“In her first major national political move amid widespread assumption that she’s preparing a run for president, Elizabeth Warren announced Wednesday that she’s donated $5,000 to every state Democratic Party in the country.
“The Massachusetts senator announced the checks from her campaign account at a Democratic National Committee dinner in Washington. … Warren also wrote a $15,000 check to the Democratic National Committee, which in November she had accused of being ‘rigged’ for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The DNC has been struggling with fundraising, banking half as much as the Republican National Committee in 2017, and scrambling to invest in state parties to meet the promises made by DNC chair Tom Perez.” (Politico)
STEYER. Billionaire Democratic mega donor Tom Steyer has chosen battleground Ohio as his first stop in a series of 30 town halls across the country focused on impeaching President Trump. He intends to make the case that more people should engage across the political spectrum. He will then head to Washington, D.C. and New York, according to a person familiar with the itinerary. (Hotline reporting)
“At the town halls—which begin March 15 in Columbus—Steyer will make the patriotic case to Democrats, Independents, and Republicans about the need for impeachment and how the inaction of their elected leaders in Washington D.C. reflects a broader neglect of their constituents’ safety and the well-being of the entire nation. Another town hall will be held the next day in Cincinnati, followed by Arlington, VA on March 20. Other upcoming events will be held in New York on April 2, Oakland, CA on April 11, and Atlanta on April 19. The campaign will soon announce additional trips to Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.” (release)
2020 CONVENTION. “Top cities operatives are talking about for the 2020 political convention” for Democrats include: Minneapolis, St. Louis, Phoenix, Milwaukee, New York and Columbus. (Politico)
HARRIS. “One year into her stint in the Senate, the Democratic Party’s newest rising star—and one of its most buzzed-about potential 2020 hopefuls—” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) “has cut a profile that offers few clues about her political aspirations. Expectations for her are especially high given that Harris hails from California, the center of the resistance engaged in an ongoing battle with the Trump administration. … Though she’s not above taking swipes at … Trump, Harris appears more at home working with Senate Republicans than wrangling with them.”
“But the former prosecutor has developed a reputation as a serious-minded lawmaker who bones up on policy and can engage on substance. The 53-year-old freshman senator’s reluctance to engage in daily partisan warfare with congressional Republicans could be read as a canny political strategy—or a sign that she’s settling in for a lengthy Senate career rather than the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign. No one seems to know the answer for sure, including Harris herself.” (Politico)
For now, Harris is “headed to Vegas this weekend to help elect Dems up and down the ballot in Nevada.” (release)
GILLIBRAND. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “went out on a limb in a state far from home—she endorsed or contributed to seven female candidates in contested congressional primaries from El Paso to Houston— and came out with an unblemished record.” (Politico)
FEEL THE BERN. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “is warning the Democratic Party not to attack its own candidates in primary battles, as happened in a Houston-area congressional race.” He “said it’s ‘appalling’ that the party’s congressional campaign arm targeted” activist Laura Moser (D) “ahead of Tuesday’s primary election. Moser, an activist, is endorsed by Sanders’ Our Revolution group.”
Sanders: “That just continues the process of debasing the Democratic system in this country and is why so many people are disgusted with politics.” (AP)
BOOKER. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) “will be this year’s keynote speaker at the 63rd annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner, the Detroit branch of the NAACP announced Wednesday. The event, to be held on May 6 at Cobo Center, is the largest fundraiser for the Detroit branch.” (Detroit News)
Meanwhile, “a well-known New Hampshire lobbyist and long-time Democratic operative Jim Demers” says he favors Booker for 2020. … “He’s my favorite and my frontrunner,” he said. (WMUR)
ELLISON. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), “the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has replaced former congressman John Conyers Jr. as the sponsor of the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act. Early Wednesday afternoon, Ellison asked for and received unanimous consent to take over … the single-payer health bill that has become a focus of left-wing energy and is supported by most of the Democratic caucus.” (Washington Post)
LANDRIEU. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) “announced a public process to replace the Robert E. Lee monument that was removed from Lee Circle in May 2017. The process will be led by Colloqate Design, the Foundation for Louisiana and ‘other community partners.’” (Nola.com)
MERKLEY ON 2020. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said he is “keeping the option open” to run for president, but he’s going to New Hampshire because he was invited to speak. (KOIN 6)
DNC. Perez said “he opposes a bill to reform the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that has split Democrats in the Senate. … ‘We should continue as we currently are’” he said. (Washington Examiner)
CONNECTICUT. The DNC “announced it was giving the Connecticut Democratic Party $50,000 to modernize its training and support.” (CT News Junkie)
FLORIDA. “Florida lawmakers gave final passage to a $400 million gun control and school safety bill on Wednesday in defiance of the National Rifle Association, which opposed the legislation’s firearm restrictions. The bipartisan vote came three weeks after a gunman killed 17 people in a rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.” (New York Times)
ILLINOIS. The Illinois Democratic Party “has unleashed a wave of attacks on fellow Democrats in local races, with state party chair Michael Madigan funding mailers knocking several progressive candidates as Donald Trump stooges and foot soldiers in the tea party.” (The Intercept)
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"Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a 'lack of candor,'" McCabe launched a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions withheld information from Congress regarding his contact with Russian operatives. "Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them" during his testimony, "and called on federal authorities to investigate." When Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, "several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe."
The Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, or SESTA, by a vote of 97-2. The bill now heads to the White House, where President Trump is expected to sign it into law. SESTA lifts federal immunity for internet platforms involved in sex trafficking, "a move that prosecutors, victims and anti-trafficking activists are heralding as an essential step in cracking down on the crime." Opponents of SESTA argue had argued that lifting the immunity could open websites up to lawsuits based on user-generated content, which could lead to a crackdown on free speech.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg responded to reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the personal data of 50 million users, and kept the data after being told by the social media company to delete it. "I started Facebook," wrote Zuckerberg, "and at the end of the day I'm responsible for what happens on our platform ... While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn't change what happened in the past." On Monday, Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for “Mr. Zuckerberg and other CEOs” to testify "about social media manipulation in the 2016 election."