TRUMP AGENDA: The latest from North Korea
Here’s all the latest on North Korea from NBC News: “The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.”
And here’s North Korea’s response: “North Korea's vice foreign minister says it will conduct its next nuclear test whenever its supreme headquarters sees fit. Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday. He also said the situation on the Korean Peninsula was in a "vicious cycle" as tensions with the U.S. and its allies deepen.”
Marine Le Pen is unhappy with Trump for his shift on NATO.
All those reversals from Trump? The New York Times talks to his unfazed supporters. “So while much of the country sees the swerving on policy as another sign of White House dysfunction, many conservatives shrug it off as esoteric jockeying over foreign alliances, currency manipulation and economic policy. They are focused more, they say, on what they see as a litany of recent victories.”
The Washington Post, on the rising influence of Gary Cohn: “In a White House short on experienced personnel, Cohn has found an edge by hiring two dozen policy experts, most with government experience. His team produced detailed proposals on overhauling the tax code, rebuilding infrastructure, cutting back financial regulations and restructuring international trade deals. He is widely considered a future candidate to be chief of staff.”
And from POLITICO, on Stephen Miller: “President Donald Trump once affectionately called them “my two Steves,” a reference not only to their ideological kinship but to their central role in his administration. But while Steve Bannon is on the ropes in Trump’s fractious White House, Stephen Miller has managed to endear himself to the man emerging as the president’s most indispensable adviser: son-in-law Jared Kushner.”
The Wall Street Journal notes that Trump has shifted back to wanting to focus on health care.
Don’t miss this, via the AP: “CIA Director Mike Pompeo has denounced the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service" and a threat to U.S. national security, a condemnation that differed sharply from President Donald Trump's past praise of the organization.”
OFF TO THE RACES: Picking the battlefield
NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald notes that Trump picked the battlefields for this spring’s special elections by making Cabinet picks from red districts.
GA-06: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution fact-checks ads citing Al Jazeera payments to Jon Ossoff.
MT-AL: The Montana special election is attracting more attention in the wake of Tuesday’s Kansas race.
VA-GOV: The Washington Times has this dispatch from a lively GOP primary debate at Liberty University.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello is taking his talking tour to Virginia's colleges this week, courting a youth vote that helped propel Bernie Sanders in last year's presidential race. Perriello's Q&A sessions with students range in discussion about economic trends, disparate treatment of races, ways to create clean energy jobs, free higher education and the chance for Virginia to be the first state in the country to lead a progressive revolt against President Donald Trump, who ran what the 42-year-old calls ‘the most overtly racist campaign of my lifetime.’”