Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro on 2020: “I have every interest in running. … Part of the process of figuring out whether I’m going to run is going to listen to folks and feel the temperature of voters.” Castro, on Trump: “This guy is taking the country in the completely wrong direction and he’s hurting people while he’s doing it. I have a completely different vision for the country and this seems like an important moment to turn things around.” (NBC News)
RETREAT. In addition to former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) will also attend “the annual House Democratic policy retreat on Wednesday, which is being held over three days at a resort in Cambridge, Md.”
“Holder and McAuliffe are poised to speak about the work they’re doing with Obama and other Democrats to push for changes in how state governments draw legislative boundaries.” (Washington Post)
CUOMO. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “has signed an executive order that bans all New York state agencies and authorities from conducting business with companies that tolerate or promote discrimination. … The Democrat also said he’s supporting legislation that will ban the use of a ‘gay panic’ defense in which a person charged with attacking someone attempts to blame the victim’s sexual orientation for a violent reaction. … Illinois and California are the only other states that ban the gay panic defense.” (AP)
KENNEDY. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) on 2020: “I am not perturbed at all about the prospect of a big, messy primary for Democrats.”(Politico)
TRUMP ACCUSER, NOW A CANDIDATE. “Rachel Crooks, who during the 2016 presidential election claimed Trump once kissed her without her consent, is running for the state legislature in Ohio. … She adds her name to the record number of women candidates in 2018, the next step of the feminist wave that began with the Women’s March last year. A Democrat and first-time candidate, Crooks says she was stirred to run because, despite the #MeToo movement felling powerful men in a broad range of industries, the president has escaped the consequences of his alleged sexual abuse.” (Cosmopolitan)
FLORIDA. The Florida Democratic Party announced Monday “that it has hired Juan Peñalosa to be its new executive director.” (Tampa Bay Times)
FACEBOOK. “Friday was the deadline for Facebook to comply with a longstanding Seattle law requiring companies to disclose detailed information about the political ads they sell targeting local elections.
“Specifically, the law in Seattle says that Facebook … must disclose, upon request, ‘the exact nature and extent’ of such ads, the ‘names and addresses’ of people who purchased the ads, and specific payment details.
“But Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, says the barebones spreadsheet that Facebook sent him on Friday is a woefully inadequate disclosure. … ‘We gave Facebook ample time to comply with the law,’ Barnett said ‘but their two-page spreadsheet doesn’t come close to meeting their public obligation. I’ll be discussing our next steps this week with the City Attorney’s office.’” (The Stranger)
FBI MEMO. “The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously Monday in favor of publicly releasing a classified memo that Democrats say undermines allegations by … Trump and his allies that the FBI abused its spying powers while investigating his campaign. Trump has five days to review the request to release the memo, which was written by committee Democrats.”(Politico)
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Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg."
"The Justice Department asked its internal watchdog to examine if there was any impropriety in the counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, after the president demanded Sunday that the department investigate the motives behind the inquiry. Earlier Sunday, in one of a series of tweets targeting the probe into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump wrote: 'I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!'"