A FEW FUNNIES from the GRIDIRON WINTER DINNER: RAHM EMANUEL: “Here we are, on December 7, the day the president reminds us that Ukraine bombed Pearl Harbor … Some more about me: I’m Jewish, so like Elizabeth Warren, I’m a member of the tribe. … To me, Chicago is a lot like the White House. They both have a large and vibrant Russian community … I see cameras are banned from this event, which explains why AOC is not here …
“HILLARY CLINTON is now saying many, many, many people are now asking her to run. So now let’s cut to the chase: are any of those people from Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania? In fact, are any of them Democrats? … Joe [Biden] says he cannot remember when he’s had more fun on the campaign trail. Literally: he cannot remember …
SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO.): “I’m really known by most of these reporters or at least referred to by most of these reporters as ‘unnamed source’ … Why is it in Washington everytime someone wants to do something nefarious they go incognito, they pick suggestive names like Deep Throat, or Carlos Danger, or Pierre Delecto, or Wolf Blitzer or Carl Leubsdorf. Names you couldn’t possibly get any other way besides making them up.”
NOT AT THE GRIDIRON … THE PRESIDENT, last night in Hollywood, Fla., at the Israeli American Council’s national meeting on a Middle East peace deal, via MERIDITH MCGRAW, who was with the president: “I love deals and I was told the toughest of all deals is peace with Israel and the Palestinians. But if Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done.” Meridith’s story
— MIAMI HERALD on the Florida GOP dinner TRUMP attended: “He also pulled an unusual move, bringing on stage Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who Trump pardoned last month for cases involving war crimes. Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering his soldiers shoot at unarmed men in Afghanistan, and Golsteyn was to stand trial for the 2010 extrajudicial killing of a suspected bomb maker.” Miami Herald
THE SHOOTING IN PENSACOLA …
— WAPO: “Investigation broadened in Pensacola Navy base shooting,” by T.S. Strickland in Pensacola, Ellen Nakashima, Joby Warrick and Hannah Knowles: “FBI officials broadened their probe Saturday into the deadly shooting rampage at a Navy flight school here amid reports that several of the gunman’s Saudi compatriots took video footage as the attack was underway. …
“Law enforcement officials combed through the shooter’s belongings and social media accounts on Saturday while questioning six other Saudi nationals, at least some of them fellow students in the same Navy flight training program. Three of the Saudis were said to have taken cellphone video at the scene, according to a U.S. official familiar with investigation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe.” WaPo
— AP/PENSACOLA: “Official: Base shooter watched shooting videos before attack”: “The Saudi student who fatally shot three sailors at a U.S. naval base in Florida hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Saturday.” AP
— PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL on the victims: “Airman Mohammed Sameh Hathaim, 19, from St. Petersburg, Florida. He enlisted July 18 and reported to the Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois. He reported to Pensacola on Sept. 21 and had earned the Navy Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon.
“Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, from Coffee, Alabama. He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis who was commissioned May 24 and reported for duty in Pensacola on Nov. 15. Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, from Richmond Hill, Georgia. He enlisted Sept. 16 and also reported to the Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes before he reported to Pensacola on Nov. 24.” PNJ
— NYT’S DAVID SANGER in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: “For Trump, Instinct After Florida Killings Is Simple: Protect Saudis”: “When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: The president’s first instinct was to tamp down any suggestion that the Saudi government needed to be held to account.
“Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who clearly sought to ensure that the episode did not further fracture their relationship. On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that ‘they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,’ noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word ‘terrorism.’
“What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers. Or, more broadly, why the United States continues to train members of the Saudi military even as that same military faces credible accusations of repeated human rights abuses in Yemen, including the dropping of munitions that maximize civilian casualties.”
SUNDAY BEST … NEW SCREENING OF FOREIGNERS … CHRIS WALLACE spoke to DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: ESPER: “One of the first things I did yesterday, in the wake of this incident, was I spoke to my deputy secretary, the acting Navy secretary and others to say I want to immediately make sure we put out an advisory to all of our bases, installations and facilities and make sure we’re taking all necessary precautions appropriate to the particular base to make sure our people are safe and secure. That’s number one. Number two, I ask that we begin a review of what our screening procedures are with regard to foreign nationals coming to the United States.”
ON THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KINGDOM … GEORGE STEPAHANOPOULOS spoke to REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FLA.) on ABC’S “THIS WEEK”: GAETZ: “Of course, what happened in Pensacola has to inform on our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia. That is the message I directly delivered to the Saudi ambassador when she called to offer her condolences.
“There are Saudis that are currently with us that are being investigated, and I made the point as clearly as I possibly could that we want no interference from the kingdom as it relates to Saudis that we have, and if there are Saudis that we do not have that may have been involved in any way in the planning, inspiration, financing or execution of this, that we expect Saudi intelligence to work with our government to find the people accountable and hold them responsible.”
NOW FOR IMPEACHMENT …
— NEW … CHUCK TODD spoke to REP. JERRY NADLER (D-N.Y.) on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS.” NADLER said articles of impeachment coming THIS WEEK: “There will be a lot of consultations, I assume, between members of the committee, with the House leadership, with members of the House. And we’ll have to make those decisions. So we’ll bring articles of impeachment, presumably, before the committee at some point later in the week.”
— PERHAPS A VOTE LATER, NADLER told DANA BASH on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: BASH: “Is it possible that you are going to vote on articles of impeachment this coming week?” NADLER: “It’s possible. I don’t know.” BASH: “Is that your goal?” NADLER: “My goal is to vote — is to do this….” BASH: “In terms of the timeline.” NADLER: “My goal is to do it as expeditiously, but as fairly as possible, depending how long it takes.”
KYLE CHENEY and DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “House Dems refresh Nixon-era impeachment report for Trump”: “The staff of the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday issued a historic report laying the groundwork to impeach President Donald Trump, outlining in Constitutional terms what the panel believes amounts to an impeachable offense.
“Chairman Jerrold Nadler described the 55-page analysis as the heir to the only similar report produced by the Judiciary Committee, which was released during the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon. That document was updated during the Bill Clinton impeachment but not fully rewritten.” The 55-page report
SCENE SETTER … MARK LEIBOVICH and NICK FANDOS on NYT, A1: “Behind the Scenes of Impeachment: Crammed Offices, Late Nights, Cold Pizza”: “In cramped spaces in the Rayburn and Longworth House Office Buildings, as well as the speaker’s suite, the final articles of impeachment are being incubated in the shadow of the Capitol dome. It is a frantic backstage tableau of Washington anthropology, populated by Judiciary and Intelligence Committee aides, lawmakers and counsels hunched over computer screens and yellow legal pads.
“History can get cluttered sometimes. The rooms are littered with empty soda cans, pie leftover from Thanksgiving and boxes pulled from shelves containing files from past impeachments. There are recurrent calls for tech support, caffeine and blankets, because the rooms can get cold, like the pizza. With so much grand talk about ‘constitutional duties’’ and ‘respecting the founders’ and ‘honoring oaths,’ there is also the mundane and the workaday.” NYT
… ALSO FROM MATT GAETZ on “THIS WEEK” … On RUDY GIULIANI’S trip to UKRAINE: “It is weird that he’s over there.” … REP. MARK MEADOWS said this to DANA BASH on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: “I don’t know that any role — I don’t know of any role that Rudy Giuliani is playing on behalf of the president of the United States. I think he’s over there as a citizen. I think part of that is probably trying to clear his name.”
SNEAK PEEK … THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK: Monday: PRESIDENT TRUMP will have lunch with VP MIKE PENCE, and will participate “in a roundtable on empowering families with education choice” … Tuesday: THE PRESIDENT will travel to Hershey, Pa., for a political rally. Wednesday: THE PRESIDENT will go to the ceremonial swearing in of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, and he will host a Hanukkah reception.
Thursday: THE PRESIDENT will speak at the “White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave: Supporting America’s Working Families,” and will attend the Congressional Ball. Friday: The president of PARAGUAY will be at the White House.
Good Sunday morning. SPOTTED: Hillary Clinton at Politics and Prose on Connecticut Avenue Saturday evening. Photos, via Kate Woodsome
HARTFORD COURANT FRONT PAGE: “Low-profile prosecutor leads high-profile hunt: John Durham of Connecticut digs into origin of Trump collusion claims”
A DAN DIAMOND CLASSIC: “Medicare chief asked taxpayers to cover stolen jewelry”: “A top Trump health appointee sought to have taxpayers reimburse her for the costs of jewelry, clothing and other possessions, including a $5,900 Ivanka Trump-brand pendant, that were stolen while in her luggage during a work-related trip, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.
“Seema Verma, who runs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, filed a $47,000 claim for lost property on Aug. 20, 2018, after her bags were stolen while she was giving a speech in San Francisco the prior month. The property was not insured, Verma wrote in her filing to the Health and Human Services department.
“The federal health department ultimately reimbursed Verma $2,852.40 for her claim, a CMS spokesperson said. Verma’s claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she’d received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft. Among Verma’s stolen jewelry was an Ivanka Trump-brand pendant, made of gold, prasiolite and diamonds, that Verma’s jeweler valued at $5,900.
