LEWANDOWSKI, BOSSIE SPEAK TO INGOP TONIGHT: Key insiders to President Trump's campaign, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, will keynote the Indiana Republican Party's 2019 Spring Dinner at 6 tonight at the JW Marriott (Howey Politics Indiana). The pair wrote the book "Trump's Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency" and "Let Trump Be Trump: the Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency."

MAYOR PETE GAINS TRACTION WITH CNN TOWN HALL: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's first foray into cable primetime found him talking not only about his views on Medicare and the Electoral College, but about Mike Pence and the Hoosier body politic (Howey Politics Indiana). Buttigieg took his Democratic presidential exploration to a CNN town hall with host Jake Tapper Sunday night, a day after a CNN/Des Moines Register poll showed him with 1% in an Iowa poll, far behind frontrunners Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. On the first question, he was asked about his experience. Buttigieg responded, "One thing you never hear of is a city shutting down because of a disagreement on policy. Experience is one of the best reasons for me to run. I have more experience under my belt than the president. That's a low bar, I know that. I also have more executive experience than the vice president. Experience is what qualifies me to have a seat at the table." Buttigieg was asked if he favored the impeachment of President Trump. "I would like to see this president and the style of politics he represents sent off through the electoral process, decisively defeated at the ballot box," Buttigieg responded. He added, "I come from the industrial Midwest and there were a lot of people who voted for him who voted for me and Barack Obama." The mayor was asked about his origins from Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana. Buttigieg answered, "Please don't judge my state by our former governor. I think those ties are so out of line from where anybody is." Buttigieg said that Pence "divided our state" with his Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015. "It was really a license to discriminate, that's what it was," Buttigieg said, adding, the "amazing" reaction was pushback from Democratic and Republican mayors and the conservative business community. "My hope is that same decency can be summoned from communities in both red and blue states." Pressed on whether Pence would be better as president than Donald Trump, Buttigieg said, "Both. Does it have to be? I don't know. At least he believes in our institutions and is not corrupt. But how can you get on board with this president? How does he become the biggest cheerleader for the porn star presidency? Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump?"

BUTTIGIEG SLAMS BOLTON: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg slammed National Security Adviser John Bolton, suggesting that someone that was involved in the run up to the Iraq War shouldn’t be “allowed that near the Situation Room to begin with” (CNN). Buttigieg did not mention Bolton by name, but when asked a question about the conflict in Venezuela, the mayor and veteran of the Iraq War accused Bolton of “carelessly” throwing out the possibility of using military force in Venezuela to deal with the presidency of Nicolás Maduro. “The situation in Venezuela is highly disturbing. The regime lost its legitimacy,” Buttigieg said. “That being said, that doesn’t mean we carelessly threaten the use of military force, which it appeared the national security adviser was doing at one point.” He added: “Hinting that troops might be sent to South America. I don’t understand how somebody leading us into the Iraq War is allowed that near the Situation Room to begin with.” Bolton was an early supporter of the Iraq War and pushed for the initial invasion during his time, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as President George W. Bush’s undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

NEXT WEEKLY HPI ON TUESDAY: Your next weekly edition of Howey Politics Indiana will be published around 9 Tuesday morning.

HOLCOMB IN BELGIUM; HEADING TO GERMANY: Gov. Eric Holcomb's nine-day trade mission came to Belgium on Sunday (Howey Politics Indiana). Gov. Holcomb tweeted, "Belgium is the crossroads of Western Europe. Indiana is the Crossroads of America. There’s great opportunity for this relationship to continue growing on both sides of the Atlantic." The Indiana IEDC added, "Indiana ranks among the best in the nation for business, infrastructure, government efficiency and so on, but our greatest asset is most certainly the people who make the Hoosier state what it is." Holcomb and Commerce Sec. Schellinger are joining US Ambassador to Belgium Ronald J. Gidwitz and @AmChamBE for a breakfast with businesses that hire Hoosiers." Holcomb will meet government officials in Brussels, including U.S. Ambassador Ronald Gidwitz and U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson. On Tuesday, the governor will be in to Frankfurt, Germany, where he will meet with U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell.

