2016 Campaign

Democrats Burned by Polling Blind Spot

“As they investigate the forces behind the party’s stunning losses in November, Democrats are coming to a troubling conclusion. The party didn’t just lose among rural white voters on Election Day, it may have failed to capture them in its pre-election polling as well,” Politico reports.

“Many pollsters and strategists believe that rural white voters, particularly those without college degrees, eluded the party’s polling altogether — and their absence from poll results may have been both a cause and a symptom of Donald Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in several states.”

Quote of the Day

“There’s no question that there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes. In some quarters that could be considered an act of war.”

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted by Business Insider, on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Bannon Wanted Sessions to Run for President

New York Times: “One evening in January 2013, two guests showed up for dinner at the Capitol Hill townhouse that Bannon liked to call the Breitbart Embassy. One was the man Bannon would later describe to me as his ‘mentor’ Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. The other was Sessions’s top aide and protégé, a jittery 27-year-old named Stephen Miller…”

“Sessions shared Bannon’s belief that the Republican Party needed to emphasize immigration reduction, border security and the preservation of working-class jobs through trade policy rather than courting Latino voters with a bill he regarded as ‘amnesty.’ … At some point during the five-hour dinner, Bannon recalls blurting out to Sessions, ‘We have to run you for president.’ Just two years earlier, in 2011, he made a similar pitch to Sarah Palin, after completing a documentary about her called “The Undefeated.” Palin demurred. She was enjoying her life of celebrity and wealth, she had done little to immerse herself in policy minutiae and she was no doubt unsettled by Bannon’s warning that she stood little chance of defeating Obama.”

Biden Says He Would Have Won

Former Vice President Joe Biden told Colgate University students that if he had run for president in 2016 he could have won, the Utica Observer-Dispatch reports.

Said Biden: “On a college campus I will never, never do anything other than answer the question completely unvarnished and straightforward. The answer is that I had planned on running for president. And although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won.”

Biden added that he had a lot of data collected and was fairly confident that as a Democratic party’s nominee, he could have won.

RNC Paid Intel Firm for Clinton Dirt

“As the general election was taking shape last summer, the Republican National Committee initiated a series of payments to a low-profile firm started by retired Central Intelligence Agency officers that worked closely with an ex-Russian spy,” Politico reports.

“The payments attracted attention in political and intelligence circles, largely because the Virginia-based firm, Hamilton Trading Group, had particular expertise in Russia, which was emerging as a major campaign issue at the time.”

Schiff: New Evidence Shows Trump-Russia Collusion

Rep. Adam Schiff (R-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that he has been presented with new information on collusion between associates of President Trump and Russia that would merit a grand jury investigation.

Said Schiff: “We continue to get new information that, I think, paints a more complete picture of at least what we know at the outset of our investigation.”

FBI Has Information on Trump Coordination with Russia

“The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” US officials told CNN.

“The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings… The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.”

FBI Probe Looking Into Far-Right Websites

“Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid,” McClatchy reports.

“Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as ‘bots,’ to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.”

“Investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring whether the far-right news operations took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.”

Roger Stone Under Scrutiny

“In President Trump’s oft-changing world order, Roger J. Stone Jr., the onetime political consultant and full-time provocateur, has been one of the few constants — a loyalist and self-proclaimed ‘dirty trickster’ who nurtured the dream of a presidential run by the developer-turned-television-star for 30 years,” the New York Times reports.

“But two months into the Trump presidency, Mr. Stone, known for his pinstripe suits, the Nixon tattoo spanning his shoulder blades, and decades of outlandish statements, is under investigation for what would be his dirtiest trick — colluding with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and put his friend in the White House.”

Comey Confirms FBI Probe Into Trump’s Ties to Russia

FBI Directory James Comey told Congress that the FBI is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government — and whether there was any coordination, the New York Times reports.

According to Politico, Comey described it as a “counterintelligence investigation” but said it will “also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

“He noted that the FBI usually does not comment on active counterintelligence investigations but said he was authorized to do so in this case because of the extraordinary public interest.”