President Obama is in Cuba and will have several live events during our show today.
At 11am, he arrives at the Palace of the Revolution for a handshake and photo op with Raul Castro and then a full diplomatic welcome. Later in the hour, he’ll hold formal meetings with the Cuban leader. He is not expected to see Fidel Castro today. In the 1pm, they’ll make official statements.
1050EDT -- POTUS walks to the Palicio de la Revolucion. Havana, Cuba.
1100EDT -- POTUS arrives at Palace of the Revolution for handshake and photo with Raul Castro. Havana, Cuba.
1105EDT -- POTUS and Raul Castro participate in official welcome, includes national anthems, review of troops, and presentation of delegations inside the ceremonial hall at Palacio de la Revolucion. Havana, Cuba. POOL TAPE
1130EDT -- POTUS holds a bilateral meeting with Raul Castro. Havana, Cuba. POOL TAPE
1300EDT -- POTUS holds extended bilat with Raul Castro. Havana, Cuba.
1350EDT -- POTUS and Castro make statements. Havana, Cuba. POOL TAPE
In other big news today, the AIPAC conference continues today with Hillary Clinton addressing the pro-Israel political group. Tonight, they’ll hear from Donald Trump. 40 rabbis have already said they’ll boycott Trump’s speech. Trump has made comments that have made some Israelis nervous about his commitment to Israel.
A pro-Clinton super PAC has raised nearly 5 million last month, and has more than $44 million in the bank.
Donald Trump will meet with lawyers and advisors including Senator Tom Cotton today in Washington. He speaks at a news conference at 2pm. Trump will also address AIPAC. He put nearly $7 million of his own money into the race in February, and spending will explode from here on out.
The New York Times writes today about Trump:
“The focus on Mr. Trump for the last week has been about the violence that has occurred at his rallies. Again, over the weekend, he declined to denounce his supporters who have punched and kicked protesters. He has broadly said he does not condone violence, although he has often lamented the “good old days” when protesters were treated roughly.”
We’re getting early indications of the looming battles between Clinton and Donald trump.
Anne Gearan and Abby Phillip write in the Washington Post today:
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and her allies have begun preparing a playbook to defeat Donald Trump in a general-election matchup that will attempt to do what his Republican opponents couldn't: show that his business dealings and impolitic statements make him unfit to be commander in chief.
Both the Clinton campaign and outside supporters are confident that she and Trump will almost certainly face each other in the general election and that the focus is shifting past her hard-fought primary campaign against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
They are now focused intently on researching the billionaire real estate mogul's business record, dissecting his economic policies, and compiling a long history of controversial pronouncements that have captivated and repelled the nation in this tumultuous election season.
Neither the Clinton campaign nor several independent super PACs working on her behalf plan to respond with the same brass-knuckles style that Trump has taken with his Republican opponents, aides and outside supporters said. But in their view, Trump isn't Teflon: Republicans waited too long to go after him, and they went about it the wrong way.
Josh Mitchell and Byron Tau write in the Wall Street Journal today about the increasing likelihood of a convention fight for the Republican nomination”
The head of the Republican National Committee braced the party faithful Sunday for what could be the first contested nominating convention in generations, suggesting increasing odds of a showdown this summer over Donald Trump's candidacy.
While Mr. Trump has a big lead in convention delegates, many party elders and strategists, alarmed over his ascent, are redoubling efforts to deny him the nomination. At the least, they are seeking to force a battle at the July convention in Cleveland. In multiple television interviews Sunday, Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC, raised the prospect of a protracted convention fight with multiple rounds of voting needed to determine the winner.
"We're preparing for that possibility," Mr. Priebus said on ABC. That marks a shift from earlier this month, when Mr. Priebus told a gathering of conservatives that a contested convention was "highly, highly unlikely."
Politico writes today that some Democratic leaders are putting new pressure on Bernie Sanders to tone down his attacks on Hillary Clinton and focus on attacking the GOP.. as they believe it’s increasingly clear Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee. Politico reporter Burgess Everett writes today in an article titled, “Democrats to Sanders: Time to Wind it Down,” that “protracted combat with Hillary Clinton threatens to do real damage in a general election against Donald Trump, senators warn.”
In other news,
North Korea has fired five short-range projectiles in a continuing escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
The airport where a Boeing “FlyDubai” jet crashed Saturday has reopened. The plane crashed while trying to land killing all 62 on board. Most of the passengers were Russian vacationers. The plane appeared to be in flames when it crashed. Investigators trying to figure out exactly what happened.
Salah Abdeslam was captured during our show on Friday. The most-wanted terrorists is apparently cooperating. There are suggestions he was on the verge of another terror attack, and we’ve got new details on the terror attack in Paris that left more than 130 dead, the better than thought capabilities of ISIS in Europe, and the groups bomb-making prowess. The New York Times had an in-depth investigatory piece this weekend that we will mine for a couple of segments.
Mother Nature said Welcome to Spring today with a big snowstorm for New England. Philadelphia, New York and parts of New Jersey got a dusting, but parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island could get as much as 10 inches of snow. Spring started yesterday.
The defense begins its case in the Grim Sleeper trial starts today in Los Angeles. Lonnie Franklin Jr is accused of killing 9 women and a 15-year-old girl between 1985 and 2007.
Hulk Hogan was awarded a whopping $115 million in its case against Gawker. The damages are likely to be reduced. An appeal is expected.
A bidding war over Starwood hotels has Marriott raising its bid for the hotel group.
For more news, follow me on Twiiter: @ClintPHenderson