* Greg Jaffe and Damian Paletta report that it’s going to be flush times over at Lockheed Martin et al:
President Trump is expected to ask for $716 billion in defense spending when he unveils his 2019 budget next month, a major increase that signals a shift away from concerns about rising deficits, U.S. officials said.
The proposed budget is a victory for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who recently unveiled a strategy that proposes retooling the military to deter and, if necessary, fight a potential conflict with major powers such as China and Russia.
And it represents a setback for deficit hawks such as Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, who last year pressed for an increase in defense spending that could be offset by cuts to domestic programs.
I’d argue that there’s actually no such thing as a Republican “deficit hawk,” since you can’t call yourself a deficit hawk if the only programs you want to cut are the ones you don’t like anyway.
* Amber Phillips looks at the coming crisis of conscience Republicans will face:
The firing of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has long been a red line for most Republicans in Congress who are trying to work with their president.
But it’s a red line they’d rather not act on — and now, with news that President Trump actually made moves to do it, they may be forced to.
There are two bills in Congress, both of which have some Republican support, that would protect Mueller from being fired by Trump. But neither bill has been seriously considered by leadership.
Up until this point, Republicans had given Trump the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t launch a constitutional crisis. From their perspective, why take action and cause a confrontation with the president (and jeopardize their agenda) if they don’t absolutely have to?
Now they may have to.
I’m sure that having displayed so much integrity up until now, they’ll do the right thing when it’s most important.
* Alexandra Berzon, Chris Kirkham, Elizabeth Bernstein, and Kate O’Keeffe report that casino magnate and Donald Trump buddy Steve Wynn is being accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse.
* Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick report that a “faith adviser” on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign was accused of sexual harassment but didn’t lose his job, then went on to be accused of sexual harassment at a group supporting her 2016 campaign.
* Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report that the occasionally sane Sen. Chuck Grassley says that President Trump should let the Mueller investigation run its course, and he’d consider legislation to protect Mueller from being fired without cause.
* Robert Schlesinger argues that it really is time for members of Congress to consider what they’ll do if Trump fires Mueller. If not now, when?
* Gilad Edelman and Paul Glastris report the results of a study showing that allowing people to vote from home increases turnout among those least likely to vote when they have to make it to a polling place.