TRUMP TO SEEK $8B FOR BORDER WALL: President Donald Trump will seek $8.6 billion in his new budget to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, an administration said Sunday, setting up another showdown with Congress, which has resisted giving him more money for his signature campaign promise (AP). The request would more than double the $8.1 billion already available to the president after he declared a national emergency at the border in order to circumvent Congress after lawmakers refused his funding demands.

SPA OWNER SOLD ACCESS TO TRUMP AT MAR-A-LAGO: Cindy (Li) Yang, a Florida entrepreneur who founded a chain of spas and massage parlors that included the one where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was arrested recently for allegedly soliciting prostitution, also runs a consulting business that has offered to sell Chinese clients access to President Donald Trump and his family at Mar-a-Lago, according to the company's website (USA Today). Mother Jones, which broke the story on Saturday, says Yang could not be reached for comment. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Yang, a donor to the Republican Party and Trump campaign, popped up this week in photos showing her at a Super Bowl viewing party at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago that included a selfie with the president, the Miami Herald reported. According to Mother Jones, Yang's company — GY US Investments LLC — has a website, mostly in Chinese, that shows her and purported clients hobnobbing at the presidential retreat.

F1 DRIVERS MOVING TO INDYCAR:  Marcus Ericsson had just turned 28 last fall when he suddenly needed another place to race. The Sauber Formula One team had bumped him from a regular ride after he spent four years finishing mostly at the back of the pack. Ericsson wanted a job with a contender. “Formula One has always been more of a manufacturer’s championship than a driver’s championship,” Ericsson said in a New York coffee shop on Tuesday. “If you’re not in one of the top cars, it’s tough mentally.” (New York Times). Essentially locked out of advancing in F1 because there are maybe only six elite rides in the series, Ericsson had not come close to winning a race. But he had options. His best option was to join the NTT IndyCar Series in North America. Ericsson said he planned to drive Indy cars for at least two years, adding with a smile, “Maybe I’ll be here forever.” “I can go into every week and have a chance — something I was so, so missing in Formula One,” he said. “Frankly, with F1, there are so few drivers every year who have a chance to be competitive,” said Mark D. Miles, the chief executive for Hulman & Company, which owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series. According to IndyCar, Ericsson will be one of 11 drivers in the series who have raced at some level in Europe. Three of the last four Indy 500s have been won by drivers with F1 experience: Juan Pablo Montoya, from Colombia, in 2015; Alexander Rossi, from California, in 2016; and Takuma Sato, from Japan, in 2017. Sato was one of four full-time former F1 drivers in the IndyCar Series that year; there were also three part-timers, including Montoya.

U.S. NOW TOP OIL EXPORTER: Move over, Saudi Arabia. America is about to steal the kingdom's energy exporting crown (CNN). The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy. That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world's leading exporter of oil and liquids. That has never happened since Saudi Arabia began selling oil overseas in the 1950s, Rystad said in a report Thursday. "It's nothing short of remarkable," said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. "Ten years ago, no one thought it could happen."

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Pete Buttigieg had an impressive town hall Sunday night on CNN, drawing praise from political pros like David Axelrod. On Mornin' Joe this morning, Joe Scarborough observed, "Mayor Pete is gifted and he's more than this novelty act and this young candidate. I think he's going to make some noise." As improbable as it is, we agree. Anything can happen. - Brian A. Howey


MAYOR PETE TALKS ABOUT HIS AFGHAN WAR EXPERIENCE: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said he thinks his military experience could bring "a lot of perspective" to the office of the presidency (CNN). "You can never lose touch with why politics matters," he said. Serving in the military also brings Americans together, Buttigieg said. He continued: "When I got into the vehicle, a big part of my job was driving and guarding vehicles in movement. And somebody got in my vehicle, they didn't care whether I was a Republican or drat cat. They didn't care if I was going home to a boyfriend or girlfriend. They wanted to know if I was doing my job well and keep them safe. We learned to trust each other with our lives. Even though our lives back home were so different. I think we need to get back to that." Buttigieg also said the US must "put an end to endless war." "The Taliban are serious about being ready to lay down their arms. That's a good sign. But I'm also concerned that the Afghan government seems to be an afterthought of this process because the peace needs to be sustainable. At the end of the day, we can't be the guarantees of peace this Afghanistan," he said.

