The Note: CPAC kicks off

Less than a year ago, Donald Trump decided to skip CPAC.

— -- Trump’s first 100 days with ABC’s RICK KLEIN and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE

Day No. 35

TLDR: Conservatives may have not always supported Donald Trump during the campaign, but that's long over now and the president and his administration's highest level advisers will all greet CPAC beginning today likely getting a very warm reception. Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, and Vice President Pence are up today while President Trump speaks tomorrow.

Photo of the day: Those town halls with lawmakers are taking place across the country this week and plenty of constituents are angry and letting their members of congress hear it. Here's a photo of attendees at Rep. Leonard Lance's event last night in New Jersey holding "disagree" signs: (Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)


--Trump administration reverses transgender bathroom guidance: The Trump administration on Wednesday night rescinded Obama-era guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. In a letter sent to schools on Wednesday, the Justice and Education Departments said the Obama administration's guidance -- which cited Title IX -- did not explain how it was consistent with the law. The letter claimed that the directive caused confusion and lawsuits over its enforcement. Anti-bullying safeguards will not be affected, according to the letter. ABC's ERIN DOOLEY, GENEVA SANDS, JUSTIN FISHEL, KATHERINE FAULDERS and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI have more:

--Protests follow White House decision on transgender restroom use: After the Trump administration issued its decision Wednesday evening to rescind guidance allowing transgender students to use school restrooms that align with their gender identity, a protest against the action was held just outside the White House and a number of lawmakers and other high-profile Americans spoke out, note ABC's ADAM KELSEY, MARIAM KHAN, LUCIEN BRUGGEMAN and JOHN VERHOVEK.

--Powerhouse Politics Podcast: Trump confidante says administration has 'got to slow down,' stop media war: A friend and confidante of President Donald Trump says he believes that the administration has “been doing too much,” and that “they’ve got to slow down” and tone down its confrontation with the media. Chris Ruddy, CEO of conservative outlet Newsmax Media, has been a friend of Trump’s for nearly 20 years, much of that time as a member of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. ABC's RILEY BEGGIN has more:

Speed read with ABC’s ADAM KELSEY

New EPA head Scott Pruitt's emails indicate close ties to oil and gas producers. More than 7,000 pages of emails from Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt indicate a cozy relationship with oil and gas producers, fossil fuel companies, electric companies, as well as political groups tied to the Koch Brothers during his time as Oklahoma Attorney General, report ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and RYAN STRUYK. The emails -- made public Wednesday by an Oklahoma judge in response to a lawsuit by liberal watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy -- indicate coordination between Pruitt and these Koch-backed groups with the goal of undermining the Obama administration's efforts to help curb carbon emissions and prevent climate change.

White House readies first Trump budget that could take aim at popular programs. The White House is preparing its first budget with an eye on conservative budget outlines authored by the Republican Study Committee and Heritage Foundation, according to sources familiar with the process. Both the RSC and Heritage Foundation's most recent blueprints aim to balance the budget in less than 10 years, balancing domestic cuts with entitlement reform. Asked about the details of the upcoming budget, Office of Management and Budget spokesman John Baker said nothing has been "predetermined." ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL, ALEXANDER MALLIN and JOHN PARKINSON have more.

Top Trump aide calls Guantanamo Bay 'incredibly important intelligence asset.' President Trump intends to keep his campaign promise regarding the continued operation of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a top White House aide suggested Wednesday. “The president has been really explicit ... that Gitmo is a very, very important tool,” Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, said on Fox News Wednesday morning. Since taking office last month, the president has yet to address directly the future of Gitmo, notes ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN.

Tillerson and Kelly visit mexico amid tension over deportation guidelines. As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly stepped off a plane in Mexico Wednesday evening, tensions were brewing there over new guidance from the administration about deportations, border patrol and President Trump's long-promised wall on the southern border, writes ABC's CONOR FINNEGAN.

4 items in new DHS memos that raise flags for immigrant rights advocates. Immigrant rights and legal experts have raised several concerns about the new enforcement memos released by the Department of Homeland Security. The proposals listed in the memo have either been enacted already or are in the process of being reviewed. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY notes the four specific parts of the memos that several immigration experts say jumped out at them as cause for concern:

What we’re reading

“DNC: dollars ‘n cents,” a post in Medium by Mark Paustenbach: “What’s been missing from the discussion concerning DNC leadership, however, is that the organization has historically not been the center of debates about ideology nor determined the direction of the party. The role of the DNC Chair has largely been to raise money and invest in party-building and infrastructure. Organizing doesn’t pay for itself.”

Who’s tweeting?

@alexweprin: Just in: President Trump will give an interview to "Fox & Friends" the morning of Feb. 28. His first morning show appearance since inaug.

@ylanmui: Mnuchin: "We are committed to pass tax reform." Before August recess.

@JohnJHarwood: Mnuchin tells @BeckyQuick that Congress will pass "primarily a middle-class tax cut" but won't repeat assurance of no tax cut for wealthy

@TheBradMielke: Kellyanne Conway denies she was "sidelined" on TV last week. (Programming note: Reince Priebus was on 3 Sunday shows.)

@LizSly: No State Department briefings since Trump. No discernible foreign policy. Tillerson is worried about his image.

@matthewjdowd: In latest Quinnipiac poll, by a 15 point margin voters trust the media more than Trump to tell the truth about important issues.

@ABCPolitics: NEW: 55% of voters disapprove of Pres. Trump's performance, per new Quinnipiac poll, while 38% approve, his widest gap since taking office.