THE LATEST SHUTDOWN BUZZ FROM 1600 … Several different people inside the White House and on Capitol Hill tell us they are getting some signals PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP might back a bipartisan package of spending bills to avert a government shutdown. The package — a so-called minibus — funds border security, but not the wall. (Caveat: This president changes his opinions quickly. And the only word that is close to final is the word that comes out of his mouth.)
MAKE NO MISTAKE: This would be a fold from the president, and would be read as such by his base on Capitol Hill. The White House would try to sell it as a victory, of sorts, heading into the holiday.
IT WOULD, HOWEVER, BE a recognition that the math simply isn’t there for Trump as he pushes for a $5 billion border wall.
ONE WEEK until the government partially shuts down.
— SARAH FERRIS, BURGESS EVERETT and ANTHONY ADRAGNA: “‘There’s no plan’: Congress skips town as shutdown nears”
BORDER TALES — “7-year-old migrant girl taken into Border Patrol custody dies of dehydration, exhaustion,” by WaPo’s Nick Miroff and Robert Moore: “A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
“The child’s death is likely to intensify scrutiny of detention conditions at Border Patrol stations and CBP facilities that are increasingly overwhelmed by large numbers of families seeking asylum in the United States.
“According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in. More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she ‘reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.’” WaPo
2020 WATCH — NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN: “Sanders and Warren Meet and Agree: They Both Are Probably Running”: “Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders met Wednesday night at her condominium in Washington to discuss their political intentions but did not reach any accord about coordinating their dueling presidential ambitions, according to two Democrats briefed on their discussion.
“Only the two senators were present and they stated what has become abundantly clear: that they are both seriously considering seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020. But neither Ms. Warren nor Mr. Sanders sought support from the other or tried to dissuade the other from running, said the officials familiar with the meeting.
“Ms. Warren sought the sit-down and did so as a courtesy and because they have a longstanding friendship that is rooted in candor, according to one Democrat close to the Massachusetts senator. Her office declined to comment about the meeting.
“Mr. Sanders dismissed questions Thursday in the Capitol about the meeting, asking why a reporter was not asking about his successful push to have the Senate pass a symbolic resolution withdrawing United States support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen. And the Vermont senator flashed irritation when he was asked about it during an interview on MSNBC.” NYT
HOW PELOSI DID IT …
— RACHAEL BADE, HEATHER CAYGLE and JOHN BRESNAHAN: “How Pelosi beat the rebels and got her gavel back”: “While the late President George H.W. Bush was lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 4, Nancy Pelosi was several hundred feet away cobbling together a deal that would return her to the speaker’s chair.
“Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a leader of a group of Democratic rebels trying to push Pelosi out of House leadership, had flown back to Washington to negotiate with her face-to-face. Pelosi had already flipped several critics and shown momentum in her bid to reclaim the gavel. Perlmutter’s group was under siege from Pelosi allies both in and outside the Capitol.
“But Pelosi still didn’t have the votes to become speaker. And she was ready to make a dramatic overture to lock down support. During the meeting in her office on the second floor of the Capitol, Pelosi told Perlmutter she was open to term limits on her leadership.
“It was the first time Pelosi had expressed a willingness to accept an end-date on her power after 16 years atop the Democratic Caucus. It proved to be the decisive moment in Pelosi’s weeks-long slog to ensure she would be the first lawmaker since the legendary Sam Rayburn in the 1950s to win the speaker’s gavel a second time.” POLITICO
— WAPO’S MIKE DEBONIS and BOB COSTA: “‘Her skills are real’: How Pelosi put down a Democratic rebellion in bid for House speaker”
FRENEMIES … “Pelosi and Her No. 2 Go Back 50 Years. But They’re Not Quite Friends,” by NYT’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg: “‘I’m not Nancy’s lieutenant,’ he said. ‘I’m Nancy’s partner.’”
THE HUNT FOR A CHIEF OF STAFF — AXIOS’ JONATHAN SWAN, “Trump meets with Chris Christie to discuss chief of staff role”
SPOTTED: Chris Christie at Newark Penn Station on Thursday boarding the 2:15 Acela to Washington. He was on his cellphone and buying magazines.
— L.A. TIMES’ ELI STOKOLS: “Trump urged to consider a young White House insider as he struggles to find a new chief of staff”: “Several people close to the president are promoting Johnny DeStefano, who was a political aide to former House Speaker John A. Boehner before joining the administration as Trump’s director of personnel. He since has seen his portfolio expand and often travels with the president.” LAT
— GABBY ORR, ANDREW RESTUCCIA and REBECCA MORIN: “David Bossie emerges as divisive chief of staff hopeful”: “Depending on who you ask, David Bossie, a controversial Republican operative excluded from the president’s earliest batch of hires, is either a front-runner or a nonstarter in President Donald Trump’s chief of staff sweepstakes.
