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The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020

The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020
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Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail.

On Thursday, May 21, The Hill hosts Advancing the American Economy, a national virtual summit to discuss a responsible reopening of the US economy. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate MORE joins Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association -Trump enters debate week after NYT obtains his tax returns The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE for a headline interview followed by an afternoon of discussions with leading CEOs and national health experts. Additional speakers to be announced. Register Now!    

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LEADING THE DAY: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Campaign Report: Two weeks to the election l Biden leads in new polls as debate looms l Trump pressures DOJ on Hunter Biden Trump remarks put pressure on Barr Meadows says Trump did not order declassification of Russia documents MORE said Monday that he does not expect a criminal investigation into former President Obama or former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE as part of U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamTrump remarks put pressure on Barr Trump demands Barr investigate Hunter Biden Juan Williams: Trump's search for dirt falls flat MORE’s probe into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russia in 2016.

But don’t expect the issue to go away any time soon.

Obama and Biden were among those who received a classified intelligence report identifying Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on a phone call with the former Russian ambassador.

Trump’s allies have accused Obama of illicitly using the intelligence community and news media to sabotage the incoming Trump administration in early 2017.

The “unmasking” of Flynn was not a crime — it is common for top level administration officials with access to classified intelligence reports to make and receive unmasking requests. However, leaking a classified report to the news media is a crime, and there is speculation that Durham is investigating who leaked details about the Flynn call to The Washington Post.

Republicans, including Barr, view the scores of leaks and investigations into Trump’s dealings with Russia as meant to undermine his presidency.

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They’re worried about intelligence leaks harming Trump in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Democrats, meanwhile, are worried that Russia will once again be looking to interfere on Trump’s behalf in the 2020 election.

They believe Barr has politicized the DOJ and see the intelligence community as a buffer against what they view as Trump’s lawlessness.

Expect those arguments to play out fiercely over the course of the rest of the year, with Democrats worried that law enforcement is working against them and Republicans worried about sabotage from the intelligence community and leaks to the news media.

-- Jonathan Easley

 

READ MORE:

Barr doesn't expect Obama, Biden investigations, by Morgan Chalfant.

Trump attacks Biden with new, true crime-styled website, by Julia Manchester.

Five unanswered questions on COVID-19 and the 2020 elections, by Niall Stanage.

Trump, Biden signal bitter general election with latest attack ads, by Tal Axelrod.

Democrats worry Biden will be defined by Trump attacks, by Amie Parnes.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Stephen MooreStephen MooreSunday shows - Trump Michigan rally grabs the spotlight Moore: Trump has to be on 'best behavior' for final presidential debate If the election depends on the economy, the results favor Trump MORE: Democrats will pay a price with voters for hurting the economy.

Jessica Tarlov: Trump’s ignorance as strength.

J.T. Young: Now is the time for the left’s third-party run.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielTrump's scorched earth style overshadows campaign's message in final weeks Sunday shows - Trump Michigan rally grabs the spotlight RNC chairwoman: Republicans should realize distancing themselves from Trump 'is hurting themselves in the long run' MORE is ruling out the possibility of a virtual convention amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Hill's Rebecca Klar reports.

Biden said on Monday that he would rescind the Keystone XL Pipeline permit if elected, undercutting a major priority for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE. The pipeline, which would deliver oil from Canada to the U.S., has been blocked in court and is facing an appeal from the Trump administration. Rebecca Beitsch reports.

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Biden on Monday also accused Trump of “fanning the flames” of “hate, fear and xenophobia” against Asian Americans during the coronavirus outbreak. Jonathan reports.

