With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

THE BIG IDEA: To work, the American system of checks and balances requires that the executive branch respect the prerogatives of Congress, from appropriations to oversight, and the interpretations by judges of the law and the Constitution. That’s what the rule of law requires. That’s what President Trump swore an oath 27 months ago to preserve, protect and defend. All government employees, from civil servants to political appointees, take a similar oath.

That’s why it’s such a big deal that any U.S. president would suggest to armed law enforcement officers that they should disregard court orders. During his visit Friday to Calexico, Calif., Trump told Border Patrol agents not to allow any migrants in, two sources who were present told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “Tell them we don't have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room.’ After the president left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the president said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.”

This is reminiscent of a likely apocryphal quote that’s often attributed to Trump’s favorite president. After the Supreme Court recognized tribal sovereignty in 1832 with Worcester v. Georgia, Andrew Jackson purportedly said this of the chief justice: “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” Indeed, while Jackson forged ahead with his demonization of the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears, the state of Georgia complied with the court’s order.

-- Trump is systematically purging the upper echelons of the Department of Homeland Security, raising fears that he’ll install loyalists who won’t feel so constrained by legal strictures. The White House announced the removal of Secret Service Director Tex Alles. He dumped ICE chief Ron Vitiello on Friday and ousted DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday. “L. Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and DHS General Counsel John Mitnick could be the next to go,” sources tell Nick Miroff, Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Carol Leonnig. “Nielsen has told confidants that she felt uncomfortable with some of the president’s requests, particularly closing the border, and thought that the president did not understand many of the laws governing immigration. …

Trump has suggested to aides in recent weeks that the administration’s previous policy of separating families at the border could be used to deter crossings and that a version of the policy could be reinstated … Some aides have resisted the idea of family separations … [Doing this] without lawmakers’ approval risks another court injunction. …

No president before Trump has pushed the country’s security agencies into such a state of churning confusion, current and former DHS officials said. … ‘The president doesn’t like the news he’s getting on immigration and has blamed leadership at DHS, but this is not something leadership at the department can fix,’ said Stewart Baker, a top DHS adviser to President George W. Bush. ‘This needs to be fixed in Congress, and there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for that.’”

-- The courts and Congress continue trying to check the zealousness of Trump’s immigration agenda: A federal judge last night blocked the administration’s experimental program to make asylum seekers at the southern border wait in Mexico as their cases are processed. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco enjoined the policy, which began in January and was about to be expanded, with a preliminary injunction. In a 27-page ruling, Seeborg said the question before him was not whether it’s a “wise, intelligent, or humane policy.” Rather, he said, Trump’s move probably violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and other legal protections to ensure immigrants “are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances.”

After 11 p.m., Trump retweeted Fox News host Laura Ingraham describing it as “tyranny of [the] judiciary.”

-- There’s also a fresh push from leading Senate Republicans to protect certain conservatives from becoming victims of the Trump purge. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) warned Trump against dismissing Cissna in an interview with The Post last night. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal,” Grassley complained. “Grassley said he texted Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to relay his concerns,” Seung Min Kim reports. “Grassley also said he was going on Fox News — Trump’s favored cable news channel — to make his case publicly.”


-- “Nobody debased herself quite as often as Nielsen did in her quest to keep the job,” Dana Milbank writes, “defending Trump after the ‘s---hole countries’ and Charlottesville scandals, enduring frequent rebukes from Trump and leaks about her imminent firing, embracing his incendiary language and enduring his extralegal instincts, swallowing her moral misgivings to embrace the family-separation policy (while denying any such policy existed), and implausibly claiming that children weren’t being put in cages.”

-- “The ouster of [Nielsen] — the implementer of some of the most unjust immigration policies since the internment of citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II — is further proof of President Trump’s ratchet-wrench theory of loyalty. It goes only in his direction,” writes Michael Gerson, a chief speechwriter in Bush 43’s White House. “But the separation of crying migrant children from their parents as a deterrent, and the housing of children in prisonlike conditions, will be some of the most enduring political images of the Trump era. It says something about Nielsen that she took part in such practices. It says something about Trump that such actions were apparently too moderate and restrained for his taste.”


-- But it’s not just DHS. Trump’s desire to keep concealed from Congress both his personal tax returns and Bob Mueller’s full report creates looming tests for other key institutions. The Justice and the Treasury departments are facing stress tests — akin to what the Federal Reserve does to make sure banks can stay solvent in a crisis — that may define the legacies of the political appointees who lead them.

Trump quoted and retweeted several allies yesterday who criticized Democratic efforts to obtain the Mueller report and his tax filings. “In one tweet, Trump quoted Katie Pavlich, editor of Townhall.com, saying that Nadler was ‘not entitled’ to the full report and underlying documents produced by Mueller,” John Wagner reports. “In another instance, Trump retweeted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a frequent ally and the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, saying that ‘Dems want President’s tax returns for purely political purposes!’”

Harvard professor Larry Summers, who served as Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001, says that the IRS chief is legally obligated to release Trump’s returns, whether he wants to or not, and that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has no business getting in the way. “The appropriate response of the treasury secretary is very clear: Under a long-standing delegation order, the secretary does not get involved in taxpayer-specific matters and has delegated to the IRS commissioner,” Summers writes in an op-ed for today’s Post. “Moreover, this is not a delegation that is readily revocable. Federal law provides that if the secretary determines not to delegate a power, such determination may not take effect until 30 days after the secretary notifies the tax-writing (and other specified) committees. So for the secretary to seek to decide whether to pass on the president’s tax return to Congress would surely be inappropriate and probably illegal. I would surely not have done it.”

Philip Allen Lacovara, a counsel to the Watergate special prosecutor, and Larry Tribe, a constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School, lay out one possible way that the House might be able to get the special counsel’s report if Attorney General William Barr redacts too heavily: by opening a preliminary impeachment inquiry. “One of the exceptions to grand jury secrecy is disclosure ‘preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding,’” they write in an op-ed for today’s paper. “To authorize disclosure of the Watergate grand jury information, the special prosecutor’s office argued that the House had authorized its Judiciary Committee to conduct a formal impeachment inquiry and that such an inquiry could be fairly analogized to a ‘grand jury’ investigation and thus a judicial proceeding. Both the district court and the court of appeals agreed, and the Judiciary Committee obtained both the report and the underlying evidence.”

-- Speaking of the Mueller report, billionaire activist Tom Steyer is launching a $3 million ad buy today calling on Barr to put out the full Mueller report. “If you think we have a right to read the report for ourselves, you can call the attorney general at this number,” Steyer says, speaking to the camera. “Our tax dollars paid for the report. Don’t let him cover up the truth.” Earlier this year, Steyer committed an additional $40 million in 2019 toward impeaching Trump, though this commercial doesn’t call for that.

-- The top-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee said yesterday that he supports Mueller coming to testify on the Hill. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said that he would like to see Mueller testify during the week of April 22. The Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler, said that he agrees Mueller should appear but that his members need to read the full report and hear from Barr first so they can ask “the right questions.”


-- Speaking of Nadler, Trump went on a tirade against the congressman he calls “Fat Jerry” during recent private remarks to GOP lawmakers. The feud between the two men dates to 1985, when Nadler, as a New York state assemblyman, proved to be a major obstacle for Trump’s plans to build a vast development project on the west side of Manhattan, Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey report: “‘I’ve been battling Nadler for years,’ Trump told the GOP lawmakers, who were embarrassed by the outburst … Trump never forgave Nadler, and privately he has simmered about the chairman and his investigation, calling him an irritant who has long been out to get him and recounting their New York run-ins to aides.”

-- Separately, we learned yesterday that Trump has been referring to the now-ousted director of the Secret Service as “Dumbo” because he has big ears. (That’s according to the New York Times.)


-- Here’s the bottom line: Homeland security is no laughing matter, and our safety depends on law enforcement professionals doing their jobs effectively and legally. As the White House was consumed by drama and the president tried to fat-shame an opponent, prosecutors revealed in court filings that local police officers in Prince George’s County, Md., thwarted what could have been a truly heinous terrorist attack on American soil.

A Maryland man allegedly planned to run down crowds at National Harbor in an Islamic State-inspired attack. Lynh Bui reports: “Rondell Henry, 28, of Germantown was arrested March 28 at the waterfront complex in Prince George’s County with a U-Haul he had stolen from a parking garage in Alexandria, Va., two days earlier, according to a newly unsealed charging document. Henry harbored 'hatred' for 'disbelievers' who didn’t practice Islam and admitted to the plot in interviews with authorities, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court for Maryland asking that he be detained in jail until trial. …

Before he arrived at the Maryland complex, he spent nearly two hours at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on March 27 assessing crowds there but finding too few people for the scale of attack he envisioned, court documents contend. ‘He had no escape plan, intending to die while killing others for his cause,’ the government said in the detention memo. The government said that Henry sought out videos of terrorists beheading civilians and fighting overseas.

