liveslow/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday which of the 25 Democratic presidential candidates will be participating in the second Democratic primary debates set for July 30 and 31 in Detroit.
Only 20 candidates in the large primary field will debate on stage over the two nights, a cap previously set by the DNC. CNN, the network hosting the debates, will announce the lineups for each night on Thursday in the 8 p.m. ET hour during a live drawing on the network, according to a network spokesperson.
The candidates who are participating, in alphabetical order, are:
- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
- Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
- New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
- California Sen. Kamala Harris
- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
- Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- Author Marianne Williamson
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
This will be Bullock's debut on the Democratic debate stages, after failing to qualify for the first debates in Miami at the end of June. California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who dropped out of the race on July 8, was the 20th candidate on stage for the first debates.
The candidates who will not be debating on either night are former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak and Tom Steyer, the billionaire activist who entered the race just over a week ago.
CNN also announced on Wednesday the randomization of their live drawing on Thursday at 8 p.m.
The candidates will be split into tiers before the live drawing, with the first draw including 10 candidates (Bennet, Bullock, de Blasio, Delaney, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Inslee, Ryan and Williamson), the second including six candidates (Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Klobuchar, O'Rourke and Yang) and the final draw including the four polling frontrunners (Biden, Harris, Sanders and Warren).
CNN and the DNC decided on this methodology, based on polling, "to ensure support for the candidates is evenly spread across both nights," according to CNN and DNC officials.
CNN also reported that to determine the lineups for both nights, each candidate's name will appear on a card and will be placed into one box, and another box will hold cards with the date of each night. A CNN anchor will pick a card from both the first and second boxes for each drawing. Once every candidate is matched with one of the two nights of debates, the network will announce the podium positions for each night, according to public polling.
The DNC announced in February that candidates could qualify by either meeting a grassroots fundraising threshold or polling threshold. The only candidate who met one threshold but will not be on stage is Gravel, who met the grassroots fundraising threshold by achieving more than 65,000 unique donors. In announcing the ways to qualify, however, the DNC explicitly said the polling threshold would take primacy over the grassroots fundraising threshold.
The debates aren't just an opportunity for candidates to pitch their campaigns to voters as they try to break out among the crowded field, but a chance to make a splash on stage that leads to an increase in donations, which some of the lower tier candidates need after spending more money than they raised in the second quarter of 2019, according to reports filed to the Federal Election Commission Monday.
On the heels of last month's debates, some candidates touted strong fundraising hauls, and a couple saw a bump in polls.
In two recently published polls conducted after the debates, Warren had 19% support among Democratic voters, one of her best showings in polls in the early months of the campaign.
During the second night of debates on June 27, Harris saw a breakout moment when she took on Biden over his comments on working with segregationists, which he has since apologized for, and his stance against busing to integrate schools decades ago, telling a personal story of being bused.
Her campaign said the California senator raised $2 million in the 24 hours following the debate, the most in a single day since her campaign launch. She also saw some of her highest poll numbers since the start of the cycle, with 20% support in a Quinnipiac national poll conducted right after the debates and 23% support in a Quinnipiac California poll released Monday.
Another candidate who sparred with a competitor on stage was Castro, during a heated exchange with fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke, in which he called out the former congressman's stance on decriminalizing border crossings.
In a press release Monday, Castro's campaign said he raised $1.1 million of his $2.8 million haul between April and June in the four days following the debates.
Candidates won't debate again until September, when ABC News, in partnership with Univision, hosts the third primary debates in Houston on Sept. 12 and 13. These debates, and the debates in October, which the DNC hasn't announced a date for yet, have more stringent qualifying guidelines. Candidates must meet both the polling and the individual donor threshold, requiring candidates get at least 2% support in four DNC-approved polls and at least 130,000 individual donors over the course of the election cycle, with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Bernie Sanders called on his fellow Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday to reject donations from health insurance and pharmaceutical industry executives during what was labeled as a "major address" in Washington, D.C., but an ABC News review of Federal Election Commission records earlier in the day found that Sanders himself accepted some of the same types of donations earlier in the campaign cycle.
As part of Sanders' "No Health Insurance and Pharma Money Pledge," which his campaign previewed in a press release Wednesday morning ahead of the "Medicare for All" speech he delivered later in the day, the senator promised "to not take contributions from the health insurance or pharmaceutical industry."
The pledge specifically identifies "contributions over $200 from the PACs, lobbyists, or executives of health insurance or pharmaceutical companies," excluding what it terms "rank-and-file workers employed by pharmaceutical giants and health insurance companies." It additionally provides a list of "companies covered by the pledge," which are members of the America’s Health Insurance Plans association and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America group.
In a review of Sanders' publicly available campaign donation information, ABC News identified at least three contributions of more than $200 from two individual donors who could be considered executives at companies included on the list.
One of the individuals who gave to the Sanders campaign is Lynn McRoy, who identifies herself on her LinkedIn page as vice president and global medical lead, breast cancer at Pfizer. She's additionally identified as the breast cancer lead with U.S. Medical Affairs at Pfizer Oncology in an October 2018 press release. Pfizer is among numerous pharmaceutical companies on Sanders' list.
ABC News found at least four contributions from McRoy to Sanders thus far in 2019, including one of $500 and another of $250, which would be in violation of the pledge if McRoy is considered an "executive."
McRoy's additional two donations, of $100 and $70, fall below the pledge's $200 threshold, though were given within eight and three days, respectively, of her $250 contribution on March 28.
Another donation of $1,000 came from Schiffon Wong, who identifies herself on LinkedIn as the executive director, global evidence and value development at EMD Serono, a company covered on Sanders' list that describes itself as a “biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the U.S.” Both EMD Serono and Merck are on Sanders' list.
In each instance, the job titles of the donors were provided in non-specific terms -- as "medical director" and "researcher" for McRoy and Wong, respectively. Such descriptors are common in FEC reports and both individuals disclosed their employers, as is required.
The Sanders campaign also received a contribution of $250 from Austin Kim, who is listed as the executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Acadia Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded company that produces a drug to treat Parkinson's disease-related hallucinations. Acadia is not, however, listed on the pledge's list as it is not a member of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
In response to ABC News' inquiry about these contributions, the Sanders campaign said it will be returning them and any other donations that don't meet the parameters of the pledge.
"This pledge was launched today with our full knowledge that some money may need to be returned," Sanders campaign spokesperson Sarah Ford told ABC News. "We're glad to donate the three donations worth $2700 out of nearly $40 million received since launch."
The campaign's acceptance of donations from executives in an industry renounced by its candidate is similar to a situation Sanders' Senate colleague Cory Booker, D-N.J., found himself in earlier this month when he returned a donation from a pharmaceutical executive after it was uncovered by ABC News. Booker returned a $2,800 contribution to his campaign from the executive vice president and chief compliance officer at Eagle Pharmaceutical, which had been accepted despite the senator's 2017 vow to no longer take money from pharmaceutical companies.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., another Democratic presidential candidate, who said in June during the party's first primary that big pharmaceutical companies don't "own" her, has also accepted nearly $30,000 from individuals affiliated with the industry this year, including more than $22,000 from executives and high-level officers of Minnesota-based pharma company Medtronic, FEC filings show. Klobuchar has not said she would return the pharmaceutical money she received.
The move by Sanders to disavow such high-dollar industry donations comes amid a week in which health care has become a focal point of the Democratic presidential race. On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden released a proposal to expand the Affordable Care Act and provide a public health care option, leading to criticism from Sanders, whose Medicare for All plan would completely replace the private insurance industry and place all Americans on a government-run program.
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Brad Greeff/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration has stopped placing children at Florida's Homestead Shelter, a facility for undocumented migrant teens that’s become a lightning rod for 2020 politics.
The suspension was confirmed by government officials who say demand for beds at the temporary influx shelter has declined, although 1,300 teens remain at the site and local officials are concerned that proper hurricane evacuation plans are not in place.
Democrats have called for the site to be closed, and several 2020 presidential candidates have joined protests against the facility. On a recent trip, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she saw children there “being treated like prisoners.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders called the facilities “racist child prisons” and pinned the blame on the Trump administration -- although the practice of holding kids in such facilities was also employed under President Barack Obama.
Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, whose district includes the grounds of the Homestead facility, expressed concern that federal officials don’t have a plan to evacuate the shelter in the event of a hurricane.
“I still have not seen a hurricane evacuation plan for the Homestead facility, and as long as they continue to hold children during hurricane season, this is an extremely dangerous form of neglect,” she tweeted Tuesday.
The number of migrants crossing the southern border has slowed in recent weeks, at the same time as the Department of Health and Human Services has been working to place the unaccompanied children with qualified families and sponsors.
When minors are taken into Border Patrol custody at the southern border, the agency classifies them as “unaccompanied alien children” if they are not traveling with a parent or legal guardian. The Department of Homeland Security is then responsible for taking them to the government network of private care providers.
The federal government uses facilities like the one at Homestead to handle surges of new arrivals when the network of nonprofit and commercial housing organizations runs out of space to take children from the border.
Those “temporary influx shelters” are used as a last-resort option, but an HHS spokesperson said there’s no plan yet to close the shelter completely.
“It is premature to speculate about putting the shelter into 'warm status' like happened in April 2017,” HHS spokesperson Mark Weber said in a statement to ABC News.
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adamkaz/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The GOP is ramping up efforts to centralize its fundraising apparatus, wiping out other small-dollar donor tools considered to be rivals to a President Donald Trump-backed platform in order to close the gap with Democrats on grassroots support.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, an organization focused on electing Republicans to state-level offices across the country, announced Wednesday it removed Give.GOP from its domain registry, virtually shutting down the newborn online fundraising tool amid an intraparty legal battle that is roiling tensions with leaders of the party.
"The Republican Party is one team working towards one goal: winning -- up and down the ballot," RSLC President Austin Chambers said in a statement. "President Trump's strong leadership in making WinRed a great success for every candidate and committee has been critical to that mission, and the RSLC has every intention in serving as a key partner."
The RSLC, which said the money-processing firm was using the ".gop" domain without their approval, signaled that Give.GOP could potentially thwart the success of WinRed, the Republican Party's answer to the powerhouse ActBlue, a fundraising tool with a virtual monopoly over online fundraising for Democrats.
"Their actions prey on the good intentions of activists who are tricked into believing they are supporting the Republican Party. We won't stand for this deception, and we will always do what's right for the Party, the president, and the tens of millions of hardworking Americans who support our cause," Chambers continued.
The RNC's chief of staff, Richard Walters, praised the RSLC's decision to shut down Give.GOP, writing in a tweet, "The @gop appreciates @achambersgop's leadership and his efforts to promote technology that supports the re-election of @realDonaldTrump and Rs up and down the ballot."
With the White House, the Republican National Committee, along with two campaign arms, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican Governer's Association, insisting that Republican candidates unite behind WinRed, the founder of Give.GOP argues that his platform is not a competitor to WinRed as it's focused on giving donors a one-in-all online donation tool contrary to WinRed's focus on providing a fundraising tool for campaigns.
Amid the GOP's lackluster performance with small-dollar donations in recent cycles, and the party seeing bruising losses in the 2018 midterm elections, Paul Dietzel launched Give.GOP on July 2, claiming to offer candidates and Republican groups a cost-friendly option that would charge a smaller percentage in processing fees than the existing competition (WinRed).
"Apparently, we are being punished for empowering donors to give directly to conservative causes," Dietzel said in a statement provided to ABC News on Wednesday. "Despite the fact that the Platform has already successfully empowered donors to give to more than a dozen committees with ZERO fees, Washington committees are attempting to shut down this movement of grassroots donors."
In the wake of his site being shut down, Deitzel, a former Republican candidate himself who ran in the 2014 GOP primary for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District seat, forcefully defended his fundraising tool, which he plans to revive, dismissing the push to consolidate around WinRed.
"This grassroots, donor-powered platform is not changing and will continue to empower donors to support conservatives and Trump-supporters through a new domain name that will be released soon," he said.
But the announcement Wednesday is only the most recent step by the party's top brass to ensure that WinRed is the sole platform devoted to building up their small donor network.
The tension between the Republican Party and Give.GOP peaked earlier this month when the RNC sent out cease-and-desist letters to Dietzel, alleging the rogue fundraising platform's illegal use of the party's trademarks, including the elephant logo and the name GOP.
In one of the letters, the RNC also argued that the party committee has yet to receive any funds from Give.GOP, despite the platform's claims that it has been accepting and processing contributions to the RNC.
The Give.GOP founder also launched Anedot in 2010, an online fundraising vendor used by many conservative organizations and Republican campaigns, including Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign, Sen. Rick Scott's campaign and former House Speaker Paul Ryan's leadership PAC.
But the party decided to steer away from Anedot, RNC spokesperson Mike Reed said in a statement to ABC News, in part because of its "long history of working with scam PACs."
"Anedot also positions itself as a non-partisan entity," Reed added. "It obviously makes more sense for the RNC to work with a platform that is aligned completely with the Republican Party and the President."
The RNC also announced earlier this year that it will not support Republican candidates and state committees that refuse to use the party-backed WinRed, which was first reported by Politico and confirmed by ABC News.
The highly-anticipated WinRed platform officially launched in late June, with the full endorsement of the White House, RNC, NRSC, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, as a "game-changer for turning grassroots enthusiasm into online fundraising," according to the release.
Republican leaders painted the newly-launched tool as a key vehicle central to their success in the upcoming 2020 elections and Trump's campaign said that they began the process of phasing their online operations over to WinRed at the time of the launch.
"The Trump campaign will be the most innovative Presidential campaign in American history, and WinRed is a critical component of our strategy," said Brad Parscale, campaign manager for the Trump campaign in a statement. "With WinRed, we will have the cutting-edge technology needed to translate grassroots enthusiasm into the resources we need to win in 2020."
The RNC reiterated Trump's endorsement of WinRed on Wednesday, further illustrating the committee's push to cement it as the party's sole small-donor platform.
"WinRed has the full backing of President Trump and his campaign," Reed told ABC News in a statement Wednesday. "WinRed is a revolutionary tool in the fundraising arsenal for Republicans that will transform the way GOP candidates and conservative causes across the country raise money."
It's unclear how many campaigns and committees are currently using the platform, and how much WinRed has brought in since its launch.
But earlier on Wednesday, ActBlue announced its second quarter fundraising, in which the site collected a total of $420 million from 3.3 million individual donors for nearly 9,000 Democratic campaigns and organizations in the first half of this year, nearly double the $249 million it brought in by the first half of 2017.
On June 30, the last day of the second quarter, ActBlue said it pulled in the most contributions in a single day -- over 390,000 -- in its history. June 30 also marked the second biggest haul for ActBlue ever, with over $12 million raised.
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ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is warning against any roadblocks to passing a 9/11 victims compensation bill after Sen. Rand Paul objected to passing the measure over how much the bill would cost.
The bill passed the House overwhelmingly on Friday, 402-12. Proponents are waiting for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.
But when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., attempted to pass the bill in the Senate on Wednesday by unanimous consent, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., objected, raising questions about how to pay for the fund, which will continue through 2090.
"Any new program that's going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable. We need, at the very least, to have this debate," Paul said.
Appearing unannounced at a press conference organized by Gillibrand Wednesday afternoon, Schumer fired back.
"Is the great American tradition of helping those who helped us in war time ... over?" Schumer shouted. "I don’t hear Rand Paul get up on the floor and say we have to pay for the entire defense budget with the money for our soldiers. Why is he doing it now? For these first responders, they are no different than our soldiers!"
Schumer also warned McConnell against attaching the 9/11 bill to a bill to raise the debt ceiling, which would also deal with budgets. McConnell has vowed to pass the bill by August, after having received the badge of New York Police Department Detective Luis Alvarez, who recently lost his battle with cancer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been engaged in a debate over raising the debt ceiling, which must be done before Congress' August recess to avoid a possible default, which could roil the economy.
"I've heard a rumor it would be on the debt ceiling ... You never know what games come up when you try to add it to something," Schumer said.
Schumer said he spoke with Pelosi and Mnuchin Wednesday morning, and that the topic of the 9/11 bill did not come up in that conversation. Yet he reiterated his warning, giving no sense of where the "rumor" that the bill would be attached on the floor came from.
Comedian Jon Stewart has been a vocal advocate of the bill, traveling to Capitol Hill many times to urge its passage. On Friday, he urged McConnell to take the bill up on the Senate floor, saying "This is necessary, it is urgent, and it is morally right."
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Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump continued his now days-long attacks on four congresswomen at his Greenville, North Carolina, rally on Wednesday night, eliciting the raucous crowd of supporters into "send her back" chants.
Just the mere mention of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, the thousands of supporters gathered at the president's campaign rally launched into prolong boos.
The president, just days after making tweets calling on the four congresswomen known as "the squad" to leave the country, slammed Rep. Omar for past comments she made regarding the terror attacks on September 11 and accused the representative of having a "history of launching vicious anti-Semitic" comments.
"Send them back," rallygoers erupted. Amid the chants, one supporter shouted "go back Somalia." Others yelled, "traitor."
Digging in, the president launched into a vicious series of attacks aimed the four freshman congresswomen, ripping Rep. Pressley for thinking "people with the same skin color all need to think the same." On Rep. Talib, he called her out, stating she used the "F word" to describe his presidency – adding "that’s not nice, even for me." And yet, the president himself used profanity earlier in his speech, complaining about the "bullsh--" his administration has gone through thanks to the special counsel investigation.
The president also zeroed in on Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, telling the North Carolina crowd that he didn't have time to "go with three different names" and instead just opted for Cortez. And the president also reiterated his attacks from over the weekend where he told the four congresswomen to go back to their home countries.
"I said I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down, they never have anything good to say, that's why I say, hey, if they don't like it let him leave. Leave, let him leave," the president said.
In response to the president's rally, Rep. Omar shared an excerpt from the Maya Angelou poem "Still I Rise" on Twitter.
Other members of Congress quickly came to the Minnesota representative's defense, including Rep. Andy Levin, who tweeted, "If there is a white nationalist 'base' big enough to support a presidency built on hatred and fear of these four women of color, our country is in deep trouble."
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris also took to Twitter shortly after the president's rally concluded, slamming the event. "It’s vile. It’s cowardly. It’s xenophobic. It’s racist. It defiles the office of the President. And I won't share it here.It’s time to get Trump out of office and unite the country," the 2020 hopeful wrote
However, the president didn't just go after freshman congresswomen, Trump saved some venom for a number of his potential 2020 Democratic opponents. Trump called out Sen. Elizabeth Warren multiple times throughout the night, mentioning more than once that he should have saved his "Pocahontas" attack on the senator for later in the campaign.
"Pocahontas is gaining a little bit because we probably used the Pocahontas a little bit too early, but that's okay, we'll bring it out of retirement very soon," the president said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders also got a shout out from the president, who said the progressive Democrat "missed his time" and that his chance at the White House was taken away from him. "I don't know why he’s running. He missed his time. Hey Bernie, let me save you a lot of time and effort Bernie, you missed your time. It got taken from you four years ago, Bernie," Trump said.
President Trump then targeted South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, bringing up the racial turmoil back in his hometown stemming from a police shooting of a black man.
"He goes goes back home and African Americans literally were so angry at him for the lousy job and he's supposed to be like a hot young star. If that's a hot young star, I guess I just don't know stardom anymore. That is not a star," the president said.
Trump opened the Wednesday night rally touting the failed House vote earlier in the afternoon on a resolution to impeach him. "I just heard that the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to kill the most ridiculous project I’ve ever been involved in, the resolution how stupid is that, on impeachment," Trump said. "I want to thank those democrats, because many of them voted for us," he added.
This is the first time Trump addressed supporters after his weekend Twitter attack on progressive Democratic congresswomen for, as he described it, their "horrible and disgusting actions." The president said they should stop criticizing the government and "go back" to where they came from.
The rally on Wednesday night, originally scheduled on the same date of special counsel Robert Mueller's congressional testimony, now comes a day after the House of Representatives voted to formally condemn the president's attacks as many Democratic lawmakers continue calls for impeachment. Mueller's testimony was pushed back to July 24.
"The President pointed out that many Democrats say terrible things about this country, which in reality is the greatest nation on Earth, while defending countries and regimes that can't hold a candle to our values and successes," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director told ABC News in a statement.
Ahead of the rally, Trump campaign aides jumped to the defense of the president, accusing Democratic lawmakers of being socialists. But the campaign stop will also serve as a gauge on whether there's a political price to pay within the president's base.
"President Trump loves this country and takes issue with elected officials who constantly disparage it and spew horrible anti-Semitic rhetoric at the same time. All Democrats have now leapt to the defense of the ‘Blame America First' crowd when they really should be defending America and rooting out anti-Semitism in their ranks," Murtaugh continued in a statement.
The president has a pattern of making similarly inflammatory comments, including his remark about "very fine people on both sides" in Charlottesville -- where a woman was killed during protests -- or calling some Mexicans "rapists" the launch of his campaign in 2015.
Still, the president's base appears to remain supportive.
According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, among current Trump supporters -- those who back him against all Democrats -- 52% call it extremely important to them that he wins a second term. In another measure, 48% of adults said there's no chance they'd consider Trump against any Democratic candidate. It's 46% among currently registered voters.
Trump narrowly won North Carolina in 2016.
This is the 26th rally he's held in North Carolina since he first launched his presidential campaign in June 2015.
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Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives voted 230-198 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress on Wednesday, related to the House Oversight Committee's investigation into efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, marking one of the most significant escalations to date in the Democrats' efforts to demand the Trump administration cooperate with their oversight efforts.
Last month, the Oversight Committee voted to recommend that the full House of Representatives hold the two in contempt after President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over materials related to their census investigation.
Chairman Elijah Cummings has accused both the Justice and Commerce Departments of stonewalling his investigation by withholding documents and preventing witnesses requested by the committee from testifying on the issue.
The resolution would refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia, a Trump appointee in the Justice Department who is unlikely to pursue the matter. It would also pave the way for Democrats to seek enforcement of their subpoena in civil court, which could lead to a prolonged legal fight.
There is precedent for this. President Barack Obama's former Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt for spurning Republicans demands in their investigation of a federal gun-running scheme known as Operation Fast and Furious. The U.S. Attorney at the time never prosecuted Holder, because he was protected by an assertion of executive privilege by the Obama White House.
In an announcement from the White House Rose Garden last week, Trump backed down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and instead issued an Executive Order that instructed the Commerce Department to obtain an estimate of the U.S. citizenship through other means.
"The President just admitted what his Administration has been denying for two years -- that he wants citizenship data in order to gerrymander legislative districts in partisan and discriminatory ways. This never had anything to do with helping to enforce the Voting Rights Act. That was a sham, and now the entire country can see that," Cummings said in a statement following the announcement. "The Administration needs to turn over all the documents the Committee has subpoenaed on a bipartisan basis, or else the House will vote to hold Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross in criminal contempt."
Cummings has said that the committee has obtained new evidence that shows Ross was pushing staff to add the citizenship question months before the department made the request, and that he was doing so at the urging of the White House.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd argued in a letter last month that the department has sought to engage in good faith with Cummings and handed over thousands of documents relevant to its investigation.
Boyd accused the committee of refusing to engage with the department over a "limited subset" of the requested documents that might be privileged information.
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Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour(WASHINGTON) -- The House has voted to table Rep. Al Green's impeachment resolution, with a majority of Democrats voting with Republicans to kill the impeachment push, which was based on President Donald Trump’s attacks against four Democratic congresswomen.
The vote was 332-95, with 137 Democrats siding with 194 Republicans and independent Rep. Justin Amash, to end consideration of impeachment. One Democrat, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, voted present.
There were 95 Democrats who voted against the move to table the measure. Notable progressives, including Chairmen Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee and Jim McGovern of the Rules Committee, voted “no” against the effort, along with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus, some of the strongest voices for impeachment in Congress.
A large group of moderates, centrists and freshmen voted with Republicans, putting the divisive topic of impeachment on ice - for the time being.
This would have been the first time the chamber will take up the divisive topic under Democratic control.
Green, D-Texas, forced consideration of the measure after introducing articles of impeachment Tuesday evening in the form of a privileged resolution, requiring the House to take up the measure within two legislative days.
Democratic leaders opposed the effort, and aides said it was unclear how the chamber would consider the resolution. Under House rules, the House could have taken up impeachment, moved to table consideration or referred it to the House Judiciary Committee.
"If I had my druthers, I suspect we're not ready to debate that," House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said earlier on Wednesday.
"I say with all the respect in the world for (Green), we have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said hours before the vote to table. "That is a serious path that we are on. Not that Mr. Green is not serious, but we'll deal with that on the floor."
Green has pushed to impeach Trump since 2017, and forced several votes on impeachment in the last session of Congress. On Tuesday, he took to the floor to introduce the measure, which cites Trump's attacks against four Democratic congresswomen of color. The House voted to condemn the president's Twitter attacks congresswomen of color on Tuesday, with four Republicans voting alongside Democrats.
Green said on Wednesday that the condemnation did not go far enough.
"If you did what the president has done, you would be punished. What we've done so far doesn't fine him, and it does not remove him from his job. You would lose your jobs. The president cannot be above the law," he said.
Nearly 60 Democrats backed an earlier version of Green's measure in December 2017, which was successfully killed by Republican leaders at the time.
But with the House now in Democrats' hands, the subject is one that party leaders have been reluctant to take up, and have instead called for the continued investigation of the president and the Trump administration.
Democrats harbor political concerns about the vote -- dozens of moderate freshmen would rather discuss the party's agenda than take up impeachment before they return home for the six-week August recess. And while at least 86 House Democrats support launching impeachment proceedings against Trump, according to an ABC News analysis, some said they considered Green's effort premature ahead of special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony next week.
Green's impeachment resolution made no mention of the findings of the Mueller report and the administration's refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony, which Democrats have labored to highlight in a series of hearings and additional investigations.
"I think there are legitimate reasons to favor impeachment, but I think we need to hear from the man that wrote the report," Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said on Wednesday.
A former high school history teacher, Clyburn suggested the House might not have to impeach as a result of Democrats' investigative work, pointing to the high-profile witnesses whose testimony eventually forced President Richard Nixon to resign during Watergate.
"It was John Dean’s testimony, Alexander Butterfield’s testimony," he said. "We never got to the point of impeaching Nixon, we didn’t need to because we did good investigative work."
Green said postponing consideration of impeachment until after Mueller's testimony would be "justice delayed."
"I will do this even if I am the only person who is involved in the process," he said. "There are some times on some issues where it's better to stand alone than not stand at all."
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Yana Paskova/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Federal prosecutors have ended their investigation into the Trump Organization's involvement in hush-money payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with President Donald Trump, according to court documents filed in a New York court on Wednesday.
The conclusion of the investigation prompted the judge in the case to order prosecutors to release unredacted documents related to the raid of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's home in April 2018, including copies of the warrant, warrant applications and supporting affidavits.
The Southern District of New York has been looking into multiple areas of possible legal exposure for Trump for months. It remains unclear what avenues prosecutors may be continuing to follow in this investigation or others related to the president and his businesses.
Typically, prosecutors do not announce the conclusion of an investigation that doesn't result in formal charges being filed. News of the probe's conclusion came in the judge's order to release unredacted versions of the documents. And while the judge's language strongly indicates that the government thinks its investigation is done, the Southern District of New York declined to comment.
"The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance," a federal judge wrote in his order, denying the government's request for limited redactions.
"Now that the Government's investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials."
The president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, responded to the news of the investigations conclusion in a statement Wednesday.
“We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed," Sekulow said in the statement. "We have maintained from the outset that the President never engaged in any campaign finance violation. From the Court’s opinion: “the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded ... Another case is closed."
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight counts that included campaign finance violations stemming from hush-money agreements with two women, adult actress Stormy Daniels -- whose given name is Stephanie Clifford -- and Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom say they had affairs with Trump. The president has denied both women's allegations.
Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in prison in December and is currently completing his sentence in a federal correctional institute in Otisville, New York.
During his plea hearing, Cohen told the court that he made payments to the women "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" who was later identified as Trump.
The government filed a motion in February to keep some documents related to the Cohen's campaign violations sealed while they New York prosecutors consider charging Trump Organization in Cohen hush-money scheme pursued an ongoing investigation into the Trump Organization.
But in Wednesday's filing, Judge William Pauley III wrote that the government had "concluded the aspects of its investigation that justified continued sealing" of the documents.
Pauley ordered that the previously-sealed documents, which are to be filed on Thursday, be "unredacted in their entirety" with the exception of names of investigators and some individuals.
Nick Akerman, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York and current partner at law firm Dorsey and Whitney, said that while the judge's filing indicates that prosecutors may be wrapping this specific investigation, other probes could still be ongoing
"We know that there were several and that this is just one of several," he said.
The judge’s order to unseal documents Wednesday relates only to "one particular investigation."
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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford made waves this week after saying he's considering launching a primary challenge against President Donald Trump, but the Republican added Wednesday that beating the president wouldn't necessary be the main objective of his potential run.
"I don't think that winning necessarily has to be a goal in this kind of thing," he told ABC News political director Rick Klein and ABC News senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast Wednesday.
"The question is: Can you win in bringing this debate forward," Sanford added. "There are ways of winning but not winning in the electoral sense. I think it would be a win if you change the debate [so] we begin to have a real serious conversation on the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle as to what we do to avoid a financial upheaval."
Sanford, who also previously served as South Carolina's governor, said Wednesday that if he runs -- a decision he plans to make over the next 30 days -- the national debt and economy will be the main focus of his Republican primary challenge against the president.
Yet, the former governor admits that argument won't be the easiest one to make against a president presiding over a economy that includes record low unemployment numbers.
"I mean, that's why people aren't talking about it," Sanford said regarding the economy. "They're talking about his different character flaws, what they don't like about what he says, the way he is inflammatory and divisive -- go down the list."
Sanford left Congress in 2018 after losing his primary following the president endorsing his opponent, state Sen. Katie Arrington, who would go on to lose in the general election to Rep. Joe Cunningham.
In regards to the president's recent racist tweets targeting four congresswomen of color, Sanford said he wasn't surprised by Republicans' muted response.
"This is the political reality, that, you know, unless [Republicans] want to get fried by the president or have him come after them in some form or fashion they're going to keep quiet," he said.
However, Sanford would not say how he would have voted on Tuesday's historic House resolution condemning the president's "racist comments," which passed in a 240-187 vote. He said he hasn't looked at it.
"I'm not in any way dismissing the racially charged inflammatory language the president uses -- but all of us are again falling into the orbit of Donald Trump. Too much of what he talks about and does simply ensures that he'll be the center of the debate," he said.
While Sanford said he will take the next month to decide on whether or not he'll run, the prospects of his past controversies surrounding an extra-marital affair in 2009 being brought up during the campaign is already weighing on his decision.
"Am I an imperfect messenger? Absolutely. Is that part of the reason that I've held up -- as friends have suggested I do this -- for the last year? I don't want to get hit on that stuff," Sanford said. "I don't want to reopen old scabs but I got to look my poor sons in the eye."
But the former congressman said if he runs, he wouldn't be surprised if President Trump brings up those controversies. "There's nothing on- or off-limits in the world of politics," he said.
If Sanford were to get into the race, he wouldn't be the only Republican running to unseat President Trump. Fellow Republican former Gov. Bill Weld has been running since earlier this year, but has yet to catch fire in a substantial way, raising just under $700K in the second quarter for his long-shot campaign.
And like Sanford, Weld, a libertarian who ran in 2016 on on a third party ticket with Gary Johnson, has made the debt and spending a key issue on the campaign trail.
"They're not serious about cutting spending or cutting the deficit. I don't think this president is an economic conservative at all," Weld said in a recent interview.
Besides Weld, other top Republicans long-rumored for primary bids against the president, including former Gov. John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, have signaled they are not eager to challenge the president, who remains popular within the party.
Hogan, a vocal critic of the president, announced in June that he would "not be a candidate" in 2020 and would remain governor of Maryland.
Powerhouse Politics podcast is a weekly program that posts every Wednesday, and includes headliner interviews and in-depth looks at the people and events shaping U.S. politics. Powerhouse Politics podcast is hosted by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.
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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On March 10, Paul Njoroge woke up to the "horrible nightmare" that the Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying his wife, three children and mother-in-law crashed six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 passengers and crew members on board -- the second fatal crash involving the Boeing 737 Max aircraft in five months.
On Wednesday, Njoroge testified before the House aviation subcommittee to discuss aviation safety, and he brought with him blown-up pictures of the loved ones he had lost.
"I stay up nights thinking of the horror that they must have endured," Njoroge told lawmakers. "As pilots struggled to keep the plane flying for six minutes - the terror that my wife must have experienced with little Rubi on her lap, our two children beside her crying for their daddy, and my mother-in-law feeling helpless beside her. The six minutes will forever be embedded in my mind."
It was the third house hearing on aviation safety since the Boeing 737 Max crashes that killed a total of 346 people.
The 737 Max jets have been grounded since March, and Boeing is currently working on updates to its 737 MAX software, which will then go to the Federal Aviation Authority for certification.
Preliminary reports suggested there were problems with an automated anti-stall system called MCAS.
On June 26, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilots found a new potential issue with the 737 Max aircraft during a simulated flight that affected pilots' abilities to quickly and easily follow the required recovery procedures for the runaway stabilizer.
FAA officials have said the agency will lift the aircraft's prohibition order "when they deem it safe to do so."
"The tragic loss of life in both accidents continues to weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we have the utmost sympathy for the loved ones of those on board," Boeing chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.
Njoroge, whose family was traveling from Toronto, Canada, to Nairobi, Kenya, to visit extended family, said he hopes putting a face to the tragedies will ensure "that no lives are lost again because of the negligence of plane manufacturers and aviation regulators."
"It was up to Boeing and others in charge to save them," Njoroge said. "We paid for a safe flight. Instead, my family and others in that plane have suffered a profound loss that can never be mended. I never knew it would be the last time I would ever see them."
"No more birthdays, no more anniversaries, no more holidays. No weddings for my children, no grandchildren," Njoroge said. His 9-month-old daughter Rubi, believed to be the youngest person to die in the crash, never met her grandparents.
On Wednesday, just minutes before Njoroge's testimony began, Boeing announced that they will dedicate $50 million of pledged $100 million for relief to the families of the two crashes. Njoroge, who has filed a lawsuit against Boeing accusing them of negligence, called Boeing's apologies and pledge "a press relations strategy to apologize to cameras."
"Boeing has never reached out to families about the impossible sorrow and grief we will carry for our entire lives," Njoroge said.
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lucky-photographer/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House will begin new construction this month to build a taller fence -- part of a long-planned renovation project for increased security.
The existing fence will be replaced by an approximately 13-foot-tall barrier -- almost double the current size -- with wider and stronger fence posts. The new design will incorporate anti-climb intrusion detection technology, according to a National Park Service news release.
This project will cover the 18-acre White House complex and use more than 3,500 feet of steel fencing.
In June, a man was arrested after he allegedly assaulted a police officer and tried to jump over the fence outside the White House. The person was quickly arrested. A week earlier, the White House announced it was raising the fence height from 6 feet, 6 inches as part of $64 million construction project.
Construction began on July 8, with an approval by both the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission two years ago. The work should be completed by 2021.
Workers will begin construction in the northwest corner of the White House, along Pennsylvania Avenue, and then they will tackle the northeast corner of the White House complex.
The White House will remain visible for the public throughout the renovation, but pedestrians and cyclists should expect occasional, temporary closures in certain areas.
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Josh Brasted/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Beto O'Rourke's campaign announced on Tuesday that it's hired Aisha McClendon as national director of African American outreach amid increased efforts to reach out to the pivotal minority voting bloc.
The fellow Texas native is a seasoned Democratic political strategist who worked in the Clinton White House and has more than two decades of experience. McClendon stepped down as chief of staff to Rep. Toni Rose, D-Texas, to join O'Rourke's 2020 presidential bid.
"I totally believe that Beto is the best candidate and the best person to be the next president of the United States," McClendon said. "As a Texan, I've watched him with my own eyes, and I totally believe in him. The things that he's aligned with are things that I believe in."
Black women are increasingly at the center of O'Rourke's presidential bid -- now with five of them in prominent positions in his campaign, working at the helm of influence, leading his political strategy.
The movements come in a year where issues of diversity and inclusion come to the forefront.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 55% of eligible black women voters cast ballots in November 2018, with the demographic group proving to be one of the largest in terms of turnout.
O'Rourke's campaign joins a number of other presidential candidates who are leaning on the expertise of African American women to guide their campaigns, as diversity plays a significant role in voter outreach after exit polls in the 2018 midterms revealed black women to be a key voting bloc.
"Beto O'Rourke is not the only campaign who recognizes that they won't have momentum without black women and that they need people on high level staff to connect them and be bridges to [them]," said Aimee Allison, founder of She The People. "[Candidates] need to know how to reach them. What's the language? What are the policies? How are they reaching that core constituency."
Presidential front-runners like former Vice President Joe Biden enlisted the expertise of black women very early in their campaign, hiring prominent African American senior strategist Symone Sanders as his senior adviser. Bernie Sanders hired Nina Turner as a national campaign co-chair. Kamala Harris, the only black woman running in 2020, enlisted her sister, Maya Harris, as her campaign chair, and often connects with members of the historically black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which she joined while she attended Howard University, the renowned HBCU.
McClendon is directing African American outreach, Ofirah Yheskel is working as deputy communications director of states, Chrystian Woods is national director of outreach and Lauren Harper, the state director for South Carolina, works alongside Robyn Patterson, the campaign's communications director in the Palmetto State.
At a moment when four high-profile minority politicians are at the center of political conversation, these women are working behind the scenes in a presidential campaign that's seeking to push that conversation forward.
"The campaigns are trying to figure out how to reach the key networks that have been crucial in terms of reaching black voters -- the Deltas, or other kinds of sororities or HBCUs. I think that's why you've seen a number of the candidates, including Sanders and Warren speaking at HBCUs. That's a critical network, a network that Kamala Harris already knew," Allison said.
"My observation is that the campaigns who started much earlier, with a set of detailed policy, speaking to the highest priority issues for black women are the one who are have seen a lot of growth in the polls," said Allison, pointing to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's steady rise in the polls brought on, in part, by her specific policies that target issues concerning black women.
Currently, Biden leads the pack with 41% support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning black voters, according to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll. Sen. Bernie Sanders sat at 23%.
Harris and Warren are making up ground with black voters, according to the poll, seeing support at 11% and 4%, respectively.
McClendon's announcement comes as O'Rourke fine tunes his message to African American voters, having more and more nuanced discussions about racial and economic disparities on the trail, all of which could reflect an acute awareness of the concerns from minorities on the ground in key states.
Over the last three months, O'Rourke has visited historically black communities, hosting roundtables often led by black female voices on the issues of criminal justice reform, climate change and voter suppression in communities --- infusing what he learns about the disparities plaguing the black communities into his larger campaign message.
Voters in South Carolina saw this first hand in North Charleston, South Carolina, when O'Rourke sat down with black affinity group leaders at a criminal justice roundtable hours before BET's Black Economic Alliance Presidential Forum where he was scheduled to speak. The former Texas Congressman took notes as he received insight from men and women about their oppressive experiences as it relates to gun violence and police brutality.
"Safety is something that is not just given to people in this community nowadays," a female roundtable speaker explained to O'Rourke. "The feeling of safety, feeling as though that you will be okay and that you will be able to live once you walk out of a space is not something that is privileged to this community on a day to day basis."
O'Rourke took that insight shared from that roundtable conversation and repurposed it in an attempt to speak directly to black voters during his time on stage at the Black Economics Alliance Presidential Forum.
"We were just at a roundtable in North Charleston, a young woman talked about organizing safe spaces for black men to congregate to have conversations, and then to make sure that they're safe on their way home, safe from police violence, safe from a criminal justice system that has incarcerated more people here than any country on the face of the planet -- safe when it comes to environmental justice," O'Rourke said on stage to moderator Soledad O'Brien.
In Beaufort, South Carolina, he leaned on the insight of preservationist Marquetta Goodwine, also known as Queen Quet, the elected chieftess of the Gullah Geechee Nation, who gave him a tour of the church where Harriet Tubman lived, just before he held a community roundtable discussion on climate change, voting rights and economic mobility.
"White Americans do not know this story," O'Rourke admitted, explaining how stories of Tubman were not taught to him in his El Paso high school.
Goodwine told ABC News O'Rourke reached out to her directly, which is part of why she made it a priority for them to meet.
"We really focused on the culture of Gullah Geechee, and we did in a more intimate setting so he could really hear us and we could really hear him," she said.
O'Rourke's campaign stops are coupled with rhetoric that speaks to black female issues, from deep disparities in equal pay and the disproportionate African American maternal mortality rates, to the rise in murder rate among black transgender women.
Amid his stubborn lag in national polls, and a noticeable loss of momentum proven in his underwhelming fundraising in the second fiscal quarter of the campaign season raising only $3.7 million compared to the $6 million he raised in the first day of his bid, O'Rourke's outreach to African American women could be crucial to regaining traction in the 2020 race.
"My goal is to get him out of in front of women of color. Once people get to know him, they definitely love him so that what we plan to do," McClendon said. "I want America to meet the person that I know, and I want them to see him for the person that I see, and that's just doing what he does best, which is getting him out in front of people and having conversations."
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NoDerog/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Between President Donald Trump posting record-shattering fundraising numbers, a formerly little-known mayor setting a high bar for the Democratic field and a swath of campaigns making significant investments in digital operations in the early stages, the Federal Election Commission reports filed on Monday offered a glimpse at the shifting fates for the campaigns as they prepare for the long race ahead.
This early, a strong showing in a single quarter does not always translate to early-state votes or even define viability -- and the uncertainty of it all will continue to loom over the competition as they presidential hopefuls seek to go the distance.
Here are five takeaways from the most recent FEC reports:
The top earners secure front-runner status in race
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg kicked off the second-quarter fundraising race amid fanfare earlier this month. No other 2020 Democrats were able to top the $25 million he raised between April and June.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who launched his campaign a little later than other candidates, came in second, raising a total of $22 million in the first 66 days of his bid. Biden's campaign has emphasized that he's not accepting any donations that would be transferred to the general election fund, unlike other candidates, including Buttigieg. But only a small portion of the general election fund made up Buttigieg's total this quarter.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pulled herself into the top tier by bringing in $19 million from grassroots donations, more than three times the amount she raised in the first quarter. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the two biggest fundraisers last quarter, finished behind their rivals, as they raised about the same amount as the previous quarter, $18 million and $12 million, respectively.
But Sanders is stocked up against the crowded Democratic presidential field, with more than $27 million cash on hand, with help from a $7.6 million transfer from his prior campaign. Buttigieg, Warren and Harris are also gearing up for a competitive second half of 2019, with $22.6 million, $19.8 million and $13.3 million cash on hand. Biden, despite his big fundraising sum this quarter, will have some catching up to do as he enters the third quarter with $10.9 million in his bank.
These early fundraising numbers come before another batch of 20 candidates take the stage at the second Democratic debates in Detroit next week, but the hauls are setting up a splintered field between these five well-funded candidates and the rest of the field. The top candidates all earned over $10 million in the second quarter, but then there is a steep gap, with the next top raiser being Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who brought in only $4.5 million.
Lower tier candidates are outspending their wallets
In a steep fall from his last quarter haul, former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke raised only $3.7 million in three months -- less than the nearly $6 million he raked in during the first 24 hours of his presidential bid.
O'Rourke first entered the Democratic primary in March, with lofty expectations following his unsuccessful Senate run against Sen. Ted Cruz despite his fundraising prowess -- he raised $80 million during that race. But his campaign has struggled in recent months to pick up much-needed traction amid the crowded field.
O'Rourke is finding himself among a tier of candidates whose second-quarter fundraising sums are far less than the top five contenders who set a high bar on fundraising. With six months until the Iowa caucuses, when the first voters will head to the polls in the nominating contest, O'Rourke, along with nearly half of the Democratic field, burned through their cash -- spending more than they raised throughout the second quarter.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, author Marianne Williamson, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., former congressman John Delaney, D-Md., and Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam all blazed through their war chests -- at a time when they should be stocking up.
As concerns rise over how much longer their long-shot campaigns can last, the tiers appear even more hierarchical when it comes to cash in the bank.
While the top tier of fundraisers reports double-digit numbers for cash on hand, which allows candidates to build up their campaign apparatus with more staff and resources in the early-voting states, others are resorting to prior campaign committees and their own dollars to navigate rough waters.
After spending nearly double the $2.3 million she raised this quarter, Gillibrand still has more than $8 million in her pocket after she transferred money from her Senate campaign fund last quarter. Delaney, who had the worst burn rate this cycle after spending more than $2 million despite raising just over $284,000, secured more than $7.4 million in his fund by the end of this quarter thanks to a $7 million loan from himself dropped just two days before the close of books.
Small-dollar donations dominate second-quarter finances
In the sprawling Democratic primary, a central theme this cycle continues to be the candidates' emphasis on small-dollar donors financing their campaigns -- as both a signal of their grassroots strength and engagement with regular people across the country and a key benchmark to land on a debate stage.
The grassroots push in the 2020 contest is also echoed in the rules for the Democratic debates -- which includes a new grassroots qualifying rule implemented by the Democratic National Committee after the 2016 presidential primary in an effort to prioritize inclusion.
Among the front-runners in fundraising, both progressive stalwarts, Sanders and Warren, who broadly share a vision for economic equality, are shunning high-dollar fundraisers and relying on a powerful base of small donors.
Not all campaigns released the number of individual donors, but in the second quarter, Sanders is once again the leader of the pack, garnering the most grassroots support with his $14 million coming from one million unique donations. Small dollar donors composed 84% of his contributions, according to ProPublica.
Warren falls behind him and Yang, with her $19.8 million coming from 384,000 donors and 70% of small-dollar donors making up her fundraising total. About 81% of Yang's second-quarter total came from donations of $200 or less. Buttigieg's campaign claimed more than 294,000 donors who contributed to his staggering $24.9 million haul, and Harris received her $11.8 million from 279,000 donors, according to her campaign.
According to FEC filings, only eight of the 25 campaigns raised a majority of their money from donors who gave $200 or less.
The bottom five contenders who reported less than 25% of their donations coming from people who gave $200 or less are Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (22%), Delaney (20%, Booker (16%), Hickenlooper (15%) and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (9%), according to ProPublica.
Democrats are dishing out digital ad dollars
The 2020 Democrats are making it loud and clear, the battle is no longer on-air -- it's online.
Many of the candidates have been aggressively targeting voters with digital advertising campaigns, so much so that some of them are burning through much of their campaign funds on digital operations.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., for instance, spent more than $737,000 on digital ads out of the total of $1.3 million he spent throughout the whole quarter, while former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro spent more than $1 million on digital advertising out of the total $2.3 million he spent. Gillibrand, too, spent nearly $1 million out of her total of $4 million on digital ads.
In the month leading up to the first Democratic debates, which took place on June 26-27, Castro spent roughly $373,000 on debate-related digital advertising from May 25 to June 29, according to data from Facebook and Google's political ad transparency reports, aggregated by Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital communications firm.
Both Bennet and Gillibrand spent most of their digital dollars on debate-related advertising throughout the second quarter, with over $409,000 and nearly $228,000 respectively.
Inslee spent nearly $1 million of the $3 million he raised this quarter on online advertising.
Of that $1 million, he has spent a little under half a million dollars since March 30, almost a month after Inslee announced his presidential bid, through June 30 on digital advertising related to climate change, an issue around which he's centered his campaign.
Inslee's spending dwarfed the rest of the field and was 12 times more than Klobuchar, the next closest candidate, whose ad totals are around $38,000, according to the data.
Meanwhile, among candidates who've filed in the second quarter, those sticking to the traditional means of television ads include Delaney and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii. Delaney reported spending at least $713,000 on television ad buys, while Gabbard reported spending nearly $550,000 on on-air ads. She has also been double dipping with digital ads, spending at least $457,000.
Shortly after the second-quarter ended, Gillibrand launched a television ad and billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched his presidential campaign, and has been spending millions on ad buys since.
Trump looms in the distance with massive war chest
Trump, unlike his Democratic rivals, has been aggressively campaigning for reelection with the backing of the Republican National Committee since immediately after his inauguration in 2017. And in the second quarter of 2019, the Trump campaign and its two joint fundraising committees with the RNC spent more than $25 million in support of the president.
At least $2.8 million of that went to the campaign's online and digital operation, including more than $1 million to campaign manager Brad Parscale's digital firm Parscale Strategy. It is unclear how much of this money goes to buying ad placement. The Trump campaign didn't spend any money on on-air campaigns in the second quarter, and only a small amount overall so far this year.
The Trump campaign and his committees also spent more than $1.5 million in legal fees this quarter, with almost $993,000 of that still going to former White House Counsel Don McGahn's firm, Jones Day, after reports that the campaign was looking for a new in-house legal team.
The Trump campaign and its affiliated committees spent nearly $323,000 at various Trump properties between April and June, including more than $131,000 at the Mar-a-Lago club, $105,000 at the Trump hotel in Washington, and $75,083 rent for the Trump campaign office at the New York Trump Tower.
According to the campaign, the Trump campaign and its joint fundraising committees raised a total of $56.7 million this quarter, and the RNC raised an additional $51 million in support of Trump, bringing the total amount raised for Trump's reelection efforts to $108 million. The Trump campaign and the joint fundraising committees have $80 million cash on hand and the RNC has $43 million cash on hand, according to the campaign.
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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The House of Representatives voted largely along party lines Tuesday to formally condemn President Donald Trump's Twitter attacks against four Democratic congresswoman of color, with just four House Republicans and one independent lawmaker siding with Democrats to adopt the measure.
The resolution rebuking Trump's attacks against four House Democrats passed in a 240-187 vote on Tuesday evening after raucous debate on the House floor. Republicans argued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticisms of Trump's comments ran afoul of House rules prohibiting lawmakers from saying the president made a "bigoted or racist" statement, prompting a parliamentary ruling and a series of procedural votes, including one allowing her to continue speaking on the floor.
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Trump first criticized the progressive Democratic congresswomen for what he characterized as "horrible and disgusting actions," telling them to stop criticizing the government and "go back" to where they came from.
Three of the four Democrats targeted by Trump -- Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan -- were born in the United States. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim lawmaker representing Minnesota who Trump falsely accused of praising al-Qaeda, was born in Somalia. All four are U.S. citizens.
The measure, introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., who was born in Poland, is titled "Condemning President Trump's racist comments directed at Members of Congress."
It unfavorably compares Trump's comments to those of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, who praised the impact of immigrants on the United States, and "strongly condemns" Trump's language, stating that it has "legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."
"This is an affront to 22 million naturalized citizens who were born in another country," Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a cosponsor of the measure, said of Trump's tweets on the floor Tuesday. "It's an affront to the hundreds of millions of Americans who understand and love how American democracy works."
The targeted group of freshmen women, known as "the squad" on Capitol Hill, responded to the president's attacks in a news conference on Monday afternoon, and urged Democrats and supporters to focus on their agenda.
"This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people," Pressley said.
Omar and Tlaib both cited Trump's comments as justification to launch impeachment proceedings against the president.
Trump stood by his initial attacks on Monday and Tuesday.
Roughly 42 Republicans in Congress criticized Trump's attacks against their Democratic colleagues, according to an ABC News survey of 254 congressional Republicans, with a handful saying that they believed the comments were racist.
"Political rhetoric has really gotten way, way over-heated all across the political spectrum," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday. "From the president to the speaker, to the freshmen members of the house, all of us have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse. Our words do matter, we all know politics is a contact support. But it's about time we lowered the temperature all across the board. All of us ought to contribute to a better level of discourse."
Pressed when he stopped short of calling the president’s attacks racist, McConnell said, "The president is not a racist. I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country."
In response, Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News that McConnell is "complicit in advancing racism in America" for not criticizing Trump."
"When you tell American citizens to go back to their country ... that has everything to do with race," she said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that he didn't consider Trump's comments to be racist, and accused Democrats of trying to play politics against Trump with the resolution on the floor.
"Let's not be false about what is happening here today," he said. "This is all about politics and beliefs of ideologies."
House GOP leaders encouraged Republicans to vote against the measure. Only four -- Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Will Hurd of Texas -- voted with Democrats. Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who recently left the Republican Party, also voted for the resolution. Others, including some Republicans who initially condemned Trump's comments, opposed the measure, and accused Democrats of rushing to embarrass Trump with a vote on a partisan resolution.
Trump's attacks managed to unify House Democrats after weeks of infighting over the caucus response to the migrant crisis at the border, and the Trump administration's immigration policies.
"These are our sisters," Pelosi said of the four Democrats targeted by Trump in a meeting Tuesday morning, according to an aide in the room.
"The fact is, as offended as we are, and we are offended by what he said about our sisters. He says that about people every day and they feel as hurt as we do about somebody in our family having this offence against them," she said.
"This is, I hope, one where we will get Republican support. If they can't support condemning the words of the President, well that's a message in and of itself," she added.
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