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House votes to condemn alleged hysterectomies on migrant women House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (L-Mich.) has decided against a third-party presidential run, saying on Saturday that  the “circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate,” Tal reports reports. Amash revealed last month that he was exploring a bid for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released its latest list of House and Senate endorsements exclusively to The Hill on Monday, marking the one-year anniversary of the House’s passage of the Equality Rights Act. In the Senate races, the group endorsed Kansas State Sen. Barbara Bollier and former North Carolina State Sen. Cal Cunningham, both Democrats, as well as Democratic incumbent Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSchumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (Ill.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Hillicon Valley: Twitter tightens rules before election | Intelligence chief briefed lawmakers on foreign influence threats | Democrats launch inquiry into Pentagon's moves on a national 5G network Senate Democrat raises concerns around Universal Health Services breach MORE (Va.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenJustice indicts two members of ISIS 'Beatles' cell ISIS militants expected to be sent to US for prosecution: report New Hampshire poll finds Biden up 8 points over Trump MORE (N.H.). In the House, the group has endorsed a number of Democratic lawmakers facing uphill reelection bids, including Reps. Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerCentrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (Iowa) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test Chamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (S.C.), and Virginia Reps. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOn The Money: Sides tiptoe towards a COVID deal, but breakthrough appears distant | Expiring benefits raise stakes of stimulus talks | Stocks fade with eyes on Capitol Democrat urges IRS to quickly process Gold Star families' refund requests Chamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch MORE and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerChamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch Spanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter Murphy: Russia will become more of a threat to US election while Trump is in quarantine MORE. See the full list here.

Prominent Republicans and conservative outside groups are lining up in droves behind Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingHillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it Steve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech MORE’s (R-Iowa) primary challenger Randy Feenstra, eager to do away with a long-time lawmaker who party insiders see as a thorn in their side, Jonathan reports. Party leaders such as Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveNewt Gingrich: Albert Hunt's wrong about Republicans' responses The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden set for dueling town halls amid battleground blitz Wireless industry calls on Trump to oppose efforts to nationalize 5G amid Pentagon push MORE and Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power Business groups back pandemic insurance bill modeled on post-9/11 law National Retail Federation hosts virtual 'store tours' for lawmakers amid coronavirus MORE (R-Ohio), the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), have given money to Feenstra and national groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are spending heavily to boost him ahead of the June 2 primary.

 

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MONEY WATCH:

Progressives are embracing super PACs like never before as they look for ways to wield influence over the 2020 election cycle in the wake of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting Calls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters MORE’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports. Among the groups that have popped up over the past month are America’s Promise PAC, led by Sanders’s senior adviser Jeff Weaver, and Nuestro PAC, led by former Sanders adviser Chuck Rocha. Justice Democrats, the liberal group aligned closely with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill | Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan | Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes Ocasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting MORE (D-N.Y.), has also filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to start a so-called Carey Committee, similar to a super PAC.

The Committee to Protect Medicare is pumping six figures into a new digital ad running in Florida, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin attacking Trump for talking about winding down his coronavirus task force. “If Donald Trump wants to retire from coronavirus duty, we can retire him for good this November,” the ad states. After initially saying he would bring the task force to an end, Trump backtracked and has since added several new members to the team. Democrats view Florida, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin as battleground states that Trump won in 2016 that Biden is positioned to win back in 2020.

Watch the Committee to Protect Medicare ad HERE.

 

POLL WATCH:

FTI CONSULTING-PRESIDENTIAL

Who do you trust more to lead the country through the COVID-19 pandemic?

Trump: 41 percent

Biden: 38 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

May 19:

Oregon primaries

Idaho primaries

 

May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary

 

June 2:

Delaware primaries

District of Columbia primaries

Indiana primaries

Maryland primaries

Montana primaries

New Mexico primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

South Dakota primaries

 

June 9:

Georgia primaries

West Virginia primaries

 

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

 

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

 

July 11:

Louisiana

 

July 14:

Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff

 

August 11:

Connecticut primary

 

August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

August 24-27:

Republican National Convention

 

One hopeful thing

A Georgia nonprofit is looking to help the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Good News Network reports that Love Beyond Walls has installed a number of portable sinks where homeless individuals can wash their hands across Atlanta in March.

And since then, the effort spread to a number of other U.S. cities including Columbus, Ohio; Austin,Texas; New Orleans and Baltimore when the group’s founder Terence Lester teamed up with hip-hop musician Lecrae.

Love Beyond Walls says they have hopes of installing more portable sinks over the next few months.