Prior to his meeting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Trump brought reporters into the Oval Office and — in an extended, heated exchange before the cameras — clashed with the two Democratic leaders over congressional support for funding for his border wall, declaring that he is “proud to shut down the government for border security,” Axios reports.
The Washington Post called it “an explosive and acrimonious Oval Office encounter played out live with cameras rolling.”
Playbook: “The two sides are absolutely nowhere… Absent a massive reversal by Trump, it looks like government is headed for a shutdown late this month. There seems to be a recognition in the Capitol that this shutdown could last from Dec. 21 through to Jan. 3, when the new Congress is seated.”
Also: “This probably helps Pelosi internally… She went toe to toe with the president on live television.”
John Harwood: “In today’s extraordinarily-fractious, on-camera Oval Office session with Congressional Democratic leaders, Trump highlighted his own vulnerability. First, he repeated his false claim in early morning tweets that his long-sought U.S-Mexico border wall has largely been built, with the Pentagon poised to complete it even if Congress won’t provide financing.”
“That telegraphed his expectation that lawmakers won’t include wall funding in the year-end spending bill needed to keep government open. Anticipating defeat undercuts Republican leaders who’ve demanded that funding on Trump’s behalf.”
“Trump hobbled his own cause further by trying to strike an unyielding pose.”
Washington Post: “For Trump, who once boasted he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose supporters, the fight over the wall has reached a moment of truth as he confronts the reality that, with Democrats poised to control the House in January, this could be his last chance to make good on a promise that has become an existential part of his presidency.”
Trump’s Catastrophic Meeting with Chuck and Nancy https://t.co/IclWAnB7Ch
— Nancy LeTourneau (@Smartypants60) December 11, 2018
Just hours after an explosive meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, President Trump said that he would happily shut down the government over his desired border wall because he believes it is an issue that he will “win… every single time,” the Daily Beast reports.
Said Trump: “Chuck’s problem is that, you know, when we last closed down, that was his idea. Honestly, he got killed. He doesn’t want to own it. I said rather than us debating who is owning it, I’ll take it.”
He added: “If we close down the country, I’ll take it because we’re closing it down for border security and I think I win that every single time.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 11, 2018
Minutes after a very public showdown with President Trump over his border wall with Mexico, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi returned to the Capitol and railed against the president in a private meeting with House Democrats, Politico reports.
Said Pelosi: “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”
And then, Pelosi went for the most sensitive part of Trump’s ego: “It’s like a manhood thing with him — as if manhood can be associated with him. This wall thing.”
She used a similar line in October during an event at Harvard, where she said the border wall “happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, and I’m not interested in that.”
— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 11, 2018
Gabriel Sherman: “On Friday night, members of Donald Trump’s West Wing gathered for drinks at the Trump International Hotel following a holiday dinner at the White House. As they mingled in the lobby, Bill Shine, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and others grappled with the latest West Wing upheaval: Trump had changed the plan and fired Chief of Staff John Kelly earlier that afternoon.”
Said one attendee: “It got back to Trump that Kelly was bad-mouthing him and Trump had decided he’d had enough. His attitude was, ‘fuck him.’”
“Trump’s impulsive announcement quickly became an even bigger problem when it turned out that Kelly’s replacement was not sewn up; Ayers surprised Trump later that day by insisting that he only wanted the job short term…. A senior White House official told me, in a sign of the depth of the current difficulties, that even former chief of staff Reince Priebus has been brought up as a possible replacement for Kelly.”
Multiple sources familiar with President Trump’s mood told CNN he’s frustrated with how Nick Ayers declined his offer to be chief of staff.
One source described his mood as “super pissed.” A second added he feels humiliated, a position he doesn’t like to be in, because the President did not have a backup candidate prepared like he typically does when he’s fielding people for jobs. One source said Ayers got the benefit of being seen as the next chief of staff “without any of the headaches.”
New York Times: “A shortlist of last-ditch possibilities has emerged, including family-vetted officials like Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, but only one possibility — Representative Mark Meadows, the hard-right Republican congressman from North Carolina who is so far not quite inside the Trump children’s circle of trust — has voiced interest.”
“Other options range from the possible — including Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget — to the unlikely, including Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and head of the Trump transition team, who angered Mr. Kushner for sending his father to jail while he was a federal prosecutor.”
USA Today says other candidates include Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, and David Bossie, a deputy campaign manager for Trump’s 2016 campaign.
No jump shots. No ferns. No memes. Not this time. I’m going to give it to you straight: If you need health insurance for 2019, the deadline to get covered is December 15. Go to https://t.co/ob1Ynoesod today and pass this on — you just might save a life. pic.twitter.com/8mHMsXGY0g
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 10, 2018
“Beto O’Rourke hasn’t made up his mind about a possible presidential run in 2020, but behind the scenes he’s speaking to potential kingmakers among a constituency whose support he’ll need in a Democratic primary: African-Americans,” NBC News reports.
One of those people is fellow 2018 progressive darling Andrew Gillum.
“The phone call with Gillum has not been previously reported… One source, granted anonymity to describe a private conversation, said the pair discussed their mutual preference that someone ‘young and unapologetically progressive’ lead the Democratic Party going forward.”
An early straw poll of members of the progressive group MoveOn.org shows a wide-open competition for liberal voters in the forthcoming 2020 Democratic presidential contest, with Beto O’Rourke narrowly beating out Joe Biden, NBC News reports.
The most popular potential candidate was O’Rourke at 15.6%, followed by Biden at 14.9%, and then Sen. Bernie Sanders with 13.1%.
Washington Post: “Mindy Myers, who was one of the primary architects of Warren’s political rise and has remained one of her close advisers, had been expected to play a senior role in the senator’s campaign. But she has been in talks with several rival campaigns and is planning to meet soon with Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who is considering a presidential run.”
“Myers ran Warren’s 2012 U.S. Senate campaign and then served as her senate chief of staff, giving her a deep understanding of Warren’s strengths and weaknesses.”
First Read: “So yeah, Beto is starting to look very real for 2020. And maybe more than that, whether he runs or not appears to have frozen the Dem field. Think about that: His decision might be the biggest shoe to drop in the 2020 Democratic race.”
A new NPR/PBS/Marist poll finds that 57% of Americans think President Trump should compromise on his border wall to prevent a government shutdown.
Furthermore, nearly 69% of Americans do not consider building a border wall between the United States and Mexico to be an immediate priority for the next Congress.
A new CNN poll finds President Trump’s approval rating for handling the Russia investigation dips to 29%, matching a low previously hit in June of this year.
“But Robert Mueller’s approval rating is also down in the poll: 43% approve and 40% disapprove. That compares to a 48% approve to 36% disapprove split in early October. The dip in Mueller’s numbers comes almost entirely among independents, among whom approval has fallen 10 points to 36%.”
“Trump’s approval rating drop, however, comes among his own partisans as well as among independents. Among Republicans, 51% approve of Trump’s handling of the investigation, a new low by one point, while among independents, 26% approve, also a new low.”
In today's meltdown, Trump claimed voters will side with him if he shuts down government over his wall.
But behind the scenes, GOP strategists studying the midterm results have concluded Trump's immigration stances were even more toxic than they thought:https://t.co/S79Ns260Qt
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) December 11, 2018
President Trump’s “intensifying legal troubles are unnerving some of his fellow Republicans. Despite his brash stance, they believe the turmoil has left him increasingly vulnerable as he gears up for what is sure to be a nasty fight for re-election,” the AP reports.
“Trump, ever confident of his ability to bend story lines to his will, mocks the investigations into his conduct as candidate and president as a ‘witch hunt’ and insists he will survive the threats.”
“But a shift began to unfold over the weekend after prosecutors in New York for the first time linked Trump to a federal crime of illegal hush payments. That left some of his associates fearful that his customary bravado is unwarranted. For some Republicans, the implication that the president may have directed a campaign finance violation, which would be a felony, could foreshadow a true turning point in the Republican relationship with him when special counsel Robert Mueller releases his report on the Russia investigation.”
Mike Allen: “Last week’s stunning court filings detonated what one official calls a ‘reality tremor’ that has White House officials and key allies increasingly aware of President Trump’s rising legal and political vulnerability.”
Pelosi and Schumer could have stuck to the diplomatic pleasantries typical for these pre-negotiation photo-ops, issuing vague promises of collegiality through tight-lipped grimaces. But they took it to Trump instead. https://t.co/STYqPDygnh
— Russell Berman (@russellberman) December 11, 2018
“Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a group of House Democratic rebels are discussing a proposal to cap her time as speaker to four years, a move that could clear the way for the California Democrat to clinch the gavel,” Politicoreports.
“The plan would be a dramatic shift for the longtime Democratic leader. Pelosi has refused to put an end date on her tenure as she tries to reclaim the speakership ahead of a Jan. 3 floor vote.”
“President Trump continues to reject the judgments of U.S. spy agencies on major foreign policy fronts, creating a dynamic in which intelligence analysts frequently see troubling gaps between the president’s public statements and the facts laid out for him in daily briefings on world events,” the Washington Post reports.
“The pattern has become a source of mounting concern to senior U.S. intelligence officials who had hoped that Trump would become less hostile to their work as he settled into office and more receptive to the information that spy agencies spend billions of dollars and sometimes put lives at risk gathering.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 12, 2018
“The North Carolina Republican Party said Tuesday that a new election should be held in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District if a new allegation regarding the leak of early-voting results before Election Day is proven,” Politico reports.
The Charlotte Observer reported that early voting totals from Bladen County may have been leaked. A witness who signed that vote tabulation wrote in a sworn affidavit that the totals were “viewed by officials at the one-stop site who were not judges.”
Ron Brownstein: “Cracks have emerged in Donald Trump’s hold on his core constituency of white working class voters, new data from the 2018 election reveal.”
“Though Republican candidates almost everywhere registered large margins among white voters without a college degree, Democrats ran much more competitively among the roughly half of that group who are not evangelical Christians.”
“Democrats, the analysis found, ran particularly well this year among white working-class women who are not evangelicals, a group that also displayed substantial disenchantment in the exit poll with Trump’s performance. Those women could be a key constituency for Democrats in 2020 in pivotal Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where relatively fewer blue-collar whites are also evangelical Christians.”
Both chambers of Congress have finally reached a compromise on a farm bill, removing changes that would have hurt needy Americans https://t.co/llnQ4iLCht
— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) December 11, 2018