December 11, 2023

Immigration Marriage

Feel Good With Immigration

Cheney zeroes in on ‘key question’ about Trump- POLITICO

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

JUST POSTED — In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, “The Big Lie” ($29.99), Jonathan Lemire writes about DONALD TRUMP’s visit to India in February 2020: “Donald Trump Could Lie His Way Out of Just About Anything — Until COVID: An inside account of the panicked days that heralded the end of Trump’s presidency.”

THE PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW: LARRY SUMMERS — Ryan caught up with the former Treasury secretary — and thorn in the side of Biden White House economists — on the sidelines of the Aspen Security Forum for a wide-ranging interview about the last 18 months of economic debates, why so many policymakers got the inflation debate wrong, what Summers thinks about JOE MANCHIN blowing up Build Back Better over inflation concerns, what JOE BIDEN — and NANCY PELOSI — is getting wrong in their approach to China, and why we are almost certainly headed into a painful recession. Listen to Summers on this week’s Playbook Deep Dive, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

THE ‘187 MINUTES’ HEARING — A year and a half later, and we are still learning new things about Jan. 6 — and almost all of the revelations strengthen the case that the Jan. 6 committee has been building about Trump’s (perhaps criminal) culpability that day. A.G. MERRICK GARLAND has a lot to think about after Thursday night.

Five moments will be etched in our minds from Thursday night’s gripping primetime presentation:

1. The testimony of the anonymous White House security official who said that members of VP MIKE PENCE’s detail were calling their loved ones to say goodbye because they “thought that this was about to get very ugly” and “were starting to fear for their own lives.”

2. The panicked voices on the radio chatter from Pence’s security detail as they raced to whisk him to safety when they were just steps from the advancing mob after it had been re-intensified by Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet criticizing his VP. “We need to move now,” a Pence agent said. “If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to do so.”

3. Gen. MARK MILLEY’s testimony, expressed with astonishment, that the president of the United States refused to defend the Capitol. “You know, you’re the commander in chief,” he said. “You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America, and there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?”

4. The outtakes from Trump videos on Jan. 6 and 7, in which the then-president struggles to condemn the attack or declare that the election was “over.”

5. The slow-motion clip of Sen. JOSH HAWLEY (R-Mo.) fleeing the Capitol as the mob descended — not long after he raised his fist in solidarity with its members. Video of reaction to the Hawley clip inside the hearing room

In her closing statement, Vice Chair LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.) said that the key question “every American must consider” after these eight hearings was this: “Can a president who was willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of Jan. 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?”

TYPO/FREUDIAN SLIP OF THE NIGHT — @HouseGOP: “This is all heresy.”

The coverage…

Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney: “While Trump’s public silence during much of the violence is already well-known, the panel argues that the new evidence it presented about what happened inside the West Wing showed he purposely didn’t intervene in the chaos until it was clear the mob had failed to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election.

“‘Donald Trump ignored and disregarded the desperate pleas of his own family, including IVANKA and DON JR.,’ said the select panel’s chair, Rep. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-Miss.), referring to the former president’s children. ‘He could not be moved.’”

WaPo: “As the attack unfolded, aide after aide — and family member after family member — were urging Trump to intervene by either telling the rioters to go home or using his own presidential power to send in assistance, according to testimony Thursday. [Former White House Counsel PAT] CIPOLLONE said in recorded testimony that he was not aware of Trump calling any of the relevant federal officials who could have sent resources to the Capitol: not the secretary of defense, not the secretary of homeland security, not the attorney general, not the National Guard.”

NYT: “Through a range of witness testimonies, the committee demonstrated that Mr. Trump never reached out to the heads of any law enforcement or national security department or agency in the government to seek help in responding to quell the violence. Fox News footage, which Mr. Trump was watching from his dining room, showed how the Capitol Police were under siege, massively outmanned and struggling to repel the crowd. But the president remained unmoved.”

WSJ: “‘The case against Donald Trump, in these hearings, is not made by witnesses who are his political enemies,’ said Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.), the committee’s vice chair, at the close of the hearing, the eighth and last of the current series. ‘It is instead a series of confessions by Donald Trump’s own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family.’

“In a series of messages on his Truth Social social-media network after the hearing, Mr. Trump challenged the testimony. He called Ms. Cheney, a longtime political foe, a ‘sanctimonious loser’ and said the committee presented ‘so many lies and misrepresentations.’”

N.Y. Post: “As rioters swarmed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021 and aides begged Donald Trump to help stop the violence, the then-commander-in-chief barely lifted a finger except to call Republican senators and his lawyer, RUDY GIULIANI, to try and figure out how to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.”


Watch: “‘I don’t want to say the election’s over’: Outtakes from Trump’s Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 remarks” “New footage: McConnell and Schumer make call about securing Capitol building on Jan. 6” “New video: Hawley evacuates as rioters enter the Capitol”

Happy Friday. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.



INSIDE 1600 PENN — After Biden’s Covid diagnosis was revealed on Thursday, the White House “struck a defiant tone in the face of questions about Biden’s health and their own Covid protocols, downplaying the risks facing the president and dismissing fresh concerns about their approach to a virus that’s killed more than a million Americans,” Adam Cancryn and Jonathan Lemire report.

The White House calculus: “The decision by the White House to treat the infection of the world’s most powerful man with a still-deadly disease as a mere nuisance underscores the advancements health care professionals have made in the Covid fight. It also echoes a larger political calculation the president’s team has made to treat the pandemic as an unfortunate but manageable part of life — one now impacting the president himself.”


THE TRUMP EFFECT — The top brass of the Republican Party is pretty mum on a potential Trump 2024 run — that is, except for House GOP Conference Chair ELISE STEFANIK. “Of the more than 12 GOP leaders in both chambers POLITICO interviewed for this story, Stefanik went furthest in her expression of support for Trump. Yet while Republicans aren’t endorsing him early, they aren’t getting in his way, either. Many are prepared to adopt the same playbook they did in 2016: Allow a crowded presidential primary field to sort itself out with minimal interference,” Olivia Beavers and Burgess Everett report this morning.

The catch: “Trump allies have sought to impress on him not to announce before the midterms, fearing he will distract and deter voters by making the race about himself rather than a referendum on the Biden administration, according to two House Republicans who requested anonymity to discuss internal dynamics. And Republican leaders are making plain that Trump pulling focus to himself over the next three months is not going to play well in Congress.”

WHODUNNIT — Remember the big $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package Biden signed into law? Well, voters seem to have trouble recalling whether it actually got passed, according to new polling that promises to further rattle Democrats, Sarah Ferris reports. “Eight months after Congress cleared the landmark legislation to overhaul the nation’s roads, bridges, rails and broadband, only 24 percent of voters are aware it’s now a law, according to new polling by the center-left think tank Third Way and Impact Research that was shared first with POLITICO.”

The damning details: “Roughly one-third of voters said they believed it was ‘still being worked on in Congress,’ while 9 percent believed it was ‘not being worked on in Congress and will not be passed.’ About 37 percent said they didn’t know the status of the package at all.”

A DIFFERENT TYPE OF ELEVATOR PITCH — On Wednesday, Sen. MARCO RUBIO (R-Fla.) called the bill to codify same-sex marriage a “stupid waste of time” as he ducked into an elevator. “But when he said that, there was another senator on the elevator who heard him: Sen. TAMMY BALDWIN, the Wisconsin Democrat who is also the first known gay politician elected to the U.S. Senate,” CNN’s Manu Raju reports. “‘You probably would have loved to be on the elevator to see the exchange after,’ Baldwin told CNN on Thursday.”

ONE TO WATCH — “White House clash with Pelosi over Taiwan spills into the open,” by Lara Seligman and Andrew Desiderio


SCARY STORY — Rep. LEE ZELDIN (R-N.Y.) “was attacked by a man with a knife during an upstate campaign stop for governor Thursday evening,” Anna Gronewold reports from Albany. The man is seen in video very calmly climbing on stage and approaching Zeldin before making a move toward him. “According to the campaign, Zeldin grabbed the attacker’s wrist to stop him and several others assisted in taking the man to the ground.” Watch the 2:14 video, via Spectrum News’ @NickReisman

PENCE VS. TRUMP —“Pence seeks distance from Trump as he considers 2024 presidential run,” by WaPo’s Michael Scherer, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey

CASH DASH — Most election watchers expect Republicans to thump Democrats at the ballot box this fall. But right now, Dems are dominating the small-dollar donor game, WaPo’s Aaron Blake and Chris Zubak-Skees write in an analysis piece.

By the numbers: “In January, 1.26 million online contributions of $200 or less were made on WinRed; that number in June was 1.21 million. The total raised from these small-dollar donations has also fallen slightly — from $29.5 million in January to $26.6 million in June. Democrats, by contrast, have seen the types of increases you would expect as an election nears — from nearly 3 million donations in January to 4 million in June, via their chief platform, ActBlue. The total raised from these donations has also risen — from $44 million in January to more than $64 million in June.”

WILD ONE — “An alleged troll farm operator has received more than $2 million to boost the candidacy of GOP Arizona gubernatorial candidate KARI LAKE — and no one is sure where the money is coming from,” The Verge’s Makena Kelly reports. The troll farm is reportedly run by JAKE HOFFMAN, who was “on the false slate of electors put forward to overturn the 2020 election and secure Donald Trump’s reelection.”

KEEP TROLLIN’ — “California Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM is running full-page ads in Texas newspapers Friday trolling Republican Gov. GREG ABBOTT to highlight a new California gun law modeled on the Lone Star State’s restrictive abortion law,” writes NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald.


SCOTUS WATCH — In the first case decided since Justice KETANJI BROWN JACKSON joined the bench, the Supreme Court “declined to freeze a lower court order that blocked the Department of Homeland Security from implementing new immigration enforcement priorities,” CNN’s Ariane de Vogue and Priscilla Alvarez write.

Fun fact: Jackson dissented along with Justices ELENA KAGAN, SONIA SOTOMAYOR and AMY CONEY BARRETT — marking the first time that the court has ever had a 5-4 split along gender lines.


THE SECRET SERVICE SAGA — The DHS inspector general has “launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the destruction of Secret Service text messages that may have been relevant to inquiries about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot,” NBC’s Pete Williams and Julia Ainsley report. “The results of the investigation could be referred to federal prosecutors, the sources said, depending on the results.”

MELANIA SPEAKS — “Melania Trump says she was ‘fulfilling’ official duties as first lady on Jan. 6: ‘I always condemn violence,’” by Fox News’ Brooke Singman

UGLY SCENE — “Jan. 6 hearing protesters hassle ex-police officer beaten by Capitol mob,” by WaPo’s Andrew Jeong

AT THE BANNON TRIAL — “Bannon trial closing arguments set for Friday after defense calls no witnesses,” by NBC’s Ryan Reilly and Daniel Barnes


GEORGIA INVESTIGATION UPDATE — “An Atlanta judge says he will ensure a report from the special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia won’t be an ‘October surprise,’” CNN’s Jason Morris, Preston Fore, Celeste Noraian and Dan Berman report. “Fulton County Superior Court Judge ROBERT MCBURNEY, in a hearing Thursday, also criticized District Attorney FANI WILLIS for hosting a fundraiser for a Democratic candidate running against one of the investigation’s potential targets. ‘It’s a “What are you thinking?” moment,’ McBurney said. ‘The optics are horrific.’”


IN THE STATES — A group of 17 Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to Google warning that the company’s practice of limiting the appearance of anti-abortion pregnancy centers in some abortion-related searches could “invite investigations and possible legal action,” AP’s Sarah Rankin reports. Virginia A.G. JASON MIYARES and Kentucky A.G. DANIEL CAMERON led the effort.

Related read: “YouTube will start removing misinformation related to abortion,” by CNN’s Clare Duffy


SIGNAL LOSS — “Far-Right Channel One America News Officially Dropped by Last Major TV Carrier,” by The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona


HEADS UP — “D.C. heat wave: It could hit 100 for first time in six years Sunday,” by WaPo’s Jason Samenow and Ian Livingston

TV TONIGHT — PBS’ “Washington Week”: Yasmeen Abutaleb, Dan Balz, Nikole Killion and Hallie Jackson.


ABC “This Week”: Al Gore … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Panel: Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, Catherine Lucey and Rachel Scott.

NBC “Meet the Press”: Panel: Yamiche Alcindor, Stephen Hayes, María Teresa Kumar and Jake Sherman.

CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Alex Burns, Kasie Hunt, Jeremy Diamond and Marianna Sotomayor.

FOX “Fox News Sunday”: Panel: Newt Gingrich, Jacqui Heinrich, Katie Pavlich and Juan Williams.

MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) … Gloria Avent-Kindred … Toluse Olorunnipa … Christina Greer … Rachel Vindman.

Chris Cuomo launched his “The Chris Cuomo Project” podcast on Thursday, featuring interviews with Sean Penn and Andriy Yermak, COS to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

DCA shut down air traffic for about 45 minutes after an unauthorized drone appeared near a runway.

Michelle Obama is releasing a new book, titled “The Light We Carry,” this fall.

George Clooney, Gladys Knight, Amy Grant, Tania León and U2 will be the honorees for the 45th Kennedy Center Honors.

OUT AND ABOUT — POLITICO CEO Goli Sheikholeslami and MSNBC’s Rashida Jones hosted a book party at Dauphine’s on Thursday night to celebrate the release of Jonathan Lemire’s book “The Big Lie” that comes out on Tuesday. SPOTTED: Matt Kaminski, Jen Psaki, Michael Steele, Andrew Bates, Megan Apper, Chris Meagher, Josh Wingrove, Ted Mann, Jenny Leonard, Tammy Haddad, Adrienne Elrod, Jim Acosta, Liz Landers, Remi Yamamoto,Sabrina Rodríguez, Sam Stein, Eun Kim, Adam Cancryn, Meridith McGraw, Ken Thomas, Hugo Lowell, Jeremy Diamond, Reid Epstein, Alayna Treene, Seung Min Kim, Brad Dayspring, Ashley Parker, Michael Bender, Scott Mulhauser, Carrie Budoff Brown, Josh Dawsey, Mike Memoli, Steve Holland, John Hudson, Mike Allen and Alexi McCammond. 

— Toni Glickman celebrated the publication of her new book “Champagne at Seven!” ($15.95) at Café Milano on Thursday night, where guests enjoyed champagne and a discussion moderated by Rebecca Cooper. SPOTTED: Sharon Glickman, Lynn Blitzer, Tricia Enright, Adrienne Elrod, Missy Owens, Tamera Luzzatto, Nicole Elkon, Samantha Bryant, Maryam Mujica, Janice Smeallie, Betsy Fischer Martin, Penny Lee, Todd Flournoy, Kimball Stroud, Matt Collier, Pam Stevens, Diane Blagman, Francesca Craig and Rachel Pearson.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Erin Pelton is leaving the White House, where she has served as chief of staff at the Domestic Policy Council and special assistant to the president. She’s taking some time off this summer before announcing her next step. … Priya Singh has been promoted to chief of staff of the DPC. She is currently the deputy chief of staff and senior policy analyst at DPC, and is also an alum of Deloitte, the U.S. Mission to the UN and the White House during the Obama administration.

NEW NOMINEES — The White House announced Biden will nominate Shailen Bhatt to lead the Federal Highway Administration and Jeff Marootian as assistant Energy secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

TRANSITIONS — Lindsay Torrico has been named SVP of bank community engagement and executive director of the American Bankers Association Foundation. She most recently was VP of policy and advocacy at United Way Worldwide. … Sidney Johnson is now press assistant for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. She most recently was a comms associate at S-3 Group. … Van Ornelas is now press secretary for Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). He most recently was senior advisor at 1865 PAC, and is a Filemon Vela and DCCC alum. …

… Alicia Kerry Mica is now director of government relations at B. Braun Medical Inc. She previously was senior lobbyist for the American Pharmacists Association. … Aubrey Powers is now voter protection director for the Maine Democratic Party. She most recently was trade and investment manager for the U.K. Department for International Trade and is a Hillary Clinton 2016 alum.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Lauren Fox, a congressional correspondent at CNN, and Kellin Clark, president of government affairs at Capital Group, welcomed Luca Ellison Clark on Wednesday. He came in at 6 lbs, 14 oz. Pic Another pic

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) … former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison … The Daily Beast’s Sam BrodeyTarun ChhabraCaleb Smith … Port Side Strategies’ Will Fischer … POLITICO’s Craig Howie … CNN’s Terence Burlij … National Association of Counties’ Seamus DowdallAmanda KulesWhitney VanMeter of UPS … Annie Lowrey … former Reps. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.) and Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) … Elise Shutzer of Pew Charitable Trusts … Arshi Siddiqui of Akin Gump … Mike DiRienzo of the Silver Institute … AJ Jorgenson … former VA Secretary David ShulkinBrandt AndersonWarren BassJoy Yunji LeeSarah ObenourAmy Littleton …. Emily CarpeauxNathan NaylorSoren DaytonTravis KorsonAndrew FeinbergBen Leubsdorf Meghan Sullivan Belica of Wells Fargo … John Shelton of Advancing American Freedom … MaryAsa England of Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) office … Don Van Natta Jr. Erin Perrine Reid Cherlin

Did someone forward this email to you? Sign up here.

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected] or text us at 202-556-3307. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike Zapler, deputy editor Zack Stanton and producers Setota Hailemariam and Bethany Irvine.