News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
The dustup over a White House aide’s crass remark about Sen. John McCain’s health has once again inflamed the White House’s frustration with staffers who reveal the inner workings of the West Wing to reporters outside the building. Despite active efforts to flush out administration leakers — including machines used to detect unauthorized cell phones in the West Wing — President Donald Trump and his senior aides haven’t yet been able to stem the flow of damaging information.
Deputy press secretary Raj Shah was in the daily communications meeting with about two dozen other officials last week when Kelly Sadler, a previously little-known aide, remarked that it didn’t matter that McCain, an 81-year-old, six-term Republican senator with brain cancer, opposed the administration’s pick to lead the CIA because “he’s dying anyway.”
President Donald Trump celebrated rising poll numbers Tuesday as a repudiation of two familiar annoyances: the press and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“I now have my best Poll Numbers in a year,” he tweeted. “Much of the Media may be corrupt, but the People truly get it!”
Though Trump’s approval rating has remained underwater for nearly his entire presidency, his numbers have been ticking upward lately. FiveThirtyEight’s daily aggregation of popularity metrics has clocked Trump at 42.1 percent on five days this month, including Monday — his highest rating since May 8, 2017, the day before he fired FBI Director James Comey.
From The Hill
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Monday she expects to see a staff shakeup after the furor over leaked comments made during an internal meeting last week.
“I had several discussions with the president on this very topic today,” Conway said on Fox News.
Asked by “The Story’s” Martha MacCallum if she expects personnel changes as a result, Conway said, “I do, actually. Yes, I do.”
From The Hill
The Republican senator spoke with conservative outlet Breitbart News in an interview published Monday about his plan to “enhance border security” and fund the wall by seizing billions from drug cartels over the border.
Senate Republicans are openly seething over the White House’s treatment of John McCain, casting a pall over the party ahead of a rare lunch with President Donald Trump the caucus is hosting on Tuesday.
The White House’s refusal to apologize for an aide joking about the Arizona senator’s failing health is threatening to undermine what should be a feel-good moment for the caucus.
“Just out of common decency they should apologize. And the person who said it should apologize. It’s wrong,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
President Donald Trump and his administration’s lack of a consistent and coherent foreign policy is confusing U.S. allies and ceding ground to countries that do not share America’s interests, a group of foreign policy experts said at a debate on Monday evening.
But for all the criticism of the president’s approach, some of the panelists at the event in Dallas, “The Future of America’s Global Role,” argued that there might be a silver lining in letting the world know that the U.S. would not do everything.
From The Hill
Melania Trump “deserves personal privacy” following her kidney surgery and hospitalization, a spokeswoman for the first lady says.
“I am not going to expand beyond the statement I put out,” Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, told CNN in a Tuesday statement following an inquiry about the 48-year-old first lady’s hospital stay.
The cable network says it had asked why Trump’s stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center would be as long as a week after a routine procedure.
Wilbur Ross has been largely sidelined in high-stakes trade negotiations with China in the latest signal that President Donald Trump is losing confidence in his Commerce secretary, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
Ross — whom Trump once affectionately called a “killer,” a high compliment in the president’s lexicon — has steadily become a bit player, with the president regularly leaning on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
The Commerce secretary’s standing took another hit this week when the president tweeted criticism of the department’s recent decision to block the Chinese phone-maker ZTE from accessing U.S. technology, according to a current administration official and a former official familiar with the internal discussions.
From The Hill
A federal district court judge on Tuesday rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s request to toss out five criminal charges against him in special counsel Robert Mueller‘s ongoing Russia investigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Mueller had the right to bring the charges against Manafort, shutting down the argument by Manafort’s lawyer that his charges had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.