“Verma’s claim also included about $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes and another $2,000 to cover the cost of other stolen goods, including a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones.”
FRONT PAGE OF THE LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER: “Bevin mum on contract to investigate Steve Beshear”
2020 WATCH …
— WAPO’S DAN BALZ: “Will impeachment be forgotten by November 2020? Don’t be so sure.”
— BOSTON GLOBE’S JAMES PINDELL: “Tiny Dixville Notch may see its midnight tradition disappear”: “[W]ith the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary less than 10 weeks away, it is increasingly likely that the Dixville Notch tradition is dead, victim of a shrinking population too small to meet the legal threshold of five residents to be a polling place.
“‘It is what it is,’ said Tom Tillotson, one of four residents of Dixville Notch, the town moderator and son of the creator of the midnight voting concept in the unincorporated town. ‘This is obviously not what I wanted to see happen.’
“The probable demise of the Dixville tradition comes as the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary is fading in other ways. The small house parties, face-to-face glad handing, and herculean efforts to secure endorsements from small-town officials have given way to national polls, cable-TV debates, and rock-star candidates who command arenas from day one.” Boston Globe … Front page PDF
— WAPO: “Mike Bloomberg’s money buys him a very different kind of campaign. And it’s a big one,” by Isaac-Stanley Becker and Michael Scherer, with an Augusta, Ga., dateline: “After two weeks in the presidential race, Mike Bloomberg now employs one of the largest campaign staff rosters, has spent more money on ads than all the top-polling Democrats combined and is simultaneously building out ground operations in 27 states.
“But when the former New York mayor showed up to get the endorsement of Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. on Friday, only two of the 10 chairs initially placed before the lectern were occupied. When Bloomberg joked about his college years, saying he ‘was one of the students who made the top half of the class possible,’ he was met by silence.
“You’re supposed to laugh at that, folks,” Bloomberg said to a room at the city’s African American history museum filled mostly with staff and media. For a normal presidential campaign, such moments would be a worrying sign, a potentially viral metaphor for a struggling effort. But with the Bloomberg campaign, it is not at all clear what established rules apply, if any. Everything he is doing is so unlike what has been done for decades that it is difficult to decipher how voters will react.” WaPo
THE PRESIDENT’S SUNDAY … THE PRESIDENT and first lady are scheduled to attend a “Children’s Reception” at 12:30 p.m. in the Blue Room.
TOP-ED … KATIE HILL in the NYT: “It’s Not Over After All: I overcame the desperation I felt after stepping down from Congress, and I’m still in the fight.”
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman (@dlippman):
— “Video Games and Online Chats Are ‘Hunting Grounds’ for Sexual Predators,” by NYT’s Nellie Bowles and Michael H. Keller: “Criminals are making virtual connections with children through gaming and social media platforms. One popular site warns visitors, ‘Please be careful.’” NYT
— “Why Mike Posner Walked Across America,” by Caitlin Giddings in Outside Magazine: “Years after he took that pill in Ibiza, Grammy nominee Mike Posner left behind his life in L.A. to go on a 2,851-mile journey in search of… something. Here’s what he learned about grief, motivation, struggle, and authenticity.” Outside
— “The Epic Rise and Hard Fall of New York’s Taxi King,” by NYT’s Brian M. Rosenthal: “A Russian immigrant and a cabdriver’s son who got his nickname by building the city’s biggest fleet, [Evgeny A.] Freidman was a primary architect of some of the tactics used to build the bubble … At the height of the market, he had accumulated $525 million in assets. He befriended the filmmaker Spike Lee, the baseball star Mo Vaughn and Mayor Bill de Blasio. His outsize antics and lavish spending often landed him on Page Six, the New York Post’s gossip column.” NYT
— “The Octopus from Outer Space,” by James Ross Gardner in Seattle Met – per Longreads.com’s description: “Gardner explores the Pacific Northwest’s evolving relationship with the octopus and how they’ve gone from dangerous ‘devil-fish’ bent on drowning unsuspecting sea goers to intensely curious, suction-cupped wonders. With nine brains — one in their head and one in each of their eight arms — octopuses are thought to be the most intelligent invertebrates on earth, capable of deep connection with humans.” Seattle Met
— “The confession,” by WaPo’s Peter Jamison in Bean Blossom, Ind.: “‘Heil Trump’ and an anti-gay slur were scrawled on an Indiana church right after Trump’s election. The investigation led to an unlikely suspect — and the discovery of a hate crime hoax.” WaPo
— “The New China Scare,” by Fareed Zakaria in Foreign Affairs: “The United States risks squandering the hard-won gains from four decades of engagement with China, encouraging Beijing to adopt confrontational policies of its own, and leading the world’s two largest economies into a treacherous conflict of unknown scale and scope that will inevitably cause decades of instability and insecurity. A cold war with China is likely to be much longer and more costly than the one with the Soviet Union, with an uncertain outcome.” Foreign Affairs (hat tip: TheBrowser.com)
— “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong in ProPublica and the Marshall Project in Dec. 2015: “An 18-year-old said she was attacked at knifepoint. Then she said she made it up. That’s where our story begins.” ProPublica
— “How Racism Ripples Through Rural California’s Pipes,” by NYT’s Jose A. Del Real in Teviston, Calif.: “In the 20th century, California’s black farmworkers settled in waterless colonies. The history endures underground, through old pipes, dry wells and shoddy septic tanks.” NYT
— “Hippie Inc: how the counterculture went corporate,” by Nat Segnit in the Dec./Jan. issue of 1843 Magazine: “Half a century on from the summer of love, marijuana is big business and mindfulness a workplace routine. Nat Segnit asks how the movement found itself at the heart of capitalism.” 1843 (h/t Longform.org)
— “How Ring Went From ‘Shark Tank’ Reject to America’s Scariest Surveillance Company,” by Caroline Haskins in Vice: “Amazon’s Ring started from humble roots as a smart doorbell company called ‘DoorBot.’ Now it’s surveilling the suburbs and partnering with police.” Vice
— “The False Promise of Morning Routines,” by The Atlantic’s Marina Koren: “Why everyone’s mornings seem more productive than yours.” Atlantic
— “‘Your Honor, Can I Tell The Whole Story?’” by Nick Chrastil in The Atavist: “To read the transcript of Erin Hunter’s trial, which runs all of 81 pages and can be digested in half an hour, is to encounter a disregard for human dignity instrumental in producing the most sprawling system of incarceration in the world.” Atavist (h/t Longform.org)
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at email@example.com.
SPOTTED at a book party for Tom Rosenstiel’s book, “Oppo: A Novel” ($26.64 on Amazon): Ruth Marcus, E.J. Dionne, Luke Albee, John Podesta, Jon Leibowitz, Len Downie, Amanda Bennett, Mike McCurry, J.J. Yore, Alan Miller, John Gomperts, Tamera Luzzatto, David Leiter and Jon Haber.
SPOTTED at Microsoft’s Suhail Khan’s 50th birthday party at Union Stage at the Wharf on Saturday night: Grover Norquist, Jim Rowland, Glynda Becker, Wil Gravatt, Ximena Barreto, Susan Benhoff, Travis Korson, David Ferguson, Rebecca Furdek, Tania Mercado, Grace Morgan and Geoff Smith.
TRANSITION — Anthony Ornato will be deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House. He previously was deputy assistant director for the Secret Service.
ENGAGED — Kara Voght, a national politics reporter at Mother Jones, and Ben Cushing, a campaign representative at the Sierra Club, got engaged Saturday night at the Line Hotel. The couple, who met on Bumble, have been dating for two years. Pic
BIRTHDAYS: Ann Coulter is 58 … Sabrina Siddiqui, WSJ reporter and CNN political analyst … Kerri Kupec, director of public affairs at DOJ … former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is 6-0 … Aaron Kissel, POLITICO’s VP of product, is 45 (h/t Patrick Steel) … AP’s Pablo Martinez Monsivais … Debra Saunders, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent … Judd Legum … Brooke Lorenz, senior manager for communications at CBS … Rachel Sklar … Lizzie O’Leary (h/ts Ben Chang) … Marc Burstein, senior executive producer at ABC News … POLITICO’s Annie Yu and Danica Stanciu … Ginny Badanes, director of strategic projects for cybersecurity and democracy at Microsoft … Brie Sachse, managing director and head of state and local external affairs at Siemens … Cayman Clevenger … Nick Colvin …
… Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner, NBC News White House producer … Jena Baker McNeil … Preston Hill … Steve Bouchard (h/t Jon Haber) … former Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) is 52 … Stephen Spaulding, elections counsel for the House Administration Committee … Kevin Carski … BBC’s Samantha Granville … P. Lynn Scarlett … Honey Sharp (h/t son Daniel Lippman) … Sylvester Okere … Courtney Johnson … Luis Rosero … Karen Keller of FP1 Strategies and PLUS Communications … B.R. McConnon of DDC … Emily Leaman … Solange Uwimana … Alison (Matarazzo) Edwards … Jen Minton … Anna Miller … Tom Bush … Austin James … Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is 66 … Jeff Neubauer … Jackie Gran … Nancy Balz (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Randy Altschuler is 49