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Today's Playbook Power Briefing presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

05/18/2017 01:07 PM EDT

 

By JAKE SHERMAN (; @JakeSherman), ANNA PALMER (; @apalmerdc), DANIEL LIPPMAN (; @dlippman), ZACH MONTELLARO ( ; @ZachMontellaro)

 

BREAKING -- "Car rams Times Square pedestrians, causing casualties: witnesses" from Reuters: "The vehicle was a red sedan and CBS New York Television said the driver had been removed. Witnesses said the motorist had driven against traffic and onto the sidewalk, striking pedestrians." http://reut.rs/2rvtA2u

-- The FDNY said on Twitter (@FDNY) that 1 person was killed and 12 were injured. The local NBC station, NBC4 New York reports that the driver, who is in custody, is "a 26-year-old man from the Bronx with a history of DWI arrests and license suspensions" and "senior law enforcement officials say a preliminary investigation suggests no nexus to terror." http://bit.ly/2rvw68S

Good Thursday afternoon and a very happy 37th anniversary to John and Cindy McCain, who celebrated yesterday (pic: http://bit.ly/2pX9VbC).

REMEMBERING ROGER AILES -- "Roger Ailes dies at 77," by Hadas Gold: "Roger Ailes, the pioneering media strategist who helped revamp Richard Nixon's image for an improbable comeback and later redefined political broadcasting by creating Fox News, died this morning at the age of 77, the network confirmed on Thursday.

"'I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many,' Elizabeth Ailes, Ailes' wife, said in a statement ... Ailes left the network he created last July, in the wake of a high-profile sexual harassment suit by Gretchen Carlson, one of many successful anchors he recruited to the network. When other women employees related similar stories about Ailes, he and Fox agreed to part ways. Ailes denied the allegations." http://politi.co/2ruX5Bw ... Excerpt from Zev Chafets' 2013 biography of Ailes in Vanity Fair http://bit.ly/2rv1ZP8

-- Ailes' death was first reported by Matt Drudge in a short tweet at 8:32 a.m.: "ROGER AILES DEAD" ... Hadas quickly confirmed the news.

-- RUPERT MURDOCH on Ailes death, in a statement: "Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs." Full statement http://bit.ly/2rv8OQI

BULLETIN at 12:13 p.m. -- "WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) - Palm Beach police report: Fox News founder Roger Ailes fell, hit his head and was seriously bleeding 8 days before death."

TRUMP ON MUELLER -- @realDonaldTrump at 7:39 a.m.: "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel [sic] appointed!" ... at 7:52 a.m.: "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

JASON CHAFFETZ RESIGNING EARLY -- SCOOP from Jake and Rachael Bade: "Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is expected announce Thursday that he is resigning before the end of this congressional term, according to three sources familiar with his plans. Chaffetz did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. Multiple sources say he will leave Congress on June 30." http://politi.co/2rvsEuS

ALL HANDS ON DECK -- "Advisers Urge Trump to Hire an Outside Lawyer," by NYT's Maggie Haberman: "Several White House advisers and personal associates of President Trump have urged him to hire an experienced outside lawyer to help him deal with issues arising from a surging controversy over whether his campaign had ties to Russia, according to several people briefed on the conversations. The recommendations came even before a special counsel was named on Wednesday to lead the investigation into any collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials. Mr. Trump's aides and allies were said to be especially concerned by the revelation that James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by Mr. Trump, has contemporaneous, detailed memos reconstructing conversations with the president. ...

"Mr. Trump has signaled he is likely to hire a new lawyer, but has not yet made a decision, according to three people who have spoken with him. Aides to Mr. Trump did not immediately comment on his discussions. Mr. Trump is said to recognize that he needs help beyond the White House counsel. But he is deeply cautious in selecting people he trusts, and he adds new people to his orbit slowly." http://nyti.ms/2rvwwMt

SHAKEUP LOOMING -- WITHER SPICER -- "Trump weighs downsizing Spicer's public role," by Josh Dawsey and Annie Karni: "President Donald Trump is considering scaling back White House press secretary Sean Spicer's public role, according to several officials familiar with the president's thinking, as Trump also weighs a broader shakeup of his communications shop in the wake of several scandals. The press secretary, who has turned into a household name over the past five months and garnered sky-high television ratings for his daily press briefings, has also drawn the ire of the president. He is no longer expected to do a daily, on-camera briefing after Trump's foreign trip, the officials said. ...

