1/ The threat of a government shutdown hinges on the Mexican border wall and Obamacare funding. Trump and Republicans will have four days to overcome intraparty ideological divisions and win over some opposition Democrats next week to pass a spending package to keep the government open beyond April 28. Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, says money for Trump’s wall and immigration agents is a must. Democrats have taken a hard line against any money for the border wall and insist that the measure include the Obamacare payments to insurance companies. (Reuters)

  • Conway is “confident” there will be no government shutdown. (Politico)
  • Lawmakers hope to unveil a catchall spending bill next week in order avert a government shutdown. (ABC News)
  • Mattis tells Congress that Trump’s budget request isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding the military. (CNN)

2/ Jeff Sessions dismissed Hawaii as just “an island in the Pacific” while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world. “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Sessions said. (New York Times)

  • Hawaiians to Jeff Sessions: “We’re not just some island.” (Washington Post)

3/ The Justice Department escalates its crackdown on “sanctuary cities”. The DOJ sent letters to nine jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, threatening to withhold funding unless they comply with federal law. (New York Times)

4/ The Treasury denied Exxon’s request for a waiver from Russian sanctions. Exxon won’t be allowed to bypass US sanctions against Russia in order to resume drilling for oil. (Bloomberg)

5/ South Korea is on heightened alert as the North readies for its anniversary of the Korean People’s Army. The 85th army anniversary comes at the end of major winter military drills. The US and South Korea have been saying for weeks that the North could soon stage another nuclear test. (Reuters)

  • Trump puts pressure on China to rein in North Korea, saying “if they want to solve the North Korea problem, they will.” (The Hill)

6/ Trump says Iran has not “lived up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement. He also criticized the deal days after his secretary of state certified that Iran was complying with the terms of the agreement. Trump called it “terrible” and “as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated.” (Washington Post)

7/ Syria still has chemical weapons. Israeli defense officials estimate that Syria still has up to three tons of chemical weapons in its possession. Mattis says Syria has “dispersed their aircraft” in the wake of the punitive US missile strike. The implication is that Syria may be concerned about additional strikes and is moving its combat aircraft to make them less vulnerable to an attack. (ABC News)

8/ The House Intelligence Committee asked former acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify publicly in the panel’s probe into Russian interference in the US election. The committee has also asked FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers to return before the committee to testify in a closed setting. (The Hill)

9/ Trump’s lawyers have argued that anti-Trump protesters “have no right” to “express dissenting views” at his campaign rallies. Lawyers for Trump’s campaign say that his calls to remove the protesters were protected by the First Amendment. (Politico)

10/ Jeff Sessions makes arresting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a priority. WikiLeaks allegedly played an active role in helping Edward Snowden disclose a massive cache of classified documents he took from the NSA. (CNN)

11/ Georgia NAACP chief is suing the state for trying to block newly registered voters from taking part in a runoff election. Georgia law requires that individuals who vote in a runoff election must be registered to vote in the initial election. Election officials say that the June runoff is simply a continuation of the special election, so they don’t have to allow newly registered voters to participate. (Huffington Post)

12/ Nearing the 100-day mark with limited accomplishments, Trump calls it a “ridiculous standard.” Trump hits the 100-day mark at the end of the next week and has no major wins on Capitol Hill beyond Gorsuch. (Washington Post)

  • The White House is desperate to demonstrate progress on Trump’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans are trying to resurrect the health care bill before his 100th day in office. (New York Times)

13/ At least 25 temporary political appointees are now getting permanent federal jobs with little or no public notice. In January, the Trump administration installed more than 400 political appointees across the federal government. Hiring rules allow them to have those positions for up to eight months. (ProPublica)