Biden kicks off campaign with speech in Pittsburgh


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On the roster: Biden kicks off campaign with speech in Pittsburgh - Trump officials, Congress clash over Barr hearing - Violence becoming a 2020 issue for Trump - Audible: An untypical adviser relationship - Big Ben vs. the Holstentor

BIDEN KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN WITH SPEECH IN PITTSBURGH
AP: “By picking Pennsylvania for his first campaign speech of the presidential race, Joe Biden is signaling he hopes to own what may be the 2020 election’s toughest battleground. Mr. Biden was helped in that effort early Monday when received the endorsement of the Pittsburgh-based International Association of Fire Fighters Local No. 1. The union’s General President Harold Schaitberger announced the endorsement. Planting a flag in Pennsylvania makes sense for Mr. Biden, the longtime former senator from Delaware. He was born in Pennsylvania, has numerous ties to it and is using his deep inroads with influential state party figures to his advantage in the primary. For Democrats it’s a late primary state that may have little value in the nomination. But Donald Trump’s campaign is already mapping out a strategy to win Pennsylvania a second time… ‘It is early in the game, but I just think this imperative in 2020 is such that we have to start early,’ said Pennsylvania’s Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who is endorsing the former vice president.”

Trump slams leaders of firefighters union after Biden endorsement - Fox News:  “President Trump on Monday slammed the leaders of what he called the ‘Dues Sucking firefighters’ union after the International Association of Fire Fighters endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 race. ‘I’ll never get the support of Dues Crazy union leadership, those people who rip-off their membership with ridiculously high dues, medical and other expenses while being paid a fortune. But the members love Trump. They look at our record economy, tax & reg cuts, military etc. WIN!’ Trump tweeted Monday. Minutes later, he added: ‘The Dues Sucking firefighters leadership will always support Democrats, even though the membership wants me. Some things never change!’”

Biden tops Sanders, O’Rourke for largest fundraising haul out of the gate - Fox News: “Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced Friday it has raised $6.3 million in the 24 hours following the former vice president’s declaration early Thursday that he was running for the White House. The campaign cash haul is slightly larger than the $5.9 million Sen. Bernie Sanders brought in during his first day as a 2020 candidate in February, and the $6.1 million former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas hauled in during his first 24 hours as a White House contender in March. Biden’s campaign touted - in a fundraising email to supporters - that 97 percent of online donations were under $200 and that the average online donation was $41. The campaign also pointed out that contributions came in from all 50 states.”

Cuomo is all in for Team Biden - WSJ: “People close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo expect he’ll be far more involved in helping Joe Biden’s presidential campaign than he was in supporting Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s White House runs. Mr. Cuomo has been telling people he is prepared to be a surrogate for the former vice president in whatever way is helpful, several people close to the governor said. The governor is expected to assist in Mr. Biden’s fundraising by urging his network of high-dollar donors to contribute to the fledgling campaign, though there are no events planned yet, the people said. … And what if Mr. Biden wins? Staffers in the New York state Legislature have already started a pool on what cabinet position Mr. Cuomo might get. (The most informed speculators say attorney general, but there is chatter that chief of staff, or dare-we-say vice president, could happen.)”

Senior voters could help Biden’s success - Bloomberg: “…2018 saw an historic ‘senior surge’ that helped Democrats win 40 House seats—and that, were it to continue, could give Biden an unexpected boost in the presidential primary. ‘The senior surge accompanied a swing towards Democrats among older voters,’ says Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data and data services firm. ‘While the Democratic primary electorate generally skews older than the general electorate, it appears seniors are poised to play an even more influential role in the 2020 primaries.’ Biden, perhaps not surprisingly, is most popular with older voters. … While seven states are still outstanding, the numbers from the 43 states TargetSmart has analyzed illustrate the senior surge: those states produced 35,105,556 voters age 65 and above, easily eclipsing the number in the 2014 midterms (25,057,194)…”

THE RULEBOOK: PREPARE FOR THE WORST
“The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 23

TIME OUT: THE ‘ROCKET’
History: “On April 29, 1986, in a game against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park, Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox becomes the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. … Clemens was drafted in 1983 by the Red Sox as the 19th pick overall and made his debut with the team on May 15, 1984. Two years later, on April 29, the 23-year-old Clemens broke St. Louis Cardinal Steve Carlton’s record of 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, which was set in 1969 and duplicated by the Mets’ Tom Seaver in 1970 and the California Angels’ Nolan Ryan in 1974. …[T]he ‘Rocket’ as Clemens is known, is the only pitcher in the history of baseball to do so twice. Clemens struck out 20 batters for a second time while pitching for the Red Sox on September 18, 1996, in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -9.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.2 points  
[Average includes: WaPo/ABC News: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Gallup: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; GU Politics/Battleground: 43% approve - 52% disapprove.]

