Day No. 83
TLDR: Senior officials in the Trump administration are accusing Russia of covering up the chemical weapons attack in Syria and engaging in a campaign of “disinformation.”
--PRESIDENT TRUMP: 'WE ARE NOT GOING INTO SYRIA': President Trump said the United States is "not going into Syria" and that he believes the situation would be better in the country had President Obama taken action, in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. Despite his own tweets in 2013 when he urged Obama to stay out of Syria, Trump told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo he believes conditions there would not be as bad if Obama had responded earlier, notes ABC's JORDYN PHELPS. http://abcn.ws/2ox18iE
SPEED READ with ABC’s ADAM KELSEY
SPICER RAISES EYEBROWS, SAYING HITLER DIDN'T 'SINK TO USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS.' White House press secretary Sean Spicer made some eyebrow-raising remarks Tuesday as he tried condemning Russia's alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the wake of the horrific chemical attack in Syria last week, reports ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI. "We didn't even use chemical weapons in World War II," Spicer said during Tuesday's press briefing. "You had a — you know, someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," Spicer said. http://abcn.ws/2on7r6b
SPICER APOLOGIZES FOR HITLER-ASSAD COMPARISON: 'IT WAS INSENSITIVE AND INAPPROPRIATE.' White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologized Tuesday afternoon for comments he made at a press briefing earlier in the day comparing the actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to those of Adolf Hitler, writes ABC's ADAM KELSEY. "I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad made against his own people last week using chemical weapons and gas," said Spicer in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And frankly I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive comment about the Holocaust and there is no comparison. http://abcn.ws/2pr6OrG
SPICER CALLS VIDEOS OF MAN BEING DRAGGED OFF UNITED FLIGHT 'TROUBLING.' White House press secretary Sean Spicer called videos showing a man being dragged off a United flight on Sunday "troubling" in Tuesday's briefing. "It was an unfortunate incident," said Spicer. "Clearly, when you watch the video, it is troubling to see how that was handled." Multiple videos of the incident posted to social media sparked outrage Monday. In them, the man can be seen being dragged down the aisle of the plane by his arms, explains ABC's RYAN STRUYK. http://abcn.ws/2onDpPy
SESSIONS MAKES CLEAR: IT'S 'TRUMP ERA' OF IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is warning unauthorized immigrants in the United States of a new "Trump era" of stricter enforcement of the nation's immigration laws, unveiling harsher punishments for those living in the country illegally, reports ABC's RYAN STRUYK. "For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned. This is a new era. This is the Trump era," Sessions said Tuesday in remarks to immigration officials in Arizona. http://abcn.ws/2owl84N
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO LIFT FULL HIRING FREEZE, REPLACE WITH TAILORED STOPPAGE. The temporary, across-the-board federal hiring freeze that President Donald Trump ordered in one of his first executive actions as chief executive will end Wednesday and be replaced with a more narrow halt on new government employment. Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, described the new stay on hiring as a more "surgical" freeze than the first. "This is a big part of draining the swamp," said Mulvaney, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS notes. http://abcn.ws/2onUdGc
REPUBLICAN RON ESTES WINS TIGHT SPECIAL ELECTION FOR US HOUSE SEAT. Republican Ron Estes has won the special election for the U.S. House seat in the 4th congressional district of Kansas, according to The Associated Press. Despite tbe very conservative, rural district, which President Donald Trump won by nearly 30 percentage points in November and where a Democrat has not held a House seat since 1994, Estes won by only a 53-45 percent margin, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to ABC’s RYAN STRUYK. http://abcn.ws/2onog12
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX
HARVARDX OFFERING MOOC ON U.S. POLITICS. HarvardX, a Harvard University strategic initiative that creates massive open online courses (MOOCs), is launching an introduction to American government and politics on April 24. Free and open to all, American Government will be led by Thomas E. Patterson, Harvard Kennedy School’s Bradlee Professor of Government & The Press. The new online course will explore: the foundations of the U.S. political system, how leading institutions such as the presidency and Congress operate, where public opinion, political parties, outside groups, and the media fit in, and America’s economic, social, and foreign policies. Learn more here: https://www.edx.org/course/american-government-harvardx-hks101a-0
@KFaulders: A White House official confirms President Trump & President Xi of China spoke yesterday, but offers no additional details or readout.
@FoxBusiness: .@POTUS: "Putin is backing a person that is truly an evil person. I think it's very bad for Russia, I think it's very bad for mankind."
@GMA: "It was a system failure...that's on me" @United CEO responds when asked "what went wrong" by @ABC's @RebeccaJarvis: http://abcn.ws/2onorcA
@MikeDelMoro: United CEO says he felt "shame" when he saw video of Dr. Dao being pulled off the flight. "That is not who our family at United is."
@JohnJHarwood: Mulvaney on Trump budget: "when you say people who voted for him are hurt, that's not the issue." my Speakeasy intvw http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/11/trumps-budget-director-is-at-home-in-the-eye-of-the-storm.html
@mgoodwin_nypost: Part of my interview: Trump won't definitively say he still backs Bannon http://nyp.st/2prAULu via @nypost