Celebrity Health: 49 killed in mosque shootings in New Zealand

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Celebrity Health: 49 killed in mosque shootings in New Zealand

Celebrity Health:

OK, BUCKLE UP. A lot of news this morning.

BREAKING OVERNIGHT … AP/CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND: “Mass shootings at New Zealand mosques kill 49; 1 man charged,” by Mark Baker and Nick Perry: “Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers killed 49 people on what the prime minister called ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days,’ as authorities charged one person, detained three others and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented ‘an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence’ and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees. In addition to the dead, she said more than 20 people were seriously wounded.

“‘It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,’ Ardern said. Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people. One of the suspects was later charged with murder. While there was no reason to believe there were more suspects, Ardern said the national security threat level was being raised to the second-highest level.” AP

FROM THE NO. 3 GOP LEADER … TEXT MESSAGE FUNDRAISING APPEAL FROM HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRWOMAN LIZ CHENEY: “This is Liz Cheney. The Democrats are enabling anti-Semitism. We must take action. Donate NOW to restore our conservative majority!” The text

ALSO BREAKING OVERNIGHT … NYT’S CHOE SANG-HUN: “North Korea Threatens to Scuttle Talks With the U.S. and Resume Tests”: “Addressing diplomats and foreign correspondents at a news conference in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said that personal relations between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump were ‘still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.’

“But she said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, had created an ‘atmosphere of hostility and mistrust’ that thwarted the top leaders’ negotiations in Hanoi last month. After the Hanoi meeting ended without a deal, the North Korean leader had serious doubts about the merits of continuing negotiations with Mr. Trump, Ms. Choe said.

“‘We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation,’ said Ms. Choe, according to a report from Pyongyang by The Associated Press, which has a bureau there.” NYT

Happy Friday morning.

BURGESS EVERETT and ELIANA JOHNSON: “Why Trump didn’t stop a GOP revolt on his border emergency”: “‘He quite possibly could have gotten 50 senators voting no,’ said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who led the failed effort to get Trump to agree to changes to the 1976 National Emergencies Act in exchange for his support.

“The Republican revolt on the Senate floor followed a haphazard and erratic persuasion effort from Trump that offers a vivid encapsulation of how this White House has struggled to influence Congress. In the days leading up to the vote, the president initially made few moves to try to stem GOP defections.” POLITICO

— JAMES ARKIN and JOHN BRESNAHAN: “‘Beware the fury of Trump’: 2020 GOP senators back president on border”: “Two weeks ago, Sen. Thom Tillis said President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration violated the separation of powers and created a dangerous precedent, stating in an op-ed that he would vote to reverse it.

“On Thursday, the North Carolina Republican flipped and sided with Trump on the border vote. While a dozen Senate Republicans joined Democrats to support a resolution undoing Trump’s move to fund a border wall, Tillis and all but one other Republican up for reelection in 2020 — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — stuck with the president.

“The list includes Sen. Cory Gardner of blue-trending Colorado and Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed this year but will face Arizona voters again in 2020 after losing a tough race in 2018. The vote underscores how little Republicans on the ballot in 2020 want to break with the president, even on an issue that divided the party and in states where Trump’s approval rating is low.” POLITICO

NEW… DENVER POST SNAPS BACK — “Editorial: Our endorsement of Cory Gardner was a mistake”

BETO’S IOWA FORAY — DAVID SIDERS in Burlington, Iowa: “Beto O’Rourke storms Iowa”: “Beto O’Rourke muscled into Iowa on Thursday, climbed onto a café counter amid a crush of supporters and declared that in the teeming crowd, ‘I see the future of America, right now, right here.’

“In the first and earliest test of the Texas Democrat’s appeal outside of his home state, O’Rourke chewed through the news cycle, attracting crowds and a deluge of media attention that followed him from coffee shops to town halls to sidewalks in southeastern Iowa.

“The scene delivered a sense of his potential, but also signaled the dangers ahead for his campaign. The celebrity splash that marked his first day as a presidential candidate — his visit was preceded the evening before by a Vanity Fair cover story — generated a backlash among some Democrats frustrated by the fanfare surrounding his launch, and by what they viewed as a double standard applied to O’Rourke in a field flush with women and candidates of color.” POLITICO

— NYT’S MATT FLEGENHEIMER in Keokuk, Iowa: “[O]n the first day of his quest for a mega-promotion, as he ferried his team in a rented minivan with Illinois plates, Mr. O’Rourke made plain his intention to transpose his Texas blueprint onto the national stage.

