The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders repeats with NH primary win, but with narrower victory




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Wednesday! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

The New Hampshire Democratic primary buoyed the prospects of three candidates on Tuesday, winnowing a crowded field while also scrambling the top-tier in a race that promises to be waged in the coming weeks through Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday after a muddled beginning in Iowa. 


Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClub for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Inequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift In defense of incrementalism: A call for radical realism MORE (I-Vt.), who won the popular vote; Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly MORE, the centrist former mayor from South Bend, Ind., who is ahead in the delegate count after wooing voters in two states; and Minnesota Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE, who surged to a third-place finish, declared themselves winners in New Hampshire. 


While Sanders and Buttigieg were expected to post strong showings, Klobuchar was the insurgent surprise on Tuesday night. She captured more than twice as many votes as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (D-Mass.), who conceded her disappointment. And former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE rushed to South Carolina before votes were counted, hoping to reignite his rocky bid for the nomination. With 24 delegates in play in the Granite State, Warren came in fourth and Biden was fifth. 


DELEGATE COUNT (with 1,991 needed): Buttigieg, 22; Sanders, 21; Warren, 8; Klobuchar, 7; Biden, 6 (The Associated Press).


As Jonathan Easley reported from Sanders’s raucous headquarters in Manchester, N.H., the Vermont independent did not manage to run away with the New Hampshire contest, and Democrats now face the prospect of a prolonged primary that some political analysts speculate could end in a contested convention if no candidate earns a majority of delegates.


“This victory here is the beginning of the end of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE,” Sanders told his cheering supporters and the national TV audience. “No matter who wins — and we hope it’s us — we are going to unite together.


Buttigieg, like Sanders, has had two strong finishes in a row, boosting a candidate who was a political unknown less than a year ago. The challenge for the former mayor going forward will be proving he can woo African American and Hispanic voters.


“Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all, has shown that we are here to stay,” the former mayor told supporters in Nashua.


The Hill: 5 takeaways from the New Hampshire primary.


The Hill: Buttigieg congratulates Sanders on “strong showing" in New Hampshire. 


Niall Stanage: Winners and losers from the New Hampshire primary.





The result was also a tremendous boost for Klobuchar, who finished fifth in Iowa and has consistently trailed in national and early-state polls.


“While there are still ballots to count, we have beaten the odds every step of the way,” Klobuchar told the crowd with a big smile during her campaign’s election night party in Concord, N.H.  


“Because of you, we are taking this campaign to Nevada,” she added.


For Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar, Tuesday night invited a financial windfall. In less than four hours after the polls closed, Klobuchar’s campaign boasted it raised $2.5 million, the majority in online donations. 


Sean Savett, a spokesperson for Buttigieg’s team, said the campaign on Tuesday saw double the amount of daily website traffic.


The Hill: Klobuchar celebrates strong New Hampshire performance.


The Hill: Klobuchar rolls out seven-figure ad buy in Nevada.





While the night was celebratory for the top three finishers, it was decidedly not for Biden and Warren. The two candidates, seen just weeks ago as front-runners for the centrist and progressive wings of the party, respectively, conceded in separate speeches that Tuesday’s results were disappointing. However, each vowed to continue in Nevada and South Carolina, underscoring in their speeches that the vast majority of voters nationally have not yet weighed in.


“We might be headed for another one of those long primary fights that lasts for months. We’re two states in, with 55 states and territories to go," Warren told supporters in Manchester. "We still have 98 percent of the delegates for our nomination up for grabs, and Americans in every part of our country are going to make their voices heard."


The Hill: Warren says her campaign is just getting started.


Biden, in his third race for the White House, addressed supporters in New Hampshire through a remote hookup from South Carolina, where he held a late-night rally as he sought to reboot his campaign. 


“It is important that Iowa and Nevada have spoken, but, look, we need to hear from Nevada and South Carolina and Super Tuesday and beyond,” Biden told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Columbia, S.C (The Hill). 


The Hill: Biden, Warren on the ropes after delegate shutout.


Matt Flegenheimer & Katie Glueck, The New York Times: Who won in New Hampshire? Not the establishment.


