Politics with Jennifer Brooks

Intel: Russians helping Trump again

By Patrick Condon
 
Good morning. U.S. intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia is again interfering in U.S. elections with a goal of re-electing President Donald Trump this year. 
 
Trump complained that Democrats would be able to use the information against him and was particularly irritated that Rep. Adam Schiff was in the Feb. 13 briefing, the Times reports. Congress hasn't seen the underlying evidence, the story notes, but this seems important:
 
One of Moscow's main goals is undermining confidence in U.S. election systems, intelligence officials have told lawmakers, seeking to sow doubts over close elections and recounts. Confronting those Russian efforts is difficult, officials have said, because they want to maintain American confidence in voting systems.
 
Massive implications for both parties, of course, but unclear what if any kind of administration or congressional response this could prompt. From the story:
 
While Republicans have long been critical of the Obama administration for not doing enough to track and deter Russian interference in 2016, current and former intelligence officials said the party is at risk of making a similar mistake now. Trump has been reluctant to even hear about election interference, and Republicans dislike discussing it publicly. 
 
Trump had a rally last night in Colorado Springs where he said Sen. Amy Klobuchar "choked" at the Democratic presidential debate the night before. It was during a lengthy riff on the Democratic field, Politico reports, that also saw Trump mocking his frequent object of derision Mike Bloomberg. But he also went after Klobuchar's tense exchange with Pete Buttigieg. From the Politico story:
 
"How about Klobuchar, did you see her? She choked," Trump said, also gagging while clutching his necktie. "She said, 'Are you accusing me of being dumb?' Who would make a statement like that? ... That was the end of her campaign in my book. You don't say that, even if it's true."
 
Klobuchar was also in Colorado last night. As of this writing, she hasn't tweeted anything in response to Trump's ridicule. She did tweet a link to a Washington Post story giving Bloomberg "Four Pinocchios" for a manipulated campaign video.
 
Trump also expressed dismay that a South Korean movie won Best Picture at the Oscars. He expressed a preference for Gone with the Wind and Sunset Boulevard (great flick), but admitted he hasn't seen Parasite. He should check it out.
 
Klobuchar ended January with just $2.8 million in the bank, reports Ryan Faircloth. But, the story notes, that doesn't account for what the campaign said was a $12 million haul in the week or so following the New Hampshire debate on Feb. 7. 
 
Buttigieg picked up his first endorsement from a Minnesota legislator this morning: long-serving Rep. Rick Hansen of South St. Paul. Also endorsing Buttigieg locally are Minneapolis CM Lisa Goodman, former CM Gary Schiff, and Lynn Wilson, a longtime DFL activist in Olmsted County. The Buttigieg campaign is holding a "weekend of action" in Minnesota. 
 
The Nevada Caucus is Saturday; follow colleague Briana Bierschbach on the ground as she reports on Klobuchar's fortunes.
 
Roger Stone  gets three years
 
Tax/spending debate takes shape at the State Capitol, reports Torey Van Oot
 
Have a terrific weekend. March is almost here. News tips and recipes to hotdish@startribune.com.
 
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