Playbook: Washington expecting 500,000 for gun-control march

HAPPENING TODAY ON THE MALL — “Organizers hope to draw half a million to gun control rally,” by AP’s Ashraf Khalil: “Organizers of the March for Our Lives rally are hoping to draw 500,000 protesters; that would match last year’s women’s march and make this one of the largest Washington protests since the Vietnam era. It would also bolster claims that the nation is ready to enact sweeping changes to its gun control laws. More than 800 marches are planned in cities across America and dozens of locations overseas to be held at roughly the same time.”

DATA DIVE — “Scarred by school shootings: More than 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence at school since Columbine, The Washington Post found. Many are never the same,” by John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich: WAPO A1 PDF

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JOE BIDEN in NEW HAVEN at Southern Connecticut State University: “[B]iden said ‘the jury’s still out’ on whether he will challenge Trump in 2020. … ‘Honest to God I don’t know,’ … ‘I have to be able to stand in front of a mirror and look in the mirror and know that if I don’t run it’s not because I’m afraid of losing, it’s not because I don’t want to take on the responsibility, it’s because there’s somebody better to do it and/or because emotionally I’m not positioned to be all in. And so the jury’s still out.’”


HOW TRUMP REACTED … Via WSJ’s Peter Nicholas, Mike Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus: On Friday morning, “White House aides huddled with Mr. Trump and warned him that he might catch blame for shutting down the government on a weekend he planned to spend at his Palm Beach, Fla., resort. ‘F— that,’ Mr. Trump said in rejecting the argument, according to people familiar with the discussion.”

DON’T SHOW THE PRESIDENT … MICHAEL GRUNWALD in POLITICO Magazine, “Here’s What’s in the Budget Bill Nobody’s Bothered to Read … Democrats are getting most of what they wanted”: “[T]he Republicans who control Congress have passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, and it not only protects Obama’s priorities, it expands them. It does far less for Trump’s stated priorities … The omnibus—Capitol Hill jargon for a single spending bill that funds most government functions—does not kill any of the programs or agencies Trump’s budget proposed to kill … Trump wanted to slash the Energy Department’s renewables budget 65 percent; instead, Congress boosted it 14 percent. Trump proposed to keep nonmilitary spending $54 billion below the congressional budget cap; the omnibus spends right up to the cap, a $63 billion increase from last year.”

MATT HOUSE — communications director for Chuck Schumer — spikes the football: @mattwhouse: “I, for one, am tired of all the winning.”

FEW MORE THOUGHTS ON THE OMNI … THE REASON this omnibus worked — and passed with large bipartisan majorities — is because it left the controversial issues aside. Both sides, if they choose, have significant wins to brag about. Republicans got a big boost in military spending and didn’t have to swallow an immigration deal that would have torn the party apart. No one gets what they want all the time — despite what people say on cable television.

— ALSO: It was amazing to watch Republicans react to the president distancing himself from a bill his staff negotiated. Of the dozen or so aides we spoke to yesterday in the Capitol, most Republicans were speechless, while most Democrats laughed.

BY THE WAY … You know who was the champion of the line-item veto? Paul Ryan. From 2006

SOME TAX INTEL … When you hear President Trump and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) talk about a second phase of tax cuts, what they really mean is Congress might try to make permanent some expiring tax provisions. Nothing big.

Good Saturday morning. HAPPENED LAST NIGHT … “Trump moves to ban most transgender troops,” by Jacqueline Klimas and Bryan Bender: “The memorandum, which drew swift condemnation from gender rights groups, states that while the secretary of defense and other executive branch officials will have some latitude in implementing the policy, ‘persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — including individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.’ … The decision comes after a number of top military officials over the past year– including most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — have gone out of their way to defend the thousands of transgender troops who are believed to be serving in the military.”

COMING ATTRACTIONS — “Bolton Expected to ‘Clean House,’” by Foreign Policy’s Jana Winter, Elias Groll and Colum Lynch: “Incoming National Security Advisor John Bolton and people close to him are expected to launch a massive shake-up at the National Security Council, aiming to remove dozens of current White House officials, starting with holdovers from President Barack Obama’s administration, according to multiple sources.