TRUMP OFFICIALS, CONGRESS CLASH OVER BARR HEARING
Fox News: “A series of battles between Trump administration officials and congressional Democrats escalated over the weekend as one high-profile Cabinet member threatened to boycott a scheduled hearing and another official was facing the threat of contempt proceedings. Attorney General Bill Barr has been slated to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday to testify on the process behind the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but it is unclear at this point if he will attend. Fox News learned over the weekend that Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., wanted to have committee staff question Barr on his handling of the report. But Barr wants lawmakers to do the questioning and, according to a source close to the committee, has said he will not come in to testify based on where things currently stand. … Discussions are ongoing, and it's unclear if they might reach a resolution. A spokesperson for committee Republicans called Democrats' demands ‘abusive and illogical.’”

House Dems return with little impeachment pressure - NYT: “As House Democrats return this week to Washington after a two-week recess, they will find a Capitol consumed by the report of Mr. Mueller, the special counsel. A private meeting of the House Democratic caucus on Tuesday promises to be heated, as do Senate and House hearings on Wednesday and Thursday with Attorney General William P. Barr. But rank-and-file Democrats are not being propelled by their constituents into a headlong confrontation over impeaching the president. In town hall-style meetings and meet-and-greets across the country last week, constituents bemoaned Mr. Trump’s policies, groaned at his refusal to heed congressional subpoenas and fretted over what they saw as an erosion of the rule of law. There were few signs of an uprising to demand a quick judgment that the misdeeds laid out in the special counsel’s report constituted the kinds of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ worthy of trying to remove the president from office.”

Poll: Majority of Americans oppose impeachment - WaPo: “A majority of Americans say they oppose calls for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the president sought to interfere with the probe, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Thirty-seven percent of Americans favor starting the process that could lead to impeachment, a slight dip over the past month, while 56 percent say they oppose the idea, about the same as a month ago. … The new survey highlights the dilemma faced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other leaders in her caucus: While party leaders have sought to tamp down impeachment talk, worried that engaging in such a process would backfire in the 2020 election, their political base supports it. Roughly 6 in 10 Democrats say they support the initiation of such an investigation in the House…”

VIOLENCE BECOMING A 2020 ISSUE FOR TRUMP 
WaPo: “First came Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video highlighting… Then Trump dug in, arguing that he was referring not to the self-professed neo-Nazi marchers, but to those who had opposed the removal of a statue of the ‘great’ Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Less than 24 hours later came another act of violence described by authorities as a hate crime: Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in Poway, Calif. … Those events have pushed the rising tide of white nationalism to the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign, putting Trump on the defensive and prompting even some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his Charlottesville comments. … In response to the Poway synagogue shooting, Trump delivered a full-throated denunciation of anti-Semitism and hate crimes at the start of his Saturday night rally in Green Bay, Wis. … Nonetheless, the rise of white-nationalist violence during Trump’s tenure is emerging as an issue as the president turns his attention toward his reelection campaign.”

Voters aren’t resonating with GOP anti-socialism pitch - AP: “For [Cory] Gardner and other Republicans making the [anti-socialism] pitch, including President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the key question is whether it will attract moderate voters, not just their conservative stalwarts. Based on interviews with over three dozen Coloradans last week… Few volunteered a drift toward socialism as a major worry, with health care and living costs cited far more frequently. Several said capitalism was too embedded in the U.S. to be truly threatened and Republicans were using socialism to stir unease with Democrats by raising the specter of the old, repressive Soviet Union and today’s chaotic Venezuela. …  Rather than naming policies that troubled them, many mentioned two self-proclaimed democratic socialists: Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, and freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Democratic candidates had to address immigration when talking inequality in Nevada - WaPo

House Democrats get started on budget issues - WaPo

Former Republican Indiana Senator Richard Lugar died Sunday - USA Today

Survey shows digital news leaving its mark on local news - Pew Research Center

AUDIBLE: AN UNTYPICAL ADVISER RELATIONSHIP
“…there have been a few times when I’ve been around [Mayor Pete Buttigieg] when I knew something, a factoid or something he didn’t know, and let me tell you, I f***ing lord it all over him. ‘Oh really, you didn’t know that? I can’t believe you didn’t know that! I thought everybody knew that.’” – Lis Smith, a New York City-based Democratic operative working on the Buttigieg campaign, talking to Politico.

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BIG BEN VS. THE HOLSTENTOR
AP: “One runner in the 39th London Marathon had a bad time at the end. Lukas Bates, 30, of the Paddock Wood Athletic Club in Kent, was attempting to break the world record for a runner dressed as a landmark building — in this case the tower that houses Big Ben. But as he finished, his costume’s peaked roof, which stretched 1.5 meters (nearly five feet) above his head, ran into the overhead scoreboard. After several failed attempts to get under the barrier, a race steward helped him to cross the line Sunday. Bates’ quest for the record was also stymied. He finished in 3 hours, 54 minutes, 21 seconds, almost 20 minutes slower than the record set by Richard Mietz, who ran the 2018 Berlin Marathon dressed as the Holstentor.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I'd say it is a bit premature to say that we have excessive winning.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) speaking on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on March 9, 2017.

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.