REACTION TO PETE'S TOWN HALL: Mayor Buttigieg's performance was widely lauded (Howey Politics Indiana). David Axelrod, a key political aide to President Obama, tweeted, "I have rarely seen a candidate make better use of televised Town Hall than @PeteButtigieg is on @CNN tonight. Crisp, thoughtful and relatable.  He’ll be a little less of a long shot tomorrow." Washington Post reporter Robert Costa and Notre Dame graduate added, "This Buttigieg town hall is worth watching. Polished and thoughtful presentation with clear answers. Underscores military experience. Of course, it’s a big field and he’s a young Midwestern mayor. But he’s using his time on stage effectively here. This is a focused candidate." He also caught the Twitter attention of @GOP: "66% of Hoosiers have never heard of the Mayor of South Bend & 2020 Dem Pete Buttigieg. Instead of focusing on his town's sea of potholes & sky-high crime rate, Buttigieg has spent years ignoring his duties as Mayor of South Bend & focusing on launching a Presidential campaign."

SCHMUHL TALKS ABOUT HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH BUTTIGIEG; SEEKS FUNDS: Mike Schmuhl, who is heading the Pete for America exploratory effort, writes (Howey Politics Indiana): "I’ve known Pete for over twenty years. We met when he was in high school, and I was an eighth grader. He was assigned to give me, a prospective student, a tour of St. Joe High School in South Bend. Not too many years later, I helped Pete pull together his first campaign for Mayor, and when we won, I served as his chief of staff. We broke from the machine politics of the past and brought new energy and hope to our hometown that had been devastated by the closing of the Studebaker car company in 1963.  The work is not done, but South Bend is becoming the vibrant city it knows it can be, filled with equal opportunity and innovation. Pete believed in South Bend and its people. Now, in these early days of the 2020 cycle, we dream big dreams again. We think America would like to see more of Pete's clarity, kindness, energy, and authority in our political discourse. We don't have the established advantages of a senator, governor, or billionaire. We're a small, committed team working in the heart of America for the heart of America. The DNC recently announced that candidates will have to secure at least 65,000 donations from unique individuals to be invited to the debate stage in June.

BUTTIGIEG HIRES GALO: Mayor Pete Buttigieg's presidential exploratory effort has hired Andrew Galo, a former spokesman for Mel Hall’s 2nd District congressional campaign (Howey Politics Indiana).

GILLIGRAND AIDE QUIT IN PROTEST: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), one of the most outspoken advocates of the #MeToo movement who has made fighting sexual misconduct a centerpiece of her presidential campaign, spent last summer pressing legislators to update Congress' 'broken' system of handling sexual harassment (Politico Playbook). At the same time, a mid-20s female aide to Gillibrand resigned in protest over the handling of her sexual harassment complaint by Gillibrand's office, and criticized the senator for failing to abide by her own public standards. In July, the female staffer alleged one of Gillibrand's closest aides — who was a decade her senior and married — repeatedly made unwelcome advances after the senator had told him he would be promoted to a supervisory role over her. She also said the male aide regularly made crude, misogynistic remarks in the office about his female colleagues and potential female hires.

TRUMP LAUNCING BEHEMOTH CAMPAIGN: President Trump and his advisers are launching a behemoth 2020 campaign operation combining his raw populist message from 2016 with a massive data-gathering and get-out-the-vote push aimed at dwarfing any previous presidential reelection effort, according to campaign advisers, White House aides, Republican officials and others briefed on the emerging strategy (Washington Post). The president's strategy, however, relies on a risky and relatively narrow path for victory, hinged on demonizing Trump's eventual opponent and juicing turnout among his most avid supporters in Florida, Pennsylvania and the Upper Midwest — the same areas that won him the White House but where his popularity has waned since he was elected. Some advisers are particularly concerned about the president's persistent unpopularity among female and suburban voters, and fear it will be difficult to replicate the outcome of 2016 without former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a foil.

TRUMP TELLS RNC THAT 'DEMOCRATS HATE JEWS': To prevent leaks from Trump's Friday night Mar-a-Lago speech to RNC donors, security guards made attendees put their cellphones in magnetized pouches that they carried around like purses until they left the club (Axios). So leakers had to rely on their memories. Trump entered to Lee Greenwood’s "Proud to Be an American," then launched into one of his trademark stream-of-consciousness speeches, according to three people who were there. They said the crowd roared with laughter throughout. 1. Referring to the recent anti-Semitism controversies with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, Trump told the donors: "The Democrats hate Jewish people." Trump said he didn't understand how any Jew could vote for a Democrat these days. Trump talked about how much he'd done for Israel, noting his historic decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

BIG MONEY LEAD FOR MAYOR HAMILTON: Coming into 2019, Mayor John Hamilton had 20 times as much money to spend on his re-election campaign than his Democratic primary rival Amanda Barge did on her challenge (Bloomington Herald-Times). While this year’s fundraising has yet to be reported, their political history shows that having a lot of money to spend doesn’t guarantee victory.

Sunday Talk

BARRASSO SAYS TRUMP WILL VETO EMERGENCY RESOLUTION: Republican leaders expect President Trump to veto a measure attempting to overturn his declaration of a national emergency to enable construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, after the Senate votes on it this week. Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that he had met with Trump “a couple of times” over the past week and that “he’s going to veto this, and his veto will be sustained.” Barrasso’s comments are an effective admission that the GOP does not have the votes to prevent the full Senate from voting to annul Trump’s order, which many lawmakers feel rips congressional authority away from them and threatens important military construction projects.

SCHIFF SAYS MUELLER SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN TRUMP UNDER OATH: It would be "a mistake" for special counsel Robert Mueller not to get in-person testimony from President Donald Trump, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think it is a mistake," Schiff said when asked by anchor Chuck Todd whether Mueller would err by deciding not to interview the president before a grand jury given the public testimony of others, such as Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen. "And I've said all along that I don't think Bob Mueller should rely on written answers. When you get written answers from a witness, it's really the lawyers' answers as much as the client's answer. And here you need to be able to ask follow-up questions in real time."

CHENEY DEFENDS VOTE ON HATE BILL: Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., accused Democrats on Sunday of “enabling” anti-Semitism for failing to explicitly condemn recent comments by a freshman Minnesota Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar, in a recent congressional vote. Cheney, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, made her comments during an interview on “Meet the Press” days after the House passed a broad condemnation of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other instances of hate. The resolution was criticized by Cheney and other Republicans for not directly singling out Omar. “It was really clearly an effort to actually protect Ilhan Omar, to cover up her bigotry and anti-Semitism by refusing to name her,” said Cheney, who helped lead the charge within her own party to sideline Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from House committees after his own racially inflammatory statements. “It is absolutely shameful that Nancy Pelosi and Leader Hoyer and the Democratic leaders will not put her name in a resolution on the floor and condemn her remarks and remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee," Cheney said. "Those people who won't condemn it are enabling it."

POWELL DOESN'T SEE FED RATES GOING UP: Don't expect to see more interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve anytime soon, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell suggested to "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday night on CBS. The frequent target of criticism by President Trump also said he can't be fired by the president and that he intends to serve out his full four-year term. "Have you stopped raising rates?" Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" asked Powell. "We see the economy as in a good place," Powell responded. "Inflation is muted and our policy rate we think is in an appropriate place. So what we've said is that we would be patient." "What does patient mean?" Pelley asked. "Patient means we don't feel any hurry to change our interest rate policy," Powell answered. "What's happened in the last 90 or so days is that we've seen increasing evidence of the global economy slowing down, although our own economy has continued to perform well."

McCABE SHOCKED BY MANAFORT SENTENCE: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said Sunday morning that he was surprised by the “incredibly lenient” sentence received by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. A federal judge last week sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison for tax and bank fraud — a punishment clocking in well below the 19½-24½ years that he could have received under sentencing guidelines. District Judge T.S. Ellis repeatedly argued the recommended sentence was over-the-top. “I think it’s an incredibly lenient sentence in light not just of the offenses he was convicted for but for the additional offenses that he has pled guilty to in D.C. and the offenses he’s acknowledged essentially in the sentencing process in Virginia that he is responsible for,” McCabe told CBS’ Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.” “So, like most people, I was shocked by how lenient the sentence was.”

SEN. KENNEDY SAYS McCABE SHOULD BE PROSECUTED: Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could've been prosecuted and charged with perjury for lying to FBI officials.  "He's lucky he wasn't prosecuted," Kennedy said on "Face the Nation" Sunday, referring to McCabe, who was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March 2018 after the Department of Justice's inspector general and the FBI's disciplinary office alleged he had made unauthorized leaks to the press and lied about it to FBI officials. "For perjury. For lying to an FBI agent," Kennedy said when asked why Mccabe would be prosecuted. "He did it repeatedly. Now if you and I do that, we go to jail."

