“Undeterred by the rapid groundswell of Democratic Party support for” former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy (D) “in his run for governor, state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) said Thursday he is forming a committee to explore his own candidacy in 2017.”
Wisniewski: “I am announcing a team to look at the landscape and prepare to run for office if that is how things shake out.”
“In addition,” state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D) “said he has not dropped his plans to run in the Democratic primary.”
Lesniak: “I prefer to have a head-to-head race with Murphy. … It’ll focus the campaign on Goldman Sachs vs. the people.” (NJ Advance Media)
“The Union County lawmakers plans to file campaign finance paperwork with the Election Law Enforcement Commission by Friday afternoon.” (Politico)
MURPHY’S LAW. “Northern county Democrats came together this afternoon behind the gubernatorial candidacy of … Murphy. … Bergen, Passaic and Hudson all muscled up behind Murphy, with Middlesex and Essex prepared to do the same and other counties also in, Mercer, Monmouth, Hunterdon, Warren and Morris among them.” (PolitickerNJ)
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) also endorsed Murphy after supporting Jersey City Steven Fulop’s (D) abandoned bid.
Baraka: “He is a fresh face in this political machine. An outsider, if you will, of all the power players and brokers in the State of New Jersey, which I think is a plus for him.”
“Murphy began meeting with Democratic leaders in 2014. He set up a think tank with the ostensible aim of growing New Jersey’s economy, but staffed it with some of New Jersey’s top Democratic consultants, including Julie Roginsky and Brendan Gill. Murphy also spread his personal wealth around liberally, donating several hundred thousand dollars to state and local Democratic organizations and candidates before launching a political advocacy organization and then officially launching his campaign in May with a $10 million self-loan.”
“Murphy called Sweeney a ‘class act,” but would not commit to keeping him in the Senate presidency” following Sweeney’s decision to skip a run for governor.
Murphy: “We’ve made no markers, no decisions on any persons, seats or item whatsoever, period.” (Politico)
Murphy: “Sweeney … and I spoke briefly this morning, and we’ve pledged to work together to see that we elect Democrats throughout the state and up and down the ticket next year.” (NJ Advance Media)
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."