05/18/2017 10:54 AM EDT

THE BUZZ - ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BOMBSHELL, Chapter 117 - The news from the Washington Post that GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, was caught on tape saying "I think Putin pays" Donald Trump and California GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher hit the West Coast like a tsunami. The Post reported a spokesman for McCarthy at first denied the statements - then admitted them, once informed of a tape of the June 15, 2016 session of GOP lawmakers. The defense: it was a joke. (But just ask Stephen Colbert - even a joke needs some kernel of truth to be funny.) As some of the GOP lawmakers laughed hearing McCarthy's remarks that day in the U.S. Capital, the Majority Leader ended with the words: "Swear to God." Speaker Paul Ryan weighs in with: "No leaks.....What's said in the family stays in the family." Read the WashPo transcript.

- Interesting to remember: This isn't the first time that McCarthy's riffs have gotten him in trouble. He was on the path to the Speakership when Republicans were forced into high speed damage control after McCarthy said this about the GOP's Benghazi committee in September 2015: "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought."

- McCarthy didn't do Rohrabacher any favors with his tossed-off comment on Trump, hand-delivering ammunition to Democrats like Harley Rouda, who is challenging the Orange County Republican in 2018. Rouda told POLITICO Wednesday: "Looks like not only is Dana Rohrabacher Putin's favorite Congressman... he's also an employee of Putin."

- Rouda's campaign immediately sent out a fundraising appeal: "The GOP says the quote is a joke. If it's a joke, it's not very funny. Joke or no joke, it's time for Rohrabacher to go. He's an embarrassment, plain and simple."

- DCCC Spokesman Tyler Law: "Clearly Congressman McCarthy feels the same way about fringe Congressman Rohrabacher as everyone else: deeply troubled that he does not possess the common sense and stability to hold a seat in Congress, much less perform his duties independent of Russian influence...Rohrabacher has never been closer to the exit."

TALE OF THE TAPE from Washington Post's Adam Entous: McCarthy asserts "Putin Pays" Rohrabacher and Trump - "A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress - House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy - made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Story.

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- "Trump's Man in Congress: Few on Capitol Hill are closer to President Trump than Bakersfield's Rep. Kevin McCarthy,'' by CALMatters' Laurel Rosenhall -- "On paper, McCarthy is the second-most powerful member in the House after Speaker Paul Ryan, but in reality, no politician has more clout with the Trump White House than he does." Story

BUENOS DÍAS, good Thursday morning: Looks like former assistant SF DA Kim Guilfoyle will be holding at Fox News for awhile at least. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning a big shindig at the upcoming Democratic convention -- and what is Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon planning in his future?

Where's Jerry? No public schedule

CA DEM CONVENTION WATCH - As hundreds of Democratic activists prepare to descend on Sacramento starting Friday for the three-day state Democratic convention, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom - the leading 2018 gubernatorial candidate - is aiming straight for Millennial's hearts. This released Wednesday for the Dem's Saturday night agenda: "#TheResistance hosted by California Young Democrats, 11th Street (between K and L Streets): 'Gavin will be the featured speaker at an outdoor block party hosted by California Young Democrats and featuring performances by Grammy and Oscar-winning hip-hop artist/actor Common and the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff, along with local artists and poets.'"

DE LEON VIDEO BLAST: There's a lot of speculation and questions about what Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is running for next (we're hearing some reports that suggest he'll jump into the governor's race next month.) But at least his lieutenant governor committee (an office he's surely not seeking) isn't sitting idle. The pro tem on Thursday e-mailed delegates to the California Democratic Party convention a video that sure looks like a campaign ad for ... something. "California was not part of this nation's history when it began," he says in the spot. "But we are clearly now the keeper of its future." Link to video.

