TRUMP AGENDA: Jared Kushner’s new role
Breaking in the Washington Post late Sunday: “President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions. The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.”
In the New York Times: “Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, according to administration and congressional officials. The White House Counsel’s Office was informed this month that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wanted to question Mr. Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, according to the government officials. The meetings included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.”
From yesterday, on Meet the Press: “The unpopular health care proposal supported by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan couldn't get enough Republican votes to pass the House last week, but Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, chalked it up Sunday to Washington's being "broken" and questioned the Republican Party's ability to govern. In an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press," Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and previously a U.S. representative from South Carolina, bluntly acknowledged that Trump's team may have misunderstood the complicated process of legislating.”
The New York Times, on the GOP’s crisis of governance: “For eight years, those divisions were often masked by Republicans’ shared antipathy toward President Barack Obama. Now, as the party struggles to adjust to the post-Obama political order, it is facing a nagging question: How do you hold together when the man who unified you in opposition is no longer around?”
POLITICO looks at how Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows is being hailed as a hero at home. “In these small rural towns that double as ground zero for the type of populist, anti-establishment politics that thrust Donald Trump into the presidency and gave Republicans control of Washington, Meadows remains a hero. He demanded full repeal of Obamacare, more than the failed House bill would have attempted. And his star only shines brighter here after he cost House Republicans their first big win on health care — and their first big win as the governing party. His constituents — roughly 45,000 of whom, ironically, were covered by the Affordable Care Act in 2016, most with subsidies, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation estimate — now expect him to go back to Washington and pick up the fight to uproot and destroy the law completely.”
In the Washington Post: “After a smarting defeat on health care, President Trump is moving on to an ambitious bid to rewrite the U.S. tax code. But the ultra-conservative GOP lawmakers who stymied Trump on health care aren't going away, and if Trump is to avoid a second major setback in Congress, he'll need to win over far more of them this time around.”
POLITICO reports on how the fight between hardline conservatives and Goldman Sachs alums in the West Wing is playing out at the Treasury Department.
The New York Times: “Picking themselves up after the bruising collapse of their health care plan, President Trump and Republicans in Congress will start this week on a legislative obstacle course that will be even more arduous: the first overhaul of the tax code in three decades.”
From NBCNews.com: “The withdrawal of the Republican health care bill was blamed for sharp drops Monday morning in a number of leading U.S. economic indicators, including the dollar's drop to nearly a two-month low.”
And in the Wall Street Journal: “The White House sent a warning shot to congressional Republicans that it may increase its outreach to Democrats if it can’t get the support of hard-line conservatives, a potential shift in legislative strategy that could affect drug prices, the future of a tax overhaul and budgetary priorities.”
More, from the AP: “President Donald Trump's aides opened the door to working with moderate Democrats on health care and other issues while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quickly offered to find common ground with Trump for repairing former President Barack Obama's health care law.”
And/but, from the New York Times: “Invigorated by the Republican dysfunction that led to a stunningly swift collapse of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and relieved that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains intact, Democrats are in their best position since their embarrassing loss in the November election.”
The Washington Post, with a look at the tick-tock of Rep. Devin Nunes’ Russia revelations and how critics are assailing him.
Don’t miss this, happening overseas: “Thousands of demonstrators across Russia marched Sunday to protest corruption in the government of President Vladimir Putin, and the opposition leader was among hundreds arrested. Alexei Navalny was among about 500 people arrested in Moscow, police said in a statement. Navalny was charged with violating an administrative code regulating public gatherings and faced a possible fine, community service or administrative detention, the state-owned TASS news agency reported. Most of those detained were released within hours, police said.”