×
May 9, 2018

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) became the year's first incumbent to lose his seat in a primary on Tuesday, conceding the race to Mark Harris, a former Baptist pastor in Charlotte. "I've called Mark Harris, I've conceded the race, and I wish him the best," Pittenger told supporters at what was expected to be his victory party. Harris edged him out by about 2 percentage points, with a third-party candidate getting 5.3 percent of the vote. Harris will face Democrat Dan McCready, a well-financed Marine combat veteran, who beat Christian Cano in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Pittenger's 9th congressional district is one of two in the state expected to be competitive in the fall. In the other, the 13th district, Kathy Manning won the Democratic primary and will face Rep. Ted Budd (R). Manning has out-fundraised Budd and had twice as much cash on hand as of mid-April, The Charlotte Observer reports. Peter Weber

7:59 a.m.

While President Trump sparred with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over funding his proposed border wall on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence sat there silently for the entire 17 minutes, occasionally nodding or blinking. His stoicism amid the new onslaught of divided government did not go unnoticed online or on late-night television. The Daily Show's Trevor Noah compared him to "a guy whose edibles just kicked in," imaging him daydreaming about handmaids.

Stephen Colbert's Late Show imagined a longer internal monologue, with Pence meditating in a strange drawl: "I'm a manila envelope taped to a beige wall. No one can see me.”

The Washington Post rounded up some other late-night quips about Pence.

Social media had a ball, too, comparing Pence to an Elf on the Shelf and an armadillo, giving his blank face a soundtrack, and imagining him silently plotting, patiently suffering the end of Trump's presidency so he could change the Oval Office carpet. You can watch CNN's Jeanne Moos wrap-up some of this fantasia below. Peter Weber

7:04 a.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) got all the snappy one-liners after her contentious meeting Tuesday with President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), but Trump was "mostly aggravated with Schumer," a White House staffer told Los Angeles Times reporter Eli Stokols, frustrated that Schumer kept mugging to the cameras Trump had called in at the last minute. An administration official told Stokols that after the meeting, Trump stormed into a side office and flicked a briefing folder, scattering paper around the room.

Trump told reporters "it was a very good meeting," and he didn't regret taking ownership of any government shutdown, but a staffer told the L.A. Times that after Schumer and Pelosi left, the West Wing sprang into "damage-control mode," adding, "The aftermath of that meeting was not pretty."

There were differing accounts of the closed-door portion of the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi meeting — sources told The New York Times that Trump suggested the next Congress could be the "greatest Congress in the history of Congress," filled with deal-making; The Washington Post says Trump tried to convince the Democrats that Mexico actually will pay for the wall through higher prices under his NAFTA replacement agreement; and a staffer told the L.A. Times that very little of substance happened because "once the president has been aggravated to that level, there's no coming back from that and re-focusing."

Regardless, "several White House advisers and GOP congressional aides said they believed Trump damaged himself by agreeing to own a possible shutdown and so vividly saying he would not blame it on Schumer," the Post reports. "For months, Trump's aides have told him he is unlikely to get $5 billion for the border wall in December, but he wants to show his supporters that he is fighting for the funding." Winning, perhaps, is optional. Peter Weber

5:02 a.m.

Canada's Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, on a U.S. warrant has roiled U.S.-China trade negotiations and Chinese-Canadian relations. The dicey situation got even more complicated on Tuesday, when Canada confirmed that Chinese security agents arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig for unspecified reasons and President Trump said he would consider intervening in the Meng case, politicizing what U.S. and Canadian officials have insisted is purely a legal affair. A judge in Vancouver also agreed to release Meng on $7.5 million bail.

The U.S. accuses Meng, the 46-year-old daughter of Huawei's founder, of conspiracy to defraud banks about the company's alleged violations of Iran sanctions. If she is extradited to the U.S. and convicted, Meng faces decades in jail. When Reuters asked Trump on Tuesday if he would intervene in the Meng case, he said he might.

"Whatever's good for this country, I would do," he said. "If I think it's good for the country, if I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what's good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary." It's possible Meng could be released, he added. "It's also possible it will be a part of negotiations. But we'll speak to the Justice Department, we'll speak to them, we'll get a lot of people involved."

"The U.S. and China have tried to keep Meng's case separate from their wider trade dispute," The Associated Press reports. "Trump undercut that message." Also, "an intervention by Trump would seem to confirm China's suspicion that this is not a legal proceeding but a political negotiation," The Washington Post adds, "potentially changing the terms of the conflict." Peter Weber

3:23 a.m.

