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Another primary day test for Donald Trump

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DELINKED — Ukraine aid is moving forward in Congress without Covid aid. The $40 billion for Ukraine will get a vote in the House as soon as today. The Senate will likely follow by next week. But there’s no clear outlook for the $10 billion in Covid money that Democrats had originally tied to the foreign aid.

  • Sarah Ferris and Burgess Everett: “[President JOE] BIDEN said in a statement Monday that he is ‘prepared to accept’ the decoupling of Ukraine and Covid aid, which he had originally sought to move through Congress together … Republicans stopped the Covid aid package last month, demanding an amendment vote to keep in place the Title 42 border policy. Numerous Democrats want to keep that policy rather than reverse it, and if 10 Senate Democrats joined Republicans, it could even pass the chamber, further complicating the aid’s path to Biden’s desk.”

PRIMARY DAY: WHAT TO WATCH FOR — West Virginia and Nebraska hold primaries today. Like last week’s contests in Ohio, the action is mostly on the Republican side, and the main drama is about former President DONALD TRUMP.

— WEST VIRGINIA: Two GOP incumbents, Reps. ALEX MOONEY and DAVID MCKINLEY, are facing each other in a congressional primary because the state lost a seat after redistricting.

  • The biggest policy differences: McKinley voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Mooney didn’t.
  • Mooney’s biggest endorsement: Trump.
  • McKinley’s biggest endorsements: Republican Gov. JIM JUSTICE and Democratic Sen. JOE MANCHIN, who strongly backed the infrastructure bill.
  • TV ad to watch while you await for the results: Manchin bragging about opposing Build Back Better while making the case for McKinley.

What our favorite West Virginian, Meridith McGraw, has to say about the race:

“McKinley has represented West Virginia’s 1st District since 2011, and Mooney has represented West Virginia’s 2nd District since 2015. The congressmen have voted the same 87 percent of the time in Congress, per ProPublica, and both Mooney and McKinley have shown support for Trump. But McKinley clearly crossed the line with Trump for two votes — his support for the creation of a Jan. 6 commission to investigate the riots on Capitol Hill, and his vote for the bipartisan infrastructure deal. The very day McKinley backed the infrastructure bill — which, I will add, was supported by GOP Sen. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, and is popular in the state — Trump endorsed Mooney.

“Mooney has a leg up in the state with a Trump endorsement, but he’s been dogged with allegations he’s a carpetbagger and is currently facing ethics investigations. McKinley, meanwhile, has touted his lifelong ties to the state and has worn his vote for infrastructure as a badge of honor when campaigning, even though it cost him any chance of a Trump endorsement and opened the door to attacks from the MAGA base.”

— NEBRASKA: CHARLES HERBSTER, JIM PILLEN and state Sen. BRETT LINDSTROM are the three top GOP primary candidates running to replace the term-limited governor, PETE RICKETTS. The national implications of the race revolve mostly around Trump’s endorsement of Herbster, who has been accused of sexual assault by eight different women.

  • POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro: “The race has been a proxy battle between former President Donald Trump and the outgoing governor, who have endorsed candidates on opposite sides in this contest. Trump is backing longtime ally Herbster — memorably described in a POLITICO headline as a ‘bull semen baron’ — while Ricketts is behind Jim Pillen, a member of the University of Nebraska board of regents. Those two men, alongside state Sen. Brett Lindstrom, are all viable candidates to win the party’s nomination (and effectively the governorship, because solid-red Nebraska won’t be competitive in November.).”
  • POLITICO’s David Siders: “Nebraska’s the first place we might see Trump take a hit this year, after the 22 candidates he endorsed in Indiana and Ohio all won their primaries last week. But in Nebraska, the gubernatorial race is a toss-up. We know how Trump will respond if his endorsed candidate, Herbster, wins: He’ll take credit, and rightfully so. I’m more interested in how Trump and his loyalists respond to a loss.”

Much more on these two states and what to watch tonight here.

Good Tuesday morning, and thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

MASTER AND COMMANDER — Daniel Lippman has an eye-popping story that just published: Lobbyist brothers MIKE and TOM MANATOS invited donors to a fundraiser tonight for Rep. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-Ill.) by offering them the chance to talk to the congressman about his investigation into the NFL’s Washington Commanders and team owner DAN SNYDER. “Linking pleas for campaign dollars to specific legislative actions is a no-no, and Krishnamoorthi’s camp quickly acknowledged as much,” Lippman writes. Once he asked the office about the fundraiser, Krishnamoorthi’s team canceled it.