“He peppered his remarks with Spanish before almost exclusively Caucasian audiences — swearing sporadically in both languages. He described life in El Paso, where his wife is raising their three kids — ‘sometimes with my help,’ Mr. O’Rourke joked. He told the tale of a West Texas pecan grower when asked about trade policy.” NYT

— WAPO’S MICHAEL SCHERER in El Paso: “Beto O’Rourke’s political career drew on donations from the pro-Republican business establishment”

— CBS: “Beto O’Rourke on impeachment: Voting in 2020 may be the ‘best way for us to resolve’ Trump”

AT THE WHITE HOUSE … GABBY ORR: “Trump aides assure boss that Biden isn’t a threat”: “During a recent meeting involving Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and senior officials from the White House Office of Political Affairs, a discussion ensued about whether the president should be nervous about Biden entering the 2020 fray, a White House official told POLITICO. Several people in the room told Trump he shouldn’t be ‘overly nervous’ as long as Biden is ‘pulled to the left’ in the primary, according to the official.” POLITICO

TRACKING TRADE … THE PRESIDENT’S TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY …

— WHY THE USMCA MIGHT BE EASIER THAN OTHER TRADE DEALS: The U.S. has long-standing trade relationships with both Canada and Mexico, and lawmakers are familiar with the economic impacts of trade with these countries. HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN RICHIE NEAL (D-MASS.) is less of a trade skeptic than his predecessor, former Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.).

— KEEP THE WHITE HOUSE SIDELINED: The president and his team have decided to let SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI take the lead on trade so far. The strategy (if he can stick with it) is likely to benefit him.

— THE BIG QUESTION: Where do the freshmen line up? Trade wasn’t a big issue on the campaign trail. While most freshmen were forced to take a position on health care, or even “Medicare for All,” trade wasn’t a top-line topic. ALSO: Where does Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) stand? If skeptical Democratic lawmakers can woo her to their cause, it would give a lot of oxygen to the anti-trade movement.

REMEMBER HIM? … ROB PORTER OP-ED in the WSJ: “Trump’s Big Trade Opening: The impending deal with China is a chance for America to lead a new era of liberalization”

— TO STATE THE OBVIOUS, Porter resigned his position as White House staff secretary after his two ex-wives came forward with abuse allegations.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — ‘THE CIRCUS’ interviews STEVE BANNON, who gives PELOSI 10/10 in her speakership. Clip

TRUMP’S FRIDAY — The president will leave the White House at 10:45 a.m. en route to the Pentagon to meet with national security officials. He is having lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 12:30 p.m. in the private dining room.

THE PLAYBOOK POOL IS BACK: March Madness starts next week, which means it’s time for the third annual Playbook Pool bracket challenge. Track who’s up and who’s down throughout the tournament and compete against friends, top Playbookers, political insiders and VIPs to win great prizes. Fill in your bracket starting on Selection Sunday (March 17) after the teams are chosen. Click HERE to get in the game!

SUNDAY SO FAR …

  • CBS

    “Face the Nation”: Preet Bharara … Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Panel: Mark Landler, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jamal Simmons and Amy Walter

  • CNN

    “State of the Union”: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Panel: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Karen Finney, Mia Love and Waleed Shahid

  • CNN

    “Inside Politics”: Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Toluse Olorunnipa, Lisa Lerer and Manu Raju

  • FOX

    “Fox News Sunday”: Pete Buttigieg … Panel: Karl Rove, Jerry Seib, Katie Pavlich and Mo Elleithee. Power Player: T. Denny Sanford, billionaire businessman and philanthropist

  • NBC

    “Meet the Press”: Panel: Yamiche Alcindor, Arthur Brooks, Jose Diaz-Balart and Susan Page

THE HOUSE LANDSCAPE … LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ: “‘Democrats as a whole are not socialists’: Vulnerable Dems seek distance for 2020”: “The moderate Democrats who delivered the House majority want you to know they’re not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar.

“They haven’t all blindly signed onto the Green New Deal. They haven’t been widely accused of anti-Semitism. They aren’t hungry to impeach President Donald Trump.

“They are the ones on the front lines of the battlefield, defending Democrats’ House majority. And many of the endangered Democrats already see their outspoken colleagues as a potential obstacle standing between them and reelection in 2020.

