Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced late Tuesday that he’ll decide on a 2020 presidential run in about three weeks, NBC News reports.
“Chuck Schumer is actively recruiting a celebrated fighter pilot to take on Mitch McConnell in 2020 — a calculated act of aggression against a leading Democratic foe,” Politico reports.
“Schumer met with Amy McGrath, a Marine veteran-turned 2018 congressional candidate, at Democratic Party headquarters last month to pitch her on running against McConnell. McGrath listened and didn’t rule it out.”
“The U.S.’s financial burden is growing despite a strong economy,” Bloomberg reports.
“Total public debt climbed to more than $22 trillion as of Feb. 11, according to a Treasury Department report Tuesday.”
USA Today: “The national debt has been rising at a faster rate following the passage of President Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax-cut package a little more than a year ago and as the result of congressional efforts to increase spending on domestic and military programs. The nation has added more than $1 trillion in debt in the last 11 months alone.”
New York Times: “After a series of misadventures, Mr. Trump has conspicuously laid off personal attacks aimed at Ms. Pelosi. Even as the standoff over funding a border wall appears to be finally ending with a deal seen as a defeat for the president, he has blamed unnamed Democrats but not their most prominent leader. And there has been no undermining Trumpian nickname — the president has said his moniker for Ms. Pelosi is, simply, ‘Nancy.'”
“Mr. Trump, who once stalked Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic nominee, around the presidential debate stage and continues to encourage ‘lock her up’ chants at his rallies more than two years later, simply gazed up at Ms. Pelosi during his State of the Union address — and then found himself the target of ridicule for the picture of her giving him what appeared to be a dismissive clap of the hands.”
“Without his anticipated punching bag, Mr. Trump has been left searching for an alternative, delivering haphazard attacks on Democrats as they announce their presidential campaigns, trial-and-error hits on an inchoate field of 2020 contenders.”
“President Trump demanded on Tuesday that a freshman lawmaker from Minnesota resign after she posted tweets deemed anti-Semitic even by fellow Democrats, but those tweets echoed some of the same insinuations about Jews and money that he has trafficked in for years, as a candidate and president,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Trump was the latest in a parade of Republicans and Democrats to condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). But the president himself has perpetuated stereotypes of Jews using money to buy political influence or of acting as ‘globalists,’ pulling the levers of power for their own enrichment.”
John Harwood: “That soft, shuffling sound you hear is Congressional Republicans stepping away from President Trump.”
“It’s hard to hear above the din from the Oval Office. But through their new spending compromise, GOP leaders signaled clearly that they, like Congressional Democrats, will no longer play border-wall make-believe with President Trump.”
Politico: “Harris’ decision to sit for extended radio interviews with black hosts at the outset of her run is part of a broader strategy for the half-Jamaican, half-Indian former prosecutor. It’s designed to give her the chance to directly confront the uncomfortable and offensive internet memes about her personal life before they can metastasize among voters, three advisers to Harris said.”
“In recent days, Harris has parried skepticism over everything from claims to her black heritage to her decision to marry a white man — bluntly putting down markers on nuanced topics to help inoculate her from false critiques with answers that also illuminate how she views her own identity.”
The Washington Post details a meeting between Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chairman, Rick Gates, his deputy, and a former business partner of Manafort’s named Konstantin Kilimnik.
“The Aug. 2, 2016, encounter between the senior Trump campaign officials and Kilimnik, who prosecutors allege has ties to Russian intelligence, has emerged in recent days as a potential fulcrum in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It was at that meeting that prosecutors believe Manafort and Kilimnik may have exchanged key information relevant to Russia and Trump’s presidential bid.”
The meeting ended “with the three men leaving through separate doors” so they wouldn’t be seen together.
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Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, rejected Republican Chairman Richard Burr’s (R-NC) recent statements that the committee has not found evidence of collusion, saying the investigation is still ongoing and the committee still had to interview key witnesses, CNN reports.
Said Warner: “Respectfully, I disagree. I’m not going to get into any conclusions I’ve reached because my basis of this has been that I’m not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back.”
“Warner’s comments represented a rare public split for the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been the only congressional panel that has kept its investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling on a bipartisan track.”
Ann Coulter accused President Trump of being afraid to “fight” for his proposed border wall, as he weighs a bipartisan deal that would avert another government shutdown.
Said Coulter: “Trump talks a good game on the border wall but it’s increasingly clear he’s afraid to fight for it. Call this his Yellow New Deal.”
Politico: “If O’Rourke was testing Democrats’ appetite for his potential candidacy, the signs he saw on Monday were reaffirming — beginning with a march to the rally that was so thick with supporters that organizers linked arms in a circle around O’Rourke and his family to keep them moving through the crowd.”
“The speech — and O’Rourke’s promotion of it beforehand — marked a pivot for O’Rourke from a contemplative period of wayfaring to a more traditional brand of campaign politics following his closer-than-expected loss to Republican Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race last year.”
Hillary Clinton responded to a tweet from President Trump in which he appeared to copy her 2016 campaign slogan, “Stronger Together.”
Said Clinton: “Now copy my plan on health care, a fairer tax system, and voting rights.”
Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), “who is living in Florida, has appeared on several radio talk shows, speaking repeatedly about running against” current Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) “in four years if she does not keep government spending under control,” the Portland Press Herald reports.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Senate would hold an upcoming vote on the Green New Deal resolution introduced last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), CNBC reports.
Said McConnell: “I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate to give everybody an opportunity to go on record.”
Axios: “McConnell wants to get Senate Democrats, especially the 2020 presidential election hopefuls, on the record about their support of the sweeping climate resolution.”
Philip Bump: “In other words, the whip count that matters here is not really what legislators on Capitol Hill think. It is probably — and we recognize the bizarreness of this sentence — more important what conservative commentators and Fox News presenters think of the deal than it is what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) thinks.”
“Trump’s mornings often begin with watching recorded episodes of Fox News programs that aired the night before and tuning in to ‘Fox & Friends.’ So here is a modern-day presidential whip count of what those programs are saying.”
Ron Brownstein: “One of the defining characteristics of the 2020 Democratic presidential contest is the unprecedented diversity of the field, which already features more women and minority candidates than ever.”
“But even more significant than the increasing variety of the contenders may be the growing diversity of the primary voters who will choose among them. Over the past decade, the electorate in the Democratic presidential primary has grown more racially diverse, better educated and more heavily tilted toward female voters.”
“Party strategists almost universally expect those trends to persist, and even accelerate in 2020, as minority, white-collar and female voters continue to recoil from President Trump.”
President Trump slammed a bipartisan deal to avert a government shutdown while providing some funding for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, The Hill reports.
Said Trump: “I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled.”
He did not say whether he would sign or veto the proposal but added he would hold a meeting to discuss it later.