12162018What's Hot:

POLITICO Playbook: John Kelly: Chief of staff in name only

White House chief of staff John Kelly is pictured. | Getty Images

White House chief of staff John Kelly is no longer pushing as hard to keep President Donald Trump on message. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

DRIVING THE DAY

HAPPY ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY … JOHN KELLY WATCH — ELIANA JOHNSON, “How John Kelly became ‘chief in name only’”: “A year into the job, Kelly’s attempts to implement traditional processes in an untraditional White House have failed, according to a dozen people in and outside the administration — though virtually all concede the West Wing runs better than it used to. Kelly’s allies say he took the job out of a sense of duty, and he has suggested he doesn’t enjoy it much. … Early mornings in the office have been supplanted by sweat sessions at the gym.

“Many of Trump’s friends and advisers have concluded the president doesn’t really want a chief of staff — and he has several confidants urging him to operate without one. But for this president, keeping Kelly around offers the best of both worlds: somebody to blame when things go awry but nobody fettering his freedom of action. Kelly, people around him say, no longer works to keep his mercurial boss on task or on message, with a Republican close to the White House referring to him as a ‘chief of staff in name only.’” POLITICO

— “52 train wrecks John Kelly couldn’t stop — or started himself”: POLITICO

THE ADMINISTRATION — “New Veterans Affairs chief plans to reassign, sideline Trump loyalists now in power,” by WaPo’s Lisa Rein: “In one of his first acts as President Trump’s Veterans Affairs secretary, Robert Wilkie intends to reassign several high-ranking political appointees at the center of the agency’s ongoing morale crisis and staffing exodus, according to three people familiar with his plans.

“Wilkie, who will be sworn in Monday, wants to form his own leadership team, these people say, and to ease lawmakers’ continued concern that VA, historically a nonpartisan corner of the government, has become highly politicized. … Announcements could come as soon as this week, pending approval from the White House Personnel Office.” WaPo

SOMETHING TO WATCH … COLUMBUS DISPATCH’S JACK TORRY: “Money from outside Ohio fuels next week’s central Ohio congressional election”

VP MIKE PENCE is going to Ohio today to campaign for Troy Balderson. Columbus Dispatch

— A LOT OF PEOPLE are watching this special election in Ohio’s 12th district, and believe it will be a sign of what will happen in November. For what it’s worth, Democrats and Republicans we talk to believe that Balderson — the GOP candidate — will win this race. It’s a solidly Republican district, which has been held by Republicans for decades.

SCOTUS WATCH — “Inside Democrats’ strategy to defeat Kavanaugh,” by Burgess Everett and Elana Schor: “As many Democrats and activists worked to stop Gina Haspel from becoming CIA director this spring, Sen. Joe Manchin derailed them with one move: blurting out his support for the controversial pick in a TV interview, effectively clinching her confirmation for President Donald Trump.

“Now Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer faces the monumental task of defeating Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and he’s counting on Manchin and a half-dozen other vulnerable Democrats to keep any hint that they might support the high court nominee to themselves. ‘All Chuck ever says in caucus [meetings], it’s pretty well known: ‘Keep your powder dry. Don’t commit. Stay as neutral as you can, as long as you can,’’said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). ‘It gives him some room to maneuver.’

“Manchin is meeting with Kavanaugh on Monday afternoon, the first test of whether he can hold his poker face deep into the summer. And if the moderate West Virginia Democrat and his centrist colleagues can remain on the fence for several more weeks, it boosts Schumer’s long odds of beating the nomination.” POLITICO

Good Monday morning. SPOTTED: Barack and Michelle Obama at the Beyonce/Jay-Z concert Saturday night at FedEx Field … Andy Murray yesterday at the P Street Whole Foods checkout (pic)

NATS WATCH … THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS are below .500, after losing their second game in a row to the Miami Marlins.