ERIC BAUMAN'S NEW PUSH - Los Angeles Democratic Party vice chair Eric Bauman, in a competitive battle with Emerge America activist Kimberly Ellis to be the next CA Democratic Party Chair, has launched a new ad warning Democrats that "it's not enough to be the anti-Trump party.'' The 2-minute ad debuting Thursday says "California's success provides the roadmap, and will reach California Democratic party delegates by social media and email. The election to replace longtime Democratic Party chair John Burton is on Saturday at the state Democratic convention; results announced Sunday. Link to spot.

KIMBERLY WATCH: "Fox News says Kimberly Guilfoyle under 'long-term' contract,'' by POLITICO's Hadas Gold: "Despite her telling a California newspaper that she has discussed taking a job with the administration, Fox News says host Kimberly Guilfoyle is under a "long term" contract and won't be going anywhere. Reported salary: $800,000. Story.

- BACK IN THE DAY - San Franciscans remember when Kimberly Guilfoyle made headlines with racy comments about her sex life with Gavin Newsom - via SFGate, Matier and Ross, Oct. 24, 2004: "Mayoral first lady Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom says way too much is being made of her sexually playful comments at a recent gay rights dinner, and that for the record she was not -- we repeat not -- pantomiming eating a banana when talking about her husband's sexuality."

- "...Guilfoyle Newsom closed her remarks by joking, "I know that many of you wanted to see my husband, and some of you had questions out there."
"Is he hot? Yeah."
"Is he hung? Yeah."
"Is he (she waved her hand to suggest gay)?"
"At which point, according to the Post's version that we repeated, Guilfoyle Newsom said: "Not unless you can give a better," while she mimicked eating a banana. Story.

- "Trump 'furious' at Guilfoyle's bid for Spicer's job, 'She's using us' by Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard. Story.

TWEET OF THE DAY: -- Roger Stone @RogerJStoneJr RT of Washington Examiner: "Fake News story placed by Sean Spicer to save his job @realDonaldTrump not angry with @kimguilfoyle"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "She's perfect to lie for Trump...but Sam Singer is far more qualified." -- PR guru Lee Houskeeper on reports Kimberly Guilfoyle considered as White House Press Secretary.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Iconic songress Joan Baez has penned a new protest song about Trump called "Nasty Man." Watch via YouTube here.

It's Thursday -- Got a tip? Feedback? News to share? Let us know. By email: cmarinucci@politico.com or dsiders@politico.com. Follow us on Twitter: @cmarinucci, @davidsiders and @POLITICOCA


MUELLER AND THE NEXT MOVE - Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Castro Valley, says he hopes the appointment of special counsel former FBI director Robert Mueller to investigate the Russian meddling scandal will be "a wake up call, and not an off-ramp" for Republicans on Capitol Hill. It's one reason why he and Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, got the backing of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday in their move to file a discharge petition to force a vote on a bill which would establish an independent commission to look into the matter. Story in The Hill.

EMBATTLED CA GOP CONGRESSMAN WEIGHS IN - "Let President Trump try to work with Russia," by Rep. Duncan Hunter in USA Today: "President Trump is under assault for his posture toward Russia and Vladimir Putin. This is true even as American presidents are fully within their prerogative to establish working relationships with world leaders, and President Trump most certainly deserves the same opportunity." Story

- "What's Your Lawmaker Saying About Trump, Comey and Flynn?" by KQED's Miranda Leitsinger and Ryan Levi: "After reports emerged that former FBI Director James Comey said President Trump had asked him to shut down an FBI investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, KQED collected statements made by California's members of Congress reacting to the news. We gathered comments made via social media, as well as from press releases sent out by each member's office." Story


- "Antonio Villaraigosa: Donald Trump 'should and will be impeached if he doesn't resign,'' by SacBee's Christopher Cadelago: "Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, a candidate for California governor, said Wednesday that President Donald Trump should quit or be impeached if media reports on his activities are accurate. Story.

- "Trump's pick for a top Interior post has sued the agency on behalf of powerful California water interests,'' by LATimes' Bettina Boxall: "Story

- "Should Trump Pay For Mar-A_lago Trips? Democrat Aims To Force It," by Newsweek's Harriet Sinclair: "California Representative Ted Lieu shared details of the bill, which would require Trump to pay back the government what it has spent covering trips taken by the president to properties he owns-including to the so-called winter White House." Story

- "Pesticide that Trump's EPA refused to ban blamed for sickening farm workers," via The Guardian : "A pesticide that was set to be banned before the Trump administration reversed course has been blamed for causing sickness to nearly 50 farm workers who were exposed to the chemical in California. Spraying of Vulcan, a brand name chemical, on an orchard southwest of Bakersfield led to the pesticide drifting to a neighboring property operated by Dan Andrews Farms." Story


- "LA school board victors identify with Obama's, not Trump's, school choice policies,'' by POLITICO's Kimberly Hefling: "A contentious and unusually expensive election fight for control of the Los Angeles school board that pitted billionaires against unions ended Tuesday with the pro-charter school forces victorious - the latest skirmish in the fight over charter school expansion that shows no signs of slowing in the Trump era."

The winners - former Obama administration staffers Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez - successfully countered efforts to tie them to the "anti-public education agenda" of President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Instead, they pushed a message that they would be more willing than their opponents to allow charter schools to continue expanding in a push to strengthen all public education. Story.

- "UC regents meeting opens with raucous student protests, criticism of budget practices of the president's office," by the Los Angeles Times': "Students and union members disrupted the opening of the University of California regents meeting Wednesday, loudly protesting and criticizing officials for raising tuition despite squirreling away millions in surplus funds." Story

- "Judge throws out lawsuit challenging California's execution law," by the Los Angeles Times' Maura Dolan: "A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that gives prison authorities responsibility for establishing procedures for lethal injection executions.." Story

- "Housing crisis causes legislative avalanche,'' by Richard Scheinin in the East Bay Times: "130 bills proposed in Sacramento -- Home prices keep rising to shocking levels around the Bay Area, while rents remain out of sight. Now, state lawmakers in Sacramento are responding with a torrent of proposals." Story

- "City Council winners: Gil Cedillo, Monica Rodriguez, labor,'' by LATimes' Dakota Smith: "Los Angeles voters picked seasoned political veterans in Tuesday's election, reelecting City Councilman Gil Cedillo and backing Monica Rodriguez in races that saw a flood of outside spending by labor groups. Story.

- "Voters decisively back measure to rework discipline at the LAPD," by the Los Angeles Times' David Zahniser and Kate Mather: " Story


- Free booze and celebrity appearances: How candidates for governor will court California Democrats this weekend,'' by LATimes' Seema Mehta: "Top candidates to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown will gather at the California Democratic Party's annual convention later this week, giving the most crucial speeches of their campaigns to date, courting activists and wooing donors and powerful party leaders." Story.

- "Tom Steyer testing waters for California gubernatorial bid,'' by Reid Wilson in The Hill: "Wealthy environmental activist Tom Steyer is taking steps toward joining the race to become California's next governor, fielding a survey that tests his strengths and weaknesses in an increasingly crowded Democratic field." Story

- "Jolted by Trump, Orange County Democrats see a shot at victory on GOP turf ,'' by LATimes' Sarah D. Wire -- "Catherine Nadeau was never a supporter of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, but as a resident of historically conservative Orange County she ha d never bothered to get involved in local politics either. Donald Trump's surprise presidential win changed that." Story

- "Issa's reactions trigger social media storm,'' by San Diego Union Tribune's Joshua Stewart: "For the second time in two weeks, Rep. Darrell Issa's curt interactions with reporters have brought him national attention." Story

- TERM LIMITS? Rep. Ro Khanna, D-CA and Rep. Jody Arrington R-TX will introduce bipartisan term limits bill in the House Thursday - limiting members of the House to six full terms, and members of the Senate to two full terms. Khanna's statement to POLITICO: "Enacting term limits will give more voices the opportunity to serve in Congress and bring fresh ideas and new energy to Capitol Hill. Being a member of Congress needn't be a lifetime gig, but instead more people should have the chance to work in public service."

