GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN … DAY 7 … NANCY PELOSI will be speaker in six days, and she plans to do one of the following things to open the shuttered portion of the government.
OPTION 1) Pass a full-year CR for the portion of the government that’s shut. That would keep all government agencies at their current funding levels. OPTION 2) Pass a six-bill package, and a CR for Homeland Security until September. This would boost some government agencies’ money, but would keep DHS at its current levels. OPTION 3) Pass the stopgap that the Senate passed, which would fund all government agencies through Feb. 8 at their current levels.
EACH ONE OF THOSE OPTIONS would result in President Donald Trump getting $1.3 billion for border security. No wall. Not $1.6 billion. No slush fund. Nada.
— A SENIOR DEM AIDE SAYS THIS: “What part of Democratic majority and he’s not getting the wall do they not understand?”
YES, THE SENATE is still Republican, and will still have a say in this. But, as Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan note, the Senate will have an incentive to get out of this mess soon too. Read Bade and Bresnahan
A SMART REPUBLICAN HILL HAND MAKES THIS POINT: TRUMP can not get out of here without folding in some way, since he won’t be getting the $5 billion he’s asking for. Why isn’t he folding before the Dem majority takes over, and before it seems like he’s folding to Pelosi?
FWIW … THE HOUSE AND SENATE both have canceled votes for the remainder of the week, and have accepted the reality that the next Congress will have to reopen the government.
WE’VE BEEN BANGING the long shutdown drum for some time now, but it seems more and more evident that this could be a long stalemate that lasts until mid January or later. Yesterday, the House and Senate gaveled in for just a few minutes each. One senator was in the Senate chamber: Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas, who presided over the quick session.
Happy Friday. CLICKER — Invariant’s Heather Podesta’s annual holiday card of funny New Year’s resolutions.
A TROOP VISIT OR POLITICAL RALLY? …
— NYT’S ANNIE KARNI, “Trump Iraq Visit Is Called a Political Rally”: “During his surprise visit to American troops in Iraq and Germany this week, President Trump singled out red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps in a sea of military fatigues, signed a ‘Trump 2020’ patch and accused Representative Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats of being weak on border security.
“Now the president is facing accusations that he was playing politics with the military. ‘When that starts happening, it’s like the politicalization of the judicial branch,’ said Mark Hertling, a retired three-star Army lieutenant general.
“Visiting troops abroad is a presidential tradition in which the commander in chief puts aside politics to thank a military that represents a broad spectrum of the country. But Mr. Trump’s political comments and his encouragement of supporters in the crowd veered from those norms. ‘He has to understand that there exist some audiences that should not be addressed as part of his base, because they are not,’ Mr. Hertling said. ‘It’s a violation of protocol by the president.’” NYT
— WAPO’S PAUL SONNE and PHIL RUCKER: “Trump’s visit to Iraq prompts concerns about politicization of military”
L.A. TIMES NABIH BULOS in Amman: “Iraqi politicians, fuming after Trump’s visit, demand U.S. forces leave the country”: “The visit confirmed U.S. disregard for other nations’ sovereignty, said Hamdillah Kaabi, spokesman for nationalist Muqtada Sadr’s Sairoon party. Sadr, the Shiite Muslim cleric whose loyalists battled U.S. forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, now heads parliament’s largest bloc. He campaigned to limit the influence of both Washington and Tehran in Iraq’s affairs. Kaabi said Thursday the party had long sought to end Washington’s ‘arrogance and disrespect’ in its dealings with Iraq. …
“Trump was initially set to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi at the military base. However, Abdul Mahdi’s invitation to join Trump there came with only two hours’ notice for ‘security reasons,’ said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, according to a pool report. Abdul Mahdi was in a different part of the country and unable to attend, she said. Abdul Mahdi’s office issued a delicate statement insisting that due to ‘differences in the points of view on arranging the meeting,’ the two leaders instead held a phone call in which they discussed ‘developments after the U.S. president’s decision to withdraw from Syria.’” LAT
TWO YEARS IN … AP’S JONATHAN LEMIRE: “Trump’s presidency has changed Washington, defied convention”: “In his first two years in office, President Donald Trump has rewritten the rules of the presidency and the norms of the nation’s capital, casting aside codes of conduct and traditions that have held for generations. In Trump’s Washington, facts are less relevant. Insults and highly personal attacks are increasingly employed by members of both parties. The White House press briefing is all but gone, international summits are optional, the arts are an afterthought and everything — including inherently nonpartisan institutions and investigations — is suddenly political.
“Taking a wrecking ball to decorum and institutions, Trump has changed, in ways both subtle and profound, how Washington works and how it is viewed by the rest of the nation and world. ‘He’s dynamited the institution of the presidency,’ said Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian at Rice University. ‘He doesn’t see himself as being part of a long litany of presidents who will hand a baton to a successor. Instead, he uses the presidency as an extension of his own personality.’” AP
REUTERS/BEIJING: “China has opened the door to imports of rice from the United States for the first time ever in what analysts took to signal a warming of relations between the world’s two biggest economies after a frosty year marked by tensions and tit-for-tat tariffs.”
THE INVESTIGATIONS — “Cell signal puts Cohen outside Prague around time of purported Russian meeting,” by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon in McClatchy: “A mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials, four people with knowledge of the matter say.
“During the same period of late August or early September, electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague, two people familiar with the incident said. The phone and surveillance data, which have not previously been disclosed, lend new credence to a key part of a former British spy’s dossier of Kremlin intelligence describing purported coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election meddling operation.
“The dossier, which Trump has dismissed as ‘a pile of garbage,’ said Cohen and one or more Kremlin officials huddled in or around the Czech capital to plot ways to limit discovery of the close ‘liaison’ between the Trump campaign and Russia. … Both of the newly surfaced foreign electronic intelligence intercepts were shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.” McClatchy
— COHEN REPLIES … @MichaelCohen212 at 4:21 p.m.: “I hear #Prague #CzechRepublic is beautiful in the summertime. I wouldn’t know as I have never been. #Mueller knows everything!”
WAPO’S ELISE VIEBECK and DAVE WEIGEL: “‘Green New Deal’ divides Democrats intent on addressing climate change”
SPOTTED: Jared Kushner on Thursday grabbing lunch at Cosi on 17th Street near the White House. He was back in the office on Wednesday after being in Palm Beach earlier this week … Mick Mulvaney on Thursday’s 7:30 a.m. American flight from Charlotte to DCA, in the first row of first class wearing headphones – pic
TV TONIGHT — PBS’ “Washington Week” hosted by Bob Costa: PBS’ Shawna Thomas, Time’s Brian Bennett and PBS’ Lisa Desjardins
NEW CONGRESS JOB MOVES … Dan Kunsman will be staff director of the Senate Republican Conference. He previously was staff director of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and will remain COS for Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). … Jeff Grappone will be deputy staff director of the Senate Republican Conference. He currently is the assistant secretary of Labor for public affairs and is also a Kelly Ayotte and Siemens alum. … Liz Johnson will be communications director for Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (R-Utah). She most recently headed up the office of public affairs at ICE and is also a Kelly Ayotte alum.
KNOWING HAKEEM JEFFRIES: “‘What Obama had, he has that’: Jeffries’ stock rises as Pelosi successor,” by Heather Caygle, Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan.
SUNDAY SO FAR …
“State of the Union”: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … Terry McAuliffe … Panel: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Rick Santorum, Linda Chavez and Symone Sanders (guest host: Dana Bash)
“Face the Nation”: Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) … Gayle Smith. Historians panel: Peter Baker, Michael Beschloss, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jill Lepore
“Meet the Press”: Special climate change edition: Michael Bloomberg … Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown. Panel: Dr. Kate Marvel, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Michèle Flournoy, Craig Fugate and Anne Thompson
“This Week”: Ret. Gen. Stan McChrystal. Panel: Mary Bruce, Matthew Dowd, Mary Jordan and Reihan Salam
“Fox News Sunday”: Panel: Marc Thiessen, Philippe Reines, Anne Gearan and Charlie Hurt (guest-host: Sandra Smith)
“Inside Politics”: Josh Dawsey, Catherine Lucey, Phil Mattingly and Rachael Bade (guest host: Nia-Malika Henderson)
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Disinformation campaign targeting Roy Moore’s Senate bid may have violated law, Alabama attorney general says,” by WaPo’s Craig Timberg and Tony Romm
RIYADH SHUFFLE … AP’S AYA BATRAWY: “Saudi king orders Cabinet shakeup after Khashoggi’s killing”: “As the crown prince struggles to convince many in Washington and other Western capitals that he had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s killing, the soft-spoken Adel al-Jubeir was replaced as foreign minister by Ibrahim al-Assaf, a longtime former finance minister. Al-Jubeir was appointed to minister of state for foreign affairs at the Foreign Ministry. Al-Assaf … holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Colorado State University and a master’s degree from the University of Denver, according to his biography on Aramco’s website.
“Al-Assaf had been serving as a minister of state last year when he was reportedly detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh along with dozens of high-ranking officials and princes in an anti-corruption sweep led by the crown prince. Shortly after, al-Assaf appeared back at a Cabinet meeting to the surprise of many.” AP
WHAT NYC IS TALKING ABOUT — “New York Sky Turns Bright Blue After Transformer Explosion,” by NYT’s Matt Stevens, Rick Rojas and Jacey Fortin: “In the earliest moments, hundreds of Twitter users from across the city posted videos of the eerie lights, causing many on social media to fear an alien invasion. By late Thursday night officials said the event was caused by nothing more than a transformer explosion. ‘No injuries, no fire, no evidence of extraterrestrial activity,’ the New York Police Department tweeted, adding later that the explosion was not suspicious.” NYT
VALLEY TALK — “Inside Facebook’s Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech,” by NYT’s Max Fisher in Menlo Park: “Every other Tuesday morning, several dozen Facebook employees gather over breakfast to come up with the rules, hashing out what the site’s two billion users should be allowed to say.
“The guidelines that emerge from these meetings are sent out to 7,500-plus moderators around the world. The closely held rules are extensive, and they make the company a far more powerful arbiter of global speech than has been publicly recognized or acknowledged by the company itself, The New York Times has found.
“The Times was provided with more than 1,400 pages from the rulebooks by an employee who said he feared that the company was exercising too much power, with too little oversight — and making too many mistakes. An examination of the files revealed numerous gaps, biases and outright errors.
“As Facebook employees grope for the right answers, they have allowed extremist language to flourish in some countries while censoring mainstream speech in others. … Then the company outsources much of the actual post-by-post moderation to companies that enlist largely unskilled workers, many hired out of call centers.” NYT
CORKER ALUMNI WATCH … Todd Womack, COS for Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will be president and CEO of Bridge Public Affairs. Micah Johnson, Corker’s communications director, will be COO and SVP of the firm.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — OBAMA ALUMNI: Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice and an Obama DOJ and Schumer alum, and Katie Fallon, global head of corporate affairs at Hilton and an Obama WH and Schumer alum, welcomed Maeve Victoria Fallon, who joins big brothers Cormac and Rory. Pic … Another pic
— Scott Conroy, a screenwriter and former political journalist who recently wrote a feature script about the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, and Jo Ling Kent, business and technology correspondent at NBC News, welcomed Mira Ling Conroy. Instapic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Seth Wimer, political director at the Republican Attorneys General Association. A trend that deserves more attention: “The world is getting wealthier and healthier. A great website is www.ourworldindata.org, a University of Oxford project. They have resources and reports on global health, population, inequality, and more. Consider that global life expectancy has gone from age 46 in 1950 to age 72 in 2016; and, global median income nearly doubled in just 10 years from 2003 to 2013. It’s actually a great time to be alive!” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Susanna Quinn (hat tips: Jack Quinn and Kelly Love) … Seth Meyers is 45 … Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is 74 (h/t Fred Graefe) … former Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is 72 … former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is 72 … Ian Wishingrad … Mark Katz is 55 … Shari Yost Gold … Debbie Willhite … Michele Altemus … David Eisner (h/ts Jon Haber) … Sahil Kapur, national political reporter for Bloomberg News, is 32 … POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro and Han Ah-Sue … David Dunn … former Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) is 82 … former Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) is 71 … DLCC national political director Kevin Boyd … NPR special correspondent Melissa Block … D.J. Jordan, director at the Pinkston Group … AP economics writer Josh Boak … Cam Cullman … Lynn Hatcher … Gartner’s Will Candrick … Christina Sevilla (h/t Tim Burger) … Mustafa Akıncı, president of Northern Cyprus, is 71 …
… Christa Robinson, SVP of comms. for CBS News … Ed McFadden (h/t Blain Rethmeier) … Ramon Looby, SVP and public policy lead at BofA (h/t wife Messellech) … Andy Estrada, communications officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an Obama and HFA alum (h/t Andrew Bates) … Kyle Anderson … Boeing’s Alexa Marrero … Kathy Kraninger, director of the CFPB … Christina Glenn … Katy Montgomery, principal at the Chertoff Group (h/ts Ed Cash) … Lou Gallo is 61 … Virginia State Sen. Jennifer McClellan … Janne Emilie Nolan … Chris Cooper is 48 … Raquel Wojnar … Douglas Wiley … Jack Lynch is 68 … Adrienne Fox Luscombe … journalist Erica Martinson … Molly Varoga … David Drews … former UAW union president Owen Bieber is 89 (h/t AP)