POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing-logo

POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing


POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.


United States




POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.




Mar. 31, 2023: Bragg to Trump: ‘Surrender’

At 7:15 last night, Manhattan DA Alvin bragg made it official with this statement: "This evening we contacted Mr. [Donald] Trump's attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.'s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected." Even though we’ve long known this was coming, that term — “surrender” — hit us with the historical nature of March 30, 2023: A former president at the start...


Mar. 30, 2023: Breaking: Russia holds WSJ reporter on spy charge

BREAKING OVERNIGHT — “Russian Security Service Detains Wall Street Journal Reporter,” by WSJ’s Daniel Michaels: “The Federal Security Service said Thursday it had detained Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, in the eastern city of Yekaterinburg. The FSB said in a statement that Mr. Gershkovich, ‘acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.’ … ‘The...


Mar. 29, 2023: What Dems really think of the GOP’s debt demands

After weeks talking with his rank-and-file about what concessions they’d need from Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, Speaker Kevin McCarthy floated five proposals that could maybe, just maybe, elicit an agreement. We spent yesterday working the phones to find out what Hill Democrats — both lawmakers and senior aides — privately thought about these ideas. First, a caveat: Don’t expect top Democrats to applaud any of these ideas on record right now. The party line, we’re told, remains and...


Mar. 28, 2023: Trump returns to Fox, Christie returns to N.H.

The Republican presidential primary is shaping up to be a case of déjà vu. In 2015 into 2016, Donald Trump gained an early lead and never looked back. The hype about a well-funded, twice-elected Florida governor proved to be illusory. Most of Trump’s opponents waited around for someone else to take him down until it was too late. Chris Christie, one of the few Trump opponents who had sharp words for Trump, was too moderate for Republicans. Trump dominated the only thing that seemed to...


Mar. 27, 2023: Harris in Africa, Israel in crisis

Good Monday morning from Accra, Ghana, where VP Kamala Harris is kicking off a seven-day diplomatic mission to Africa, aiming to reset relations between the United States and the three countries she’s visiting — Ghana, Zambia and Tanzania — as China looks to deepen its foothold on the continent. Playbook is with Harris as she becomes the latest and highest-ranking administration official to travel to Africa as part of President Joe Biden's effort to reengage with the continent economically...


Mar. 24, 2023: The other Trump investigations

Even as he faces indictment in Manhattan, Trump has to watch his back on the federal classified documents investigation. The recent courtroom fight over Evan Corcoran's testimony “indicate[s] that prosecutors have continued to build a case and that the inquiry remains a serious threat to Mr. Trump,” per the NYT. Corcoran will testify again today, and the Times reports that he doesn’t plan to plead the Fifth. The feds also want to talk to Trump lawyer Jennifer Little in the probe. The latest...


Mar. 23, 2022: Sinema bashes Dems, Dems bash Zients

JMart’s latest column is hot off the presses and already blowing up group chats on Capitol Hill: “Sinema Trashes Dems: ‘Old Dudes Eating Jell-O’” As her fundraising efforts plow forward, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) “has used a series of Republican-dominated receptions and retreats this year to belittle her Democratic colleagues, shower her GOP allies with praise and, in one case, quite literally give the middle finger to President Biden’s White House,” Martin writes. “Speaking in private,...


Mar. 22, 2023: Trump waits, DeSantis jabs, Scott preps

Yesterday came and went without the arrest of Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the contours of the 2024 Republican presidential race continue to evolve — even as the political, media and legal worlds hold their collective breath waiting for word from lower Manhattan. Here are three key storylines emerging amid the indictment watch TRUMP IN GROWING PERIL: First off, the next steps in Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's investigation into the 2016 hush-money allegations lodged against Trump could come today,...


Mar. 21, 2023: Unpacking Alvin Bragg's case against Trump

On the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, as pro-Trump rioters were ransacking the Capitol in Washington, prosecutors in Manhattan gathered on Zoom to discuss Donald Trump's bookkeeping practices. More than two years later, while state and federal criminal investigations into Trump’s culpability for the events of Jan. 6 continue, it is the Manhattan probe that is set to produce the first Trump indictment — as soon as this week. While we don’t know for sure what crime — or crimes — that Manhattan DA...


Mar. 20, 2023: Scoop: House GOP targets Manhattan DA

Good morning from Orlando, where House Republicans are gathered at a luxury resort not far from Disney World for their annual three-day retreat — and where, we’ve learned, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and senior GOP leaders are preparing demand to testimony from members of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office amid reports of an imminent Trump indictment. This morning, we can report two things: 1. In the short term, Republicans are discussing firing off letters...


Mar. 17, 2023: A president's pivot and a party's puzzle

A pair of fresh stories out this morning illuminate two emerging storylines in the early jockeying for the 2024 campaign … White House aides tell us that President Joe Biden is likely to announce a final decision on the 2024 reelection in the coming weeks. And as he gears up for a likely reelection, he appears to be shimmying back to the ideological middle (an easy move when there’s no real primary challenge). And, our Olivia Beavers spoke with (nearly) every Republican of the Florida...


Mar. 16, 2023: Yellen gears up for a Senate grilling

All eyes will be on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today as she testifies before the Senate Finance Committee at 10 a.m.. Yellen’s appearance was originally scheduled to discuss the Biden budget. But after the weekend rescue of Silicon Valley Bank, this will be senators’ first chance to cross-examine Yellen about the controversial actions she took on Sunday in concert with her colleagues at the Fed and FDIC. Not everything will be about SVB, but the Biden team’s response to the bank...


Mar. 15, 2023: The GOP faces its 'candidate quality' issues

We’re barely into the 2024 Senate cycle, and already some Republicans are feeling a sense of deja vu. In a new must-read, our Holly Otterbein attended a rural Pennsylvania rally for Doug Mastriano, the “state’s most MAGA Republican” who also won its gubernatorial primary last year only to lose the general election by double digits to Democrat Josh Shapiro. Her biggest takeaway: Despite that huge loss, Pennsylvania Republicans aren’t ready to toss Mastriano overboard as he mulls a challenge...


Mar. 14, 2023: House GOP warms up for a budget battle

House Republicans are set to embark on a multiweek stretch of ups and downs — starting today, with the release of a massive energy package authored by House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, aimed at boosting domestic oil-and-gas production, lowering consumer costs and drawing a sharp contrast with the Biden administration’s pivot to green energy. The legislation will be designated “H.R. 1,” underscoring how the energy issue is a central plank of the GOP agenda following a campaign cycle...


Mar. 13, 2023: Everything about the bank crisis explained all at once

If you work at Compass Coffee, Roblox, Vox Media, Etsy, Roku, Vimeo, LendingClub or any of the other companies with deposits at Silicon Valley Bank, you are waking up this morning with welcome news. After a white-knuckle weekend you can be confident that payroll will be met, checks will clear and your company will have access to every cent of its SVB deposits, not just the FDIC-insured limit of $250,000, after federal agencies stepped in Sunday evening to backstop the failed bank and attempt...


Mar. 10, 2023: The GOP’s 2024 picture snaps into focus

Over the last 24 hours, the dynamics that will define the 2024 Republican primary have begun to come into clear view, as told in three must-read stories: 1. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “has indicated privately that he intends to run for president,” WaPo’s Hannah Knowles and Isaac Stanley-Becker report from Davenport, Iowa. 2. Former President Donald Trump appears likely to face criminal charges in Manhattan stemming from his alleged payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, NYT’s...


Mar. 9, 2023: Biden lays budget bait for Republicans

It’s the day all of D.C. has been waiting for with bated breath. Around noon, President Joe Biden will release his proposed federal budget. No one in the White House seriously believes that Congress will adopt it in its current form. In private, administration officials readily admit that they know it’s not going anywhere. So why does it matter? Beyond the obvious implications for governing, we’re told it’ll constitute the crux of Biden’s pitch as he’s expected to launch his reelection...


Mar. 8, 2023: Inside the latest Fox document dump

A new trove of exhibits unearthed as part of Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News was released on Tuesday, including emails, text messages and transcripts from depositions by numerous Fox News personalities and executives. There are lots of interesting details in the documents that reinforce the allegations made in Dominion’s recent motion for summary judgment. But the main takeaways are: 1. Most corners of Fox News — from reporters and producers to primetime hosts to the most...


Mar. 7, 2023: Dems fret about a No Labels spoiler ticket

A prominent Democratic think tank is raising alarms about a third-party ticket spoiling 2024 for Democrats and landing Donald Trump back in the White House. A new two-page memo from Third Way, obtained by Playbook, takes aim at the potential “unity ticket” being promoted by the centrist group No Labels. With tens of millions of dollars in financial backing, No Labels’ stated intention is to nominate a moderate alternative to potential extreme major-party nominees as an “insurance policy.”...


Mar. 6, 2023: The Ron DeSantis pre-campaign is here

Our colleague Betsy Woodruff Swan has an eye-popping story up this morning on a previously unreported DHS domestic-intelligence program, “one of many revelations in a wide-ranging tranche of internal documents reviewed by POLITICO. “Those documents also reveal that a significant number of employees in DHS’s intelligence office have raised concerns that the work they are doing could be illegal. Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about...