"One senior White House official said deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will likely appear at the podium more often going forward, while Spicer will keep a senior role in the administration. Another official said to expect fewer on-camera briefings in general - something that the administration has been toying with since Trump entered office." http://politi.co/2ruYWWY

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GEOFF MORRELL TO LONDON -- GEOFF MORRELL, senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs at BP, has been promoted to group head of communications and external affairs. Morrell will be based in London and will report to BP Chairman John Minge. "Geoff has played a key role in leading our communications and government relations in the US. He was a strong public advocate for BP during the litigation phase of the Deepwater Horizon accident. He has helped restore existing relationships and has established new ones for us in Washington," Minge emailed staff.

Prior to joining BP, Morrell spent four years as the Pentagon press secretary and 15 years as a TV correspondent for ABC News. "I have truly loved leading BP's communications and government relations team in the U.S. and am honored and excited about the opportunity to now do so globally for the company from our London headquarters," Morrell said. "And I am confident the U.S. team will be in good hands with Mary Streett taking over."

INSIDE THE ROOM -- TURKISH PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN held a closed-door Q&A at the Turkish Ambassador's residence near Dupont Circle with some top American foreign policy experts after his meeting with President Trump on Tuesday. He made some opening remarks, thanked everyone for coming and "took a bunch of softball questions," according to a source familiar with the meeting, which was co-hosted by the Atlantic Council and Turkish think tank SETA. He spoke as some of his Turkish bodyguards were beating up Kurdish and Armenian protesters outside. SPOTTED: Fred Kempe, Jim Jones, Steve Hadley, Julie Smith, Karen Donfried

MORE FLYNN PROBLEMS -- "Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed - after being paid as its agent," by McClatchy's Vera Bergengruen: "One of the Trump administration's first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired - and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey, whose interests, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, he'd been paid more than $500,000 to represent.

"The decision came 10 days before Donald Trump had been sworn in as president, in a conversation with President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, who had explained the Pentagon's plan to retake the Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa with Syrian Kurdish forces whom the Pentagon considered the U.S.'s most effective military partners. Obama's national security team had decided to ask for Trump's sign-off, since the plan would all but certainly be executed after Trump had become president.

"Flynn didn't hesitate. According to timelines distributed by members of Congress in the weeks since, Flynn told Rice to hold off, a move that would delay the military operation for months. If Flynn explained his answer, that's not recorded, and it's not known whether he consulted anyone else on the transition team before rendering his verdict. But his position was consistent with the wishes of Turkey, which had long opposed the United States partnering with the Kurdish forces - and which was his undeclared client." http://bit.ly/2rv3tc1

-- "Burr: Flynn not cooperating with Senate Russia probe," by Austin Wright: "Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Thursday former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is not cooperating with his panel's investigation into Russia's meddling in the presidential election. ... But Burr said he does not have a 'definitive answer' yet on whether Flynn is complying with a subpoena issued to Flynn last week for documents related to his contacts with Russian officials. Earlier Thursday, the Associated Press reported, based on comments from Burr, that Flynn had informed the panel he would not honor the subpoena. But Burr later said his comments 'may have been premature' and that 'there may be a day or two left' until the deadline to respond to the subpoena." http://politi.co/2rvELIm

MICHAEL ISIKOFF in Yahoo, "As investigators circled Flynn, he got a message from Trump: Stay strong": "Saddled with steep legal bills, Flynn wanted to reconnect with old friends and talk about potential future business opportunities. But one overriding question among those present were his views on the president who had fired him as national security advisor. Flynn left little doubt about the answer. Not only did he remain loyal to President Trump, he indicated he and the president were still in communication. 'I just got a message from the president to stay strong,' Flynn said after the meal was over, according to two sources who are close to Flynn and are familiar with the conversation, which took place on April 25. ...

