Former Vice President Joe Biden “has started recruiting top donors for his PAC’s finance committee—but some of them are resisting signing on, wary that he’ll decide again not to pull the trigger on a presidential bid and that their money might be better spent elsewhere.
“They want to see clear moves that his own campaign is underway before writing him more checks. That’s not coming anytime soon: though Biden has mapped out ambitious plans to help Democrats running in this year’s midterms, he hasn’t set a timeline for deciding on a 2020 bid, let alone decided to run, according to four people who’ve spoken with him.”
“The questions about Biden’s political plans continue as he and his staff, in consultation with Democratic leaders in Washington and aides to Barack Obama, have begun making plans for the next nine months that will likely make the former vice president the most active high-profile Democratic surrogate on the trail. Requests have been pouring in from candidates for governor, Senate, House, state attorney general, state legislature and even secretary of state, and his staff is vetting them all.”
In addition, “Biden is preparing for an active fundraising push for his American Possibilities PAC through a series of events around the country, beginning Feb. 14 with a ‘breakfast and conversation’ in New York City. … Invited donors were told the session will be ‘limited to 20 people,’ but that hasn’t proved overly enticing to all who were asked.” (Politico)
Meanwhile, Biden said Tuesday “that if he were one of … President Trump’s attorneys, he would suggest Trump not consent to a special counsel interview for fear of being caught misleading investigators. ‘The President has some difficulty with precision,’ Biden said in an interview.” (CNN)
AGS. “One year into the Trump presidency, the nation’s 22 Democratic state attorneys general—including ambitious up-and-comers like New York’s Eric Schneiderman, California’s Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts’ Maura Healey— have emerged as the shock troops of the Democratic resistance.
“Democratic state attorneys general are bringing a growing string of lawsuits, complaints and other actions against the Trump administration on immigration, education policy, net neutrality, marijuana enforcement, offshore oil and gas drilling and more—and there’s no end in sight.”
“For many attorneys general, it’s a political no-brainer: Leading or joining a legal fight against a Trump edict is winning politics in Democratic-leaning states, and the role of attorney general is often a stepping stone to governor or other offices. Check the roster of co-signatories on any major lawsuit against the administration and you’ll see Schneiderman, Becerra, Healey amid names that are often mentioned as future gubernatorial candidates.” (Politico)
HOLDER. Former Attorney General Eric Holder (D) will decide by the end of the year whether or not to run for office, he told reporters at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Wednesday. Asked if he was considering running for president, he only responded: “We’ll see.” (Hotline reporting)
BOOKER. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) will “serve as a keynote speaker for the Friends of Mississippi Gala for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum” in Jackson on Feb. 24. (Mississippi News Now)
BULLOCK. Montana Gov Steve Bullock (D) on 2020: “It’s presumptuous to be talking about it, but at the same time it’s interesting to get to be part of that conversation.” (Montana Standard)
NORTH CAROLINA. “A complaint filed with the state Board of Elections on Tuesday alleges that Indivisible-Flip NC has been raising money and improperly coordinating efforts with the state Democratic Party without filing paperwork with the elections board and disclosing its donors. The complaint was filed by Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.”
“Woodhouse wrote in his complaint that he couldn’t find any evidence the group had filed paperwork with federal or state agencies. ‘According to their published toolkit, they were handing out information that identified candidates and included a disclaimer alluding to the organization status [as] an official independent expenditure organization,’ Woodhouse wrote, linking to a ‘toolkit’ published on the Flip NC website.
“The state elections board, through spokesman Pat Gannon, confirmed Tuesday that the board has not received any reports from Flip NC.” (Raleigh News & Observer)
BUDGET TALKS. “Democrats were scheduled to leave for Maryland’s Eastern Shore on Wednesday to kick off their three-day conference. But late Tuesday night, the caucus announced the whole event would instead be moved to D.C. to accommodate ongoing government funding negotiations.”
“It’s unclear what on Democrats’ retreat schedule will change—or if they’ll be able to recoup any of the costs for canceling the off-site event at the last minute. … Biden was scheduled to headline the conference on Wednesday and is still expected to speak at the retreat in the Capitol, according to a Democratic aide.” (Politico)
MISSOURI. “Democrats won a Missouri special election on Tuesday for a state house seat in a district that … Trump won in a landslide victory during the presidential election. … Democratic Mike Revis defeated Republican David Linton by 3 points for the District 97 state representative seat in the Missouri House, a district Trump won by 28 points, according to the Missouri Secretary of State website and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. Since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats have flipped 35 contested seats, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said in a statement.” (Reuters)
HARASSMENT. “The House on Tuesday approved a bipartisan legislative package that significantly reshapes the chamber’s system for handling internal workplace misconduct, including a requirement that lawmakers pay for their own harassment settlements.
“The pair of harassment measures that passed by voice vote include a resolution, crafted to change House rules right away without requiring Senate action, that establishes an Office of Employee Advocacy to represent victims of alleged workplace misconduct. The second piece of legislation, a bill that now goes to the Senate for consideration, would require lawmakers to personally pay harassment settlements stemming from their behavior—and mandate broader public reporting of past harassment payouts.” (Politico)
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"As President Trump builds his team for 2020, he has asked Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel to serve a second term, according to a source familiar with the conversation. The source said Trump praised McDaniel's work on behalf of the America First Agenda, effective management of the party infrastructure, and record grassroots engagement and fundraising."
"President Trump said he plans to call Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump spoke on Saturday during an appearance in the Oval Office with Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was recently released by the Turkish government."
Asked by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes on Sunday night, President Trump said he thought he treated Dr. Christine Blasey Ford fairly, even as he was accused of poking fun of her at a rally. He then declined to address the issue further, saying "I'm not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn't matter. We won."
"The Turkish government has told U.S. officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month, according to U.S. and Turkish officials. The recordings show that a Saudi security team ... killed him and dismembered his body, the officials said." Late Thursday, Turkey agreed to form a joint committee with Saudi Arabia to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, signaling Saudi Arabia's likely intent to preempt sanctions from the United States. Members of Congress have asked President Trump curb weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.