Listen to Playbook in 90 Seconds http://bit.ly/2iHcw6I … Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6Eay … Visit the online home of Playbook http://politi.co/2f51Jnf
DEPT. OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS -- @realDonaldTrump beginning at 6:57 a.m.: "The Democrats, lead [sic] by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad ObamaCare is and what a mess they are in. Instead of working to fix it, they.. ...do the typical political thing and BLAME. The fact is ObamaCare was a lie from the beginning.'Keep you doctor, keep your plan!' It is.......time for Republicans & Democrats to get together and come up with a healthcare plan that really works - much less expensive & FAR BETTER!"
Good Thursday morning. There are 15 days until the inauguration.
NEWS -- THE CAPITOL HILL AGENDA ON HEALTH CARE: There has been a lot of confusion about the Republicans’ plans for 2017 when it comes to Obamacare, tax reform and other priorities. THE PLAN: Congress is going to repeal the health care law immediately. The White House is working on some executive action to “ease the transition” off Obamacare. Congress will have to pitch in with legislation to help, as well. Republicans expect Tom Price, the HHS secretary nominee, will be able to do a lot administratively to keep things orderly. Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President-elect Mike Pence hinted at it yesterday: The stuff everyone likes isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
INTERNALLY, REPUBLICANS say they will come up with an alternative in 2017. Yes, you read that correctly: The delay is to allow an orderly transition -- but plans will be developed and unveiled THIS YEAR, multiple senior GOP sources tell us. Republicans haven’t really communicated that too well. Of course, this could all change. The incoming administration seems to want near simultaneous action on repeal and replace, but that simply won’t happen. Republicans have a lot of ideas about health care, and they won’t simply rally around Trump immediately because he’s the president. Democrats don’t think much of this plan, and say it will cause chaos across the country.
BUT…. There’s definitely fear on the Hill. Congress has only been in for a few days, but the conversation on Obamacare has definitely shifted. It’s no longer a “let’s-burn-the-joint-down” type affair. Republicans are now realizing how hard it will be to replace the law, and many of them have plainly settled on the fact that they will never be able to craft a plan to insure as many people as Obamacare does. Several high-ranking members of Congress in both chambers told us they are extremely aware that this is a political minefield, and they’re not quite sure how they’re going to navigate it.
-- BY THE WAY … TAX REFORM: The GOP plan, as of now, is to complete tax reform by August recess, but that could easily slip. The way forward on infrastructure is murkier, at this point. Quite the ambitious year, though.
AND … THERE IS ALREADY DISSENT IN THE RANKS -- “GOP airs Obamacare divisions in Pence meeting,” by Jen Haberkorn and Burgess Everett: “Republicans are fast-tracking the process of repealing Obamacare, aiming to get it done in several weeks. But they're not even close to agreement about what comes next - or even when the repeal should take effect. Those disagreements spilled over Wednesday at a closed-door meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence that had been intended to unify the Senate GOP. Instead, multiple senators stood up to express concern that the party’s plans to repeal and replace the law could blow massive holes in the budget ... Newly ascendant Republicans are reckoning with the reality that dismantling a nearly seven-year-old law that reshaped a $3 trillion health sector and covers millions of Americans is more daunting than simply campaigning against it.” http://politi.co/2iL9twy
GAINING INFLUENCE IN TOWN -- Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior adviser for policy, is taking the lead in writing the executive actions to ease the country off Obamacare. Miller was communications director on Capitol Hill for Jeff Sessions. Now he’s a top policy guy for Trump.