UPDATE — “John Lewis released from Georgia hospital,” by Brent D. Griffiths: “Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was released from a Georgia hospital Sunday evening with doctors giving a ‘clean bill of health,’ after being hospitalized for undisclosed reasons. ‘All tests have been completed, and doctors have given him a ‘clean bill of health,’’ Lewis’ spokeswoman Brenda Jones said in a statement. ‘He thanks everyone who shared their thoughts, prayers and concerns during his stay.’” POLITICO

A message from PepsiCo’s Food for Good:

Did you know that summer is the hungriest time for children in need? 5 out of 6 eligible kids in the U.S. do not receive free summer meals. Scroll to find out how Food for Good gets nutritious meals to kids who need them. http://www.pepsicofoodforgood.com

SIREN — MAGGIE SEVERNS in Colorado Springs: “Charles Koch says he’d work with Democrats who share his values”: “Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch extended an olive branch to Democrats during a weekend donor confab, saying Sunday that he wants to work with lawmakers regardless of party — so long as they work on issues he cares about — and admitting he has regrets about politicians his powerful network supported in the past.

“‘I don’t care what initials are in front or after somebody’s name — I’d like there to be many more politicians who would embrace and have the courage to run on a platform’ that embraces the values he espouses, Koch told reporters when asked how he would feel about Democrats flipping the House of Representatives.” POLITICO

— ALEX ISENSTADT: “Bannon to Kochs: ‘Shut up and get with the program’”: “Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon tore into the powerful Koch political network Sunday, accusing it of undermining President Donald Trump ahead of a midterm election that threatens to derail his presidency. ‘What they have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK?’ Bannon said in an interview with POLITICO. ‘And here’s the program: Ground game to support Trump’s presidency and program, [and] victory on Nov. 6.’” POLITICO

— AT THE KOCH RETREAT THIS WEEKEND: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

ON THE TRAIL … “Trump Owns the Booming Economy. Republicans on the Trail Barely Mention It,” by NYT’s Jim Tankersley in Newark, Ohio: “Party leaders in Washington talk frequently about the tax cuts and a ‘Trump boom’ that will doom the ‘blue wave’ this election year — or at least shrink it to a ripple. News on Friday that the economy grew at a robust 4.1 percent between April and June seemingly supplied more ammunition to a message centered on tax cut-fueled prosperity. But so far, that is not how it is playing out on the campaign trail.

“With little more than a week to go before voters here head to the polls, the airwaves are instead dominated by more general promises to create jobs and, from Republicans, by dark warnings on wedge issues such as immigration, meant to rally the conservative base. A Republican ‘super PAC’ is blitzing the Ohio airwaves, contending that electing Mr. O’Connor will mean ‘more crimes, more drugs.’” NYT

— “‘Eye-popping’ payouts for CEOs follow Trump’s tax cuts,” by Patrick Temple-West and Victoria Guida: “Some of the biggest winners from President Donald Trump’s new tax law are corporate executives who have reaped gains as their companies buy back a record amount of stock, a practice that rewards shareholders by boosting the value of existing shares.

“A POLITICO review of data disclosed in SEC filings shows the executives, who often receive most of their compensation in stock, have been profiting handsomely by selling shares since Trump signed the law on Dec. 22 and slashed corporate tax rates to 21 percent. That trend is likely to increase as Wall Street analysts expect buyback activity to accelerate in the coming weeks.” POLITICO

MORE ON THE TRUMP-SULZBERGER FEUD — NYT’s MARK LANDLER: A.G. “Sulzberger recalled telling Mr. Trump at one point that newspapers had begun posting armed guards outside their offices because of a rise in threats against journalists. The president, he said, expressed surprise that they did not already have armed guards. At another point, Mr. Trump expressed pride in popularizing the phrase ‘fake news,’ and said other countries had begun banning it.

“Mr. Sulzberger responded that those countries were dictatorships and that they were not banning ‘fake news’ but rather independent scrutiny of their actions. Still, Mr. Sulzberger said, by the end of the session, he felt that Mr. Trump had listened to his arguments. The president, Mr. Sulzberger recalled, told him he was glad that he had raised those issues and would think about them.” NYT

THE INVESTIGATIONS …

— FIRST UP: “Manafort trial to shed light on Mueller probe evidence,” by AP’s Eric Tucker and Chad Day: “The trial, scheduled to begin Tuesday with jury selection in Alexandria, Virginia, will give the public its most detailed glimpse of evidence Mueller’s team has spent the year accumulating. It will feature testimony about the business dealings and foreign ties of a defendant Trump entrusted to run his campaign during a critical stretch in 2016, including during the Republican convention. And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller’s team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a ‘witch hunt.’

“Adding to the intrigue is the expected spectacle of Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, testifying against him after cutting a plea deal with prosecutors, and the speculation that Manafort, who faces charges in two different courts and decades in prison if convicted, may be holding out for a pardon from Trump.” AP

A message from PepsiCo’s Food for Good:

Food for Good–the PepsiCo Foundation’s signature program to combat hunger–offers summer and afterschool meals and weekend “backpack” bundles to underserved families across the U.S. http://www.pepsicofoodforgood.com

NEW WAPO MINI-DOC — “The Foreign Consultant”: “Before he was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort was an adviser to a Ukrainian strongman. After what happened in Kiev, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.” 18-min. doc

TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president will hold meetings and a joint press conference this afternoon with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He will also participate in a swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

HOT VIDEO — HUFFPOST: “Sacha Baron Cohen Punks Roy Moore With ‘Pedophile Detector’”

PLAYBOOK ON THE ROAD — Tweet pictures of you or others reading Playbook on your summer getaways to #PlaybookLoyal or email them to daniel@politico.com for the chance to be featured in Playbook on Friday each week this August. Learn more.

PLAYBOOK READS

Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is pictured. | AP Photo

PHOTO DU JOUR: Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe holds a press conference Sunday ahead of elections that could change the country’s path after decades under his rule. | Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP Photo

2020 WATCH … DAVID SIDERS: “‘The map is different now’: Trump blows the 2020 race wide open”: “For years, presidential campaigns followed relatively predictable lines of trench warfare, with the outcome decided in a handful of battleground states. But the era of the hardened electoral map — 40 of 50 states voted for the same party from 2000 to 2012 — may be coming to an end.

“Interviews with more than two dozen politicians, consultants and activists throughout the country suggest that between Donald Trump’s sweep through the upper Midwest and the demographic shifts powering Democrats in the South and West, the field of competitive states stands to be dramatically reshaped in 2020.” POLITICO

NBC’S BENJY SARLIN: “‘Giving circles’: Female fundraisers are powering women candidates”: “It’s one of the defining stories of the midterms: An explosion of Democratic women running for office in record numbers and outperforming male rivals in primaries, potentially reshaping the party for years to come.

“Behind the scenes, Democratic women are looking to fuel the trend by expanding their reach within another historically male-dominated field: Political fundraising. Over several cycles, donors have helped lay the groundwork for a national network of women’s ‘giving circles,’ informal organizations in which mostly upscale members pledge a minimum amount of cash toward candidates for an election cycle. The model is adapted from the philanthropy world, where similar groups pool together charitable donations.” NBC

A message from PepsiCo’s Food for Good:

24 million Americans live in a food desert and 20% of American children struggle with hunger. That has to change. Food for Good is leading a movement to fight childhood hunger and partnering to serve kids in need in all corners of the country. http://www.pepsicofoodforgood.com

MEDIAWATCH — “CBS Directors Discuss Whether Leslie Moonves Should Step Aside,” by WSJ’s Keach Hagey and Joe Flint: “Some CBS Corp. directors discussed over the weekend whether Chief Executive Leslie Moonves should step aside from the company pending its investigation into allegations he sexually harassed women, according to people familiar with the matter.

“The board of CBS, which is scheduled to meet via conference call Monday in advance of its second-quarter earnings announcement Thursday, is expected to select a special committee to oversee the investigation … The board intends to make a broad inquiry into CBS’s workplace culture, not just the alleged behavior of Mr. Moonves.” WSJ

— “Reporter Carl Bernstein has seen it all, from Nixon to now. But nothing quite like Trump,” by WaPo’s Margaret Sullivan: WaPo

PLAYBOOKERS

WEEKEND WEDDING — Daniel Kroese, senior adviser at DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate and former chief of staff for Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), on Saturday married marketing strategist Mary Burke, five years after working on the Romney transition team with her mother Jamie Burke — who introduced the couple. Pic

SPOTTED: Ratcliffe, former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, Chris Liddell, Tyler Houlton, Alex Schriver, Ben Falkowski, Dean Hingson, Scott Luginbill, Matt Hoekstra, Sean and Natalie Joyce, Jake Kastan and Jenna Sakwa, Hayden Haynes, Jennifer Lauterbach, Hayley D’Antuono and Cam and Megan Savage.

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jim Rutenberg, NYT media columnist and NYT Magazine contributor. How he got his start in journalism: “I got my start in journalism in a bar – 55, where I worked during and after college. The bar was next door to the most popular newspaper hangout in the city at the time, The Lion’s Head. Toward the end of the night, when the Lion’s Head would close, the journo clientele would wind up in my bar. I would regularly tell them how badly I wanted to be a newspaper reporter.

“But due to family financial issues I could not get my diploma and therefore could not get to journalism school. The legends at the bar – Newsday’s Dennis Duggan and The Star-Ledger’s Lenny Fisher chief among them – told me to forget J-School, and to instead focus on getting clips and doing stories that would make their bosses at the big papers jealous.” Playbook Plus Q&A

BIRTHDAYS: WaPo’s Shane Harris … Dave Kochel … Chris Battle … Carl Lavin … Medicare is 53 … Arnold Schwarzenegger is 71 … Anita Hill is 62 … NAM’s Michael Short (hat tip: Natalie Strom) … Eleanor Smeal is 79 … former Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) is 78 … Michelle Bernard … Mario H. Lopez, president of Hispanic Leadership Fund … Rebecca Kutler, VP at CNN … former CFTC Chairman Tim Massad is 62 … Chelsie Gosk of Airbnb … Freeman Klopott … Meredith Simpson … Megan Rodriguez … Politico’s Tyler Weyant, Alexa Velickovich and Francesca Pigna … Fran McCarthy … Tony Maciulis is 42 … Mark Beatty, head of industry for elections at Google … Brad Jenkins of Funny or Die (h/t Dan Swartz) … Bill O’Leary, a partner at Heidrick & Struggles (h/t Ben Chang) … Heidi Crebo-Rediker (h/t Doug, filing from the plane to Nantucket) …

… Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America … Ben Marter, director of comms at API … Candace Randle … Robert Gottheim … Courtney Asbill … Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) is 52 … former Rep. Quico Canseco (R-Texas) is 69 … former Rep. Wendell Bailey (R-Mo.) is 78 … Furhawn Shah … Kana Smith … Ines de La Cuetara … MSNBC’s Isaac-Davy Aronson … Garry Malphrus … Netflix’s Ashley Alman … Maggie Easterlin Cutrell … Kate Harris … Lindsay Butcher (h/ts David Molina and Mallory Howe) … Colleen Murray … Glen Chambers … Salesforce’s Jim Green … Nora Langan … Nate Beeler … Emily Sanders Elam … Dave Koenig is 59 … Robert Basmadjian … Stephen Gallo is 34 … Paul Dickson … Asher Grady … Bonnie Eggers … Jonathan Spalter (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

A message from PepsiCo’s Food for Good:

Working with the USDA and national hunger partners, Food for Good has served over 19 million nutritious meals to children across the country since 2009 and served over 1 million meals to people affected by natural disasters in the last year. http://www.pepsicofoodforgood.com

This article tagged under:

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic