At the White House
TROUBLE FOR TRUMP: President Trump's handling of illegal immigration is a liability for his 2020 reelection campaign, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll out this morning. That might pose a problem for a candidate whose candidacy has been largely centered around . . . illegal immigration.
- According to the new numbers, 42 percent of registered voters say that Trump's handling of the issue of illegal immigration makes them less likely to reelect him compared with 34 percent of registered voters who say it makes them more likely to do so, according to my colleagues Scott Clement and Emily Guskin.
- Among registered Democratic voters, 73 percent are less likely to support Trump because of his stance on the issue, while 65 percent of Republicans say the president's handling of illegal immigration makes them more likely to back him. Independents are split on the matter.
- (The margin is even wider when it comes to negative opinions on Trump's handling of health care but we probably didn't need a poll for that — we could have asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who advised Trump to drop a renewed health-care push.)
More bad news for Trump: Only 30 percent of registered voters say they'll definitely support him in 2020; 14 percent say they will consider supporting the president; while 52 percent say they definitely will not vote for him.
- “Firm opposition to Trump is still somewhat higher than for Obama during his first term; across six Post-ABC polls, 44 and 47 percent of voters said they would definitely not support him. He won the popular vote by four percentage points over Mitt Romney,” per my colleagues Scott and Emily.
The good news: The economy is Trump's clearest asset, with 42 percent of registered voters citing his handling of the economy as a reason to reelect him.
- On Friday, the Commerce Department announced the gross domestic product rose to a 3.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year — an accelerated boost that Trump tweeted was “far above expectations.”
- The White House has encouraged Trump to stay focused on touting the strength of the economy under his watch.
- Registered voters are split on Trump's handling of international trade; trade talks between the U.S. and China are “getting into the final laps,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
Nevertheless, Trump and his campaign team have made illegal immigration the crux of his message.
In an interview earlier this month, Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale told “Face the Nation's” Margaret Brennan as much, even as the number of migrant families seeking to enter the country has surged.
- During an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Trump chalked up the spike in numbers as a result of ending the practice of family separation at border crossings: “Now you don’t get separated, and while that sounds nice and all, what happens is you have literally you have ten times as many families coming up because they’re not going to be separated from their children,” Trump told Bartiromo. “It’s a disaster.”
- Fact Check from my colleagues Kimberly Kindy, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti: “Although U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows a significant rise in illegal immigration since the family separation practice ended this past June amid a public outcry, it shows the number of illegal crossings is now six times as high rather than 10 times as high.”
- “We go out and we stop the separation. The problem is, you have 10 times more people coming up with their families. It's like Disneyland now,” Trump continued.
- And on Saturday night at a rally in Green Bay, Wis., Trump said his “sick idea” to send migrants being held at the border to “sanctuary” cities was being implemented: “Last month alone, 100,000 illegal immigrants arrived in our borders, placing a massive strain on communities and schools and hospitals and public resources, like nobody’s ever seen before. Now we’re sending many of them to sanctuary cities. Thank you very much. . . . I’m proud to tell you that was my sick idea.”
- Fact Check, per the Associated Press's Hope Yen: “There’s no evidence that the Trump administration has begun to send the migrants to sanctuary cities en masse. He proposed the idea in part to punish Democratic congressional foes for inaction on the border, but Homeland Security officials rejected the plan as unworkable.”
Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is launching her latest endeavor this morning: Supermajority is an organizing effort geared toward building and bridging female power across the country, providing a home for women activists, and driving the national conversation around issues women care about.
- “Women are raising their hands to do more,” Richards told Power Up over the phone on Sunday afternoon. “There is an unbelievable moment right now where women are realizing that collectively, they are really leading not only the resistance to a lot of policies they don't agree with but also have a chance to really build the kind of country we want to live in."
The 2020 Primary: The group has no immediate plans to endorse in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and will be initially focused on organizing and membership building, according to Richards. It will offer online and offline training sessions for women seeking guidance on civic engagement and how to lead an organizing effort on the issues they care about.
- Richards ultimately hopes to put forth a “Women's New Deal” to hold candidates accountable for issues significant to women: “What are the things that women actually care about and want to see not only in government but the political conversation we are having around the presidential election?”
- Supermajority will be rolling out in partnership with Pantsuit Nation, an organization focused on “story-driven activism.” They've teamed up with various labor groups and activists like Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter, and labor activist Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the co-director of Caring Across Generations.
As for the question of “electability,” and why voters have expressed some hesitation about supporting a female candidate in 2020, Richards acknowledged the unique hurdles that women face in convincing voters to support them over a man.
