Daily Kickoff: Some Never-Trumpers quietly align with moderate Dems | Norm Coleman on why he now supports Trump | Inside ESPN’s struggles


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DRIVING THE CONVO — The U.S. is resuming its pressure campaign on North Korea after President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel his planned summit with Kim Jong Un. A senior White House official told reporters that the administration’s goal is to “achieve maximum pressure” on Kim’s government using sanctions, and that “we’re still short of that.” North Korea responded by saying Kim Jong Un is still willing to meet Trump “at any time.”

Trump tweets this morning: “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”

“The inside story of how the North Korea summit fell apart” by Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey: “Inside the White House residence, the first alarm sounded about 10 p.m. Wednesday when national security adviser John Bolton told Trump about North Korea’s public statement threatening a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” and mocking Vice President Pence as a “political dummy.” … Bolton advised that the threatening language was a very bad sign, and the president told advisers he was concerned Kim was maneuvering to back out of the summit and make Americans look like desperate suitors… So Trump called it off first.” [WashPost]

— “There’s a group around him trying to help him understand what it’s like — how it’s not a real estate deal,” a longtime GOP lobbyist in Washington who is close to the Trump White House said in the days before the meeting was canceled.” [LATimes]

HOW IT PLAYED — “President Trump Is a Better Dealbreaker Than Dealmaker” by Susan Glasser: “Sixteen months into the Trump Presidency, it is finally time to say: we really do know. There are no deals with Trump, and there are increasingly unlikely to be. Not on nafta. Not on Middle East peace. Or Obamacare or infrastructure.” [NewYorker]

Fareed Zakaria writes… “Trump’s true talent isn’t negotiating. It’s marketing: It is nearly 500 days into the Trump administration. Where are the deals? Where is… the new and improved Iran nuclear pact, the China trade deal? … Oh, and don’t forget, he and son-in-law Jared Kushner were going to broker the ultimate deal: peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. How is that going?” [WashPost

Eli Lake writes… “Trump Can Win by Walking Away From Korea Talks: [John] Bolton knows the nuclear file and rogue states better than almost anyone else in the foreign policy establishment. If anyone will know a tough nuclear agreement, it’s the man who has spent the last three years trying to get America out of the weak one Barack Obama cut with Iran.”[BloombergView]

MIDEAST EXPERTS on the implications of President Trump’s latest North Korea  decision for other areas that Trump’s negotiating skills will be put to test — namely with the Iranians and separately regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

Aaron David Miller: “Anything that embarrasses or weakens Trump weakens America and would provide a psychological boost but not much more for the Palestinians. With Iran, if the US ends negotiations with North Korea — and assuming Trump is blamed — that would further Iran’s notion that he can’t be trusted and maybe take some pressure off Iran.”

Elliott Abrams: “In my view, the willingness of the administration to walk away—from the JCPOA and from the NK talks—greatly strengthens its hand in future negotiations.”

WHERE THE NEVER TRUMPERS ARE AT — “Concerned by Trump, Some Republicans Quietly Align With Democrats” by Ken Vogel: “The network — composed of overlapping groups led by Democrats such as the donor Rachel Pritzker and several veteran Obama administration operatives, as well as leading Never Trump Republicans like Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn and William Kristol — aims to chart a middle path between a Republican base falling in line behind Mr. Trump and a liberal resistance trying to pull the Democratic Party left.”

“The group has held three two-day gatherings outside San Francisco, New York and Washington, to which Ms. Pritzker and her political adviser invited 20 to 40 people per meeting. Gatherings have drawn influential Democratic operatives like [Ian] Bassin and the Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein. They have also attracted big-name Republican and conservative thinkers, writers and operatives including… legal analyst Benjamin Wittes and the foreign policy hawks Mona Charen, David Frum, Robert Kagan, Mr. Kristol and Jennifer Rubin.” [NYTimes]

