SCOOP: NIKKI HALEY reached out to former President DONALD TRUMP on Wednesday to request a sit-down at Mar-a-Lago, but a source familiar tells Playbook that he turned her down. The two haven’t spoken since the insurrection on Jan. 6, when Haley blasted Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol. Tweet this
The snub comes on the heels of Tim Alberta’s deep dive in POLITICO Magazine last week on Haley’s presidential ambitions and how she’s trying to have it both ways with Trump.
Channeling George Costanza in mid-December, Haley refused to confront Trump over his election lies because he believed they were true. “I understand the president. I understand that genuinely, to his core, he believes he was wronged,” Haley told Alberta. “This is not him making it up.”
After Jan. 6, Haley changed her tune.
“I think he’s going to find himself further and further isolated,” Haley said of the defeated president. “I think his business is suffering at this point. I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving.”
And: “I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”
Haley tried to recover Thursday with a damage-control op-ed in the WSJ wrapped in blame-the-media rhetoric. But Trump, apparently, isn’t having it.
Haley reps didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
LET THEM EAT SNOW — “Barbs fly at Ted Cruz for heading to Cancun as millions in Texas freeze without power,” Dallas Morning News: “As 3 million Texans shivered in the dark, Sen. Ted Cruz jetted off to Cancun with his family, outed instantly by fellow vacationers and berated by critics for abandoning constituents during an epic statewide power crisis.
“Social media photos from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and aboard the flight to the sun-drenched beach resort sprouted Wednesday evening. By Thursday, when temperatures along the Mexico’s Caribbean coast were on track to hit 83 degrees, the pile-on was at full boil.” (Just like Texans’ no-longer-potable water.) … On-flight photo
MEANWHILE … NBC’S @gabegutierrez: “ERCOT officials just said the Texas power grid was seconds or minutes — not hours — away from catastrophic failure if rolling outages had not been imposed starting Sunday night.”
Speaker NANCY PELOSI at her weekly news conference said the House Energy and Commerce Committee will look into the power crisis in Texas. She also said her daughter’s family in Houston lost power and water but is OK.
Pelosi said the House is hoping to bring the Covid relief bill to the floor for a vote by the end of next week, and that there is ongoing communication with the Senate about “what the Byrd rule will allow.”
Asked about the Biden administration’s immigration legislation, Pelosi said it would not necessarily need to go through reconciliation and that a piecemeal approach is a possibility. “How it happens through the legislative process remains to be seen.” 1:13 clip
Pelosi also said the commission investigating the incidents of Jan. 6 should have subpoena power.
2022 WATCH — “Ivanka Trump will not run against Marco Rubio for one of Florida’s Senate seats,” by NYT’s Maggie Haberman: “‘Marco did speak with Ivanka a few weeks ago,’ said Nick Iacovella, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio. ‘Ivanka offered her support for Marco’s re-election. They had a great talk.’
“A person close to Ms. Trump also confirmed the conversation, and said that a Senate run was never something she was seriously considering. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private discussions, said that Mr. Rubio’s office had asked Ms. Trump to hold off on making clear she was not running until April, when they hoped to hold a joint event with her.”
— “Former Ohio Republican Party leader Jane Timken: ‘I would happily accept Trump’s endorsement,’” Cincinnati Enquirer: “Former Ohio Republican Party leader Jane Timken will run for U.S. Senate, setting up a primary battle between loyalists of former President Donald Trump in the state. Timken, 54, told The Enquirer that she launched her bid to replace fellow Republican Rob Portman on Thursday.”
— LYNDA BLANCHARD is officially in for the Alabama Senate race. Announcement video
HERE TO STAY — “AP source: Police suggest keeping Capitol fence for months”: “The police officials suggested that the fence remain in place until September, in part because investigators are tracking continuing threats against lawmakers and the Capitol complex, the person said. The threats range in specificity and credibility, but they include online chatter about extremist groups potentially returning to Washington and to the Capitol in the coming weeks, the person told AP.”
BIDEN GETS BACKUP — “Biden Allies to Launch Advocacy Group to Promote Covid-19 Relief Plan, Other Policies,” WSJ: “The new group [‘Building Back Together’] will be a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which would allow it to operate without disclosing its donors. The administration officials said the organizers haven’t made decisions about the group’s budget and funding, including whether to voluntarily disclose donors. …
“Mr. Biden’s advisers hope to use the outside group to promote his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package to the public and his broader first-term agenda. … The group of Biden associates setting up the nonprofit includes Stephanie Cutter … Patrick Bonsignore … Addisu Demissie … and Matt Barreto.”
THE EMPLOYMENT PICTURE — “U.S. jobless claims jump to 861,000 as layoffs stay high,” AP: “Applications from laid-off workers rose 13,000 from the previous week, which was revised sharply higher … Fraudulent claims may be elevating the totals. Last week, Ohio reported a huge increase in applications and said it had set aside about half the increase for additional review out of concern over fraud.”
— “Should the Feds Guarantee You a Job?” NYT: “[S]ome policymakers are reconsidering a policy tool not deployed since the Great Depression: to have the federal government provide jobs directly to anyone who wants one. … In November, the Carnegie Corporation commissioned a Gallup survey on attitudes about government intervention to provide work opportunities to people who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. It found that 93 percent of respondents thought this was a good idea, including 87 percent of Republicans.
“Even when the pollsters put a hypothetical price tag on the effort— $200 billion or more — almost nine out of 10 respondents said the benefits outweighed the cost. And hefty majorities — of Democrats and Republicans — also preferred government jobs to more generous unemployment benefits.”
IT’S OFFICIAL — “Biden’s immigration bill lands on the Hill facing bleak odds,” by Laura Barron-Lopez, Heather Caygle and Anita Kumar
AD WARS — “A trio of conservative groups tries to torpedo two top Biden nominees,” by Meridith McGraw: “The ad buy … will air across cable news networks in Washington, D.C. and digital platforms starting Thursday. The campaign is being led by the advocacy groups Judicial Crisis Network, Heritage Action for America, and Americans for Public Trust. And it’s being modeled after the effort the groups spearheaded to galvanize support for Trump’s three Supreme Court Justice nominees …
“This time, however, the trio is going negative, hoping to torpedo the confirmations of Vanita Gupta, Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, and Xavier Becerra, the Democratic attorney general of California and nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services. The groups are also putting out a third ad highlighting what they deem to be the role ‘dark money’ played in electing Biden as well as shaping his Cabinet and policies.”
AS DEMS RELEASE THEIR BILL … “Number of Immigrant Families Illegally Crossing U.S. Border Rises to Pre-Covid-19 Levels,” WSJ: “In January, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 7,260 people traveling as families, compared with about 4,500 in December. The last time so many migrant families were arrested was in December 2019. Some of the illegal border crossers say they are coming in anticipation of less harsh treatment by the Biden administration.”
IMPEACHMENT CLICKER — “‘One down, 44 to go’: Inside the House impeachment team’s uphill battle,” WaPo: “Until Trump’s acquittal, many on the House impeachment team had been driven by a surprising sense of optimism that they could win over 67 senators — despite all the political evidence to the contrary.
“It was an outlook fostered by their leader, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), who rallied the group of lawmakers with exhortations that democratic principles would prevail, and the words of Shakespeare and Founding Fathers such as Thomas Paine, the inspiration for the name of his late son. It drove his 11th-hour attempt to bring in witnesses to speak to Trump’s state of mind, a gambit that startled Senate Democrats and Republicans alike and threatened to upend the trial in its final hours.”
FOR YOUR RADAR — “‘Mercenary’ donor to be sentenced in campaign finance scheme,” AP: “A once high-flying political fundraiser who prosecutors say gave illegal campaign contributions to Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham and a host of other U.S. politicians while secretly working for foreign governments is set to be sentenced Thursday. Imaad Zuberi is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles more than a year after he pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion, campaign finance violations and failing to register as a foreign agent.”
UNEXPECTED BOON — “U.S. Treasury reaps a windfall as stock sales surge,” by Brian Faler: “Taxes on capital gains are surging, pouring into government coffers much faster than analysts had expected and propping up federal revenues despite the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it now expects ‘realizations’ — that is, sales of assets — to jump by 45 percent, topping $1 trillion, compared to what it had expected just six months ago. …
“The rise in capital gains is an example of how the government can benefit from the so-called K-shaped recovery, in which the stock market has gone gangbusters even as millions have been thrown out of work. And it’s not just the federal government.”
JOBS FOR JOBS — “Democratic donor Laurene Powell Jobs is expanding her political operation with Joe Kennedy,” Recode: “Emerson Collective, Powell Jobs’s organization, hired Kennedy this month as a senior adviser … [W]ith a friendlier administration that Powell Jobs strongly backed financially, Emerson will have the opportunity to play some offense and try to make tangible progress on its policy priorities like immigration, an issue area which requires a political touch.”
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION — D.C. is expanding vaccine eligibility today to include grocery store, manufacturing, food services, and health and human services and social services outreach workers. The city also announced it will open up vaccines to people under 65 with qualifying medical conditions the week of March 1. More from DCist… New vaccination data dashboard
MAJOR AFTERNOON READ — THE TRAUMA WE’RE LIVING THROUGH … “A mass-casualty event every day: Inside the dark winter of covid-19 in America”: “On three of the deadliest days in the deadliest month, Washington Post reporters and photographers fanned out across the nation to capture the stories of the people and places closest to the lives lost.”
SAD NEWS — BOB DOLE, 97, announced he has stage 4 lung cancer, and will start treatment Monday. The statement
WHAT JAY CLAYTON IS UP TO — “Apollo Names Ex-SEC Chairman Jay Clayton as Lead Independent Director,” WSJ
BOOK(ER) CLUB — Charles Booker, the former Kentucky state representative who galvanized progressives with his Senate run last year, has landed a book deal with Crown Publishing for a memoir, “From the Hood to the Holler.”
MEDIAWATCH — Sarah Westwood is rejoining the Washington Examiner as a political and investigative reporter. She most recently has been an on-camera White House reporter at CNN. Announcement
TRANSITION — Alexander Maugeri is now of counsel in Jones Day’s government regulation and business & tort litigation practices. He previously was deputy assistant A.G. and chief of staff of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Brian McGuire, policy director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and Ashley McGuire, a writer, welcomed Dominic Alexander McGuire on Tuesday. Pic