"President Trump named John R. Bolton, a hard-line former American ambassador to the United Nations, as his third national security adviser on Thursday, continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history. Mr. Bolton will replace Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer who was tapped last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation but who never developed a comfortable relationship with the president." Bolton was an outspoken advocate of military action during the George W. Bush administration, and has "called for action against Iran and North Korea."
“A week after naming Brad Parscale to run his reelection effort, Trump is 8 points behind a generic Democratic candidate, 44 percent to 36 percent, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll” (March 1-5; 1,993 RVs; +/-2%). “Nearly one in five voters, 19 percent, are undecided. Male voters are evenly split: 42 percent would vote for Trump, and 42 percent would back the Democratic candidate. Among female voters, the Democrat has a 15-point lead, 46 percent to 31 percent.
“The results fall predictably along party lines: Democratic voters support the Democrat, 82 percent to 8 percent; Republican voters choose Trump, 79 percent to 7 percent. Among independents, the Democratic candidate leads, 35 percent to 29 percent, with 36 percent undecided.” (Politico)
CALIFORNIA. “After nearly a year of threats, the Trump administration made its most aggressive move to date against a familiar target of its ire: California and its immigration policies.
“Late Tuesday evening the department filed a federal lawsuit against the state and its top officials to stop a cluster of so-called ‘sanctuary state’ bills—a move that puts the administration on offense but is nonetheless likely to generate heated litigation over the boundaries of immigration authority.
“The lawsuit is the latest broadside from the Trump administration against so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ … and amid an already heightened level of tension with California.Trump administration officials have repeatedly attacked sanctuary jurisdictions and local officials as harboring dangerous criminals.” (CNN)
GARY COHN OUT. Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, “said on Tuesday that he would resign, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the Trump administration.
“White House officials insisted that there was no single factor behind the departure of Mr. Cohn, who heads the National Economic Council. But his decision to leave came as he seemed poised to lose an internal struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Mr. Cohn had warned last week that he might resign if Mr. Trump followed through with the tariffs, which Mr. Cohn had lobbied against internally.” (New York Times)
TARIFFS. “Already facing a harsh political climate heading toward the November midterm elections, Republicans fear that moving ahead with the tariffs could send the party—not to mention the economy— spiraling in the wrong direction. Republicans are banking on a robust economy that they can attribute to their tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks to overcome the deep public disapproval of Mr. Trump exhibited in multiple elections last year. They don’t want to do anything that could threaten economic gains.” (New York Times)
Meanwhile, Trump reportedly “wants to sign a presidential proclamation tomorrow to set his steel and aluminum tariffs in motion, according to two senior administration officials.” (Axios)
KASICH. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) “didn’t seem interested in doing a victory lap about his nearly eight years in office” in his final State of the State address on Tuesday. “And if it was supposed to be a prelude to a 2020 presidential run or a rebuke of Republican President Donald Trump, it was outside-the-box and nuanced. At times he more resembled a minister giving a sermon about values and human compassion than the outgoing governor of the seventh-largest state in the nation.” (Cleveland.com)
STORMY SUES. “Stormy Daniels, the porn star who was paid to keep quiet about her affair with Donald Trump, sued the president Tuesday, alleging that her nondisclosure agreement before the 2016 election is void because Trump failed to sign it.” (Washington Post)
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"When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election," deputy communications director Bryan Lanza encouraged him to respond. "You should do it," Lanza wrote in a September 2016 email, "emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. 'partnership with Russia.'" The Trump campaign has "sought to paint the 30-year old energy consultant as a low level volunteer" in the campaign, but recently disclosed emails show that Papadopoulos had contact with "senior campaign figures" in the Trump campaign, "such as chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and adviser Michael Flynn," who encouraged him to "broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials."