DNC CONVENTION BUZZ … Our sources tell us MILWAUKEE is the odds-on favorite for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. (John Bresnahan’s sources tell him this too.) Houston and Miami are also still in the hunt, and all three cities have been asked to move forward with a master contract. Officials are pushing ahead to secure convention hotel rates, and representatives from all three cities were in D.C. last week delivering their final pitches.
— PLUSES FOR MILWAUKEE: DNC CHAIR TOM PEREZ has a personal connection to the city. His wife went to high school there and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The two were also married in Milwaukee.
— THERE’S ALSO THE POLITICAL FACTOR: Democrats need to win Wisconsin in 2020. The city has a new arena that has a lot of open space around it that could add some flexibility for planning and events.
— NEGATIVES FOR MILWAUKEE: There’s always concern about fundraising and having enough hotels when party committees look to second-tier cities.
— THE TIMELINE: We expect a decision to be made public in the next two to three weeks.
— THE DNC says that Perez has not made a decision on where the convention will be.
VIRGINIAN-PILOT: “Governor in ‘clearly racist’ photo; vows to serve out term amid calls for resignation,” by Marie Albiges, Gordon Rago and Elisha Sauers: “A photo from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook shows him and another person in racist costumes — one wearing blackface and one a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, though it was not clear which person was the future governor.
“Hours after the 35-year-old photo came to light Friday, Northam apologized for his decision to appear in it. Elected officials and activist groups from across the political spectrum called for him to resign.
“But in a video posted to Twitter Friday evening, Northam said he had spent the past year ‘fighting for a Virginia that works better for all people’ and he would continue to do so throughout the rest of his term, which ends in January 2022. ‘I accept responsibility for my past actions, and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust,’ he said.” Virginian-Pilot … His video apology
— WASHINGTON POST: “Calls for his resignation, which began as a trickle, turned into a torrent as the night progressed. Late Friday, even his most trusted allies called for him to step down, including his onetime partner, former governor Terry McAuliffe (D), state Senate and House Democrats, Virginia’s legislative Black Caucus and Planned Parenthood. Pressure built, too, from national Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio. …
“Several Democratic members of Virginia’s congressional delegation also called for Northam to resign, including Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria and A. Donald McEachin, who is African American and served with Northam in the state Senate.” WaPo
— RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH EDITORIAL: “Northam must resign”: “Gov. Ralph Northam has served his nation and commonwealth with admirable distinction and dedication. So it gives us no pleasure to see his rapid fall from grace.
“He is by all accounts a decent and considerate man. And yet, his poor judgment has undermined his standing with Virginians in ways that we believe will permanently impair his ability to act as an effective governor. He should resign and return to his profession as a physician, with the thanks of those he has served as a state senator, lieutenant governor, and for the past year, governor.” RTD
— CBS’ GRACE SEGERS: “CBS News uncovered a page from Northam’s yearbook at the Virginia Military Institute which had nicknames listed underneath his name. One of them was ‘Coonman,’ a racial slur.” CBS
Good Saturday morning. THE PRESIDENT is in Palm Beach today. … PALM BEACH POST FRONT PAGE: “Experts: Stone’s arrest was typical”
THE NATS are banning backpacks from Nats Park. Team statement
BIG SCOOP … WAPO’S SEAN SULLIVAN, ERICA WERNER and SEUNG MIN KIM: “McConnell privately cautions Trump about emergency declaration on border wall”: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned President Trump privately this week about the consequences of declaring a national emergency to build his border wall, telling him the move could trigger political blowback and divide the GOP, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the exchange.
“McConnell (R-Ky.) told Trump that Congress might end up passing a resolution disapproving the emergency declaration, the people said — which would force the president to contemplate issuing his first veto ever, in the face of opposition from his own party.
“McConnell delivered the message during a face-to-face meeting with the president Tuesday at the White House, according to the Republicans, who requested anonymity to describe the encounter. The two men met alone and conversed with no aides present. Their meeting was not publicly announced.” WaPo
WAPO’S DAVID NAKAMURA and JOSH DAWSEY: “Trump to offer ‘aspirational,’ ‘visionary’ path in State of the Union address”: “In his third prime-time address to the nation from the House chambers, Trump will call on Congress to work with him on initiatives around infrastructure and health care, while also reaffirming his strategy to toughen immigration enforcement, confront China on trade and actively intervene in the political upheaval in Venezuela, aides said in previewing the speech Friday.
