THE HILL’S GIFT to Melania -- HACK ATTACK: Macron confirms ‘massive’ hack before election -- TRUMPCARE FALLOUT -- Pentagon leasing Trump Tower apt -- WEEKEND READS
Good Saturday morning. Kentucky Derby post time tonight is 6:34 p.m. It will be broadcast on NBC. The Gold Cup is also today in Warrenton, Virginia.THE HILL’S GIFT TO MELANIA -- Congressional spouses traditionally give a gift to the First Lady at the annual First Lady’s lunch. This year, spouses asked Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam’s wife Elizabeth to paint the inauguration scene. The painting http://bit.ly/2qDbYVP‘TRUMPCARE’ FALLOUT -- “It’s ‘Trumpcare,’ and GOP faces political fallout,” by AP’s Bill Barrow and Steve Peoples in Atlanta: “It’s ‘Trumpcare’ now, and Republicans have to answer for it. After dozens of symbolic votes, House Republicans finally pushed through a bill to gut Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, with President Donald Trump hailing the replacement as ‘a great plan’ that has ‘really brought the Republican Party together.’ Democrats are giddy about what could be severe political consequences for the GOP. Even though the Senate still has to act, Republicans now largely own a measure that would curtail, and in some cases take away completely, benefits Americans have embraced after seven years. Chief among them: a guarantee of paying the same amount for coverage regardless of health history. Budget analysts estimate 24 million people would lose insurance over a decade, 14 million in the first year, and older Americans would face higher costs.” http://apne.ws/2pgqsGq-- “Obamacare repeal vote upends 2018 House landscape,” by Alex Isenstadt and Gabe Debenedetti: “More than a dozen senior Republican strategists, lawmakers, and potential candidates expressed varying degrees of concern over the political implications of the health care push. Some predicted that House members would face a fierce backlash from voters, while others said the party had erred badly in rushing through a bill that lacked broad public support. The vote, combined with President Donald Trump’s record-low poll numbers and rising public dissatisfaction with how Republicans are wielding power over the federal government, has produced a cauldron of instability for the party, which is holding onto a 24-seat edge in the House. There is also the weight of history: In every midterm election since 2002, the party in the White House has lost congressional seats.” http://politi.co/2p76YZyTHE ONSLAUGHT BEGINS -- HOW DEMS WILL WALLOP REPUBLICANS ON THE AHCA -- “Democrats to run ads targeting California’s House Republicans who voted for healthcare bill,” by LATimes’ Cathleen Decker: The DCCC “on Monday will begin airing a drive-time ad on Southern California radio stations targeting five Republican members of Congress who voted Thursday for the GOP healthcare plan. The [six-figure] ad buy, currently scheduled to run for one week on news, sports and Spanish-language stations, is rare this early in the election cycle. ... The targets of the ad are five of the seven most vulnerable House Republicans in California — Darrell Issa of Vista, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Mimi Walters of Irvine, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Ed Royce of Fullerton. ... ‘That’s the sound of the congressional Republicans’ healthcare plan coming down the tracks,’ the ad says. ‘Get out of the way.’” http://lat.ms/2qavgSB … Audio of the ad http://bit.ly/2pQQ5kX.-- HERE ARE THE KEY LINES that help understand how Dems will run against this plan: “It will rip health-care coverage away from millions of people. It imposes an age tax on millions of seniors: the older you are the more you pay. If you have a pre-existing condition, it could increase your out-of-pocket costs. Cancer: nearly $73,000 a year. Asthma: $4,300 … Heart disease: $18,000. Arthritis: $26,000. Even pregnancy: $17,000. Millions of Americans will pay more out of pocket, higher drug prices, higher premiums, higher deductibles. Health insurance we can no longer afford.”-- WE’VE BEEN TALKING to top House Republicans about the politics of this plan. Put plainly, there is a lot of concern. The politics around the AHCA are very tricky for the GOP. Many very senior Republicans were extremely unhappy with the celebration in the Rose Garden. The optics, they say, were horrendous. Of course, Republicans say they'll be able to sell this plan to their constituents. They have promised their base that they would repeal Obamacare, and this makes good on that promise, they say. Midterms are base elections, and this could energize core GOP voters. -- TO BE SURE … -- It’s May 2017 -- many months before Election Day 2018. The national political landscape can shift a dozen times between now and November 2018.ALL IN THE FAMILY -- “In a Beijing ballroom, Kushner family flogs $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to wealthy Chinese,” by WaPo’s Emily Rauhala in Beijing: “The Kushner family came to the United States as refugees, worked hard and made it big -- and if you invest in Kushner properties, so can you.“That was the message delivered Saturday by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s sister to a ballroom full of wealthy Chinese investors, renewing questions about the Kushner family’s business ties to China. Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at the Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey real estate project to secure what’s known as an investor visa. The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, which allows foreign investors to invest in U.S. projects that create jobs and then apply to immigrate, has been used by both the Trump and Kushner family businesses. ...“Journalists were initially seated at the back of the ballroom, but as the presentations got underway, a public relations representative asked The Post to leave, saying the presence of foreign reporters threatened the ‘stability’ of the event. At one point, organizers grabbed a reporter’s phone and backpack to try to force that person to leave. Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to stop them from giving interviews. Asked why reporters were asked to leave, a public relations representative, who declined to identify herself, said simply, ‘This is not the story we want.’” http://wapo.st/2qM1QXOWHAT PALM BEACH IS READING -- NYT -- “When That Feisty Neighbor Becomes the President: As a businessman, Donald J. Trump peppered local officials in Florida with requests, and governments pushed back. Now, some approvals come more easily,” by Michael LaForgia and Steve Eder in Palm Beach: “Since he was elected, officials in Palm Beach County have quickly granted President Trump’s club permission to build a concrete helipad, allowed the club to host a charity event for the Navy SEAL Foundation featuring a staged shootout between some commandos and pretend terrorists, and agreed to assume the costs, for now at least, of closing roads and providing additional security. Behind every decision was a balancing act between a desire to best serve constituents and a political instinct not to anger the nation’s chief executive.“‘Someone asked me, ‘Do you feel like you’re going to get into a sort of combative situation with the president of the United States?’ Did it cross my mind? Yes,’ said Dave Kerner, a Democrat on the Board of County Commissioners, a panel that has often been at odds with Mr. Trump in the last 20 years.” http://nyti.ms/2qM2hl0HACK ATTACK -- “French presidential candidate confirms ‘massive’ hack days before election,” by Eric Geller in Washington and Nicholas Vinocur in Paris: “French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron tried to build a hack-proof campaign with a detailed plan for preventing a breach. It failed. His campaign confirmed late Friday that it was the victim of a ‘massive and coordinated’ cyberattack hours after a large trove of emails purportedly from his political party appeared online.“The news of the hack -- which supporters of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen as well as people associated with the alt-right movement in the U.S. pushed on social media under the #macronleaks hashtag -- added a surprise twist to the closing moments of a divisive race. The leaked emails look intended to influence Sunday’s election and aftermath. As in last year’s contest in the U.S. fingers immediately pointed toward hacker groups linked to the Russian government, which has embraced Le Pen. Coming less than 48 hours before voting starts and with Macron up by 20 percentage points in the last polls, it’s hard to predict what impact, if any, it may have.” http://politi.co/2pkEPtWWHAT DONALD TRUMP IS TWEETING -- @realDonaldTrump at 7:22 p.m.: “Wow,the Fake News media did everything in its power to make the Republican Healthcare victory look as bad as possible.Far better than Ocare!” … at 7:29 p.m.: “Why is it that the Fake News rarely reports Ocare is on its last legs and that insurance companies are fleeing for their lives? It’s dead!” … at 7:34 p.m.:“Great jobs report today - It is all beginning to work!”RUSSIA WATCH -- “Flynn was warned by Trump transition officials about contacts with Russian ambassador,” by WaPo’s Greg Miller and Adam Entous: “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was warned by senior members of President Trump’s transition team about the risks of his contacts with the Russian ambassador weeks before the December call that led to Flynn’s forced resignation, current and former U.S. officials said. Flynn was told during a late November meeting that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s conversations were almost certainly being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said, a caution that came a month before Flynn was recorded discussing U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak, suggesting that the Trump administration would reevaluate the issue.“Officials were so concerned that Flynn did not fully understand the motives of the Russian ambassador that the head of Trump’s national security council transition team asked Obama administration officials for a classified CIA profile of Kislyak, officials said. The document was delivered within days, officials said, but it is not clear that Flynn ever read it.” http://wapo.st/2pRtXFf-- AP’S JULIE PACE: “The outgoing White House also became concerned about the Trump team’s handling of classified information. After learning that highly sensitive documents from a secure room at the transition’s Washington headquarters were being copied and removed from the facility, Obama’s national security team decided to only allow the transition officials to view some information at the White House, including documents on the government’s contingency plans for crises.” http://apne.ws/2p79HSCCAMP DAVID NORTH -- “After the ‘Winter White House’ in Fla., Trump shifts to ‘Camp David North’ in N.J.,” by WaPo’s John Wagner and David Fahrenthold in Bedminster, New Jersey.: “With winter over and Palm Beach’s tanned snowbirds departing for the season, President Trump decamped for a long weekend here at another of his favorite properties: a secluded golf club in New Jersey’s fox-hunt and horse country. In his young presidency, Trump has already spent seven weekends at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, which his staff — and some taxpayer-paid employees at the State Department — have dubbed the ‘Winter White House.’“In a shift in travel habits, Trump is now expected to head for getaways to this 8,200-person township about 45 miles west of New York City where his daughter, Ivanka, got married and which some here are already calling ‘Camp David North.’ On a dreary, rainy Friday not at all conducive to playing golf, Trump stayed out of the public eye. Even plans to release a photo of him signing a bill to keep the government open through September didn’t materialize.” http://wapo.st/2pgyY86CLIMATE WATCH -- “U.S. Bluntly Rebuffs Queries on Climate,” by Bloomberg’s Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Joe Ryan: “The Trump administration, responding to skepticism about its commitment to the Paris climate accord from China and other countries, bluntly told them that it is putting American jobs first. In a formal response to queries filed with the United Nations, the administration President Donald Trump left little doubt that it is taking a different approach in tone and substance from former President Barack Obama. It said its pro-jobs agenda takes priority and that it would continue to roll back environmental regulations aimed at cutting carbon emissions.“‘The administration is reviewing existing policies and regulations in the context of a focus on strengthening U.S. economic growth and promoting jobs for American workers and will not support policies or regulations that have adverse effects on energy independence and U.S. competitiveness,’ the U.S. said. The U.S. repeated the same answer nearly verbatim three more times.” https://bloom.bg/2pghvwPTRUMP INC. -- “Pentagon to lease privately owned Trump Tower apartment for nuclear ‘football’: letter,” by Reuters’ Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart: “The U.S. Defense Department is finalizing a lease on a privately owned apartment in New York’s Trump Tower for the White House Military Office to use for supporting President Donald Trump without providing any benefit to Trump or his organization, according to a Pentagon letter seen by Reuters. The Military Office carries and safeguards the ‘football,’ the device that contains the top secret launch codes the president needs to order a nuclear attack, as well as providing him secure communications wherever he is.“The White House, Secret Service, and Defense Department had no comment on whether similar arrangements have been made at other properties Trump frequents - Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump is spending this weekend. In a letter to Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat on the House Armed Services and intelligence committees, Defense Department official James MacStravic, said the apartment is ‘privately owned and ... lease negotiations have been with the owner’s representatives only.’” http://reut.rs/2pgFvzALUNCH WITH THE FT -- “Sheryl Sandberg: fighting fake news and Facebook’s future: One of the world’s most powerful executives on the new challenges for social networks and the sudden death of her husband,” by Hannah Kuchler: “When she was young, she thought she would work in government or a non-profit, never a company. What changed? ‘I think when technology happened, that Google, Facebook, these companies have as much of a mission as other organisations,’ she says. Maybe even as much power and influence as governments, I suggest. ‘I don’t know if that’s right. But they have a mission,’ she says. Zuckerberg too has been the subject of more speculation since his letter. Rumours were fuelled when he embarked on a US tour to meet community groups, churches and businesses that appeared remarkably similar to an election campaign trail. Does she think he might run for president? ‘No.’ And you? ‘Nope, I’ve said no.’” http://on.ft.com/2pMsb9I … Sandberg, with co-author Adam Grant, just published “Plan B: Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” -- $15.55 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2qaLF9rPLAYBOOK METRO SECTION -- “Amazon to open a (real-live physical) bookstore in D.C.,” by WaPo’s Sarah Halzack: “Steven Roth, the chief executive of Vornado Realty Trust, told investors this week that Amazon has leased 10,000 square feet at 3040 M St. NW in Georgetown, a storefront previously occupied by Barneys New York. He did not specify when the store is set to open. Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.” http://wapo.st/2pRW6vOSHOW ME THE MONEY -- “Georgia special election smashes all-time spending record,” by Elena Schneider: “It’s official: Georgia’s special election will be the most expensive House race in U.S. history. Candidates and outside groups have aired or reserved more than $29.7 million worth of TV ads in the race to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price in Congress, which will break a five-year-old record for House spending — highlighting the outsized importance a sliver of the Atlanta suburbs has taken on in national politics.