President Donald Trump “averaged 41% job approval during his first quarter as president, 14 percentage points lower than any other president in Gallup’s polling history. Bill Clinton had the previous low mark of 55%. The average first-quarter rating among post-World War II presidents elected to their first term is 61%, with John Kennedy’s 74% the highest.” (release)
100 DAY MARK LOOMS. The Trump White House is looking to avoid a government shutdown right around the 100 day mark of his presidency. “The White House, under internal pressure to show legislative achievements ahead of the 100-day mark, is gearing up for a government shutdown fight to secure money for a border wall, more immigration enforcement officers and a bigger military. … Officials could also strike a one-week compromise, giving them more time for a broader agreement.” (Politico)
Trump is also “pushing Congress toward another dramatic showdown over the Affordable Care Act, despite big outstanding obstacles to a beleaguered revision plan and a high-stakes deadline next week to keep the government running. …The effort reflects Trump’s sense of urgency to score a victory on Obamacare replacement and move on to other legislative objectives, notably tax restructuring. Passing an Affordable Care Act revision would also allow the president to show progress toward a major campaign promise as he completes his first 100 days in office.” (Washington Post)
RUSSIA INVESTIGATION. Mary McCord, the “woman leading the Justice Department’s investigation of foreign meddling into the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has told staff members she will leave the department in May.” (NPR)
“US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange…The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning. …US intelligence agencies have also determined that Russian intelligence used WikiLeaks to publish emails aimed at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as part of a broader operation to meddle in the US 2016 presidential election.” (CNN)
TRUMP FAMILY BUSINESS. Out of ethics concerns, Ivanka Trump won’t promote her new book and will donate all proceeds to charity. (The Hill)
“China is defending its handling of trademark applications from … Ivanka and her company, saying that all such requests are handled fairly.” (Los Angeles Times)
FRENCH ELECTION. “Trump weighed in on French politics on Friday, asserting on Twitter that ‘another terrorist attack’ in Paris would ‘have a big effect on the presidential election!’” The tweet was “referring to a deadly shootout on the Champs-Elysees, Paris’s most famous avenue, on Thursday night that claimed the life of a police officer.”
Marine Le Pen, “one of the leading candidates in the race, has echoed many of Trump’s campaign themes, including dire warnings that her country is losing its identity,” but Trump didn’t advocate for her by name. (Washington Post)
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President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.