“Trump will make an appeal for bipartisan support, the aides said, despite the heightened acrimony in the nation’s capital as the White House has engaged in a fierce standoff with Democrats over the president’s efforts to build a border wall. The speech comes after Trump began his third year in office last month during a partial government shutdown that ended only after the president set a Feb. 15 ultimatum to get his wall — with a threat to declare a national emergency if he is rebuffed.
“‘Together we can break decades of political stalemate,’ Trump plans to say, according to an excerpt of his prepared remarks offered by a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.’” WaPo
JOSH GERSTEIN: “Mueller role confirmed in subpoena battle with mystery firm”: “Attorneys from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office are the prosecutors locked in a mysterious grand jury subpoena fight that a state-owned foreign company has taken all the way to the Supreme Court, court records now confirm.
“A docket unsealed by the U.S. District Court in Washington shows two prosecutors from Mueller’s office, Scott Meisler and Zainab Ahmad, are handling the dispute on behalf of the special counsel.
“The country and the company resisting Mueller’s demand for information have still not been publicly identified, but the district court and a federal appeals court confirmed this week that Atlanta-based Alston and Bird is representing the firm at the center of the fight. Alston and Bird’s clients have included Russian interests including a Russian oligarch, although it’s unclear if the present fight involves a company from Russia or elsewhere.” POLITICO
2020 WATCH — “Elizabeth Warren Apologizes to Cherokee Nation for DNA Test,” by NYT’s Astead W. Herndon: “Senator Elizabeth Warren has tried to put a nagging controversy behind her by apologizing privately to a leader of the Cherokee Nation for her decision to take a DNA test to prove her Native American ancestry last year, a move that had angered some tribal leaders and ignited a significant political backlash.
“But mixed reactions among prominent Native American critics Friday suggested that Ms. Warren might still have further to go. Some Native American leaders gave her credit for the apology and political figures, for the most part, played down the issue. But others remain unsatisfied.” NYT
— WSJ’S JULIE BYKOWICZ: “[FEC] filings showed that in the first 15 hours after announcing her 2020 presidential exploratory committee, Ms. Warren raised just under $300,000 online through the fundraising platform ActBlue—less than one-third the $1 million in online donations that rival hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris said she raised in her first 12 hours as a candidate.” WSJ
— L.A. TIMES’ EVAN HALPER: “Why one of California’s most influential donors stepped off the sidelines for Kamala Harris”: “It did not take a lot of coaxing and lobbying and pleading to bring San Francisco philanthropist Susie Tompkins Buell, one of the most influential Democratic fundraisers in California, off the sidelines of the party’s presidential primary.
“It happened much the way it did when the 76-year-old co-founder of clothing makers Esprit and North Face jumped into presidential politics for the first time 28 years ago. Back then, a chance meeting with Bill Clinton inspired her. She wrote a $100,000 check on the spot.
“On Sunday, Buell attended the rally Sen. Kamala Harris held in Oakland, and once again she was inspired, Buell said. Her gut was her guide: Harris would be getting her backing. On Friday, Buell, who had been avoiding choosing among presidential hopefuls in a race in which she has ties with several of the candidates, announced to her associates and friends that she was throwing her formidable support behind Harris. … ‘I have not spoken to Hillary about it, but there is no doubt in my mind that she is not going to run,’ said Buell. ‘She is not. I would know about it if she was.’” LAT
ELENA SCHNEIDER in Des Moines: “‘They’re all calling me’: 2020 hopefuls woo House freshmen”: “At the largest event of her first trip to Iowa, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took several minutes backstage to buttonhole Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), the two women leaning in close to hear each other over the din of hundreds of protesters inside the Iowa State Capitol building. Gillibrand and Axne just exchanged pleasantries at the Iowa Women’s March, where they both spoke, according to their camps.
“But it’s becoming a familiar scene for the half-dozen House freshmen who hail from the four early presidential caucus and primary states, who are getting out-sized attention from the sprawling crowd of Democratic presidential hopefuls.
“The courting started in 2018, when national Democrats with an eye on the White House signed email solicitations and flew in for high-profile campaign visits — Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), who won perhaps House Democrats’ biggest upset in 2018, had Vice President Joe Biden, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti all come to his aid last year.