LET’S DO LUNCH — Ukrainian Ambassador OKSANA MARKAROVA will speak to Senate Democrats today at their weekly caucus lunch.

TOP-ED —Jack Shafer: “How the New York Times Helped Keep People in the Closet”

BIDEN’S TUESDAY:

— 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief.

— 11:30 a.m.: Biden will deliver remarks about fighting inflation.

— 2 p.m.: Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Italian PM MARIO DRAGHI in the Oval Office.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ TUESDAY — The VP has nothing on her public schedule.

Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 2:30 p.m.

THE SENATE will meet at 10 a.m. to take up ANN PHILLIPS’ nomination to lead the Maritime Administration, with a vote at 11:45 a.m. along with a cloture vote on ASMERET ASEFAW BERHE’s nomination as director of the Energy Department’s Office of Science. After a recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for weekly conference meetings, the chamber will vote on Berhe’s nomination at 2:30 p.m.

DNI AVRIL HAINES and Lt. Gen. SCOTT BERRIER, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, will testify before the Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. Treasury Secretary JANET YELLEN will testify before the Banking Committee at 9:45 a.m. Agriculture Secretary TOM VILSACK will testify before an Appropriations subcommittee at 10 a.m. The Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. on nominations, including BRIDGET BRINK as ambassador to Ukraine.

THE HOUSE will meet at 2 p.m. to take up many bills, including several focused on Ukraine/Russia, with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m. Transportation Secretary PETE BUTTIGIEG will testify before an Appropriations subcommittee at 1 p.m.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

ABORTION FALLOUT

THE GOP APPROACH (LEGISLATIVELY) — Hill Republicans are divided over what to do next if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, from leaving abortion policy to the states to angling for a nationwide ban, Marianne LeVine and Burgess Everett report. Though they acknowledge it would probably lack the necessary 60 (or 67) votes in the Senate, some Republicans see a push for a national ban in their future, while others who have supported a ban before are backing off the idea. Meanwhile, Sen. MAGGIE HASSAN (D-N.H.) tells Marianne and Burgess she’d support a filibuster exemption to pass abortion-rights legislation. (That isn’t going to happen, of course.)

— Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL again vowed to oppose any change to the filibuster, even for abortion legislation. More from National Review

THE GOP APPROACH (POLITICALLY) — A week after the disclosure of the draft SCOTUS opinion, Republican strategists “are increasingly confident that such a decision would not seriously harm the GOP’s chances of regaining House and Senate majorities,” WaPo’s Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey report. They’re counting on voters still caring most about the economy, crime and immigration.

SCOTUS WATCH — The Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that would give police protection to Supreme Court justices’ immediate family members. More from the WSJ

— Related fact-check: After conservative media outlets reported that Justice SAMUEL ALITO had to flee to an undisclosed location in the wake of his draft opinion, Josh Gerstein and Anthony Adragna talked to ILYA SHAPIRO, the source of the rumors, for Congress Minutes. Shapiro said he didn’t remember where he’d heard it and didn’t know if it was actually true.

ALL POLITICS

HERE COMES KATHY — For months, the Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary has looked like a battle between MEHMET OZ and DAVID MCCORMICK. Now, to the shock of Keystone State politicos, KATHY BARNETTE is surging, Holly Otterbein reports this morning. The “ultra-MAGA” TV commentator who lost a 2020 House bid and has barely spent on TV ads has emerged as an alternative to Oz and McCormick’s negative back and forth, and she’s also linked herself to far-right state Sen. DOUG MASTRIANO, who’s leading in the GOP race for governor. “Barnette has a purist’s zeal, a compelling life story, and the ability to tell it to Republican grassroots voters,” Holly writes.

— Worth watching: Barnette’s ad about being born as the product of child rape — her mother was just 12 when Kathy was born — and how it influenced her own views on abortion, is perhaps the most emotionally affecting campaign video we’ve seen all cycle.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT — What leaked audio? House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY and Trump praised each other at a Dallas fundraiser Monday night, per CNN’s Mel Zanona. “Kevin’s been with me from the beginning,” Trump said. He added that it was a mistake to back Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, per NYT’s Maggie Haberman.