"The sources who spoke to Yahoo News say Flynn did not indicate how Trump had sent the message-whether a written note, a text message, a phone call or some other method. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) But the fact that the two men have stayed in contact could raise additional questions about the president's reported request to former FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal investigation into the retired Army general." https://yhoo.it/2rvd9TU

-- "Pence stands by claim he didn't know about Flynn lobbying investigation," by Matt Nussbaum: "Vice President Mike Pence is standing by his March claim that he learned about Michael Flynn's Turkish lobbying work through the media, even as a new report indicates Flynn informed the transition team in January that he was under federal investigation for not properly disclosing the paid work. ... Two people close to Pence also suggested to POLITICO that he had not been made aware of Flynn's Turkey work, with one saying that his role as chair of the transition would not necessarily mean he was privy to all conversations. ...

"Flynn and Pence apparently did not enjoy a close relationship. 'He was so close to the president, he never built a relationship with Mike Pence,' one top Pence aide said of Flynn.

"The relationship soured further during the transition when Pence denied that a request had been made for a security clearance for Flynn's son, who has a history of spreading conspiracy theories online. It turned out such a request had been made, but Pence had apparently not been made aware. The Pence team helped push Flynn Jr. out of the transition after that episode, which further separated Pence from Flynn." http://politi.co/2rvBaKz

-- "The Ghost of Mike Flynn," by Rosie Gray in The Atlantic: "He only served as national-security adviser for 24 days. But Flynn propelled Donald Trump's fledgling presidency into a constant state of accelerating crisis. Some of the key events of the last two weeks-the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Trump's reported ask to Comey to stop investigating Flynn-lead back directly to the melodrama of Flynn's brief tenure." http://theatln.tc/2ruRVFy

WHY LIEBERMAN MAY NOT BE A SILVER BULLET -- "Joe Lieberman, being considered for FBI Director, is from Trump's go-to law firm," by Newsweek's Max Kutner: http://bit.ly/2qAxFn1

-- IT'S WORTH NOTING: That while former Sen. Joe Lieberman has plenty of close friends among his former colleagues, his law firm's ties to Trump hasn't gone unnoticed by Democrats and is the reason many are privately saying they won't support him for the position.

sasse photos.JPG

WHAT K STREET IS READING -- "FCC kicks off effort to roll back net neutrality rules," by Margaret Harding McGill: "The FCC voted along party lines Thursday to begin the process of repealing Obama-era net neutrality rules, which require internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally.

"The telecom industry has criticized the rules as burdensome and unnecessary regulations, but supporters among startups and online tech companies say they ensure ISPs don't abuse their position as internet gatekeepers to favor some websites over others. The net neutrality order, passed by the FCC's then-Democratic majority in 2015, represents one of the signature policy achievements of the Obama administration." http://politi.co/2rv6mtj

HOT OP-ED -- "Why Israelis Don't Care Whether the U.S. Moves Its Embassy to Jerusalem," by Shalom Lipner http://politi.co/2rvyuwm

IN THE STATES -- "Race between Democrats running for Virginia governor is neck-and-neck," by WaPo's Greg Schneider and Scott Clement: "Virginia Democrats Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam are battling in a very close contest for the party's gubernatorial primary, with divisions reemerging from last year's Democratic presidential race, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll. ... With less than one month before the June 13 primary, 40 percent of likely Democratic voters support Perriello, while 38 percent support Northam, a difference that is well within the survey's range of sampling error. Perriello is a former congressman, and Northam is the state's lieutenant governor." http://wapo.st/2ruP9jQ

HOT ON THE LEFT -- " Can Rob Quist's Full-Throated Populism Win Back Rural America?" by D.D. Guttenplan in The Nation http://bit.ly/2ruQVl3 ... The Nation's latest cover http://bit.ly/2ruPPpj

A HISTORY LESSON -- California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren has been sharing the 1974 House Judiciary Committee report she worked on as a staffer on the "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment." Lofgren worked with then-Rep. Don Edwards (D-Calif.) on the judiciary panel during Watergate. It outlines the standards for presidential impeachment. The report http://politi.co/2pOV6M4

