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Mike Pence plays peacekeeper, more Mueller fallout, and a baby boom: The Morning Rundown

White House drama: The country's top Intel chief wanted to quit, the vice president talked him into staying.
Image: Mike Pence Swears In Dan Coats As Director Of National Intelligence
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is applauded by Vice President Mike Pence after taking the oath of office from Pence on Capitol Hill in 2017. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

We’re learning more about who keeps things ticking in the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence has played the peacemaker between President Donald Trump and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, whom the president calls “Mister Rogers.”

Here’s what we’re watching today.

Coats wanted to quit, Pence talked him into staying

The country’s top intelligence chief nearly quit last year over his frustrations with Trump, but was talked out of it by Pence, his closest ally in the administration, according to current and former senior administration officials.

The president tried to get Coats to criticize the intelligence community as biased, and accused him of being behind leaks. Trump also insisted over and over again that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 election, despite Coats telling him it wasn’t true.

"It was a recurring thing and began early on," a senior administration official who observed the exchanges said. "You could tell that Coats thought the president was crazy."

The tipping point came when Trump abruptly decided to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria.

Pence, who has repeatedly played the role of envoy between Trump and Coats, convinced his longtime Indiana friend to stay until at least this summer, the officials said.

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Mueller fallout: Democratic lawmakers say Barr’s letter is ‘not sufficient for Congress’

Top House Democrats sent a letter to Attorney General Barr requesting that he submit special counsel Robert Mueller's full report on the Russia investigation to Congress by as soon as next week – on April 2.

For his part, President Trump said "it wouldn't bother me at all" if the full Mueller report was released.

Meantime, in the wake of Barr’s summary of the Mueller report going public, Trump’s most passionate defenders turned their ire toward the news media for its coverage of the special counsel’s investigation, saying they deliberately perpetrated a fraud.

"The press looks like partisan fools in this," ex -Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tweeted on Monday morning. His sentiment was echoed by others from his daughter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, to Senior White House adviser Kelllyanne Conway.

But former federal prosecutors warn that the legal threats to Trump and members of his inner circle may be far from over with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York picking up where Mueller’s probe left off.

The office, which handles some of the highest-profile cases in the country, has such an independent streak that it has long been known as "the Sovereign District of New York" within the Justice Department.

Apple sets sights on TV, news and video games

Apple has officially gone Hollywood. And into journalism with News+ and personal finance with a titanium Apple-branded credit card.

The tech giant unveiled a new streaming video offering on Monday as part of a wider push into original content and digital services, signaling a new chapter for a company that has long focused on hardware and devices.

Image: Actors Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston speak during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino
At a star-studded event Monday at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater at times looked more like the Emmy Awards than a Silicon Valley product launch. Actors Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston took their turn on stage, as did Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. Stephen Lam / Reuters


  • The spate of apparent suicides of people linked to the Parkland and Newtown school shootings in recent days has put a spotlight on the emotional fallout for those who survive mass shootings.

THINK about it

Amanda Machado writes that as a teenager, she learned to be ashamed of her own father, buying into the idea that his deeply accented and imperfect English made her family less worthy than others. Now she knows better.

Science + Tech = MACH

A major Greenland glacier that was one of the fastest shrinking ice and snow masses on Earth is growing again, a new NASA study finds.

“That was kind of a surprise,” one climate scientist studying the glacier said. “The good news is that it’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily going that fast. But it is going.”

One fun thing

Baby boom? Nine nurses who work in the labor and delivery unit of the Maine Medical Center are expecting babies between April and July.

“I think it's wonderful we were all friends before this, and now we're all friends going through this together. We can all support each other,” said one of the nurses.

“I think we could probably field a football team,” joked one of the other expectant mothers.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

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Thanks for reading, Petra