“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commandeered the House floor Wednesday for a day-into-night marathon plea to Republicans for action on immigration, casting the fate of young undocumented immigrants in moral terms.
“The 77-year-old Pelosi stood for more than eight hours, reading multiple personal stories from ‘dreamers’ and citing Bible passages. Her speech ranked as the longest given by a member of the House of Representatives in at least a century, possibly ever, focusing on an issue that has vexed Democrats for months.
“The speech underscored that Democrats lack the leverage they insisted they would have in spending showdowns with Republicans. Pelosi and others repeatedly promised immigration activists and the party base they would force a vote sparing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation after President Trump rescinded the program in September.”
“Pelosi, who began talking shortly after 10 a.m., sought the same assurances Democrats have gotten in the Senate—the promise of debate on an immigration bill, the one glimmer of hope on an issue that seems to defy resolution.” (Washington Post)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) “said a budget deal is unacceptable without protection for the young undocumented immigrants and he wants Pelosi to pressure other Democrats to vote no. … However, another Democratic lawmaker said some members didn’t want Pelosi to make a stand on immigration after the party took a political hit over forcing last month’s three-day shutdown.” (Bloomberg)
OVER IN THE SENATE. Senate Democrats “have long been more resigned to the reality that a fiscal deal ultimately wouldn’t include legal protections for Dreamers. But that doesn’t mean Senate liberals were thrilled about the timing of the budget accord,” which also occurred on Wednesday. “Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said in an interview that she was ‘extremely frustrated’ about the lack of progress on Dreamers and reiterated she would not vote for any spending measure that left out Dreamers.
“‘It tells me that we still got a lot of fighting to do to make sure that we keep our promise to DACA recipients and give them protection and not deport them when we promised them that we would not deport them,’ said Harris, who’s made immigration a signature issue during her short tenure on Capitol Hill.
“Broadly speaking, the agreement to raise budget caps would constitute a win for both parties, giving Democrats a domestic boost they wanted while handing Republicans their long-sought hike in Pentagon spending.” (Politico)
BIDEN. On Wednesday, focusing on Trump during a speech to rally House Democrats, former Vice President Joe Biden “hit the President as a narcissistic, divisive force that threatens the ‘moral fabric’ of America.
“‘Who in God’s name would have thought we would be here at this moment with this President? We have a President who is consumed by his political survival,’ he said. ‘Everything is run through the filter of how it affects Donald Trump in Donald Trump’s mind.’ With ‘his closed and clannish nationalism’ and ‘ugly and phony populism,’ Biden argued, Trump was shredding ‘decency’ and ‘honesty.’” (CNN)
DELANEY. On Thursday, Rep. John Delaney’s (D-MD) “third campaign spot will air in Iowa. … The ad titled ‘Jobs’ highlights Delaney’s success as an entrepreneur.” (release)
KANDER. Let America Vote President Jason Kander will return to New Hampshire later in February. He has also made several hires in the state, including “Brendan Summers, Let America Vote’s current campaigns director … formerly the Iowa Caucus Director and Caucus States Director for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign,” and “Ashley Marcoux, New Hampshire Field Director” who was previously “an organizer for Hillary Clinton in Concord during the 2016 presidential primary and a Regional Organizing Director with the New Hampshire Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign in Manchester during the general election.” (WMUR)
OPRAH. “Oprah Winfrey, once again, has shut down the prospect of a presidential bid. On Wednesday, during a conversation with Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, she said is not running for office, Refinery29 writer Arianna Davis tweeted. ‘You heard it here first: Oprah just confirmed at her live chat with Lin Manuel Miranda at #SuperSoulConversations in NYC that she is NOT running for office. #Oprah2020.’ … Oprah Winfrey Network’s senior communications director, Chelsea Hettrick, confirmed … the content of the tweet.” (CNN)
What We're Following See More »
"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."