— Meanwhile, at a DNC fundraiser, Biden told a crowd of about 125 that he thinks Democrats could flip at least four Senate seats in November, per pooler Akbar Shahid Ahmed of HuffPost.

THE WHITE HOUSE

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER — Hollywood attorney KEVIN MORRIS “is now crafting a legal and media strategy for HUNTER BIDEN,CBS’ Matthew Mosk reports. He’s focusing in particular on investigating what happened to Biden’s now-infamous laptop. He’s also making a documentary about the president’s son.

THE ECONOMY

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE WON’T LIKE — “One of the pillars of the Biden economy is in danger of going wobbly,” Katy O’Donnell warns this morning: Skyrocketing mortgage rates will make it harder for people to buy homes and build wealth. “Those who do take loans to buy a home will have less money on hand to spend elsewhere in the economy at a time when fears of a potential recession are already rising. If prices fall, builders may pull back construction — exacerbating a nationwide supply crunch.”

BEYOND THE BELTWAY

WHAT THEY’RE READING IN FLORIDA — “DeSantis signs bill mandating communism lessons in class, as GOP leans on education,” by the Miami Herald’s Bianca Padró Ocasio

WAR IN UKRAINE

LEND-LEASE RETURNS — Biden signed into law the creation of a lend-lease program for Ukraine on Monday. The move will accelerate the delivery of arms to Ukraine while thrusting “the United States even deeper” into the war, more than 80 years after a similar program ushered America’s entry into World War II, write NYT’s Peter Baker and Emily Cochrane.

LATEST ON THE GROUND — “The Ukrainian military said that the Russian army had deployed 19 battalion tactical groups — each with as many as 1,000 troops — to the Russian border town of Belgorod in preparation for an assault to slow a Ukrainian counteroffensive around Kharkiv,” per NYT’s Anton Troianovski.

— In Kolonshchyna, our colleague Christopher Miller details the horrifying uncovering of civilians’ dead bodies in the Kyiv area, and finds more evidence of Russian war crimes.

Jimmy Carter filed an amicus brief on Monday saying that a March decision by a federal appeals court siding with Trump over the interpretation of a 1980 law Carter signed is “not only deeply mistaken, it is also dangerous.” (h/t Alex Guillén)

Tucker Carlson said that “they” call Martin Luther King, Jr. “doctor,” but “not ‘reverend,’” before sharing this helpful reminder: “King was not a physician; he was a Christian preacher. They’d like you to forget that.”

S.E. Cupp had an uncomfortable exchange with a political canvasser who told her she looks “very nice for a housewife” before asking to speak to her husband.

Michael Cohen testified for four hours on Monday in a lawsuit against Donald Trump.

The Broadway musical Joe Crowley co-produced landed 10 Tony nominations.

The NYT changed the answer to Monday’s Wordle so it wouldn’t be the original selection of “FETUS,” which they decided was too closely linked to recent political events. (Some users who hadn’t refreshed their browser window still got the word.)

IN MEMORIAM — “Midge Decter, social critic and leader of neoconservative movement, dies at 94,” by WaPo’s Judi Hasson: “Along with her husband [Norman Podhoretz] and other New York-based intellectuals … Mrs. Decter was considered one of the founders of neoconservatism. … Finding fault in welfare programs and moral relativism, she and other neoconservatives shifted rightward and became anti-communist hawks, championing a muscular foreign policy.”

AND THE AWARD GOES TO — Print journalism’s highest honors were announced Monday, with the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service going to WaPo’s Jan. 6 coverage. The finalists were the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s coverage of electrical fires in rentals and the NYT’s coverage of civilian casualties from U.S.-led airstrikes in the Middle East, which instead won for International Reporting.

