JOHN BOLTON, who quit as national security adviser in September and did not testify in the House impeachment inquiry, said this in a new statement: “[I]f the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.” Bolton’s statement … More from NBC’s Carol Lee
A FEW THOUGHTS … THE HOUSE never subpoenaed Bolton, and if he is willing to testify in front of the Senate, what would be the reason he would not comply with a new House subpoena? … DOES THIS AFFECT the House’s timing of sending of impeachment articles to the Senate? …
SO LET’S BREAK DOWN HOW THIS COULD PLAY OUT: Getting a witness to testify in the Senate would require 51 votes on the floor, meaning four Republicans would have to join with every Democrat to compel Bolton to testify. We can hypothesize about who those four might be, but there are far too many variables at this point.
… BUT, CONSIDER THIS: If it’s clear that there are four Republicans, Senate leadership can work to cut a deal for Bolton’s testimony that would circumscribe when and where he might testify, how the material is released and in what form it is released. And the White House could also weigh in to try to enjoin his testimony, leading to a protracted legal battle.
NEW … IT LOOKS LIKE PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will be headed to the college football national championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13. The FAA has alerted VIP movement in New Orleans. (h/t Zeke Miller)
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION will brief lawmakers about the killing of Qassem Soleimani on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. We expect Defense Secretary MARK ESPER, Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO and other officials.
IN PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS, the Gang of Eight would already be in the loop and perhaps bought in, in some way, shape or form.
THIS ADMINISTRATION has a fear that political opponents might leak state secrets, which is why some are afraid to share information with Congress — a co-equal branch of government accustomed to keeping state secrets shared by presidents of both parties.
— FROM KELLYANNE CONWAY’S GAGGLE THIS MORNING, via pooler Brett Samuels of The Hill … Conway was asked if Trump would talk to the Hill this week: “It’s possible, but he’s been talking to many of them over the course … but that’s what he does. His door is open, his phone works.’ ‘A lot of people just like to head straight to the cameras. Could you imagine telling the chairman of the Intel Committee, one Adam Schiff, that this was going to happen? Could you imagine? The man goes to bed with his earpiece and microphone on. So what would’ve happened?’”
CAN ANYONE think of a single instance when any member of Congress has preempted and leaked information about an imminent, secret military mission? Email Jake if you have one to share.
BLOOMBERG’S JEN JACOBS and JUSTIN SINK: “As Middle East Tensions Flare, Trump Finds Solace in New Adviser”: “As President Donald Trump prepared to kill a top Iranian general on Thursday, vastly escalating his conflict with Tehran, he sought the advice of a relatively new aide who has rapidly become indispensable to the president: National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
“O’Brien was celebrating the holidays in Pasadena, California, more than two thousand miles from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Other key aides including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney consulted with the president remotely, but a government jet was dispatched to fetch O’Brien and bring him to Palm Beach for the strike on Qassam Soleimani.
“It was telling, then, that Trump summoned not his chief of staff or one of his Cabinet secretaries, but an aide who has won him over in recent months with a calm loyalty and unfailing willingness to implement the president’s at times controversial and dramatic lurches in American foreign policy.” Bloomberg
THE LATEST … “Saudi envoy arrives in Washington amid fear of U.S.-Iran war,” by Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 13 news for Axios: “A senior Saudi envoy has arrived in Washington and will meet Monday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior White House and Pentagon officials in an attempt to de-escalate the crisis in the Gulf.
“Saudi deputy defense minister Prince Khaled bin Salman — a former ambassador to the U.S. — was urgently sent to Washington by his brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. … Saudi officials told the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Saudi envoy will urge restraint while in Washington. Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan expressed similar hopes of de-escalation on Monday.” Axios
— AP/BERLIN: “Merkel to meet Putin in Moscow for talks on Mideast crises”: “Merkel and Putin will discuss ‘current international questions,’ said Steffen Seibert, the chancellor’s spokesman. Those will include Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine and bilateral ties. Germany and Russia are among the world powers that have been trying to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran after the U.S. withdrew from the agreement unilaterally in 2018.
“Merkel has already spoken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday about the situation in the Middle East, Seibert said. Germany has offered to mediate between all parties following the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq last week.” AP … German Foreign Ministry statement on Iraq
— “Asian countries brace to evacuate workers in Iraq, Iran,” by AP’s Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines
Good Monday afternoon.
IMPEACHMENT WATCH — @kylecheney: “UPDATE: [Lev] Parnas’ attorney says his client has received his materials from the government and has begun the process of sharing them with the House Intelligence Committee.”
SHAKEUPS … NYT’s LARA JAKES: “John Bass, U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan, Steps Down on Cusp of New Peace Deal”: “The departure of the ambassador, John R. Bass, comes as the United States is again trying to negotiate a tentative peace agreement with the Taliban that could withdraw American forces from Afghanistan in exchange for reduced violence. It was not immediately clear where Mr. Bass would next be assigned, and a State Department official would not comment. …
“The State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was typical for ambassadors to serve only two years in Kabul, the Afghan capital, given the high-stress nature of the job. He said Mr. Bass was not being removed from his assignment because of any disagreement with the administration, and that his departure had in fact been long planned.” NYT
— “Defense secretary’s chief of staff to step down,” by Wesley Morgan and Connor O’Brien: “Eric Chewning, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, is stepping down at the end of the month, the latest in a series of high-profile civilians to leave the Pentagon. He’ll be replaced by Jen Stewart, the top Republican staffer on the House Armed Services Committee and a former top adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, according to a statement from Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah. …
“Farah confirmed that Chewning will take a new job in the private sector. But she did not offer additional details, including the reason for the departure or any specifics about Chewning’s professional plans. … Chewning’s replacement, Stewart, has identified a personal interest in cybersecurity issues and in making the Pentagon more efficient.” POLITICO
IN MEMORIAM — “Former Bucks Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick dead at 56,” by the Bucks County Courier Times’ James McGinnis: “Former U.S. Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, who rose from Bucks County commissioner to representing the region in Congress, has died at age 56, leaving behind a political legacy that shaped Bucks County for decades. …
“As a federal lawmaker, Mike Fitzpatrick was heralded as bipartisan. He introduced bills to ban the import and sale of chimpanzees and other primates into the U.S. For many years, he unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to demand better security on airplanes and the cockpit doors which the terrorists breached on 9/11 — a bill signed into law last year after being reintroduced by his brother, Brian Fitzpatrick, who was elected in 2016 after Mike Fitzpatrick retired from public office.” Bucks County Courier Times
BIG ENDORSEMENT — @JulianCastro: “Today I’m proud to endorse @ewarren for president. Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people—not the wealthy or well-connected—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change.” Video
CENSUS LATEST — “Homeland Security will share citizenship data with Census,” by AP’s Mike Schneider in Orlando, Fla.: “The Department of Homeland Security is agreeing to share citizenship information with the U.S. Census Bureau as part of President Donald Trump’s order to collect data on who is a citizen following the Supreme Court’s rejection of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form.
“Trump’s order is being challenged in federal court, but meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security two weeks ago announced the agreement in a report. It said the agency would share administrative records to help the Census Bureau determine the number of citizens and non-citizens in the U.S., as well as the number of illegal immigrants. Information that will be shared include personally-identifiable data.” AP
AOC PROFILE — “One Year in Washington,” by New York’s David Freedlander: “She is at once a movement politician and a cultural phenomenon … Twelve months later, it is clear she isn’t trying very hard to amass power in Congress. Her heroes are Bernie Sanders, who withstood party pressure decade after decade in the Senate, and Howard Thurman, a mentor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s who believed in merging the spiritual and political. …
“Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the first politician to become a cultural sensation, but she may be the first to do so at the very beginning of her career, when she is occupying the lowest rung of political power. … She said the Congressional Progressive Caucus should start kicking people out if they stray too far from the party line. … ‘Democrats can be too big of a tent.’ … For leftists, politics used to be something to avoid, a corrupting drag on the purity of activism. Ocasio-Cortez has changed that.” N.Y. Mag … The cover
2020 WATCH — “Biden and Sanders Differ on Foreign Policy. They’re Happy to Tell You So,” by NYT’s Sydney Ember and Katie Glueck in Decorah, Iowa: “Amid signs that both [Joe] Biden and [Bernie] Sanders have found their footing in Iowa after months of being overshadowed here, they are now aggressively seizing on the escalating tensions with Iran to press their starkly divergent cases for the presidency …
“Both men seemed newly energized on the campaign trail, treating the Iran confrontation as a clarifying political moment, as well as a tailor-made opportunity to showcase their long records on international affairs. And yet no two candidates better illustrate the sharp divisions in the party about what American leadership abroad should look like.” NYT
— “Bloomberg’s campaign hires 500 staffers in over 30 states,” by NBC’s Ali Vitali: “Just six weeks after he announced his candidacy, the former mayor of New York now boasts more than 800 staffers on his payroll and over $100 million spent on advertising. The roughly 300 staffers working in the campaign’s New York headquarters are set to move into a new building in Times Square to accommodate their burgeoning ranks, aides said.
“The Super Tuesday staffing, which puts grassroots leadership teams and organizers in all the March contest states, as well as in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which vote in April, solidifies Bloomberg as having the largest organization in the field after the four early-voting states in February.” NBC
— ANITA KUMAR: “Trump’s 2020: Rallies, Twitter and an expected Super Bowl push”: “Trump will hit the campaign trail in 2020 with a pair of rallies in Ohio and Wisconsin over the next week. He’s then expected to give a traditional presidential interview during the Super Bowl — often the most watched TV event of the year. And two days after that, he’ll deliver his State of the Union address to tens of millions of people watching at home.”
— “Biden wins endorsement of key South Carolina lawmaker,” by Nolan McCaskill: “State Sen. Marlon Kimpson is no longer staying neutral after holding a series of events in his majority-black Charleston district with presidential candidates.” POLITICO
CASH DASH — “Impeachment drives GOP small-donor donations on new platform,” by AP’s Zeke Miller: “WinRed, the GOP’s long-awaited answer to Democratic powerhouse ActBlue, brought in $101 million in the second half of last year, most of it since the Oct. 31 party line vote by the House paving the way for its impeachment of Trump. Nearly $35 million was raised in December alone, as impeachment-related fundraising asks generated 300% more in donations to campaigns, the group said.” AP
— “Tech Veteran’s Fundraising Team Rakes In Cash for Pete Buttigieg Campaign,” by WSJ’s Julie Bykowicz in San Francisco: “[Swati] Mylavarapu, who started her career at Google and worked at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, brought a Silicon Valley mentality to the campaign, insisting that all donors and those who raise money be called ‘investors’ rather than ‘bundlers.’ …
“Her long friendship with the candidate has made Ms. Mylavarapu, who is unpaid and works with two paid veterans of the presidential money race, a particularly effective advocate for him, donors said. … But her fundraising operation has made some missteps.” WSJ
AFTERNOON DEEP DIVE — THE NEW YORKER’S EVAN OSNOS: “The Future of America’s Contest with China”: “To a degree still difficult for outsiders to absorb, China is preparing to shape the twenty-first century, much as the U.S. shaped the twentieth. Its government is deciding which features of the global status quo to preserve and which to reject, not only in business, culture, and politics but also in such basic values as human rights, free speech, and privacy. …
“This fall, I went back and forth between the two capitals, to gauge what lies ahead for a relationship that is more dangerously unstable than it has been since 1972 … I talked to those who forged the relationship, and those who would remake it—in politics, business, security, entertainment, and technology—and found them startled by the depth of the rupture and the speed with which it has grown.”
MEDIAWATCH — David Willman will join WaPo as an investigative reporter on long-term projects. He previously was an investigative reporter for the L.A. Times. Announcement
TRANSITIONS — Alyssa Mastromonaco and Aisha Moodie-Mills are now senior political strategists at The Wing to lead its 2020 work. Mastromonaco previously was deputy chief of staff in the Obama White House and author of “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?” and “So Here’s the Thing.” Moodie-Mills previously was president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Institute and is a CNN political contributor. … Mason Devers is now press secretary for Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas). He previously was an associate at Targeted Victory.
ENGAGED — Zach Parkinson, deputy director of communications for the Trump reelect, and Hillary Gross, COS for Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), got engaged just before Christmas. Pic … Another pic
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Rich Goldberg, the departing director for countering Iranian WMD at the NSC who is returning to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as a senior adviser and resuming other public affairs consulting, and Roxanne Goldberg, an elementary school teacher, on Sunday welcomed a baby girl, who came in at 7 lbs, 2 oz. The naming will occur later this week.