Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

The Trump administration 

  • President Donald Trump said during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House that he favors taking guns away from people who might commit violence, before going through legal due process in courts. He also said he wants “one terrific bill” that can strengthen background checks, arm some teachers and school officials, increase the age limit for certain gun purchases and find new ways to keep guns away from mentally ill people. Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, said after a meeting at the White House the next day that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “don’t want gun control.”
  • White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s longest-serving advisers, said she was resigning. The announcement came a day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where she said she had occasionally been required to tell white lies but had never lied about anything connected to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
  • Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, had his security clearance downgraded, a move that will prevent him from viewing many of the sensitive documents to which he once had access, according to three unnamed sources. Kushner joined other White House aides who had worked on the highest-level of interim clearances who were informed in a memo that their clearances would be downgraded, the sources said.
  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is examining a period in late July and early August of 2017, when Trump seemed determined to drive Attorney General Jeff Sessions from his job, according to unnamed sources who said that a key interest of the probe is whether those efforts were part of a pattern of attempted obstruction of justice.
  • Trump picked Brad Parscale, the digital media director of his 2016 campaign, to be campaign manager for his 2020 re-election bid. Parscale is a digital strategist who helped launch the pro-Trump group America First, which was formed to back Trump’s agenda.
  • The Trump Organization said it has made good on the president’s promise to donate profits from foreign government patrons at its hotel properties to the U.S. Treasury. The company said that the donation included profits from Jan. 20, 2017, through Dec. 31, but neither the company nor the government disclosed how much was contributed.


  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that the House Intelligence Committee was behind the leak of private messages between Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the panel’s top Democrat, and Adam Waldman, a Russian-connected Washington lawyer who presented himself as a willing partner in the Senate committee’s effort to meet with the former British spy who assembled a controversial dossier about Trump, according to two unnamed congressional officials.
  • Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), who nearly ousted Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) with a tea-party fueled primary challenge in 2014, announced that he’s challenging incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) in this year’s Republican primary.
  • The House voted 388 to 25 to pass legislation that aims to curb online sex trafficking by holding websites more accountable for the activities of their users. The Senate is expected to clear the measure, but that vote could be delayed by senators allied with the tech industry.

What’s Ahead

  • Both the House and Senate are in session this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is moving to banking legislation when the Senate returns, not gun control or other responses to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
  • Court rulings have largely nullified tomorrow’s deadline that Trump set for Congress to pass legislation that would protect so-called Dreamers from deportation. A spending bill that needs to be passed by March 23 in order to avoid a government shutdown is seen by senators as their next shot at passing DACA legislation.
  • Texas will hold primary elections on Tuesday to nominate candidates for the November midterm elections.
  • A Justice Department review is expected to be released this month or next criticizing former Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for authorizing the release of information to journalists about a continuing investigation, according to four people familiar with the inquiry. Michael E. Horowitz, the department’s inspector general, has zeroed in on disclosures made to The Wall Street Journal as part of a wider probe into how the FBI approached its 2016 investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Hudson Institute event on the U.S.-U.K. relationship 3 p.m.
Wilson Center event on Congress after Watergate 4 p.m.
Reps. Roskam, Levin, Schwartz participate in CQ Roll Call event on health care 8 a.m.
DOL’s Acosta testifies before House Appropriations subcommittee 10 a.m.
Treasury’s Mnuchin testifies before House Appropriations subcommittee 10 a.m.
Israeli Prime Minister speaks at The Economic Club of Washington 6:30 a.m.
Rep. Larsen participates in Brookings Institution event on U.S. engagement with China 9 a.m.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein participates in AHIP conference 10:35 a.m.
Council of Economic Advisers chairman testifies before Joint Economic Committee 2 p.m.
Ambassadors participate in Wilson Center event on the Trans-Pacific Partnership 2 p.m.
HHS Secretary Azar participates in AHIP conference 8:30 a.m.
Politico’s Future of Prosperity event 8:30 a.m.
Wilson Center event on women and the 2018 midterms 9 a.m.
Senate HELP Committee hearing on the opioid crisis 10 a.m.
The Federalist Society hosts National Student Symposium 6 p.m.

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Morning Consult Washington Top Reads

1) Half of Voters Support Arming Teachers as GOP Backing for Gun Control Rises
Eli Yokley, Morning Consult

2) Senate pivots to stopgap ‘Dreamers’ deal
Jordain Carney and Rafael Bernal, The Hill

3) Background-Checks Bill Runs Into Hurdles in Congress
Kristina Peterson and Michael C. Bender, The Wall Street Journal

4) Companies See Negative Responses to Cutting Business Ties With NRA
Ryan Rainey, Morning Consult

5) Democratic memo: FBI was investigating Trump campaign associates weeks before receiving dossier
Kyle Cheney, Politico

6) Congress Returns to Washington Under Pressure to Act on Guns
Kristina Peterson and Natalie Andrews, The Wall Street Journal

7) Every Member of Congress’ Wealth in One Chart
Randy Leonard and Paul V. Fontelo, Roll Call

8) What to do about all those angry young men
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

9) Debbie Lesko wins Republican primary race for vacant congressional seat
Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic

10) White House preparing for McMaster exit as early as next month
Nicolle Wallace, NBC News