Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) “sent emails on Wednesday to a select group” of “Republican donors and political movers” to invite them to a Feb. 12 “important meeting regarding Minnesota’s future.” Longtime Pawlenty adviser Brian McClung “said Pawlenty ‘will be talking with Minnesotans over the coming weeks to assess support and gather advice’” for a possible governor bid. (MPR News)
CAUCUS NIGHT. DFL Chairman Ken Martin “said the caucuses will draw thousands, but short of the record 321,354 that came two years ago. … Precinct caucuses will be held throughout the state, starting at 7 p.m. The first order of business is required by law to be holding a non-binding straw poll for governor.” (West Central Tribune)
THE OTHER REPUBLICANS. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) defended state Reps. Cindy Pugh (R) and Kathy Lohmer’s warning of “a plan to ‘mobilize Muslims to infiltrate our Republican caucuses on Feb. 6.’”
Johnson said “Putting Republicans on notice … a good thing. … I think [Pugh] raises very legitimate issues. I think there’s a huge cultural issue we’re talking about here. Not just showing up at caucus. But there are some here who are trying to change what America is. And we can’t allow that. … There are people in this state and country who seek to replace the Constitution with sharia. … It’s not most Muslims, but to deny that this threat exists is pretty naive. … It’s America and we can’t turn people away [from the caucuses] because they’re of a different religion. … I can’t speak to where their information came from, and I‘m not going to get into criticizing legislators when I don’t know the basis of what they had to say.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Former state Party Chairman Keith Downey (R) “has built his campaign around a blend of Trumpian conservatism, business acumen, legislative experience, inclusiveness and an outsider’s take on government’s flaws.”
Downey: “Mark Dayton’s been doing it for seven years, so how hard can it be?” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
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President Trump directed the Department of Defense to organize a military parade for November 11, Veterans Day, according to an unclassified memo written by H.R. McMaster and sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis. The memo says "Trump wants Mattis to brief him on 'concepts of operation for this event.' The memo also said that the parade route should begin at the White House and end at the Capitol." Trump was reportedly inspired by Bastille Day festivities in France.
At the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump announced his support for allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms at schools. "Why do we protect our airports, our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools?" Trump asked the audience. "It's time to make our schools a much harder target ...When we declare our schools to be gun free zones, it just puts our students in far more danger." Trump said that roughly "10 or 20 percent" of teachers were very adept with guns, and that "a teacher would have shot the hell out of him [the shooter] before he knew what happened. They love their students, folks, remember that."
Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty to a raft of new tax and fraud charges filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday. Gates is expected to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.