Other notable winners: NYT staff in National Reporting for coverage of police traffic stops that turn deadly; The Atlantic’s Jennifer Senior in Feature Writing for her piece about grief and loss 20 years after 9/11; the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg, Michael Lindenberger, Joe Holley and Luis Carrasco in Editorial Writing for coverage of voter suppression and voter fraud myths; L.A. Times’ Marcus Yam in Breaking News Photography for coverage of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; Insider’s Fahmida Azim, Anthony Del Col, Josh Adams and Walt Hickey in Illustrated Reporting and Commentary for their graphic retelling of a Xinjiang mother’s escape from an internment camp; and many more. The full list of winners and their work

OUT AND ABOUT — The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library hosted the opening Monday of Invisible Words, an art exhibition featuring signs created by people experiencing homelessness around the world. SPOTTED: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), U.S. Ambassador to Brazil nominee Elizabeth Bagley, Mary Podesta, Jennifer Griffin, Wendy Abrams, Suhail Khan,Mark Ruge, Mark Shriver, John McCarthy and Tony Podesta.

STAFFING UP — Emily Rossi is now deputy digital director for the Department of Energy. She previously was digital director for the Democratic Attorneys General Association, and is a Jeff Merkley and Claire McCaskill alum.

TRANSITIONS — Rebecca Buck is now a senior director at Hamilton Place Strategies. She most recently was an on-air political reporter and political analyst at CNN, and is a RealClearPolitics, Washington Examiner and BuzzFeed alum. … Matt Campbell is now a director at Bully Pulpit Interactive. He previously was digital director at House Majority PAC, and is a DCCC IE alum. … Andrew Neely is now senior director of government affairs for WSP. He previously was deputy policy director for the Senate Commerce Committee. …

… Maggie Ruffini is joining the Woolf Group as VP. She previously was a legislative staffer for Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). … Matilda Bress is now senior executive writer at American Bridge. She previously was comms director for Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.), is a Harley Rouda alum. … Sean Perryman is now head of public policy for algorithmic fairness at Uber. He most recently was executive director of the N. Joyce Payne Center for Social Justice, and is an Internet Association alum and former Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial candidate.

ENGAGED—Lindsay Jancek, principal at Locust Street Group, and Cory James, manager at AGCo, got engaged in Baltimore on Saturday. They’re both Hoosier natives who went to the same college, knew the same groups of people and even lived in the same house in Indianapolis four years apart, but never met until they matched online and went on their first date in D.C. last fall. PicAnother pic

— Christianné L. Allen, manager of strategic partnerships and VIPs at GETTR and a Rudy Giuliani alum, and Jeff Hughes got engaged Sunday. He proposed in front of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. They originally met in 2018 through the D.C. political scene. PicAnother pic

WEEKEND WEDDING — Gavin J. Smith, director of government relations at PC Matic and a Trump administration and campaign alum, and Matthew A. Pace got married Saturday at the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion’s Lace House at Arsenal Hill in Columbia, S.C. Bakari Sellers officiated, and Melanie Murphy planned the wedding. The couple originally met when Matthew was visiting a mutual friend in D.C., and Gavin saw him on his Instagram story. Gavin said, “I don’t know who he is, but tell him he’s going to be my husband someday,” and they started talking days later. Pic, via Al DragoAnother pic

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Joseph Schmoll, senior government affairs specialist at the National Transportation Safety Board and a Steve Daines alum, and Megan Schmoll, assistant director for individual giving at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, welcomed Eleanor Margaret on May 2. She came in at 9 lbs, 15 oz and 22 inches, and joins big sister Elizabeth. PicAnother pic

BIRTHWEEK (was Monday): N.Y. Mag’s Justin John Miller

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) … Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and John Curtis (R-Utah) … White House’s Howard Ou … Bloomberg News’ Craig Gordon … N.Y. Mag’s Gabe DebenedettiStan Greenberg of Greenberg Research … POLITICO’s Mike Lee, Andrew Desiderio, Courtney Rohrbach, Chris Farmer and Ariel WittenbergFinch Fulton … American Forest and Paper Association’s Fara SonderlingDoug Farrar of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace … CNN’s Jeremy HerbChris Tuttle … NBC’s Melissa FrankelShaylyn HynesGary Goldberg of Dentons … Clarence TongAndrew Card … Mercatus Center’s Veronique de RugyBrad BannonMichael TurkMaggie Karchmer of Wiley Rein … Rachel WeiselAbbey BrandonAdam JanofskyTim Powderly of Apple … Erik CurrenIan O’Keefe of Rep. Rick Larsen’s (D-Wash.) office … Terry Holt … Instagram’s Divya Kunapuli … former Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) … Mel Sembler … former Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-Wis.) … Grace Rauh

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