Trump's upcoming Pennsylvania road trip

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a gli...

Posted: Mar 4, 2018 6:21 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2018 6:21 PM

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1) Selling trade tariffs to the Rust Belt

Trump may use his PA trip to test out his tariff sales pitch

Republicans watching Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district are nervous about the upcoming special election

President Trump is slated to go to western Pennsylvania this weekend to campaign for the Republican candidate in the special election happening there next week. It's all happening in Pennsylvania's 18th district -- the GOP candidate is Rick Saccone and Trump plans to stump for him Saturday. As Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender tells us, there's another motivation for the road trip.

"This will put the president's political chips on the line once again, something he hasn't had much luck in the last six months," says Bender. "The more interesting thing, I think, is that this will give the President a chance to road-test his new trade policies, his new tariffs and while the President believes that this is the right policy, he's absolutely convinced on the politics of this. Remember, he rejected House Speaker Paul Ryan's border adjustment tax because it didn't have the snap. It didn't have the bumper sticker appeal ... that tariffs do. People understand intuitively what it means to slap tariffs on a foreign country and that sounds like winning to this President, so this will give the President a chance to see if this message has more resonance in the heartland than it does inside the Beltway, and frankly within his own West Wing."

2) About that PA 18th district race

That Pennsylvania special election will get a lot of attention in the final full week of campaigning, and suffice to say Republicans are nervous.

"The pucker factor is high," is how one top GOP strategist summed up the stress level.

In addition to the weekend presidential visit to help GOP candidate Rick Saccone, former Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning Tuesday for Democrat Conor Lamb. Biden's blue collar credentials make him welcome in a race where Lamb has asked most national Democrats to stay away.

GOP groups and their allies have poured heavy money into the race, but have not been able to move the numbers much. The worry now is that a small GOP lead in most polls might not be enough to overcome the Democrats' enthusiasm edge. More proof of the jitters: GOP operatives in Washington have been critical lately of the GOP candidate and his campaign, and even more critical of the Pennsylvania state GOP operation.

On paper, it is a safe Republican seat, and President Trump carried it by 20 points just 15 months ago. The fear among GOP leaders in Washington is that a Republican loss would be a giant statement about the midterm climate, and perhaps trigger another wave of incumbent retirements, which would only add to the GOP's problems.

3) Communications conundrum for the White House

With Hope Hicks' resignation comes a communications question for Trump's White House: who will take her spot? Even before Hicks announced she was leaving the administration, there had been chatter inside the West Wing about what the communications department needed. CNN's Abby Phillip explains where the holes are in the WH comms strategy.

"Some Trump allies from the outside have been advising them that what they need to do is get ready for the midterms, be able to have a mechanism to push out the good news ahead of 2018 -- especially on taxes which is something the president wants to tout more on the road. So the advice has been, 'Don't just replace the communications director, get some more strategic manpower, some people to think in a forward looking way,'" Phillips says. "The problem, though, is that even while they might want to do all of these things, it is hard to get people to want to work in the White House right now. They are trying to find professional communications people to come into one of the most chaotic places in the world right now and it is very, very difficult."

4) House Intel's Russia investigation "sputtering to a conclusion"

The House Intel's Russia probe is likely coming to a close soon. CNN's Manu Raju says the investigation is "sputtering to a conclusion" after turning into a political back-and-forth between the two sides.

"The Republicans on that committee really don't see really a reason to continue this investigation much longer. They believe they've come to a conclusion that there was no collusion between Trump associates and the Russians. The Democrats, on the other hand, say there have been a number of areas not yet investigated -- including Trump's financial records, including issuing subpoenas for records involving Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr.'s conversations with his father that he said were off-limits because they were protected by attorney-client privilege," Raju explains. "This investigation is coming to a very partisan and messy finish and there is certainly no consensus about what exactly happened in 2016."

5) WH approach to the opioid crisis

The White House seems to be on the same page about how to handle the crisis involving opioid addiction in the U.S.

Mary Katharine Ham of The Federalist explains the administration's approach to the issue that hits so many families so close to home.

"An interesting policy point came out of the opioid summit at the White House. That's an area of policy that the administration seems to have a more cohesive approach than other areas," Ham reports. "Governors [are] seeking these waivers that they're offering for Medicaid treatment of opioid abuse and substance abuse because there are some archaic rules in Medicaid funding that don't allow you to have, for instance, more than 16 beds at a center. That means there are long lines stacking up. Five governors have sought them and [the HHS Secretary] is asking for more to do that."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 39133

Reported Deaths: 1514
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Ramsey4963229
Dakota242192
Stearns241419
Anoka2266109
Nobles16726
Olmsted114715
Washington113740
Mower9602
Rice8488
Scott7624
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Kandiyohi5781
Blue Earth4942
Wright4835
Todd4012
Carver3951
Lyon3272
Sherburne3255
Freeborn2970
Watonwan2380
Steele2371
Benton2203
St. Louis19615
Nicollet17312
Martin1715
Cottonwood1360
Goodhue1318
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Crow Wing10812
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Otter Tail1001
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Swift221
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Redwood190
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Aitkin150
Big Stone150
Kanabec151
Wadena150
Marshall120
Pope120
Lincoln100
Mahnomen101
Clearwater90
Hubbard80
Lake60
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Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 32064

Reported Deaths: 731
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6739181
Woodbury326044
Black Hawk232358
Buena Vista171911
Johnson13408
Linn130482
Dallas129129
Marshall106019
Scott84510
Story8063
Pottawattamie74512
Dubuque74222
Wapello70830
Crawford6783
Muscatine64944
Sioux4810
Tama46829
Wright3851
Louisa36313
Jasper32517
Plymouth3245
Warren2911
Dickinson2663
Webster2484
Washington2459
Cerro Gordo1901
Hamilton1891
Boone1501
Clay1370
Allamakee1334
Clarke1333
Mahaska11717
Shelby1170
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Poweshiek1078
Carroll991
Pocahontas981
Bremer957
Franklin950
Des Moines912
Emmet870
Henry863
Cedar851
Hardin810
Taylor800
Monona770
Cherokee761
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Guthrie684
Jones640
Sac640
Jefferson620
Osceola620
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Butler592
Hancock551
Humboldt551
Calhoun542
Harrison540
Lee542
Iowa530
Delaware511
Monroe517
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Madison482
Lyon450
Clayton443
Davis411
Mitchell410
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Grundy400
Mills390
Winneshiek390
Kossuth360
Howard340
Jackson340
Union340
Lucas314
Chickasaw290
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Winnebago290
Cass240
Ida230
Appanoose213
Keokuk211
Van Buren210
Page200
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Unassigned160
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