"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."
“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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"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."