SPY GAMES -- “Donald Trump Plans Revamp of Top U.S. Spy Agency: President-elect works on restructuring Office of the Director of National Intelligence, tweets again his doubts that Russia hacked Democrats,” by WSJ’s Damian Paletta and Julian E. Barnes: “The move is prompted by his belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized … One of the people familiar with Mr. Trump’s planning said advisers also are working on a plan to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back on staffing at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world. ... ‘The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized,’ said the individual, who is close to the Trump transition. ‘They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.’” http://on.wsj.com/2hTZfKG
-- “Trump’s criticism of intelligence on Russia is dividing Hill GOP,” by WaPo’s Karoun Demirjian and Greg Miller: “President-elect Donald Trump’s broadside against the intelligence community is dividing Capitol Hill Republicans, with some ready to pounce on Trump’s skepticism that Russia interfered with the U.S. elections and others urging a more cautious approach. The resulting schism could widen as Congress begins probing the CIA’s charges that Russia intervened in the November elections in an attempt to help Trump, potentially becoming one of the first significant intraparty breaches of the Trump presidency. U.S. critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, such as Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), want to go full-bore on holding Russia to account for its suspected election interference. But they may be slowed by GOP senators who prefer to wait to hear the intelligence community’s evidence and for Trump to be installed in the White House.” http://wapo.st/2ie22KJ
--“Trump’s team tries to stifle rift on Russia: Some of his nominees have labeled Moscow a dangerous rival that wages cyberwar on the U.S., in contrast with Trump's praise for Putin,” by Bryan Bender with Ellen Mitchell and Greg Hellman: “As the president-elect’s top national security picks prepare to testify before Congress starting next week, his transition team is plotting ways to prevent a public spectacle that airs their most wildly divergent assessments of the threat Russia poses ... Trump’s nominees to run the State Department, Pentagon, CIA and Department of Homeland Security are all being prepped to avoid making major policy pronouncements and stick to generalities as much as possible in deference to the incoming president.” http://politi.co/2iT2LBO
SPICER UNPLUGGED -- Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sat down with David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs last night at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. WATCH FOR Sean talking about Trump’s tweets (around 17-18 min mark) and the White House briefing (26 min.). Video http://bit.ly/2ie1Mvh
-- “When Donald Trump Tweets, It Is News to Sean Spicer,” by WSJ’s Shibani Mahtani in Chicago: “Donald Trump’s incoming White House press secretary said Wednesday the president-elect would continue his prolific use of Twitter when in office, adding that even he and other communication advisers aren’t consulted before a tweet is sent out. ‘I do not know, I do not get a memo [about the tweets],’ Sean Spicer said in a discussion at a University of Chicago Institute of Politics event ... ‘He drives the train on this.’ ... Mr. Spicer said, however, that is it a ‘misconception … that he is just randomly tweeting.’ ‘He is a very strategic thinker ... He thinks about where things are going to end up.’” http://on.wsj.com/2iE3066
THE LOYAL OPPOSITION -- “Biden: Hill Democrats must stop ‘abuse of power’,” by Isaac Dovere: “Vice President Joe Biden issued an existential call to get more Democrats in Congress on Wednesday evening, telling roughly 120 members and many donors that ‘the country needs you as much now as it has since ... maybe ... since I held public office.’ … Speaking at a closed fundraiser for the [DCCC] at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, Biden, according to a person in the room, pledged to stay involved — ‘I’m leaving, but I’m not going to be quiet,’ he told them and warned the party against running away from its core values. The question, Biden said, is figuring out how to break through in a way that he acknowledged Hillary Clinton never managed to in going up against Donald Trump. ‘It’s time to talk about it ... lay it out ... everything that we are for,’ Biden said.” http://politi.co/2jd47uN
RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND... -- “Trump to face sworn deposition in coming days,” by Josh Gerstein: “Donald Trump is being forced to take a big time-out from his frenzied planning for the White House, sitting down as soon as Thursday for a sworn, videotaped deposition in Trump Tower that could stretch for as long as seven hours. It’s an extraordinary circumstance for any president or president-elect. The last president to be deposed was Bill Clinton in 1998, in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit. Ulysses Grant, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter are the only other sitting presidents to face a deposition. And it’s hardly Trump’s only legal headache. With Trump’s swearing-in just days away, many of the high-profile lawsuits that entangled him during the campaign are all but certain to carry on through his inauguration and into his tenure at the White House — and he will even inherit some new ones.
“Trump and his companies face scores of pending lawsuits, including cases claiming skimming of tips at his New York SoHo hotel, seeking refunds of millions in membership fees charged by his country club in Jupiter, Florida, and alleging that his security personnel assaulted protesters outside Trump Tower. The deposition expected to occur this week stems from a suit he filed after prominent Washington chef Jose Andres backed out of plans to open a Spanish-themed restaurant at Trump’s new luxury hotel in Washington. Trump’s attorney asked a judge to cancel the session or cap it at two hours, but a judge declined, giving Andres’ legal team up to seven hours to question the man who’s still trying to finalize his Cabinet and prepare to be sworn in as president.” http://politi.co/2jd7ORc
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- BIG NEWS IN THE LOBBYING WORLD -- Crossroads Strategies, founded by GOP veteran lobbyists John Green and Stewart Hall, is merging with boutique lobbying firm Capitol Strategies, founded by Wally Burnett and Shay Hancock. The new firm, which will operate as CRS, is expected to generate more than $11 million in annual revenue, putting it in the top 20 lobbying firms by revenue. Stay tuned for more additions.
-- TOP STAFF NEWS: Tyler Law will be the DCCC’s national press secretary for the 2018 cycle. Law was the Mountain West regional press secretary in the 2016 cycle and served as communications director for California Rep. Ro Khanna’s campaign in 2014.
AND ANOTHER FIRST IN PLAYBOOK ... -- NEW SET OF UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO INSTITUTE OF POLITICS FELLOWS -- Matt Bai (Jan. 25-27), Jackie Calmes (Jan. 30-Feb. 10), Bob Costa (Feb. 14-16). Matt will “look at media in the Trump era, where they succeeded and failed on the campaign trail, and what challenges to expect covering the Trump presidency. Bai will lead a panel of national media executives and in his seminar will examine the tabloidization of political news and where we go from here.” Jackie “joins us for two weeks to examine economic policy and the impact of changes we might see under the new administration, with a focus on health care, globalization and trade, and tax.” Bob “will examine the direction of the GOP under the Trump administration in several seminars and a public panel on the future of the Republican Party.”
AND ONE MORE... -- TIM KAINE’S OBAMACARE LETTER -- Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, is sending a letter to Sens. Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander and Orrin Hatch, asking them to not repeal Obamacare and offering to help make “improvements” to the law. KEY LINES: “We write to express our concerns with the plans to use a fast-track budget process to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the coming weeks. Repealing this law will have immediate negative impacts on the people we represent and the economy as a whole. While we believe improvements are needed to ensure high-quality health care is affordable for all Americans, we cannot afford to make a mistake that will lead to the loss of health care for our constituents.” ...
“We remain committed to improving the ACA, and we urge you to work with us now -- to increase affordability for families, protect communities, help small businesses, and continue important protections for the most vulnerable. But by pushing an immediate repeal through a partisan reconciliation process, we won’t have the opportunity to work together and build on common ground. By moving forward with no plan in place for the future of our health care system, those who support repeal assume the responsibility of mitigating the unnecessary and avoidable chaos this will create.” Letter http://bit.ly/2hVmkuK … Signatories Kaine, Bennet, Carper, Coons, Donnelly, Hassan, Heitkamp, King, Klobuchar, McCaskill, Peters, Shaheen, Warner.
THRUSH’S FIRST NYT BYLINE -- ON A1! -- “Senate Republicans Open Fight Over Obama Health Law,” by Tom Kaplan (new to D.C.!) and Glenn Thrush. http://nyti.ms/2hUjcfF
-- ROBERT PEAR: “Republicans’ 4-Step Plan to Repeal the Affordable Care Act”: “Defang the filibuster … Add the details … The new president’s role … Find a replacement.” http://nyti.ms/2hUnWlv
1600 PENN -- “Trump taps private security director for White House job,” by Madeline Conway: “President-elect Donald Trump has tapped his private security director, Keith Schiller, to be deputy assistant to the president and his director of Oval Office operations, confirming that he’ll bring at least one member of his personal security detail with him to the White House. Schiller has worked with Trump since 1999, when the real estate mogul hired him as a part-time bodyguard. He now leads his private security force, a group that recently drew some scrutiny when POLITICO reported that Trump had opted to continuing using it after the election.” http://politi.co/2iE6tBy
-- “How Christie’s top aide [Bill Stepien] shook Bridgegate and won over Trump,” by Josh Dawsey, Ryan Hutchins and Alex Isenstadt: “During a salacious criminal trial last year involving the 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike cited the hard-nosed culture of Gov. Chris Christie’s political operation. Running that operation was Bill Stepien, who was named President-elect Donald Trump’s political director Wednesday. His name was mentioned almost 700 times in the trial, according to a review of the transcripts. The mastermind of the political revenge plot at the world's busiest bridge, David Wildstein, testified he told Stepien about his plan before he put it in motion, though Stepien has denied knowledge and was never charged. Stepien’s hiring by the White House capped a remarkable political recovery for the 38-year-old political operative.” http://politi.co/2iEfbA6
HAPPENING TODAY -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hosts: “Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States.” Witnesses: James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence … Honorable Marcel J. Lettre II, under secretary of Defense for intelligence … Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers, commander, United States Cyber Command. Director, National Security Agency. Chief, Central Security Services. FROM THE NOTICE: “There is a possibility of a CLOSED session in Room SVC-217, the Office of Senate Security in the Capitol Visitor Center, following the OPEN session.”
