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Mueller report isn’t changing 2020 campaign dynamics — yet
Conclusions have emboldened some Republicans, but Democrats still aren’t talking about Russia

While some Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham used the Mueller report to double down on defending Trump, Democrats signaled they’d continue their 2018 focus on economic issues  — and not the Russia investigation — heading into 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As news of the just-completed Russia investigation engulfs Washington, not much has changed on the campaign trail — for either party.

The full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has yet to see the light of day. And with the 2020 elections more than a year and a half away, plenty could change between now and then. But so far, the calculation on both sides isn’t too different from the past two years.

Nancy Pelosi: the Democratic Party’s undisputed leader
Speaker keeps her party together and Trump back on his heels

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leaves her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday March 14, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — For most of the last campaign cycle, Republican ad-makers treated then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi like a piñata.

They used her name and image in thousands of GOP television spots around the country, trying to turn the midterm election into a referendum on her liberalism and “San Francisco values.” That effort failed, of course, because midterms are never about the minority party’s congressional leadership, at least not when the president is someone as controversial and polarizing as Donald Trump.

Mueller and Barr just did Democrats a gigantic favor
Zealous congressional Dems were in danger of overreaching. Now they’ve been dealt a reality check

Democrats can thank Attorney General William Barr for saving them from themselves, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There’s a slippery slope in Washington between oversight and overreach. It’s a path that’s been worn so smooth by politicians in D.C., you could practically pour water on it and charge admission for rides in the summer. Given a yellow light by voters in any given election to proceed cautiously, the winning party will almost always hit the gas to get where they want to go faster and farther than voters ever wanted to go in the first place.

As we learned in the 2018 midterms, voters want congressional oversight of the Trump White House. In fact, they demanded it. Nobody thinks a president should be allowed to run the government alone or without the other two branches of government checking his work.

How ‘Medicare for All’ went from pipe dream to mainstream
Universal health care debates could shape the 2020 election — and the future of the Democratic Party

Sen. Bernie Sanders may have been among the first to nudge Democrats toward universal health care, but he wasn’t the last. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political candidates and activists in Maine, especially in rural areas, often got a sharp reaction five years ago when they knocked on doors to promote universal health care.

“The reaction was, ‘Oh, you’re a commie,’” said Phil Bailey, who back then advocated for various Democratic causes.

Even congressmen can’t pump their own gas in New Jersey
Gottheimer manned the squeegee at recent ‘Josh on the Job’ tour

New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer washes windshields as part of his “Josh on the Job” tour at a gas station over recess. (Courtesy Gottheimer’s office.)

Even a congressman can’t pump gas in New Jersey — the last state in the country where drivers can’t fuel up their own vehicles. 

Although the advisory for Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s March 16 “Josh on the Job” event at a Rochelle Park Amoco station said he’d be pumping gas for Jersey drivers, the sophomore Democrat was resigned to squeegeeing windshields.

Money laundering? There’s AI for that
Banks explore artificial intelligence to better detect fraud after go-ahead from federal regulators

Last December, federal regulators issued a joint statement encouraging bankers to consider “innovative approaches” to rooting out money laundering. Above, a man walks by the headquarters of the Federal Reserve System in D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Encouraged by a recent green light from regulators, the financial services industry is exploring new ways of using artificial intelligence to help them comply with banking regulations and to better detect fraudulent transactions used by criminals and terrorists.

This move toward new approaches to banking compliance comes despite growing concern that more government scrutiny could force the United States to fall behind similar efforts already underway overseas.

When it comes to younger voters, watch the margin of victory
Republicans haven’t carried 18-to-29-year-olds in an election cycle since 1994

Louisiana Republican John Kennedy, then a candidate for U.S. Senate, greets fans at a tailgate party before an Alabama-LSU football game in Baton Rouge, La., in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s really no question Democrats are going to win younger voters in 2020. But what matters for them is the size of their margin of victory. 

Republicans haven’t carried 18-to-29-year-olds in an election cycle since 1994, when exit polling showed them besting Democrats in this age group, 51 percent to 49 percent. They broke even with Democrats among younger voters in the 1998 midterms, but it’s been at least 30 years since Republicans carried 18-to-29-year-olds in a presidential cycle.

In a volatile crypto market, stable coins find increasing appeal
Banks, regulators mull virtual currency with less risk

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has introduced a JPM Coin, a stable coin linked to the dollar. Such a form of virtual currency has the potential to speed up payments and cut money transfer costs for consumers, advocates say. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The cryptocurrency rollercoaster, with its price peaks and valleys, has financial technology proponents looking to a new type of virtual currency that promises the benefits of being virtual while limiting the risk.

Banks, regulators and industry leaders are studying, or have already started to implement, so-called stable coins. They tout the potential to speed up payments, cut money transfer costs for consumers, and help citizens of foreign countries whose currencies are under duress.

Should Congress spend more on itself to avoid deterioration?
Former lawmakers and groups think crisis is brewing if investments not made

Civil society organizations and former lawmakers are calling on appropriators to boost funding for Congress itself to avoid a “crisis.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Civil society groups and former lawmakers are calling on appropriators to boost funding for Congress itself to stem what they call a “significant loss of institutional capacity.”

Ten former lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, joined more than three dozen groups to pen letters to House and Senate appropriators asking that the Legislative Branch slice of the federal funding pie get a bit larger. Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Eva M. Clayton of North Carolina were among the former members to sign the letter, which was led by the advocacy organization Demand Progress. 

House Democrats zip lips on Mueller report, want to see it for themselves
Committee chairs give Barr an April 2 deadline to turn into full findings

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declined on Monday to speculate on the Mueller report other than that she wants to see it in its entirety. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Monday mostly avoided talking about Robert S. Mueller III’s report or what comes next, a day after Attorney General William P. Barr informed Congress that the special counsel “did not establish” a case that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and five other House Democratic chairs sent a letter to the attorney general on Monday demanding that he deliver Mueller’s full report to Congress by next Tuesday, April 2.