At least 48 Conservative Party members of Britain's Parliament have signed a letter to trigger a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May. Graham Brady, leader of the 1922 Committee that oversees Tory leadership contests, says the vote will happen between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, London time (1-3 p.m. ET). If May gets fewer than 158 votes, or a majority of Conservative MPs, she will be forced to step down and the Tories would vote on a new leader. If she wins, she can't be challenged again for another year.

The leadership challenge is from pro-Brexit Conservatives who are concerned that she is bungling Britain's divorce from the European Union, especially after she pulled her unpopular Brexit plan before a House of Commons vote on Monday. "Normally when a prime minister loses her main policy she resigns, that is the main constitutional convention, they don't just carry on regardless," Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former May ally who signed the no-confidence letter, told CNBC on Tuesday. "The prime minister only holds office as long as she maintains the confidence of the House of Commons." Peter Weber

2:32 a.m.

"I've shared a story or two this week about my ongoing struggle with the elf in our shelf at home," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. He described the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon as "a very sneaky way to get kids to behave: The elf watches everything your child does and then goes to Santa and rats them out when they do bad things. But now there's a new holiday character to counter that little narc, to help kids spin their bad deeds and hopefully make Christmas great again." And the tagline for Kimmel's new product is pretty hard to resist: "Protect yourself from prosecution this holiday season with 'Huckabee in a Tree' — 'Kellyanne in a Garbage Can' sold separately." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:10 a.m.

After Tuesday's madcap Oval Office meeting between President Trump and the top two congressional Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), there unanimous agreement that Trump had in fact taken ownership of any partial government shutdown due to his demand for $5 billion for a border wall. The Democrats emphasized their willingness to extend existing funding to avoid the "Trump shutdown." Trump leaned heavily on the phrase "border security."

"We gave the president two ways" to "avoid a shutdown," Schumer told reporters outside the White House. "We hope he'll take it, because a shutdown hurts too many innocent people. And this Trump shutdown, this temper tantrum that he seems to show, will not get him his wall, and it will hurt a lot of people because he will cause a shutdown — he admitted he wanted a shutdown."

"We're telling him we'll keep government open with the proposal Mr. Schumer suggested, why doesn't he just think about it," Pelosi added. "In fact, I asked him to pray over it."

"I thought it was a very good meeting," Trump told reporters, a group of priests behind him. "If we have to close down the country over border security, I actually like that in terms of an issue." Schumer "doesn't want to own it," he added. "If we close down the country, I will take it, because we're closing it down for border security, and I think I win that every single time."

And Trump isn't wrong, as long as we're just talking about Republicans. In a Marist poll for NPR and PBS released Tuesday, 56 percent of U.S. voters said Trump should compromise on the border wall and 69 percent said the wall isn't a priority, but 65 percent of Republicans said Trump should not compromise and 63 percent said building a wall should be a top priority. Marist conducted the poll Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 among 835 registered voters, a sample statistically significant within ±4.2 percentage points. Peter Weber

1:01 a.m.

On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss averting a government shutdown, and he invited in the cameras. The main bone of contention? "Trump is demanding $5 billion for a border wall, and as you can imagine, Democrats would rather release Obama's original Kenyan birth certificate than give Trump that wall money," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "Which is why this meeting turned into an absolute mess."

"It felt like being in the TV room of a nursing home, with just old people fighting," Noah said, but the bickering wasn't just over the wall, it was over preventing the shutdown, and "no politician wants to take the blame for a government shutdown. But Donald Trump is not a politician. Donald Trump is a moron." He played the clip. "I don't know if you realize how monumental this moment is: Donald Trump just agreed to take blame for something," he said. "So today, I'm proud of President Trump, because taking blame shows some personal growth on his part. Although if we're being honest, he probably thinks that if the government shuts down, there'll be nobody there to impeach him."

"To be clear, he's offering to take all the blame for the thing you always blame the other side for," Stephen Colbert pointed out on The Late Show. "You'll notice the whole time Trump was bragging about his shutdown, Chuck Schumer did his best not to make eye contact with Trump, like you do with a drunk guy screaming on the subway." After the meeting, Pelosi privately compared negotiating with Trump to a "tinkle contest with a skunk," then questioned Trump's "manhood." Colbert laughed, then added to Pelosi's quip a line about erecting a wall. He explained Trump's political dilemma about claiming to have built the way while demanding money to build the wall: "He needs a wall that both does and does not exist — I just hope he has good mime skills." You can watch Colbert's skills below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads