President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met yesterday.
The comments left lawmakers taken aback, according to people familiar with their reactions. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) proposed cutting the visa lottery program by 50 percent and then prioritizing countries already in the system, a White House official said.
Really looking forward to Sarah Sanders’ explanation of this one.
* Kara Scannell, Pamela Brown, Manu Raju, Gloria Borger, and Dana Bash report that Trump is being urged not to talk to Robert Mueller:
Close advisers and friends of President Donald Trump are warning him not to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, with some expressing skepticism that there would be any circumstance in which it makes sense to voluntarily submit to an interview, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussions.
The President has told friends he’s willing to talk with Mueller — the man Trump views as leading a “witch hunt” against him — to make the case there was no wrongdoing, sources told CNN. White House special counsel Ty Cobb says the White House is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump team and the Russians in the 2016 election.
Some key allies on Capitol Hill also are urging Trump to avoid potential political and legal jeopardy and not answer questions from Mueller. They are part of a group of supporters ranging from lawyers on the Trump team and in the White House orbit to friends who say it would be unwise for the President to talk. Others say Trump should find a way to cooperate that limits his potential legal exposure.
I’ve argued that the thing that may trip Trump up is his own hubris, thinking that he can ace an interview with Mueller because he’s such a stable genius. But I guess, as the president is fond of saying, we’ll see what happens.
* A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Democrats lead on the generic House ballot matchup by 52-35. That’s a 17-point lead.
* Rosalind Helderman reports that Steve Bannon has wisely retained legal counsel for the Russia probe.
* Ryan Cooper has been running a good series of articles explaining various factions on the American left, and here’s his look at American socialists, demystifying what they really aim to accomplish.
* Rick Hasen explains the state of play on the redistricting cases currently before the courts. Common thread: Everyone is trying to figure out how to give Anthony Kennedy a way to agree to a standard for limiting partisan gerrymandering.
* Kyle Kondik gives a good overview of the 2018 governor’s races.
* And this is shocking, just shocking:
Staffers inside the White House aren't that worried about Trump's "shithole" remark — with some predicting it will actually resonate with his base, not alienate it, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem did.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 11, 2018
Those White House staffers really think highly of Trump voters, don’t they? — gs