Democratic leaders “moved swiftly on Wednesday to prevent a combative sequel to the party’s primary for mayor, as union officials and party leaders rallied around” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) and former Comptroller Bill Thompson (D) “to end his quest for a runoff election. On a day of back-room maneuvering and deal-making, Mr. Thompson’s own inner circle appeared divided over how, or even whether, to proceed, with his campaign. Mr. Thompson vowed to press on,” but Thompson campaign chairwoman Merryl Tisch said de Blasio had won a “clear victory” and suggested the race was over. Tisch: “I don’t think there’s much appetite within the Democratic Party to have a fight here.” Al Sharpton, a longtime Thompson ally, “encouraged him to give up his campaign, and an influential labor group, the Hotel Trades Council, endorsed Mr. de Blasio.”
But Thompson “found some measure of hope in the uncertain election outcome. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. de Blasio had won 40.3 percent of the vote, just over the 40 percent required by law to avoid a runoff, but there were more than 16,000 paper ballots, some still arriving by mail, that could push Mr. de Blasio below that threshold when they are counted next week.” Thompson: “I want to make sure that every voice is heard, that every vote is counted.” (New York Times)
“Sticking by Mr. Thompson on Wednesday was the United Federation of Teachers, the powerful municipal union that threw their support to him.” (Wall Street Journal)
LONG WAIT: “The counting process will begin on Friday, when the Board of Elections will double-check the count of votes cast on lever machines at polling places. Then, on Monday, the board will begin tallying paper ballots, although it is not clear exactly how many ballots there will be to count.” (New York Times)
“Already some 19,000 valid absentee ballots have been received, and they will continue rolling in until next Tuesday. This means it likely won’t be until Wednesday at the earliest that all votes are counted, and we know whether Bill de Blasio indeed clears the 40 percent threshold.” (NY1)
JOE’S NEW FRIENDS: Many business executives fear that de Blasio’s proposals “could jeopardize New York’s economic progress of the past two decades.” This concern could benefit former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota (R), who “has accused his potential opponent of advancing an agenda that has ‘historically brought our city to the brink of bankruptcy and rampant civic decay.’” (Wall Street Journal)
Lhota’s campaign is “preparing to launch a national fundraising” effort. One source: “There will be a national excitement because Joe is a different type of Republican.” Sources said that “New Yorkers for Proven Leadership,” a pro-Lhota PAC, “will begin airing television ads to promote Lhota as soon as de Blasio officially clinches the Democratic nomination.” (New York Post)
Lhota also “plans to reach out to the Rev. Al Sharpton and create a Democrats for Lhota organization. … Aides said that Lhota intends to reach out to Sharpton — a gesture that his former boss, Rudy Giuliani, refused to do during his eight years as mayor.” Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said her boss would be open to meeting with Lhota. (New York Daily News)
— Kevin Brennan
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President Trump added five new names to his Supreme Court short list on Friday, should a need arise to appoint a new justice. The list now numbers 25 individuals. They are: 7th Circuit Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt C. Grant, District of Columbia Circuit Appeals Court Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, 11th Circuit Appeals Judge Kevin C. Newsom, and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick.
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday the Justice Department will revamp its policy for issuing guidance documents. Speaking at the Federalist Society’s annual conference in Washington Friday, Sessions said the Justice Department will no longer issue guidance that 'purports to impose new obligations on any party outside the executive branch.' He said DOJ will review and repeal any documents that could violate this policy." Sessions said: “Too often, rather than going through the long, slow, regulatory process provided in statute, agencies make new rules through guidance documents—by simply sending a letter. This cuts off the public from the regulatory process by skipping the required public hearings and comment periods—and it is simply not what these documents are for. Guidance documents should be used to explain existing law—not to change it.”
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."