“Some White House allies say Bossie, formerly Trump’s deputy campaign manager, shot to the top of the list the minute Trump expressed an interest in having an effective political operator in the slot. … But others quickly dismiss the speculation, saying the Trump world adviser can’t overcome opposition within the first family and lingering concerns about a hotheadedness that kept him out of the West Wing to begin with.” POLITICO
WHAT JARED IS READING — BURGESS EVERETT: “GOP infighting continues as criminal justice bill advances” … “How Jared Kushner worked the media and Senate for his criminal justice bill,” by Eliana Johnson and Burgess Everett
THE INVESTIGATIONS — “Trump Inauguration Spending Under Criminal Investigation by Federal Prosecutors,” by WSJ’s Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Rebecca Ballhaus and Aruna Viswanatha: “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said.
“The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions, some of the people said.” WSJ
— CNN’S JEREMY HERB and MANU RAJU: “Key lawmakers seek to haul in Trump associates working with Mueller”: “Now that President Donald Trump’s former ‘fixer,’ Michael Cohen, has been sentenced to prison, leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees are preparing to haul him back before Congress before he begins serving time.
“He’s not the only one. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also seeking to speak to other officials in Trump’s orbit who have been charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his former deputy Rick Gates and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, according to committee leaders and sources familiar with the probe.” CNN
— WAPO’S DEVLIN BARRETT: “Mueller’s treatment of cooperating witnesses suggests end of Russia investigation may be near”
THERE IT IS! … @GStephanopoulos: “Just sat down with Michael Cohen for his first response to sentencing and President Trump. Watch [this morning] on @GMA.” Pic
TRUMP’S FRIDAY — The president and first lady Melania Trump will attend Christmas party receptions at 5:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in the Grand Foyer.
SUNDAY SO FAR …
“Meet the Press”: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) … Julián Castro. Panel: David Brody, Eliana Johnson, Eugene Robinson and Katy Tur
“Fox News Sunday”: Bill Gates. Panel: Brit Hume, Julie Pace, Marc Short and Juan Williams
“This Week”: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) … Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Panel: Peter Baker, Molly Ball, Patrick Gaspard, and Matt Schlapp
“State of the Union”: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) … Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Panel: Bakari Sellers, Amanda Carpenter, David Urban and Jen Psaki
“Inside Politics”: Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Abby Phillip, Josh Dawsey and Rachael Bade
“KASIE DC” PREVIEW … NBC’S KASIE HUNT speaks to SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TENN.): “Do you think that Saudi Arabia has been punished enough for what happened in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi?”
CORKER: “No, so we have a difficult situation here. We have a relationship with a country — I think people blow out of proportion its importance — but it is a relationship that we’ve had for decades. We’ve got a crown prince that’s out of control. I was in the most recent intelligence briefing. The most crisp, clear intelligence briefing I’ve been a part of in 12 years, by far.
“If he was before a jury, the crown prince, he would be convicted, in my opinion, in 30 minutes. I’ve never seen such compelling evidence in an intelligence briefing, never. So you cannot have a crown prince who’s 33 years old feeling that he’s able to get away with murdering a journalist inside a consulate. You cannot let that stand.”
KOCH NETWORK 2.0 — MAGGIE SEVERNS: “The Next Koch Doesn’t Like Politics: Chase Koch, son of Charles, has a different vision for the conservative juggernaut his family created”: “‘I have found that focusing on the things you can agree on can lead to amazing opportunities to solve problems, even if you disagree on a whole host of other issues,’ Koch told POLITICO Magazine in a phone conversation and via email this fall, adding that he aims to be a bridge-builder and an innovator focused on civil society.
“It was the first time the low-profile heir to the Koch fortune has spoken publicly about his work and goals for the network. ‘I start with the idea that to learn and grow, you’ve got to be open to other peoples’ ideas.’ Koch confessed that politics, while important, is ‘not at all what I’m passionate about.’” POLITICO Magazine
K STREET FILES — “China’s ZTE taps Joe Lieberman for D.C. damage control,” by Daniel Lippman and Steven Overly: “Chinese telecom giant ZTE is tapping a deeply connected Washington insider, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, as it tries to fend off ongoing concerns that it poses a threat to U.S. national security. The company — the subject of a heated congressional battle earlier this year — has hired Lieberman (I-Conn.) to conduct an ‘independent’ national security assessment of its products, the former senator told POLITICO. … Lieberman plans to register as a lobbyist for ZTE, but he said he won’t actually lobby, instead focusing on his assessment for the company.” POLITICO
SPOTTED: Jeff Bezos having a late-night dinner at BLT — pic. John Podesta was also seen separately at the restaurant … Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) leaving the American Airlines admiral club at DCA … Tommy Hicks Jr., chairman of America First, entering the White House yesterday.
THE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy today announced its spring 2019 fellows class: Paulette Aniskoff, former director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration; Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for WaPo and MSNBC contributor; Antonia Ferrier, partner at Definers Public Affairs; outgoing Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.); and Dan Sena, former DCCC executive director. The announcement video
HOLIDAY PARTY CIRCUIT — SPOTTED at a White House Christmas reception yesterday with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump: HUD Secretary Ben Carlson, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Robert Jeffress, Tony Parker, Doyle Webb, Brad Blakeman, Henry Barbour, Massachusetts state Rep. Keiko Orrall, Ed Cox, Cal Thomas and Rebecca Berg.
— SPOTTED last night at the French ambassador’s Soirée de Noël party at the ambassador’s residence: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Doug Heye, Bret and Amy Baier, Phil Rucker, Alessandra Caccamo, Kasie Hunt, Gloria Dittus, Dan Swartz, Ali and Josh Rogin, Ashley and Ben Chang, Anne Gearan, David Nakamura, Josh Dawsey, Michael Crowley, Susan Toffler, Anastasia Dellaccio, Suzanne Kianpour, Laura Rozen, Molly Ball, Ryan Williams, Lauren Culbertson, Jay Newton-Small and Neera Tanden.
— SPOTTED at the Hamilton Place Strategies party last night at the Renwick: Tony Fratto, Matt McDonald, Stuart Siciliano, Michael Steel, Tucker Warren, Margaret Talev, Polson Kanneth, Kaitlan Collins, Nihal Krishan, Ashley and Ben Chang, Anu Rangappa, Fred Hochberg, Christina Sevilla and Steve Rochlin, Patrick Steel, Scott Mulhauser, Megan Wilson, Jeff Mason, Peter Nicholas …
… Josh Dawsey, Ed Gillespie, Brendan Buck and Rebecca Berg, Alex Conant, Michael LaRosa, Jonathan Martin, Paula Dobriansky, Liz Sidoti, Garrett Marquis, Phil Musser, Hans Nichols, Jennifer Jacobs, Peter Cook, Raj Shah, Garrett Haake, Shawna Thomas, Frank Thorp and Mark Paustenbach.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Raffi Williams, deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at HUD. What he’s been reading recently: “I just finished ‘Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos,’ by Christian Davenport. How awesome is space! I’m not really a techie so had no idea all the innovation that’s currently taking place. I am a sports and competition junkie — it’s super exciting to read about the horse race that is private space exploration.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: James Comey is 58 … John Ullyot, assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at the VA … Julia Griswold … CNN’s Abigail Crutchfield … Trey Ditto, CEO of Brooklyn-based firm Ditto PR (hat tip: Blain Rethmeier) … Matt Beynon, senior communications strategist at BrabenderCox (h/t Dave Pasch) … Stephanie Allen, director of comms at Promontory Financial Group … David Vennett … Kristin King, COS at the George W. Bush Institute … Grace Gallo … Jude Barry (h/t Jon Haber) … POLITICO’s Grace McKellip and Hunter Strodel … Ryan Boles of USAID … Ryan Hagen … Business Insider’s Zach Tracer … former Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley, now the governor of Western Australia, is 7-0 … Aubrey Quinn … Suzanne Wrasse … Christopher Marcisz is 43 … Schuyler Ebersol … DoD’s Sloane Speakman … Barry Karas (h/t Sam Tubman) … Elizabeth Wenk (hubby tip: Christopher) … Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International …
… Kirsten Powers, CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist … Cindy Chetti, SVP of gov’t affairs at the National Mulitfamily Housing Council (h/t Colin Dunn) … N.Y. Daily News alum Arthur Browne … New York GOP executive director Jason Weingartner … NBWA’s Allison Schneider (h/t Ben Jenkins) … Katie Johnson … Chuck Rocha … Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) … Howard Welinsky is 69 … Seth Siegel is 65 … Rebecca Brown … Ted Frank is 5-0 … Robin Schatz … Elizabeth Vale … Kyra Jennings … Kathryn Prael Dunkelman … Erin Daly Wilson … Karen Maginnis … Lynne White … Derrick Max is 52 … Joan Mower … Sylvester Giustino is 4-0 … Quincy Hicks Crawford … R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is 75