Lots of big news this week: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar surprised in New Hampshire in a good way, while Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren stumbled in a bad way.* Oh, and Bernie won, but we suspected that would happen. Donald Trump found new ways to abuse power, this time calling for the military to investigate Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against him during impeachment, and meddling in the sentence recommendations for his pal Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress.
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Critics of impeachment warned that if Trump were acquitted (as he was) that he would be further emboldened to act with impunity. Right on cue, he launched a tweet storm protesting the recommendation by prosecutors that Roger Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress and other crimes. The Department of Justice then announced it was overturning those recommendations. Writing on the website, Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith, a former top Justice Department official under George W. Bush, compared Trump’s norm breaking to Obama’s during the Hillary Clinton email investigation and issued his own guidance to AG William Barr: “[H]e needs to make the president stop barking politicized commands to the Department. Or he needs to stop acting in ways consistent with those orders and provocations. Or, if he cannot do one of those two things, he should quit.”
Tuesday had to be a weird day for Michael Bloomberg. He awoke to the news that he had won the earliest votes—in both the GOP and Democratic races in the New Hampshire primary—as tiny Dixville Notch famously holds its contest at midnight and a handful of voters wrote him in. It was mere hours before old interviews started surfacing of Bloomberg defending both stop-and-frisk and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Our own Sarah Isgur, a veteran of several presidential campaigns, offered an explainer on how opposition research happens.