HICKENLOOPER WANTS BIG TENT DEMOCRAT PARTY: After being repeatedly asked whether he identified as a capitalist, former Colorado governor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper demurred and said Democrats are a "big tent" party. "Once you get back into these labels — am I a capitalist? Am I a socialist? How much of a capitalist am I versus how much of a socialist? — that becomes kind of silly, doesn't it?" Hickenlooper said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. Pressed again if he was uncomfortable answering the question, the former mayor of Denver pledged to be a capitalist but stressed he believed labels divide both the country and his party. "I'm happy to say I'm a capitalist, but I think at a certain point the labels do nothing but divide us," he added.

General Assembly

CLERE SPEAKS AT HATE CRIMES RALLY IN NEW ALBANY: Like a fiery pastor invoking his congregation to take a stand, Evan Stoner's voice boomed off buildings in downtown New Albany on Sunday as he urged Hoosiers to demand inclusive hate crimes legislation (Thomas, News & Tribune). About 30 people gathered at Bicentennial Park to call on Indiana lawmakers to support a comprehensive hate crimes bill that includes a list of characteristics supported by Gov. Eric Holcomb, as a watered-down version of the original measure makes it way through the Statehouse. "While I can't stand before you today and say that Indianapolis is going to do the right thing and pass this law, what I can promise you today is that they will hear us," Stoner, a college student, said at the rally, which was organized by Southern Indiana Pride and Indiana Forward. Last month Senate Republicans voted 39-10 to pass a stripped-down hate crimes bill, which removed a list of protected characteristics from the original legislation, including race, religion, age, ethnicity, national origin, disabilities, gender identity and sexual orientation. State Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, one of several elected officials who spoke Sunday, said there is strong bi-partisan support for an inclusive hate crimes bill, and more than 74 percent percent of Hoosiers support a bias crimes law, including a majority of Republicans, according to an Indiana Chamber statewide poll in January. "Last night we moved our clocks forward," Clere said. "Now let's work together to move Indiana forward."


HOUSE WILL FRAME 'SUNSHINE WEEK': The House will frame the coming week as "Sunshine Week" — "focused on increasing government transparency and accountability," to follow their vote last week on sweeping anti-corruption legislation, according to senior House Democratic aides (Swan, Axios). The House's main action this week: On Thursday, they'll vote on a resolution calling for the Mueller report to be made public.  On the hearing front: The Oversight Committee has Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Energy and Commerce has Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and a hearing on drug pricing legislation; and Ways and Means has Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

SENATE CONFIRMATIONS COMING: The Senate will confirm Neomi Rao to be a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit. It's a significant win for Trump after a rocky confirmation process for Rao (Axios). The Senate will also vote to confirm Paul Matey to be a judge on the Third Circuit, and William Beach, of Kansas, to be Commissioner of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor, according to a Republican leadership aide. The Senate will also vote on the resolution of disapproval on Trump's emergency declaration (see item 4 above for more detail). And lastly, Mitch McConnell's longtime top communications aide, Don Stewart, leaves the Senate. His last day is Friday. Stew's colleague David Popp emails: "Every Senate press staffer, no matter the age, title, or experience was sent to see Stew the minute they started. Many House flacks would also end up seeing him within their first year. He took every single coffee and gave each one the exact same attention and energy. ... He's an institution. There will never be another Stew. We're all going to miss him."

HOUSE DEMS FEAR IMPEACHMENT WILL BACKFIRE: For House Democrats, impeaching President Donald Trump is both inevitable and impossible (Politico). Democrats anticipate they will gather plenty of evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors on the president’s part, but they’re torn over what to do with it — fearful that their efforts will backfire and end up helping Trump. “You don’t want to divide the country, so you have to think you have such a case that once the case is finished being presented, enough people understand you had to do it,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose committee has the power to launch impeachment proceedings, said in an interview.


HUMANITY: NEW KOR EXHIBIT AT HOLOCAUST MUSEUM - Clad in her iconic blue pant suit with matching scarf and shoes, Eva Kor will be educating people about the Holocaust for generations to come thanks to a new interactive exhibit (Taylor, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Visitors to Terre Haute’s CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which Kor founded, need only ask a question and she will answer it via high definition video. Inquire about her favorite song and the Auschwitz death camp survivor will launch into “The Impossible Dream.” The “Dimensions in Testimony” theater exhibit unveiled Sunday is the result of a partnership between CANDLES and the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California.

