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 MnuchinFive questions about the next COVID-19 relief package Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE joins Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead On The Money: Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of needing another COVID-19 relief bill | 2.4 million more Americans file new jobless claims | Top bank regulator abruptly announces resignation Overnight Health Care: Trump says US won't close over second COVID-19 wave | Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of needing another COVID-19 relief bill | Why the US has the most reported coronavirus cases in the world 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump sides with religious leaders in fight against governors Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans MORE said Monday that he does not expect a criminal investigation into former President Obama or former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' How will COVID-19 affect the Hispanic vote come November? MORE as part of U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Trump 'surprised' Barr sees no criminal probe into Obama, Biden Barr doesn't expect Obama, Biden criminal investigations 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 MooreThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Sunday shows - Trump trade adviser knocks Obama, whistleblower, CDC Trump economist: 'Worst economic news is starting to get behind us' 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 McDanielStates push millions of people toward absentee voting amid pandemic RNC rakes in more than million in April The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump taking malaria drug; mayor eyes DC reopening 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 TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order 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 AmashThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Amash decides against Libertarian campaign for president The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - In reversal, Trump says he won't disband coronavirus task force 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 DurbinSenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Senate to try to pass fix for Paycheck Protection Program Thursday MORE (Ill.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerGrenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of another relief package; Warner says some businesses 'may not come back' at The Hill's Advancing America's Economy summit MORE (Va.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden seeks to tamp down controversy over remarks about black support MORE (N.H.). In the House, the group has endorsed a number of Democratic lawmakers facing uphill reelection bids, including Reps. Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerTrump lends support to swing district Republicans Iowa Democrat tops Ernst in early fundraising report The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 MORE (Iowa) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary The 14 Democrats who broke with their party on coronavirus relief vote MORE (S.C.), and Virginia Reps. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 House GOP lawmaker breaks with party to back proxy voting Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary MORE and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary The 14 Democrats who broke with their party on coronavirus relief vote MORE. See the full list here.

Prominent Republicans and conservative outside groups are lining up in droves behind Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingConservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans venture out as officials pin future on vaccine 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 RoveRove responds to reports he's advising Trump campaign The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Obama's Trump attacks electrify Democrats, anger GOP MORE and Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversHouse Republicans voice optimism on winning back the House following special election victories The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 GOP rallies behind effort to defeat Steve King 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 SandersBiden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal 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.