* Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report on who the real power behind the Trump throne is:
In jagged black strokes, President Trump’s signature was scribbled onto a catalogue of executive orders over the past 10 days that translated the hard-line promises of his campaign into the policies of his government.
The directives bore Trump’s name, but another man’s fingerprints were also on nearly all of them: Jeff Sessions.
The early days of the Trump presidency has rushed a nationalist agenda long on the fringes of American life into action — and Sessions, the quiet Alabaman who long cultivated these ideas as a Senate back-bencher, has become a singular power in this new Washington.
Sessions’ nomination as Trump’s attorney general is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, yet his influence in the administration extends far beyond the Justice Department. From immigration and health care to national security and trade, Sessions is the intellectual godfather of the president’s policies. Sessions’ reach extends throughout the White House, with his aides and allies accelerating the president’s most dramatic moves, including the ban on refugees and migrants from seven mostly Muslim nations that has triggered fear around the globe.
OK, so it’s a white nationalist agenda. Just so long as nobody’s using private emails for government work. Oh wait…
* Burgess Everett reports that Democrats look like they’re ready to pull the trigger on a filibuster of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee:
Senate Democrats are going to try to bring down President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick no matter who the president chooses to fill the current vacancy.
With Trump prepared to announce his nominee on Tuesday evening, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in an interview on Monday morning that he will filibuster any pick that is not Merrick Garland and that the vast majority of his caucus will oppose Trump’s nomination. That means Trump’s nominee will need 60 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.
“This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,” Merkley said in an interview. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”
It’s a move that will prompt a massive partisan battle over Trump’s nominee and could lead to an unraveling of the Senate rules if Merkley is able to get 41 Democrats to join him in a filibuster. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also reminded her Twitter followers on Sunday night that Supreme Court nominees can still be blocked by the Senate minority, unlike all other executive and judicial nominees.
Look for this to become a litmus test for Democrats looking for higher office.
* Chuck Schumer declares his opposition to most of Trump’s cabinet nominees.
* Uri Friedman tells us where those who have committed terrorist acts in America have actually come from. Total number of Americans killed by nationals of the seven countries in Trump’s ban: Zero.
* Dylan Scott and Megan Thielking report that American hospitals are scrambling to help patients who had been planning to travel to the U.S. to get medical care but are now barred from entering the country.
* Kyle Dropp and Brendan Nyhan say survey data show that despite his national unpopularity Trump is still popular in districts represented by Republican members of Congress, which reduces their incentive to criticize him.
* And Ryan Grim reports that a couple of liberal activists showed up at an event for conservative provocateur James O’Keefe, and when they were identified they were beaten and choked by people in the crowd.