“Those targeted for removal include officials believed to have been disloyal to President Donald Trump, those who have leaked about the president to the media, his predecessor’s team, and those who came in under Obama. … A second former White House official offered a blunt assessment of former Obama officials currently detailed or appointed to the NSC: ‘Everyone who was there during Obama years should start packing their s***.’”

WOW — “Attorney says Roy Moore supporters offered him $10,000 to drop client who accused the Senate candidate of sexual impropriety,” by WaPo’s Shawn Boburg and Dalton Bennett: “Days after a woman accused U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual impropriety, two Moore supporters approached her attorney with an unusual request. They asked lawyer Eddie Sexton to drop the woman as a client and say publicly that he did not believe her. The damaging statement would be given to Breitbart News, then run by former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

“In exchange, Sexton said in recent interviews, the men offered to pay him $10,000 and promised to introduce him to Bannon and others in the nation’s capital. … Sexton said he arrived at the Pelham office and joined [Gary] Lantrip and [Bert] Davi in a conference room. He said Lantrip told him that they had the money for him. Boyle, Breitbart’s Washington bureau chief, soon joined them, he said. Minutes later, in walked Klein, Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. … On the table was a notebook, he said, opened to a page that contained a handwritten statement he was expected to sign.”

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— “‘You should do it’: Trump officials encouraged George Papadopoulos’s foreign outreach, documents show,” by WaPo’s Ros Helderman and Tom Hamburger: “When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election, the young adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump made sure to seek approval from campaign headquarters. ‘You should do it,’ deputy communications director Bryan Lanza urged Papadopoulos in a September 2016 email, emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. ‘partnership with Russia.’ …

“Emails described to The Washington Post … show Papadopoulos had more extensive contact with key Trump campaign and presidential transition officials than has been publicly acknowledged. Among those who communicated with Papadopoulos were senior campaign figures such as strategist Stephen K. Bannon and adviser Michael Flynn, who corresponded with him about his efforts to broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials, the emails show.”

REX’S NEXT STEP? … “University of Texas Courts Rex Tillerson to Be Next Chancellor,” by WSJ’s Bradley Olson, Doug Belkin and Felicia Schwartz: “The University of Texas is pursuing outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to become its next chancellor, according to people familiar with the matter. The former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive — who gave his farewell speech as the nation’s top diplomat Thursday and is formally set to leave his post March 31 after a tumultuous tenure serving President Donald Trump — is said to be open to the opportunity of leading the University of Texas System …

“The search committee hasn’t made any official offer to Mr. Tillerson … Mr. Tillerson … said through a spokesman that he’s receiving many requests and no decision has been made.”

TOP-ED – ANDREW MCCABE in WaPo, “Not in my worst nightmares did I dream my FBI career would end this way”: “I have been accused of ‘lack of candor.’ That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators. When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could.

“And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them. At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted — and for that I take full responsibility. But that is not a lack of candor. And under no circumstances could it ever serve as the basis for the very public and extended humiliation of my family and me that the administration, and the president personally, have engaged in over the past year.”

YOU’RE INVITEDJoin us for our first Playbook University in North Carolina with GOV. ROY COOPER on THURSDAY at Penn Pavilion at Duke University. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. RSVP

GREAT CARL HULSE YARN … “Harry Reid Bids Washington Goodbye: ‘Shake My Head Is All I Can Do’”: “Harry Reid knows off the top of his head that 351 is the DirecTV channel for C-Span coverage of the Senate at his home in Nevada. But he says he rarely turns to it. ‘I never look,’ said Mr. Reid, who then grudgingly offered, ‘O.K., maybe every couple of months.’ … ‘I just shake my head is all I can do,’ said Mr. Reid, who has been spending most of his time in Las Vegas. ‘I feel sad,’ he said, grappling to describe his sentiments, particularly about what he sees as a Republican refusal to directly challenge President Trump on an array of troubling subjects.

“‘I can’t fathom the Republicans doing what they do — nothing, nothing, it doesn’t matter what he does,’ he said, referring to Mr. Trump. ‘Why would they be afraid of him? It should be just the opposite. I don’t expect them to be nit-picking him on every little thing he does wrong. But shouldn’t somebody be saying something about something?’ … [H]e says he feels so disconnected from Washington that he is selling his apartment in the Ritz-Carlton here and plans to be in the nation’s capital only infrequently.”

