By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann
WASHINGTON — They’re both white men in their mid-to-late 70s. And they’re both current/former creatures of the U.S. Senate.
But Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders — the two 2020 candidates who lead in almost every Democratic poll — represents one heck of an ideological contrast, if the race ultimately comes down to these two men.
So in addition to the not-so-subtle shot that the Sanders campaign took at Biden’s high-roller fundraiser last night, the two candidates disagree on:
- health care (Sanders is for a single-payer system; Biden likely will work to protect/strengthen Obamacare);
- trade (Sanders opposed the TPP trade agreement; Biden backed it as Barack Obama’s VP);
- and their vision for 2020 (Sanders is once again calling for a political revolution; Biden is running on a political restoration project).
Of course, a full-out Biden-versus-Bernie ideological fight — if it comes to that — could create an opening for the other 2020 Dems, whose messages are in between a revolution and a restoration.
And last night, Elizabeth Warren took a swipe at Biden’s entry when she was asked about his record on Wall Street and bankruptcy, per MSNBC’s Shirley Zilberstein.
“At a time when the biggest financial institutions in this country were trying to put the squeeze on millions of hard-working families who were in bankruptcy because of medical problems, job losses, divorce and death in the family, there was nobody to stand up for them,” she said.
“I got in that fight because they just didn’t have anyone. And Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies.”
But also remember that both Biden and Sanders mutually benefit from contrasts with one another.
Biden needs the foil of Sanders to show that his version of democratic socialism goes too far, while Sanders needs the foil of Biden to demonstrate that Obamaism-Bidenism doesn’t go far enough.
So don’t be surprised if this Biden-versus-Bernie debate becomes a staple of the fall before next year’s first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump addresses a struggling NRA
When President Trump addresses the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis at 11:35 am ET, he’ll speak to an organization that’s been incredibly weakened over the past year.
“[T]he group is grappling with infighting, bleeding money and facing a series of investigations into its operating practices, including allegations that covert Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election courted its officials and funneled money through the group,” the AP writes.
More: “Indeed, as Trump is speaking Friday, Maria Butina, the admitted Russian agent, is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Washington.”
Besides its financial and Russian troubles, the NRA also got drubbed in last year’s midterms – a reminder that the NRA’s political fate is tied directly to the Republican Party.
It wasn’t that way 20 years ago…
2020 Vision: Who endorsed Biden and who didn’t
On his first day as a presidential candidate, Biden picked up some key (but not surprising) endorsements:
- Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.
- Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
- Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala.
- Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del.
- Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa.
- Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.
- Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.
But here’s an endorsement Biden didn’t get — Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who backed Pete Buttigieg earlier this week.
Why is Beyer notable here?
“Beyer endorsed Obama in early 2007 and volunteered on his campaign, knocking on doors for weeks in Iowa ahead of the state caucuses,” the Washington Post writes.
Also: “Beyer served two terms as Virginia’s lieutenant governor in the 1990s, was a major fundraiser for Obama and served as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009 to 2013.”
On the campaign trail
Today: Joe Biden appears on The View… Elizabeth Warren stumps in Iowa… Kirsten Gillibrand hits New Hampshire… Cory Booker campaigns in South Carolina… And Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro both swing through Nevada.
Saturday: President Trump holds a rally in Green Bay, Wis… O’Rourke, Castro, Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and John Hickenlooper attend an SEIU forum in Las Vegas… O’Rourke later heads to California… And Gillibrand remains in New Hampshire, while Booker stays in South Carolina.
Sunday: O’Rourke holds a town hall in San Francisco.
Data Download: The number of the day is … 28 years
That’s the time that passed between the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings — for which Joe Biden served as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — and his reported repentant phone call a few weeks ago to Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment.
But, as the New York Times reports, the call didn’t go as he hoped.
Hill told the Times: “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you’ … I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
She also didn’t call Biden’s phone call an apology, and — although she doesn’t see Biden’s conduct during the hearings as totally disqualifying — she said she can’t support him until he further addresses his treatment of her and of corroborating witnesses who were never called to testify in the confirmation fight.
The Lid: Oh, that Joe
Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at the various ways Joe Biden’s candidacy could play out.
Tweet of the day
ICYMI: This week’s overlooked stories
Biden gets in! The subpoena war! More fallout from the Mueller report! Those were the stories that dominated the week.
But don’t miss these other ones, per NBC’s Kyle Stewart, which would have received more attention in any other political era.
- North Korea issued $2 million bill for comatose Otto Warmbier’s care.
- Watchdogs open 2nd ethics probe of top Interior officials.
- Latino vote surged in 2018, new data shows.
- Putin meets with Kim in hopes he can help resolve nuclear standoff.
And don’t miss these stories today….
The Washington Post has details on how Trump enlisted Corey Lewandowski to try to curtail the Mueller probe.
Rod Rosenstein is hitting back at the Mueller report’s critics.
POLITICO looks at how Mick Mulvaney is trying to boost White House morale.
Joe Biden has hired Symone Sanders.
In other news out there…
Trump agenda: Hack this
The Trump campaign won’t rule out using hacked material in 2020.
The Trump administration has six months to identify migrant children who have been separated from their families, according to a judge’s new ruling.
Trump is meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on trade.
2020: Betting on fear of Trump
Biden is betting big on fear of Trump, NBC’s Jonathan Allen writes.
And is Trump worried about Biden?
Biden’s first swing is focused on Iowa and South Carolina.
Elizabeth Warren is blasting a new big bank merger.
The AP reports on Cory Booker’s plan to boost the EPA.
Florida officials demand answers on DHS plan to send asylum-seekers to Democratic counties
By Dareh Gregorian
Florida officials are demanding answers about a Department of Homeland Security plan to send 1,000 “unlawful immigrants and asylum-seekers” a month to two heavily Democratic counties.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and a close ally of President Donald Trump, called the plan “not acceptable,” and said it might not be enacted.
“I’m going to be addressing this,” he told reporters on Friday.
“Nothing’s concrete,” DeSantis said. “This is not something that came down from the White House. This was something that came out of the agencies.”
An official with Customs and Border Protection, the DHS agency that local law-enforcement says told them the asylum seekers would be brought to the state within weeks, told reporters Friday there may have been some miscommunication, and no such move was imminent.
The agency acknowledged Friday it is looking at releasing immigrants in communities along the northern border and on the coast, where there is already a border patrol presence.
On Thursday, CBP had declined comment on the plan, referring questions to Homeland Security, which did not respond to questions from reporters — or area lawmakers.
In a letter to acting DHS boss Kevin McAleenan on Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he was told about the plan “to transport approximately 500 migrants per month from El Paso, Texas, to both Broward and Palm Beach Counties for release pending an asylum hearing” from local law-enforcement.
“Does the Department intend to transport migrants currently in custody at the southern border to states that do not share a border with Mexico?” Rubio asked, referring to the entrants as “unlawful immigrants and asylum-seekers.” “If so, why?”
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said they were informed of the basics of the plan this week by border patrol operations in Miami, but had not been able to get any specifics.
“The composition, according to what we were told, were supposed to be family units. We don’t know what that means. We don’t know if that means a 15 year old, a mother and a father, or a 5 year old and a mother, or just a father and a child,” he told reporters.
“What kind of health conditions do they have?” Bradshaw asked. “What are they going do when they get here?”
He said there appears to be no plan in place by the feds for what happens to the migrants after they’re processed at immigration facilities. He said CBP plans “to give them a notice to appear to come to a hearing at some later date, and then release them into the community. No accommodations for transportation leaving there, no accommodations for shelter or a place to live, just no real plan on what’s going to happen to these 500 people.”
He said charitable resources in the area are already stretched thin. “We have a homeless problem, we’re dealing with a Hepatitis A outbreak, we’re dealing with measles outbreaks,” Bradshaw said.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said, “We will do everything possible to help these people,” but added, “this is irresponsible policy. To bring hundreds of people here every week without providing the necessary resources to house and feed them is inhumane.”
“If the president will not provide us with financial assistance to house and feed these people, he will be creating a homeless encampment,” Bogen said.
Rep. Ted Deutsch, D-Fla., said Congress has been kept in the dark.
“There’s a stunning amount of confusion surrounding the Administration’s outrageous immigration policy, even more today than usual,” he said. “I hesitate saying more about these reports because no one in the Administration seems to know what is happening.”
While Florida voted for Trump in 2016, the two counties that would be impacted by the plan are Democratic strongholds that overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. State voter data shows Broward County has 600,365 registered Democrats and 254,012 registered Republicans. Palm Beach County — home to Trump’s “Winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago — has 398,166 Democrats and 268,011 Republicans.
Last month, the president said he was “giving very strong consideration” to a plan to bus detained immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities as a way of retaliating against Democrats for blocking his efforts to change the country’s “very dangerous immigration laws.”
“We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “They say we have open arms, they’re always saying they have open arms, let’s see if they have open arms.”
Trump made the statement after it was reported that DHS had considered such a plan but rejected because it was “so illegal.”
Neither Broward nor Palm Beach counties are “sanctuary” areas that limit cooperation with immigration authorities, and a bill banning such areas in the state was approved by the state legislature earlier this month. DeSantis is expected to sign it.
The CBP official who spoke with reporters Friday said the agency is not considering whether or not the areas they’re sending migrants to are sanctuary cities — only whether they have the capacity to temporarily detain, process and release them.
DeSantis said a large influx of asylum-seekers in any part of the state would put a strain on state and local services, and that he would talk to Trump about the issue if necessary.
“This I would think would cause a lot of stress on our communities,” the governor said. “We have a lot of fish to fry with our own state and our own citizens.”
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., an outspoken Trump critic, said in a statement, “Voters won’t like this attempt to manufacture crises in our communities and drain already strained resources, nor will they forget it when they head to the polls next year. Building encampments on the grounds of his beloved Mar-a-Lago, however, is something they likely can get behind.”
Brexit LIVE: 'Stop Boris!' Remainers draw up plot to block no deal Brexit
SEVEN Tory Ministers including former Home Secretary Amber Rudd are ready to block Boris Johnson’s bid to take the UK out of the EU without a Brexit divorce deal if he becomes Conservative Party leader, in a move which could ignite civil war in the Conservative Party.
Hundreds of migrants detained in Texas to be flown to San Diego
By Phil Helsel
Hundreds of detainees from immigration agency facilities in Texas and elsewhere will be flown to San Diego for processing, it was reported Friday, as authorities struggle to handle an influx of migrants entering the country.
Three flights a week carrying about 130 people a flight would arrive in the San Diego area from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Customs and Border Protection Interim Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said Friday, according to NBC San Diego
Those people would come from facilities overwhelmed by a high number of immigrants, including those who are claiming asylum, but officials in Southern California are not expecting any unaccompanied minors, the station reported.
The federal border protection agency is calling the surge in migrants fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — a region sometimes called the Northern Triangle — a humanitarian and border security crisis.
“We’re in the middle of a humanitarian crisis and the numbers in Texas are staggering so the BP is helping out in those sectors to more efficiently process these folks,” an unidentified CBP official said, referring to the Border Patrol, according to Reuters.
The announcement comes as two Department of Homeland Security officials said the DHS is laying the groundwork for a plan to transport recent border crossers by plane to cities around the country and release them after processing.
Florida officials expressed anger on Thursday after learning the Trump administration was planning to release hundreds of migrants each month in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Beyond South Florida, DHS is considering other areas around the country where immigrants can be released, the two officials told NBC News.
It was not immediately clear if the flights from Texas to San Diego were part of that DHS plan.
Also on Friday, Customs and Border Protection warned people against trying to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States, calling crossings with small children an “alarming trend” that has resulted in deaths.
The agency said in a statement that since Oct. 1, 2018, there have been 10 water-related deaths in the Del Rio Sector, which covers parts of the Texas border.
On May 1, three people drowned, including a 10-month-old boy and a 7-year-old boy, when a raft carrying nine people capsized, sending everyone aboard into the water, CBP said.
Border Patrol agents rescued a man who was trying to cross the river with a 3-month-old boy strapped to his chest Thursday, the CBP said. The baby suffered water in his lungs and nearly drowned, the agency said.
“It’s disturbing what is taking place on our borders and witnessed by our Border Patrol agents every day,” Del Rio Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Randy Davis said in the CBP statement.
“This trend is not without tragic consequences,” he said. “Border Patrol agents are rescuing people, but have also had the grim task of recovering deceased bodies including children as young as 10-months-old from the Rio Grande River.”
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