“It is plainly more money than one House race out of 435 needs. Cash is flowing in at such saturation levels that Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign had the money for everything from Korean radio ads to free Lyft rides for voters on primary day. The Atlanta NBC station has even bumped reruns of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ from their regular slot in order to extend its local newscasts and make more room for political ads.” http://politi.co/2pkhNn8THE LOYAL OPPOSITION -- “Democrats tackle the ‘big rebuild’,” by Gabe Debenedetti: “The [DNC] headquarters remains mostly empty, devoid of almost any senior staff. It has a new chairman, Tom Perez, but there’s still no executive director. There’s a completely new organizational chart, but the gutted political, finance, and tech offices remain in search of new leaders. In other words, the DNC is showing signs of life after a long period of dormancy, but progress is slow. And it’s about to get more painful as Democrats prepare to embark on a delicate round of group therapy sessions — otherwise known as unity commission meetings — that could reopen intraparty wounds from the Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton presidential primary fight.“In private conversations with fellow Democrats, new Chairman Tom Perez describes the precarious situation as trying to repair a plane that’s already in the air. The committee had been largely neglected by party leadership in the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency. After an email hack and leaks that intensified charges that the DNC favored Clinton over Sanders, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was ousted in July, forcing the committee to undergo a high-wire transition in the middle of the campaign.” http://politi.co/2qNOwkVPODCAST DU JOUR -- “The Meaner Bill: How the working class will get the short end of the stick in the American Health Care Act,” by Slate’s Jacob Weisberg: “Weisberg talks to the surgeon and writer Atul Gawande about the AHCA and why its passing would be a catastrophe for the very people that vote.” http://slate.me/2qNCwQG VALLEY TALK -- “Facebook wants to launch its big attack on TV next month — here’s what we know,” by Business Insider’s Nathan McAlone and Alex Heath: “Facebook has kicked its push for TV-like shows into high gear and is aiming to premiere its slate of programming in mid-June, multiple people familiar with the plans told Business Insider. Facebook plans to have about two dozen shows for this initial push and has greenlit multiple shows for production ... [T]he social network had been looking for shows in two distinct tiers: a marquee tier for a few longer, big-budget shows that would feel at home on TV, and a lower tier for shorter, less expensive shows of about five to 10 minutes that would refresh every 24 hours.” http://read.bi/2qLN976MEDIAWATCH -- “Ryan Grim to leave HuffPost for The Intercept,” by Hadas Gold and Joe Pompeo: “Grim, the Washington bureau chief of HuffPost, is leaving the site to become Washington bureau chief of The Intercept. Grim, one of the original HuffPost staffers in Washington, helped herald in the era of original reporting for the website. He’s been with HuffPost for nine years.” http://politi.co/2qNX7UY … HuffPost editor Lydia Polgreen’s memo to staff about Grim’s departure http://bit.ly/2pgwDKtALI WATKINS to POLITICO – Carrie Budoff Brown and Paul Volpe email the staff: “We’re thrilled to announce that Ali Watkins, who covers national security and intelligence for BuzzFeed News, is joining POLITICO as a national security correspondent. Ali is one of Washington’s most talented young journalists on the beat and has delivered consistently impressive coverage of the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.”--“Sputnik denied permanent congressional credentials,” by Hadas Gold with Daniel Lippman: “The Congressional Periodical Press Gallery committee has denied Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news website, a permanent congressional press pass. Sputnik has the opportunity to appeal the decision ... According to the gallery rules members must not ‘act as an agent for, or be employed by the Federal, or any State, local or foreign government or representatives thereof.’ ... Meanwhile, Laura Ingraham’s site LifeZette was approved for a press pass on Friday.” http://politi.co/2pQB5n4 CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker -- 14 keepers http://politi.co/2qaibsjGREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from the Montpelier Summit (at James Madison’s Montpelier house) in Orange, Virginia:--“Agent of Fear,” by BuzzFeed’s Daniel Wagner: “How a federal agent got away with terrorizing his Brazilian ex-girlfriend — even as she repeatedly begged the U.S. government to stop him.” http://bzfd.it/2pRel4p--“He convinced former CIA operatives he was one of them. Was he an impostor?” by WaPo’s Ian Shapira: “He’d killed 38 people, Mark W. Levin told co-workers at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, and ran a squad of covert operatives called ‘The Watchers’ who prevented terrorist attacks. ... Those who worked with Levin at Daniel Morgan — a fledgling school that offers graduate programs to aspiring spies and diplomats in downtown Washington — did not investigate his credentials. He had convinced former CIA operatives and national security veterans that he was one of them.” http://wapo.st/2q44Ba4 (h/t Longform.org)--“How to Raise an American Adult,” by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) in WSJ’s Review section, in an adaptation of “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis—and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance” (out May 16): “Many young Americans today are locked in perpetual adolescence. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse on how he and his wife are encouraging their own children to become fully formed, independent grown-ups.” http://on.wsj.com/2pR3sll … $17.67 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2pkFED9--“12 Great Stories That Have Nothing to Do With Politics” -- NYT: http://nyti.ms/2pgAO97--“The Itch,” by Atul Gawande in the June 30, 2008 issue of The New Yorker: “Its mysterious power may be a clue to a new theory about brains and bodies.” http://bit.ly/2q44Ku8 (h/t Longform.org)--“The Accidental Get Away Driver,” by Paul Kix in GQ: “How one man drove right into the center of a daring and dangerous crime.” http://bit.ly/2pM4X3X--“‘My body shall be all yours’: the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo and O’Keeffe,” by Holly Williams in The Guardian – per ALDaily.com’s description: “Sex letters. James Joyce sent them. So did Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Proust sent one to his grandfather. In the age of Tinder, does the sex letter have staying power?” http://bit.ly/2qJFkhx--“Can Anyone Repair National Lampoon’s Devastated Brand?” by Benjamin Wallace in May’s Vanity Fair: “Over the past 15 years, three devotees of the comedy institution have attempted to restore the humor brand to its former glory. What happened instead was direct-to-video movies, lawsuits, crippling debt, and two prison sentences.” http://bit.ly/2qwPyVS--“Sold for Parts,” by Michael Grabell in ProPublica: “One of the most dangerous companies in the U.S. took advantage of immigrant workers. Then, when they got hurt or fought back, it used America’s laws against them.” http://bit.ly/2p2iVQj(h/t Longreads.com)--“The Love and Terror of Nick Cave,” by Chris Heath in GQ: “For four decades, Nick Cave has been at the edge of music, putting his spin on everything from punk rock to lovesick ballads—much of it with his band the Bad Seeds—assembling a body of work that is astonishing for its range, power, and feeling. Then unspeakable tragedy and grief had their way with him, and his music had to change yet again.” http://bit.ly/2qJSBa1 (h/t Longreads.com)--“Constructing the Modern Prince,” by Razmig Keucheyan in Verso: “For the first time under the French Fifth Republic, neither of the two main parties (the Socialists and the Republicans) managed to reach the second round of the presidential election. What does this change in French politics represent, also taking into account the particularities of Marine Le Pen and the dizzying rise of Emmanuel Macron?” http://bit.ly/2qJFSUD (h/t TheBrowser.com)--“Look back with danger,” by Simon Goldhill in the Times Literary Supplement:“Today’s constant talk of nostalgia – for old passport covers, old manners, old food, and above all that fantasy of a Britain before multiculturalism – is in part a response to rapid social change and feelings of insecurity. These nostalgic images are a shoddy replacement for any sophisticated understanding of history, and that is why we should be worried when politicians play the nostalgia card.” http://bit.ly/2q45JKQ--“Where oil rigs go to die,” by Tom Lamont in The Guardian: “When a drilling platform is scheduled for destruction, it must go on a thousand-mile final journey to the breaker’s yard. As one rig proved when it crashed on to the rocks of a remote Scottish island, this is always a risky business.” http://bit.ly/2pdVj74--“India’s Silicon Valley Is Dying of Thirst. Your City May Be Next,” by Samanth Subramanian in Wired: “Bangalore has a problem: It is running out of water, fast. Cities all over the world, from those in the American West to nearly every major Indian metropolis, have been struggling with drought and water deficits in recent years.” http://bit.ly/2pM0Y7H--“Beyond Alt” – New York Magazine: “The extremely reactionary, burn-it-down-radical, newfangled far right.” http://nym.ag/2qJANM0--“The future of football,” by Spencer Hall in SBNation: “Everyone at every position has gotten larger over time. If football’s evolution involves mitigating the massive forces exerted on players, require players to bring less mass to the party. Allow teams to have as many people on the field as they like, but limit the total weight to 2400 pounds.” http://bit.ly/2q3RXYkOUT AND ABOUT -- SPOTTED at Juleanna Glover’s house last night at a book party to celebrate “The Long Space Age: The Economic Origins of Space Exploration from Colonial America to the Cold War Hardcover,” by Alexander MacDonald ($26.92 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2qNJ9lR): Anu Rangappa, Sam and Danielle Feist, Margaret Carlson, Julia Ioffe, Wendy Benjaminson, Benny Johnson, Margaret Sullivan, Mark Anderson, Mark Paustenbach, Erin McPike, Toby Harnden, Eliana Johnson, Walt Cronkite, Craig Gordon, Jonathan Swan, Becca Glover.-- More than 150 former staff gathered at Belle Haven Country Club yesterday to wish the second-longest serving Virginia Senator, John Warner, a belated happy 90th birthday. SPOTTED: wife Jeannie, Susan and John Magill, Judge Bruce Kasold, Carter Cornick, Ann Loomis, Ellen Beares, Eric Ruff, Stewart and Jenny Verdery, Chris Yianilos, Chris DeLacy, John Hishta, Sandy Luff, Karl and Jodi Schipper, Grayson Winterling, Bronwyn Lance Chester and Andrew Chester, Jennifer Cave, Judy and Steve Ansley, Chris Lehman, Sam and Jackie Zegna, Steve Dawson, Mike Kuhl, Jonathan Murphy, Carter and Puma Cornick, Clint Nichols, Steven Popps, Alex and Ashley Berrang, Buzzer Hefti, Anna Reilly, Les Brownlee.BIRTHDAYS: Jim Gartman, the Rush Limbaugh of Three Lakes, Wis., and the Sean Hannity of Florida ... Tucker Eskew ... Tony Blair is 64 … Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is 83 … Sheena Arora, SVP at Revolution Agency ... David Rogers ... Bloomberg’s Joe Nocera, who has celebrated by seeing two Sondheim shows in the last two weeks (“Sunday in the Park with George” and “Pacific Overtures”) (hat tip: daughter Kate) ... Politico Albany bureau chief Jimmy Vielkind ... music mogul legend Steve Lindsey is 61 (h/t niece and documentarian Nadia Szold) ... Dani Lever, press secretary for Gov. Cuomo ... Seth Freedland, senior writer at Nike ...... Stefan Friedman, partner at Mercury ... Spencer Pederson, principal at The Bockorny Group ... Cynara Lilly, RALLY director and style icon (h/t Sam Garrett-Pate) ... Lincoln Rose Pierce Smith, daughter of Jamie Smith and Eric Pierce, on her Mom and Dad’s 17th wedding anniversary ... NPR’s Jennifer Longmire-Wright ... Cara Philbin ... Kevin Powers of Deutsche Bank ... Laura Evans ... Mark Armour ... Treasury alum Benjamin Levine ... Alyse Cohen ... Lisa Ferri ... Rebecca Powell Marx ... Natasha Mozgovaya ... Paul Schmitz is 48 ... Bob McCall ... Jim Williams … Bill Dolbow ... WH alumnus John Roberts … Rosa Puech ... Jim Ramstad ... Mark Armour ... Woodfen McLean (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Austin:-- ABC’s “This Week”: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) … Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) … The New Yorker’s Dr. Atul Gawande. Panel: Matthew Dowd, Sara Fagen, Roland Martin, Steven Rattner and Cokie Roberts-- “Fox News Sunday”: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus … Jonathan Gruber and Karl Rove. Panel: Brit Hume, former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Newt Gingrich and Juan Williams … “Power Player of the Week” with the Washington Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne-- CBS’s “Face the Nation”: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney … Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Condoleeza Rice … focus group with Philadelphia-area students. Panel: Susan Page, Michael Gerson, Nancy Cordes and Jamelle Bouie-- NBC’s “Meet the Press”: HHS Secretary Tom Price … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) … Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Panel: Yahoo News’ Matt Bai, POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson, National Review’s Rich Lowry and NBC News’ Kristen Welker-- CNN’s “State of the Union”: HHS Secretary Tom Price … Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Panel: Bakari Sellers, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Amanda Carpenter and Jen Psaki-- CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Bo Dietl … Wall Street Journal media reporter Joe Flint … attorney for Bill O’Reilly accusers Lisa Bloom and attorney for former Fox News employees Douglas Wigdor … author and HuffPost senior national correspondent Jonathan Cohn … Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik-- Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) … Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) … former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom … Nissan Motor Co. chairman of the board Carlos Ghosn … Steve Hilton. Panel: Ed Rollins, Susan Ferrechio and Brad Blakeman-- Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Erin McPike … conservative commentator Gayle Trotter … former DNC communications director, Fox News contributor, and Georgetown University Institute of Politics executive director Mo Elleithee … Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry … The Hollywood Reporter TV editor Marisa Guthrie and Fox News Headlines 24/7 reporter Carley Shimkus-- CNN’s “Inside Politics” with John King -- Panel: AP’s Julie Pace, CNN’s Phil Mattingly, The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Bloomberg Politics’ Margaret Talev-- Univision’s “Al Punto”: Deported immigrant Guadalupe García de Rayos and his children Jacqeline and Angel … undocumented immigrant living in a Denver sanctuary church Jeanette Vizguerra … Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello … Univision News anchor María Antonieta Collins … Ku Klux Klan leader “Rowdy” … musician Nacho … actress Zoé Saldana-- C-SPAN: “The Communicators: Internet Association president and CEO Michael Beckerman, questioned by POLITICO technology reporter Margaret Harding McGill … “Newsmakers”: Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), questioned by POLITICO transportation reporter Lauren Gardner and Bloomberg BNA appropriations reporter Nancy Ognanovich … “Q&A”: Defense News naval warfare correspondent Chris Cavas-- Washington Times’ “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher or listen at http://bit.ly/2mGabdq: New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman … Garrett Graff, author of the new book “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself--While the Rest of Us Die”. The episode posts Sunday night.
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) reported first-quarter 2017 funds from operations per share of $1.08, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.25.
Our proven model does not conclusively show that Vornado will beat on earnings this season.
Mack-Cali Realty Corporation (CLI) announced changes in its senior management on Apr 5. While president Michael J. DeMarco took position as the chief executive officer, Mitchell Rudin has taken charge as the vice chairman.
We updated our research report on Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) on Mar 27.
Согласно информации из осведомленных источников, китайский конгломерат HNA Group намерен приобрести небоскреб в Нью-Йорке и в настоящее время ведет переговоры по его приобретению. Сообщается, что HNA Group планирует приобрести небоскреб 245 Park Ave., расположенный в Манхеттене и имеющий общую площадь в 158 тыс. квадратных метров, за $2,21 млрд. Заметим, что продавцами выступают Brookfield Property Partners и New York State Teachers' Retirement System, а среди прочих потенциальных покупателей находятся RXR Realty, Blackstone Group, L&L Holding, SL Green Realty и Vornado Realty Trust. Примечательно, что в случае заключения соглашения на сумму, примерно равную той, что указана выше, сделка станет одной из наиболее крупных сделок в истории, касающихся приобретения небоскребов в Манхеттене.
Согласно информации из осведомленных источников, китайский конгломерат HNA Group намерен приобрести небоскреб в Нью-Йорке и в настоящее время ведет переговоры по его приобретению. Сообщается, что HNA Group планирует приобрести небоскреб 245 Park Ave., расположенный в Манхеттене и имеющий общую площадь в 158 тыс. квадратных метров, за $2,21 млрд. Заметим, что продавцами выступают Brookfield Property Partners и New York State Teachers' Retirement System, а среди прочих потенциальных покупателей находятся RXR Realty, Blackstone Group, L&L Holding, SL Green Realty и Vornado Realty Trust. Примечательно, что в случае заключения соглашения на сумму, примерно равную той, что указана выше, сделка станет одной из наиболее крупных сделок в истории, касающихся приобретения небоскребов в Манхеттене.
Vornado Realty (VNO) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 1:37 P.M. EST MR. SPICER: Good morning. First off, I want to acknowledge, as the President did this morning, that today is International Women’s Day. It's also Women’s History Month. We're going to be holding several events throughout the month here at the White House to honor and celebrate women and how their vital contributions have and continue to be to our society, our economy, our family and our businesses. The President tweeted this morning about the surge in hiring in the two months that he’s been in office. LinkedIn’s workforce reports say January and February were the strongest consecutive months for hiring in over a year and a half. A new report from ADP and Moody’s showed strong private job growth that is far exceeding market expectations. And just this morning, Samsung confirmed that it’s planning a “major investment” in U.S. production facilities, directly citing the President’s election as an influence in their decision. The initial investment is expected to reach around $300 million. We keep seeing that the wave of optimism in growth in the wake of the President’s pledges to help American businesses continues to produce real results for people throughout our nation. Yesterday I forgot to -- there are a couple of things that I didn’t get to yesterday, so let me mention a couple of those. Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, and senior White House staff met with several veteran service organizations -- included in what is commonly referred to as the Big Six -- to discuss the President’s commitment to helping our veterans and modernizing our VA. The meeting represented another step in fulfilling the President’s promise to the men and women who have served our nation so honorably. I know the President looks forward to personally following up on that meeting with the VSOs. Also last night, the President named several individuals whom he intends to nominate or appoint to key administration posts: Courtney Simmons Elwood, General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency; Noel Francisco, Solicitor General at the Department of Justice; Jeffrey Rosen, Deputy Secretary of Transportation; John J. Sullivan, General Counsel for the Department of Defense; Ajit Pai, member of the Federal Communications Commission; and Tony Sayegh, Jr., the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Treasury. Expect further announcements as the week goes on. Now, on to the events of the day. This morning, after receiving his daily intelligence briefing, the President met with Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder and president of Emerson Collective, an organization dedicated to removing the barriers that unfortunately prevent some in the world from achieving their full potential. They discussed education and immigration policy, which are two of the areas that Emerson Collective focuses on. Then the President held a strategic affairs lunch, focused on infrastructure with leaders in the private sector. Infrastructure used to be a point of American pride. But now, an overbearing, ineffective regular system can keep projects in limbo for years. The President has already started removing the regulatory roadblocks that have been killing projects before they’ve even begun through his executive actions, streamlining the permitting process and calling for each agency throughout the government to identify regulations that cause undue burden. As the President has said many times, strong public-private partnerships will also be key to revitalizing our country’s ruined roads, crumbling bridges and outdated airports. The government has wasted too much of the taxpayers’ money on inefficient and misguided projects. By looking at infrastructure from a businessperson’s perspective, as the President and these executives do, we can restore respect for the taxpayer dollar and make the best investment. The President was particularly pleased to be holding this meeting now that Secretary of Transportation Chao, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and Energy Secretary Perry are all confirmed and getting to work. In attendance at the lunch, as I mentioned, were Secretary Chao, Secretary Perry, Administrator Pruitt, and then Richard LeFrak, CEO of LeFrak; Steve Roth, the CEO of Vornado Realty Trust; Josh Harris, co-founder of Apollo Global Management; Bill Ford, the CEO of General Atlantic; Lynn Scarlett, the managing director of the Nature Conservancy; Tyler Duvall, the partner of McKinsey; and Elon Musk of SpaceX. Later this afternoon, the President will meet with Congressman Elijah Cummings to discuss rising prescription drugs prices. I know the President is looking forward to continuing the dialogue that they started a few weeks ago on the phone. At 4:00 o’clock, the President will meet with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Senator Murkowski, and Senator Sullivan of Alaska. They’re expected to discuss the priorities of the Department of Interior, especially as it pertains to the government-owned lands in Alaska. This evening, the President will meet with conservative leaders about health care. We'll have more details and participants on that meeting a little bit later this afternoon. The President and the Vice President continue to reiterate their support for the House bill on Obamacare repeal and replace, and look forward to working with Congress to institute a new healthcare system. Tonight, the President will have dinner with Senator and Mrs. Cruz. And finally, a couple of additional administration announcements. Today, the President and the First Lady announced the initial details for the 139th White House Easter Egg Roll taking place on Monday, April 17th. They are honored to continue the traditions of the past while creating new ones that will play a lasting role in the fabric of our nation's history. Tickets to the Easter Egg Roll are free to the public and will be allotted through an online lottery. Further details on the lottery and information on that day will be released later this month. Keep an eye on WhiteHouse.gov for updates on that. I'm also pleased to announce -- and a little bit proud -- that Taoiseach Kenny of Ireland will be visiting the White House for the traditional St. Patrick's Day visit on March 16th. We'll have further details on that visit, as well as the other foreign leader visits later this week. With that, some questions. David Smith of The Guardian. Q Hi, Sean. Can I ask about the President's state visit to the UK? Is there timing for that? And what was your reaction to some members of Parliament in Britain saying the President is not welcome? They actually used words like "racist" and "sexist." Has that led him to reconsider? MR. SPICER: The President, as you know, accepted Her Majesty's invitation when the Prime Minister was here. He looks forward to going over and visiting the United Kingdom. As we have details to share with you further, we will, but there is nothing further at this time. Caitlin. Q Does the White House have a reaction to the Iranian vessels coming within 150 yards of a Navy ship over the weekend? Aren't they on notice? And will you offer anything beyond a verbal reaction? And then I have a follow-up question. MR. SPICER: Okay. The USNS ship that was in close proximity is obviously something that the President has been made aware of. The President has been very clear that this provocative action is something that won't be tolerated. With that, I would refer you to the Department of Defense, who is monitoring that situation and will talk about the appropriate actions they may take. And your next one? Q And then, secondly, does he have any plans to revamp the H-1B visa program by the April 1 deadline? MR. SPICER: I think we've talked before about immigration as a whole. I think there is the legal part of immigration and then the illegal part of immigration. The President's actions that he's taken in terms of his executive order and other revamping of immigration policy have focused on our border security, keeping our country safe, our people safe. And then, obviously, whether it's H-1B visas or the other one -- spousal visas -- other areas of student visas, I think there is a natural desire to have a full look at -- a comprehensive look at that. He discussed the RAYS Act yesterday with Senators Perdue and Cotton. We'll have more on that coming forward. But I think as the readout mentioned, he was very supportive of their efforts with respect to how we view legal immigration. He mentioned it in his joint address that we're one of only a handful of countries that doesn't use a merit-based system of immigration, and that is something that we need to look at in its totality. Hunter. Q Thank you, Sean. I had two quick questions. Are you aware of any women who work at the White House who are participating in the strikes today? And also, more generally, what is the administration’s reaction to this protest? And do you think it’s an effective way -- skipping work is an effective way for women to demonstrate their power and significance? MR. SPICER: On the first part, I am not aware of any that are not here. I think everyone that I’m aware of has shown up and is working really hard to advance the President’s agenda. They’re committed to moving this country forward. For those of us who have joined the President throughout government, I think -- but obviously, as the President stated today, we want to recognize the contributions that women make to our businesses, to our families, to our economy, to our society. And it’s a free country. People have the right to express themselves. But I think that we should, on a daily basis -- not just one day a year but 365 days a year -- appreciate the contributions that women make in all of those categories. So it shouldn’t be a daily thing, and hopefully we can help fix that a little bit more. Q Thanks a lot, Sean. There seems to be this groundswell of conservative opposition to the healthcare bill that was offered up by leadership in the House of Representatives. You mentioned the President is going to be meeting this evening with conservatives. What is his message to those individuals? Are they members of the Freedom Caucus? Will Senator Rand Paul be there? And can you give a sense about what the President intends to do to turn around that opposition that was quite apparent yesterday? MR. SPICER: So a few things on that. One, as I mentioned, we’ll have a list of participants later. Two, I think that there has been a lot of -- from business and conservative groups have been very supportive of this, whether it’s Americans for Tax Reform, Americans’ Taxpayers Union, the Medical Device Manufacturing Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AdvaMed, One Nation Health, Consumer Health Products Association, the Association of -- AMAC, the National Association of Wholesale Distributors, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and others. There’s been tremendous support for this. We’ve had people throughout Washington, D.C going to different associations and groups throughout the day the last couple days talking about the benefits of this. And we’re going to continue to do outreach. He met, as you know, yesterday with the House Whip team expressing his unwavering support for the bill and the process that it’s about to encounter. He’ll mention -- he’ll work with these individuals tonight. And we’re going to have a full-court press. Our team throughout the administration on local radio and local television to get that message right to the American people to talk about both the things that we talked about yesterday -- why we have a crisis right now in healthcare and why Obamacare is failing, but then secondly why the solution that the President has worked on with the House is the right one to bring down costs and to reinstitute choice. So that message is going to continue to get delivered both today and for the next several weeks until it passes the House and the Senate and comes back to his desk. But again, one of the important messages that I think those on the conservative side need to understand is, right now, there is an uneven playing field. If you get your insurance through Medicaid, Medicare, through the government, or an employer-based healthcare, you are untaxed, your employer is untaxed. It is those self-employed individuals, those small businesses that are paying the penalty for this. And that’s what I think we have to remember, is that we talk so often on the conservative side and on the Republican side about the importance of entrepreneurship, the importance of small businesses to our economy, and yet they’re the ones who suffer right now with an inequity in the tax system. And I think that by leveling that playing field, and by giving them more options and driving down cost, we’re actually doing a very conservative thing here by removing the mandate of a government-mandated “you must buy this program or you will pay a penalty,” and eliminating choice. We are enacting I think very strong conservative values in healthcare that give all Americans more choice at a lower cost. So I think that should be a very positive message. John. Q Yes, thank you. As a brand new federal employee I'm sure you're aware -- MR. SPICER: A current -- welcome back. Q Yes, well, at the moment. I’m sure you and your family are aware that Office of Personnel Management offers a very comprehensive healthcare program called the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program. MR. SPICER: Yes. Q You, anyone in this building, on the Hill, their staff, their family, their friends -- not their friends, their family -- well, maybe who knows -- very generous. It’s state of the art. The individuals involved in the healthcare situation right now, the debate, no matter how it plays out, can they really have the kind of sympathy and empathy for individuals who may not benefit nearly as much when they’re negotiating this -- all these plans, Sean? MR. SPICER: In what respect? Q Well, I mean, you’re fine. You’re covered. MR. SPICER: Sure, but it’s unfortunate -- first of all, I’m not fine. Because I think because of Obamacare, premiums on everybody have gone up. Regardless of what you pay, federal employees make a contribution to their healthcare plan as well. And I think that the -- all premiums have increased over the last -- whether you’re in an employer-based system or not. So one of the big issues with Obamacare was in order to fix a problem that faced 15 to 20 million people, is that the entire system got shattered, and prices on everybody got ratcheted up. People who were on Medicaid suddenly lost their ability -- so the issue was, is that in an attempt to solve a problem that affected a very specified and defined group of people, we affected the entire healthcare market. So whether or not you get it from an employee or not -- an employer or not -- but to your question, that’s part of the issue. Q But -- MR. SPICER: Hold on, hold on. Here’s the issue -- you’re right, you’re absolutely right. Right now, if you’re a federal employee, and a lot of cases in state, you get to open a book and you get to look at what plan matters to you, what plan is best for you or your family -- how much do you want to pay, how much coverage do you want to have, what’s the co-pay you’re willing to -- what services or benefits do you want as part of your plan. Absolutely. But the issue is, for so many Americans, they don’t have that choice. For a third of the counties in this country, they’ve got one choice, one. And in a lot of states they’ve got none, or the exchanges are becoming fewer and fewer, the number of doctors and plans that take Medicaid, fewer and fewer. So to your point, I think actually we’re in a unique place, because we get to understand what the average American should get -- that we shouldn’t be limited to a specified number of people. Q I appreciate your argument. Very well taken. MR. SPICER: Thank you. Q However, I’m going to compare a GS-5 or a GS-9 to a senator or a secretary of one of the agencies. I mean the safety net on those individuals gives them a certain cushion, then they're negotiating. But do they really have that kind of compassion or that kind of empathy for the people who, in fact, may be thrown off the healthcare? MR. SPICER: I think that just because somebody has healthcare doesn't mean that they can't empathize with somebody who doesn't. We all have family and friends that are suffering. I mean, that's like saying because I have a job I can't be empathetic to somebody who doesn't have a job. We all have family or friends. It’s the same thing when we watch a friend or a family member suffer through a terminal disease, because we have suffered through it doesn't mean that we can't have compassion towards that person or be concerned on how much that bill is costing them. I mean, that's actually in some ways -- depending on the relationship you have with that person -- you can even feel worse. You can feel guilty about how much you have and how you're not able to help that person. I think in many cases that's what drives us is to know that there are options available to some Americans and not others. Q I appreciate your response. MR. SPICER: Thank you. John. Q Sean, will you confirm that there is a criminal investigation into this alleged theft of cyber tools from the CIA by WikiLeaks? What can the White House tell us about the situation, particularly the fact that it seems like there’s another leak for the intelligence community that's on the scale of Edward Snowden? And can you assure the American people that none of these tools have ever been used against them? MR. SPICER: Well, there’s a couple things in that. Number one, for obvious reasons it is our policy as a government not to confirm the authenticity of any kind of disclosure or hack. That would be highly inappropriate for us. But all of these occurred under the last administration -- that is important. All of these alleged issues. And I think it’s interesting to have it asked this way about the damage that could have occurred or what tools could be used in light of what’s been going on recently. We've had your own network’s correspondent James Rosen had his phones -- multiple phones tapped. Was that appropriate back then? I think there’s a lot of concern out there about alleged leaks. There’s two steps to this. And I think what you saw over the last week in terms of -- this should be a major concern to people in terms of the leaks that are coming out and the desire to get to the bottom of them -- whether or not -- not specifically with respect to the disclosure that you're referring to, but I think the idea that we are having these ongoing disclosures of national security and classified information should be something that everybody is outraged by in this country. This is the kind of disclosure that undermines our country, our security, and our well-being. And you've seen over the last two years, depending on the leak, it depends on the outrage. It’s interesting how whenever -- whether the leak occurred under the last administration, you had member after member talking about disclosures that occurred during that last administration, whether it was members of Congress -- Elijah Cummings expressed concern during the last thing -- last administration in terms of the Americans that were -- when it dealt with Hillary Clinton, there was complete outrage about the leaks that occurred; members calling for investigations to the leaks. It’s interesting how there is sort of a double standard with when the leaks occur, how much outrage there is. And so I do think it’s important. While I don't want to get into confirming or denying this particular thing, I think it is interesting how different subjects are approached. This one everyone is immediately rushing to, and there should be a lot more coverage of this. This alleged leak should concern every single American in terms of the impact it has on our national security. Q Can I ask something unrelated? MR. SPICER: Of course, you can. Q Robin Shahini has been imprisoned in Iran since last October for collaborating with a hostile government -- that government being the United States of America. He's on a hunger strike, apparently his health is suffering. Is the President aware of Mr. Shahini's plight and that of three other Americans who are being held in Iran? And what, if anything, might the President be doing about it? MR. SPICER: Yeah, so obviously we're aware of the situation. In that particular case, I would refer you to the State Department. Q I wanted to go back to an earlier question. What is the President personally going to be doing in order to sell this healthcare bill? And what's he going to do to convince reticent lawmakers to come along -- people like Rand Paul, who don't like it? MR. SPICER: Well, I mean, we're on day two. As I mentioned, we've been out and local -- talk radio and local markets. The President yesterday met with the House deputy whips. Today, he's having a series of additional meetings with conservative groups, with others. He's already talked to insurance agents. I mean, we've talked about the lead up to this with the insurance executives, with companies, with various members of the House and the Senate from both parties. He met with governors, attorneys general, I think there's a group of lieutenant governors coming in. We're going to be aggressively going after -- talking about the solution that we have for healthcare, both the need to repeal the current Obamacare system and the need to replace it with something that gives patients the choices and costs that they need. As I mentioned yesterday, and I can't overstate this, there's a difference between having a card and having care. Being told you have coverage and not being able to use it is no good, and that's the thing that I think is really important. When we get asked the question, so often, how many people are going to be covered, that's not the question that should be asked -- how many people are going to get the care they need? Having coverage with a high deductible and, in some cases -- or not having a plan that allows you to get the coverage you need or afford it, isn't real coverage. It's a card. And I think that's the big difference in the approach that we're taking here. It's how do we get people the affordable care they need; that there's more choice; that more doctors are coming into the system instead of leaving. And that is a big, big difference in the approach that's happening now. Q Will he be going on the road to try to sell it? MR. SPICER: I think you will see a lot of travel and a lot of activity by the President and all of the administration. And it's not just going to be the President. It's going to be the secretary, the directors, key administration staff. The Vice President has been actively engaged in meeting on the Hill, on talk radio, on local radio, on local television. You've seen a flurry of meetings with outside interests, with op-eds explaining the problem and engaging groups and associations that have an interest in this, and industry leaders. But this is going to be a very, very aggressive, comprehensive approach to making sure that every American understands that there is a major problem and that we are here to fix it. Cecilia. Q Just on WikiLeaks, I want to go back to that -- two parts. Is the President outraged by this? MR. SPICER: Well, I mean, again, I don't want to -- the allegations -- he has been very clear about the concern that he has for leaks. This is -- Q This one specifically -- MR. SPICER: Well, again, Cecilia, if I -- I think he is very concerned about the allegations that are out there in terms of what may or may not happen. It is an allegation, it is something that we are not going to confirm at this time. But as you can imagine from the President's previous comments, he is extremely concerned about this, about these allegations, about this -- about the potential that something -- if this were true -- would have on our national security. And make no mistake about it, I think the President has talked before that anybody who leaks classified information will be held to the highest degree of law. We will go after people who leak classified information. We will prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Playing with our nation's national security is not something that should be taken lightly under this administration. Q Quick follow-up. When it came to the campaign and Hillary Clinton, the President said, "I love WikiLeaks." Does he still feel that way today? MR. SPICER: There is a big difference between disclosing Podesta -- John Podesta's gmail accounts about a back and forth, and his undermining of Hillary Clinton, and his thoughts on her on a personal nature, and the leaking of classified information. There is a massive, massive difference between those two things. And I think it is, again, the interest and the outrage that occurred last year by a lot of Democrats when it came to leaks is interesting that we're hearing not as much outrage now when it comes to some of our issues of national security. April. Q Sean, a couple questions. One, you said Congressman Cummings -- you affirmed Congressman Cummings is meeting with President Trump today. MR. SPICER: Yes. Q In the last press conference, his solo press conference the President had, he talked about Senator Schumer telling Elijah Cummings not to come. What happened to smooth this over? And what is the conversation going to be about? Is it just going to solely be on the high cost of prescription drugs? MR. SPICER: Well, I think that the nature of the meeting stems from the conversation they had on the phone, which was on prescription drugs. And then I’m sure that if Congressman Cummings or the President brings up another subject, it will go there. I’m not -- we’ll try to have some sort of readout afterwards, depending on how that goes. But the nature of it is an area where they agree. And if you remember, one of the things that they talked about on the phone was that there were probably several more areas that they would agree on, and find that they would agree on, throughout a conversation. And I hope that that conversation does exactly what they said that it would in terms of getting to those areas of common agreement where they can work together to help solve additional problems that our country faces. Q So you don't have any knowledge of what happened to smooth that over for him to come in -- MR. SPICER: I know our teams were in touch with -- his office immediately followed. And as you know, there were a couple times when the meetings had been -- tried to be scheduled and just didn't work out. And luckily, he was able to -- Q He’s one member of the 49 of the CBC. Right after that press conference, the White House reached out to the Congressional Black Caucus, to Cedric Richmond, the head of the caucus. Where is that meeting? Where does that meeting land? Is it happening? MR. SPICER: I know that we've reached out, and we're looking for a date on that, as well. So we're pleased that this one was able to come together, and then we’ll get to the next one. Q My last question. MR. SPICER: Yes. Q Yesterday there was a compare-and-contrast with visuals, show and tell if you will -- MR. SPICER: Yes, I saw that -- Q Yes, you were -- yes. And you compared and contrasted about how you're going about it and how the Obama administration went about Obamacare. One difference that they've made note of -- and I want to get your response to this -- is the fact that you may have this and said that you're doing this versus what they're doing -- the one thing they say that you did not do that they did: had their bill scored by CBO. And you did not score it by CBO. MR. SPICER: Sure. It is being scored. Look, I know -- look, with all due respect to them, this the same group that said -- who passed it and then told us we could read it. This bill is online for every American to go to ReadTheBill.gop. It’s on the Speaker’s website. We link to it on several accounts that we've tweeted. Q But it was scored before they went before the Congress. MR. SPICER: I understand that. And again, if that's the complaint, this is the same group that didn't let anybody read it, that jammed it through with no bipartisan support. This President has reached out to both sides of the aisle, had governors here, had senators here to get their input. There is no contrast between what we did and what they did. This was a full effort to reach out to the members in the House and the Senate. It’s going through regular order in the House. Every member of the House and the Senate will be able to have their opportunity to have amendments offered through -- well, through the committee process and on the floor. So the idea that they can compare the date that they got it scored is pretty reaching deep on this because there has been an opportunity for members to have their input on this and to talk about their concerns, to give their input on it -- especially the governors, who were left on the sideline last time and who have such an important role in administering healthcare when it comes to Medicaid. The idea that anyone talks about when the score was issued -- there will be a score in all good time. But the other thing is, let’s be honest, the irony of the score is that the CBO was way off the last time. I don't think that we're waiting to -- that that's a big issue to us right now. Q Doesn't cost matter, though, before you -- MR. SPICER: Of course, cost matters. But look at how off they were last time. If you're looking at the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place. They were way, way off last time in every aspect of how they scored and projected Obamacare in terms of -- Q But you have no numbers -- MR. SPICER: But neither did they. Last time, if you look at the number of people that they projected would be on Obamacare, they are off