“But Democratic presidential candidates’ pursuit of these early-state representatives has already gotten unusually intense, according to national and local operatives, as a sprawling field of presidential contenders look for the local cred or leg up in Iowa that could provide a critical boost to their campaign.” POLITICO
MICHAEL GRUNWALD in NEWARK in POLITICO Magazine, “Is Cory Booker for Real?: How an ambitious future presidential contender who grew up in a white suburb moved to the projects—and won over critics who thought he was a phony. Can he do it again?”
— TRUMP to CBS’s Margaret Brennan (A Stamford native!): “President Trump said Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who just announced he’s running for president, has ‘no chance’ in the 2020 election, in an exclusive interview with CBS News ‘Face the Nation’ host Margaret Brennan. ‘I say no chance,’ Mr. Trump said of Booker, who announced his campaign on Friday. When asked why, Mr. Trump replied: ‘Because I know him. He has no chance.’” CBS
— NOLAN MCCASKILL in Newark: “Booker holds court in Newark — and breaks with Harris, Sanders”: “Speaking to reporters outside his home here on his first day as a presidential candidate, Booker distinguished himself from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a potential primary opponent who explicitly called President Donald Trump ‘a racist’ on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He also broke with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who embraced eliminating private health insurance during a CNN town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday.
“Booker said Trump has said bigoted things but declined to call the president a racist. ‘I don’t know the heart of anybody,’ said Booker, who stammered and paused before answering. ‘I’ll leave that to the Lord.’” POLITICO
NSC ARRIVAL LOUNGE – “Author of controversial Nunes memo joining National Security Council,” by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Jeremy Herb: “A congressional aide who was key in crafting the controversial Republican House Intelligence Committee memo that accused FBI and Justice Department officials of abusing their surveillance authority is set to join the National Security Council … Kashyap Patel, a senior staffer for Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, has been hired to join the NSC’s International Organizations and Alliances directorate.” CNN
WAPO’S PAUL KANE: “House Democrats dig in as the majority, with focus on agenda and Trump”: “In some ways, the 116th Congress didn’t really start until last Tuesday. For almost four weeks prior, Pelosi fought with Trump over the shutdown in something that felt like a long overtime battle from last year. The House committees largely stood silent as they filled out their rosters with new members and first-time chairmen plotted their agenda.
“Now, the chairmen are on the move, both in hearings to advance their legislative goals and in hauling administration officials to the witness stand. The two years ahead came into clearer focus, with Trump’s standing in the Capitol relegated to two things he has been reluctant to do so far — play defense or compromise.” WaPo
THE JUICE …
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY is starting a new joint-fundraising committee called Take Back the House. The committee will funnel money to 79 entities, including McCarthy’s re-elect, his leadership PAC, 59 incumbents who got less than 56 percent of the vote, the NRCC and 17 state parties.
MEDIAWATCH – WELCOME GRAYDON! — “Graydon Carter Joins the Newsletter Brigade,” by NYT’s Alex Williams: “Graydon Carter, the former editor of Vanity Fair, is starting Air Mail, an all-digital international news platform intended for worldly cosmopolitans, with Alessandra Stanley, who was a longtime critic and reporter for The New York Times. Beginning this summer, Air Mail will be packaged as a weekly newsletter, featuring magazine-length original articles sent to subscribers on Saturday at 6 a.m. Stories and original podcasts will also be available on a website: AirMail.news.” NYT
— “The Washington Post creates its first Super Bowl spot,” by WaPo’s Maura Judkis: “The 60-second spot, narrated by actor Tom Hanks, will air in the fourth quarter of the game, shortly before the two-minute warning. The commercial … shows scenes from major news events from World War II through the present day. Hanks’s narration describes the role of journalists as eyewitnesses and gatherers of fact, as well as the profession’s larger importance to society.” WaPo
— “McClatchy offers buyouts to 10 percent of staff,” by Poynter’s Tom Jones: “McClatchy CEO Craig Forman sent an email Friday to about 10 percent of the newspaper chain’s employees, offering voluntary buyouts. The 10 percent represents about 450 employees. … What wasn’t immediately known was what would happen if less than 10 percent accepted the buyout.” Poynter
TRUMP INC. – “Undocumented Workers Lose Their Jobs at Yet Another Trump Property,” by NYT’s Miriam Jordan and Ben Protess: “President Trump’s family business has employed undocumented workers more broadly than it was previously believed, with multiple workers losing their jobs last month at a Trump golf club in southern New Jersey.