SEXUAL HARASSMENT FILES – “PBS Details Tavis Smiley’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct in Countersuit,” by the Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell: “Smiley informed PBS’ third-party investigator that he was the subject of two workplace discrimination or harassment/retaliation claims. The host also admits to ‘probably’ telling sex jokes in the workplace and that he ‘may’ have sent pornographic images to subordinates. Witness statements add fuel to the harassment argument with claims of Smiley ‘commenting about subordinates’ body parts in the presence of a colleague,’ ‘informing a female subordinate that he would like to see her on her back more often,’ ‘informing a subordinate that he thought she must be good in bed,’ ‘persistently pursuing subordinates for sex’ and, among other things, ‘having or requesting sexual encounters with subordinates in hotels or at his home.’”

REMEMBERING KEITH KINCAID – statement from 2K Strategies and partner Jim Mulhall: “We have some heartbreaking news. Our friend and partner, Keith Kincaid, passed away [Thursday at the age of 42]. Keith had a sudden heart incident at work and then another as he arrived at a medical office before being rushed to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. … He was still in school when he got his start in the world of politics as an assistant to Bill Knapp at SKDK. … He worked hard, put in endless hours, learned fast, and was extremely dedicated. Keith rose in his field, working on races from presidential campaigns to an array of other offices.” He worked at SKDK for almost 16 years.

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CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker – 15 keepers

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:

— “To Catch a Predator,” by Kathy Dobie in NY Mag: “The NYPD’s top sex-crimes investigator tried to bust Harvey Weinstein three years ago. Then the DA stepped in.”

— “War of Words: Meet the Texan Trolling for Putin,” by Sonia Smith in Texas Monthly: “In 2014, Russell Bonner Bentley was a middle-aged arborist living in Austin. Now he’s a local celebrity in a war-torn region of Ukraine—and a foot soldier in Russia’s information war.”

— “Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (For the Third Time),” by Elizabeth Weil in the N.Y. Times Magazine as part of its “[Extreme] Voyages” issue – per’s description: “Aleksander Doba has spent a great deal of time alone, naked and blistered, aboard a very small boat in the middle of the ocean. It is his favorite thing to do.”

— “Floating in the Air: The world that made Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment,’” by Jennifer Wilson in The Nation: Russian students “created an intellectual climate which put too much stock in the ability of science and reasoning to explain human behavior. Dostoyevsky knew human beings to be irrational and profoundly self-destructive. He saw these tendencies in his own propensity for gambling, procrastination, and daily forms of self-ruin.”

— “Cloak and Data: The Real Story Behind Cambridge Analytica’s Rise and Fall,” by Andy Kroll in the May/June issue of Mother Jones: “The secretive data firm said it could move the minds of American voters. That wasn’t its real victory.”

— “The Last Resort,” by Lindsay Gellman in Longreads: “Private clinics in Germany sell cancer patients hope — and mixed results — at exorbitant prices.”

Sam Nunberg Is Still Talking: Crazy man or chessmaster? 4 hours with Donald Trump’s wildest adviser,” by David Freedlander in the Politico Magazine Friday cover: “‘I have never, nor would I ever, lie to [Washington Post reporter Robert] Costa or to my Magela.’ I’m sorry—your who? ‘My Magela. I call Maggie Haberman [of The New York Times] my Magela. You know, like Mamela. Maggie is like my aunt.’ He shrugged.I don’t know if she feels that way, actually.’”

— “Home,” by Chris Jones in Esquire in Jan. 29, 2007: In space, “everything is always taken through a straw. Except that [astronaut Donald] Pettit has learned to squeeze his coffee out of the straw in tiny, perfect spheres, which hang suspended in the weightlessness, waiting for him to bite them out of the air or, if he’s feeling playful, to pinch them between chopsticks and pop them into his mouth. He does that because he can up here, and he can’t down there. That’s all the reason he’s ever needed.” (h/t

— “Boston. Racism. Image. Reality” – The Boston Globe spotlight team: “A national survey commissioned by the Globe this fall found that among eight major cities, black people ranked Boston as least welcoming to people of color. More than half — 54 percent — rated Boston as unwelcoming.” (h/t Peter Cherukuri)

— “Taming the Might Mississippi,” by WaPo’s Todd C. Frankel: “A picaresque tour of infrastructure reveals a struggle for control all along America’s great river, full of questions about what it once was, doubts about what it will become and who will pay for any of it.”

— “The Man in the Mirror” – Longreads: “In the aftermath of rape, Alison Kinney discovers that a new lover who helps you to heal can just as easily betray you.”

— “The World’s Best Hitchhiker on the Secrets of His Success,” by Wes Enzinna in the N.Y. Times Magazine:

— “The Wolves of K Street,” by David Hill in The Ringer: “For gamblers looking for an edge, PredictIt turns politics into something more than a cynical battleground. Meet the people making bank on our nightmarish election cycle.”

MEDIAWATCH — REMEMBERING LAWRENCE GROSSMAN – NYT’s Richard Sandomir: “Lawrence K. Grossman, who as president of PBS doubled the length of ‘the MacNeil/Lehrer Report,’ its signature news program, then headed NBC News, where he dealt unhappily with budget austerity after it came under General Electric’s ownership, died on Friday at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 86. … [He also] started the ‘Frontline’ documentary series as well as the 13-part series ‘Vietnam: A Television History’ (1981).”

— REMEMBERING BETTY ANN BOWSER – NYT’s Neil Genzlinger: “Betty Ann Bowser, one of television’s most prominent newswomen for years as a correspondent for CBS and then the ‘PBS NewsHour,’ died on March 16 at her home in Ajijic, Mexico. She was 73. … ‘She interviewed people from U.S. senators to stars like Elton John,’ her son said in a Facebook post, ‘and covered major breaking stories such as the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. It seemed like she knew everyone and always had a favor to cash in.’”

SPOTTED: Stephen Miller last night waiting to order a drink at the bar on the POV lounge at the W Hotel. His White House colleague Madeleine Westerhout was also seen in a separate part of the lounge. Jesse Rodriguez was downstairs. … Mick Mulvaney at Whole Foods on P Street this morning “wearing a wide brimmed hat and looking at the organic juices,” according to a tipster … Terry McAuliffe enjoying a late lunch with about 10 people at the Palm on Friday. They were celebrating Patrick Hallahan’s birthday …

… Tommy Vietor and Jon Favreau last night at dinner at the Radiator at the Kimpton Mason and Rook hotel. They were also spotted at Black Jack on 14th St.; the Crooked Media crew interviewed Joe Biden on Friday — pic … Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) at Bar Elena on H St.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Jennifer Scholtes, editor of POLITICO Pro’s Budget & Appropriations Brief, and Liam Fitzsimmons, chief of staff for the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), recently welcomed Helene Aviv Fitzsimmons, who joins big sis Janie. Pic

— OBAMA ALUMNI — Paulette Aniskoff, founding partner of Citizen 44 and former director of the office of public engagement in the Obama White House, and Matt Tinning, senior director of the U.S. Oceans Program at the Environmental Defense Fund, on Monday welcomed their second child, Harrison Shield Tinning, weighing 8lbs. 1oz and measuring 20.25 inches. “The couple reports that both Mother and baby are doing well, and Harrison is already exhibiting some familiar traits — his Mom’s strong opinions, his Dad’s enthusiasm for food, and his big brother Philip’s nonchalance.” Pics

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Politico’s Justine Dougherty … Ken Brooke, LA for lands policy for Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), turned 24 (hat tip: Nathaniel Haas, filing from Stellenbosch, South Africa) … Iridium’s Toby Jacobs (h/t Nihal Krishan)