- “I definitely think it's early days still and I do think that anyone who is following the news can notice there is a difference in how female candidates are treated,” said Richards. “I think the fact that two-thirds of political reporters are men makes it an added burden that women have to work twice as hard and do twice as well to get half as much recognition.”
- “I'm excited about so many women running,” Richards demurred when we asked if she was partial to a woman president in 2020. “Anybody who wants to be president has to take women seriously,” she added.
On whether this means Richards is ruling out a run for Senate in 2020: “Is that a joke question?," Richards exclaimed. “This is what I'm focused on doing, but never say never to anything.”
On The Hill
OVERSIGHT FIGHT CONTINUES: Congress is back in session this week, and the battle between Democrats and the White House is already in high gear. At the forefront of the latest skirmish is Attorney General Bill Barr, who is scheduled to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. But on Sunday, Barr’s appearance appeared to be in question.
- “According to senior aides for the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Justice Department officials have objected to Democrats’ plans to permit extended questioning, including by the committee’s lawyers, and threatened that Barr may withdraw,” our colleagues Karoun Demirjian and Ellen Nakashima report.
- The Justice Department weighs in: ‘The attorney general agreed to appear before Congress,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement. “Therefore, members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning. He remains happy to engage with Members on their questions regarding the Mueller report.’
- “The dispute amplifies what has become a tense political battle between Democrats and the Justice Department, with lawmakers accusing the attorney general of maneuvering to protect President Trump by characterizing Mueller’s findings in an overly sympathetic light,” Karoun and Ellen report.
Politico's Hill bureau chief on the DOJ's apprehension:
There may be a possible breakthrough, however, in another dispute. House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has halted plans to hold in contempt former White House personnel security chief Carl Kline after his panel came to terms with the White House on Kline’s testimony.
- Cummings, according to a Politico report, has agreed to interview Kline with a White House lawyer present.
- “Cummings' decision is an eleventh-hour attempt to avert the most serious confrontation yet between congressional investigators and the Trump administration and follows a last-minute effort initiated by the Oversight committee's top Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan,” Kyle Cheney writes in his report.
Why this matters: Last week, some House Democrats were openly musing about jailing particularly uncooperative wanted White House witnesses for the first time since the 1870s, as President Trump delighted in telling reporters that he would not cooperate with the various requests and subpoenas for administration officials.
Outside the Beltway
WHITE NATIONALISM BECOMES 2020 ISSUE: A series of events last week, including Saturday's shooting at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., in which a gunman killed one person and injured three others, “have pushed the rising tide of white nationalism to the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign, putting Trump on the defensive and prompting even some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his Charlottesville comments,” our colleagues Felicia Sonmez and Ashley Parker report.
Those events included Joe Biden's move to launch his third presidential campaign with particular focus on Trump's comment after the 2017 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead.
- The sobering stats: “According to the most recent annual report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has long tracked extremist activity, 39 of the 50 extremist-related murders tallied by the group in 2018 were committed by white supremacists, up from 2017, when white supremacists were responsible for 18 of 34 such crimes,” Felicia and Ashley write.
- Among Trump's past responses: “After a gunman last month killed 49 Muslims in two consecutive mosque attacks in New Zealand, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he thought white nationalists were a growing threat around the world. “I don’t, really,” Trump replied. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.” The president did “deliver a full-throated denunciation of anti-Semitism and hate crimes” after the Poway shooting.
- Democrats are not shying away from condemning Trump's most recent explanation for his Charlottesville comments, on the way to the NRA convention Friday and after Biden's announcement video: “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” he said.
- “The fact of the matter is, Robert E. Lee was a great tactician — was not a great person,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn on ABC News’s “This Week. “Robert E. Lee was a slave owner and a brutal slave master. Thankfully, he lost that war. And I find it kind of interesting that the president is now glorifying a loser. He always said that he hated losers. Robert E. Lee was a loser.”
In the Media
REMEMBERING A STATESMAN: "Richard G. Lugar, a six-term senator from Indiana who became one of the foremost voices on U.S. foreign policy — championing efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, oust Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos and secure the former Soviet Union’s weapons of mass destruction — and whose GOP primary defeat in 2012 by a tea party candidate shocked the political establishment, died April 28 at a medical center in Falls Church, Va. He was 87," Michael H. Brown writes in Lugar's Post obit.
Former President Barack Obama said Lugar's passing is "a call to remember what a public servant can be."
Fellow Hoosier Vice President Pence said Lugar leaves "a legacy of public service that will inspire Hoosiers for generations."