“The club in Pine Hill, N.J., known as the Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia, was the third Trump property where undocumented workers have been fired since The New York Times reported in December that the Trump club in Bedminster, N.J., for years employed immigrants who were in the country unlawfully.” NYT
— POLITICO MAGAZINE — “How Mar-a-Lago Taught Trump to Play Politics: When Trump dropped the outsider act and became a glad-handing politico—and a crusader against anti-Semitism,” by Laurence Leamer, in an adaptation of “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace”.
FOR YOUR RADAR — “Russia to pull plug on nuclear arms pact after U.S. does same,” by AP’s Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow: “Following in the footsteps of the U.S., Russia will abandon a centerpiece nuclear arms treaty but will only deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles if Washington does so, President Vladimir Putin said Saturday. …
“Trump said in a statement that the U.S. will ‘move forward’ with developing its own military response options to Russia’s deployment of banned cruise missiles that could target Western Europe. Moscow has strongly denied any breaches and accused Washington of making false accusations in order to justify its pullout.” AP
YASHAR ALI in HUFFPOST — “Top Schumer Aide Was Pushed Out After Inappropriate Sexual Encounters With Staff”: “HuffPost has learned, through two sources with knowledge of the situation, that [Matt] House was pushed out for allegedly having inappropriate sexual encounters with junior staffers, ending what was a nearly six-year tenure as communications director for the New York Democrat.” HuffPost
CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 11 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
— “The Deported Americans,” by Brooke Jarvis in California Sunday: “More than 600,000 U.S.-born children of undocumented parents live in Mexico. What happens when you return to a country you’ve never known?” California Sunday
— “Meth, Murder, and Pirates: The Coder Who Became a Crime Boss,” by Evan Ratliff in Wired: “In his world, everything was for sale. Pure methamphetamine manufactured in North Korea. Yachts built to outrun coast guards. Police protection and judges’ favor. Crates of military-grade weapons. Private jets full of gold. Missile-guidance systems. Unbreakable encryption.” Wired (h/t Longform.org)
— “The Personal Toll of Whistle-Blowing,” by Sheelah Kolhatkar in the New Yorker: “Why one physician took the risk of becoming an F.B.I. informant to expose alleged Medicare fraud.” New Yorker
— “Into the dark,” by Shannon Gormley in Macleans – per Longreads.com’s description: “There were four options for getting the trapped Thai soccer players out of the flooded cave: the unrealistic one, the deadly one, the torturous one, and the mad one. Sometimes, madness works.” Macleans
— “A Grand Plan to Clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” by the New Yorker’s Carolyn Kormann: “Can a controversial young entrepreneur rid the ocean of plastic trash?” New Yorker
— “Without a Trace: Missing, in an age of mass displacement,” by Matthew Wolfe in Harpers – per Longreads.com’s description: “Masood Hotak left Afghanistan in December 2015, hoping to make it to Europe. On January 3, 2016, he posted on Facebook that he’d reached the Greek island of Samos. And then … nothing. His big brother Javed has traveled thousands of miles trying to find him.” Harpers
— “You Know the Lorena Bobbitt Story. But Not All of It,” by NYT’s Amy Chozick in Manassas, Va.: “In the 1990s, she was the topic of tabloid headlines and comedy skits. Now, as a documentary series takes on the story, she opens up about how that one night changed her life.” NYT
— “TAKEN: How police departments make millions by seizing property,” by The Greenville News’ Anna Lee and Nathaniel Cary and Mike Ellis: “In South Carolina, civil forfeiture targets black people’s money most of all, exclusive investigative data shows.” Greenville News (h/t Longform.org)
— “The Family Business That Put Nashville Hot Chicken on the Map,” by Paige Williams in the New Yorker: “An African-American-owned restaurant began making the spicy dish eighty years ago. Now it’s a viral sensation. Who’s getting the big money?” New Yorker
— “‘Why did you do this?’” by WaPo’s Jessica Contrera in Broward County, Fla.: “His brother confessed to gunning down 17 people in Parkland. But he’s the only family Zach Cruz has left.” WaPo
SPOTTED at Union Trust on Friday: Kellyanne Conway. Walking outside at the same time: Brian Fallon … Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) at Bone’s in Atlanta for lunch
SPOTTED at former chief of protocol Lloyd Hand’s 90th birthday party at the home of Adrienne Arsht: Ann Hand, former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), Mac and Donna McLarty, Lucky Roosevelt, Capricia Marshall, David Rubenstein, Wayne and Catherine Reynolds, Buffy Cafritz, Calvin and Jane Cafritz, Chuck and Lynda Robb, Kevin Chaffee, Roxanne Roberts, Joan Fleischmann Tobin, Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Marcelle Leahy, British Amb. Sir Kim Darroch and Lady Darroch, Jordanian Amb. Dina Kawar, Robert and Dr. Elena Allbritton, Barbie Allbritton, Vernon and Ann Jordan and Colin and Alma Powell.
BIRTHDAYS: NBC News’ Carrie Dann … Gabriella Uli of WH cabinet affairs … Drew Walker of the White House … Michael Luo, editor of NewYorker.com … Teddy Downey, CEO and executive editor of the Capitol Forum (hat tip: Blain Rethmeier) … The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins … Paul Bedard … Andy Hemming, senior consultant at public affairs and strategic comms firm Red Flag, is 33 … The Hill’s Reid Wilson (h/t Tim Burger) … Caroline Frattaroli … ESA alum Nika Nour … Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is 67 … Robin Gilchrist … Barry Diller is 77 … Dan Knight of CLS Strategies … Aaron Keyak, managing director and co-founder of Bluelight Strategies … Anita Ford … Emily Howell … Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) is 72 … Adrienne Lee Benson … Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy … Sam Schifrin, an LA for Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), is 3-0 …
… LA Times’ Ben Oreskes … Howard Rubenstein is 87 … Bobby Whithorne, director of North America comms at GoFundMe … RGA’s Amanda Kitchen O’Malley (hubby tip: Devin O’Malley) … Kristina Baum … Jen Duck … Grace Embler … Sean Evins, government and politics outreach manager at Facebook, is 33 … Ellen Malcolm, founder and board chair of EMILY’s List (h/t Jon Haber) … Ben Lacy, an alum of ABC News and NBC News … Clare Randt … Mina Sharif … Nicky Sampogna … Haley Ast … Fred McClure … Traci Kraus … Jonathan Mudd … Cody Johnson … Sally Albright … Ahmir Rashid … David Pakman is 35 … Lance Khazei.
THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Austin:
“Face the Nation”: President Donald Trump (taped) … James Brown … Jarrett Bell … Jason Gay … Dana Jacobson (live from Atlanta)
“Meet the Press”: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) … Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) … John Brennan and Michael Leiter. Panel: Hallie Jackson, Maria Teresa Kumar, Mark Leibovich and Rich Lowry
“This Week”: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) … Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) … Pete Buttigieg … Nate Silver. Panel: Matthew Dowd, Pam Bondi, Sara Fagen, Patrick Gaspard and Maggie Haberman
“Fox News Sunday”: Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) … Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) … Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Panel: Jason Chaffetz, Liz Marlantes, Jonah Goldberg and Mo Elleithee
“State of the Union”: Terry McAuliffe … Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Panel: Karen Finney, Scott Jennings, Linda Chavez and Bakari Sellers
“Inside Politics”: Panel: Julie Pace, Jonathan Martin, Jennifer Jacobs and Manu Raju
“Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) … Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) … Sinovation Ventures chairman and CEO Kai-Fu Lee … Mark Morgan
“MediaBuzz”: Emily Jashinsky … Capri Cafaro … Kristina Partsinevelos … Ben Domenech … Mara Liasson … Cathy Areu … Britt McHenry
“Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Panel: Tony Blinken, Richard Haass and Anne McElvoy… Vice News’ “Chapo: Kingpin on Trial” podcast host Keegan Hamilton … Anand Giridharadas
“Reliable Sources”: Panel: Howard Dean, Juana Summers and Jackie Kucinich … David Zurawik and David Folkenflik
“Al Punto”: Undocumented employees fired from Trump Golf Club Gabriel Sedano and Margarita Cruz … Rep.Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) … White House NSC Western Hemisphere Affairs senior director Mauricio Claver-Carone … Amb. of Venezuela to the Lima Group Julio Borges … Ernesto Rivas … Tom Perez … David Bisbal
“The Communicators”: Makan Delrahim and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Corey Thomas … “Newsmakers”: Matt Schlapp, questioned by Alexis Simendinger and Gabby Orr … “Q&A”: former federal prosecutors Ron Liebman and Tim Baker
“Kasie DC”: Rep.Tom Cole (R-Okla.) … Alexi McCammond … David Drucker… Maria Teresa Kumar … Jon Ward … Ken Vogel … Julie Rovner … Geoff Bennett
“Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher or listen at MackOnPolitics.com): Steve Kornacki