“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a vote sparing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation after President Trump rescinded the program in September.”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)
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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!'"