ISP: TROOPER FIRED AFTER RELATIONSHIP - An Indiana State Police trooper with the Bloomington post was fired at the end of February after admitting to continuing a relationship with a 17-year-old girl, according to an official ISP document (Bloomington Herald-Times). It states Ryan Starnes was a senior trooper when he was accused by the teenager’s parents of maintaining a relationship with her between July and October 2018, after learning she was 17.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP KEEPING ALLIES AT ARMS LENGTH - France’s President Emmanuel Macron came to the White House last April hoping to join forces with President Trump in confronting China on its trade and business practices (Wall Street Journal). Mr. Macron’s bid for a united front went nowhere, according to people briefed on the discussion. Mr. Trump instead told Mr. Macron he didn’t want to see the European Union reaping the benefits of a U.S.-China trade pact, these people said. Nearly a year later, Mr. Trump continues to keep European allies at arm’s length, declining to share details of the draft trade agreement—which he has called “my deal,” according to these people, who include officials from several European countries. Some U.S. business leaders say Mr. Trump’s unilateral approach doesn’t bode well for a long-term solution. “We should be working hand-in-hand with our allies,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council. “This should be an opportunity to collaborate collectively with other industrial nations and if we do not collaborate—it is less likely that any deal reached will be sustained.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - Monday: President Trump will have lunch with VP Mike Pence at 12:15 p.m. in the private dining room. Tuesday: Trump receives the "Boy Scouts' Report to the Nation." Thursday: Trump hosts Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House. Trump attends the Friends of Ireland Luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, and the president and first lady will attend the Irish PM's "Shamrock Bowl Presentation." Friday: Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

TRANSPORTATION: CHINA GROUNDS BOEING 737 MAX - China’s decision to order all of the country’s airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft following Sunday’s deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet of the same family represents a sharp break with traditional air-safety practice (Wall Street Journal). It is highly unusual for regulators in a major country to take such a step before a similar move by regulators in the country that certified the aircraft type. The decision, which was taken before U.S. investigators reached the crash site—or even before Boeing issued an update to operators about the crash—could put pressure on the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to address the matter publicly. In the past, Chinese authorities have taken their lead from the FAA on safety matters and patterned many of their oversight and enforcement procedures after American programs.


SUSPECT IN KIM JONG UN'S HALF BROTHER MURDER RELEASED: One of the women suspected of killing Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was freed Monday after prosecutors unexpectedly dropped charges against her (Washington Post). Siti Aisyah, 26, will now be allowed to return home to Indonesia, Malaysian officials say, after being held for over two years in Malaysia. She and the second suspect in the murder, Doan Thi Huong, 30, from Vietnam, both appeared in court on Monday, but the acquittal only applies to her. “I feel very happy,” she told reporters at a news conference, thanking everyone who worked for her release. “I didn’t expect that today will be the day of my freedom.”


CITIES: IFD TRUCK DESTROYED IN CRASH - A fire truck and a car were both destroyed early Monday in Indianapolis, when the car crossed the center line and hit the fire truck, said firefighters (WIBC).  The Indianapolis Fire Dept. tweeted that four firefighters and the driver of the car were taken to the hospital to be checked out, but no one was seriously hurt. Firefighters said they were on a medical call when the vehicles hit. The wreck was at 30th and Butler, and caused the fire truck to end up a crunched hulk. Fire hose, metal, glass and oil lay all over the street.

CITIES: MUNCIE SEEKS NEW JAIL -  A housing development called Bison Ridge near the old Wilson Middle School, location of the new county jail, is one step closer to moving forward with upwards of $20 million in capital investment (Muncie Star Press). The Muncie City Council introduced an ordinance during its meeting Monday night to issue an economic development tax increment revenue bond for the project. Financial approvals will come before Muncie Redevelopment Commission, the economic development board and the city council for final approval in April according to officials. The developer bond proposed by the city won’t exceed $3 million, and is guaranteed by the developer. The bond will support infrastructure improvements to the 35 acres currently owned by the MRC where the development will take place.