President Trump announced that he plans to speak at an Independence Day event at the Lincoln Memorial: “We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called ‘A Salute To America’ and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
What’s next? Is he going to schedule a national dinner in his honor on Thanksgiving?
“An attempt at an Electoral College workaround is gaining momentum in the Mountain West,” NPR reports.
“Democrats in Colorado and New Mexico are pushing ahead with legislation to pledge their 14 collective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote — no matter who wins each state. The plan only goes into effect if the law passes in states representing an electoral majority. That threshold is 270 votes, which is the same number needed to win the presidency.”
“So far, 11 states — including New York, California and New Jersey — have joined the effort along with the District of Columbia, putting the effort 98 votes short of its goal. Colorado appears poised to join as the 12th state.”
“As she moves swiftly to build a juggernaut in her home state, California Sen. Kamala Harris is revealing what looks like an audacious strategy for delivering a mortal blow to her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination next March,” NBC News reports.
“It relies on her geographical edge at home, her perceived demographic advantage in the South and a primary calendar that brings them together on March 3 — known as ‘Super Tuesday’ because it is the date on which the most delegates to the party’s convention are in play in primaries across the country.”
“California voters alone will send more than 400 delegates to the convention, nearly double second-ranking Texas, and Harris, who is one of two African-American candidates in the race, is likely to have a shot at consolidating the black electorates in Southern states voting on Super Tuesday, including Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.”
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) told CBS News that he was worried President Trump may give up more concessions than he receives in his summit this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Said Markey: “Right now, it’s pretty clear that Kim wants to have a personal meeting with Trump with hopes that he can, in fact, elicit concessions from President Trump that might not otherwise be possible if it was just our diplomats talking one on one.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told ABC News that House Democrats will subpoena special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress if his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is not made public.
Said Schiff: “Well, we will obviously subpoena the report. We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress. We will take it to court if necessary. And in the end, I think the Department of Justice understands they’re going to have to make this public. I think Attorney General William Barr will ultimately understand that, as well.”
“We know he’s indicted 37 people and 199 different counts, including Trump’s inner circle. People like Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, Paul Manafort, his campaign manager, Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer. So if this is a witch hunt Mueller’s found a coven at this point.”
— Former acting Solicitor General Neil Katyal, on Meet the Press.
New York Times: “Dozens of interviews, court filings and other documents show Konstantin Kilimnik to be an operator who moved easily between Russian, Ukrainian and American patrons, playing one off the other while leaving a jumble of conflicting suspicions in his wake. The effort to disentangle the mysteries surrounding him seems likely to leave questions even after the conclusion of the special counsel’s work.”
“The Daleys collectively ruled Chicago for a total of four decades, dating back to the 1950s. Now, after a brief interregnum, the family reign might be extended. Bill Daley, the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, is emerging as a late contender in the crowded Feb. 26 mayoral race, a contest featuring 14 people vying to succeed two-term Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” Politico reports.
“With the race in the nation’s third-largest city just two days away, Daley — who hopes to advance the legacy left by his father, the original ‘Boss,’ Richard J. Daley, and his brother, Richard M. Daley — has shot toward the front of the pack. After first barely registering in the polls, he now stands a strong chance of being one of the top two finishers to advance to a runoff election.”
Chicago Tribune: “The lack of electoral clarity makes it likely no candidate will receive more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, leaving the top two finishers to face off in an April 2 runoff election. Further complicating the picture are signs that Chicagoans haven’t been all that interested so far in the historically competitive race — at least when it comes to early voting.”
“The White House plans to create an ad hoc group of select federal scientists to reassess the government’s analysis of climate science and counter its conclusions that the continued burning of fossil fuels is harming the planet,” the Washington Post reports.
“The National Security Council initiative would include scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem… The group would not be subject to the same level of public disclosure as a formal advisory committee.”
“The move would represent the Trump administration’s most forceful effort to date to challenge the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are helping drive global warming.”
“U.S. trade officials are looking to knock down speculation of a split on China policy between President Trump and his lead trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, following a testy exchange between the two in the Oval Office,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The incident occurred in front of reporters Friday afternoon, as the president and cabinet officials met with China’s top trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, to announce that talks aimed at settling the U.S.-China trade dispute were making progress and would be extended through the weekend.”
“Mr. Trump appeared to upbraid Mr. Lighthizer, who said he was negotiating memorandums of understanding with China.”
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), campaigning Saturday in Iowa ahead of a possible presidential run, dismissed the idea that he might end up running for Senate instead in 2020, Politico reports.
Said Hickenlooper: “I’m not cut out to be a senator. Senators don’t build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups, which is important, right? But I’m not sure that’s my — I’m a doer. That’s what gives me joy.”
Senate Democratic leaders have approached Hickenlooper about running against Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).