BIRTHDAYS: Su-Lin Nichols … Steve Ballmer, L.A. Clippers owner, founder of USA Facts, and former Microsoft CEO, is 62 (h/t Alex Levy) … Patrick Hallahan is 36 … Douglas Kennedy … Obama WH alum Eugene Kang … Rod O’Connor, principal at the Messina Group … Matt Gorman, NRCC comms director (h/ts Josh Dawsey and Jesse Hunt) … Dareh Gregorian, politics editor at the N.Y. Daily News … NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers is 53 (h/t birthday boy Matt Gorman) … Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Wheat Growers Association … Molly Wilkinson, VP of regulatory affairs at American Airlines (h/t Ron Bonjean) … Sam Rogers is 32 … Jill Martin … political and media strategist Fred Menachem … Ted Chiodo, COO of SKDKnickerbocker (h/t Amy Brundage) … Sarah Gilmore, associate at Crossroads Strategies (h/t Meridith McGraw) … Vail Kohnert-Yount, a student at Harvard Law (h/t George Malkin) … Politico’s Kaley Rector … former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) is 68 … Mark Spengler … Mary Ann Akers … Evan Feinberg, executive director of Koch group Stand Together (h/t Laura Whitefield) … Donie O’Sullivan, producer at CNN Digital and part of the social discovery team and the pride of Cahersiveen, County Kerry (h/t Carl Lavin) …

… Steven Olikara, president and co-founder of Millennial Action Project … Jeffrey Herbst, former president and CEO of the Newseum, is 57 … Josh Zeid … Josh Cohen … Sami Chowdhury … Heather Rothenberg … Staci Maiers, senior press officer at the National Education Association … Hannah Sherman (h/t Jon Haber) … Jonathan Lee is 26 … Dari Carnes … former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is 62 … former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is 71 … Lauren Spivey … Elise Sidamon-Eristoff of Chemonics … Chapin Fay and Patrick McCarthy of Mercury … Uber’s Kyle Jameson … John Byrne, CEO and founder of the Raw Story … Robert B. Young Jr. … Tony Wyche … Bloomberg’s Aaron Rutkoff … Marc Hermann, MTA photographer … Peter Fulham … Aaron Olver … Sawyer Reed … Bain Ennis … Beth Swickard … Sarah Compton … Karen Compton.

THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Austin:

— NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Interviews with Reach Out Wisconsin on gun reform … Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) … Corey Lewandowski. Panel: Bob Costa, Hugh Hewitt, Kasie Hunt and Heather McGhee

— CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) … Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) … Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch, Cameron Kasky, Delaney Tarr, Emma Gonzales and Kyle Kashuv. Panel: Jamelle Bouie, Anne Gearan, Michael Gerson and Zeke Miller

— CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) … Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio). Panel: Van Jones, Rick Santorum, Linda Chavez and Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.)

— “Fox News Sunday”: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin … “March for Our Lives” organizer Cameron Kasky and Delaney Tarr. Panel: Newt Gingrich, Julie Pace, Jason Miller and Juan Williams … “Power Player of the Week”: Second Lady Karen Pence and her daughter Charlotte Pence

— ABC’s “This Week”: Mark Kelly … Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen … Stephen Hadley. Panel: Matthew Dowd, Perry Bacon, Jr., David Brody and Shannon Pettypiece

CNN’s “Inside Politics” (guest-hosted by Nia-Malika Henderson): Michael Shear, Molly Ball, Phil Mattingly and Rachael Bade

— Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) … Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … Karl Rove … Ret. Gen. Jack Keane. Panel: Mary Kissel and Lee Carter

— Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Susan Ferrechio … Guy Benson … Mo Elleithee … Emily Jashinsky … Leslie Marshall … Kurt Wagner … Shelby Holliday

— CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Special episode: “The Most Powerful Man in the World” with interviews about Vladimir Putin with Robert Gates, Henry Kissinger, Masha Gessen, David Remnick and Julia Ioffe

— CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Eric Bolling … panel: Olivia Nuzzi, Sarah Westwood, Jeffrey Toobin and David Zurawik … Lois Beckett

— Univision’s “Al Punto”: Mexican presidential candidate Margarita Zavala … Janet Rodriguez … Alfonso Calderón … Perla Morales-Luna … musicians La Arrolladora Banda Limón

— C-SPAN: “The Communicators”: AT&T senior EVP Robert Quinn, questioned by John McKinnon … “Newsmakers”: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), questioned by Andrew Taylor and Anna Edgerton … “Q&A”: Amy Chua (author of the new book “Political Tribes”)

— MSNBC’s “Kasie DC”: Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) … Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) … Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) … Andrew Young … Josh Earnest … Rick Tyler … Michael Steel … author and law professor Paul Butler (“Chokehold: Policing Black Men”) … Jake Sherman … Ken Vogel

— PBS’ “To the Contrary”: Panel: Linda Chavez, former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Carrie Lukas and Lara Brown

— “The McLaughlin Group”: Moderator Tom Rogan with Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Clarence Page and Lee Spieckerman

— Washington Times’ “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher or listen at Sasha Issenberg

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Huge crowd converges on D.C. for gun control rally

Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country are descending on Washington Saturday to demand action from Congress on gun control in a mass demonstration that could rival the annual women’s marches sparked by President Donald Trump’s election.

Spurred by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month, the “March for Our Lives” has the backing of well-funded gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety. They are organizing youth voter registration drives and running crash courses on activism and public policy.

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More than 800 “sibling” marches are planned across the globe on Saturday.

Saturday’s demonstration is the culmination of years of inaction by lawmakers as mass shootings have continued unabated in America. Left-leaning activists, feeling stymied by the National Rifle Association’s lobbying, are wielding one of the few tools they have left: taking to the streets to demand change.

More than two hours before the start of the noon march, the crowd began chanting, “This is what democracy looks like.”

“The conversation died down after Sandy Hook, the conversation died down after Aurora,” Justin Frybergh, 19, a 2016 alumnus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said this week. “For young people, the conversation is not going to die down now.”

“And,” he added, “they’re going to be voting in the next election cycle.”

People began streaming toward Pennsylvania Avenue early. Police were everywhere, stationed at Metro stations and every few feet along the route. Signs were posted along the route notifying marchers that firearms aren’t allowed in the area, even with a license to carry.

At 9 a.m., the area in front of the stage, erected near the base of the U.S. Capitol, had already filled up. A number of signs knocked the Trump administration’s support for training and arming school personnel.

“This future teacher will never carry a gun,” one sign read. “My job is to teach, not return fire,” another said.

The demonstration comes days after a shooting at Great Mills High School in southern Maryland, which killed two students, one of whom was taken off life support on Thursday.

“What better place to demand that Congress take action than their home?” said Anna Sophie Tinneny, a 17-year old senior at Pennridge High School, 30 miles north of Philadelphia.

Tinneny said this week that she and a dozen or more of her peers planned to leave for Washington before dawn on Saturday. Tinneny recently made headlines when she and her classmates received detention for participating in a nationwide school walkout calling for gun control. They protested during detention, sitting in a circle on the floor and wearing the names of the Parkland victims on their shirts.

“The Parkland kids aren’t going away,” she said. “They’re inspiring so many kids in Generation Z,” the demographic cohort after Millennials.

Seventeen speakers — to honor the number of people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas — are expected to speak. Several celebrities, like Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, are expected to perform.

The route for the march stretches down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Trump International Hotel and stopping short of the White House. The march will be followed by mass school walkouts across the country on April 20.

Preparation was in full swing on Thursday and Friday, with D.C. officials erecting barricades, portable toilets and temporary cell phone towers. Temporary cement barriers stood in front of the Trump International Hotel on Friday, in addition to two layers of metal barricades. Inside, bartenders nervously chit-chatted with guests about the impending crush of protesters.

The city’s public transportation system was bracing for long lines and crowds. Restaurants are offering discounted meals to marchers and the ride-sharing app Lyft is offering free rides to the march. Local families have been offering up their homes to students with nowhere to stay.

The marches in Washington and across the country will be accompanied by what’s expected to be an extensive youth voter registration push. Organizers have been pushing state-specific voter registration toolkits, and the Parkland students have talked up the importance of voting in media appearances. The Parkland students and teenagers nationwide, many of whom just turned 18 or are about to turn 18, have vowed to remove from office state and federal lawmakers who refuse to act on gun control.

“Get out and vote!” urged David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, on Thursday. He and several other students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School participated in a rally at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a public charter school in D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood.

Hogg and his classmates, who’ve rocketed into the spotlight with their demand for gun control, just wrapped up a media blitz to promote the march. They visited with D.C. students and held press conferences on Capitol Hill, joined by Democrats like Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.

