TRUMP AGENDA: What happens at Mar-a-Lago doesn’t always stay at Mar-a-Lago
Breaking last night in the Miami Herald: “President Donald Trump quietly met a pair of former Colombian presidents last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, thrusting his administration into an ugly power struggle in Latin America that threatens to undermine the country’s controversial peace agreement with rebel leaders… The meeting between Trump and the former presidents, Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana – Colombia news media have reported it was arranged by an influential U.S. critic of the plan, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – was not on the president’s schedule and was not disclosed to reporters who traveled with him to Palm Beach.”
In the Washington Post: “An Egyptian American charity worker who was imprisoned in Cairo for three years and became the global face of Egypt’s brutal crackdown on civil society returned home to the United States late Thursday after the Trump administration quietly negotiated her release.”
Leigh Ann Caldwell has the latest on what’s going on with health care on the Hill: “House Republicans working on a deal to overhaul the nation's health care system have come up with a set of bullet points aimed at bridging differences between GOP factions and restarting the attempt to pass legislation that would replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare… But it's still too early to tell if this will convince enough Republicans to support the bill, despite pressure from the White House to pass something as early as next week.”
More, from the Washington Post: “The fresh pressure from the White House to pass a revision was met with skepticism by some Capitol Hill Republicans and their aides, who were recently humiliated when their bill failed to reach the House floor for a vote and who worry now that little has changed to suggest a new revision would fare any better.”
Shutdown watch: Funding for the border wall could be the next big showdown.
The New York Times: “President Trump added a new name Thursday to the list of countries he accuses of preying on American workers and exploiting naïve American trade policies: Canada…. Mr. Trump admitted he was going off script because the steel order is aimed at more familiar trade boogeymen like China and Japan. But his outburst in the Oval Office toward a friendly neighbor punctuated a week when tough talk on trade took center stage in a White House deeply divided over how aggressively to erect the trade barriers that Mr. Trump promised during his campaign.”
And more on the “Buy American” push, from the Wall Street Journal: “Donald Trump’s effort to force the federal government to ‘Buy American’ will be a challenge as foreign-owned companies already hauled in more money from federal contracts in the past three months than in any corresponding period in a decade.”
Lawmakers in Hawaii are not pleased with Jeff Sessions’ recent description of their state.
POLITICO looks at 13 different groups that could complicate the GOP’s tax reform goals.
From NBCNews.com: “The U.S. continues to take active measures to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea, U.S. officials told NBC News, including the deployment of a special nuclear "sniffer" aircraft, drones, and U-2 spy planes.”
OFF TO THE RACES: Bumps on that DNC unity tour
Alex Seitz-Wald notes that the DNC’s unity tour is hitting some sleep bumps over a candidate’s record on abortion.
GA-06: The Georgia special election could be the most expensive race of its kind in history.
Jon Ossoff says he’s not interested in “purity tests.”
MT-AL: Who wore it best? Both the Republican and Democratic candidates in Montana’s special election released ads Thursday that featured the candidate shooting a gun at a screen.
The DCCC is getting ready to spend money in Montana, according to the Huffington Post.
SC-05: The pastor of Emanuel AME church is condemning an ad by GOP candidate Sheri Few that suggests lawmakers overreacted to the massacre there by taking down the Confederate flag.
VA-GOV: The Richmond Times-Dispatch asks if Tom Perriello is the Kun Cuccinelli of 2017.
UT-03: The Salt Lake Tribune lays out what might happen if Chaffetz departs early.