TRUMP’S WASHINGTON -- “Ivanka Trump’s New Washington Home Once Belonged to a Putin Foe,” by NYT’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “[T]he neighborhood where they are planning to live [is] chock-full of ambassadors and prominent figures on the Washington social circuit ... ‘It will be great to have them as neighbors,” [Tony] Podesta said of Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner, who have three children. ... The home was previously owned by Dan K. Rapoport and his wife, Irina. … Vladimir Ashurkov, a top aide to Aleksei A. Navalny, a leading Russian opposition leader and critic of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, described Mr. Rapoport as a successful financier in Moscow and an investor in Soho Rooms, one of the city’s poshest nightclubs. He has also been a supporter of Mr. Navalny since 2010.” http://nyti.ms/2hU5x8s
TOP TWEETS -- Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ): “The world we live in. S. Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs assigns an officer to watch Trump's Twitter account.” http://bit.ly/2jbFf6x … HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn): “Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint, on @CNN now, dismissing Obamacare statistics as ‘fake news.’ The statistics came from CBO.” … WSJ’s @PaulSonne: “Putin quote I never forget: ‘The streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight is unavoidable, you have to hit first.’” … BuzzFeed’s @KateNocera: “Per source in the room Obama tells Dems: ‘I envy you so much right now. I would love to be on the field right now.’”
MODEST PROPOSAL -- “Bristol Sheriff offers inmates to build Trump’s Mexico wall,” by Boston Globe’s Mark Arsenault and Travis Andersen: “Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has made a personal offer to President-elect Donald J. Trump: Bristol County inmates will be available to help build Trump’s border wall with Mexico. Yes, really. ‘I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,’ Hodgson, a Republican, said in remarks at his inaugural ceremony Wednesday night at Bristol Community College. He did not address who would pay to transport, house, and secure local inmates while they labor on the wall project. Trump, however, has said Mexico will pay for the wall.” http://bit.ly/2iEiLKe
WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE READING -- NYT A16, “Unexpected Candidacy Upends Virginia Democrats’ Plans for Key Governor Race," by Jonathan Martin (an Arlington, Va. native):
“Tom Perriello, the former congressman from Virginia, is making a surprise entry into his state’s governor’s race, disrupting Democrats’ well-laid plans in what promises to be the most-watched election in the country this year. Mr. Perriello on Wednesday telephoned Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, who had been widely presumed to be the party’s nominee, to tell him he was entering the race, according to three Democrats directly familiar with the conversation. Mr. Perriello, a State Department official who is close to President Obama, is expected to announce his intention on Thursday to compete in the June 13 Democratic primary. He did not respond to a voice mail and text message. Mr. Northam could not be reached, either. ...
“A run by Mr. Perriello will expose the tensions between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party in Virginia, which is increasingly dominant in a once-conservative state. Much of the state’s Democratic leadership is already lined up for Mr. Northam, and Mr. Perriello’s unexpected move made them to scramble to respond.” http://nyti.ms/2j7d4l1
CONFIRMATION WATCH -- “Durbin wary of Sessions’ history on race,” by Seung Min Kim: “Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday there are ‘elements’ of Jeff Sessions' background that ‘raise questions’ about alleged racial insensitivities - signaling that the Alabama senator's past comments on race will be a major focal point of his confirmation hearing next week. Sessions, whom President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate as attorney general, came under fire more than 30 years ago for accusations that he made racially-charged remarks as a federal prosecutor. Those allegations derailed Sessions' bid for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in 1986. Though Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, declined to call Sessions racist, he acknowledged that ‘in the past, there were questions raised on his views on race from a lot of different perspectives.’” http://politi.co/2idSK1u
--PLAYBOOK’S TAKE: While Democrats will surely bring up Sessions’ record on race, few Capitol Hill insiders on either side of the aisle expect it to derail his DOJ appointment. One big factor: Sessions is a veteran senator who has longstanding relationships on both sides of the aisle, and lawmakers typically rally behind their colleagues.
