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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"China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and 'likely' training its pilots for missions targeting the U.S.," according to an annual Pentagon report on Chinese military developments. "This year's report also claims that China is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force 'has been re-assigned a nuclear mission.'"
President Trump said he has "asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to study the impact of allowing companies to file reports with the financial regulator every six months instead of every quarter." The announcement would allow "greater flexibility & save money," said Trump on Twitter. The suggestion came shortly after Trump hosted "a number of top company leaders while on vacation at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey."
"A federal judge has found a witness in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell made the ruling Friday after a sealed hearing to discuss Andrew Miller’s refusal to appear before the grand jury. Miller is a former aide to longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone."