Former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s (D) “political organization is targeting six high-profile members of Congress this fall … in a 2018 midterm strategy that will use high school students to challenge Republican lawmakers it blames for blocking efforts to curb gun violence.” The group “says it plans to spend at least $10 million to influence the November elections.” The targets: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI 01) and Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO 06), Vern Buchanan (R-FL 16), Pete Sessions (R-TX 32), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10). Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly “plan to visit each of the targeted districts in the coming weeks to rally voters against the Republican incumbents, Ambler said. Their group will also fund TV and online advertising, a series of local events and voter registration drives to keep the pressure on.” (AP)
SAVE THE DATE. Former Vice President Joe Biden will headline two DCCC fundraisers, according to invites that just went out to donors. One is set for Thursday night in New York and another is March 21 in Virginia. (Politico)
IN THE MIDDLE. Former Reps. Bob Dold (R-IL 10) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA 08) have “started a new nonprofit that will provide more air cover for centrist Republicans this year.” American Solutions Action Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit social welfare organization, “already has digital spots touting the work of two vulnerable GOP women sitting in Clinton districts. A 15-second ad urges viewers to thank” Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA 45) “for being a leader ‘who will protect women from sexual harassment.’ A similar 30-second ad praises” Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10) “as a ‘leader who will hold those accountable, no matter which political party they are from.’” The group “is spending about $100,000 combined on the two digital spots.” (Roll Call)
IDEOLOGIC BATTLE. “In dozens of primary races across the country, Democrats are arguing not just over what their party should stand for, but over the related question of whether the new radicalism or the old centrism is better for winning elections. The traditional playbook is to nominate Democrats who can appeal to Republicans and independents, because in Republican-leaning districts, the theory goes, there simply aren’t enough Democrats … to propel a Democrat to victory in a midterm year without any crossover voters. Progressive groups contend the opposite, saying that it’s not a numbers issue but an excitement issue. A candidate running on a Sanders-esque agenda of things like single-payer health care and raising the minimum wage, those groups argue, can win by inspiring the electorate and turning out enough progressive voters to overcome any Republican lean in the district.” (BuzzFeed News)
GUN CONTROL. “As a renewed, nationwide push for gun control faces an uphill battle in Congress, some progressive outside groups are prodding Democrats to make gun restrictions a driving issue in the midterms. There are signs some candidates will take heed, using GOP inaction on guns as one piece of a larger case against the Republican-controlled Congress. … But many other Democrats worry that nationalizing the issue in the midterms would undercut some of their most vulnerable members — or hinder Democrats challenging GOP incumbents — in rural areas from Ohio and Indiana to Montana and California’s Yosemite Valley.” (Politico)
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President Trump announced that he is instructing the Pentagon to create a new "space force" independent service branch. "It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space," Trump said, "we must have American dominance in space." The new command will be the sixth branch of the U.S. Military, which currently includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
"Two longtime associates of President Donald Trump are now acknowledging a previously undisclosed contact in May 2016 with a Russian who they say offered dirt on Hillary Clinton. Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say they forgot to tell investigators about their contact with a Russian national who goes by the name Henry Greenberg — even though they say Greenberg offered to sell incriminating information to the Trump campaign for $2 million."
"President Trump plans to nominate Kathy Kraninger to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the White House said on Saturday. The post is currently held by interim director Mick Mulvaney, who also leads the Office of Management and Budget, where Kraninger is an associate director. Kraninger is expected to continue Mulvaney's push to make the bureau more business friendly."
"The Supreme Court on Monday passed up its two opportunities this term to rule on when and whether states violate the Constitution by drawing electoral maps that sharply favor one political party." In a dispute over Maryland's congressional map, the Supreme Court "upheld a district court judge’s decision not to grant a preliminary injunction" blocking the map. In the Wisconsin case Gill v. Whitford, the justices ruled that Democratic voters lacked standing to challenge the redrawn electoral boundaries at the Supreme Court. Seven justices
"agreed to give the challengers another shot at making their case in the lower courts."
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to keep his promise to divest from his company holdings upon entering government, a Forbes investigation has found. Ross reportedly kept his stakes in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a firm linked to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, and a Cyprus bank caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation. Forbes reports that Ross’s family continued to have an interest in these holdings while he dealt with China and Russia in his official role, even while knowing that his family’s fortunes were linked to the countries. Although the arrangements appear to be legal, Forbes says Ross may have broken the law by submitting a sworn statement to officials in November saying he divested of everything he promised he would. His spokesperson said Ross did not lie and has filed amended paperwork.