Lock him up: Trump’s Air Force One video may have violated law

President Trump tried to give his latest attack on Mayor Bill de Blasio — a video filmed aboard Air Force One — an aura of authority, but he may have broken the law in the process. In the background was the presidential seal, which is a big no-no, according to Virginia Canter, an ethics lawyer with the non-partisan Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Misusing the seal is a misdemeanor that carries a potential penalty of six months behind bars, Canter said.

David Leonhardt: Trump’s 2020 dirty tricks

“President Trump offered a preview last week of his 2020 campaign tactics, and they were ugly. He intends to use the power of the presidency to harass his political opponents and create an air of scandal around them. By doing so, he hopes to make at least some voters believe that all politicians are equally corrupt rather than recognizing that Trump himself is the most corrupt president in a long, long time.”

Ukraine prosecutor: Bidens are innocent

Ukraine’s prosecutor general said in an interview that he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter, despite accusations by Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. “I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections,” Yuriy Lutsenko said. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing.”

Election assistance agency pleads for more funding

Officials from the Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency charged with managing the nation’s electoral systems and helping states adopt good election administration practices, are pleading for more money before the 2020 elections. The agency is operating at half the capacity it had 10 years ago, while threats have increased. “What we are working on is the infrastructure of our democracy,” Vice Chair Benjamin Hovland said. “What we need is an investment from Congress to help us do that work.”

Kamala Harris campaign ‘infuriated’ by Biden veep talk

After the Congressional Black Caucus floated former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris as a “dream ticket,” the Harris campaign is doing its best to keep its focus on the race while pushing back on the idea. Biden’s strong showing in early polls, including in South Carolina, have led many to suggest a Biden-Harris team-up, much to the ire of the Harris team.

Obama advertising firm signs on with Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg just added a major player to his presidential campaign, picking up the advertising firm that helped Barack Obama’s 2008 rise to the national stage. The campaign is also bringing on Tyler Law, a former DCCC national press secretary.

Support for Joe Biden’s presidential bid grows

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has expanded his lead over a wide field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination by 5 percentage points since he entered the race in late April. It seems increasingly obvious that Joe Biden is a clear front-runner, and the man to beat in the Democratic primary.

Jill Filipovic: Lindsey Graham has sold his soul to Trump

“Graham’s toadying to Trump has been so over the top, and such an abrupt about-face, that the more conspiracy-minded on the left wonder what Trump has on Graham. It’s probably something far simpler: an attack from the itchy-Twitter-finger President can mean reelection woes — and Graham, who faces voters again in 2020, wants to stay in office”

Biden predicts a post-Trump ‘epiphany’ for GOP

Former vice president Joe Biden, at the moment leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field, stopped in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where speaking with voters, he offered a prediction for how American politics would be reshaped after President Trump is out of office. Biden also commented on the state of the GOP in general, saying: “If you notice, most Republicans — leaders, don’t lose from the left. They lose on the right. … I think there is not a middle ground.”

Erik Wemple: Warren gives Fox News a debate it didn’t ask for

“Fear is not the question, though. As Warren notes, the issue is aid and succor. Do Democratic candidates really want to hand Fox News a highly promotable campaign event that’ll broaden its audience and nourish the lie that it treats both sides fairly? ‘I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January,” reads another passage in Warren’s statement. ‘Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet. But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass.'”

Jennifer Rubin: Let’s talk about electability

“So, no, I cannot abide by the notion that a candidate’s identity makes him or her unelectable. (Clinton did get more votes than Trump, if you recall.) If a candidate sounds too close to Bernie or has zero charisma or appears clueless on national security, Democrats should run the other way. However, turning away a woman or a nonwhite or gay male who can galvanize Democrats, draw from independents and disaffected Republicans, avoid getting tagged as a scary socialist and pass the commander in chief test would be about the dumbest thing Democrats could do.”

In sharp reversal, Trump embraces big money for 2020 re-election

As President Donald Trump gears up for a re-election battle in 2020, Team Trump is deploying all the instruments of a traditional campaign apparatus that he mocked during his first, unconventional bid for the White House. Trump has previously said that the “whole super PAC scam is very unfair to a person like me who has disavowed all PAC’s & is self-funding.”

Pro-Trump PAC plans to spend $250M in six battleground states

The pro-Trump PAC is putting $250M into the belief that these six states (Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia) are crucial to his re-election. “We’re going to alleviate the burden on these six states that are must wins. They are the quickest path to the Electoral College,” said Kelly Sadler, communications director for America First Action.

Michael Kruse: Beto’s long history of failing upward

“Celebrating defeat is unusual for a politician, and doing so makes O’Rourke notably different from the rest of the unwieldy field of Democrats running for president. In contrast to the 20 or so other 2020 candidates—all of them in various ways overachievers who tout the litanies of their successes—O’Rourke instead presents his loss to Cruz as a prominent selling point.”

Trump blames Biden for collapse of China trade talks

President Trump on Wednesday said top Chinese officials will travel to the U.S. later this week to resume trade talks, even as he accused Beijing of holding out for a better deal under a future Democratic president. No matter what happens this week, it looks like the issue of trade with China will become a focal point of the 2020 election for both sides.

Kellyanne Conway accused of repeatedly violating federal law

CREW is requesting a formal review of whether senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has again violated the federal law that’s intended “to prevent pernicious political activities.” In addition to Conway, examples of offenses by former social media director Dan Scavino and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are also cited.

