POLITICO Playbook: Shutdown negotiations stalled

BREAKING … AP: “Tsunami set off by volcanic eruption kills 222 in Indonesia”

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN DAY 2 … WASHINGTON IS DIGGING IN for an extended government shutdown, one that will last at least into next week, but some top lawmakers privately told us they expect it will go into January.

THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE have said they will not hold votes until Dec. 27. Time is on Democrats’ side. Republicans lose most of their leverage as Jan. 3 draws near. That’s the date Democrats take control of the House.

THE PRESIDENT IS DUG IN, as are many of his allies in the Senate and the Freedom Caucus. Because of the shutdown, Trump “will remain in Washington, D.C. and the First Lady will return from Florida so they can spend Christmas together,” SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS said according to a pool report.

SUNDAY BEST: CHRIS WALLACE spoke with ACTING W.H. CHIEF OF STAFF MICK MULVANEY on FOX NEWS’ “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” via Quint Forgey: “‘I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here for the next couple of days,’ Mulvaney [said] … ‘I think it’s a really good question here as to whether or not this deal can be cut before the new Congress comes in. I think there’s an implication here for Nancy Pelosi’s election for the speakership” …

“‘I think she’s now in that unfortunate position of being beholden to her left wing to where she cannot be seen as agreeing with the president on anything until after she’s speaker,’ he continued. ‘If that’s the case, again, I think there’s a chance we go into the next Congress.’” POLITICO

— JONATHAN KARL also spoke with MULVANEY on ABC’S “THIS WEEK” about the shutdown: KARL: “What’s the bottom line for the president? Is he willing to accept anything that does not include money specifically to build a new border wall, even if the Democrats, as they have said, are willing to get money for more border security?”

MULVANEY: “Sure, and [I’m] not going to tell you what our bottom line is in the negotiation but it’s a fair question as to what we would accept. No, the president’s not going to not accept money for a border wall. Now, what one people call a wall and another person might call a fence. …

“As to what the number is, all I can tell is that the Democrats offered us – I think they offered us $1.6 billion a couple weeks ago, then they offered the president $1.3 billion this week. That’s a negotiation that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction. We’ve insisted on 5 for the discussions, now we’re between $1.6 billion and $1.5 billion.”

AT THE MOMENT, conversations are stalled. After a meeting yesterday between SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.) and VP MIKE PENCE, Schumer’s spokesman said this: “The Vice President came in for a discussion and made an offer. Unfortunately, we’re still very far apart.”

THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE of the state of the negotiations: Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) — the longest-serving woman in the House — came to the Senate side to snap photos, and visit Schumer. She told us the New York Democrat told her that the negotiations were between Republicans like SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY.) and the president. But McConnell went to the floor yesterday saying that negotiations were between Schumer and the president.

THE CAPITOL was mostly quiet yesterday. Most of Congress either didn’t come to work, or went home for the holiday.

THE DAY was marked by one more thing: a lunch between PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and Freedom Caucus members and senators.

THE TRUMP LUNCH included the biggest Trump allies in the Capitol: Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Richard Shelby of Alabama, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

— WE SPOKE TO SHELBY when he got back. “The president was nice and seemed to be exuberant during the lunch.”

— PAUL KANE of the Washington Post told Shelby that most members of the lunch were not folks that were eager to vote “yes” on most bills. Kane asked if they were encouraging him to sign a bill or keep the government shut down. “Probably mixed.” WHEN WILL the government open, Shelby was asked. Will it be days away? “Could be.”

A STRONG INDICATION NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN SOON … SPOTTED: PAUL RYAN on AA2101 from DCA to DFW this morning … Chuck Schumer last night at Flora Bar on the Upper East Side in NYC.

Good Sunday morning.

MORE SUNDAY BEST– TAPPER spoke with SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TENN.) on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION” via David Cohen: “Calling the whole battle ‘juvenile,’ Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday the president could easily have avoided the current fight over funding for a border wall if he wanted to. [T]he Tennessee Republican called the battle, which has led to a partial shutdown of the government, ‘a made-up fight so that the president could look like he’s fighting.’

“Lamenting the ‘purposely contrived fight,’ Corker said borders would still be ‘insecure’ no matter who was to win the shutdown fight. ‘It’s not just about the money, it’s what we are spending it on,’ Corker said, saying a wall might not be the most effective solution anyway. He cited security technology the U.S. military has used overseas.” POLITICO

— MARGARET BRENNAN interviewed SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY.) on CBS’ “FACE THE NATION”: BRENNAN: “You’ve been warning a lot about fiscal responsibility and this staggering twenty two trillion dollar debt. So with that in mind do you intend to vote for any kind of spending bill that includes billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers without any offset?”

PAUL: “No. In fact, I’ve never voted for any of these large spending bills that puts all of this spending together because we have a trillion dollar deficit this year –” BRENNAN: “So the border wall is — is –” PAUL: “And Republicans as you recall we promised we were going to spend less money.” BRENNAN: “The border wall is is not something you would vote for?” PAUL: “We promised to spend less money and so I won’t vote for it.”

— CHUCK TODD spoke with SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA.) and SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-ILL.) on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS” about Defense Secretary Jim Mattis leaving: TOOMEY: “I think General Mattis has put his finger on where the president has views that are very, very distinct from the vast majority of Republicans and probably Democrats, elected and unelected. … I strongly disagree with this decision to withdraw, prematurely in my view, from Syria.”

— DURBIN: “I was one of many senators who privately sat down with General Mattis and said please stay. Stay as long as you possibly can. We desperately need your mature voice, your patriotism in the room when this president’s making life or death decisions about national security. But it obviously reached a breaking point. … It breaks my heart that he’s going to step aside. We counted on him to be there and to stop this president from his worst impulse.”

WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND … @realDonaldTrump at 9:17 a.m.: “The only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier. Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun, but it is only a good old fashioned Wall that works!”

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER … NYT’S PETER BAKER and MAGGIE HABERMAN, “For Trump, ‘a War Every Day,’ Waged Increasingly Alone”: “When President Trump grows frustrated with advisers during meetings, which is not an uncommon occurrence, he sits back in his chair, crosses his arms and scowls. Often he erupts. ‘Freaking idiots!’ he calls his aides. Except he uses a more pungent word than ‘freaking.’

“For two years, Mr. Trump has waged war against his own government, convinced that people around him are fools. Angry that they resist his wishes, uninterested in the details of their briefings, he becomes especially agitated when they tell him he does not have the power to do what he wants, which makes him suspicious that they are secretly undermining him. …

“The swirl of recent days — a government shutdown, spiraling scandals, tumbling stock markets, abrupt troop withdrawals and the resignation of his alienated defense secretary — has left the impression of a presidency at risk of spinning out of control.

“At the midpoint of his term, Mr. Trump has grown more sure of his own judgment and more cut off from anyone else’s than at any point since taking office. He spends ever more time in front of a television, often retreating to his residence out of concern that he is being watched too closely.” NYT

— WAPO’S PHIL RUCKER: “‘A rogue presidency’: The era of containing Trump is over”: “For two years, they tried to tutor and confine him. They taught him history, explained nuances and gamed out reverberations. They urged careful deliberation, counseled restraint and prepared talking points to try to sell mainstream actions to a restive conservative base hungry for disruption. But in the end, they failed. For President Trump, the era of containment is over. …

“Trump will enter his third year as president unbound — at war with his perceived enemies, determined to follow through on the hard-line promises of his insurgent campaign and fearful of any cleavage in his political coalition. So far, the result has been disarray. … Republican lawmakers once afraid of crossing this president are now openly critical. …

“Trump is surrounding himself with ‘yes’ men and women — at least relative to Mattis and other former military generals who tried to keep him at bay — who see their jobs as executing his vision, even when they disagree. He has designated some officials, including the new White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, as ‘acting,’ meaning they must labor to please the president to eventually be empowered in their positions permanently.” WaPo

“Mnuchin Assures Markets That Trump Won’t Oust Fed Chief Powell,” by Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein, Erik Wasson, and Billy House

ANOTHER BIG DEPARTURE — “Top U.S. envoy in fight against ISIS resigns over Trump’s Syria withdrawal,” by Daniel Lippman, Wesley Morgan, Nahal Toosi and Quint Forgey: Brett McGurk “submitted his resignation Friday night and informed his staff, a Trump administration official confirmed to POLITICO. The resignation takes effect Dec. 31. …

“‘The recent decision by the president came as a shock and was a complete reversal of policy that had been articulated to us by [National Security Adviser John] Bolton and others,’ McGurk wrote [in a departure email to his team]. ‘It left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered with no plan in place or even considered thought as to consequences.’ … McGurk is planning to go to Stanford University, starting in March. He will teach a course and write.” POLITICOMcGurk’s departure email

— @realDonaldTrump at 8:48 p.m.: “Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015. Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander? The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!”

NANCY COOK, “‘Bushies’ creep into Trump’s administration: Trump is suspicious of people who have worked for the Bush family, but has little choice but to keep hiring them — to the anger of some hard-core supporters”: “Earlier this month Trump picked Bill Barr, a former Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush as his replacement for Jeff Sessions. Two of his recent hires for the White House counsel’s office, Mike Purpura and Pat Philpin, served under President George W. Bush. They will report to the new White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, who served in the elder Bush’s Justice Department.

“Meanwhile, the newly confirmed deputy secretary of the Treasury Department, Justin Muzinich, worked on Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign and helped to draft his tax plan. Trump’s pick to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Heath Tarbert, served as an associate counsel to George W. Bush — a fact unmentioned in a recent White House announcement of his nomination. Jim Jeffrey, a former senior aide in George W. Bush’s White House, became the president’s U.S. special representative to Syria in August.” POLITICO

THE INVESTIGATIONS – “Mystery firm takes Mueller-linked subpoena fight to Supreme Court,” by Josh Gerstein: “A foreign-government-owned company that appears to be locked in a subpoena fight with Special Counsel Robert Mueller is taking the battle to the Supreme Court. The unidentified firm presented an application Saturday to Chief Justice John Roberts asking for a stay of a federal appeals court ruling earlier this week turning down the company’s effort to block a grand jury subpoena for records.” POLITICO

POLITICO MAGAZINE: “The Political Insiders’ Guide to 2019”

2020 WATCH — NATASHA KORECKI: “California’s 2020 shadow sparks New Hampshire fears”: “California’s newly instituted March 3 primary date is rattling the early presidential state map, as Democratic state and party officials grapple with the shadow cast by the nation’s most populous state.

“The idea that millions of absentee and mail-in votes could be cast in advance of California’s actual primary election day — and the prospect that presidential candidates might bypass the early states entirely to concentrate on target-rich California — is finally beginning to sink in.” POLITICO

— “Cory Booker Is Building A 2020 Campaign That’s Just Like Him: Vegan, Hyperactive, And Unapologetically Unconventional,” by BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer and Darren Sands: “Where other potential candidates have sought advice on messaging, Booker has told strategists that he already knows exactly what he’d run on in 2020: a campaign about ‘love and inclusion’ — the ‘ideal,’ as he sometimes describes it, ‘of radical love.’

“He has held a flurry of meetings with operatives since the midterm elections, including with possible campaign managers. Multiple donors want to start their own pro-Booker super PACs. And for the past year, Booker himself has worked with intensity, often out of view, to develop close relationships in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire — devoting hours not just to high-ranking officials but to junior staff and volunteers.” BuzzFeed

CLICKERS – The Romney family holiday cardGeorge Soros and Tamiko Bolton’s annual holiday card

BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico:

— “The Fresno Bee and the War on Local News,” by Zach Baron in GQ: “Local newspapers like The Fresno Bee have long been an endangered institution in America, and that was before California Rep. Devin Nunes began waging a public campaign against his hometown paper. Zach Baron spent time with the reporters fighting to keep news alive in an age when the forces they cover are working equally hard to destroy them.” GQ

— “What Happened to All the People Who Left the Trump Administration?” by Washingtonian’s Brittany Shepherd: “A guide to what Hope Hicks, Rob Porter, Rex Tillerson, and other has-beens are doing now.” Washingtonian

— “These Democrats Will Soon Have the Power to Investigate the White House. How Far Will They Go?” by Jason Zengerle in the N.Y. Times Magazine: “In two weeks, congressional Democrats will return to Washington with the authority to investigate a White House that is suspected of foreign collusion, conflicts of interest and mismanagement of the federal government.” NYT

— “In Roma, Texas, residents must choose: Help Border Patrol, or border crossers?” by LA Times’ Molly Hennessy-Fiske – per Longreads.com’s description: “In Roma, Texas, a major thoroughfare for illegal immigration on the Texas-Mexico border, encountering Border Patrol agents and the immigrants desperate to evade them is an inescapable part of life. Residents repeatedly face legal and ethical questions: Do you help, and, if so, whom? The immigrants or the Border Patrol? Almost daily, they weigh fear against compassion, resentment against concern.” LAT

— “The irredeemable irresponsibility of The Federalist,” by The Week’s Damon Linker in May: “Along with Sean Hannity’s prime time show on Fox News, the House Intelligence Committee under Devin Nunes, and the president’s own lie-filled Twitter feed, The Federalist is a leading disseminator of pro-Trump conspiracies and up-is-down, funhouse-mirror distortions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and potential Trump involvement.” The Week

— “The Fall of the House of Ghosn,” by WSJ’s Sean McLain, Phred Dvorak, Sam Schechner and Patricia Kowsmann: “Not everybody at Nissan was happy with their rock-star chairman, Carlos Ghosn. His high-living ways gave the company ammunition to take him down.” WSJ

— “The Ongoing Fragmentation of Yemen,” by Christoph Reuter in Der Spiegel: “The men of the Tareq Group come closest to having what you might call an army. They are not, however, particularly welcome at the front since they have already changed sides twice. A restaurant owner who cooks for the fighters says the front line positions were vacant that morning, though it’s unclear why. ‘They were probably buying khat leaves’, the cook says. ‘It was the morning, after all, and everyone’s always shopping then for the afternoon.’” Der Spiegel (h/t TheBrowser.com)

— “How Russian Money Helped Save Trump’s Business,” by Foreign Policy’s Michael Hirsh: “After his financial disasters two decades ago, no U.S. bank would touch him. Then foreign money began flowing in.” FP

— “China’s Bizarre Program to Keep Activists in Check,” by Jianying Zha in the New Yorker: “As part of ‘stability maintenance,’ people the state considers troublemakers may be sent to jail—or sent on vacation.” New Yorker

— “The fallen metropolis: the collapse of Caracas, the jewel of Latin America,” by The Guardian’s Tom Phillips in Caracas: “Once a thriving, glamorous city, Venezuela’s capital is buckling under hyperinflation, crime and poverty.” The Guardian

— “The Secret Of Miles City: How A Friend Request Shattered A Small Town’s Innocence,” by BuzzFeed’s Tyler Kingkade in Miles City, Montana: “A high school athletic trainer claimed his unorthodox treatments would change players’ lives. Dozens of victims say school officials, including one who’s now a state lawmaker, kept ‘Doc’s’ secrets.” BuzzFeed

— “Falling out,” by Peter Jamison in WaPo: “A generation of African American heroin users is dying in the opioid epidemic nobody talks about. The nation’s capital is ground zero.” WaPo

BIRTHDAYS: Steve Thomma, executive director of the White House Correspondents Association, former president of the WHCA, and the pride of Chicago … Chris Peacock, former aide to Lloyd Bentsen and Robert Rubin at Treasury as well as volunteer at the 2016 and 2012 presidential debates, is 58 (hat tips: David Jackson) … Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, celebrating on his annual Xmas visit to the overseas troops with wife Ellyn … former Gen. Wes Clark is 74 … Fox News’ Shannon Bream … POLITICO’s Alyssa DiBlasi … Steve Hills is 6-0 … John Russell IV of Dentons … Axios’ Claire Kennedy … WaPo alum Julio Negron … Adam Milakofsky … Meghan Stabler … Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) is 66 … Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is 68 … Patrick Burgwinkle … Tom Epstein (h/t Jon Haber) … Kelley Moore … Jared Gilmour … Dan Shott is 32 … Natasha Dabrowski … Trump WH alum Zina Bash… EPA’s Brittany Bolen … Edelman’s India Goodman … Melissa Ann Merz …

… Fatima Noor … Texas AG Ken Paxton is 56 … Louisiana AG Jeff Landry is 48 … Lauren Kahn, who got engaged on Monday to fellow Duke MBA student Ismael Hernandez … Karenna Keane … Google’s Patrick D. Smith … Audrey Kubetin … James Miller … Joe Boswell … Joshua Blake Satin … Jonathan Zucker is 47 … Eurasia Group’s Hilly Novik Sandberg is 3-0 … Emil Pitkin, CEO of GovPredict … Elizabeth Bingold … Karen Roberts … Brennan Foley … Deloitte’s Rasheq Zarif … Allison Dobson … Mark Clesh … Lauren Corbut … Lee Feinstein is 59 … Eddie Vedder … Rich Tarplin … Todd Boulanger … Carter Snead … Lucinda Guinn … Emperor Akihito of Japan is 85 … former first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is 51 … David Smith … Kevin Hayes … Mari Culver … Roy Behr … Doug Vilsack (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

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