsement. This is the guy who took the shot at Nikki Haley, saying our Sikh governor. By the way, she’s not a Sikh. This is the man who took a Confederate flag and marched down saying a statue of Arthur Ashe was offensive to his heritage. You backed him. You have never denied him. Why?”

STEWART: “You know, I don’t agree with any of those things you said.” CUOMO: “It’s all true. … You’re trying to deny your past but it’s there like an ugly shadow.”

STEWART: “Chris, you’re trying to change the topic. You’re always playing the race card.” CUOMO: “No, just the facts.” STEWART: “You’re always trying to divide –”

CUOMO: “That’s you in front of a confederate flag taking his endorsement.” STEWART: “By the way, your own father said anti-Semitic things. Did you condemn him?” CUOMO: “Oh, please. My father is dead and buried and was ten times the man you’ll ever be on your best day. So stay comparing yourself to the bigots that you cotton to.”


— WSJ’S MICHAEL GORDON in Seoul and JESSICA DONATI in D.C.: “U.S. Seeks ‘Major Disarmament’ of North Korea During Trump’s Term”: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the U.S. hopes to achieve ‘major disarmament’ of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during President Donald Trump’s first term in office and would resume joint military exercises with South Korea if the talks stall.

“‘We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the 2½ years,’ he told reporters. Mr. Pompeo, who arrived in Seoul to confer with senior South Korean and Japanese officials, bristled at criticism that the summit declaration signed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim was vague and had failed to secure an explicit commitment from Pyongyang to intrusive verification.” https://on.wsj.com/2lacINR

— TRUMP TALKS TO FOX NEWS’ BRET BAIER via Rebecca Morin: “‘He’s a tough guy,’ the president said during a Fox News interview that aired Wednesday. ‘When you take over a country, a tough country, tough people and you take it over from your father — I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have — if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.’” https://politi.co/2JPgo5j

— “Trump admin expected to suspend August U.S.-S. Korea drill as Pentagon scrambles,” by CNN’s Barbara Starr, Pamela Brown and Ryan Browne: “The Trump administration is expected to announce the formal suspension of planning for major August multilateral military drills on the Korean Peninsula as soon as Thursday, according to several administration officials with knowledge of White House, State Department and Defense Department planning on how to carry out President Donald Trump’s decision announced at the Singapore summit. …

“As the dust settles from the historic summit, some details about how Trump got the idea to offer a suspension of military exercises to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are becoming clearer. A source familiar with the matter pushed back on the idea that Trump got the idea to halt joint exercises from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The source said that, if anything, it’s something that came from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been very vocal about it and has had direct conversations with Trump about the matter. The term ‘war games’ was also a term coined by China and North Korea.” https://cnn.it/2JWqr93

BURGESS EVERETT, “GOP senators’ frustration with Trump — and each other — boils over”: “GOP infighting reached a new level on Wednesday, with Sen. Lindsey Graham berating Sen. Bob Corker for pushing his amendment that would allow Congress to block President Donald Trump’s tariffs, according to attendees and people briefed on the exchange. Corker (R-Tenn.) has been on a rampage this week over the Senate GOP’s reluctance to vote on his amendment.

“And in a private party lunch on Wednesday as most Republicans blamed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for blocking amendments to a defense bill, Corker defended Paul and argued that his blockade was being used as an excuse for the rest of the party to avoid other amendment votes.

“Graham, who has been blocking Paul, then jumped in. The South Carolina senator, who has argued Republicans should give Trump room to negotiate on trade, unloaded on Corker.

“Graham was irked over Corker’s speech in which he said the GOP doesn’t want to ‘do anything that might upset the president,’ according to four sources familiar with the matter. ‘You don’t care about the Republican Party because you’re leaving,’ Graham told Corker, who is retiring. Graham later apologized to Corker, according to Republicans. And Corker told Graham: ‘If you had heard the whole speech you would have been applauding.’” https://politi.co/2JKhmfZ


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