The Washington Post: Biden looks to South Carolina to revive faltering campaign, but success there is no longer seen as certain.


The Associated Press: Biden hopes South Carolina can resurrect his bid for the nomination.


Unlike the Iowa caucuses, which had stagnant turnout levels compared to 2016, New Hampshire voters turned out in higher numbers than four years ago. The voter participation was nearly as high as in 2008 (ABC News).

Former New York mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden's great challenge: Build an economy for long-term prosperity and security The secret weapon in Biden's fight against climate change Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE’s strategy to concentrate on Super Tuesday states on March 3 means his willingness to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of his considerable fortune to try to beat Trump could rearrange the 2020 race (MSNBC). 


While rivals trekked through the winter weather in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bloomberg quietly warmed relations with party leaders (NBC News).


MSNBC: Trump won the New Hampshire GOP primary while his campaign mocked the Democratic contest as a “dumpster fire.”


Winnowing: The Democratic National Committee rules for primary debates served to shrink the sprawl of contestants long before the confused caucuses in Iowa. On Tuesday, the field narrowed again as two Democratic candidates, entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Andrew Yang: Democrats need to adopt message that government is 'working for them' MORE and Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Hickenlooper ousts Gardner in Colorado, handing Democrats vital pickup Lobbying world MORE of Colorado, pulled out of the race, and a third, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Merrick Garland on list to be Biden's attorney general: report Ralph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 MORE, says he’s weighing his options today after a poor showing (The Boston Globe). 


Perspectives & Analysis:

Michael Kazin: Bernie Sanders has already won. He has transformed the Democratic Party.

Dan Balz: Democrats now face a fractured and divisive contest for the nomination.

Thomas Edsall: Trump is waiting and he is ready.

Patrick Buchanan: Long before Trump, we were a divided nation.

Romesh Ponnuru: Is it already too late to stop Bernie Sanders?

John F. Harris. Bernie crashes the gates, Buttigieg cuts the line.


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: The prosecution team that worked on the case against Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE, a longtime political trickster and friend of the president, withdrew from the case on Tuesday (one lawyer resigned from government) after the Department of Justice (DOJ) backed a shorter prison sentence following the prosecution’s tough recommendation to a federal judge. 


Jonathan Kravis, a prosecutor working on the case, wrote in a court filing that he had resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney, while Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed and Michael Marando all asked permission to leave the case — a stunning development as Stone’s Feb. 20 sentencing date approaches. The news came after the Justice Department told reporters it was “shocked” by the seven-to-nine year sentence recommendation by prosecutors (The Washington Post).


Fanning the flames was Trump, who tweeted overnight about the “very unfair situation” facing Stone, 67, who once upon a time served as an aide to former President Nixon. 


This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Trump tweeted after midnight on Tuesday. 


Trump added later in the day that the initial sentencing call by prosecutors was “an insult to our country,” claiming that he has not had any discussions with the department about how to proceed.


“I have not been involved in it at all,” he said (The Hill). 


The DOJ said senior officials made a determination about Stone’s case on Monday night and that Trump’s comments had no impact on the modified recommendation, which basically leaves Stone’s sentence up to Judge Amy Berman Jackson on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was appointed by former President Obama (The New York Times). A DOJ official told ABC News’s Alex Mallin that Trump’s tweet was nothing more than “an inconvenient coincidence.”


Stone was convicted in November on seven counts, including lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to alter the 2016 election. As The Associated Press noted, the recommendation raised the possibility that of the half-dozen former aides to Trump who were charged in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation, Stone could receive the longest sentence.


The Associated Press: Four lawyers quit case after DOJ’s decision on Stone prison time.


The Hill: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force Club for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's MORE (D-Calif.) demands that Attorney General William BarrBill BarrNew DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day MORE testify about the Stone sentence recommendation.


Trump’s comments sparked renewed chatter that he could pardon Stone, who served as an aide prior to his 2016 bid and in the early stages of it. After being fired by then-campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiGiuliani's son, a White House staffer, tests positive for coronavirus Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service officers in quarantine More than 130 Secret Service officers in quarantine: report MORE, Stone remained a steadfast supporter of Trump and was a constant presence on Infowars.


Trump on Tuesday pulled the nomination of Jessie Liu, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who worked on the prosecutions of Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next On The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges to NY high court MORE. Her confirmation hearing for a Treasury post had been scheduled for Thursday (Axios). Liu had presided over an inconclusive criminal investigation of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeCarter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe McCabe defends investigation of Trump before Senate committee: We had 'many reasons' The Hill's 12:30 Report: What to know about the Pfizer vaccine announcement MORE, NBC News reported.


Senior officials at the Justice Department also intervened last month to help change the government's sentencing recommendation for Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI. The Justice Department has embraced probation for Flynn, rather than prosecutors’ early recommendation to the court of six months in jail, according to NBC


> Ukraine probe: Two Senate GOP chairmen are moving ahead with a wide-ranging probe including Ukraine and the Bidens, sparking a new round of tensions in the Senate. 


Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyColorado governor, spouse test positive for COVID-19 McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Iowa) and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Wis.) are pushing to accelerate the investigation with the impeachment trial finally in the rearview mirror. However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Let's give thanks to Republican defenders of democracy MORE (R-S.C.) is sounding increasingly hesitant about whether his panel will take up information about Ukraine, the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden.


Senate Democrats are lambasting the plan, saying that Republicans are chasing “conspiracy theories” months before the 2020 election (The Hill).


INTERNATIONAL: Coronavirus: “COVID-19” is the official name given by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday to a fast-spreading virus that has infected at least 45,204 people since December. The death toll this morning stands at 1,116, according to the latest data. "COVI" was drawn from “coronavirus.” The "D" stands for disease, while “19” refers to the year, 2019, in which it was first identified in humans.


WHO researchers and scientists met in Geneva on Tuesday and said early studies indicate children appear to be the least susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19. The majority of those infected are over 40 years old. About 80 percent of people who died after contracting the virus in China were older than 60, and 75 percent of the patients who died had underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, according to a recent report from China’s National Health Commission (CNBC).


On Tuesday, 195 Americans who were first evacuated last month from Wuhan, China, were released from a military base in Riverside, Calif. No one in the quarantined group tested positive for the virus.


Although one Chinese epidemiologist predicted, based on computer models and experience with SARS, that the outbreak will end in China by April, U.S. infectious disease experts are avoiding such predictions. Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said forecasts based on the seasonal spread of other highly transmissible viruses are misleading. Scientists are in the early stages of understanding COVID-19, Fauci said during an interview with NPR on Tuesday. “We don’t know.”  


The virus continues to impact travel, trade and commerce, particularly in Asia. Reuters compiled a list of airlines that have suspended flights to China. 


Defying officials and their country’s narrative, China’s young “citizen journalists” have told a different story of an epidemic using smartphones and some pluck (The Associated Press). 





> NATO: Heeding Trump’s demand, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says NATO is willing to expand its training missions in Iraq to lift the load from the United States and will discuss the topic with Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperActing Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia Overnight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition MORE in Brussels on Wednesday (Reuters).


> Sudan: Sudan’s transitional authorities agreed to hand over autocrat Omar al-Bashir, ousted last year, to the International Criminal Court to face trial on charges of war crimes and genocide in a deal with rebels to surrender all those wanted in connection with the Darfur conflict (The Associated Press). … The Trump administration seeks to recruit majority-Muslim country such as Sudan and Morocco as potential partners in an alliance against Iran and a bulwark against countries in the Middle East and Africa that rejected the U.S.-proposed peace plan for Israel and Palestine (The Hill).


> Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, an outspoken critic of the United States, directed on Tuesday that his government abandon a security pact that allows American forces to train there. The move is a public rebuke following the U.S. decision last month to cancel the U.S. visa of former Philippine national police chief Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who brutally enforced Duterte's war on drugs. Duterte’s offensive killed thousands of citizens and has been widely condemned by international human rights advocates (NPR).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Health care reform takes a step in the right direction, by Lindsay Killen, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2vqxQHI 


End the Iowa-New Hampshire primary season monopoly and let the diverse Great Lakes region go first, by Robert Alexander and David B. Cohen, opinion contributors, USA Today. https://bit.ly/31OjYTR


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Julia Manchester, political reporter for The Hill; Adam Green, surrogate for the Warren campaign; Jennifer Holdsworth, a Democratic strategist and Buttigieg supporter; and Patrice Snow, press secretary for the Steyer campaign. Catch all the news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


The House meets at 10 a.m.


