SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-N.J.) dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary this morning, leaving former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as the only black candidate in the race, and leaving a dozen candidates to vie for the nomination.
WHY HE QUIT: “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win,” Booker said. “Money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington.” His departure video … More from Nolan McCaskill
— INSTANT ANALYSIS … NY MAG’S @OliviaNuzzi: “Some candidates just don’t take off, even the ones who make sense in paper, but I think a big part of Booker’s problem, why he never had ‘a moment,’ was that he’d had so many moments before. He’d been on magazine covers and the subject of glowing profiles since the mid-2000s. The political media was overly familiar with Booker and voters weren’t familiar enough.
“He couldn’t be the shiny, new thing like Pete Buttigieg, and so he was left struggling to figure out how to introduce himself to people around the country without the help of a media who regarded him as though they (we) had been there and done that already.”
— NYT’s @AsteadWesley: “Buttigieg won the fresh face not-a-lefty lane, which could have belonged to Harris or Booker. A lot of reasons why this happened, but this is also where the whiteness of donor class and early states really matters. Their vision of electability impacts viability.”
— BOOKER is up for reelection this fall.
NEW AND JUICY … JOSEPH BONDY, Lev Parnas’ attorney, tweeted that he has provided the House Intelligence Committee with “a trove of Lev Parnas’ WhatsApp messages, text messages & images — not under protective order—… detailing interactions with a number of individuals relevant to the impeachment inquiry. #LetLevSpeak #LevRemembers”
— In a note to U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken, Bondy said they turned over electronic copies of three of his devices: a Samsung phone, an iPhone and an iPad. But he hinted that Parnas has more to share. “At present, we do not know whether we intend to produce the entirety of the materials, or a subset filtered for either privilege or relevancy,” Bondy added.
WATCH THIS SPACE … REPUBLICANS aligned with Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL are starting to say that if Democrats force votes on a wide variety of witnesses, then they will move to call HUNTER BIDEN to testify — just as the primary season is heating up.
— JOSH HOLMES (@holmesjosh): “I’m a bit baffled why Democrats are so enthusiastic about forcing witness votes to embarrass GOP senators. That seems like a terrific way to end up with Hunter Biden in the chair.”
COULD HUNTER GET 51 VOTES? WE CHECKED IN with our master of the Senate, Burgess Everett, who said that right now, Biden wouldn’t get a majority. But he noted that could change, depending on the tenor and substance of the trial.
Good Monday afternoon.
WOW … A COMEY MAY PUT AWAY A LEAKER OF MUELLER-PROBE SECRETS … VIA JOSH GERSTEIN: “Former Treasury Department adviser Natalie Edwards is expected to appear in a Manhattan federal court this afternoon to plead guilty in connection with charges brought in 2018 that she repeatedly leaked sensitive, legally protected reports of suspicious banking transactions to BuzzFeed. Many of the reports related to individuals or firms scrutinized by special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“A curious twist in Edwards’ case is that about a month ago, a prosecutor with a well-known surname joined the prosecution team. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey, daughter of the FBI director whom President Donald Trump fired and repeatedly blasted as a leaker, looked set to join in a scheduled March trial in the case before the plea was hammered out.”
BERNIE speaks to the NYT ED BOARD … via Jonathan Martin and Stephanie Saul: “Senator Bernie Sanders said in an interview that he would consider releasing a list of potential Supreme Court appointees he would name if elected president, and noted that his wife, Jane, also believes he should offer a roster of jurists in the way President Trump did during his 2016 campaign.
“Mr. Sanders suggested that it was premature right now to unveil the names of his prospects for the nation’s highest court — ‘got to kind of win the nomination first,’ he said — but he warmed to the idea in an interview with the editorial board of The New York Times. …
“Mr. Sanders said he would push the Senate to pass his legislative priorities with a simple majority; called Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, a dictator; and acknowledged he had changed his views to become more supportive of gun control.” NYT … Full transcript
— BERNIE learns about cancel culture: NYT: “Speaking of young people, recently President Obama made remarks around cancel culture and this idea ——” SANDERS: “Around what?” NYT: “Cancel culture. Cancel culture.” SANDERS: “Cancel culture.” AH: “Are you aware of that phrase?” SANDERS: “Help me out a little bit. Give me a hint.” AH: “So cancel culture essentially is often attributed to younger people, millennials, and this idea that if you put out a critique of a public figure and call for either the resignation or for their cancellation, that sort of thing.” SANDERS: “Oh, I see.”
— AND TOM STEYER TALKS TO THE BOARD … “The board also questioned him on controversial investments made by his fund, Farallon Capital, in companies that resisted unions as well as the fund’s use of offshore havens to shelter income from taxation. Mr. Steyer emphasized his decision more than a decade ago to leave his business and devote much of his money to nonprofit causes.” Full transcript
HAPPENING TOMORROW: Former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis is making his first public appearance — as part of a panel talk at Stanford University — since the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The topic: “A Century of Ideas: The Crucible of Citizenship.” (h/t Carla Marinucci) … Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO is also in the Bay Area.
HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND — TRUMP will address the American Farm Bureau’s convention in Austin, Texas. Dallas Morning News
AT 1600 PENN — TRUMP and German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL on Sunday spoke about “ongoing regional security matters in the Middle East and Libya and other bilateral issues,” according to deputy press secretary Judd Deere.
BLOOMBERG’S PATRICIA LAYA (@PattyLaya): “Breaking: U.S. Treasury sanctions Venezuela’s Luis Parra and his deputies after trying to block Guaido from being re-elected president of its National Assembly.” The release
2020 WATCH — WAPO: “Mike Bloomberg wants to be president, but he also has a fallback plan: Defeat Donald Trump and remake the Democratic Party,” by Michael Scherer in Akron, Ohio: “The thing that makes Bloomberg different is he can knock on all doors at once. Bloomberg is running aggressively to win the Democratic nomination but he is simultaneously building out a general election machine to defeat President Trump, with a new structure — data, field organizing, advertising and policy — that aims to elect Democrats up and down the ballot even if the party’s voters reject the former New York mayor this spring. …
“Bloomberg’s data operation, cryptically called Hawkfish, aims to incorporate expensive demographic and targeting data, parts of which can later be fed back into the party’s databases or repurposed for the broader fight against Trump and Republicans. The fact that he is a candidate gives him greater access to party data than he would otherwise have, and as a candidate he also benefits from lower television ad rates in swing states before their primary contests than he would if he simply advertised against Trump as a regular citizen.” WaPo
— TOP-ED … BLOOMBERG in CNN: “Starting with Iowa and New Hampshire hurts Democrats and helps Trump”: “[A]s we Democrats work to protect democracy from Republicans who seek to exclude voters, we must also look inward, because our own party’s system of nominating a presidential candidate is both undemocratic and harms our ability to prepare for — and win — the general election.”
— REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-Texas) is backing Joe Biden, after initially supporting Julián Castro. POLITICO
— “Rep. Max Rose to endorse Michael Bloomberg in 2020 race,” by the N.Y. Post’s Julia Marsh, Carl Campanile and Rich Calder
CASH DASH — “Ocasio-Cortez stockpiling campaign cash after first year in Congress,” by Laura Barrón-López: “[Rep. Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez’s sizable cash haul — $1.97 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and over $5.3 million for the entire year — is one of the largest revealed so far among members of Congress … She is expected to report entering 2020 with $3 million cash on hand, according to her campaign, even though she is running for reelection in an overwhelmingly blue district.” POLITICO
— ALLY MUTNICK: “Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) raised more than $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and is entering the election year with a massive stockpile of cash. The freshman Democrat will report beginning 2020 with over $2.5 million in cash-on-hand for his first reelection in a Staten Island-based swing-seat. … [GOP challenger Nicole] Malliotakis raised just $306,000 last quarter and will report $723,000 in cash-on-hand.” POLITICO New York
PARTY SWITCH FALLOUT … “Van Drew’s choice to run his campaign is now leading the charge to beat him,” by NJ Advance Media’s Jonathan Salant: “[Josh] Roesch, who grew in Stow Creek, was all set to manage Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s re-election campaign. Then Van Drew became a Republican. Now Roesch has been named to run Democrat Amy Kennedy’s efforts to oust the rookie representative.” NJ Advance Media
BATTLE FOR THE SENATE — “Bob Dole endorses Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall in Senate race,” by The Kansas City Star’s Bryan Lowry
— WAPO: “Pompeo is out. Now Democrats see an opportunity for Kansas Senate seat,” by Annie Gowen in Overland Park, Kan.: “Since Pompeo bowed out of the race, the leading Democratic contender, state Sen. Barbara Bollier, has announced that she raised more than $1 million in her first quarter in the contest, unprecedented for a Democratic Senate hopeful in Kansas. …
“Although Kansans have a history of electing moderate and Democratic governors … the Senate seat will be far more difficult, analysts say. … Bollier left the Republican Party just over a year ago, shortly before she announced her Senate bid as a Democrat.” WaPo
MUCK READ … THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: “Trump’s one weird trick to avoid a campaign investigation”: “Senate Republicans want Trump to name a full slate of FEC commissioners to fill three vacancies and replace the remaining three commissioners who have collectively served more than 30 years past the expiration of their six-year terms.
“But Trump has refused. The White House, which last year favored the Senate approving Trainor and figuring the rest out for later, last week declined to answer Public Integrity’s questions about its plans for nominating commissioners and did not respond to questions about [Rep. Bill] Pascrell’s complaint.
“Bottom line? It’s not inconceivable that Election 2020, with its billions of dollars political actors will spend, will simply be staged without the FEC playing any meaningful law enforcement role.”
IMMIGRATION FILES — “Trump Administration Celebrates Wall Construction, but Invisible Barriers Have Shown Greater Impact,” by WSJ’s Michelle Hackman in Yuma, Ariz.: “Immigration officials, including acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, gathered here Friday to celebrate the 100th mile of border barrier … [But] the administration’s patchwork of invisible barriers—policies designed to deter or prevent migrants from seeking asylum at all—has had far-reaching impact on life at the border. …
“Today, a migrant who crosses the border seeking humanitarian protection will most likely be assigned an immigration court date months in the future and returned to Mexico, where he or she must wait months in border cities so dangerous that the U.S. State Department has restricted travel to the region. Other migrants are sent to Guatemala, where they are told to apply for asylum instead. Still others are put in an experimental program giving them just seven days to find a lawyer and apply for asylum, a process that normally stretches months or years. If they lose their claims, they are deported.
“The administration has also sought to change the definition of asylum, barring anyone from qualifying if they passed through a third country en route to the U.S., effectively disqualifying anyone crossing the border who isn’t Mexican.” WSJ
SCOTUS WATCH — WBUR: “Supreme Court Won’t Take Up Appeal In Mass. Texting Suicide Case”: “[Michelle] Carter’s attorneys asked the court to consider whether her conviction violates her free speech rights under the First Amendment, and her due process rights. …
“A judge found Carter criminally culpable in [boyfriend Conrad] Roy’s death because she ordered him to get back inside a truck filled with carbon monoxide. At the time, he was expressing second thoughts about killing himself to her.” WBUR
TRADE WARS — “EU’s tough new trade boss seeks reset with Trump,” by Doug Palmer: “New European Union Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan arrives in Washington this week on what could be an impossible mission — resetting the world’s largest investment and trade relationship after three years of President Donald Trump’s trade-rattling tariffs.
“The challenge could be the 6-foot-5-inch Irishman’s most daunting to date … disputes over France’s new digital services tax and European support for Boeing’s chief rival, Airbus, give Trump another chance to fire his tariff cannon. And with an impeachment trial looming, new duties on Europe would allow Trump to show the world his presidency is alive, if not completely well.” POLITICO
IT’S INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK SOMEWHERE — “Expand Penn Station? Fight With Trump Stalls Tunnels to Get There,” by NYT’s Patrick McGeehan and Christina Goldbaum: “The $11.3 billion plan to build new tunnels under the Hudson River before the old ones give out remains mired in a political standoff between President Trump and Democratic leaders on both sides of the river.
“That plan, known as Gateway, is widely considered the most important infrastructure project in the country. But it requires federal funding and approvals that the Trump administration has shown little interest in providing. In fact, the United States Department of Transportation has downgraded the urgency of the Gateway project from a medium-to-high priority to a medium-to-low priority — not high enough to qualify for federal funding.” NYT
KNOWING BILL BARR … THE NEW YORKER’S DAVID ROHDE: “Eleven months after being sworn in, Barr is the most feared, criticized, and effective member of Trump’s Cabinet. Like no attorney general since the Watergate era, he has acted as the president’s political sword and shield. …
“A self-styled polymath, Barr has strong opinions on issues ranging from legal arcana to the proper mustard to apply to a sandwich. He designed his own home, a sprawling house in McLean, Virginia, and is not above boasting about it. During a trip to Scotland with a friend, he quizzed the owner of a local inn about whether the paint on the wall was ‘Card Room Green or Green Smoke, by Farrow & Ball.’ The innkeeper had no idea what he was talking about.” New Yorker
MEDIAWATCH — “The Iowa Reporter in the Middle of the 2020 Action,” by NYT’s Marc Tracy: “[Brianne Pfannenstiel] was once the self-described ‘weird kid’ who, growing up in Lawrence, Kan., always wanted to be a journalist. Now, along with covering the candidates, Ms. Pfannenstiel has been selected as a moderator of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, a prime-time production co-hosted by CNN and The Register. The first such forum of the election year will give millions of viewers a last long look at the contenders before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.” NYT
— “Abby Huntsman departing ‘The View’ to run father’s Utah governor campaign,” by ABC’s Joanne Rosa
— Elisa Braün is now a policy reporter in Paris for POLITICO Europe. She most recently was a tech reporter for Le Figaro.
— Alex Hogan is now a general assignment reporter at Fox News. She previously was a morning news reporter and fill-in anchor at WFMZ.
TRANSITION — Brendan Burke is now digital manager at New Politics. He previously was an account manager at GPS Impact and is a Seth Moulton alum.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Michael Walsh, COS to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Emily Walsh welcomed Nicholas Eugene Walsh on Sunday. He came in at 7 lbs, 4 oz.
BIRTHWEEK (was Sunday): Cristina Brooks, account executive at Rokk Solutions (h/t Ryan Hughes)
BONUS BIRTHDAY: Mary Podesta (h/t Jon Haber)
LET THE RECORD SO SHOW … YAHOO’S BRITTANY SHEPHERD (@blrshepherd): “If playbook PM writes up this media packed flight to Iowa I want the record to reflect I am treating myself to a ginger ale.”