The Club for Growth PAC, the political arm of the conservative group, “is stepping up its involvement in the 2016 White House race, formally steering donations to five top Republican presidential contenders supported by its board,” including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL); Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R); and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).
“This marks the first time the influential conservative group has called on its members to write checks to presidential candidates and coincides with a separate effort to curb the progress of celebrity real-estate mogul Donald Trump (R) by drawing attention to its concerns with his past statements.”
David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, “lauded the three senators for their records on ‘pro-growth issues,’” and “also hailed Walker’s fight with Wisconsin’s public-sector unions “¦ and he said Bush ‘amassed a solid record on tax cuts as governor of Florida.’” (Wall Street Journal)
GOP DEBATE. The Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, was named the location of the “Republican presidential primary debate scheduled for seven days before South Carolina’s ‘First in the South’ primary” on February 13. (Greenville News)
MORE DEBATES. “Former First Lady Nancy Reagan is inviting 16 Republican presidential candidates to participate in the CNN/Reagan Library presidential debate on September 16. “¦ Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) “¦ has not yet been invited. Candidates must achieve an average of at least 1 percent of support in three recognized national polls before September 10 to be included in the debate.” (CNN)
CLINTON ATTACK. Both Rubio and Bush attacked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s (D) $350 billion student loan plan, decrying it as a tax hike. “Rubio proposed creating more alternatives to traditional four-year college programs that award people based on what they have learned rather than how many hours they spent in the classroom. He argued that more competition and greater flexibility is needed for working-class people to get the kinds of degrees they need.”
Rubio: “All that she’s talking about is ‘let’s raise taxes and let’s pour a bunch of money into a 20th-century outdated model.’ This is the thing they always do on the left — she has to figure out who to raise taxes on.”
Bush: “We need to change the incentives for colleges with fresh policies that result in more individualization and choices, drive down overall costs, and improve the value of a college degree, which will help lead to real, sustained four-percent economic growth.” (New York Times)
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President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen said he "was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office. At the same candidate’s direction, he said he paid $130,000 to somebody to keep them quiet, which was later repaid by the candidate. He didn’t identify the candidate or the person who was paid, but those facts match Cohen’s payment to Clifford and Trump’s repayment."
A jury has found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty [of] five counts of filing false tax returns, one count of not filing a required IRS form, and two bank fraud counts. ... The jury said it was deadlocked on the other 10. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those other charges."
A D.C. judge "has tossed out a defamation lawsuit brought by three Russian oligarchs against former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele over his discussion of them in the dossier he prepared during the 2016 US presidential election campaign describing Donald Trump's links to Russia. The men — Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, and German Khan — are investors in Alfa Bank and had sued Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, alleging that the dossier defamed them by linking them to Russian efforts regarding the presidential election." The judge cited D.C.'s anti-SLAPP act in his ruling.