POLITICO Playbook: Republicans face the prospect of more House losses

THE UNDERTOLD STORY in Washington right now is how KEVIN MCCARTHY’S House Republican minority is likely to thin quite significantly after this election. STEVE SHEPARD, our election guru, has moved a few Republican incumbents’ seats toward Democrats in his forecast: Reps. ANNE WAGNER in the St. Louis burbs, JIM HAGEDORN in Minnesota and STEVE CHABOT in the Cincinnati area.

OUR OVER/UNDER is Republicans taking a net loss of seven seats. DAVE WASSERMAN of the Cook Political Report pegged the losses at between five and 15 seats.

HERE’S A QUESTION TO PONDER: Who in Republican leadership takes the fall if Republicans lose as many as 10 seats?

SHEPARD has also put JOE BIDEN over 270 electoral votes, which would, of course, hand him the presidency. Steve’s analysis

— ZACH MONTELLARO and DAVID SIDERS: “How Biden could end 2020 on election night — and why Trump’s path is unlikely”

HAPPENING THIS MORNING — AMY CONEY BARRETT’S Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins at 9 a.m. Indiana GOP Sens. MIKE BRAUN and TODD YOUNG will introduce her to the committee, and Notre Dame’s PATRICIA O’HARA will also speak. Senators will give opening statements — some will be in the room, others will be remote.

— THERE ARE 22 MEMBERS of the committee, and they’ll all get 10 minutes to make an opening statement. YOUNG and BRAUN won’t introduce BARRETT until the afternoon. BARRETT will likely give her statement in the mid- to late afternoon.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … STATE HOUSE LEADERS in all 50 states have written a letter to Senate and Judiciary Committee leadership urging Barrett’s confirmation. The letter BOSTON GLOBE: “Baker, Sununu do not sign GOP governors’ letter supporting Coney Barrett nomination to Supreme Court”

NEW POLL — WAPO’S SCOTT CLEMENT and EMILY SUSKIN: “A slight majority of American voters oppose the Senate holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that begin Monday, though opposition has eased since President Trump announced his choice to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

“The national poll finds 44 percent of registered voters say the U.S. Senate should hold hearings and vote on Barrett’s nomination, while 52 percent say filling this Supreme Court seat should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year. Support for leaving the decision to the next president is down from 57 percent in a Post-ABC poll last month that asked whether the Senate should confirm Trump’s nominee, who had not yet been named.”

VERY, VERY DEEP DIVE … NYT, A1: “Rooted in Faith, Representing a New Conservatism: Amy Coney Barrett’s Path to a Court Pick,” by Elisabeth Dias, Rebecca Ruiz in South Bend, Ind., and Sharon LaFraniere in New Orleans

— NYT’S CARL HULSE on Sen. KAMALA HARRIS’ (D-Calif.) role as a member of the Judiciary panel and how it

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New Mexicans for Interior – POLITICO

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A trio of New Mexican lawmakers is vying for the top Interior job in a potential Biden administration, sources tell POLITICO, though the campaign says it is focused on winning the election first.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals spent nine hours debating the fine points of the Trump EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, a regulation that replaced the Clean Power Plan.

A Wyoming federal judge rejected an Obama administration rule intended to curb methane emissions, accomplishing in a day what the Trump administration failed to do in almost four years.

IT’S FINALLY FRIDAY: I’m your fill-in host Eric Wolff, and nicely done, you’ve made it to the end of the week. Good job, everyone! Congrats to Rob Hall from Entergy for being first to know that Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra both wore No. 8 when they caught for the Yankees and the retired number honors both of them. Also, apparently Khary Cauthen from Cheniere did submit the right answer for the first VP debaters, which was Tuesday’s trivia question, ME’s overactive junk mail folder nabbed it and I didn’t see it until Thursday. Since today is Bagel Friday in the Wolff household, your trivia question is: What’s the difference between lox and nova? Send your answer and your energy tips to [email protected] who will be returning Tuesday.

Check out the POLITICO Energy podcast — all the energy and environmental politics and policy news you need to start your day, in just five minutes. Listen and subscribe for free at politico.com/energy-podcast. In today’s episode: A climate czar to fight climate change.

UDALL, HEINRICH, AND HAALAND, OH MY: A trio of New Mexican lawmakers are all jostling to become the next secretary of Interior should Democratic nominee Joe Biden win next month’s election, sources tell Pro’s Anthony Adragna and Ben Lefebvre. Sens. Tom Udall, who is not running for reelection, and Martin Heinrich, and Rep. Deb Haaland, vice chair of the Natural Resources Committee, have all started to subtly make cases for themselves as the best candidates for the gig.

There are also rumblings around who might run EPA, with insiders contemplating Heather Zichal, the former Obama White House deputy assistant energy and climate change, as a potential pick, or Heather Toney, a clean air activist who is currently the national director for Moms For Clean Air Force and a former regional director of the EPA’s Southeast Region, as another.

But all the speculation comes with a big question

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POLITICO Playbook PM: White House floats a Trump speech as the outbreak spreads

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering having President DONALD TRUMP address the nation. He returned from the White House on Monday night after a weekend at Walter Reed. NYT’s Maggie Haberman had this as well

ALYSSA FARAH — the White House comms director — suggested to White House reporters that we will “hear from” TRUMP “at some point today.”

— FARAH on FOX NEWS this morning, about whether TRUMP will attend the next debate: “He’s looking forward to it. He is ready and I think he’s going to go in with an even new mindset on the coronavirus. He’s firsthand lost friends to this, he’s grieved with Americans, but now he himself is coming as a survivor and I think you’re going to hear that in his debate.”

— ON WORKING AT THE W.H. NOW: “We feel comfortable working here, those of us who are still here. We are taking precautions in the West Wing.”

THE PRESIDENT’S DOCTOR, SEAN CONLEY, said TRUMP reported no symptoms today, and had a “restful first night at home.” His oxygen saturation is between 95% and 97%, CONLEY said. Conley’s memo

FORMER A.G. ERIC HOLDER to us during a Playbook virtual event this morning, via CAITLIN OPRYSKO: “Former Attorney General Eric Holder accused one of his Trump-era successors, William Barr, of ‘going beyond politicizing’ the Justice Department, saying that the current attorney general had instead ‘weaponized’ the department in an unprecedented way.

“‘The way he has talked about everything from voting to social issues, he has clearly put the Justice Department on the side of this president,’ Holder told POLITICO Playbook authors Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman in an interview Tuesday. Holder, who served as the first attorney general in the Obama administration, also pointed to Barr’s intervention in cases involving Trump’s allies, and called the attorney general an ‘integral part of the president’s reelection effort.’

“‘People gotta understand this is inconsistent with the way attorneys general and the department have acted in the past — and that means Republican as well as Democratic Justice Departments,’ he argued.”

— HOLDER quipped that he would run for Senate if D.C. became a state.

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP JIM CLYBURN, who also joined us for the Playbook event, talked about his former aide JAIME HARRISON’S chances in South Carolina: “Things are breaking in his favor.” More from Caitlin Oprysko

HOUSE DEMOCRATS have a caucus conference call at 2 p.m. today, and we anticipate Speaker NANCY PELOSI will give an update on the status of her talks with Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN.

Good Tuesday afternoon.

SCOOP, via NAHAL TOOSI: The State Department has decided to grant Indonesian Defense Minister PRABOWO SUBIANTO a visa to enter the U.S., according to a person familiar with the department’s actions. Subianto is expected to visit sometime later this month. He had long been

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CIA restricts Russia intelligence reaching White House: Politico

  • The CIA is restricting the intelligence on Russia that reaches President Donald Trump and the White House, reported Politico. 
  • Some officials believe that Trump’s tendency to explode in anger at mention of Russian meddling was behind the decision.
  • One source told the outlet that Russian intelligence is being more carefully vetted because it is so sensitive. 
  • A Washington Post story on Tuesday suggested that Vladimir Putin gave his personal blessing to Russia’s campaign to subvert the 2020 presidential election.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The CIA is restricting the flow intelligence on Russia that reaches President Donald Trump and the White House, Politico reported Wednesday. 

Trump is known to explode in rage when the subject of Russia’s continuing attempts to subvert US democracy are raised, and some officials who spoke to the outlet said that this may be the reason behind limiting the intelligence on Russia that reaches the Oval Office. 

The publication said that nine current and former CIA officials confirmed the reduced flow of Russia intelligence from the CIA.

Politico’s suggestion chimes with a claim made by a former Homeland Security official who said he was told to suppress intelligence about Russia which would displease Trump.

Three of Politico’s CIA sources said that general counsel Courtney Elwood was reviewing virtually every item from Russia House, the CIA’s famed department focusing on Russia and the former USSR, before it was forwarded to the White House. 

Four of the officials said the reasons for the limits on the flow of intelligence were unclear. One claimed that CIA director Gina Haspel was limiting the information to ensure “quality over quantity.” 

According to the report, Haspel has clashed with Russia House figures, firing the head of the unit earlier this year, with one analyst resigning after she called him a liar.

In a statement to the publication, the CIA said that suggestions that Haspel’s decision making is determined by political concerns is “misguided.” 

“She rightfully asks difficult questions and ensures intelligence is corroborated, double-checked, and then run through the wringer once more. Any suggestion of a political motive for how she leads this agency is misguided.”

US intelligence agencies have warned that Russia is waging a renewed campaign to interfere in the US election this year.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the CIA believes President Vladimir Putin is likely personally overseeing the operation. 

According to the CIA report, the operation is focused on damaging Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s candidacy and helping Trump. 

Source Article

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POLITICO Playbook: Inside the House Dem leadership talks

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP MET in the Capitol for the first time in a while Monday evening, and they began to confront what many of them see as an only-in-a-TRUMP-presidency question: If DONALD TRUMP loses, will he lash out and do something dramatic, like shut down the government?

THE SCENARIO was raised in the closed-door, no-staff meeting by Connecticut Democratic Rep. ROSA DELAURO, and it’s more than a passing political hypothetical. It’s a real-life governing challenge that Democrats believe they are being forced to confront in the coming days.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI is working with Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN and Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL on how long to fund the government for after Sept. 30.

THERE ARE TWO GENERAL OPTIONS: 1) Extend government funding to sometime in December. This would make the most sense. THE UPSIDE: A mid-December expiration would give a tad bit of post-election breathing room for lawmakers. It would also give Congress a chance to try for some more Covid relief this calendar year with a cudgel to force action. THE DOWNSIDE: If the election is undecided, lawmakers may be hesitant to engage in big-ticket legislating. And with TRUMP as unpredictable as we’ve seen, could he shut down the government if things aren’t going his way, they asked?

2) CONGRESS could extend funding until February. But that’s a really long time to wait for another deadline to force through Covid relief. (Of course, Covid relief can move without a funding deadline, but let’s not give Congress too much credit.)

OF COURSE, Congress could just do its job and pass a full year of government funding, and more Covid relief for a nation reeling from the deadly virus. But … 2020.

A MASSIVE DAY FOR MIDDLE EAST POLITICS … ISRAEL, BAHRAIN and THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES will sign the Abraham Accords today at the White House. Here’s what to expect: ISRAEL and the UAE will sign a document, as will ISRAEL and BAHRAIN. Then all three parties will sign one together. THE UAE document will be longer because they had a longer negotiation. BAHRAIN just committed last week. “A FEW HUNDRED” people will be at the event, on the South Lawn, including some senior Democrats. …

… THE TEXT that the three countries will sign will not be made public until after the event, so we won’t really know what they are signing quite yet.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE, from a senior administration official on a background call with reporters: “Hi, everybody. This is [senior administration official], but I guess it’s on background. I don’t know why we can’t say who I am, but OK. Here we are.”

— NYT’S MICHAEL CROWLEY and DAVID KIRKPATRICK: “A White House Ceremony Will Celebrate a Diplomatic Win and Campaign Gift”: “[A]s proclaimed in new Trump campaign advertisements, they make up the heart of the president’s message on foreign policy as the 2020 campaign

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POLITICO Playbook PM: Dems to the White House: Oh, my!

HEY, THIS IS NEW … THE WHITE HOUSE has invited some senior Democrats to the signing of the Abraham Accords — as the administration is referring to the Israel-UAE, Israel-Bahrain normalization deals — on Tuesday. We don’t have the guest logs — nor does anyone — but this would appear to be the first Democrat-mingling this administration has done in some time.

… THAT SAID: The HOUSE PROBLEM SOLVERS CAUCUS — no, still no problems solved quite yet! — is working on the finishing touches of their Covid relief plan. It’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion and could have north of $500 billion in new state and local aid. MARK MEADOWS has been read into the plan, and has tacitly encouraged the bipartisan work — as has the Dem leadership. Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN mentioned it earlier today — although he said the plan is coming out today, and it isn’t. The reasons we’re giving this ink: It’s the only Covid relief action at the moment, it’s caught the White House’s eye and a handful of lawmakers are talking about it. We don’t expect much here.

!!! … “President Donald Trump’s former top economic adviser said Monday he had not yet decided who he will vote for in November’s presidential election. ‘You know, I honestly haven’t made up my mind,’ Gary Cohn told CNBC in an interview. ‘I’m really eager to see an economic debate between the two of them. I actually vote on issues.’” POLITICO

GARY, MY MAN … You worked for the president. You know what he’s for. You know what he believes in.

TRUMP SPEAKS TO ADELSON’S PAPER … THE PRESIDENT gave an interview to the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, which is owned by casino magnate SHELDON ADELSON: “In exclusive interview, Trump slams Sisolak, defends indoor rally”: “Trump said in his interview with the Review-Journal that he is not afraid of getting the coronavirus from speaking at the indoor rally. ‘I’m on a stage and it’s very far away,’ Trump said. ‘And so I’m not at all concerned.’ ‘I’m more concerned about how close you are, to be honest,’ Trump told a Review-Journal reporter who thought she was socially distanced.” (Steve Sisolak is Nevada’s Democratic governor.)

WOODWARD PUTS A FINER POINT ON IT … “Woodward: ‘The president of the U.S. possessed specific knowledge that could have saved lives,’” by NBC’s Rebecca Shabad: “In an interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s ‘TODAY’ show, Woodward said he found out about a briefing the president received from his national security advisers on Jan. 28 about the pandemic coming to the United States and, only a few days later, Trump didn’t share that information in his State of the Union address to Congress on Feb. 4, which 40 million people watched.” The interview

SCOOP … DAN DIAMOND: “Democratic lawmakers to investigate Trump officials’ meddling with CDC reports”: “House Democrats are launching

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