-- SPEAKING OF HISTORY: An excerpt of H.R. McMaster's book "Dereliction of Duty" appeared on the AP U.S. History test this year as part of a free response question. http://bit.ly/2rv3wob

SORRY THRUSH -- "Bobby Moynihan Exits 'Saturday Night Live,'" by Variety's Daniel Holloway http://bit.ly/2ruYrw9

TRANSITIONS -- Charles Small has been hired to run LA Mayor Eric Garcetti's D.C. office. He previously worked as the associate director of federal affairs for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. ... Raymond Glendening has started created Scarlet Oak Strategies, which will focus on "political advocacy & management space." He was most recently an SVP at Direct Impact (Website: http://bit.ly/2ruN5IL)

SPOTTED: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and HUD Secretary Ben Carson attending the Friendship Playce fundraising breakfast this morning at Washington Hebrew. "Much stronger applause for the mayor than Carson when they were both announced," according to a Playbooker. ... Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) outside his house at 9:30 a.m. with a backpack and cell phone. Our tipster said it looked like he was trying to find an Uber.

REMEMBERING BURAK GUVENSOYLAR -- Friends, colleagues and family will gather for a funeral service on Thursday at 7 pm at the Kay Spiritual Life Center on the campus of American University in Washington, DC to celebrate the life of Burak Guvensoylar, a Hill staffer who most recently worked on the House Judiciary Committee. Burak passed away on Sunday after an 11-month battle with synovial sarcoma. He was also the co-founder of the Congressional Tech Staff Association. Obituary http://bit.ly/2ruITIV

OUT AND ABOUT - Connie Milstein, Tammy Haddad, Carol Melton, Hilary Rosen, Heather Podesta, and Juleanna Glover co-hosted a book party last night at The Jefferson for Holly Peterson for her new novel "It Happens in the Hamptons." Bloomberg Businessweek editor Megan Murphy interviewed Peterson, who told her that a common feature among super powerful people was "raging narcissism." $9.51 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2pD0Zbc SPOTTED: Maureen Dowd, Sally Quinn, Debbie Dingell, Bill and Gina Knapp, Stephanie Cutter, Robyn Bash, Kate Goodall, Tom Forrest, Amy Weiss and Peter Kadzik, Jonathan Capehart, Ann and Lloyd Hand, Betsy Fischer Martin, Polson Kanneth, Heather Lauer, Anita McBride, Tina Tchen, Melissa Moss, Ryan Williams, Becca Glover, Jill Barclay, Alyse Nelson, Su-Lin Nichols, Sissy Yates, Jayne Sandman.

-- SCOTT BROWN alumni, along with his wife Gail and daughters Ayla and Arianna, gathered yesterday on the Hill to watch their old boss go before the Senate Foreign Relations committee, as he continues the confirmation process to become the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Following his testimony the group proceeded to the Dubliner where Brown and Ayla took the stage at one point for an impromptu father-daughter duet. SPOTTED: Colin Reed, Nat Hoopes, Ryan Williams, Lindsey Barrington, Jeff Farrah, Greg Casey, Kristen Granchelli, Jillian Davidson, Marcie Kinzel, Marne Marotta, Sherri Hupart, Luke Bullock

-- NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL hosted a reception to celebrate their new government relation office and the new head of their D.C. office Christopher Gahan. SPOTTED: Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Al Lawson (D-Fla.), Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) and Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Northwest Mutual executives Ray Manista, Mike Carter and Steve Radke, and several senior Hill staffers.

-- Friends gathered for a 44th birthday celebration for Dave Grimaldi at Fiola last night. SPOTTED: Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), Yebbie Watkins, Lyndon Boozer, Tom Quinn, Bob Crowe, Gerry Harrington, Jake Perry, Mike Hutton, Rich Lopez, Mike Mullen, Lars Hydle, Joyce Brayboy. Sens. John McCain (R-Az.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) were spotted dining separately at a nearby table.

BIRTHDAY -- Phish's Page "Side Rage Side" McConnell is 54. For Journophish http://bit.ly/2pPfoVU

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