Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shot back at criticisms that he's running a self-aggrandizing campaign for the Democratic nomination, telling Reuters in an interview: "Number one priority is to get rid of Donald Trump. I’m spending all my money to get rid of Trump."

Why it matters: The campaign finance debate has taken on new significance in 2020, creating a clear divide within the Democratic Party. Progressive candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have turned away big-dollar donations in favor of grassroots fundraising, rebuking moderates like Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden for soliciting donations from the wealthy.

  • But Bloomberg, rated by Forbes as the eighth richest person in America, argues that ignoring the obvious benefits of his wealth would hurt the ultimate cause that every Democrat is fighting for — stopping Trump from being re-elected.
  • Bloomberg has also said that he would pay campaign staff to support the Democratic nominee, even if it is not him.

What they're saying: Bloomberg told Reuters that one reason he's "reasonably confident" he could beat Trump is because of his appeal to swing voters.

  • "Whether you like it or not, you can’t win the election unless you get moderate Republicans to cross the line," Bloomberg said. "The others are much too liberal for them and they would certainly vote for Donald Trump."

The billionaire also defended his massive advertising buys, which include a $10 million ad spot that will air during the Super Bowl. President Trump has also bought a Super Bowl spot for the same price.

  • “You can’t get to 330 million people by shaking hands," Bloomberg argued. "Television is still the magic medium."
  • "If the Super Bowl wasn’t a place to get to an awful lot of people they wouldn’t be charging a lot, or nobody would be paying it. This is capitalism at work."

Go deeper: Bloomberg unveils Trump-focused economic agenda

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12 mins ago - World

Trump announces new Iran sanctions in effort to maintain international arms embargo

Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that would impose sanctions on any person or entity that contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran or is engaged in providing training and financial support related to those weapons.

Why it matters: The executive order is the first step by the Trump administration to put teeth into its claim that international sanctions on Iran were restored over the weekend, one month after the U.S. initiated the "snapback" process under a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Exclusive: Conservative group launches $2M Supreme Court ad

Screengrab of ad, courtesy of Judicial Crisis Network.

The Judicial Crisis Network is launching a $2.2 million ad campaign to put pressure on vulnerable Senate Republicans in battleground states to support a quick confirmation when President Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee.

The big picture: "Follow Precedent," previewed by Axios, is one of the first national and cable television ads to run following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death Friday.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air

CDC Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images

The CDC has removed new guidance that acknowledged airborne transmission of the coronavirus, posting in a note on its website that the guidance was only a draft and had been published in error.

Why it matters: The initial update — which was little noticed until a CNN story was published Sunday — had come months after scientists pushed for the agency to acknowledge the disease was transmissible through the air. The CDC previously said that close person-to-person contact was the bigger concern, and the language has been changed back to erase the warning about airborne transmission.