“Former vice president Joe Biden is expected to announce soon whether he will seek the White House in 2020. On Saturday night, he seemed — for a moment — to get ahead of himself,” the Washington Post reports.
Said Biden: “I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United . . . anybody who would run.”
“The crowd at a ballroom at the Dover Downs casino complex began to cheer, as Biden laughed and crossed himself.”
Beto O’Rourke floated an idea for restructuring the Supreme Court, NBC News reports. Said O’Rourke: “What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five Justices selected by Republicans, and those 10 then picked five more justices independent of those who chose the first 10? I think that’s an idea that we should explore.”
Washington Post: “The gathering, which cost the inaugural committee roughly $8,000 a person, was the brainchild of billionaire Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Trump’s close friend and his inaugural committee chairman, and gave foreign guests an unparalleled chance to mingle with the incoming vice president, other members of the new administration and lawmakers.”
“The dinner was an extravagant symbol of Trump’s inaugural festivities, which involved record fundraising, lavish spending and a large concentration of foreign guests. Now, state, federal and congressional investigators are scrutinizing those issues as part of five inquiries of activities related to the inaugural committee.”
Denver Post: “We endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner in 2014 because we believed he’d be a statesman. We knew he’d be a conservative voice in Congress, to be certain, but we thought his voice would bring ‘fresh leadership, energy and ideas.’ We see now that was a mistake – consider this our resolution of disapproval.”
Politico: “First a government shutdown re-focused public attention on President Donald Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall — a major issue to Democratic voters and a signature concern of O’Rourke’s. Then Trump flew to El Paso to rally support for the wall, all but daring O’Rourke to confront him in his home town.”
“The result — a protest rally that drew thousands of supporters — confirmed to O’Rourke the durability of his appeal to Democrats beyond the 2018 Senate campaign. It offered the border-state politician a rationale for a campaign focused heavily on immigration. And it marked a turning point in O’Rourke’s deliberations about a run for president.”
“Privately, O’Rourke’s advisers were struck by the tenor of the crowd at his rally. The chants and placards were less about opposing Trump than encouraging to O’Rourke to run for president. And the candidate himself began to overcome concerns about the demands a campaign would place on his family.”
“President Trump tried to marshal his most potent weapon — himself — to stave off what eventually became an embarrassing rejection from his own party over his declared national emergency on the border,” the Washington Post reports.
“In numerous calls with Republican senators in recent days, the president spoke of the battle almost exclusively in personal terms — telling them they would be voting against him while brushing aside constitutional concerns over his attempt to reroute billions of federal dollars for a border wall. He argued that a vote against the emergency would be seen by GOP supporters as being against border security and the wall and would hurt their own political fortunes.”
“But it wasn’t enough, as a dozen Republicans joined Democrats in dealing Trump a humiliating blow by voting Thursday to nullify the national emergency, setting up what is likely to be the first veto of his presidency.”
New York Times: “Far from the power centers of Washington, the early 2020 primary states or the money-rich coastal cities that fund many national campaigns, a shift in the political winds is growing stronger.”
“The Republican Party and its candidates, particularly in state and local campaigns, are increasingly being reshaped in President Trump’s image, adopting his laundry list of political opponents and his willingness to go to great lengths to spite them.”
“But the most common reflection of Mr. Trump’s brand of grievance politics… was the pervasive belief that the country is being undermined by undeserving outsiders and the Democrats who represent them.”
The Hill: “Senators [left] Thursday and will return to Washington on March 25. The Senate will vote on whether or not to take up the Green New Deal resolution after they wrap up consideration of a circuit court nominee.”
“The Green New Deal will need 60 votes to get over the procedural hurdle, something it stands little chance of doing in a GOP-controlled Senate where most Democrats are expected to vote present and Republicans won’t support it.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested he will protect President Trump’s privacy if he receives a request from House Democrats for Trump’s tax returns, NBC News reports. Said Mnuchin: “We will examine the request and we will follow the law… and we will protect the president as we would protect any taxpayer.”
Pete Buttigieg (D) said that his campaign raised enough individual donors to guarantee a spot at the first Democratic Party debate of the 2020 cycle, The Hill reports.
“Buttigieg, who is exploring a White House bid but has not officially announced a campaign, announced Saturday that his team had received more than 76,000 individual donations, passing the 65,000 individual threshold set by the Democratic National Committee.”
President Trump claimed that he encouraged House Republicans to vote in favor of a resolution calling on the Justice Department to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report public — despite tweeting a day earlier that the special counsel “should never have been appointed” and that “there should be no Mueller Report,” Politico reports.
Said Trump on Twitter: “On the recent non-binding vote (420-0) in Congress about releasing the Mueller Report, I told leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency. Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter. Play along with the game!”
Washington Examiner: “Leading Democrats are elbowing President Trump out of the way and commanding more of the media’s attention, a development that ironically is helping Trump by reducing the relentless and often harsh spotlight on him.”
“The Democratic rise to power in the House of Representatives plus the party’s spirited presidential primary is competing with Trump for news coverage and on social media platforms… This shift from the previous two years, when the president dominated the political conversation, is a welcome relief for many top Republicans. They are convinced that Trump cannot win re-election if the campaign is a referendum on him.”
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) is “all but certain” to enter next year’s race for U.S. Senate and take on incumbent Republican John Cornyn, Texas Monthly reports.
“The move would profoundly change the dynamics of the 2020 campaign and put Texas squarely on center stage, with two Texans already in the Democratic primary race and Joaquin taking on a longtime Republican senator who many see as vulnerable, especially during a presidential election year.”