“The government asserts in its filings that because Henry, a computer engineer, had no weapons training, he planned an attack using a vehicle, inspired by the terrorist truck attack in Nice, France, that killed 84 people and left dozens more injured. Henry drove around the Washington area looking for a vehicle to steal, dumping his cellphone along an interstate highway to ‘destroy evidence of the inspiration behind his attack,’ court documents alleged. The phone was recovered by law enforcement agents and included images of armed ISIS fighters, the ISIS flag and the Pulse nightclub shooter, prosecutors said.”

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-- The University of Virginia won the March Madness tournament, defeating Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime. Chuck Culpepper and Des Bieler report from Minneapolis: “Virginia, a fine tortoise of a program with a warmish 114-year history, a knack for deliberative basketball and an unthinkable splat of 13 months ago, spent Monday night climbing the last jagged rungs to a pinnacle. When finally it made the last few agonizing steps ... it knew a feeling long associated only with others such as Duke or North Carolina, the neighboring hares that always left it among the overshadowed.”

-- Just when Virginia fans had grown used to seeing their team choking and turning their No. 1 seeds into comedy, they flipped the perception, writes columnist Jerry Brewer: “They turned their entire story into a redemption tale ... They tossed the monkey on their backs, their demons and their haters to the rafters of U.S. Bank Stadium. And then white, silver and gold confetti rained on the Cavaliers. If all those lost Marches over the past six years had soiled them, they now bathed in triumph. In the most incredible turnaround in tournament history, the Team That Lost To A No. 16 Seed last season returned the next year — not angry, not broken but transformed through humility and introspection — and won six straight games to claim the program’s first national title.”

-- Charlottesville exploded in cheers and disbelief, giving the close-knit college town a chance to rewrite its story. Moriah Balingit reports: “For a town beset by controversy and tragedy, it was about more than just the basketball team. Nearly 20 months ago, white supremacists descended on the town to protest the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee … Like so many other small communities that become settings for tragedies, the word Charlottesville became not just a place, but a single event. That event came to signify the terrifying rise of white supremacists. It came to signify many things that people who love the community say it is not. ‘It’s a lovely small town,’ said Larry J. Sabato, director of U-Va.’s Center for Politics. He has lived in Charlottesville since 1970. ‘It’s heaven to live in.’ Sabato said the game signified a chance for the world to get to know Charlottesville beyond the headlines.”


  1. More than a dozen parents, including actress Felicity Huffman, agreed to plead guilty to charges stemming from the college admissions scandal, as did a former University of Texas tennis coach. Huffman expressed “deep regret and shame over what I have done” and said her daughter did not know of her fraud. (Susan Svrluga)
  2. U.S. health officials found 78 new measles cases, bringing this year’s total to 465, the highest number in the past five years. Measles cases have now been reported in more than a third of U.S. states, with most of the illnesses occurring in children. There was a worrisome spike in the first week of April, and experts blame the anti-vaccination movement. (Reis Thebault)
  3. A huge spring storm is expected to unleash a blizzard and flooding in the Central U.S. this week. Like its predecessor, the March “bomb cyclone,” this storm is expected to leave behind a heavy blanket of snow from South Dakota to southern Minnesota and Wisconsin while potentially whipping up fires in the Great Plains and thunderstorms in Kansas and Nebraska. (Ian Livingston)
  4. A Post analysis finds that communities affected by mass shootings have not changed their voting patterns much after the attacks. Looking at seven such communities, we found that the majority of them showed a single-digit shift toward Democratic candidates in the wake of the tragedies. (Tim Craig and Scott Clement)
  5. The number of children and teenagers going to the emergency room for suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts has doubled in the past decade. According to new research, diagnoses of suicidal ideation or attempts increased from 580,000 in 2007 to 1.12 million in 2015. Nearly half of the visits came from children between ages 5 and 11. (CNN)
  6. The family of an American man who died in the Ethiopian Airplanes crash last month sued Boeing, accusing the company of putting profits over people with its 737 Max plane. The suit, filed in Chicago, is one of a growing list of claims against the company. (Lori Aratani)
  7. Students at George Mason University are protesting the school’s decision to hire Brett Kavanaugh. The Supreme Court justice, who was confirmed despite allegations of sexual assault, plans to teach a summer course in England for students at the Antonin Scalia Law School, but many at the main campus want the university to rescind its offer. (Isaac Stanley-Becker)
  8. Taylor Swift donated $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group. The pop star, who has been taking more political stands after being criticized for not doing so during the 2016 election, said the money will be used to fight anti-LGBTQ bills. (Billboard)
  9. Trump signed legislation giving Bob Dole a promotion in his military rank from captain to colonel. The former Republican presidential nominee, who is 95, served in the Army during World War II, earning two Purple Hearts and two awards of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor. (John Wagner)
  10. A West Virginia woman falsely accused an Egyptian man visiting the U.S. of attempting to abduct her child, calling the cops on him and posting a viral Facebook post about the experience. Police later determined that the man had never even interacted with the woman or her children. She’s been charged with falsely reporting an emergency. (Antonia Noori Farzan)   
  11. The trial for the murder of Bonnie Haim, who disappeared in 1993 but whose remains were discovered in 2014, began in Florida. Haim’s husband, Michael, was arrested shortly after the pair’s son excavated his mother’s skull from the backyard of his old home. (Kyle Swenson)
  12. Scientists believe a Revolutionary War hero who served with George Washington may have been intersex. The pelvic bone found with the remains of Gen. Casimir Pulaski, who is considered the “father of the American cavalry,” appeared to be that of a woman. (Kayla Epstein)


-- The Chinese woman detained at Mar-a-Lago, Yujing Zhang, will remain in jail at least one more week after prosecutors said she “lies to everyone” and authorities found more suspicious electronics in her hotel room. Lori Rozsa and Devlin Barrett report: When the 32-year-old was arrested, “she was carrying a thumb drive with malicious software on it, four phones, a laptop and a separate hard drive, authorities said. A subsequent search of her hotel room turned up more that alarmed investigators: nine thumb drives, five SIM cards for cellphones, about $8,000 in cash, several credit and debit cards, and a device used to detect hidden cameras … Prosecutors argued that Zhang was a flight risk and therefore should remain in custody. Her defense lawyer, Robert Adler, asked for more time to gather family and financial support for a release on bond. ...

Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich testified about his questioning of Zhang and acknowledged a major misstep in the investigation’s early hours. The agent said he documented about four hours of questioning on video, but when investigators played it back, they realized audio of the conversation had not recorded. Ivanovich also testified that when the thumb drive they recovered from Zhang at the club was inserted into another agent’s computer, ‘a file immediately began to install itself.’ The agent, Ivanovich said, had never seen that happen before. ‘He knew it was something out of the ordinary,’ Ivanovich said. ‘He had to immediately stop his analysis and shut down his computer in order to stop it.’ A law enforcement official said the computer was not part of a government data network, and no sensitive information was put at risk.”

-- The Treasury Department allowed influential Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to satisfy the terms of his divorce by transferring millions of dollars in stock to his children as part of a deal to lift U.S. sanctions on his corporation. The New York Times’s Kenneth P. Vogel and Andrew E. Kramer report: “The deal, announced by the Trump administration in December without publicly disclosing its details, included a clause providing for the completion of a transfer of 10.5 million shares of Mr. Deripaska’s main holding company, EN , to a trust fund for the two teenage children he had with his former wife, Polina Yumasheva. … When the Treasury Department announced the deal with Mr. Deripaska’s companies to lift the sanctions, it cast the move as an effort to stabilize global aluminum markets roiled by the sanctions. … Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle blasted the deal as soft on Russia, and unsuccessfully tried to block it from going into effect.”

-- A federal investigative agency is probing how the Trump administration pursued a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia. The Daily Beast’s Erin Banco reports: The Office of the Special Counsel, which is separate from special counsel Bob Mueller’s office, “is looking at whether officials were retaliated against for raising concerns about the administration’s work related to a Saudi nuclear deal. As part of that investigation, OSC has also reviewed allegations about potentially improper dealings by senior members of the Trump administration in their attempt to map out a nuclear deal with Riyadh, according to two sources with knowledge of OSC’s work. The details of the OSC probe … are the first indication that a government body other than Congress is investigating matters related to a potential nuclear deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.”

-- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) signaled that he has no intention of helping Michael Cohen delay the start of his three-year prison sentence, even after the president’s former lawyer claimed he discovered troves of new records that could be useful to investigators. CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report: “’I don't get involved in sentencing matters as a practice. I never have in Congress and that's been my policy,’ he said. … Schiff (added) that he was nevertheless interested in receiving any new information from Cohen, regardless of his prison sentence.”

-- Lawmakers in New York state, where Democrats control the legislature and the governor’s mansion, are attempting to get Trump’s state-level tax returns another way. “Under a bill that is scheduled to be introduced this week, the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance would be permitted to release any state tax return requested by leaders of three congressional committees for any ‘specific and legitimate legislative purpose,’” the New York Times’s Jesse McKinley reports. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) threw his weight behind the measure last night.


-- Sixteen Democratic senators sent a letter to ICE and CBP urging them to restore the policy of presumptive release "for all pregnant women" in immigrant detention. Trump reversed the Obama-era directive last year, but the lawmakers pointed to a recent stillbirth in government detention as evidence of the need to bring back the policy. (NBC News)

-- Many of the employees at Trump’s private clubs in Florida have foreign passports. Some are foreign guest workers, but others are undocumented staff members the president’s private business continues to quietly remove. The New York Times’s Miriam Jordan, Annie Correal and Patricia Mazzei report: “Facing growing questions about its employment of undocumented workers, the [Trump Organization] has quietly begun to take steps to eliminate any remaining undocumented workers from its labor pool in South Florida. In March, seven veteran maintenance workers at Trump National Jupiter … were informed that the work force was being reorganized. Workers had until March 22 to provide proof that they were legally eligible to work in the United States, they were told. One by one, the workers — from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico — began to depart. Only one of the seven was a legal resident.”

-- An undocumented couple working in Texas’s booming construction industry was owed $11,000, but instead of paying them, the man who employed them called the authorities. Claudia and Alex Golinelli’s case highlights the exploitative nature of the construction industry in Texas, where the undocumented workforce remains largely unprotected from wage theft and unsafe working conditions. Timothy Bella reports: “The employer finally said they would be paid on Feb. 28, 2014, if the Golinellis came to the job site to pick up the money. Yet when they pulled up to the supermarket in Roanoke, Tex., the couple saw the building’s superintendent had called the police and accused the couple of stealing materials and tools. … The couple’s story is highlighted in ‘Building the American Dream,’ a documentary [in which] undocumented workers in Texas talk about how their lives have been affected by an under-regulated industry, all while facing an uncertain future amid the Trump administration’s ongoing immigration crackdown.”


-- Trump moved to designate the Iranian military group Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. Anne Gearan and Carol Morello report: “The designation marks the first time Washington has branded a foreign government entity a terrorist group and came despite warnings from U.S. military and intelligence officials that other nations could use the designation as a precedent against U.S. action abroad. The announcement also comes one day before Israeli elections in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term by highlighting his close ties to the Trump administration and hawkish promises to battle threatening Iranian behavior across the ­Middle East. … Trump’s critics warn that the administration is flirting with a potential military conflict in the region. The Iranian government immediately condemned the designation Monday and alleged that it was done to boost Netanyahu’s electoral chances.”

-- The State Department banned 16 Saudi individuals from the U.S. for their roles in connection with the murder of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Among those banned is Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely considered to have ordered the assassination. Mohammed, however, is not among those banned. (NBC News)

-- Israelis began casting their votes this morning in the contentious election that has Netanyahu battling former military chief Benny Gantz. Polls are set to close today at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash report: “For many Israelis it boils down to one question: Should Netanyahu stay or go? ‘Let’s make this happen,’ said Gantz, as he voted in his hometown of Rosh Haayin, near Tel Aviv. … Both Gantz and Netanyahu have ramped up their campaigns as they try to win over the undecided. For Gantz, that means telling supporters he’s on the cusp of victory. Netanyahu’s strategy has been to whip up fears that he might lose. … ‘It’s not in our pocket,’ he warned. ‘Some of our people are complacent and believe the media, which is trying to put them to sleep.’ In Israel’s fragmented political landscape, with about 40 separate parties fielding candidates, what matters most is who can garner enough support in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, to form a majority of at least 61 seats.”

-- The Trump administration canceled a Major League Baseball deal with Cuba that would have allowed Cuban athletes to play in the U.S. without having to defect. Karen DeYoung reports: “The announcement came less than two weeks after the start of the 2019 baseball season and just days after the federation released the names of 34 Cuban players it said were eligible to sign with Major League Baseball. Some of those players were expected to be signed and playing this year. The agreement was intended to prevent players from undertaking risky escapes from Cuba, often with paid smugglers, and having to give up their citizenship to play in the United States. Under its terms, similar to deals with foreign players from Japan and other countries, the U.S. baseball clubs would pay a fee — equivalent to 25 percent of the player signing bonus — to the federation.”

-- Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) — leaders of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees — say Turkey will have to choose between getting F-35 advanced fighter aircraft or taking a Russian S-400 missile defense system. They say they won't tolerate Ankara getting both in an op-ed for today's New York Times.

-- Threatened by Chinese and Russian technologies, the U.S. is stepping up preparations for potential wars in space. Walter Pincus reports in his Cyber Brief column: “Among such new space threats described by the Defense Intelligence Agency are: ‘Orbital or space-based … satellites that can deliver temporary or permanent effects against other spacecraft. These systems could include payloads such as kinetic kill vehicles, radio-frequency jammers, lasers, chemical sprayers, high-power microwaves, and robotic mechanisms. Some of these systems, such as robotic technology for satellite servicing and repair and debris removal, have peaceful uses but can also be used for military purposes.’”

-- A recent poll found that British voters are increasingly frustrated with the chaos of Brexit and that their estimation of Prime Minister Theresa May has fallen. Jennifer Hassan and Rick Noack report: “Confidence in the British political system in general is at a 15-year low — the first time it has fallen this far since the Iraq War, which led to a major backlash nationwide. 71 percent of respondents agreed that British parties are so divided ‘within themselves that they cannot serve the best interests of the country.’ … The poll findings are likely to concern democracy researchers, however, as they indicate that a majority of respondents — 54 percent — would approve of a leader willing to break the rules.”

2020 WATCH:

-- The latest in what is becoming a long list of long shots: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) entered the Democratic presidential field. Annie Linskey reports: “Swalwell, 38, formally announced his campaign during an appearance on CBS’s ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ on Monday evening. … Swalwell is set to hold a town hall meeting on ending gun violence Tuesday in Sunrise, Fla. The location is not far from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and school staff were killed in a shooting last year. ‘I’m making sure gun violence is front and center in our national policy debate,’ Swalwell, who represents Northern California’s East Bay, said in a statement announcing the town hall.”

-- Amy Klobuchar announced that she raised $5.2 million during her first seven weeks in the presidential race. The Democrat from Minnesota has $7 million cash on hand because she transferred money from her Senate account. It remains unclear how much of Klobuchar’s total is for the general election and how much is for the primary. Other candidates are raising only primary money. The figure puts Klobuchar at just over $8 million total raised. (Felicia Sonmez)

-- Two former staffers for Beto O’Rourke’s failed Senate bid joined Bernie Sanders’s campaign because they don't think Beto is liberal enough. The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root reports: “Bryant Young and Autumn Lanning … [grew] disillusioned with O’Rourke and convinced he was not the true progressive they had imagined. … From oil policy to health care, these two young Beto exes said they never took the time to pore over votes and policy positions. Once they did — and O’Rourke went from Senate hopeful to presidential wannabe — they abandoned him and are now supporting reliable liberal Bernie Sanders in the race for the White House.”

-- Support for former vice president Joe Biden remains strong in early states. Politico's Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelago report: Sam Lieberman, former chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party, said Biden's physical touching is part of who he is as a politician and not sexual harassment, a view more than a dozen operatives, party leaders and county chairs in the four early presidential states shared. “Among these gatekeepers — many of whom have met Biden during his previous runs for president or in his capacity as Barack Obama’s running mate — the prevailing view is that the current controversy isn’t enough to seriously damage his candidacy should he choose to run.” 

-- Trump and his team are hoping that he can win again in 2020 by promising to overhaul the same systems, including health care and immigration, that he railed against in 2016. "But Trump’s dark warnings pose a central conundrum for his reelection effort: Can he win the White House a second time by railing against the very problems he promised to fix?" Ashley Parker and Toluse Olorunnipa write. “Trump allies are betting the strategy will work again by bolstering enthusiasm among his most avid supporters, particularly older white voters in the upper Midwest who clinched his victory the last time. But the approach also risks alienating moderate suburban voters, including those who took a chance on Trump’s candidacy in hopes that his dealmaker persona would overcome Washington gridlock.”

-- Not a single session scheduled for this week’s House Democratic Caucus retreat will focus on oversight of the president — an intentional move that prioritizes policies that resonate with voters. Rachael Bade reports: “As they huddle for a three-day session to discuss their top priorities in Leesburg, Democrats will focus on pocketbook issues that helped them win the majority in the 2018 midterm elections, including health care and infrastructure, said [a] person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the planning. … Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell, the Democrats’ guest speaker, will brief the caucus on the economy, an unusual appearance by a Trump appointee. Powell has been criticized by Trump, who has considered firing him, for raising interest rates four times last year.”

-- The retreat’s stage, which is often graced by big names in politics, will this year feature celebrity couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, who have been outspoken critics of the president in the past three years. (The Hill)

-- Only 15 Maine residents have given Republican Sen. Susan Collins's reelection campaign $200 or more. According to Collins's latest FEC filing, the four-term senator, who will face perhaps her toughest reelection campaign next year, has raised $1.5 million this year, but less than a percent of that money came from her home state. (Roll Call)


-- Even though the White House is working on a report meant to question the causes and effects of climate change, the U.S. military is still functioning under the assumption that the change is happening. Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Missy Ryan report: “Jon Powers, an Iraq War veteran who served as federal chief sustainability officer, said the military has become attuned to climate change given its global footprint and massive energy consumption. ‘People are acting on climate not for political reasons, but [because] it really affects their mission,’ said Powers … Several agencies — including the Defense and State departments, along with the EPA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence — have yet to offer experts for the White House effort … An official at NASA said Friday the agency was unaware of any White House panel to reexamine climate change. A spokeswoman for Interior, which also conducts climate research, said the department had not been contacted about it and was not involved in any such effort.”

-- The Interior Department recently published updated versions of secretary nominee David Bernhardt’s calendars, which show some instances of the former lobbyist meeting with people connected to his former clients. CNN’s Ellie Kaufman reports: “In the 439 pages now available on Interior's website of Bernhardt's daily schedule, a cursory comparison reveals several discrepancies between the previously released calendars found on the same page of Interior's website and the documents published this week. In some instances, meetings that included little detailed information in the older version now say who Bernhardt met with or the topic of an internal meeting. … When comparing April 2018 between the previously released version and the new version of the calendars, there are two instances where Bernhardt met with people who work with or for his previous clients that are listed on his ethics agreement as entities he has recused himself from.”

-- Republicans are warning pharmaceutical companies not to comply with a House Oversight Committee investigation into drug prices. The committee requested information from 12 drug companies as part of a broad investigation into how firms set prices, but Republican Reps. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) argued that sharing such information could bring down the industry's stock prices. (BuzzFeed News)

-- Only 17 percent of Americans believe they received a tax cut from the 2017 Republican overhaul, according to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll. The figure may help explain why the measure has proved so unpopular, with a recent Pew poll putting approval of the legislation at 36 percent. (CNBC)

-- A survey of nearly 50 fund managers, economists and strategists found that a majority of respondents do not want the Senate to approve the nominations of Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Fed board. CNBC’s Steve Liesman reports: “In a survey taken Friday through Sunday, 60% of respondents said the Senate should not confirm former Wall Street Journal editorial writer Moore, and 53% called for the Senate to reject the prospective nomination of businessman and former Republican president candidate Herman Cain. … Although not asked in this survey, approval of the president’s handling of the economy in the CNBC Fed Survey has nearly always been at 50% or above, making the current criticism more noteworthy.”

-- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) filed a $150 million defamation suit against McClatchy and a Virginia communications consultant he describes as a “digital terrorist for hire.” The lawsuit comes weeks after Nunes sued Twitter and a parody account known as “Devin Nunes’ Cow” and alleges that reporting by the McClatchy-owned Fresno Bee is part of a scheme to ruin the congressman's reputation. Legal experts don't expect the suit to succeed. (Sacramento Bee)


Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) celebrated his home team's win at the NCAA championship:

So did Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), but for a different reason:

After the Cavaliers’ win, the director of the U-Va. Center for Politics floated another possible 2020 candidate: 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) flew to Minneapolis to cheer on Texas Tech:

A SiriusXM reporter reflected on the departure of senior Homeland Security officials:

From a University of Texas law professor:

A Post columnist tweeted this about Trump referring to the head of the Secret Service as “Dumbo”:

A former Secret Service agent told a former White House counsel that agents will still take a bullet for their protectees, even when they're disrespected:

Many people commented on the “for sale” sign that was behind Nielsen when she spoke to reporters in Alexandria:

Barack Obama's 2012 finance director expressed anxiety about how much money 2020 Democrats are raising:

Three presidential candidates were in the same freshman House class:

The McCain family mourned the loss of Burma, their beloved family pet:

The Chesapeake Bay retriever was given to late senator John McCain as a birthday gift years ago. (Arizona Republic)

A Yahoo News reporter spotted this license plate:

And D.C. residents had some notes for one congresswoman's admiration of the city's public transit system:


-- FiveThirtyEight, “A Tale of Two Suburbs,” by Clare Malone: She looks at two cities outside Cleveland: Parma and Shaker Heights. One is racially mixed, and the other is homogenous. And she says they're a reference point for a cultural fissure in the Democratic Party that gaped open with the election of Trump: “White Americans have split politically along class lines, and their alienation from each other following 2016 seems utter and complete. But the split that’s happening isn’t just between residents of rural and urban places. It’s also apparent in some suburbs, among people whose lives aren’t, at least on the surface, all that different from one another’s.”


“Massachusetts Bans Controversial ‘Gay Conversion’ Therapy For Minors,” from HuffPost: “Therapists in Massachusetts can no longer practice so-called conversion therapy on minors, thanks to a new bill signed into law by the state’s Republican governor. Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation on Monday that prohibits licensed health care professionals from providing conversion therapy to patients under 18. … With the new law, Massachusetts joins 15 other states and Washington, D.C., in banning the dangerous and discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Colorado will likely follow suit, with lawmakers there sending a bill to Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) last Friday for signing.”



“Clinton, Trump investigations show Democrats’ double standard, Grassley says,” from Fox News: Grassley “said Monday that Democrats pushing for the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full report on the Russia investigation should also insist on making public all information related to the Justice Department's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state and other controversies dating back to the Obama administration. ‘The Democrats want all the Mueller information, but seem to be turning a blind eye to other investigations where Congress and the public have yet to see every bit of information that's out there,’ Grassley said on the Senate floor. ‘ ... That leads me to believe their request for Mueller-related documents is a political ploy.’”



Trump will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi at the White House. 


“Donald Trump supports the ending of the filibuster. So you should be a little bit nervous if Donald Trump supports it.” — Bernie Sanders on why he does not want to scrap the Senate’s legislative filibuster. (HuffPost)



-- We could reach highs near 80 degrees today, but it may rain this evening. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Part two of our warmest weather so far this season could get highs to near 80 again today as skies turn partly sunny. We’re cooler tomorrow, but those 60s are still reasonable for spring standards despite the pesky, allergy-enhancing breeze. Thursday could be the pick of the week before some complications on Friday. The weekend is a mixed message with a nicer Saturday before an unsettled Sunday.”

-- The Nationals fell to the Phillies 4-3. (Jesse Dougherty)

-- D.C. residents took to Twitter to express their dismay with the Metro PCS in Shaw being asked to silence the go-go music it has played outside its store since 1995. Store owner Donald Campbell said that T-Mobile, which owns Metro PCS, informed him that a nearby resident had threatened the company with a lawsuit unless the music was silenced. Angered city residents protested the decision by tweeting with the hashtag #DontMuteDC, which started trending locally. (DCist)


Stephen Colbert said that, unlike the winners of the NCAA tournament, Kirstjen Nielsen must not be feeling like a champion:

Seth Meyers reminded viewers that Trump seems to think he's above the law: 

Mike Gravel, a former senator from Alaska, formally announced his presidential candidacy, which is centered on pushing the crowded 2020 field to the left by appearing in the primary debates:

CNN assembled clips from the past five years of Trump promising to release his tax returns: