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POLITICO Playbook: Why this is the best border deal Trump will get

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President Donald Trump is pictured. | Getty Images

President Donald Trump gave Congress a chance to negotiate for three weeks, and this is what he got: a billion and change. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

DRIVING THE DAY

A BORDER DEAL … SARAH FERRIS, HEATHER CAYGLE and BURGESS EVERETT: “The tentative deal includes $ 1.375 billion for physical barriers — a type of fencing that resembles the ‘steel slats’ that Trump has specifically called for, according to a congressional aide briefed on the talks. It includes a total of 55 miles, which is just nine miles shy of Trump’s last budget request.

“In exchange, Democrats agreed to drop their demand to restrict the number of people who can be detained by Immigration and Custom Enforcement at a time. Negotiators agreed to fund a total of 40,520 detention beds for ICE, a roughly 17 percent reduction from current levels, the aide said.

“But one Republican source was quick to dispute Democrats’ account, saying the $ 1.375 billion in barrier funding can be used for ‘new miles of border wall.’ The same Republican source suggested that the deal had enough flexibility to actually reach the president’s requested level of 52,000 beds, far above the negotiated level.” POLITICO

— THE BARRIERS can be constructed in the Rio Grande Valley, a top priority for Customs and Border Protection. This is three times as much as would be spent in a stopgap bill, per a GOP source. This is an increase of $ 1.7 billion in DHS funding — much better than many would’ve expected year over year.

HOUSE APPROPS CHAIR NITA LOWEY’S ASSESSMENT, via WaPo: “‘Some may be happy, some may not be happy. … We did the best we could.’” WaPo

… BUT SEAN HANNITY IS PANNING THE DEAL, via Quint Forgey: “On this new, so-called compromise, I’m getting details … 1.3 billion? That’s not a — not even a wall, a barrier?

“‘I’m going to tell this tonight and we will get back into this tomorrow,’ he continued. ‘Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain.’” POLITICO

NEWSFLASH: WHY THE PRESIDENT AIN’T GETTING A BETTER DEAL … HERE’S THE STORY: Two things are true: Optically, this deal sucks for the president, because he led his supporters to believe he would get near $ 6 billion for a wall. But, at the same time, this is the best he’s going to get.

HE AND CONGRESS have blown every opportunity to get a big, massive wall deal, and now, as some on Capitol Hill like to say, “We are where we are.”

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP TRIED a 35-day government shutdown. Democrats stood pat, and the president blinked. Heeding the advice of Jared Kushner — who was riding high from what he seemed to see as his criminal justice reform triumph — the president gave Congress a chance to negotiate for three weeks. And this is what he got. A billion and change.

APPROPRIATORS — the biggest deal-cutters in Congress — came up with this compromise, balancing their needs and desires, those of the leadership and the advice of the White House.

DEMOCRATS have one of three seats at the table, and there isn’t much Trump can do about that. The president isn’t getting anywhere near $ 6 billion for his border wall, but $ 1.375 billion is pretty good, all things considered. If you talk to some of the president’s level-headed advisers and allies, they will say he should sign this, and then go look to reprogram more government money for a wall — hardly a sure thing, but it will give him something to do and talk about. He can tout those two things as a victory. Plus, Dems relented on the bed cap.

BARRING SOMETHING UNFORESEEN, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI is likely to put this on the floor, and SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL has indicated he’d support a bipartisan deal.

IS IT TIME FOR A DARE? This president has never vetoed a bill. He’s threatened it a few times — once, when presented with an omnibus spending bill, he backed off, and in December, Paul Ryan and Congress backed off. If he saber-rattles this time, he’ll likely have the chance to threaten a veto once again. This time, it doesn’t look like Congress will back off. Congress might just have to dare the president to issue a threat to reject this bill with a government shutdown hours away.

MEADOWS ISN’T PLEASED … MORE FROM WAPO’S ERICA WERNER, DAMIAN PALETTA and SEAN SULLIVAN: “Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who talks regularly with Trump, said that it fails to address serious threats.

