President Trump is set to meet Monday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as the fate of his first term in office increasingly relies on his uneasy relationship with his fellow Republican. Trump and McConnell have feuded over rhetoric, expectations, and the failure of the GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, but now they need each other more than ever. Establishment Republicans are increasingly on the defensive over their meager legislative accomplishments at a time of unified GOP control and facing renewed threats of challenge from the nationalist wing of the party. Trump, meanwhile, has placed the hopes of the first year of his presidency on the fate of tax reform — for which he needs McConnell’s legislative muscle. But time is running out even for that shared priority, as the clock ticks down to 2018, and the midterm elections.
Pharmaceutical distributors’ efforts to undermine the enforcement power of the DEA are in the spotlight Monday after a bombshell report by the Washington Post and ’60 Minutes’ into the opioid epidemic. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called for Trump to withdraw the nomination of Rep. Tom Marino to be the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, over concerns about his efforts pushing legislation that benefited drug distributors.
Kelly tries to fill jobs. Tillerson responds to Corker. And fact checking Trump’s tax plan claims.
Here are your must reads:
Ex-DEA Agent: Opioid Crisis Fueled by Drug Industry and Congress
Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi says drug distributors pumped opioids into U.S. communities [CBS]
The Drug Industry’s Triumph Over the DEA
Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors [Washington Post]
No One Knows What Steve Bannon’s “War” Will Actually Look Like
The former top Trump strategist is working to take down establishment Republicans [BuzzFeed]
Kelly Tries to Get Empty Administration Jobs Filled Fast
Conservatives are demanding faster action on vacant political appointments [Politico]
President Trump Put the Fate of the Iran Nuclear Deal in Congress’ Hands
What it means [TIME]
The Women’s March Invited Bernie Sanders.
Then the Trouble Started [TIME]
“Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.” — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to CNN on North Korea
“I checked. I’m fully intact.” — Tillerson to CNN responding to Sen. Bob Corker’s charge that he’d been “gelded”
Bits and Bites
Fact Check: Trump’s tax plan is far from the biggest ever [Associated Press]
‘Petty Stuff.’ Rex Tillerson Brushes Off Drama with President Trump [Associated Press]