FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … THE BIG HOUSE GOP ANTI-IMPEACHMENT CAMPAIGN … THE AMERICAN ACTION NETWORK, part of a cluster of center-right groups that promote House Republicans and their policies, is launching a $7 million advertising blitz in 37 districts, criticizing Democrats for impeachment, terming it a “politically motivated charade” and arguing that elections should be decided by voters.
THE AD CAMPAIGN -- the most expansive, coordinated ad campaign on impeachment to date -- criticizes Democrats for promising to be “different,” but instead impeaching the president instead of working on other legislative items, such as securing the border and fixing health care. The spot is current -- it stars Rep. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-N.Y.), who is shown on CNN saying that the impeachment process is “preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year.” That comment ran last week on CNN. The 30-second spot, as shown here featuring Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina … The list of districts
WHAT THIS MEANS: There’s much focus on polls that show the overall support for impeachment sitting in the high 40s. But Republicans are focused on the handful of Dem-held districts that President DONALD TRUMP won in 2016. They believe those districts are ripe for the picking, and impeachment is a political loser there. This campaign is an attempt to position Democrats as maniacally focused on removing the president -- and nothing else.
-- THE BIG BUYS: $500,000 against Rep. Max Rose of New York, who got his own specialized ad that you can see here … and $500,000 against Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Susie Lee of Nevada. Michigan Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens will have $400,000 against them. The district-by-district spend
-- EACH DISTRICT will have at least 800 points, a measure of the size and frequency of an ad campaign compared to the audience, on air. Reps. Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Kendra Horn (Okla.), Jared Golden (Maine), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.) and Cunningham all have 1,200 points.
FLIP-FLOP ALERT … NYT’S ANNIE KARNI, MAGGIE HABERMAN and SHEILA KAPLAN: “Trump Retreats From Flavor Ban for E-Cigarettes”: “It was a swift and bold reaction to a growing public health crisis affecting teenagers. Seated in the Oval Office in September, President Trump said he was moving to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes as vaping among young people continued to rise.
“‘We can’t have our kids be so affected,’ Mr. Trump said. The first lady, Melania Trump, who rarely involves herself publicly with policy announcements in the White House, was there, too. ‘She’s got a son,’ Mr. Trump noted, referring to their teenager, Barron. ‘She feels very strongly about it.’
“But two months later, under pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters, Mr. Trump has resisted moving forward with any action on vaping, while saying he still wants to study the issue. Even a watered-down ban on flavored e-cigarettes that exempted menthol, which was widely expected, appears to have been set aside, for now.” NYT
-- WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY and LAURIE MCGINLEY: “[O]n Nov. 4, the night before a planned morning news conference, the president balked. Briefed on a flight to a Lexington, Ky., campaign rally, he refused to sign the one-page ‘decision memo,’ saying he didn’t want to move forward with a ban he had once backed, primarily at his wife’s and daughter’s urging, because he feared it would lead to job losses, said a Trump adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.” WaPo
NEW EMAILS … MICK MULVANEY, CALL YOUR OFFICE … WSJ’S REBECCA BALLHAUS: “Sondland Kept Trump Administration Officials Apprised of Ukraine Push”: “The emails reviewed by the Journal show that … Mr. Sondland urged Mr. Morrison to schedule the call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky before Ukrainian parliamentary elections on July 21. ‘Sole purpose is for Zelensky to give Potus assurances of “new sheriff” in town. Corruption ending, unbundling moving forward and any hampered investigations will be allowed to move forward transparently,’ Mr. Sondland wrote. Mr. Morrison replied that he was ‘tracking.’
“On July 19, a day before the president was initially scheduled to speak to Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Sondland emailed a group of administration officials including Mr. Mulvaney and Mr. Perry to say that Mr. Zelensky was prepared to assure the president that he would open investigations.
“‘I talked to Zelensky just now. He is prepared to receive Potus’ call,’ Mr. Sondland wrote. ‘Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will “turn over every stone.”’” WSJ
Good Monday morning of what will be an epic week for the impeachment inquiry, with eight witnesses due to testify in open hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, including the most anticipated -- Gordon Sondland -- on Wednesday.
THE SCHEDULE, via Andrew Desiderio -- TUESDAY: Morning session: Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Afternoon session: Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison. WEDNESDAY: Morning session: Sondland. Afternoon session: Laura Cooper, David Hale. THURSDAY: Fiona Hill.
WAPO’S TOM BOSWELL: “What once seemed impossible is now undeniable: The Redskins have lost Washington”: “Washington has discovered that champions can live here. So why tolerate, let alone support, an atrociously run and constantly embarrassing franchise with a moral compass that is as twisted as a corkscrew?”
BREAKING OVERNIGHT … ANOTHER SHOOTING … FRESNO BEE: “4 dead, 6 wounded in mass shooting in southeast Fresno home. No arrests, police say”: “At least four men were killed and six others were wounded Sunday night in southeast Fresno when gunmen sneaked into a backyard party and opened fire on dozens of people watching football. It was the third mass shooting in California in less than a week.
“In an update just before 10 p.m., Fresno police said 10 people had been shot just before 8 p.m. in the backyard of a home on the 5300 block of East Lamona Avenue near Caesar Avenue. The neighborhood of single-story homes remains cordoned off and nearby roads including Peach and Olive avenues were closed to traffic at 11 p.m.” Fresno Bee
LITTLE ROCKET MAN ... AP/SEOUL: “North Korea says it won’t give Trump a summit for free”: “North Korea on Monday responded to a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump that hinted at another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it has no interest in giving Trump further meetings to brag about unless it gets something substantial in return.
“The statement on Monday by Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan is the latest call by North Korea for U.S. concessions ahead of an end-of-year deadline set by Kim Jong Un for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal to salvage nuclear diplomacy.
“Following a U.S. decision over the weekend to call off joint military exercises with South Korea to create space for diplomacy with the North, Trump in a tweet urged Kim Jong Un to ‘act quickly, get the deal done’ and hinted at another summit between them, saying ‘See you soon!’
“But Kim Kye Gwan reiterated his government’s stance that Washington must discard what North Korea sees as ‘hostile’ policies to keep the negotiations alive.” AP
BIG THOM TILLIS PROFILE … BURGESS EVERETT in Raleigh, N.C.: “Trump's new best friend in North Carolina”
A CHECK ON THE PRESIDENT’S CAPITAL … NYT: “President Trump Bet Big This Election Year. Here’s Why He Lost.”
2020 WATCH …
-- NYT’S ALEX BURNS in Las Vegas: “How Moderates Are Seizing the Moment in the Democratic Primary”: “After spending months in anxious passivity, staking their hopes on Joseph R. Biden Jr. and little else, moderate Democrats appear suddenly determined to fight for control of their party in the 2020 elections.
“The shift in attitude has come in fits and starts over the last few weeks, seemingly more as an organic turn in the political season than as a product of coordinated action by party leaders. But each assertive act has seemed to build on the one before, starting with a debate-stage clash last month over ‘Medicare for all’ and culminating in recent days with the entry of two new moderate candidates into the primary, Michael R. Bloomberg and Deval Patrick, and a gentle warning from former President Barack Obama that Democrats should not overestimate voters’ appetite for drastic change. …
“For months the Democratic race was defined in terms of which candidate could promise the most daring policy reforms — a contest in which Mr. Biden, the former vice president, was struggling to keep pace with Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. As the most liberal candidates set the agenda, many in the party establishment squirmed, anxious about alienating moderate voters.
“Now the primary has become an increasingly jumbled contest, shaped by Democrats’ competing appetites for visionary ideas, tactical realism and sheer political novelty. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., appears to be harnessing those tensions to his advantage, at least in Iowa, where for the first time he emerged as a clear front-runner in a CNN/Des Moines Register poll this weekend.” NYT
-- HOLLY OTTERBEIN and DAVID SIDERS in Long Beach, Calif.: “‘Scared to death’: The left sees an establishment plot to take down Warren, Sanders”
-- MAGGIE SEVERNS: “Meet the people who woo big donors for Elizabeth Warren”
-- BOSTON GLOBE: “Trump promised Wisconsin’s farmers his trade wars would pay off. They’re still waiting,” by Jess Bidgood in Bloomer, Wis.: “Trump’s promise to restore US trade dominance won him deep support in farm country, which helped him secure his narrow victory in Wisconsin in 2016. As the trade skirmishes Trump has triggered have hurt farmers directly, the president’s message has been simple: Trust me, it will all pay off.
“They are still waiting. But the wave of new and steeper tariffs has yet to fray many farmers’ faith in a president who promised to even the playing field.” Boston Globe
DISPATCH FROM MILWAUKEE … ANNA was in Milwaukee last week and caught up with several of the key figures involved in putting on the upcoming Democratic National Convention. While the 30-degree, snowy weather was a far cry from what it will be in July, the Democrats’ operation is up and running focused on logistics, housing and media.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
-- HOUSING: Limited hotel inventory was one of the biggest concerns when Milwaukee got the convention bid. The issue is still top of mind for folks looking at making the trip out to Wisconsin, but convention organizers say they have tried to assuage worried delegations about having to stay far away from the convention hall.
Part of their strategy: telling state parties in August (six months before they would typically get their hotel information) where they will be based to allow more time for planning. They also made sure each state party is staying at one hotel (even if it is in Rosemont near O’Hare airport) and have created seven delegate geographic “clusters” to allow for better-organized security and transportation.
What we don’t know: Where will the big-donor Dems be staying? How many rooms will the nominee be allotted and where? Where will the media be staying?
-- MONEY: Raising cash is always difficult for political conventions, but the Dems may have a harder time than usual in pulling together the $70 million needed by July. Some challenges: Companies are wary of investing in a convention that could have a candidate like Elizabeth Warren as the nominee, and Milwaukee doesn’t have a huge number of corporate headquarters. There was also a shakeup earlier this month on the fundraising front when host committee fundraising director Marcus Switzer was replaced by Leah Israel.
Still, sources close to the fundraising effort say they expect to raise $20 million by January. The big question will be if they can secure commitments and checks beyond the typical institutional donors who pony up for the event every four years as the convention gets closer.
-- MEDIA: The DNC is looking to shake things up when it comes to media presence at the convention and try to take advantage of emerging technology and the growing prominence of podcasts. One thing under consideration includes allowing space for newer outlets like The Skimm and others to have a set-up inside the conventional hall to capture more behind-the-scenes content.
-- MISC.: Don’t expect any big changes with credentialing. Organizers still plan on having hard passes for attendees to get into the convention hall, and those will change daily, as in past years. Scooters: This will be the first convention where the motorized, two-wheeled vehicles will help convention-goers get around. But scooters will not be allowed in the perimeter. The arena has fewer skyboxes, so look for the DNC to capitalize on other entertainment spaces.
OBAMA THE DEPORTER -- “The Trump administration’s immigration jails are packed, but deportations are lower than in Obama era,” by WaPo’s Abigail Hauslohner: “Though President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a centerpiece of his first term, his administration lags far behind President Barack Obama’s pace of deportations. Obama — who immigrant advocates at one point called the ‘deporter in chief’ — removed 409,849 people in 2012 alone. Trump, who has vowed to deport ‘millions’ of immigrants, has yet to surpass 260,000 deportations in a single year.” WaPo
TRUMP’S MONDAY -- THE PRESIDENT will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 4:15 p.m., but he has nothing else on his public schedule aside from the usual intelligence briefing.
THE WHITE HOUSE announced Sunday night that the president is awarding a number of National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal awards. National Medal of Arts: Allison Krauss, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, the musicians of the U.S. military and Jon Voight. National Humanities Medal: the Claremont Institute, Teresa Lozano Long, Patrick J. O’Connell and James Patterson.
TELL THEM TO READ PLAYBOOK -- NYT: “‘No One Believes Anything’: Voters Worn Out by a Fog of Political News,” by Sabrina Tavernise and Aidan Gardiner
QUOTE DU JOUR: “U.S. businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri said on Monday that she had ‘a very special relationship’ with Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he was mayor of London but declined to say if it amounted to an affair.” Reuters
BIG IN BRUSSELS -- NATO foreign ministers are gathering in the Belgian capital, with the future of the transatlantic alliance very much on their minds after French President Emanuel Macron said recently, “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.” POLITICO Europe’s David Herszenhorn and Zoya Sheftalovich have a preview
DOCUMENT DUMP -- “The Iran Cables,” a series of stories published by The Intercept: “In an unprecedented leak from one of the world’s most secretive regimes, an anonymous source provided 700 pages of Iranian intelligence reports to The Intercept, saying they wanted to ‘let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq.’” Intercept
-- THE FIRST ARTICLE in the series, co-published with the NYT, outlines how the new trove shows the sweeping scope of “Tehran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing years of painstaking work by Iranian spies to co-opt the country’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the Americans to switch sides, and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic, and religious life.” Intercept
BOOK CLUB -- On Tuesday, Michelle Obama is releasing a “guided journal” meant to accompany her memoir, “Becoming.” According to its Amazon blurb, the hardback book features “an intimate and inspiring introduction by the former First Lady and more than 150 inspiring questions and quotes to help you discover—and rediscover—your story.”
-- ALSO TUESDAY: “A Warning” by the anonymous current or former senior Trump administration official goes live. Most of its revelations have already been reported, however.
DEPT. OF EVERYONE HAS A PODCAST! … THE NRSC is starting a podcast with Republican senators. It will be called “20 for 20,” and you can preview it here.
MEDIAWATCH -- “Denver Radio Host Fired in Mid-Show After Criticizing Trump,” by NYT’s Vanessa Swales: “Craig Silverman had clearly worn out his welcome on KNUS, a conservative talk-radio station in Denver. Midway through his three-hour show on Saturday, after a segment criticizing President Trump, the station suddenly cut away to a news report, and the station’s operations manager walked into the studio and told Mr. Silverman, ‘You’re done.’
“But it was less clear which had bothered his employers more — the negative views of Mr. Trump that he voiced on the air, or the fact that he had also gone on competing stations’ programs to express them. ...
“Mr. Silverman said in an interview on Sunday that he sees himself as an independent analyst, not a partisan conservative — and that may have made him increasingly unwelcome at KNUS. Mr. Silverman said the station’s owner, the Salem Media Group, which focuses on conservative and Christian programming, is ‘100 percent behind Donald Trump.’” NYT
-- “McCarthy Sends Letter To ABC Demanding Information On Killed Epstein Story,” by the Daily Caller’s Shelby Talcott
-- FEDEX VS. THE TIMES: You don’t see this often. First, the NYT wrote about how FedEx, the shipping company, had engineered paying zero taxes. Then, FedEx sent a blistering statement accusing the Gray Lady of doing exactly the same thing. And CEO Fred Smith challenged NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger to a debate on tax policy. The Times article … The FedEx statement
-- Emily Ngo is joining NY1 as a politics reporter. She most recently has covered national politics for Newsday.
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPOTTED: Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin in first class on an American Airlines flight scheduled from LaGuardia to DCA on Sunday afternoon -- which ended up deplaning at LaGuardia over possible engine fire concerns.
SPOTTED at the American Portrait Gala at the National Portrait Gallery on Sunday night: awardees Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeff Bezos, Anna Wintour, Frances Arnold, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Indra Nooyi; Michelle Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, James Corden, Gayle King, Annie Leibovitz, Kathy Bates, Norah O’Donnell, Terry McAuliffe, Preston Bezos, France Córdova, Clive Davis, Alberto Ibargüen and Stephanie Cutter.
SPOTTED at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service’s centennial gala celebration at the National Building Museum on Saturday night: former President Bill Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, King Felipe VI of Spain, Jack DeGioia, Joel Hellman, Madeleine Albright, Nancy Soderberg, Ivo Daalder, Yo-Yo Ma, David Strathairn, Stéphane Dujarric, Ben Chang, Colin Fenton, Glenn Nye, Dan Grant, Erin Conaton, Matt Gobush, Tony Arend, Mark Lagon, Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Jill Dougherty, Alexander Marquardt, Spencer Boyer, Chad Griffin, and Marc and Debra Tice.
ENGAGED -- Cate Martel, national political reporter and author of The Hill’s 12:30 Report, and Danny Vinik, a second-year Georgetown Law student, got engaged Thursday. They met while studying abroad in Florence in college and are both POLITICO alums. He proposed at their apartment and then took her to Acqua Al 2 -- the D.C. restaurant whose original Florence location they went to in 2011. Their families surprised them for dessert and champagne. Pic
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Julie Radford, deputy assistant to the president and COS to Ivanka Trump, and Wynn Radford, director of state and local government affairs at BP America and a Bush White House alum, welcomed Wynn Long Radford V (“Wyler”) on Nov. 11.
BIRTHWEEK (was Saturday): POLITICO Europe’s Judith Mischke
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Brian Forest, director of strategic messaging at the National Association of Manufacturers. How he thinks the Trump presidency is going: “It’s like a national Rorschach test. Depending on which channel you watch or feed you follow, it’s either the greatest of all time or the worst ever. I’m hopeful that we can finally get past these bubbles and start evaluating all of our political leaders for who they really are -- human beings, flawed by definition, but usually trying to do what they think is right.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Megyn Kelly is 49 … Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) is 48 … Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) is 52 (h/t Tim Griffin) … Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) is 55 … NYT’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg … NBC’s Heidi Przybyla … POLITICO’s Matt Wuerker, Theo Meyer and Trisha (Farr) Kolb … Gregory Lemos … Carrie Matthews of Hamilton Place Strategies … Dan Sadlosky, policy adviser to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) … Andrea Stone … Tom Namako of BuzzFeed … Cassi Gritzmacher … Paige Hutchinson, COS for Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), is 29 (h/t Jeremy Nordquist) … Waldo Tibbetts … Barry Jackson (h/t Tim Burger) …
… Drew Brandewie, communications director for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), is 35 … Robert Dougherty, legislative director for Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) (h/t Samantha Greene) … Tim Doyle … David Rain … former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) is 62 … Abby Tinsley … Jacob Cassady … Karen Dunn of Boies Schiller Flexner … Richard Maopolski … Nick Ragone … Arshad Hasan is 39 … Gregory Kallenberg … David Frank … Noelia Rodríguez … Hanna Skandera … Meg Gage … Ace Smith is 61 … Jon Kaplan … Erica DeVos (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Brian Knapp … Max Nides is 25 (h/t dad Tom)