NEWS … THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE posted its best January fundraising haul ever, pulling in $5.58 million, according to a committee aide. The NRSC has some tough races to defend in 2020, including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Georgia Sen. David Perdue.
ALEX ISENSTADT: “‘A vastly different operation’: Trump campaign tries un-Trumpian approach to 2020”: “President Donald Trump is assembling a sprawling, corporate-style reelection campaign with 10 divisions reporting to a single senior adviser, campaign manager Brad Parscale — a top-down structure that represents everything Trump’s improvisational 2016 effort was not.
“The organization, described in interviews by a half-dozen Trump top political aides, prioritizes the campaign’s digital- and data-focused strategy, in keeping with Parscale’s expertise. The campaign has hired more than 30 full-time staffers so far and has begun building out a surrogate network devoted exclusively to putting pro-Trump talking heads on TV and radio and in newspaper op-eds — a move that reflects Trump’s fixation with how he’s portrayed in the media.
“Nearly a dozen top advisers briefed Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the emerging structure Tuesday evening at the White House. The setup has the hallmarks of a more traditional campaign associated with a president running for reelection. But coming from this ad-lib president — whose 2016 effort was wracked by constant infighting that spilled into the press, no apparent organizational structure, and unclear lines of authority — it marks a major departure from business as usual.” POLITICO
THE SNOW IS COMING! … METRO: “Metrorail service will operate every 12 minutes on each line Wednesday to allow deicing equipment to operate between passenger trains and to match significantly reduced ridership demand in the morning. Service levels may be increased during the day if conditions allow.”
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is closed.
… CAPITAL WEATHER GANG: “The snow should accumulate at least a few inches during the morning hours, with 2 to 4 inches expected in the immediate metro area, 3 to 6 as you head north and west of the Beltway, and 1 to 3 as you head south and east of the Beltway. A heavier initial burst or a later-than-anticipated changeover to sleet could exceed these totals, while a lighter initial burst or earlier changeover to sleet could fall short of these totals.” WaPo
THE BIG STORY … NYT A1: “Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him,” by Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nick Fandos and Mike Schmidt. A1 PDF
— IN THE NYT STORY: “As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.
“Mr. Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to ‘jump on a grenade’ for the president, knew he could not put Mr. Berman in charge because Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.
“Trying to install a perceived loyalist atop a widening inquiry is a familiar tactic for Mr. Trump, who has been struggling to beat back the investigations that have consumed his presidency. His efforts have exposed him to accusations of obstruction of justice as Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finishes his work investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
WHOA … “Deutsche Bank Weighed Restructuring Trump Loans on Default Risk,” by Bloomberg’s Gavin Finch, Steven Arons, and Shahien Nasiripour: “Top Deutsche Bank AG executives were so concerned after the 2016 U.S. election that the Trump Organization might default on about $340 million of loans while Donald Trump was in office that they discussed extending repayment dates until after the end of a potential second term in 2025, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.” Bloomberg
WHO WANTS TO BE THE NEXT D.N.I.? … WAPO’S SHANE HARRIS, JOSH DAWSEY and ELLEN NAKASHIMA: “Trump grows frustrated with Coats, leading some to fear he might be fired”: “President Trump has grown increasingly disenchanted with Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, who has served as the nation’s top intelligence official for nearly two years, leading some administration officials to worry he will soon be dismissed, according to people familiar with the matter.
“The president has never seen Coats as a close or trusted adviser, the people said, but he has become more frustrated with him in recent weeks over public statements that Trump sees as undercutting his policy goals, particularly with respect to reaching a disarmament agreement with North Korea.
“The people familiar with the matter … did not believe that Coats would be fired immediately but said that Trump is considering removing him. They also noted that Trump sometimes grows angry with officials but stops short of dismissing them.
“Trump is still ‘enraged’ about Coats’s congressional testimony on national security threats last month, believing that the director undercut the president’s authority when he shared intelligence assessments about Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State that are at odds with many of Trump’s public statements … [P]rivately, the president has continued to fume, and this weekend he told the adviser that Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, is ‘not loyal’ and ‘he’s not on the team.’” WaPo
ON THE BORDER … DAVID SIDERS in El Paso, Texas: “As Beto and Trump trade jabs, immigration takes on bigger role for 2020”: “The feud between President Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke over immigration resumed at a distance on Tuesday, driving the politics of a border wall further into the 2020 presidential campaign. …
“Tying his political identity to this heavily Hispanic, heavily Democratic region of the Southwest, the former Texas congressman has seized on Trump’s border politics to create an opening for himself in the Democratic primary. In a speech accepting El Paso Inc.’s ‘El Pasoan of the Year’ award on Tuesday, he said that on issues ranging from climate change to immigration, ‘El Paso is the answer.’” POLITICO
— WAPO’S MARIA SACCHETTI at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Ariz.: “‘You want a cookie?’: As families arrive en masse, border agents offer snacks and medical checks”: “The deaths of two Guatemalan children in December and the massive groups of Central American families crossing the border are increasingly transforming the Border Patrol’s role from national security to humanitarian relief, even as President Trump declares the situation a national emergency.