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m.


The president has lunch with Vice President Pence. Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony MORE welcome Lenin Moreno Garcés, president of Ecuador, and his wife, Rocio González de Moreno, to the White House for bilateral meetings. Trump holds a political roundtable with supporters at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and speaks during a GOP fundraising committee reception this evening.


Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBiden's Treasury pick will have lengthy to-do list on taxes On The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach MORE will testify at 1 p.m. to the Senate Finance Committee about the president’s fiscal 2021 budget.


Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify at 10 a.m. to the Senate Banking Committee. On Tuesday during his testimony to the House, Powell called the U.S. economy “resilient” but noted headwinds for productivity and warned about global economic ripples from the coronavirus (Reuters). He also warned Congress about accumulating U.S. deficits. “Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path when the economy is strong would help ensure that policymakers have the space to use fiscal policy to assist in stabilizing the economy during a downturn,” Powell said (The Hill).


The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) will host a live streamed panel discussion about foreign policy for the second in its “Election 2020” series. Location: University of Texas at San Antonio at 7 p.m. CT. Panelists include Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to former President George W. Bush; Jeh Johnson, former Homeland Security secretary under former President Obama; Mary Beth Long, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs under Bush; and Richard Haass, CFR president. Moderator: Axios editor Margaret Talev.


The Hill’s Campaign Report newsletter is now daily, with reporting from our colleagues on the politics team. Sign up to receive the latest news each evening in your inbox: http://www.email.thehill.com/thehillreg/thehillreg/pref.action


Transportation: House lawmakers on Tuesday hailed progress toward bipartisan legislation on self-driving cars and indicated plans to release a draft of legislation as Congress is under pressure to react with a regulatory framework for the fast-developing industry. Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Pelosi, Mnuchin continue COVID-19 talks amid dwindling odds for deal Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair MORE (D-Ill.), the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, told reporters that draft sections would be released "very soon,” with an aide to the Illinois Democrat saying there will be a minimum of five new sections in addition to six earlier draft sections that were released last year (The Hill).


State watch: The theft of two historic bonsai trees from a museum near Seattle on Sunday morning is being described as a “professional-level” crime committed by two unidentified thieves. The museum has a nationwide APB out to recover the stolen goods, and photos of the missing 70-year-old bonsai are in circulation (NPR). 


Education: With state approval, Colorado State University will begin a degree program this fall in cannabis biology at its Pueblo campus (Denver Post and KOAA Channel5). …The Library of Congress seeks applicants for a K-12 teacher-in-residence program in the nation’s capital to develop journalism or economics curriculum, with applications due by March 27. The library reimburses the selected educator’s school district for wages and benefits and provides a monthly stipend to cover housing costs for the academic year. Information is HERE.  


Justice: Newly released from prison in 2010, a well-connected father of a Sarah Lawrence College undergraduate moved into his daughter’s dormitory and allegedly proceeded to extort vast sums of money from students and engage in sex trafficking, according to federal prosecutors. The accused, Lawrence Ray, was arrested on Tuesday (The New York Times). 


And finally … The National Collegiate Athletic Association is considering compensating its athletes, and senators want to see a decision soon. In the first Capitol Hill hearing about paying college athletes, senators pushed the nonprofit organization to move swiftly and not drag its feet (a feature of the NCAA’s reputation). 


As The Hill’s Alex Gangitano details, the Tuesday hearing before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection took place as states move toward approving legislation to allow NCAA athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses, which the NCAA has forbidden for decades. California passed a law in September to make it easier for players to obtain endorsements and agents, and other states are considering their own models.  


“We’ve got a situation where states are moving forward and we need to address the issue,” said Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Republicans start turning the page on Trump era The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. NCAA President Mark Emmert (seen below) told senators he is working to make that happen.