- New Ad by House Majority PAC targets embattled CA GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in CA48: "Wonder Why" YouTube


-- "Teenage Daredevils' Freestyle Climb of Golden Gate Bridge Prompts Security Review, Investigation," by Hoodline's James Lanaras: "" Story and video here.

-- "'A tableau of suffering': seaside city of San Diego faces a dark homelessness crisis," by The Guardian's Kelly Davis: Story

-- "Early morning raids end in arrests of nearly two dozen MS-13 gang suspects," by the Los Angeles Times' Richard Winton and Hailey Branson-Potts: Story

-- "Bee industry buzzing: Stolen hives recovered in California," by The Union Democrat's Scott Smith: Story

-- "State worker's bosses ignored his allergies. Now he's $3 million richer," by the Sac Bee's Adam Ashton: Story

-- "San Francisco Bay Area Schools Hit With Norovirus," by the Associated Press : Story

-- "Eek! San Francisco's new tourist attraction: Rat Cafe with real rodents," by The Mercury News' Linda Zavoral: Story

-- "7,000 Birds Recovered in Massive Cockfighting Raid in California," by NBC News' Daniella Silva: Story


- "San Francisco Tries to Ban Delivery Robots Before They Flatten Someone's Toes," by WIRED's Matt Simon: "A little more than a month after a startup announced it was unleashing robots to deliver food to San Franciscans, a city lawmaker wants them curbed. Marble's robot is technically semi-autonomous, as a human operator monitors each robot in case it gets in any trouble. But that's not good enough for San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who just proposed legislation to ban delivery robots of all types, saying they're a public safety hazard." Story


- "Snoop Dogg to Host 'Joker's Wild' Game Show Reboot at TBS," by The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg: "Game show reboots continue to be all the rage. TBS has joined the game, handing out a straight-to-series order for a revival of The Joker's Wild," hosted by Long Beach rapper Snoop Dogg. Story

WEEKEND WEDDING -- ISSA ALUMNI -- Kurt Bardella, president and CEO of Endeavor Strategies and creator and publisher of the Morning Hangover country music newsletter, and Miro Korenha, an environmental consultant with an emphasis on climate change, eloped this weekend and hopped on a plane to Asia. They met several years ago at an Easter Brunch she hosted but Kurt spent the entire time on his Blackberry and ignored her. They later happened to be at a mutual friend's wedding in Sonoma, California, and Kurt spent the entire time chasing her around the reception. He posts on Facebook: "So proud to be able to call this one my wife!" Honeymoon pic http://bit.ly/2rqmX2d


PANEL - "The State of the First Amendment: Business as Usual -- or Panic in the Streets? In conjunction with the San Francisco State University Journalism Department's Annual Alumni Reception. Details: Wednesday May 24, 2017; Panel 6:45 -8:15. Parisoma 169 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Moderator: Carla Marinucci, Senior Writer, POLITICO California Playbook. Panelists: Aimee Allison, President, Democracy in Color; Luis Alvarado, Public Affairs, Political and Media Strategist, Luis Alvarado Public Affairs Consulting; Republican National Committee Member Harmeet K. Dhillon, Attorney, Dhillon Law Group Inc.; Robert Capps, Head of Editorial at Wired; Jim Wagstaffe, Attorney, Kerr & Wagstaffe; Aaron Williams, Graphics & Data Visualization Reporter, The Washington Post. RSVP: cazocar@sfsu.edu


- New hire in the DC office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: Former Cuomo aide and SoCal Native Charles Small is succeeding George Kivork, and started earlier this month as the Mayor's Federal Affairs Liaison to Capitol Hill and the Trump Administration.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to POLITICO California's Cristiano Lima!

FOR MORE political and policy news from California, check out: http://politi.co/2glLfIy

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