MA GOP moves to protect Trump in primary

The MassGOP approved a plan last week to award all of the party’s delegates to the Republican candidate who clears more than 50% of the vote in the state presidential primary. The strategy is a departure from the 2016 primary, when the state party used a proportional method to award delegates to the 17 Republicans running for president. It’s clearly intended to protect Donald Trump from primary challengers such as former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Bill Weld: The 2020 Republican alternative to Donald Trump

So far, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is the only ostensible Republican willing to challenge Donald Trump in the 2020 GOP primary. Weld is a relic of a bygone Republicanism, before anti-immigration, anti-trade grievance culture became fashionable. Can he hope to make a dent in Trump’s 89% approval among Republicans? He’s starting with “NeverTrump” Republicans, Trump-skeptical conservatives, and right-leaning independents.

Buttigieg attends Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, joined the large crowd at former President Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class in rural Georgia. Buttigieg later had lunch with Carter and his wife and “enjoyed a conversation about topics ranging from faith to the rigors of the campaign trail.”

Pelosi: Trump must lose by yuge, bigly margin

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t believe President Trump can be removed through impeachment because the Republican Senate will never vote for it. The only way to do it, she said this week, is to defeat him in 2020 by a margin so big he cannot challenge the legitimacy of a Democratic victory. “We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that,” she said. “Own the center left, own the mainstream.”

The new ‘lock her up’?

Team Trump is mobilizing to cast a legal cloud over a potential opponent, as it did in 2016, but this time, fears abound that he could weaponize the federal government against them. The opponent in question is Joe Biden, whose son Hunter worked on the board of a Ukrainian energy company during the Obama administration. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani tweeted, “Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously.”

Florida Democrats rally behind Biden

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has won the endorsement of nearly 36% of Florida’s Democratic state legislators. This level of endorsement was unexpected so early in the race and shows Biden’s strength in the swing state.

Jennifer Rubin: Harris challenges the thinking on the best way to beat Trump

“The argument here is not ‘Harris is the star, she’ll win!’ but rather, ‘Lots of candidates can catch fire at the right time.’ So, sure, Biden could be the safe candidate everyone thinks will take down the Republicans, but that’s what they said (twice) about Clinton. Maybe the answer is more basic: Whoever can connect in an emotional way with voters, make a solid case for how he/she will take down Trump and run an adept campaign may be the best bet, the person to fire up Democrats and oust Trump.”

CA trying to take candidates off the ballot if they don’t release tax returns

The California Senate is trying again to force presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns, hoping a new Democratic governor won’t block the bill this time. The lawmakers argue that American citizens want Trump to release his income tax returns to ensure that there are no business conflicts of interest within them that would impair his ability to serve as president.

Sen Michael Bennet of CO joins crowded 2020 presidential race

Sen. Michael Bennet on Thursday officially announced a 2020 presidential run, which makes him the twenty-first Democrat to do so. “This country faces two enormous challenges, among others. One is a lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government,” Bennet said during his announcement.

What are ‘Democracy Dollars’?

To reduce the influence of corporate, PAC, and other big money in politics, Democratic candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand unveiled a plan on Wednesday to give every voter up to $600 in what she calls “Democracy Dollars,” which they can donate to federal candidates for office. “It will change who has a seat at the table and who gets elected in this country within one election cycle,” Gillibrand said.

Obsess much? Trump retweets 60 anti-Biden tweets

Donald Trump let his fear of Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden show on Twitter this morning, retweeting about 60 Twitter users in less than an hour who said they supported him over Biden. Trump is still angered by the endorsement of Biden made last week by one of the nation’s largest firefighter unions.

Post-announce bump solidifies Biden’s frontrunner status

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement of a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination has earned him an 11-point polling bounce, leaving him well at the front of the Democratic candidate pack. That puts Biden more than 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (15%), and 30 points ahead of the next strongest candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (8%).

Junior’s gf joins Trump campaign

Former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle is joining President Trump’s 2020 campaign as a senior adviser, the campaign announced on Monday. Guilfoyle is also the girlfriend of Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and most recently served as the vice chair of America First Action, a pro-Trump Super PAC.

Far right does wrong: Provocateurs try to smear Buttigieg

Lobbyist Jack Burkman and Internet troll Jacob Wohl have been accused of attempting to recruit young Republican men to level false allegations of sexual assault against Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. The details of the plan emerged after a man surfaced with a vague, uncorroborated allegation that Buttigieg had assaulted him. He later revealed he was put up to it by the two far-right provocateurs.

George Will: Biden offers rest for those weary of Trump and the far left

“One or more of Biden’s rivals have endorsed, or at least deemed conversation-worthy, many ideas not uppermost in most voters’ minds: socialism, the Green New Deal, packing the Supreme Court, abolishing ICE and the Electoral College, free college, votes for 16-year-olds, ‘Medicare for All’ (and private health insurance for no one), etc. Biden’s campaign slogan should be: ‘How about a president who doesn’t make the current one look less loony than he is?'”

Houston, Trump may have a problem

Texas, a longtime Republican stronghold, may present President Trump with a challenge in 2020. A new Emerson poll finds that Trump is in a dead heat with four Democratic candidates. Statistically, Trump is tied with Biden, O’Rourke, Sanders, and Warren.

Trump lashes out at Biden

After Joe Biden received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Donald Trump took to Twitter to attack his Democratic opponent. He tweeted four times, criticizing Biden and the IAFF, while praising himself. Early on, Biden seems to be a formidable opponent for Trump, someone who may be able to attract parts of Trump’s blue-collar base.

GOP warnings of ‘socialism’ aren’t resonating

A lot has been said in recent months about the Democrats’ “wild swing to the left,” which plays right into Donald Trump’s hands. The concern is that if the Democrats are becoming more extreme in their viewpoints, it will backfire on them. But instead, it seems that most people don’t see the “threat of socialism” as a big deal.