by millions. So the idea that we're waiting for a score -- it will be scored. But the idea that that's any kind of authority based on the track record that occurred last time is a little far-fetched. Jessica. Q Two questions on the wall, Sean. As you know, the bids for prototypes went out today. And I just was curious about the timing of that, how much pressure there was to get that going quickly. And then secondly, is there guidance from the White House about what kinds of vendors can build the wall, especially can international vendors build the wall? MR. SPICER: I think that process is working through -- as the President has talked about before, we were trying to move ahead with existing funds that DHS has. And then we’ll continue to create a timeline to ask Congress for that funding. We're working with Congress on that. And then I don't think it will be any surprise to know that the President is going to favor American workers and American companies when it comes to an American project. That shouldn’t be any kind of surprise. Blake. Q Sean, it’s looking increasing likely that the Federal Reserve next week will hike interest rates. Two brief questions. One, how does the President feel about that? And secondly, does he have the full confidence in Janet Yellen, who he described during the campaign as “too political” to lead the Federal Reserve and set monetary policy? MR. SPICER: Let me get back to you on that one. I don't have any comment on the Federal Reserve. I’ll look at the team. What I will say is that, as I mentioned at the outset, when you look at the hiring and the jobs and the manufacturing and the pace, the consumer confidence and the CEO indexes that are going -- that have already come out in the first two months, we see a resurgence, an optimism in the economy by job creators to want to hire here, who want to manufacture here, who want to grow here. And I think that our economy is clearly on the upswing. And I think you see statement after statement, company after company coming out and sharing in the President’s vision for moving the country forward and for renewing the optimism and building and being part of an American resurgence in terms of our economy. Q Just to be clear, the no comment was on Mrs. Yellen or on this thoughts of a rate hike? MR. SPICER: I’ll get back to you on both. How is that? Yeah, go ahead. Q Sean, along with April’s last question about the difference between this administration and the previous one and how to approach this issue, one thing that the Obama administration did do was get key stakeholders at the table -- AARP, American Medical Association. Both of those organizations have come out today strongly opposed to this proposal. What’s your message, particularly with respect to the AARP? MR. SPICER: Well, they got a really good deal last time when it came to prescription drugs in particular. I think -- this is a patient-centric bill. It’s about patients. It’s about people. It’s about the Americans who were left behind. Look at what those deals got people last time. I mean, for all those people that are on Medicaid, in particular, they don't have choices anymore. So I would argue that the President has put the American people first and has put patients first. So you can talk about -- we're glad to have support, make no mistake about it. But I think that the support that this administration and I think the House is focused on is getting every American their buy-in and their support. Obviously, look, I’m not going to -- we would love to have every group on board. But this isn’t going to be -- every single deal we heard about it getting through, “the Cornhusker Kickback,” this and that. Over and over again, it was one deal after another to get to -- to buy votes to get it through the Senate. So if you want line up how many special interests got paid off last time versus now, they’ll probably win hands down. Q Sean -- MR. SPICER: This isn’t -- hold on -- but this isn’t about trying to figure out how many special interests in Washington we can get paid off. It’s about making sure that patients get the best deal that lowers prices and brings back costs. But again, I think -- what I’m trying to figure out is at some point you're defending the indefensible. Nancy Pelosi put out three criteria for how they judge Obamacare. And by their own standards, they fail on all three. Costs are up. Choices are down. There is no other way to judge that. By every account, every single premium by every standard is up. Choices are down across the country. So there is a horrible deal that the American people got bought -- got sold. And what we're trying to do is put patients back first in line. Q But so the AARP is specifically talking about patients in their 50s and 60s. The AARP describes this as an “age tax” that will disproportionately affect people who right now are low-income, are benefitting from subsidies under Obamacare and could stand -- according to the AARP’s estimate -- to take a hit of thousands of dollars in their premium payments this year when the subsidies go away and the tax credits go away. What’s your message to those people who voted for the President? MR. SPICER: I think that -- right. And the message from the President is that we want you to get more choice and a lower cost. And I think that, as we work this bill through, through daylight -- not jam it through in the middle of the night -- that they are going to see as more and more people will that this is a deal for the American people that's going to put patients first, lower their costs, and give them more choices. But again, I don't -- there is probably not a person out there, either through themselves or a loved one or a friend or a colleague that has seen choices go down and premiums go up [sic]. So what people are dealing with now is not acceptable. And I think the idea that anyone defending the current status quo -- and even in some of the statements of some of the groups, they admit that there’s a problem right now. And so my advice to those people is, join the process. Share your idea, share your thought, let the process work its will so that it is a bill that has input. But the bill -- the way it was done last time is not something that’s acceptable. Shannon. Q Is the President worried, though, that every major doctors group -- the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians -- have all come out and said they have serious concerns? For all the talk of doctors and patients and choice, the doctors groups are all so far unanimously coming and saying they’re not supportive of this. Is that concerning to the President? MR. SPICER: No, I think when you look at a lot of doctors versus the associations here in Washington, we have had tremendous input from doctors themselves. Dr. Price, himself a doctor, is the one who crafted this. So you have a doctor in charge of the administration’s effort to work with Congress. You’ve got several physicians and other medical professionals in Congress that are talking about the experiences they have -- in fact, many of them ran for Congress because of the concerns they saw in their own industry. So while I have respect for some of the work that some of these Washington, D.C.-based associations do, at the end of the day this is about patients and about the input from doctors who are on the front line of seeing patients and talking about the care that they’re able to give or not to give to people. Anita. Q Do you mind if I follow up on something else you said? MR. SPICER: I do -- I don’t, sorry. Q You’ve talked about people having a card. You’ve got a card, but it’s a $2,000 deductible and there’s only 10 doctors in your town that will see you, let’s say. But that’s better than nothing if you get cancer or hit by a car. So maybe this makes access -- right, but it is better than no insurance. So if this expands access to people and choice, but it reduces the number of people who actually have health insurance -- MR. SPICER: But I don’t think -- Q -- so can it do both? MR. SPICER: Yeah, of course it can. And it will do both, by ensuring that more people -- right now you’ve got more people paying the penalty and saying, I don’t want healthcare, I’m going to pay the penalty because costs are too high. And was it probably five, six, seven years ago, before Obamacare went into place, a single individual, young individual person on the open market could get a premium -- a plan with a premium of 100, 150 bucks a month. It’s in the high 300s now. And I think that there’s a big difference. You’re not -- for young people just entering the workplace, for example, your example -- they go get into an accident, right now you’ve got a lot of individuals that get off their parents’ healthcare and say, I’m healthy, I have no desire to go get healthcare, it’s another few hundred dollars a month that I don’t have or that I’d rather spend on something else. If we can get that cost down, it makes a lot more sense -- and get them plans that are tailored to them, 27-, 28-year-old individuals don’t need care that’s for folks -- that talks about certain things that -- a plan that has certain things that are towards the end of life. But right now, you’ve got one-size-fits-all, government-run, government-mandated plans that offer people a suite of medical services that they do not need, because there’s no choice, and it’s a government-mandated system. I think offering more choice and more competition allows people to pick a plan that is more tailored to your needs. And this goes back a second ago to what John was asking, that if you can actually pick a plan and across state lines find one that suits you as an individual -- as opposed to maybe there’s a family plan that’s more comprehensive, it has dental and vision and all the things that your kids are going to need because of all the things you anticipate -- that’s a plan that a young family might need versus an older person that’s single or a young person that’s just entering the workforce. But right now there’s no competition, there’s no choice. So it’s not an either/or situation. We’re facing a situation where more and more people are getting less and less and paying more and more for it, and that’s the wrong way to go. Mara. Q Anita. You actually -- Anita. MR. SPICER: My apologies. Anita, then Mara. Q Switching gears completely, the military have recently conducted some kind of exercise at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, and it was preparing for a migrant crisis. And there is a DHS migrant center there. And I wondered if the administration has considered, and what you all think about using that facility for immigrants. Has that come up? MR. SPICER: That particular exercise, to the best of my knowledge, is a rather regular exercise that occurs, as do many of the exercises that the military prepares for on a whole host of contingency operations. So that is a routine military operation. Q Is there any consideration, though? MR. SPICER: It is a routine military operation, as several of them do with our partners throughout the world where we plan for random contingencies that may or may not happen. That’s the job of the military -- to practice for contingencies that may or may not happen on a whole host of issues. But to try to ascertain -- Q Okay, so are you all considering using the facility for immigrants? MR. SPICER: There is nothing to consider it for. I think we’re fine right now. There is nothing that we would need to use it for. But again, I mean, I think part of the goal of preparing the military going through various exercises is on a whole host of issues -- on refugees, they prepare for natural disasters. We’re not anticipating a natural disaster, but we prepare for them. At the White House, when we were coming in as an administration, I think we briefed during the transition period -- we did what’s called a right-seat, left-seat operation with the outgoing administration. So we sat down and talked about cyberattacks and natural disasters, and the whole-of-government response in some of these things. It doesn’t mean that we anticipate them, it doesn’t mean that we want them, it means that we’re going to prepare for them in the same way that many organizations do fire drills. It’s not that you anticipate or expect a fire, but you prepare for them, as many families do. Preparedness is the key to executing well, and I think that’s what all we’re doing. Q And secondarily, the Louisville media is reporting that President Trump will be there on Saturday. Can you confirm that? And is this about healthcare? As you just said, he was going to make the rounds. MR. SPICER: Yeah, I’ve seen that report. We have nothing to announce with respect to the President’s schedule at this time. But, as I mentioned earlier to I think it was Shannon, that we will have -- or is it Jill, I can’t -- somewhere in this area -- we will have an update on the President’s schedule later this week. But I do anticipate the President to be very active in his support for the repeal-and-replace effort. And so this is what you should expect. Now Mara. Q The CBO score is supposed to come out next week, and you just called into question their credibility. MR. SPICER: I didn’t call into question -- just so we’re clear, I’m just -- Q It's true. MR. SPICER: Thanks, Matt, I appreciate it, I can answer. Their record is what I’m calling into question to -- when you look at the number of people and the costs on what they scored, the last Obamacare bill on, it’s way off. That’s a fact, that’s not anything more than that. Q Well, people base their votes on what they think is going to happen to the cost and the coverage -- if they lose coverage. MR. SPICER: That’s right. Q Is there any analytic organization that you would accept a score from? MR. SPICER: Well, I think that there’s -- yeah, I mean OMB will probably put out a score on -- Q If not the CBO, is there some organization -- so OMB is the -- MR. SPICER: No, no, I’m not saying -- but, Mara, hold on. All I’m saying is, look at what the CBO’s record is on Obamacare. It’s vastly off. I think they projected 20 million people to be on Obamacare this year; I believe the number is 12. They’re way off in terms of the millions. So it’s not a question of whether I’m questioning anything -- anyone that can actually do basic math can understand that their projections for Obamacare the last time were way, way off the mark. And so my only point is, is that I think when they come out with this score, we need to understand the track record when it comes to healthcare. Q -- the track record? Is there any scoring organization that you think has a good track record? MR. SPICER: There’s probably a lot. And I think members have to look at a lot of things to cast their vote on. They’re going to have to look at the totality of the bill, the support of their constituents, the current state of things. I think that there’s no question -- look, when you look at the trajectory of the cost right now in terms of premiums, you can either say -- and not just the premiums, but Obamacare is going to collapse on its own weight very soon. And the President made it very clear in his press conference and a lot of previous statements, the politically easy thing to do is just let it collapse and let Democrats come back to the table. I don’t think that’s the right thing, and the President has made it clear he doesn’t think that’s the right thing. This is an opportunity for him to show the American people that the right thing to do is to care about their healthcare options and the cost that they’re paying. Q And just one last thing. He mentioned deductibles before and how they’re going up under Obamacare. Are you promising people that their deductibles will come down under this plan? MR. SPICER: Everything that we have been led to believe about how this is -- yes, this will drive costs down. When you talk about opening up pooling, when you talk about driving costs down because you can buy it over state lines, everything that has driven up costs, all of those market forces that will come in, and I think every leading economist that has looked at this says it will drive costs down. John Gizzi. Q Thank you, Sean. The premier argument by Democrats, notably former President Obama today, is that enactment of the act that was illustrated yesterday would lead to many people losing their healthcare. You certainly heard that from Democrats, but also several of the Republican governors who were here for the National Governors Association, including strong allies of the President -- Governor Bentley of Alabama, Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas voiced the same concern. They did not want any plan that would lead to anyone losing their present healthcare. What does the administration say to what is the leading argument against a new plan? And then I have a follow-up question. MR. SPICER: Of course. I would say that any governor that is concerned about people losing care right now should join us. They are losing their care right now, they are losing their options, and they are paying too much. So the answer is that, if you’re concerned about those principles, then you should be concerned with what is happening right now, and you should be concerned and want to join in this administration and work with this Congress. And again, the big difference that’s here is, instead of us jamming a bill down Congress, and now allowing the American people to read it until it is passed, as was done with Obamacare with then-Speaker Pelosi, is that this bill is out in the open for every single person in the world to read. It is open for people to let their member of Congress share their thoughts, share their ideas, and it’s done out in the open. I think that is a vastly different approach with how this is going about than the last time, and that makes a big difference with the approach. And it gives people an opportunity through the process, what they call regular order, to have input on this. And if it can be made better, then great. But I think this time, we recognized that there’s a lot of work that needs to get done on behalf of the patients that are having trouble getting care. Alexis. Q Oh, wait. MR. SPICER: I’m sorry. Q My follow-up question is a follow-up question about the wall. During the recent Governors Association meeting, Governor Graco Ramirez, who is the Chairman of Mexico’s Association of Federated Governors, warned that continued discussion about the wall and the President’s talk of building it might very well lead to the election of Mr. Lopez Obrador as the President of Mexico, and he is considered the most anti-American, most hostile-to-America of any of the candidates. Are there any concerns that come up in the discussion of the wall, namely the impact on Mexican politics? MR. SPICER: No. (Laughter.) That was pretty good. The President’s number-one concern is the safety of our country. Number two is the jobs that are impacted by this and the ability of Americans to get the wage that they deserve. But again, this is a national security issue, something that, frankly, when he’s discussed this with President Peña Nieto of Mexico, that -- there is a shared concern about drug cartels, drug trafficking, arms sales over the border. There is a shared concern for the respect of the border, because it means a lot to both sides. So this is something that we care about from a national security standpoint, and then obviously the President is concerned on it both -- as well as on an economic standpoint. Alexis. Q I want to follow up on what John was just -- your answer was that if the healthcare bill could be made better, the President is interested in that. So could I just clarify, when he meets with the congressional conservatives this evening who have misgivings about the legislation, is he intending to talk to them about what they would like to change, and is he open to making those changes? Is that what he -- is that the mode he’s in, rather than a sell mode? He’s in a listening mode? MR. SPICER: I think he’s in a -- very much of a sell mode. The President and his team have worked very hard on this. They’re very proud of the effort and the product that they have produced in consultation with the House and the Senate. But obviously, it’s going through the process. And so if somebody has an idea -- and that could be on the administration’s side -- that we believe that after a consultation with individuals or groups, that there’s a way to improve upon this -- but that’s the beauty of going through the process that we are. But make no mistake, the President is very proud of the product that we have produced. We are out in full sell mode all around the country talking about how we think this is the best way to solve the problem that the American people face, and why we believe that the solutions that we put forward in this bill are the right ones, and that will benefit them. Go ahead. Q And can I follow up and say -- before the President meets with Chancellor Merkel next week, is it possible that we could see the President for a more general multi-question news conference? He’s been a little press-shy this week. And from North Korea to healthcare selling to CIA leaks, we’d love to talk to him. Could we see him for a news conference? MR. SPICER: I will ask, Alexis. (Laughter.) Q Would you ask him that? (Laughter.) MR. SPICER: Is there anyone else? I would be glad to ask -- show of hands. (Laughter.) Okay, thank you, I appreciate it. I would be glad to ask the President, share your request with him, and I’ll see what we can do on his schedule. But as you can -- he is very busy these days. He has done a lot of sprays, he will continue to interact with you guys. But I will be glad to make your request known. Katie. Q Sean, yesterday Secretary Price said that the bill that you guys have introduced, both the repeal and the replace, are starting points. And on Capitol Hill there was a lot of talk of the starting point being a nonstarter. So it seems like there’s negotiations that need to be made. Does the President have any non-negotiables in his bill that he will not take out, even at the request of conservatives? MR. SPICER: Well, Katie, I mean, I think, as I was just saying to Alexis, that it is a starting point. It’s going through regular order in the House. And so part of that process as it goes through the committee markup hearing, both in Ways and Means and House Energy and Commerce Committee -- that by its very nature allows for input through both of those committees and then ultimately on the floor before it moves over to the Senate, and the Senate goes through a similar process. So I think, frankly, we’re just acknowledging the reality of where the process is. But we’re proud of the process, we’re proud of the input that we’ve received from governors, from senators, from individuals, associations, companies. And we feel very proud of the work that is encapsulated in this bill, and the results that it will yield. And so that being said, I think the President understands, as a businessman, that if someone’s got a really good idea that he’s going to listen to it. And if he can be part of the process to help make something better, there’s nothing that’s going to preclude that. We have been very open to listening to people. We’re very proud of that. We’re going to go out, as I said, in full sell mode. But if there’s an idea that comes across, we’re going to entertain that to make it clear. Hallie. Q Sean, two topics here. First on healthcare, then I’ll have a follow-up on that. In the past, you and others have accused Democrats of rushing through the original healthcare law. Now, there are some Republicans, including today, who say this is simply moving too fast. Is the President willing to accept a delayed timeline if it pushes repeal and replace into later in the year? MR. SPICER: Going through the process can’t be delayed -- I mean, by its very nature. We’re going through the committee process. There are two House committees -- Q But you said the timeline is being -- maybe Easter break -- after that -- MR. SPICER: But again, that’s subject -- right, but again, I would argue it’s subject to how the House does its will and then how the Senate does. I think obviously we would like this to move forward. There’s a lot of stuff in the queue. We’ve talked about tax reform. This bill is attached to the FY17 budget reconciliation, and I know that, for a lot of Americans, that means nothing in terms of the phrase and the nomenclature that surrounds how Congress does it. But it’s important to recognize that that vehicle allows Congress to do certain things and not others with a 50-vote -- with a majority vote in the Senate. That’s important. There are certain things you can do through that, that you can’t do through other vehicles, and that will take a 60 vote and -- that you can do administratively. So it’s actually -- if you heard Dr. Price talk yesterday about the three phases, it’s actually multi-phased, it’s going through regular order. But there is simply no contrast between how we are approaching this and how Democrats approached it last time. Number one, there’s actually been input from across the aisle, both from the governors who were here, attorneys general, outside groups, House and Senate Democrats have been able to provide input to both staff, to the senior administration officials and to the President. And then secondly, it’s actually going through the process. So while we can predict a timeline, ultimately, it’s going to be up to the House and then the Senate to determine how fast it goes. But there are members on each of those committees, and then, ultimately, every member on the floor that has the ability to give input. Q Just one other question. I’m just curious about this meeting with Senator Cruz tonight. He has come out and expressed some skepticism on the bill as it stands now. Presumably that will be part of the topic of conversation, but as you mentioned, Heidi Cruz is coming too, and I’m wondering if the President has any plans to apologize to her for the insinuations he made on the campaign trail. MR. SPICER: I think they’re looking forward to a great dinner. He had dinner with the Rubios a couple of days ago, maybe a week ago. He had lunch yesterday with Senator Graham. As I stated weeks ago, the President is going to continue to have outreach to members of Congress of both parties. He’s meeting with Congressman Cummings today. This is a President who wants to engage with members of both sides of the aisle in both Houses, but also groups, business leaders, union leaders, the AFL-CIO head, Richard Trumka, was here yesterday. This is a President that’s going to engage with everybody that can help join in proposing ideas and thoughts and opinions on how to move the country forward. So he looks forward to dinner tonight with Senator and Mrs. Cruz, as he has with several others. And I think you’re going to see more -- a continuation of this kind of effort to reach out and get people’s ideas. Margaret. Q And then -- I apologize, I have a second topic, which is, does the President believe the CIA has been compromised in any way? MR. SPICER: With respect to the disclosure, is that what you’re -- Q yeah. MR. SPICER: Again, I’m not going to -- it’s U.S. government policy not to confirm this. I think he has obviously been very concerned, as I stated, about the disclosure of national security on any level. It undermines our country’s national security. And I think that -- I just will say, I think there’s also been a big double standard when it comes to disclosures of classified information and the outrage that exists when one side has it happens versus another. Q What do you mean? MR. SPICER: Well, I think that there has been a lot of disclosures about national security that occurred last cycle when there was potential that the FBI had leaked certain information. The members of Congress on the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton, and others talked about how there was so much concern about classified information -- we’re seeing such silence and outrage from the media, from others with the current disclosures now with things that may or may not have happened towards the 2016 election when it comes to this side. So I think there’s a vast difference when it comes to how the disclosures are approached. Yeah. Q Sean, on North Korea, what is President Trump’s position toward North Korea, and what is his decision for the North Korean policy? MR. SPICER: On the which -- Q North Korean policy. MR. SPICER: On the politics? Q No, policy. Q Policies. MR. SPICER: Oh, policies. Well, I mean, we’re very troubled by the launch of missiles that have occurred from North Korea. I think that’s why the THAAD missile system that we’ve started to deploy into South Korea is so important. We’re continuing to work with the government of South Korea to make sure that they have the defenses necessary to protect themselves. The deployment of a THAAD system is critical to their protection, as witnessed by this weekend’s ballistic missile test. China and the United States in particular both understand the threat that North Korea poses to the region. And I think that there’s areas of concern that we can work together to protect the country. Trey. Q You had called on me. Q Today was International Women’s Day. There’s a lot of concern about access to healthcare for women. Will the President commit to reaching out to female Democratic lawmakers as the next two phases of this healthcare bill continue? And additionally, what is the President’s stance on access to birth control for women across the country? MR. SPICER: I think that question was asked and answered by Secretary Price yesterday. With respect to women’s health, the President has also made it clear that he intends to have a substantial increase in funding towards women community centers that fund women’s health services. And that will be reflected in his budget. Margaret. Q Thank you. MR. SPICER: Sorry. Q Sean, is the President the target of a counter-intelligence investigation? MR. SPICER: I think that’s what we need to find out. There’s obviously a lot of concern. I mean, I mentioned to John there was considerable concern last cycle when a reporter was the target of one. But part of the reason that we have asked the House and the Senate to look into this is because of that. And I think it was interesting. I think if you look at last week, all of a sudden these stories that keep coming out about the President and his links to Russia, it has continued to be the same old, same old, played over and over again. The President has made clear he has no interest in Russia, and yet a lot of these stories that come out with respect to that are, frankly, fake. They are a series of fake allegations that at the bottom note, “While there’s no evidence to substantiate any of this,” it’s the same unnamed sources, “associates” that we get tagged with, and yet there is no evidence that continues to be shown. And every single person that gets briefed on this shows that -- whether it’s Senator Cotton, Chairman Nunes, who has done a phenomenal job of trying to get to the bottom of this. But it’s interesting, I think the double standard that exists between the concern about getting to the bottom of the allegations that -- with respect to the President, that there are so many other issues. When you talk about -- Q So he doesn’t know whether he is the target of a probing? MR. SPICER: But I think that’s one of the issues that we have asked the Senate and House to look into. I can tell you with respect to the other instances, you look at former DNI Clapper’s comments, he literally said, the DNI -- he said, “The DNI, which includes the NSA, FBI and CIA, did not find any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.” Senators Rubio, Cotton, Burr, Chairman Nunes -- all of the people who have been briefed on this situation have come to the same conclusion. And it is interesting how many times this fake narrative gets repeated over and over and over again, and yet no evidence has ever been suggested that shows the President has anything to do with any of the things that are written. It’s a recycled story over and over and over again. And I think that there’s a bit of -- it’s amazing, the President goes out last week, does this joint session, and then literally 24 hours, stories start getting recycled about potential issues that come up that literally continue to offer no fact, nothing but the unsubstantiated rumors over and over again. And yet, what is ignored is when you have someone like former DNI Clapper go out and literally say that they “did not find any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and [Russian] agents.” You have Rubio, Cotton, Nunes all say the same thing that they’ve been briefed that there’s nothing -- and yet this fake narrative -- Q Sorry, just want to make sure that I’m understanding you. Are you saying that there is a possibility he is the target of a counter-intelligence probe involving Russia? Because you just connected those two things. MR. SPICER: No, no, no. I think what I’m saying is that there is a difference between that narrative and then the narrative that has been perpetuated over and over again. The concern that the President has and why he asked the Senate and House intelligence committees to look into this is to get to the bottom of what may or may not have occurred during the 2016 election. But the interesting -- Margaret, is that when you look at every single person that’s been briefed, they’ve all come to the same conclusion -- that nothing happened during the 2016 election tying him to Russia. And yet the fake narrative continues over and over and over again, and the idea that it has to -- it continues to be recycled without any substance, without any evidence, needs to stop. Yes. Q The President said he was tapped. Q He said his wires were tapped. Q He said this as a fact. MR. SPICER: I understand that, and that’s why we’re -- Q So you’re saying he doesn’t know whether he was wiretapped? MR. SPICER: No, no, no, that’s not what I said was -- Q Well, he doesn't know he's the target of an investigation. Q That his wires were tapped. MR. SPICER: Hold on, one at a time. I said that the President made clear on Sunday that he has asked the House and the Senate intelligence committees to use their resources and their processes to examine the facts and come to a conclusion. Chris. Q Since you’re talking about whether things are true or not, let me ask you -- following up on something yesterday, you seemed to acknowledge that the President was wrong when he tweeted that 122 prisoners released by the Obama administration from Gitmo had returned to the battlefield. In fact, it was mostly by the Bush administration. Will he retract, or even apologize for that, given that he also called it a “terrible decision” by the Obama administration, and given that that was incorrect? That there still has been no proof either of his tweets about widespread voter fraud or the wiretapping? Does the President have a credibility problem? MR. SPICER: No, look, I said yesterday -- I think Trey asked the question -- that the President meant the total number of people. Q But he said the Obama administration. MR. SPICER: I understand that, I’m actually explaining it. That’s why you asked the question. He meant that the total number of people released from Gitmo was 122. What the President -- but just to be clear, there’s a big difference -- under the Bush administration, most of those were court ordered. The Obama administration took great steps -- they talked about -- it was a campaign promise, frankly, from day one to close Gitmo. This President is very clear that he understands the nature of the threat that the people in Gitmo pose to our nation, and the recidivism rate that there are among people that we have released. That is a concern that he shares. The reason the Bush administration did it was in many cases they were under court order. The Obama administration made it actually a priority to let people go and to actively desire to close that camp and to release more and more of those people, especially in the waning days. There is a huge contrast between the posture and the policy of the last two administrations on how they were dealing with Gitmo. This administration understands and the President has been very clear that he understands the people that are kept in Gitmo pose a danger to our country and to the rest of the world. There’s a big, big difference between the posture of those two. Q Do you acknowledge that the tweet was wrong? MR. SPICER: I just said it. I said that the tweet -- he meant that it was -- the totality of the people. That’s what I said to Trey yesterday, I’ll say it again to you today. Dave Boyer. Q So can I just follow up on something else you said, Sean? A totally different topic, because you said that you’re in full -- you’re in sell mode, completely in sell mode. And I wonder if the President sees this as a test of his ability to make a deal, something that he really talked about, something that voters responded to on the campaign trail. Is this essentially, does he feel, on him that this is him going to show the American people that he can get this deal done? MR. SPICER: Well, he gets -- he is a dealmaker. He’s a negotiator. He’s a world-class business leader. And he’s been highly successful at it. So if anybody can get a deal on something, it’s going to be Donald Trump. That’s part of the reason I think that the American people -- what they saw in him, that there was so much broken with Washington that when it came to the big problems -- whether it was domestically or internationally -- that if somebody could come in and work across party lines, work with another country to get a deal that was in the country’s best interest, he had that skillset. And that’s why they, frankly, elected him President. So I think he feels very good about the product that we’ve put out. We are in sell mode. We want to get this done. But the President has an open mind. He enjoys meeting with people and hearing ideas about how to make this country better, how to create jobs, how to create a better healthcare system, how to create better schools. And if there’s someone that comes up with a better idea that will help lower costs and increase access, he’s certainly going to listen to it. Dave Boyer. Q Sean, yesterday in the President’s meeting with the deputy whips he was talking about his tax cut plan. He said it’s going to be the biggest since Ronald Reagan, maybe even bigger. He said, “I know exactly what we’re looking at, most of us know exactly the plan.” So my first question is really easy. Tell us about the plan. MR. SPICER: What the plan is? Q The tax cut plan. MR. SPICER: Well, again, I’m going to wait until -- thank you, I appreciate the layup, Dave. (Laughter.) But I’ll leave it to him to work with Congress. When we’re ready to roll it out, we will do just that. We’re not there yet, so let’s go on with the next hopefully -- Q Secondly, building on these jobs numbers today that look very positive, obviously there’s a lot of CEOs out there who are excited about the possibility of a tax cut plan, and yet the President has also expressed a lot of concern about the national debt. If you’re going to get a tax cut on the level of Ronald Reagan, a historic-sized tax cut, how are you going to do that, balance the needs for continued job growth with the concerns about the debt? MR. SPICER: Because I think that one of the best ways to get the national debt down is to grow the economy. The more the economy is growing, the more we can get it at three, four, five percent, the more the deficit goes down. That’s just the best way to tackle the deficit is to grow the economy, put people back to work, create a deeper manufacturing base. I mean, that is -- between that and some of the efforts that the President has put in to make government more efficient and effective, and save money at that level, those are the two things that I think combine to get the deficit down. Jennifer. MR. SPICER: Hi, Sean. Of the more than 13,000 Syrian refugees who are in this country, less than 150 of them are Christian, Shia, or Yazidis -- the same groups that the U.S. government acknowledges are literally being at risk of being wiped off the map. So I wonder, now that Secretary Tillerson has had time to settle in and as you review the refugee program, immigration policy, is this something that’s being discussed? Is this a priority to give these groups some relief? MR. SPICER: Well, I think that you know that when we talked the first time about the executive order, it was something that we acknowledged. There is definitely an area where -- in the executive order that we just passed, one of the areas that we talked about was -- and I’d have to go back and look at the exact phraseology, but we recognize that certain groups, and they can be religious in nature, are being persecuted, and I think that that’s going to be a factor on how we look at that program. It’s something that the President, as you mentioned, he’s talked about in the past. It’s something that Secretary Tillerson has acknowledged. And that’s not just refugees coming into this country, but I think one of the reasons that we need safe havens in Syria is to make sure that groups and individuals, whether they be part of a group or religion who are being persecuted have a degree of safety that they can count on. Q Thanks, Sean. Appreciate it -- MR. SPICER: No, no. Q Mike, Maria. Q Right here, thank you. MR. SPICER: It’s International Women’s Day, Mike. Q Exactly. Thank you so much. So the President is on the record saying that he supports some sort of legalization for many of the undocumented people in the country. And you know there’s a DREAMer that was caught in the raids in Seattle, Washington. We don’t know if he is going to be released or not. Does the President want to or plan to meet with DREAMers to talk about what’s on his mind about gathering ideas for some sort of legalization? And if so, when would that meeting occur? MR. SPICER: The President, I think, has talked about how he wants to tackle this holistically, and back to Chris’s question a second ago, I think he has made clear that if there’s someone who has the ability to strike a deal, to get people in a room and acknowledge well, we have to stay true to our principles, that we can get a deal on a way to fix our broken immigration problem, it is him. We are not at that phase yet. This is something that he has talked to senators about, and I think that, as we continue to move forward, obviously, the focus now is on Obamacare, repealing and replacing it with this program. But it is something that we’re going to continue to move forward with, and as a comprehensive thing -- not just the illegal issue, but the visa issue, how we deal with the other folks that are in this country. But stay tuned, we’ve got more to go on this. We’ll go further. What’s that? Q No meeting on the works with DREAMers? MR. SPICER: There is nothing on the schedule at this point. Q I'm sure you're aware of reports that the President had ordered the Pentagon to step up the attacks on al Qaeda in Yemen. Does this mark a new strategy rather? And does the President delegate now to the Pentagon attacks on either ISIS or al Qaeda? MR. SPICER: Well, I think the President talked about this a lot during the campaign, about giving the authority and trusting the generals and the decision-makers of his national security team with executing what they need to, to prosecute the war on terror and the war against radical Islamic terrorism. So it’s not a question of delegating authority. There are certain things -- and we addressed this in the briefing in previous weeks -- but there’s a big difference. He’s not delegating the authority, but making sure that they have the ability and the timeliness to act in an appropriate manner to prosecute the case and to go after terrorists in a way that they probably weren’t last time. So I mean, there is a big difference between the approach of this President and the last administration in terms of giving the generals and the leaders in the national security team and the Defense Department the tools and authority they need to prosecute the case against ISIS. Sarah. Gabby, sorry. Q Thanks, Sean. You’ll get it one day. MR. SPICER: I know. You guys switch. Q Israel’s defense minister said yesterday that U.S. officials had sent a direct warning to Prime Minister Netanyahu against annexing parts of the West Bank. I wanted to know if that was at the request of President Trump. And then also, if you could tell us where the White House is in terms of reaching a deal with Israel on what they consider permissible settlement construction. MR. SPICER: Well, as you know, yesterday, the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu. That conversation largely had to deal with areas of regional security. I don’t have anything further to readout on that, and I know that when they met here at the White House, there was discussion of settlements, and the President was very clear about what his desires and his wishes were. I think as we continue to follow up with Israel in the coming weeks, we will have more on that. Q Thank you. Ronica Cleary with Fox 5. I have a follow-up question to actually his asking about the thousands of women who have chosen to strike today, and you saying that it is a free country. But at Channel 5, we’ve reported quite a bit on the schools and the districts that are closing because so many women chose to strike today. So it is a free country, but what would be the President’s reaction to, if you will, what is more important; the students being at school today or the woman’s right to strike and kind of make a statement, if you will, on this day? MR. SPICER: Yeah, thanks, Ronica. I think it’s an important question. I mean, you’ve -- I know, locally, this affects a lot of individuals throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland and the District. So look, I think -- I haven’t talked to the President specifically about this. Obviously, as I mentioned, people have a right to express themselves under our First Amendment, as the President is doing today by making sure that we appropriately salute the contributions that women make to this country. But there’s clearly an impact in the case of schools -- localities throughout the country, here in the greater Washington, D.C. area. But I think that that concern is best utilized by parents through their local school boards and through their city councils and mayors, whether or not they found it appropriate for that to occur. I have not spoken to the President about this, but I think there’s a balance. And I think that -- I would hope that we should use this opportunity to recognize the role of women in the workplace, in the family, and throughout society for the contributions that they continue to make and have made in the past in making the country as great as it has. So with that, one last thing, just to clarify. I think Jill asked this, but I just want to be really clear on one point, which is, there is no reason that we should -- that we have to think that the President is the target of any investigation whatsoever. I’m sorry, that was Margaret. I apologize. Q Specifically counterintelligence. MR. SPICER: Right, and there is no reason to believe that he is the target of any investigation. I think that’s a very important point to make, and so -- Q So retract your previous -- MR. SPICER: No, no, no. It doesn’t -- what I’m saying is -- hold on. The one question dealt with whether or not the tweet dealt with wiretaps during the thing, the other is an investigation. They are two separate issues, and there is no reason to believe that there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice. Thank you, guys. I’ll see you tomorrow. Thank you. See you guys -- Q -- leaks? MR. SPICER: Not that -- I can’t comment. Thank you, guys. END 2:50 P.M. EST
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) reported fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted funds from operations per share of $1.13, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.31.
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) is expected to report fourth-quarter 2016 results on Feb 13, after market close.
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) has made the announcement of increasing its quarterly dividend by 12.7% sequentially to 71 cents per share.
Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening! Donald Trump lost the popular vote, scored a sub-par Electoral College tally and now over 50 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance ― so the revolution is going real swell. Jason Chaffetz threatened the head of the Office of Government Ethics ― we guess he has to do something with all the extra time he previously spent looking his children in the eye. And another political controversy has erupted over a painting, but it’s unclear whether Duncan Hunter will employ his world-renown art-yanking skills to resolve the conflict. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 13th, 2017: TRUMP HISTORICALLY UNPOPULAR - Yeah but wait until you see the crowd size at inauguration. Lydia Saad: “In Gallup polling conducted two weeks before Inauguration Day, President-elect Donald Trump continues to garner historically low approval for his transition performance, with 51% of Americans disapproving of how he is handling the presidential transition and 44% approving. Last month, the public was split on this question, with 48% approving and 48% disapproving. Trump’s 48% transition approval rating in December was already the lowest for any presidential transition Gallup has measured, starting with Bill Clinton’s in 1992-1993. Trump’s current rating only further separates him from his predecessors ― particularly Barack Obama, who earned 83% approval for his handling of the transition process in January 2009, up from 75% in mid-December 2008. Republicans’ rating of Trump’s transition has remained positive, with 87% approving in the Jan. 4-8 poll, similar to the 86% recorded last month. Very few Democrats approve, which has also been fairly steady, at 13% this month versus 17% in December. Meanwhile, his transition approval among independents has fallen from 46% to 33%.” [Gallup] Oh wait, Trump doesn’t even have crowd sizes going for him: “President-elect Donald Trump has boasted (incorrectly) that there is nary a dress to be had in D.C. for inaugural balls, and that attendance at his swearing in will be ‘record-setting.’ However, bus permit applications for the weekend tell a different story. As of Friday, roughly 200 bus permits have been requested to park in Washington D.C.’s RFK stadium on Inauguration Day, a spokesperson for the District Department of Transportation confirmed to The Huffington Post. (A total of 393 have been granted within the entire district that day.) By contrast, nearly 1,200 tour bus permits that have been requested for the Women’s March on Washington the following day.” [HuffPost’s Catherine Pearson] Errrbody gonna git druuuunk: “The D.C. government has announced 108 District restaurants, bars, and hotels will be able to sell alcohol until four a.m. from January 14-22.” [WJLA] THE MORE THINGS CHANGE - S.V. Date: “Days after announcing that he would not be putting his business assets into a blind trust, President-elect Donald Trump is meeting with billionaire real estate developer Steven Roth who co-owns two of his buildings. Roth is to meet with Trump Friday afternoon, according to the schedule provided by spokesman Sean Spicer during a conference call with reporters Friday morning. Spicer did not immediately respond to a Huffington Post query regarding the nature of the meeting. CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, Roth has done business with Trump for decades. Vornado currently owns 70 percent to Trump’s 30 percent of two buildings: one in San Francisco and the other on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.” [HuffPost] TRUMP ACCUSER COMING TO D.C. WITH A BIG SQUAD - Dana Liebelson: “When Cathy Heller, one of more than a dozen women who have accused President-elect Donald Trump of sexual harassment or assault, arrives in Washington next week to protest his inauguration, she won’t be alone. Heller plans to travel from New York City to D.C. with an Amtrak car full of supporters. The 63-year-old made news last fall when she came forward to allege that Trump tried to kiss her without her consent about 20 years ago, at a Mother’s Day brunch at his Mar-a-Lago estate. She has reserved an entire train car to bring people to the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21.” [HuffPost] Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s new book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to [email protected] Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill THIS SHOULD TERRIFY REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS - Ariel Edwards-Levy: “Voters who elected Trump largely are inclined to take his side in such disputes against congressional Republicans and traditionally conservative pressure groups, according to a new poll.” [HuffPost] INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING SEND DEMOCRATS INTO A RAGE - Akbar Shahid Ahmed: “Congressional Democrats raged against FBI Director James Comey on Friday after he and other intelligence agency chiefs provided legislators with a classified briefing on Russia’s involvement in last year’s presidential election. Interviewed by The Hill, Democrats said they were furious. ‘I’m extremely concerned,’ said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) said he had lost confidence in Comey, citing the last 15 minutes of the briefing as a tipping point but providing no details on what the FBI head or other intelligence officials said. ‘I’m disappointed, outraged — many of us are right now,’ Walz told The Hill. Comey upset both Democrats and Republicans by declining to comment on whether his agency is investigating reported ties between President-elect Donald Trump and the Russian government, sources inside the briefing told the Guardian. Democrats want Comey to look into the allegations, which the intelligence community has not proved but has flagged as important enough to share with Trump and President Barack Obama.” [HuffPost] CHAFFETZ THREATENS ETHICS OFFICE - Super-ethical thing to do. Nick Baumann and Paul Blumenthal: “Walter Shaub, the head of the OGE, is ‘blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance,’ Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, wrote in a sternly worded letter to Shaub Thursday. Chaffetz, the Republican who announced last year that he wouldn’t be able to look his daughter in the eye if he endorsed Trump and then went on to vote for Trump, demanded that Shaub show up for a private interview on Capitol Hill as soon as possible — or else face a subpoena forcing him to do so. ‘He’s coming in,’ Chaffetz told Politico. ‘This is not going to be an optional exercise.’ Chaffetz noted in the letter that his committee has the power to reauthorize the ethics office. What Chaffetz didn’t have to say is that his committee could also push to shutter the office entirely. Earlier this month, House Republicans tried to gut another ethics watchdog, the Office of Congressional Ethics, before backing down.” [HuffPost] MICHAEL FLYNN POSSIBLY BREAKS LAW - It’s OK, though, because he saw a report on NewsNowFast.poo that Hillary Clinton once underwent reiki healing with Saddam Hussein ― truly she is the real criminal. Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel, Susan Heavey and Emily Stephenson: “Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, held multiple phone conversations with Russia’s ambassador to Washington on the day the United States announced retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, two people familiar with the issue said…. Whether Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak discussed those sanctions is unclear. An 18th-century U.S. law, the Logan Act, bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments that are in disputes with the United States.” [Reuters] But because nothing matters anymore, neither does this. Republican voters have decided to believe Trump on Russia over literally every piece of available evidence, a new poll shows. [WaPo’s Aaron Blake] GET READY FOR SCHRÖDINGER’S OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT - Republicans won’t be able to sleep tonight over the excitement of kicking millions of their insurance! Matt Fuller: “Without a single Democrat voting in support, the House narrowly advanced a budget blueprint on Friday intended to be the eventual vehicle for gutting Obamacare…. Most Republicans, though not everyone, agree they will need to replace Obamacare with something once it’s gone ― which is why Republicans are planning to delay the date of enactment on a repeal for a good long time.” [HuffPost] Republican governors really don’t want Congress to take away all that Obamacare Medicaid money. PEOPLE TAPPING HOT AIR TO LIGHT THEIR HOMES - The internet of things is terrifying, not as terrifying as Donald Trump, but terrifying. Jeremy Olshan: “IFTTT — which stands for ‘if this, then that’ — allows users who know nothing about coding to create cause-and-effect algorithms.... I asked IFTTT how many people have set up algorithms to track Trump. ‘We have just under 1,000 people using IFTTT to keep up with Donald Trump tweets,’ spokeswoman Anne Mercogliano replied. The most popular Trump algorithms automatically email his tweets to users, or post them in intracompany message boards like Slack, she said. Some IFTTT users have set their lights to blink whenever Trump tweets, Mercogliano said. Putting the president-elect’s social stream of consciousness to productive use, others link IFTTT to banking services like Qapital to have small sums of money move into their savings accounts every time Trump fires off a new tweet.” [MarketWatch] Here’s a video of Ben Carson laughing maniacally. JOHN LEWIS NOT MINCING WORDS ABOUT TRUMP - And he’s skipping the inauguration. Matt Ferner: “Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) does not consider the presidency of Donald Trump ‘legitimate,’ he said in an interview with NBC News that appeared Friday. ‘I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,’ Lewis told Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s ‘Meet The Press.’ ‘I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.’” [HuffPost] Steve Harvey met with Trump for some reason Friday, and the president-elect immediately put him on the phone with Ben Carson, the other black guy he knows. BIDEN DID TELL US OBAMA WAS ‘CLEAN’ - Paul Blumenthal: “Scandal has consumed the final four years of every two-term president in modern history ― George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon. Barack Obama’s administration is the exception. While there were some minor scandals and resignations during Obama’s eight years in office, wrongdoing never fully occupied his presidency. None of it even directly touched the White House. There were no grand juries investigating his aides. There were no impeachments. There were neither convictions of White House staffers, nor pardons to protect government officials…. President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, is set to enter office with unprecedented conflicts of interest related to his business empire, already setting the tone for a very different administration.” [HuffPost] HERE’S A BIG HEAPING SLICE OF ‘OH’ - Peter Hermann and Aaron C. Davis: “The U.S. Army general who heads the D.C. National Guard and is an integral part of overseeing the inauguration said Friday he will be removed from command effective Jan. 20 at 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president. Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the midst of the presidential ceremony — classified as a national special security event — and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan. “The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post. During the inauguration, Schwartz would command not only the members of the D.C. Guard but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops sent in from across the country to help. He also would oversee military air support protecting Washington during the inauguration.” [WaPo] HOO BOY, THAT DOJ REPORT ON CHICAGO COPS - Kim Bellware and Ryan J. Reilly: “The Chicago Police Department regularly violates citizens’ civil rights, routinely fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct and poorly trained officers at all levels, according to a sweeping Justice Department probe of the nation’s second-largest police department…. The report comes after a bruising year for the Chicago police and a violent one for the city: More than 750 people were killed last year. Meanwhile, CPD solved fewer than one-third of all murders — less than half the national average. Allegations of abuse, torture and corruption have dogged the CPD for nearly a century.” [HuffPost] HuffPost broke out the lowlights from the report, which you should read if you want to get upset. BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog helping other dogs. SURE, WHY NOT, ANOTHER PAINTING CONTROVERSY - Philip Kennicott: “Last week, a little-known tradition of modern presidential inaugurations brought unwanted attention to the St. Louis Art Museum. Since Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, an American painting has served as a backdrop during the inaugural luncheon, at which members of Congress play host to the newly installed president. When Donald Trump is made the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, George Caleb Bingham’s ‘The Verdict of the People’ will be the chosen painting, hanging on a partition wall behind the ceremonial head table in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall…. A Change.org petition, which criticizes ‘the use of the painting to suggest that Trump’s election was truly the “verdict of the people,” when in fact the majority of votes...were cast for Trump’s opponent’ has more than 3,000 signatures.” [WaPo] COMFORT FOOD - Because nothing is less obnoxious than homeless chic, here’s how to live in a storage unit. - Bad teenage poetry come true: stars are being stolen out of the night sky. - Why not: a bunny playing Jenga TWITTERAMA @thisisjendoll: America II: Just when you thought the government had disgusted you as much as possible, they’ll DISGUST YOU EVEN MORE! @MEPFuller: If your takeaway is “Wow, only 9 GOP defections, we were so right that this was never in trouble,” I can’t really help you. @Mobute: i hope every “DEPLORABLE ____” account on here is actually a sophisticated moscow-designed bot made by that “slugheads!” guy from goldeneye Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson ([email protected]) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
WASHINGTON – Days after announcing that he would not be putting his business assets into a blind trust, President-elect Donald Trump is meeting with billionaire real estate developer Steven Roth who co-owns two of his buildings. Roth is to meet with Trump Friday afternoon, according to the schedule provided by spokesman Sean Spicer during a conference call with reporters Friday morning. Spicer did not immediately respond to a Huffington Post query regarding the nature of the meeting. CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, Roth has done business with Trump for decades. Vornado currently owns 70 percent to Trump’s 30 percent of two buildings: one in San Francisco and the other on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Roth attended Trump’s April 20 victory party celebrating his win in the New York primary, where Trump praised him effusively. He was later named as a campaign adviser, although Roth said in a September interview that he didn’t really spend much time on it. Trump said in a news conference on Wednesday that he was handing over control of his businesses to his two adult sons. Ethics experts say that move is insufficient to eliminate conflicts of interest, and that Trump should put his assets into a blind trust, where he neither knows about or has any control over them during his presidency. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) has announced the final disposition of its Skyline properties in Fairfax, VA.