“If we don’t make our voices heard, then they won’t take action!” Hogg said, eliciting cheers and applause from Thurgood Marshall students, most of whom raised their hands when asked if they had been affected by gun violence. The school has lost two students to gun violence in less than a year — Paris Brown, 19, and Zaire Kelly, 16.

Organizers of the marches are also pushing a petition that calls on Congress to ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and background checks for the purchases of all guns — a nearly impossible political ask.

Congress has only mustered support for modest measures since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Mass shootings that killed 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and 58 in Las Vegas last year yielded nothing.

A $1.3 trillion government spending bill signed by Trump on Friday includes measures to improve records and information-sharing in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System and federal grants to improve school safety. The White House has also launched a new commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to consider school safety measures.

Trump also tweeted Saturday morning about his administration’s move to ban bump stocks, the devices that are used to turn semi-automatic weapons into machines guns.

The National Rifle Association did not respond to a request for comment. But the gun advocacy organization’s media arm, “NRATV,” went after Hogg in a tweet on Friday.

“Will the [mainstream media] ask @davidhogg111 about his #NRA-target, profanity-laden tirade? No.”

An NRATV video plays a clip of Hogg saying, “What sick f—ers are out there that want to continue to sell more guns, murder more children and honestly just get reelected? What type of person are you when you want to see more f—ing money than children’s lives? What type of sh—y person does that?”

Jennifer Bouchard arrived in D.C. early Saturday morning after traveling overnight from Boston.

When it comes to arming school personnel, she said, “It’s crazy that our teachers would need to take that on. And it teaches our kids that guns are necessary.”

Bouchard, who said she would like to see a ban on assault weapons, said this moment feels ripe for change because “the kids are taking control.”

Stormy Daniels attorney sends a ‘warning shot’ to Trump: ‘It is time to come clean’

Stormy Daniels’ attorney said a picture he tweeted of a compact disc he says has proof of President Trump’s affair with the porn star was a “warning shot” to the president. 

Daniels will appear on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” on Sunday night and is expected to reveal details of the affair she claims she had with Trump in 2006.

The attorney has indicated Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has hard evidence of her story about an alleged affair with Trump. 

Avenatti on Friday said the tweet was not a “tease” and confirmed that he has evidence of the affair, although he did not indicate when it would be released. He refused to provide any hints or examples.

“People better be honest, because they haven’t been honest in the past, relating to this relationship, relating to the bullying tactics, relating to the threats and intimidation,” Avenatti told Blitzer. “It is time to come clean.”

Avenatti is currently representing Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump to scrap a nondisclosure agreement she says is invalid because Trump never signed it.

Week 44: Does Trump Want to Talk to Mueller or Fire Him?

Spreading like the blast from a high-yield nuclear device, the Trump Tower scandal has fireballed its way into every outpost of power and influence in American civilization. It has set the intelligence community against the president and prompted aggrieved members of Congress to call for a reheating of the Cold War. A special counsel and two congressional committees have quizzed hundreds of witnesses and collected millions of pages of supporting documents in a stab at unmasking Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The blast’s shock waves have decapitated the FBI, knocking out its director and its deputy director. The president’s men, his relatives and allies have been exposed as Russian dupes at best or agents of influence at worst. Some have tendered guilty pleas for lying. Another has confessed to money-laundering connected to his Eastern European influence peddling. Foreign policy initiatives—official and otherwise—designed to roll back the Russian sanctions have been examined. The president’s company finances, subpoenaed and dusted for Russian fingerprints, are probably resting in the special counsel’s vault, awaiting his audit. Our media can’t get enough of the story, nor can its consumers. The press has discovered a criminal underground populated by Russian thugs and demi-oligarchs. A book about the scandal, Russian Roulette, hit the stands as the No. 1 New York Times bestseller, with many similar volumes sure to follow. Facebook and other social media outposts have gotten sucked into the scandal’s stream for running the Russia-sponsored ads and content. Meanwhile, the data research outfit Cambridge Analytica, co-founded by Trump campaign executive Steve Bannon, which gorged itself on Facebook data, is being grilled about its connections with the Russian oil company Lukoil. (More Cambridge Analytica trouble ahead: A company executive boasts that it ran major parts of the Trump campaign, which might violate campaign-finance law and incoming national security adviser John Bolton ran a Super PAC that used compromised Facebook data.)

