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What Now?! – 7/1/19

“President Trump became the first sitting American commander in chief to set foot in North Korea on Sunday as he greeted Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader, at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone and the two agreed to send their negotiators back to the table to seek a long-elusive nuclear agreement,” the New York Times reports.

“Met in the middle by a beaming Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump stepped across a low concrete marker at 3:46 p.m. local time and walked 20 steps to the base of a building on the North Korean side for an encounter carried live on international television — an unprecedented, camera-friendly demonstration of friendship intended to revitalize stalled talks.”

“Senate Republicans are struggling to unite behind a plan to fund the government after budget talks have ground to a halt,” The Hill reports.

“Congress has until the end of September to prevent the second government closure of the year, but Republicans are struggling to overcome the first roadblock — agreeing to topline defense and nondefense figures or deciding what comes next if they can’t.”

“The drama over how to fund the government and avoid deep budget cuts has played out in private, closed-door meetings and put a public spotlight on the high-profile split among Republicans as well as with the White House about the best path to avoiding a shutdown.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) questioned whether Joe Biden could be a uniter on race if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination, accusing him of having an “inability to talk candidly about the mistakes he made,” NBC News reports.

Said Booker: “Whoever our nominee is going to be, whoever our next president is going to be, really needs to be someone who can talk openly and honestly about race. I’m not sure if Joe Biden is up to that task given the way the last three weeks have played out.”

A new Morning Consult poll finds Joe Biden leading the Democratic presidential race with 33%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19% and Kamala Harris at 12%.

“Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign announced Saturday that it raised $2 million in 24 hours following her breakout moment in Thursday’s 2020 Democratic debate,” CNN reports.

“The donations came from more than 63,000 people — over half of those, 58%, were first time donors, according to the campaign.”

Kansas State Sen. Barbara Bollier (D), who switched parties last year, sat down with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this week to discuss a possible run for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, McClatchy reports.

Bollier discussed the open Senate seat, created by the retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, during a trip to Washington, D.C.

New York Times: “Barely a week ago, he was in theory a marked man, fingered by the United Nations as the probable mastermind behind one of the most grisly and sensational murders of recent years. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has been wandering around the world stage in Japan the last couple of days hobnobbing with presidents and prime ministers as if he were just another leader deliberating on economics and energy.”

“No one is more important to Saudi efforts to rehabilitate their de facto ruler after the bone-saw killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi than President Trump, who joshed around with the crown prince during a summit photo session on Friday and hosted him for a personal breakfast on Saturday morning where he lavished praise on the prince as a reformer opening up his society.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) faces an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee for a tweet that appeared to threaten President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen with blackmail, Roll Call reports.

“The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it would establish an investigative subcommittee to review whether the Florida Republican, a staunch ally of the president, sought to intimidate Cohen before he testified before the House Oversight and Reform panel. The Ethics Committee had sought an interview with Gaetz, but he declined, triggering the investigation.”

“A federal judge on Friday issued a ruling blocking the Trump administration from tapping billions of dollars in military funds to construct a wall on the United States’ southern border,” The Hill reports.

“U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam issued the permanent injunction in a California federal court, after initially ruling last month to temporarily halt the administration’s use of military funds for the border wall.”

“Plans by President Trump to reshape Washington’s Independence Day celebration now include an area in front of the Lincoln Memorial reserved for dignitaries, family and friends that will be accessible only through tickets distributed by the White House,” the Washington Post reports.

“The VIP section will stretch roughly from the steps of the memorial to the midpoint of the reflecting pool, according to the U.S. Secret Service.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Face the Nation that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) will be “a force to be reckoned with” following her strong performance in the first Democratic debate this week.

Said Graham: “One thing I’ll say about Kamala Harris, and I said this before, she’s got game. She is very talented, she’s very smart, and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”

“The Democratic debates this past week provided the clearest evidence yet that many of the leading presidential candidates are breaking with the incremental politics of the Clinton and Obama eras, and are embracing sweeping liberal policy changes on some of the most charged public issues in American life, even at the risk of political backlash,” the New York Times reports.

“Vowing to eliminate private health insurance, decriminalize illegal immigration and provide government health care benefits to undocumented migrants, high-profile contenders like Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are wagering that they can energize voters eager to dismantle President Trump’s hard-line policies.”

“But with moderate Democrats repeatedly drowned out or on the defensive in the debates, the sprint to the left has deeply unnerved establishment Democrats, who have largely picked the party nominees in recent decades.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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