Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “said in an interview published Thursday that he supports legislation ending the president’s program to defer deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Speaking to Breitbart News during a medical mission in Guatemala, Paul lent his backing to House Republican efforts to address the crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern U.S. border.” (Huffington Post)
Paul “spent two and a half days” in Guatemala “this week as part of a medical mission of roughly 70 surgeons, nurses, technicians and volunteers who shared the goal of conducting nearly 200 cataract surgeries and distributing nearly 8,000 pairs of eyeglasses. It was an unprecedented trip ““ never before has a U.S. senator and potential future presidential candidate traveled so elaborately to a third world country as part of a medical mission.” (Washington Post) “The doctor and his patients greeted each other beneath the gaze of three television cameras, three photographers, six reporters, a political aide, two press secretaries, conservative activist David Bossie — and Axel,” his bodyguard. (Washington Post)
PERRY: ISIS WARNING. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “left Texas behind on Thursday for a three-day jaunt to Washington and the presidential testing ground of New Hampshire, vowing to beat his abuse-of-power charges. … For Perry, a stop at a friendly think tank where he’s pitched books, policies and his candidacy wasn’t so much about trying to change the subject as to make the most of a legal predicament that — in the worst case — could leave him behind bars for decades.” His talk at the Heritage Foundation “was billed as a discussion of border security. But Perry devoted far more time to foreign policy, especially the rise of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq. He warned it could require a fresh deployment of U.S. ground troops — a step” President Obama “has ruled out.” (Dallas Morning News)
Perry also warned that “ISIS terrorists may already be in the country, … saying that the terrorists’ own version of ‘mission creep’ will draw them from Iraq to the” U.S. (National Review)
PATRICK: STRONG WORDS ON FERGUSON. “Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) weighed in … on the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a police officer. A reporter asked Patrick for his thoughts on the situation in the St. Louis suburb, and the governor responded, ‘I’m sick of it.’” Patrick: “I’m sick of unarmed black men being shot by police. I’m sick of the lawlessness on the streets. I think everybody’s tired of it. When are we gonna get through with this kind of thing?” (Huffington Post)
Patrick “and his wife, Diane,” joined President Obama “and the first lady for dinner on Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday.” (Boston Globe)
BUSH: NEW FRIEND REQUEST. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) “was a featured guest at one of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s dinner receptions for women leaders.” (Tampa Bay Times)
CLINTON: HELPING HAND. Priorities USA Action, a super PAC planning to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) if she runs for president, sent “a $250,000 donation on Thursday to the” DGA. (Politico)
FIORINA: MIND THE GAP. 2010 CA SEN nominee Carly Fiorina (R) “admits that the gap between women voting for Republican candidates and those voting for Democratic candidates remains too large, but she’s hoping her latest political endeavor can help narrow the gap. … Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential Project, or ‘UP’ for short, is focused on six states: Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. While the aim of the group is focused on helping the Republicans get better organized, utilize new technology, and better message to female voters, the group is focused on more than just helping elect female candidates.” (Iowa Republican)
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Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
"While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold." From Washington state to California to Florida, Sanders loyalists are making good on their promise to remake the party from the ground up. And just last week, a "group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.