2020 WATCH — “Conservative Bill Kristol brings his never-Trump message to New Hampshire” by Paul Steinhauser: “Speaking to an audience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics “Politics and Eggs” series – which is a must stop for potential presidential contenders – Kristol told the crowd Trump’s “a little more vulnerable that people think.” … But Kristol shot down any notion of launching his own 2020 campaign. Asked by CBS News if he’s mulling a White House run, Kristol replied, “Not really. I couldn’t do enough flattering of New Hampshire for two or three months. Trump did win never having run for office before. But he’s been branding himself as being a celebrity for 40 years.” … “I prefer to help someone else,” Kristol added.”[CBSNews

— Response from the Trump campaign: “Mr. Kristol is clearly out of touch with most Americans and most definitely with Republican voters,” Michael Glassner, the [Trump reelection] campaign’s chief operating officer, said in a statement… “Kristol is living in a fantasy world if he thinks that Republicans still embrace his old swamp values.” [BuzzFeed]

INTERVIEW — “Never say never Trump: Why Norm Coleman came around on the 45th president’ by Sam Brodey: “The embassy move is one that took a lot of courage, a lot of guts,” Coleman said… “In terms of the president, when he ran, I didn’t believe him. Yet, he ran, and he’s kept his word. For that, I’m very, very pleased. A lot of people promised a lot of things on the campaign trail.” … Coleman, for his part, says he’s only spoken briefly with Trump since he became president, at an event celebrating Israel’s 70th year of statehood. It’s unclear if Trump knows or remembers Coleman’s opposition to his candidacy, but that’s all water under the bridge now. “He’s now taken office and provided leadership in areas that are fundamentally important to me,” Coleman said. “I would vote for him in 2020.” [MinnPost]

THE DAILY KUSHNER — “Russian banker linked to Jared Kushner ousted from VEB” by Max Seddon: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin replaced Sergei Gorkov as chief executive of VEB, an ailing state development bank, with former first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov on Thursday… Gorkov became a key figure in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump entourage’s ties to Russia after he met Mr Kushner… in Trump Tower after the 2016 election.” [FinancialTimes]

“Turf War Between Kushner and Sessions Drove Federal Prisons Director to Quit” by Glenn Thrush and Danielle Ivory: “When Jared Kushner hosted a high-profile summit meeting on federal prison reform at the White House last Friday, some in attendance noticed that the man who was ostensibly in charge of the federal prison system, Mark S. Inch… was nowhere in sight… [Inch] had two days earlier submitted his resignation as the bureau’s director to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein… Mr. Inch told Mr. Rosenstein he was tired of the administration flouting “departmental norms.” … Mr. Inch also felt marginalized by Mr. Kushner… in drafting prison reform legislation.” [NYTimes]

“Ivanka Trump now has full security clearance, too” by Alexi Mccammond: “Ivanka Trump’s security clearance was upgraded to permanent Top Secret at the same time as Jared Kushner’s upgrade on May 1.”[Axios]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT…  “Elliott Broidy, top Trump fundraiser, accuses ex-CIA operative of hacking his emails” by Julia Ainsley:“Lawyers for Elliott Broidy… alleged in federal court on Thursday that a former CIA operative was behind hacks on his email that revealed his efforts to get the White House to embrace anti-Qatar policies… At the direction of Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa al Thani, the brother of the emir of Qatar, the court filing claims, Global Risk Advisors solicited the help of a U.K. security firm, an Israeli citizen and a retired Moroccan diplomat to obtain Broidy’s emails.”

“A person close to Broidy said that in the aftermath of both scandals, his attention has been diverted toward his family and legal defense and away from politics, though his company Circinus continues its contracts with UAE.” [NBCNewsPolitico]

“Conversation Cited to Link Qatar to Hack of G.O.P. Donor” by David Kirkpatrick: “Be very careful,” the lobbyist, Nicolas D. Muzin, warned on March 5, in a conversation quoted Thursday in a legal complaint… Anyone Mr. Muzin pointed to was “in danger,” he told his old acquaintance, Joel Mowbray, who appears to have recorded their conversation about the Qataris. “Honestly, I know they are after you and after Broidy,” the lobbyist continued… An amended complaint filed on Thursday contends that, as a lobbyist for Qatar, Mr. Muzin’s comments amounted to an admission of its guilt. “Mr. Muzin has admitted culpability,” the complaint charges, and “as its registered foreign agent, Mr. Muzin’s admission also binds the defendant State of Qatar.” Mr. Muzin did not respond a request for comment through his firm, Stonington Strategies, but has previously called Mr. Broidy’s allegations “specious” and “hollow.” [NYTimes]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Goldman, Blackstone Make Peace in Credit-Derivative Standoff [WSJ• A lot of people heard what Barney Frank said about the new banking law. Few knew he works for a bank — Signature Bank [WashPost] • Frank Lowy signs off as chairman of Westfield after 60 years [DailyMail• Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s private emails with Amazon are exposed in new report [BusinessInsider] • Why a storied lobbying firm gambled on Michael Cohen [Politico]

“Harvey Weinstein arrested by NYC authorities, charged with rape, criminal sex act” by Jayme Deerwester and Erin Jensen: “Weinstein turned himself in at NYPD’s 1st Precinct around 7:30 a.m ET. With books The Associated Press identified as Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution and Elia Kazan about the stage and film director, in his right hand… Noticeably struggling to walk, he hobbled into the precinct around 7:30 a.m… Weinstein left the station before 9 a.m. in handcuffs… headed to court for his arraignment… As Weinstein headed into a Manhattan courthouse, AP says he was questioned by the crowd. “You sorry, Harvey?” someone shouted. The question “What can you say?” was also raised. In reply, Weinstein softly shook his head and answered “No.”” [USAToday

— Ronan Farrow: Behind the Scenes of Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest [NewYorker]

Roman Abramovich to take out Israeli citizenship – report: “Russian-Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich is… likely to take out Israeli citizenship, the “Israel Hayom” daily newspaper has reported. The move comes as Abramovich has been denied a visa by the British government… Abramovich owns the Varsano boutique hotel in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood, which he bought for NIS 100 million in 2015 and is converting into his Israeli home. He bought the hotel from Gal Gadot’s husband Yaron Varsano and his brother Guy.” [Globes]

UPCOMING — Prince William to visit Jordan, Israel, West Bank in June: “Kensington Palace says Prince William will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories at the end of June — the first British royal to make an official visit there. The prince will begin his June 24-28 trip in Amman, Jordan, then travel to Jerash in Jordan; Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel; and Ramallah in the West Bank.” [AP]

Prince Charles joins Britain’s Chief Rabbi and Jewish dignitaries at the Royal Albert Hall to mark 70 years since the birth of Israel” by Tim Stickings: “Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, tweeted to say spectators were in the ‘distinguished company’ of the Prince of Wales who was seen speaking to guests. [Charles] was also pictured sitting alongside Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at the three-hour event this evening.” [DailyMail]

CAMPUS BEAT — “Spying on Linda Sarsour: Israeli Firm Compiled BDS Dossier for Adelson-funded U.S. Group Battling Her Campus Appearances” by Uri Blau: “A secretive Israeli firm collected intelligence on American citizen Linda Sarsour and her family… Cyber Shield (ICS) delivered the dossier to the pro-Israel Act.IL group, which used it as the basis of a campaign to discourage U.S. colleges from allowing the pro-BDS activist to speak on campus… Act.IL used the information to prepare a letter that was distributed via its app to the heads of universities where Sarsour had appeared.” [Haaretz]

“Dershowitz to sue against Israeli flag ban at sports events in Arab states” by Lahav Harkov: “A team of leading international jurists, including Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz, plan to petition the international Court of Arbitration for Sport against the exclusion of Israel’s flag and anthem at sporting events in Arab countries. “It starts with sports, but it won’t end there,” Dershowitz warned. “We won’t allow the Jewish state to be treated like it’s a second-class country.” … The legal team is led by Dershowitz, former New York State Attorney-General Dennis Vacco, and lawyer Jon Purizhansky.” [JPost]

