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Evening Report — Trump hangs over border deal

A quick recap of the day and what to look forward to tomorrow

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Some Senate Republicans are concerned about the fate of a bipartisan border deal as former President Trump urges against striking any compromise.

 

From The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “One Republican senator who attended a Senate GOP discussion on the bill said [Senate Republican Policy Committee Chair Joni Ernst (Iowa)] asked ‘those of you who have endorsed Trump, please ask Trump: Don’t cut off its head before we’ve even seen it.'”

 

The deal is crucial to a package including aid to Ukraine, although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a proponent of keeping those priorities tied together, this week floated the possibility of separating Ukraine funding from border legislation.

 

Sen. James Lankford (Okla.), the lead Republican negotiator, said, “When [the negotiations] started in October, we were not in a presidential election year. This was a totally different moment on it. Now we are in the heat of a primary in a presidential election year.”  

 

Trump’s vocal opposition to any compromise on Republicans’ border wish list may hold the most sway in the House, where the slim GOP majority passed a border bill last year.

 

But “Senate Republicans who support a package of Ukraine funding and border security reforms aren’t giving up hope that they can pass a deal through the Senate and convince Trump and Speaker Johnson not to kill it in the House,” Bolton wrote.

 

Read the full report here.

 

Related: Romney: ‘Appalling’ Trump wants to kill border bill so he can ‘blame Biden’

 

© AP/Alex Brandon

 

A draft resolution proposed by Republican National Committeeman David Bossie would declare former President Trump the presumptive GOP nominee, at a time when Trump has secured 32 of 1,215 delegates needed to claim the title according to current committee rules.

 

But those rules can change. And the Republican National Committee (RNC) could consider the resolution next week.

 

One of the reasons for the early declaration, according to the draft, is that that “any money spent from this moment forward in the primary process is better spent fighting the democrats by focusing on President Biden’s deadly border crisis, failed economic policies and disastrous and dangerous foreign policy.”

 

The campaign of Republican primary contender Nikki Haley, who has 17 delegates from the two contests held so far, brushed off the draft resolution in a statement. 

 

The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Thursday that U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annualized pace of 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, exceeding economists’ consensus estimates of 2 percent.  

 

The report comes as the economy remains a top-of-mind issue for the presidential election. 

 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted Biden administration policies on infrastructure, taxes, manufacturing and more while criticizing some Trump-era policies Thursday in Chicago.

 

MEANWHILE… Former President Trump was in court today, where he gave testimony in the defamation case brought forward by author E. Jean Carroll.

 

© AP Photo/Gerry Broome

 

The U.S.-Iraq Higher Military Commission will soon hold meetings to discuss the future of American troops in Iraq. The Pentagon said Thursday the meetings are part of a process the countries committed to last year and not connected to recent tensions with Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq.

 

Microsoft is laying off around 1,900 employees — roughly a 9 percent reduction — at Activision Blizzard and Xbox. Read about other recent tech layoffs here.

 

The White House announced its latest actions to curb gun violence Thursday, focused on safe storage. The latest steps include the Justice Department‘s 14-page guide on safe storage and an Education Department letter encouraging school principals to communicate the importance of safe storage to families and community leaders.

 

Read more here.

 

After former President Trump threatened that donors to Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley from this point on would be “permanently barred from the MAGA camp,” Haley linked to a site where those who donate $5 can get a T-shirt reading, “Barred. Permanently.”

 

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and other GOP primary candidates for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District face off in their first debate Thursday. Boebert currently represents the 3rd District and chose to switch for the 2024 election, avoiding a rematch with Democrat Adam Frisch, whom Boebert defeated in 2022 by 546 votes. More from The Associated Press here.

 

Upcoming nominating contests:

 

9 days until South Carolina’s Democratic primary

 

12 days until Nevada’s Democratic primary and Republican primary (former President Trump is running in the caucuses two days later instead; more on that here)

 

14 days until Nevada’s and the Virgin Islands’ Republican caucuses

 

30 days until South Carolina’s Republican primary

You’re all caught up! Stay with TheHill.com for the latest and recommend this newsletter to others: TheHill.com/Evening. See you tomorrow!

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