Politics & Policy

Why it matters: While Democrats fight to convince voters that they should be the ones tasked with taking down President Trump, the current administration is powering ahead on efforts to restrict immigration, unleash business and reshape the U.S. role in the world.

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Energy deputy secretary nominee in hot water after contradicting Trump

Mark Menezes speaks at a forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trump administration officials are internally raising concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary, who appeared to openly contradict the president on nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain last week.

Driving the news: While speaking at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Mark Menezes told members of the panel that the Trump administration is still interested in storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and that “what we're trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca."

Susan Collins faces competitive Senate race, poll indicates

Susan Collins. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is up against a steep challenge for her seat for the first time since 1996, according to a Colby College poll, which shows her in a statistical tie with her expected Democratic opponent.

Why it matters: As one of the most centrist Republicans in the Senate during Trump's presidency, Collins has served as a pivotal swing vote on a number of key issues.

Trump pardons the swamp

Rod Blagojevich in 2010. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he would commute former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issue full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Watchdog group accuses Buttigieg campaign of coordinating with super PAC

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The nonpartisan watchdog group Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday that alleges the Buttigieg campaign improperly coordinated with the super PAC VoteVets on TV advertising in Nevada.

Background: On Feb. 5, Buttigieg campaign senior strategist Michael Halle tweeted, "Pete’s military experience and closing message from Iowa work everywhere especially in Nevada where it’s critical they see this on the air through the caucus."

GOP congressional leaders issue statement defending Bill Barr

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Tuesday in support of Attorney General William Barr.

Why it matters: More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials have called on Barr to resign for his role in politically sensitive investigations, after he intervened in the case of Trump associate Roger Stone.

Warren calls Bloomberg an "egomaniac billionaire" ahead of his first debate

Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren. Photos: Alex Wong and Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday in accusing former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg of buying his way into the 2020 election, ahead of the ninth Democratic debate on Wednesday.

What she's saying: In a tweet, Warren wrote: "It’s a shame Mike Bloomberg can buy his way into the debate. But at least now primary voters curious about how each candidate will take on Donald Trump can get a live demonstration of how we each take on an egomaniac billionaire."

Intelligence lawyer who blocked Ukraine whistleblower complaint to resign

Adam Schiff. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Jason Klitenic, the top lawyer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), is resigning from his position, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: Klitenic wrote a letter to the top lawmakers on the Senate and House Intelligence committees in September informing them that — after consulting with the Justice Department — acting DNI Joseph Maguire would not turn over the whistleblower complaint about President Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,

Justice Department says U.S. attorneys are reviewing Ukraine information

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Tuesday informing him that the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern District of New York and the Western District of Pennsylvania are reviewing "unsolicited" information from the public related to matters involving Ukraine.

Why it matters: Nadler had requested an explanation for the "intake process" that Attorney General Bill Barr stated had been set up in order to receive information that Rudy Giuliani had obtained about the Bidens in Ukraine.

Trump pardons former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. speaks during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech in 2016. Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

President Trump pardoned former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., a billionaire convicted in 1998 on gambling fraud charges, in a surprise decision on Tuesday, the AP reports.

The big picture: Under DeBartolo's ownership, the 49ers won five Super Bowls, establishing a dynasty during the 1980s and 1990s. He avoided prison time, but faced a $1 million fine and a yearlong NFL suspension — ultimately relinquishing control of the team to his sister, Denise York, in 2000.

Bloomberg unveils criminal justice plan amid stop-and-frisk fallout

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

2020 candidate Mike Bloomberg on Tuesday released a criminal justice reform agenda that focuses on reducing racial disparities in incarceration and helping reintegrate those who have been jailed.

Why it matters: The former New York City mayor's criminal justice record has been under scrutiny in the wake of the resurfacing of a 2015 audio clip of him defending the city's stop-and-frisk policy, which mostly impacted black and Latino people before it was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.

Michael Bloomberg on the issues, in under 500 words

Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg is a late entry to the Democratic primary, launching less than three months out from the Iowa caucuses. The billionaire is known for his former role as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 and his current position as CEO of Bloomberg LP.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Telemundo's push to boost the Latino vote in 2020

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises

Telemundo will announce on Tuesday the launch of a multi-million dollar voter initiative aimed at Latinos called “DECISIÓN 2020," executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: "This is a big moment for the Hispanic community," says Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. "For the first time, Latinos will be the largest ethnic voting block this election, making up 13-14% of all eligible voters."

Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Michael Bloomberg qualifies for Nevada's Democratic debate

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg qualified Tuesday for this week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas after notching 19% in the latest NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll.

Why it matters: The debate on Wednesday in Las Vegas, just before the Nevada caucus, eliminated the requirement that candidates onstage have a specific number of donors. Bloomberg, who has been self-funding his campaign, will face off against his 2020 competitors for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Judges group calls emergency meeting on Roger Stone case intervention

President Trump with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House last July. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Judges Association told USA Today the independent group called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address "growing concerns" about the Department of Justice, Attorney General Bill Barr, President Trump and the intervention of "politically sensitive cases."

Why it matters: This is another example of the scrutiny Barr is facing from not only Democrats but also members of the legal community — from both sides of the political aisle — following his intervention in the sentencing of President Trump's associate Roger Stone last week.

Bolton indicates more Ukraine details if book prevails over WH "censorship"

Former national security adviser John Bolton on stage at Duke University on Monday. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said during a talk at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, he hopes his new book is "not suppressed" by the White House, according to journalists present in the room.

This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We'll have to see what comes out of the censorship."
— JohnBolton's comments, per Bloomberg and the New York Times

There are warning signs that Nevada could be Iowa all over again

Former Sen. Harry Reid (D) lines up to cast an early vote for the upcoming Nevada Democratic presidential caucus. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The alarms are increasingly sounding over Nevada's Democratic caucus, which is just five days away.

Why it matters: Similar issues to the ones that plagued Iowa's caucus seem to be rearing their ugly heads, the WashPost reports.

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