“Well over half the people taken into custody in recent months have been parents and children, with hundreds surrendering at a time, often in isolated locations. In other cases, youths such as Marco are dropped off by themselves. More than 1,800 Central American parents and children, a record high, crossed illegally last week on the day Trump went to El Paso to tout the need for a border wall.” WaPo
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: JAY TIMMONS, head of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS, is headed to McAllen, Texas, to meet with Catholic Charities Executive Director of the Rio Grande Valley Sister Norma Pimentel and law enforcement officials to discuss a pathway forward for immigration policy. The visit comes after NAM put out its own comprehensive immigration plan last week. Timmons will also deliver his annual “State of Manufacturing” address at 10 a.m. at Lone Star College in Houston. Livestream
REPUBLICANS LIKE THE WALL, via Steven Shepard and the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll: “Most Republicans back Trump’s decision, however: 77 percent support the emergency declaration, compared with 18 percent who oppose it. But majorities of Democrats (81 percent) and independents (52 percent) oppose the president’s invoking the emergency provision.” POLITICO
ANDREW DESIDERIO: “‘Tom who?’: Dems brush off Steyer’s impeachment push”
2020 WATCH … STAFFING UP — “Bernie Sanders Hires Top Progressive Advocate, Faiz Shakir, as Campaign Manager,” by The Daily Beast’s Gideon Resnick, Spencer Ackerman and Sam Stein: “Sanders (I-VT) has tapped Faiz Shakir to serve as his campaign manager for his second run at the White House …
“Shakir joins the Sanders operation from the American Civil Liberties Union where he served as national political director since early 2017. Before joining the ACLU, he was a senior adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and before that he worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He first made a name for himself as an editor at the website ThinkProgress.” The Daily Beast
— HUFFPOST’S DANIEL MARANS (@danielmarans): “Sanders campaign has now raised over $3.3 million from over 120,000 donors, per campaign spokesman.”
THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY … NBC’S KASIE HUNT spoke with SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CALIF.) in Manchester, N.H.: HUNT: “Bernie Sanders jumped into the presidential race today. You said that you are not a democratic socialist.” HARRIS: “I am not.” …
HUNT: “Let me ask you about health care. You had said at one point that you thought it would be OK to eliminate private insurance, now I realize that you are on separate bills that would not go that far. Do you think eliminating private insurance would be a socialist idea?”
HARRIS: “No — OK, so, my — I strongly believe that we need to have Medicare for all. And within that system, there –” HUNT: “Do you think that’s socialist or not?” HARRIS: “No, no. It’s about providing health care to all people.”
THE INVESTIGATIONS … DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “‘He’s on edge’: Roger Stone silencing expected after barbed comments”: “Roger Stone scored a small legal victory last Friday, but it only took him four days to blow it. Now, even Stone’s friends expect the longtime Donald Trump associate will get hit with a sweeping gag order preventing him from commenting about his case on Thursday at an emergency hearing in Washington, D.C., that the judge called in the wake of him posting a threatening message about her on Instagram.
“There’s even a worst case scenario in which U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sends the self-proclaimed GOP dirty trickster to jail.” POLITICO
— “AP source: FBI had backup plan to save Russia probe evidence,” by Eric Tucker: “The plan was crafted in the chaotic days after Comey was fired, when the FBI began investigating whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice and whether he might be, wittingly or not, in league with the Russians.
“The goal was to ensure that the information collected under the investigations, which included probes of Trump associates and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, would survive the firings or reassignments of top law enforcement officials.” AP
FBI ARRIVAL LOUNGE — NPR’S CARRIE JOHNSON (@johnson_carrie): “FBI Director Chris Wray names Brian P. Hale assistant director of the bureau’s office of public affairs. Hale previously handled communications for the Director of National Intelligence and ICE. He also worked at FBI under former chief Robert Mueller.”
THE CABINET …
— MICHAEL STRATFORD: “Democrats contend DeVos deputy interfered with inspector general probe”: “Congressional Democrats said Tuesday they have uncovered evidence that the Trump administration tried to influence an internal watchdog’s investigation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“Five top House and Senate Democrats said that the Trump administration sought to remove the Education Department’s acting inspector general last month after she pushed back on a request to ‘reconsider’ her investigation into DeVos’ move to reinstate a controversial accreditor of for-profit colleges.” POLITICO
— CNN’S JIM SCIUTTO (@jimsciutto): “New: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated his ethics agreement and submitted a financial disclosure form that ‘was not accurate,’ according to the Office of Government Ethics. Ross reported he had sold bank stock that other reports indicate he did not sell.”
MEDIAWATCH — Alex Levine is joining POLITICO to write the Morning Tech newsletter. Levine comes aboard from the NYT, where she worked on the Metro desk. Levine takes over from Cristiano Lima, who will be one of Pro Tech’s Capitol Hill reporters. Subscribe to Morning Tech
— Peter Nicholas will be a White House correspondent for The Atlantic. He most recently has been a White House correspondent for the WSJ.
TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY — The president is having lunch at 12:30 p.m. with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He will meet with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at 1:50 p.m. in the Oval Office. At 2:10 p.m., they will participate in an expanded bilateral meeting in the Cabinet Room.
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Possible peace declaration looms large over Kim-Trump summit,” by AP’s Eric Talmadge in Tokyo: “With their second summit fast approaching, speculation is growing that President Donald Trump may try to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to commit to denuclearization by giving him something he wants more than almost anything else: an announcement of peace and an end to the Korean War.
“Such an announcement could make history. It would be right in line with Trump’s opposition to ‘forever wars.’ And, coming more than six decades after the fighting essentially ended, it just seems like common sense. But, if not done carefully, it could open up a whole new set of problems for Washington.” AP
— “North Korea’s Kim shuffles nuclear talks team after defections, spying allegations,” by Reuters’ Hyonhee Shin in Seoul
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — CARLA MARINUCCI in Sacramento: “California Republicans look into the abyss”: “California’s establishment Republicans are making their final stand. After decades of decline and a devastating 2018 election that gutted an already decimated state party, the GOP’s more moderate wing is gearing up for a state convention this weekend that some argue is their last opportunity to avert total collapse.
“A battle over the state party chairmanship offers two competing visions for the future. One tightly embraces President Donald Trump, while the other focuses more on the nuts and bolts of party-building and organizing.” POLITICO
SPOTTED: Joe Biden in first class on the 6:15 p.m. Acela from Philly to D.C. He was seen playing cards on his iPhone. Pic with Alex Slater and Elyse Cohen … Jill Biden, seated next to Michelle Kwan, on American flight 163 from DCA to LAX.
TRANSITIONS — Jon Lerner and Robert Spalding have joined the Hudson Institute’s policy team as senior fellows. Lerner most recently was the deputy to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and Spalding was senior director for strategic planning at the NSC. … Reihan Salam will be the next president of the Manhattan Institute. He most recently has been executive editor at National Review and a contributing editor at The Atlantic and National Affairs. N.Y. Post
ENGAGED: Steven Groves, WH deputy press secretary, recently proposed to Caitlin Thompson, director of communications at HUD. The couple, who met while working at Heritage, celebrated with friends and family the following morning at the Four Seasons. Pic
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Lincolnville, Maine, Selectman Jon Fishman turned 54. He’s celebrating with a weekend in Mexico with some friends from UVM.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: David Corn, Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones. What he’s been reading recently: “Recently finished Ron Chernow’s ‘Grant’ and then dove into Jill Lepore’s ‘These Truths.’ Each book depicts the wide gulf between noble American myth and bloody American reality. A good example: the post-Civil War period, when white supremacists in the South conducted vicious racial warfare and slaughtered fellow Americans in large numbers to obtain political power. We have not come to terms with this and so much more.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is 77 … Mark Knoller … NYT photographer Doug Mills … Chris Cillizza, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large … Michael Clemente … Trevor Noah (“The Daily Show”) is 35 … WSJ’s Bob Davis (hat tip: Jon Haber) … POLITICO’s David Cohen … Andrew Hanna … Aaron Wells, partner at Smoot Tewes (h/t Andrew Bates) … Tyler Robinson … Hank and Andrew Baumann … RALLY’s Manny Rivera … POLITICO Europe’s Carmen Paun … David Blair … Dan Gross, former president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence … Stu Spencer … Dylan Matthews is 29 … Ashkon Eslami … Tim Farley, host of “Morning Briefing” on POTUS on Sirius XM radio … Michael Zona, comms director for both Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the Senate Finance Committee (h/t Allie Bedell) …
… Haley Morris, head of public affairs at Waymo … Rebecca Samuels … Katie Frates is 27 (h/ts Chris Bedford and Melissa Brown) … Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First for America … Jason Moyer … Miguel Rodriguez, SVP for government affairs at CAP … Tamara Fucile … Jen Finn … Keosha Johnson … Peter Strauss … Peter and Matthew Slutsky … Caleb Fisher … Bruno Tshibala, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is 63 … Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj is 59 … Greg D’Angelo … Scott Tyre … Kate Henningsen … Natalie Spiess … Charlie Whitehouse … Tommy Kurz-Cosgrove … Zoe Barrett … Camila Balkin … Burke Olsen … Katherine Logan … former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is 68 (h/t Tammy Haddad)