MEDIA WATCH — “How a Weakened ESPN Became Consumed by Politics” by Shalini Ramachandran: “John Skipper’s messy exit in December rattled employees. Though publicly Mr. Skipper seemed to have good relations with Disney’s top brass, tensions had built up over time. Early in his tenure—he took the top ESPN job in 2012—Mr. Skipper had missed a corporate plane ride with Disney’s Bob Iger after a night of partying following the ESPY Awards, people familiar with the incident said. Mr. Iger wasn’t happy about being kept waiting. Disney later investigated to find out about Mr. Skipper’s comings and goings that night, including looking at his company phone records, the people said.” [WSJ]

“Big changes at the Daily Beast: EIC John Avlon to CNN; Noah Shachtman to replace him” by Erik Wemple: “How do you improve the Daily Beast? “I want us to lean harder into who we are,” says Noah Shachtman of the Daily Beast… If we’re painting in bright colors now, I want to paint even brighter,” says the 47-year-old Shachtman… Shachtman’s imperative comes from new heights, too. He is progressing from executive editor of the Daily Beast to editor in chief, a position vacated by John Avlon, the smooth-talking journo who splits his time between the Daily Beast and steady appearances on CNN — where Avlon will be moving full-time as a senior political analyst and anchor.” [WashPost]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Ambassador Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa hosted a Ramadan Iftar reception at the Bahraini Embassy in Washington, DC. “We live in times where diversity and tolerance are challenged rather than celebrated,” the Ambassador remarked. “It is occasions like Ramadan that reminds us to open our homes and hearts to all, and share our offerings, whether through food or thought.” Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), also spoke at the event. Attendees included Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar, Paul Packer, Kristina Arriaga, Rachel Craig, David Weinberg, Ty Cobb, Ariella Steinreich, Ezra Friedlander, and Amir Tibon.

WINE OF THE WEEK — Château Haut Breton Larigaudière 2013 — by Yitz Applbaum: “Bonding with friends over wine is my personal Nirvana. I managed to reach this state throughout Passover although we were in Russia where it a difficult task finding great kosher wines. However, lightning struck and it was powerful. Our new friends from Texas, armed with great palates and generous souls, managed to find the Haut Breton, and brought it to our Seder table. This wine should definitely become a part of any collector’s fine-wine collection.”

“The 2013 Château Haut Breton Larigaudière is from the Margaux region in France. It is mostly a traditional Bordeaux blend, predominantly of Cabernet and Merlot grapes, but there is a unique brilliance in this wine. One tastes a deep plum with a velvety vanilla texture. This wine was far more moving an experience for me then I generally get from the earthy mellow tones of a Bordeaux. The color is very rich, the finish is of mushrooms and there are distinct mold overtones, which reminds one that it is definitely still from France. This wine will last at least until the next French Revolution as it has very bold tannins and should be eaten with organ meats or blue cheese.” [De-Mour]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Physicist and winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics, Jack Steinberger turns 97… Academy Award winning film producer and director, Irwin Winkler turns 87… Co-founder and CEO of the clothing manufacturer, Calvin Klein Inc., Barry K. Schwartz turns 76… Judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1986 (including 7 years as Chief Judge), now on senior status, Douglas H. Ginsburg turns 72… British journalist, he has been the City Editor of the Daily Mail (London) since May 2000 and a past VP of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Alex Brummer turns 69… Actor, voice actor and stand-up comedian sometimes referred to as “Yid Vicious,” Bobby Slayton turns 63… CEO at Los Angeles-based Alliance for Childrens Rights, she was previously chief of staff for Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Laurie Rubiner turns 56… Cape Town native, tech entrepreneur and investor, he was the original COO of PayPal and and founder/CEO of Yammer, David Oliver Sacks turns 46… Member of the Australian Parliament since 2016, Julian Leeser turns 42… Political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2012, he covers the Georgia governor’s office and state politics, Greg Bluestein turns 36… NYC-based senior producer for i24 News, Alison Kurtzman turns 28… Pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization who had two effective appearances for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Ryan Sherriff turns 28… Olympic Gold medalist at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, gymnast Aly Raisman turns 24… South Florida resident Marjorie Moidel… Laura Goldman John Davis… Robin Kramer

SATURDAY: Political commentator and history professor at Brandeis and Georgetown, Walter Ze’ev Laqueur turns 97… World reknowned political cartoonist and journalist, Ranan Lurie turns 86… Author of the weekly column “Looking at Language” that is syndicated in newspapers throughout the US, Richard Lederer turns 80… Member of the US House of Representatives (D – IL 9th) since 1999, Janice Danoff “Jan” Schakowsky turns 74… Co-founder and CTO of Mobileye, he became an SVP of Intel after Intel acquired Mobileye in 2017, Amnon Shashua turns 58… NYC real estate developer, Chair of The Charles H. Revson Foundation and a Commissioner on the NYC Planning Commission, Cheryl Cohen Effron turns 53… Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport since 2015, Miriam “Miri” Regev turns 53… Counsel in the fintech and payments practice at the DC office of Paul Hastings, Dina Ellis Rochkind turns 49… South Florida entrepreneur, Sholom Zeines turns 38… Tel Aviv-based freelance journalist, formerly a producer at NBC News in New York, Yardena Schwartz turns 32… Litigation associate in the Washington office of Covington & Burling LLP, Benjamin L. Cavataro turns 29… Program Assistant at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Morgan A. Jacobs turns 28… Eytan Merkin

SUNDAY: Author of many best-selling books including fiction such as The Caine Mutiny (1951) and non-fiction such as This Is My G-d (1959), Herman Wouk turns 103… Media mogul, until recently the executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom, Sumner Redstone (born Sumner Murray Rothstein) turns 95… National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford, Henry Kissinger turns 95… Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Philip Kotler turns 87… CEO of British real estate firm Heron International, he has built 168 buildings in nine countries, Gerald Ronson turns 79… Actor, producer and real estate developer, Zack Norman (born Howard Jerrold Zuker) turns 78… School rabbi and director of Jewish studies at The Rashi School, a K-8 Reform Jewish school in Dedham, Massachusetts, Ellen Weinstein Pildis turns 68… Former MLB pitcher (1978-1982) who played for the White Sox and Pirates, Ross Baumgarten turns 63… Former MLB pitcher (1979-1990) who played for the Angels, Red Sox and Brewers, Mark Clearturns 62… Marriage counselor, therapist and author Sherry Amatensteinturns 61… Dallas-based trial lawyer, political activist and Jewish community leader, he served for six years as Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Marc R. Stanley turns 61… Beverly Hills-based immigration attorney, founder and chairman of the Los Angeles Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, Neil J. Sheff turns 57… Political strategist David Plouffe turns 51… General Manager of Phibro Israel, Jonathan Bendheim turns 42… Workplace and labor reporter at The New York Times, Noam Scheiberturns 42… Associate Director of Development at JCRC of NY, Grant Silverstein turns 36… Sports reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York, Benjamin Zachary Cohen turns 30… Joshua Fitterman turns 25… Philadelphia Inquirer’s reporter in Trenton, Andrew Seidman… Emily Cohen

MONDAY: Founding rabbi of both Lincoln Square Synagogue in NYC and then later the City of Efrat, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin turns 78… UCSF’s neurologist and biochemist, director of UCSF’s Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Stanley Benjamin Prusiner M.D. turns 76… Former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giulianiturns 74… Executive director of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Jerome H. Kadden turns 74… Winnipeg-born attorney, previous campaign chair for Winnipeg’s Combined Jewish Appeal and governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gail Sheryl Asper turns 58… Member of the Knesset since 2009 on behalf of the Likud party, he serves as Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Ofir Akunis turns 45… Manager of the Executive Office at The Pew Charitable Trusts, Lauren Mandelker turns 37… Real estate entrepreneur, member of the Pritzker family of Hyatt Hotels, Matthew Pritzker turns 36… Special Assistant for Community Affairs for New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, David A. Lobl turns 34… Founder in 2015 of “At The Well,” a women’s wellness organization rooted in Jewish spirituality and women’s health, Sarah Michal Waxman turns 32… Associate Editor for the Forward, Thea Glassman turns 27… Harry Weinstein turns 19… Adam Daniel Pearl turns 16… Politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News, Adelle Nazarian… Irwin Weiss


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