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POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing


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


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




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...


Mar. 3, 2023: Dems seethe over Biden’s D.C. crime betrayal

What’s more important: respecting the principle of D.C. self-governance, or staying on the right side of an explosive national issue? Yesterday, President Joe Biden chose politics over principle. It did not go over well with some Democrats. In November, the D.C. Council passed a major reform of the District’s criminal code. The legislation was vetoed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, who objected to reductions in penalties for some serious crimes, such as carjackings and home burglaries. In January,...


Mar. 2, 2023: How MAGA took over CPAC

Since Trump’s first appearance at CPAC in 2011, the conference had become an early venue for him to court the base of the Republican Party. Now, the fate of the Schlapp-era CPAC and Donald Trump himself are tied together. The annual event, which began yesterday in National Harbor, has been abandoned by most top GOP elected officials. The annual event, which began yesterday in National Harbor, has been abandoned by most top GOP elected officials. Here’s a breakdown: - Senate GOP leadership:...


Mar. 1, 2023: A bipartisan response to East Palestine

A bipartisan group of six senators today will introduce the Railway Safety Act of 2023, legislation aimed at preventing a repeat of the toxic firestorm in East Palestine, Ohio, that followed the Feb. 4 derailment of a chemical train. According to a summary we saw last night, the legislation would: 1) require rail carriers to give advance notice to state emergency response officials before running trains carrying hazardous materials; 2) mandate trains run with at least two-person crews; 3)...


Feb. 28, 2023: A skeptical SCOTUS eyes Biden’s student debt plan

Polls open in less than an hour in Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot faces eight rivals — and a very real chance of being shut out of the likely April 4 runoff election. A new poll from Victory Research finds the incumbent trailing both former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson. Plus in just a few hours, President Joe Biden's student debt relief plan will come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, whose justices will decide in the months...


Feb. 27, 2023: What’s in Ron DeSantis' new book

Ron DeSantis's “The Courage to Be Free” will be released tomorrow, kicking off a media tour that is widely assumed to be the prelude to a formal announcement this spring that he’s running for president. The book rollout is taking full advantage of DeSantis’s relationship with the Rupert Murdoch media empire. The book is published by HarperCollins, which is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. The first excerpt, “How the Florida blueprint can work for the whole US,” was published in the NY Post. Two...


Feb. 24, 2023: The second year of the Ukraine war begins

One year ago today, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine that he thought would quickly topple the government in Kyiv, expose Western powers as feckless and hopelessly divided, and usher in a new, muscular era of Russian world power. He was wrong on all counts. But the toll of that decision has been immense. A year of unspeakable tragedy has left enormous questions about what lies ahead — more on that in a moment — but the history of this conflict is now beginning...


Feb. 23, 2023: The grand juror who might have said too much

Did Emily Kohrs just save Donald Trump from prosecution in Georgia? Kohrs is the 30-year-old woman from the Atlanta area who was between retail jobs last year when she was suddenly tasked with one of the most sensitive jobs in America: forewoman of the special grand jury investigating whether Trump and his allies committed any crimes in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. The Kohrs-led jury listened to secret testimony for eight months last year and issued its...


Feb. 22, 2023: Can Tim Scott make the GOP play nice?

With Congress out on recess and President Joe Biden still abroad, most of today’s marquee political events are happening outside of the beltway … — IN Iowa, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) begins his “Faith In America” listening tour, dipping his toe in the proverbial water ahead of a possible 2024 campaign. And this morning, Playbook has exclusive excerpts from Scott’s speech. “Conservatism is my personal proof there is no ceiling in life. I can go as high as my character, my education, and my...