“Early favorites” for the 2020 Republican National Convention “include Phoenix, New York, Miami and San Antonio.” (Politico)
LOOSE LIPS. “The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which President Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators.”
“In one episode, the president told an aide that the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, should issue a statement denying a New York Times article in January. The article said Mr. McGahn told investigators that the president once asked him to fire the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. McGahn never released a statement and later had to remind the president that he had indeed asked Mr. McGahn to see that Mr. Mueller was dismissed. … In the other episode, Mr. Trump asked his former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, how his interview had gone with the special counsel’s investigators and whether they had been ‘nice,’ according to two people familiar with the discussion.
“The episodes demonstrate that even as the special counsel investigation appears to be intensifying, the president has ignored his lawyers’ advice to avoid doing anything publicly or privately that could create the appearance of interfering with it.” (New York Times)
COHN ANXIETY. “GOP angst is reaching new heights with Gary Cohn’s departure from the White House, as congressional Republicans lose a key check on Donald Trump’s proclivity for protectionism.
“The outgoing economic adviser to Trump is one of Hill Republicans’ most accessible conduits to the White House. He’s worked closely with them on tax reform, banking deregulation and, most critically, pushing back against new tariffs—an argument that Cohn clearly lost.
“Republican leaders are still pushing to limit the scope of new tariffs on aluminum and steel. But at a crucial moment in their fight against a president from their own party, they’re about to be down a key ally. And with no prominent free traders left in the White House, Republicans worry Trump might take even more drastic measures like withdrawing from NAFTA and end up hobbling the economy in an election year.” (Politico)
CONTEXT. “The record-high turnover at the White House has now reached 43 percent with the pending departure of … Cohn … as the team that arrived with Mr. Trump 13 months ago heads for the doors in increasing numbers and the president increasingly relies on his own judgment for key decisions.” (New York Times)
WYOMING. “The Cheyenne Police Department is investigating an alleged assault that took place Feb. 23 between the Wyoming Republican Party executive director and party secretary. Details of the incident that occurred at the Wyoming Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Legislator Appreciation Dinner could not be released pending further investigation, said Public Information Officer Kevin Malatesta.” (Casper Star-Tribune)
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"The United States is preparing to shelter as many as 20,000 migrant children on four American military bases" in Texas and Arkansas, "as federal officials struggled to carry out President Trump’s order to keep immigrant families together after they are apprehended at the border."
"House Republican leaders are further delaying a vote on a compromise immigration bill, planning to make changes to the legislation for a vote next week. The news comes after a two-hour Republican Conference meeting Thursday, in which authors of the bill walked through its contents and members raised concerns about issues the bill doesn’t address, multiple GOP lawmakers said. Many members requested the addition of a provision to require employers to use the E-Verify database to cheek the legal status of their employees."
After a conservative-backed immigration bill failed in the House, 193-231, leaders "postponed a vote on a 'compromise' immigration proposal until Friday. ... GOP leaders, however, are under no impression that they'll be able to secure the 218 votes needed in the next 24 hours to pass the text. Rather, the delay is to give members more time to read the bill."