“‘This does not represent a fraction of what the president has promised the American people,’ Meadows said in a text message. ‘I don’t speak for the president but I can’t imagine he will be applauding something so lacking.’” WaPo

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THE WE’LL-SEE STAGE … TRUMP spoke with LAURA INGRAHAM on FOX NEWS on Monday night about the deal before taking the stage in El Paso, Texas, for a political rally: “Well, I can tell you that a lot of things have changed and we’ll see what happens. I can’t go into the exact deal. I just heard it very quickly coming over to see you. It was between the — the deal and you and I had to choose you because I had no choice. Right? And I’m very happy I did. But, yes, they’re talking and we’ll see what happens.”

LINE OF THE NIGHT … TRUMP ON DEMOCRATIC INVESTIGATIONS: “I didn’t know we had so many committees. I think it’s up to 79 letters. This is based on no information of any wrongdoing because I’m a very straight person.”

WHEN WE MIGHT HEAR FROM TRUMP ABOUT THIS DEAL … FIRST CHANCE would appear to be at his 11:30 a.m. Cabinet meeting, his first public appearance of the day. He then hosts New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 2:15 p.m.

Happy Tuesday. FOR YOUR RADAR … DEFENSE NEWS: “Nancy Pelosi named in big U.S. delegation to Munich forum, but shutdown looms,” by Joe Gould: “The U.S. delegation is due to include acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.); Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) — as well as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Sen. Roger Wicker [R-Miss.], among others.

“It would be striking for Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency, to step onto the world stage as Democrats are using their new majority in the House to assert themselves on foreign policy. House Democrats last month passed a bipartisan resolution to bar a U.S. exit from NATO, they’re planning a vote to halt U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war, and the stage is set for a probe of Trump’s private meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Defense News

TRUMP’S RNC CO-OPTS “STRONGER TOGETHER” … TWEET DU JOUR — After @GOP tweeted an image of Trump in front of an American flag with the text “‘We’re only getting stronger together’ – President Donald J. Trump,” Vox’s Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) replied: “They are stealing Hillary’s slogan?” Matt’s tweet

THE SPLIT SCREEN … DAVID SIDERS in El Paso, Texas, and ANITA KUMAR: “Beto takes on Trump in tale of 2 mega-rallies”: “The clash between Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke Monday night over the president’s border wall unfolded at competing rallies with thousands of people in venues barely a block apart.

“But the events practically took place in parallel universes: One with rowdy MAGA-gear wearing Trump backers chanting “USA, USA!”; the other serenaded by a mariachi band before O’Rourke took the stage for a lengthy takedown — at times in Spanish — of the president’s signature project.

“Welcome to 2020. O’Rourke has a long way to go before becoming Trump’s general election opponent, but the competing events showed the fight over immigration and border security is certain to keep electrifying Trump’s voters — and animate the Democratic determination to make him a one-term president.” POLITICO

— “Trump supporter attacks BBC cameraman at El Paso rally” — BBC: “Sporting a Make America Great Again cap, the man shoved and swore at the BBC’s Ron Skeans and other news crews before being pulled away. Mr. Skeans said the ‘very hard shove’ came from his blindside. … Mr. Trump saw the attack and confirmed Mr. Skeans was well with a thumbs up after it happened. … BBC Washington producer Eleanor Montague … said the protester had attacked other news crews but Mr. Skeans ‘got the brunt of it’.” BBC

NANCY COOK and ELIANA JOHNSON: “‘It will create a firestorm’: Mulvaney’s border wall cash grab sparks dissent in White House”: “The White House is firming up plans to redirect unspent federal dollars as a way of funding President Donald Trump’s border wall without taking the dramatic step of invoking a national emergency. Done by executive order, this plan would allow the White House to shift money from different budgetary accounts without congressional approval, circumventing Democrats who refuse to give Trump anything like the $ 5.7 billion he has demanded.

“Nor would it require a controversial emergency declaration. The emerging consensus among acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and top budget officials is to shift money from two Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control projects in Northern California, as well as from disaster relief funds intended for California and Puerto Rico. The plan will also tap unspent Department of Defense funds for military construction, like family housing or infrastructure for military bases, according to three sources familiar with the negotiations.” POLITICO

ANDREW DESIDERIO and BURGESS EVERETT: “GOP livid with Trump over ignored Khashoggi report”: “Senate Republicans are fuming at President Donald Trump for telling lawmakers he would disregard a law requiring a report to Congress determining who is responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The uproar among Republicans is just the latest example of their deep discontent with the president’s foreign policy. It could prompt even more defections in favor of a Democrat-led resolution coming before the House and Senate this month to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.” POLITICO

THE LATEST IN THE OMAR DUSTUP … MELANIE ZANONA and HEATHER CAYGLE: “Ilhan Omar apologizes after Pelosi denounces tweet as anti-Semitic”: “Rep. Ilhan Omar apologized for anti-Semitic comments Monday after coming under pressure from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats. The Minnesota Democrat sparked a firestorm Sunday night when she implied lawmakers’ support for Israel is driven by campaign donations from pro-Israel groups. ‘My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,’ Omar said in a statement Monday afternoon.

“‘We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.’ Omar’s statement came after Pelosi and her top lieutenants sharply condemned the freshman lawmaker’s comments and called on her to immediately apologize in what was an extraordinary rebuke of a colleague within their party.” POLITICO

— SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: PELOSI, STENY HOYER and JIM CLYBURN rebuked Omar, and she apologized. When Republicans rebuked Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), he railed against them.

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2020 WATCH — “De Blasio heads to New Hampshire as he contemplates run for president,” by Sally Goldenberg: “After a visit to Harvard’s Kennedy School to discuss his time as mayor this Thursday, de Blasio will travel the next morning to Nashua, N.H. There he will meet with Mayor Jim Donchess and may chat with locals at a diner, City Hall Communications Director Mike Casca confirmed.

“On Friday evening, de Blasio will drive to Concord, where he will meet with local organizers of the group Rights & Democracy, New Hampshire, which describes itself as part of a ‘movement across the region to counter the influence of money in politics.’” POLITICO

— “Harris takes on questions about her ‘blackness,’” by CNN’s Maeve Reston

K-FILE — “Kamala Harris supported 2008 San Francisco policy that reported arrested undocumented juveniles to ICE,” by CNN’s Nathan McDermott and Andrew Kaczynski

TV TONIGHT — SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-N.J.) will be live on set with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tonight.

PLAYBOOK READS

President Donald Trump is pictured. | AP Photo

PHOTO DU JOUR: President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

SHANAHAN ABROAD — “Acting Pentagon chief visits Baghdad to support Iraq, discuss Syria withdrawal,” by Reuters’ Idrees Ali in Baghdad: “Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday for an unannounced visit during which he said he would stress the importance of Iraqi sovereignty and broach the issue of the future of U.S. troops there. … Shanahan is to meet leaders including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and will also discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria with U.S. commanders.” Reuters

THE LATEST IN VIRGINIA — “Ralph Northam Will Launch A ‘Listening Tour’ About Race Amid Blackface Scandal,” by BuzzFeed’s Darren Sands: “Northam has also been urged by his advisers to watch parts of D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ which shook the country with its racist and disturbing view of black Americans after the Civil War. (Northam was not previously familiar with the racist depictions in the film, an adviser said.) The actors lampooning black people were played by white actors wearing blackface.” BuzzFeed

HMM — “Top Leader at Interior Dept. Pushes a Policy Favoring His Former Client,” by NYT’s Coral Davenport: “As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.” NYT

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COURT WATCH — “Neomi Rao, Trump’s nominee for D.C. appeals court, apologizes for past writing on date rape,” by WaPo’s Seung Min Kim: “Rao, President Trump’s nominee to replace Brett M. Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, apologized Monday for her controversial writings from college about date-rape victims, which had come under scrutiny from at least one GOP senator.

“In a letter Monday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Rao condemned ‘sexual assault in all forms’ as ‘abhorrent’ and stressed that she ‘particularly regret[s] the insensitivity demonstrated in my remarks on rape and sexual assault.’” WaPo … The letter

MEDIAWATCH — “National Enquirer Publisher Asked Justice Department for Advice on Saudi Connection,” by WSJ’s Julie Bykowicz and Lukas Alpert: “The dust-up between Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and National Enquirer parent American Media LLC has raised questions about the media company’s connections to Saudi Arabia.

“American Media has had plenty of contacts with Saudi Arabia in recent years, including seeking financial backing from Saudi investors to fund acquisitions and producing a magazine celebrating the country’s new crown prince. It also sought advice last year from the U.S. Justice Department over whether the publisher should register as a foreign agent, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.” WSJ

— NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN and ANNIE KARNI: “Cliff Sims, White House Tell-All Author, Sues Trump for Going After Him Over Book”: “Sims, the former White House communications aide who wrote an insider account of life working for President Trump, is suing the president in his official capacity, alleging that he used his campaign organization as a ‘cutout’ to improperly seek retribution against former employees and keep them from invoking their First Amendment rights.” NYT … The suit

PLAYBOOKERS

SPOTTED: Jon Karl, Wayne Berman and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) chatting on the 3 p.m. Acela from New York as it pulled into D.C. … Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) at the Fort Lauderdale airport Monday morning. Pic (hat tip: Adam Shapiro) … Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on a United flight to DCA coming back from Texas, where they visited an area of the U.S.-Mexico border Monday to see the situation firsthand.

TRANSITION — Karen Harbert will be president and CEO of the American Gas Association. She previously led the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute. (h/t Nick Juliano in Morning Energy)

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green turned 49

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Ben Sherwood, outgoing co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks, who is working on an undisclosed new venture, is 55. He’s well-known at Disney and ABC for tweeting birthday wishes to staff for years. A trend he thinks deserves more attention: “After a prolonged decline, global hunger is rising. An estimated 821 million people — one of every nine on earth — face hunger and food insecurity. … Here at home, one in eight Americans — that’s 40 million people — face hunger, according to Feeding America, an organization that my wife and I support.” Playbook Plus Q&A

BIRTHDAYS: Susan Page, USA Today Washington bureau chief … Christina Mandreucci, press secretary for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) (h/ts Olivia Perez-Cubas and Gabby Orr) … Jeff Schlagenhauf … RGIII is 29 … Jim VandeHei is 48 … POLITICO’s Marc Caputo, Chris Suellentrop, Eugene Daniels, Kristen East and Emma Peterson … NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor … Chris Hodgson, legislative affairs director for VP Mike Pence … Abraham Lincoln was born 210 years ago … Megan Apper (h/t Andrew Bates) … Ali Lapp, president of House Majority PAC … Michael Zuckerman … Trish Hoppey … Barbara Zylinski … Michael Bocian … Robert Zeliger, senior producer at MSNBC’s “Hardball” … Christine Jacobs, deputy director of external affairs and comms at the Kresge Foundation … Elizabeth Baker Keffer, managing director and chief network officer of BDT & Company (h/t Steve Clemons) … Todd Hill …

… Adam Webb, press secretary for Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) (h/t Meghan Burris) … Margaret Hynds … Melissa Schapiro (h/t Celeste Aguzino) … Lauren Craig Nedeau, director of public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola, who recently got married to Paul Nedeau — pic (h/t sister-in-law Jennifer Nedeau Helm) … Kristin Gossel … WSJ’s Rachel Feintzeig … Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) is 48 … Lewis Lowe … Charlotte Sellmyer, SVP of external affairs at the National Music Publishers’ Association … David Reid … Bridget Anzano (h/t Caroline Hakes) … Judy Reardon … Robert Enlow … POLITICO Europe’s Anaïs Thys … Matthew Nadherny … Anna Miroff … Yunji de Nies … Donatella Lorch … Erin Sermeus … Ludy Green … Court Cook … Joel Rennie … John Loftus is 69 … Peter Ewell is 72 … Jeremy Iloulian, associate at Kirkland & Ellis (h/ts Josh Brown and Geoff Middleberg) … Ryan Beiermeister … former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is 77 (h/t AP)

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