“‘As we run up to this presidential [election], we need to show that Democrats, as a whole, are not socialists,’ said Rep. Katie Hill, who last November flipped a Southern California district that Republicans held for the previous quarter-century. ‘We’re not pushing for impeachment without serious cause and serious evidence.’” POLITICO

2020 WATCH — KFILE — “Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries,” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott: “Bernie Sanders advocated for the nationalization of most major industries, including energy companies, factories, and banks, when he was a leading member of a self-described ‘radical political party’ in the 1970s, a CNN KFile review of his record reveals. …

“Many of the positions he held at the time are more extreme compared to the more tempered democratic socialism the Vermont senator espouses today and could provide fodder for moderate Democrats and Republicans looking to cast the Democratic presidential candidate and his beliefs as a fringe form of socialism that would be harmful to the country.” CNN

— “Institute founded by Sanders’ wife, son is shutting down,” by AP’s Steve Peoples in Concord, N.H., and Stephen Braun: “The Sanders Institute, a think tank founded by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ wife and son, is shutting down, at least for now, amid criticism that the nonprofit has blurred the lines between family, fundraising and campaigning. The Vermont-based institute has stopped accepting donations and plans to suspend all operations by the end of May ‘so there could not even be an appearance of impropriety,’ Jane Sanders told The Associated Press.” AP

DNC DEPARTURE LOUNGE — “The Democratic Party’s Chief Technology Officer Will Step Down,” by BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer: “Raffi Krikorian, the Silicon Valley official charged with overhauling the DNC’s outdated tech and digital security practices after the 2016 hacks, is leaving after nearly two years.” BuzzFeed

JOSH GERSTEIN: “Court wrestles with law banning foreign donations”: “The federal government’s claim that it has the authority to ban foreigners from voting and donating in state and local elections prompted sharp questioning from a federal appeals court panel this week. Three 9thCircuit judges heard challenges Wednesday brought by two men convicted of campaign finance violations in San Diego.

“Lawyers for political consultant Ravneet Singh and Mexican businessman Jose Azano contended in legal briefs that the federal law banning campaign donations by foreigners is unconstitutional when applied to non-federal elections, at least with respect to foreigners who have significant ties to the U.S.” POLITICO

SPOTTED: DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and DHS COS Miles Taylor having an early dinner Thursday night at the St. Regis on 16th Street. … Joe Crowley at the Palm on Thursday.

TRANSITION — Sara Latham, a veteran communications operative who was a senior adviser on the Hillary 2016 campaign and also worked in the Clinton White House, will be the head of communications for Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Vanity Fair

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Sopan Deb, NYT culture writer who’s also a stand-up comic on the side, is 31. How he got his start in journalism: “I went to Boston University with the intent of becoming a sports broadcaster. I wanted to become the next Bob Costas. I even called hockey games at BU. I was terrible at it, though, so I had to find something else. So here I am. I am very fortunate things turned out the way they did.” Playbook Plus Q&A

BIRTHDAYS: Brendan Buck, partner at Blue Engine Message & Media and JDA Frontline, is 37 … Lenny Alcivar is 47. He’s celebrating with his wife at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels (hat tips: wife Amelia Chasse and Phil Musser) … George Holman … Josh Deckard … Washingtonian writer-at-large Jack Limpert … Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86 … former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) is 8-0 … POLITICO’s Apryle Babish … birthday brothers Alex and Matt Baker … Mark J. Green, former NYC public advocate, is 74 … Philip Green is 67 … David Silverman is 62 … Gary Meltz (h/t Tim Burger) … Kevin Barnard … Kevin Youkilis is 4-0 … Hector Manuel Ramirez … Suzanne Smalley … Tom Baer (h/t Andy Glass) … Amanda Broun … Brittni Palke … Rod Bray, Indiana Senate president pro tempore …

… Facebook’s Rachel Schindler and her twin brother Max Schindler are 27 … Marcus Weisgerber, global business editor at Defense One … Jack Polidori … Megan Uhrich … former West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is 67 … Franklin Davis, senior director of federal affairs at American Beverage Association … Jenny 8. Lee … AQR Capital Management’s Kevin Infante is 3-0 … Kate Dickens of S-3 Public Affairs … John Cochran … Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) is 61 … Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) is 4-0 … Rob Stien … Chad Scarborough … Austin Durrer, COS for Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) … Craig Sondag … Chrissy Kopple … John Northington … Campbell Dickson … Nicole Vartanian … will.i.am is 44 (h/t AP)

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