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The scandal’s radioactive dust refuses to settle as old stories find new life. This week, the Daily Beast laid the smoldering mess directly at the front door of the Russian military intelligence directorate (GRU). The Beast story claims proof that Guccifer 2.0, the chatty hacker who took credit for delivering emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks, was not a Romanian hacktivist as some alleged but actually a GRU officer working from the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow. The FBI agents who IDed the officer now work for the special counsel, says the Beast. The Daily Beast’s findings have snared former Trump campaign executive Roger Stone by the ankle and lifted him to the sky for our inspection, primarily because of his boasts of having made contact with the hacker via Twitter DMs.

Did Stone, who has always styled himself as the deftest of Washington operatives, stumble into a Guccifer Gulch? “Then and since, Stone has consistently denied that Guccifer was connected to the Kremlin,” the Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman and Kevin Poulsen report. If Mueller has the goods on the GRU, Stone’s extended explanation of his position that he never interacted with a Russian agent or intermediary will make good listening. Stone and WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange spoke on the phone in early 2016, according the Washington Post. Assange has consistently claimed that neither Russians nor their associates gave him the DNC emails. “Our source is not a state party. So the answer—for our interactions—is no,” Assange said in 2017. Assange’s extended explanation of how Guccifer 2.0’s trove ended on his servers would seem to command a close listen, too.

The question of whether the president will sack the special counsel or not has been an evergreen story ever since Mueller’s appointment. But this week, the evergreen blossomed alongside the Tidal Basin cherry trees as the president gave a series of mixed signals. “The White House says Trump isn’t thinking about firing Mueller but when the president tweets about ‘conflict of interest’ he is citing a cause that can be used to fire Mueller,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker tweeted early in the week. The likelihood of Mueller’s sacking rose when his attorney John Dowd told CNN the special counsel’s investigation should end. Then, Dowd resigned, reportedly over Trump’s insistence that he wanted to sit for an interview with Mueller, indicating that the special counsel’s position was secure. Some even speculated this increased Trump’s odds of speaking directly with Mueller’s team. “I would like to,” Trump said Thursday. Trump reignited the original speculation of a Mueller takedown by embracing former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova as a potential addition to his personal legal team, perhaps as his public champion. DiGenova has been advancing a theory that Trump was framed by FBI agents who hoped to prevent him from becoming president, which is enough to make cautious gamblers bet that firing Mueller is about as likely as Duke making the Final Four. We anticipate with relish diGenova’s future cable show appearance, where he will surely provide extended explanations of his FBI theories.

Trudging through the scandal’s random ash and debris, we keep our senses alert for the descent of the next bomb, sure to kick up more of the same. That instrument, which will have Mueller’s signature on it, will add 10-fold, maybe 100-fold to the rubble. Will Mueller be obliterated before he can vanquish Trump? Or can we anticipate mutually assured destruction?


Send fallout shelter blueprints to My email alerts saythat if we have enough shovels, we’ll all survive. My Twitter has eaten all its stocked canned goods. My RSS feed says, “Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.”

Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.

French police officer wounded in supermarket attack dies

Gendarme Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame was shot in the supermarket in the town of Trèbes on Friday after taking the place of a hostage | Pascal Pavani/AFP via Getty Images

President Emmanuel Macron praises gendarme as hero.



A French police officer who exchanged himself for a hostage during a siege at a supermarket in southwestern France died overnight, officials said Saturday.

Gendarme Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 45, was shot in the supermarket in the town of Trèbes on Friday after taking the place of a female hostage. The attacker also killed two other people at the market and killed another person earlier in the day while stealing a car in Carcassone.

French police killed the attacker, identified as Redouane Lakdim, on Friday. Lakdim had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, and prosecutors are treating the case as terrorism.

Authorities arrested a woman who “shared the life” of Lakdim, prosecutor François Molins told reporters. On Saturday, authorities said they arrested a second person, a minor, who was a friend of the attacker.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Beltrame had “fallen as a hero,” adding in a statement to French media that the gendarme had shown “exceptional courage and self-sacrifice.”

Beltrame “died for his country,” tweeted Interior Minister Gérard Collomb on Saturday. “Never will France forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice.”