“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially two-and-a-half weeks to turn everything around,” said one White House official. “This is going to be a monumental task.”
The ever-present focus on Priebus was on full display during a communications office meeting last month. Press secretary Sean Spicer, a Priebus lieutenant, became so visibly upset over a story about the chief of staff that some were startled by his reaction, according to a person familiar with the matter. (Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, denied that happened, and dismissed the notion that the press office had taken extra steps to protect Priebus.)
Last week, after Spicer became aware that information had leaked out of a planning meeting with about a dozen of his communications staffers, he reconvened the group in his office to express his frustration over the number of private conversations and meetings that were showing up in unflattering news stories, according to sources in the room.
Upon entering Spicer’s office for what one person briefed on the gathering described as “an emergency meeting,” staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.
1/31/2017: White House ices out CNN
The White House has refused to send its spokespeople or surrogates onto CNN shows, effectively icing out the network from on-air administration voices.
“We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” said a White House official, acknowledging that CNN is not such a place, but adding that the ban is not permanent.
A CNN reporter, speaking on background, was more blunt: The White House is trying to punish the network and force down its ratings.
“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter said.
One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.
Still, according to sources, we can figure that the Post newsroom will grow by more than 60 jobs — or 8 percent — an astounding number in this day and age. Such contrarian additions, of course, come at a time when newsroom staff reductions are the rule across daily journalism.
10/28/2016: The moments Pence’s plane flirted with disaster
POLITICO spoke with six people who were aboard the plane, granting anonymity in some cases so they could speak candidly.
The Republican National Committee is taking the weekend to reevaluate its strategy while lawyers examine the legal hurdles to replacing Donald Trump with another nominee, according to Republicans in touch with the committee.
6/18/2016: Apple won’t aid GOP convention over Trump
Apple has told Republican leaders it will not provide funding or other support for the party’s 2016 presidential convention, as it’s done in the past, citing Donald Trump’s controversial comments about women, immigrants and minorities.
Unlike Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which have all said they will provide some support to the GOP event in Cleveland next month, Apple decided against donating technology or cash to the effort, according to two sources familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.
Ironically, the presumptive nominee’s own toxicity is making the job of finding a vice presidential nominee that much easier, because the short list is so short. Multiple high-level Republican sources said it is topped by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions a distant third and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin also in the mix.
5/31/2016: Shady accounting underpins Trump’s wealth
“I know Donald, I’ve known him a long time, and it gets under his skin if you start writing about the reasons he won’t disclose his returns,” said one prominent hedge fund manager who declined to be identified by name so as not to draw Trump’s ire. “You would see that he doesn’t have the money that he claims to have and he’s not paying much of anything in taxes.”
Another source is identified as “another ultra-high net worth individual who also reviewed the filings and declined to be identified by name to avoid Trump’s wrath.”
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will lease the 8,200-square-foot mansion owned by Joe Lockhart and Giovanna Gray after the first family leaves the White House in January, sources told POLITICO Playbook on Wednesday.
Donald Trump’s newly empowered chief strategist sought to convince top GOP congressional officials on Capitol Hill that Trump can compete for the Latino vote, exploit Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses and become a Reagan-esque figure in the party, according to attendees and sources familiar with the meeting.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday will announce a decision to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill and put leaders of the movement to give women the right to vote on the back of the bill, sources tell POLITICO.
Treasury will also announce that it plans to replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, the sources said. There will also be changes to the $5 bill to depict civil rights era leaders.
Donald Trump’s campaign overhaul has inflamed an internecine struggle among three of his closest advisors, creating an atmosphere that multiple sources likened to a political “Hunger Games.”
According to interviews with more than a dozen people on or close to the campaign, staffers are increasingly dividing themselves into competing factions aligned with Trump’s three top officials …
Few named sources in this piece.
4/5/2015: Trump campaign in disarray
“Presidential campaigns are a team sport, and he doesn’t have that mentality,” one high-level GOP operative said. “That’s why they’re missing a lot of these opportunities that are passing them by. [Trump] might be a great quarterback, but every quarterback still needs a strong offensive line.”
It’s unclear whether Cruz’s campaign brass views a partnership with Rubio as realistic or quixotic. In Rubio’s orbit, according to three sources, it’s seen as an outright nonstarter — with Rubio telling his team he isn’t interested.
Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords will endorse Hillary Clinton, a person familiar with her plans confirmed.
With his blessing, confidants to Vice President Joe Biden have begun strategizing about travel to early primary states and identified potential donors who could bankroll a campaign even as he remains undecided about whether to pull the trigger on a late-entry 2016 run for president.
The moves are a sign that after months of speculation, Biden is taking a few significant if small steps toward a presidential campaign, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
Donald Trump made the surprising announcement Saturday afternoon that he was firing his top adviser, Roger Stone, but, hours before that, the political consultant’s friends told POLITICO that he was actually quitting.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will jump into the crowded Republican presidential field on July 21 at the student union at his alma mater, The Ohio State University, in Columbus, advisers tell POLITICO.
Status: We’ll find out on July 21.
Chris Christie is in the final stages of preparing his 2016 presidential bid, with a formal announcement possible as soon as next week, according to several sources familiar with the discussions.
Status: We might find out next week.
6/9/2015: Behind the Jeb Bush campaign shake-up
“The leading cause of professional death in the Jeb Bush entourage is Sally’s inability to control you,” said a political operative who has worked with Bradshaw in the past. “But she is fiercely loyal to Jeb, the point of the spear, no nonsense.”
The changes at the top weren’t the only recent personnel moves. Matt Lira, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee official and one of the party’s top digital strategists, decided to depart recently under unclear circumstances. Lira, according to a source, felt that the Bush campaign was too focused on TV advertising and not enough on building a digital presence – which is what he’d planned to do. Bush’s team would only say that Lira had done some work for the political team, but it wouldn’t say what that was or why he left.
As in any campaign reshuffling, there are conflicting accounts about the level of squabbling and back-stabbing that took place, but most sources familiar with the campaign’s inner workings agreed that both Kochel and Bradshaw had different personalities that sometimes didn’t mix.
4/30/2015: Clinton Foundation in campaign tailspin
A handful of deep-pocketed donors are reconsidering their gifts to the $2 billion Clinton Foundation amid mounting questions about how it’s spending their money and suggestions of influence peddling, according to donors and others familiar with the foundation’s fundraising.
One major donor who contributed at least $500,000 to the foundation last year said a 2015 donation is less likely because of revelations about sloppy record-keeping and huge payments for travel and administrative costs.
“There are a lot of factors and the reputational is among them,” said the donor, who did not want to be identified discussing philanthropic plans that have not been finalized. “We had some questions about how the money was being spent — and that was long before the problems were in the press.”
Some Times reporters view the agreement as unusual, sources there said.
Status: Several unnamed sources in this story.
President Barack Obama held a private meeting with reporters and liberal columnists at the White House on Monday to discuss the administration’s Iran policy, sources with knowledge of the meeting told the On Media blog.
4/6/2015: Rand Paul and the media: No love story
“He still has pretty thin skin when things get tough,” one reporter who has covered Paul for years and asked to speak on background said. “He doesn’t hide his displeasure and anger very well and that can do you in. He’s probably overly sensitive to some of the coverage.”
Another reporter for a major national paper wondered whether Paul, an ophthalmologist, suffers from what a lot of doctors experience, “a sense of never being questioned in their professional lives.”
Status: Unverified opinion/speculation
But other sources with knowledge of the plan characterize it as more aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the dream presidential candidate for many Democracy Alliance members, than with Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate. And for some liberals, it foreshadows an emerging rift that could hamper efforts up and down the ballot in 2016, and possibly lay the groundwork for a liberal version of the tea party, resulting in years of factionalism.
Sources say the club invited former Secretary of State Clinton to speak behind closed doors at the San Francisco meeting, which runs April 12-15 at the Four Seasons hotel. She declined, citing a scheduling conflict — perhaps not surprising, given that she’s expected to launch her presidential campaign around that time. Sources say the group might ask her to record a video message, but Clinton’s office had no knowledge of such plans.
Some of the security deficit for Clinton’s BlackBerry can be attributed to predictable differences between an enterprise security system managed by a staff of IT professionals and a homebrew system like Clinton’s, administered by an individual or a small staff, people familiar with BlackBerry enterprise security told POLITICO.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid voluntarily interviewed with Justice Department lawyers and FBI agents a year ago as they were investigating Sen. Robert Menendez for possible corruption, according to sources familiar with the matter.
There is no indication that authorities believe Reid acted improperly or that he might be ensnared in the case: He hasn’t met with investigators since he spoke with them in the spring of 2014, or appeared before a grand jury looking into the allegations against Menendez, the sources said.
2/8/2015: The Brian Williams plan: Wait and hope
The plan was an effort to buy time for NBC, according to people with knowledge of the situation.