JOSH ROGIN in WaPo, “Rex Tillerson talks tough on Russia in private Capitol Hill meetings”: “According to several senators and staffers I talked to who were in the Tillerson meetings, the businessman has gone out of his way to project a clear-eyed and tough message about how he views Vladimir Putin’s Russia, without committing to any specific policies the Trump administration might pursue. ‘He said, “Look, I understand Putin and Russia is a playground bully and they only respect strength and you need to come from a position of strength to them or you are going to have a lot of problems,”’ one senior Senate staffer ... told me, paraphrasing Tillerson’s remarks. ‘He was at 30,000 feet and when pushed on sanctions, he wouldn’t fully endorse any particular direction.’” http://wapo.st/2jd86HN
-- QUOTE DU JOUR – Houston Chronicle’s James Osborne: “Asked Wednesday whether he could support Tillerson’s nomination, McCain told reporters, ‘Sure. There's also a realistic scenario that pigs fly.’ An aide to McCain said later the McCain was joking and had not yet made a decision on how he would vote.” http://bit.ly/2iGWklI
SURE, WHY NOT -- NEWSMAX: “Hillary Clinton Urged to Run for New York Mayor,” by John Gizzi. http://nws.mx/2hTMECr
WEST COAST WATCH -- “California braces for a Trump presidency by tapping former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder for legal counsel,” by LA Times’ Melanie Mason: “Bracing for an adversarial relationship with President-elect Donald Trump, the California Legislature has selected former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. to serve as outside counsel to advise on the state’s legal strategy against the incoming administration. The unusual arrangement was announced as the Legislature returned to session on Wednesday, underscoring the extent to which the action in Sacramento in the coming months will be shaped by Trump’s presidency. The agreement will give Holder, leading a team of attorneys from the firm Covington & Burling, a broad portfolio covering potential conflicts between California and the federal government. Former Los Angeles Rep. Howard Berman, a Democrat who is now a senior advisor to the firm, will also be part of the effort.” http://lat.ms/2hVud3u
2020 WATCH -- “NHDP to hold Shaheen-McIntyre Dinner in April,” by NH1’s Paul Steinhauser in Concord: “Potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, mark your calendars. The New Hampshire Democratic Party will hold its annual McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner in April … The dinner, named for current two-term Sen. and former three-term Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and the late Sen. Tom McIntyre, is one of two annual major Democratic fundraising events in the Granite State.” http://bit.ly/2j78CTE
OBAMA ALUMNI -- “Rockefeller Foundation Picks Rajiv J. Shah, a Trustee, as President,” by NYT’s David Gelles: “Mr. Shah ... until recently had been the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development ... On Thursday, the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the country’s largest and most influential philanthropies, will name Mr. Shah to succeed Judith Rodin, who has been president for 12 years. The appointment will make Mr. Shah one of the most powerful forces in charitable giving, overseeing a foundation that donates roughly $200 million each year and corrals governments, companies and organizations to contribute money and resources in tandem.” http://nyti.ms/2j7n2D5
-- “Lessons from the Obama Administration: Why Gender Equality Should Continue to Be Part of U.S. Foreign Policy,” by Tom Donilon and Cathy Russell: http://bit.ly/2hVqDXc
NICK BILTON in Vanity Fair, “After Trump, Will Twitter Wither?”: “The failed sale, however, has been the least of Twitter’s headaches. Since that golden-cross moment there have been layoffs and more criticism lobbed at the company than I’ve seen during my decade covering the ever beleaguered social network. Perhaps most terrifying for investors has been the mass exodus of top talent. There was the departure of Adam Bain, the company’s C.O.O. and the brains behind many of Twitter’s most successful ad products; the company’s C.T.O. left; and so did the vice president of product (a job that has been likened to the jinxed ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts professorship’ from the Harry Potter saga, where every professor ends up dead or ousted at the end of the school year). Sure, people leave companies all the time, but these positions had already seen top-level executives leave as early as just a few months prior. This week, Twitter’s China chief left after just eight months.” http://bit.ly/2hUaAFM
NEW TIME COVER STORY -- This week’s cover story reports on how Botox became the drug that’s treating everything from migraines and depression to sweaty palms and overactive bladders. See the cover: http://bit.ly/2hROxzo … www.time.com/botox
CLICKER – NYT’s “52 Places to Go in 2017”: “1. Canada ... 2. Atacama Desert, Chile ... 3. Agra, India ... 4. Zermatt, Switzerland ... 5. Botswana.” http://nyti.ms/2iLrdrL
MEDIAWATCH -- GERRY BAKER in the WSJ, “Trump, ‘Lies’ and Honest Journalism”: “Why the reluctance [to say Trump is lying]? ‘For my part, it’s not because I don’t believe that Mr. Trump has said things that are untrue. Nor is it because I believe that when he says things that are untrue we should refrain from pointing it out … If we are to use the term ‘lie’ in our reporting, then we have to be confident about the subject’s state of knowledge and his moral intent. I can see circumstances where we might. I’m reluctant to use the term, not implacably against it.” http://on.wsj.com/2iE6Wni
--“Renewing Medium’s focus,” by CEO Evan Williams announcing mass layoffs: “As of today, we are reducing our team by about one third—eliminating 50 jobs, mostly in sales, support, and other business functions. We are also changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally. ... To stay efficient, we are shutting our offices in New York and Washington D.C. (though some people will continue to work remotely from those locales).” http://bit.ly/2hVopqM
--NYT Business Day front, “Apple Removes New York Times Apps From Its Store in China,” by Katie Benner and Sui-Lee Wee: “Apple, complying with what it said was a request from Chinese authorities, removed news apps created by The New York Times from its app store in China late last month. The move limits access to one of the few remaining channels for readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to special software.” http://nyti.ms/2iGSklh
SPOTTED -- Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walking in the tunnel toward Cannon yesterday with California Rep. Ted Lieu … “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance yesterday at Peet’s on 17th and L NW ... Belgium’s King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and their children taking a tourist tour of Ellis Island, New York -- Instapic http://bit.ly/2iecUbw ... Bill Press at Acqua Al 2 last night.
PICS on display last night around PJ Clarke’s Sidecar at longtime AP reporter Terry Hunt’s retirement party: http://bit.ly/2iSJ790 ... http://bit.ly/2ie3T2e ... http://bit.ly/2j7AZkp ... http://bit.ly/2hVJ2mJ … http://bit.ly/2hVDyIL
SUNDAY SO FAR – NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) ... Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
WELCOME TO THE WORLD – NYT Dealbook maven and CNBC “Squawk Box” co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin and Pilar Queen, an agent at McCormick Literary, email friends and colleagues: “Introducing....Sydney Sorkin. She joined the world at 9:05 a.m. [Wednesday] morning. She is 7 pounds 9 oz. Pilar is doing well and Henry and Max will be meeting their sister after school today. The Sorkins are now a Party of Five!” Instapic http://bit.ly/2iGZu8Y
TRANSITIONS – ADAM HODGE joins SKDKnickerbocker – He was previously comms director at the DNC. Earlier, he was a deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at Treasury. … Pili Tobar has been hired as Hispanic media director for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. She previously was comms director for the Latino Victory Project and is a DNC alum. http://bit.ly/2iBS5K2 … SRCPmedia has announced that former National Republican Congressional Committee’s regional political director, Jon Reedy, has joined the firm as a vice president. http://politi.co/2jdaK0e … Taylor Carr has joined Athlete Ally as its director of communications, joining from Edelman’s New York Public Affairs practice.
ENGAGED -- Andrew Bell, a North Carolina native and chief of staff for Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) to fellow North Carolinian Stacey Anderson, a fourth-grade teacher in Holly Springs, N.C. They met a year and a half ago and their second date was to a Kenny Chesney concert (Andrew is a big fan). They got engaged four days before Christmas when he surprised her on the front porch of her house. She will be moving to DC after they get married this summer. Pic http://bit.ly/2ie6Q2N
--Jason Seher, writer/producer for CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper, recently got engaged to Maribel Padial, associate producer on CNN’s political desk. “We took a trip to Woodstock late in October with our friends Nick and Katie and she stumbled upon a leather jacket she wanted. I bought it for her on the condition she could not wear it until Christmas. ... I told her we were going out to a belated Christmas dinner and I wanted her to wear the jacket. ... When she put it on, she felt something in her pocket. When she pulled it out, I dropped to a knee and asked if she would be mine forever. We celebrated our engagement with a marathon dinner at Komi.” Pic http://bit.ly/2iSY8rF
OUT AND ABOUT -- Google and IJR hosted a reception last night to welcome Congress back to the 115th Session at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building. The Smithsonian Rotunda featured a Google Photos display curated by Google and IJR, and the South Hall showcased a mosaic video wall constructed of 85 phones and tablets where IJR videos and YouTube content were featured. More than 70 members of Congress attended.
SPOTTED: Greta Van Susteren, Zeke Miller, Boris Epshteyn, Steve Clemons, Newt Gingrich, Robert Draper, Reps. Darrell Issa, Will Hurd, Blake Farenthold, Charlie Dent, Ted Budd and Joe Wilson, Ana Navarro, Grover Norquist, Tammy Haddad, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Jesse Rodriguez, Rebeccah Propp, Julia Ioffe, Alex Skatell, Paul Kane, Caleb Smith, Ryan Williams, Becca Glover, Sarah Swinehart, Matt Wolking, Susan Molinari, Marty Obst, Bubba Atkinson and Sam Smith, Riva Litman, Matt Lira, Alex Conant, Gerrit and Christyn Lansing, Megan Whittemore, Ben Ginsberg, Benny Johnson, Anton Vuljaj, Alex Skatell, Matt Manda, Ryan Coyne, Phil Musser, Kate Glassman Bennett, Hunter Schwarz, Maegan Vazquez, Ali Breland, Andrew Bell, Joe Perticone, Jesse Suskin, Lee Dunn.
--The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted a swearing-in party called “A toast to Democratic backbone and new progressives in the 115th Congress” at Stanton and Greene last night. Sens. Warren and Franken gave featured toasts among lots of politicians attending. SPOTTED: Sens. Sanders, Baldwin, Whitehouse, and Markey, Reps. Beto O’Rourke, Jared Polis and Ro Khanna, Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Jeff Weaver, Gerry Petrella, Bill Sweeney, Lori Wallach and Lisa Gilbert, Adam Ament, Dean Baker, Kasie Hunt, Francesca Chambers, Benjy Sarlin, Alex Seitz-Wald, Annie Linskey, Perry Bacon, Dave Weigel, Jim Newell, Tierney Sneed
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is 73, celebrating by “going out with friends and family for two of my favorite health foods -- steak and chocolate yellow cake!” – read his Playbook Plus Birthday of the Day Q&A: http://politi.co/2hUcsDb
BIRTHDAYS: Charlie Rose, who is celebrating the fifth anniversary of "CBS This Morning" this month, is 75 (hat tip: Samantha Graham) ... David Simas is 47 ... former CIA Director George Tenet is 64 ... former Vice President Walter Mondale is 89 ... John Solomon, chief creative officer at Circa News, is 5-0 ... Katie Lillie, alumna of the White House and U.S. Mission to the UN, former global outreach director at Tina Brown Live/Women in the World, and Manchester United fan ... Allison Price, former DOJ spokesman and Reid’s mom ... WSJ’s Nick Timiraos ... Nick Lanyi, former SVP of public affairs at Porter Novelli ... Danielle Melfi, former Hillary organizer and Democratic Party of Wisconsin alum ... Shab Sharbatoghlie of OMB, and a GE alum (h/t Patrick Hedren) ... AP’s David Bauder ... Tom Davis, No Labels co-founder, former congressman (R-Va.) and chairman of the board at George Mason, is 68 (h/t Dennis Craig) … comms maven Allison Price (h/ts Dan and Sherry) ... Ally Flinn, web editor extraordinaire at Cook Political, is 25 (h/t Ashton Barry) ... Mimi Mager of Mager & Associates ... Kristen Grimm, president of Spitfire Strategies ... Alexis Bataillon, COS for corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase (h/ts Jon Haber) ...
… former Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) is 82 ... former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) is 73 ... Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) is 47 ... former Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) is 7-0 ... Jenna, daughter of Nadeam Elshami ... Christine Hall, director of comms at Competitive Enterprise Institute ... Bush alum Carrie Underwood ... Richard Harris ... Jeff Hauser, project manager at the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, is 43 ... Josh Galper is 45 ... Google’s Tom Youngblood ... Val Mack ... Piper White Baker … Karen Gray Houston ... Thomas Suddes, Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board member ... Daniel Sieberg, global head of training and development and a spokesperson for Google ... John Drogin, a Ted Cruz alum now executive director at Make DC Listen ... Majid Siddiqui ... AP’s Shelley Adler ... Veronica Vaquer ... Sharon Scates ... John Reid ... Aaron Dowd … Lara Bergthold … Patrick Ottenhoff ... Joe Wineke … Sara Wisgerhof Throener … Kevin Ronnie … Thad Nation (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... actor Robert Duvall is 86 ... Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, is 79 ... Diane Keaton is 71 ... Bradley Cooper is 42 ... January Jones is 39 (h/ts AP)