First Read's Morning Clips: Senate GOP Sours on Trump

Lindsey Graham
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 21, 2017.Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

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TRUMP AGENDA: Trump administration wants to probe universities over affirmative action

The New York Times: The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on ‘investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.’”

The Washington Post: “The relationship between President Trump and Senate Republicans has deteriorated so sharply in recent days that some are openly defying his directives, bringing long-simmering tensions to a boil as the GOP labors to reorient its stalled legislative agenda. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced Tuesday that he would work with his Democratic colleagues to “stabilize and strengthen” the individual insurance market under the Affordable Care Act, which the president has badgered the Senate to keep trying to repeal. Alexander also urged the White House to keep up payments to insurers that help low-income consumers afford plans, which Trump has threatened to cut off. Several Republican senators have sought to distance themselves from the president, who has belittled them as looking like “fools” and tried to strong-arm their agenda and browbeat them into changing a venerated rule to make it easier to ram through legislation along party lines.”

From NBC’s Anna Schecter: “The company that created Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics operation that helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election, has removed the U.S. State Department logo and the NATO logo from its website after inquiries from NBC News.”

ICYMI: New FBI director Christopher Wray was confirmed by the Senate yesterday.

“The Trump administration is preparing to take action against China over trade as soon as this week, two administration officials familiar with the issue told POLITICO.”

Here’s NPR’s original report on the new lawsuit against Fox News about its Seth Rich story.

NBC’s Courtney Kube reports: “The U.S. military successfully test-launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from California early Wednesday, according to an Air Force spokesman — just days after North Korea’s second test of an ICBM. The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched at 2:10 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles. An Air Force statement said that the test was not a response to recent North Korean actions, but shows that America's nuclear enterprise is ‘safe, secure, effective and ready to be able to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies.’”


AZ-SEN: How will Jeff Flake’s book impact — or haunt — his reelection campaign? The Arizona Republic takes a look.

KY-6: Check out this buzzy ad from Andy Barr’s new Democratic challenger, retired Marine Lt. Colonel Amy McGrath, the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat.

NV-SEN: POLITICO reports on how Dean Heller is under fire for his votes on Obamacare.

PA-SEN: With Rep. Lou Barletta reportedly prepping for a run against Bob Casey, fellow GOP Rep. Mike Kelly says he won’t seek the Senate seat.