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Democrats' 2020 race as wide open as a 20-lane highway, poll finds

Former Vice President Joe Biden at a union

Former Vice President Joe Biden at a union rally in Dorchester, Mass., on April 18. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Joseph Prezioso

A juggernaut, it's not

For about seven of eight Democrats, Joe Biden's name is not what comes to mind right now as their choice for the party's nomination to take on Donald Trump. Yet he's the leader of the pack.

An ABC News/Washington Post national poll posted Sunday shows what a free-for-all looms ahead among the 20 candidates lined up to compete in the party's coming primary battle.

Biden, who entered the race last week, was first in support with 13% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, followed by Bernie Sanders, 9%; Pete Buttigieg, 5%; Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, 4% each; Beto O'Rourke, 3%; and Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, 1% each. None of the other declared candidates reached the 1% mark. A majority — 54% — didn't name anyone. When the voters polled were asked if they were at least leaning toward a candidate, Biden got 17% to Sanders' 11%.

One pattern the Post found from the poll was that younger Democrats are a weak spot for Biden. He got support from only 7% of the voters surveyed who are under 40, compared with 24% among those ages 40-64 and 25% among those 65 or older.

The former vice president's own age — he would be 78 at the time of inauguration — is going to be an issue for voters to ponder. Newsday's Emily Ngo has an in-depth look at nine key factors that could determine whether Biden prevails or fails in his third try for his party's nomination.

No fervor for impeachment

The poll also found only 37% of Americans favor starting impeachment proceedings against Trump, while 56% say they oppose the idea. Asked about their view of whether special counsel Robert Mueller's report cleared Trump of all wrongdoing, 53% say it did not, while 31% say it did.

Ransom wasn't paid, Bolton says

The United States signed a document agreeing to pay North Korea in medical costs before it released comatose student Otto Warmbier in 2017, White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday. But the money was never actually paid, he said.

The Washington Post reported last week that Trump had greenlighted the payment and that it could not be determined if the money was ever paid. Warmbier, who became critically ill under mysterious circumstances while serving a sentence of 15 years of hard labor for a prank, died shortly after he was returned to the U.S.

Barr: No lawyers please

House Judiciary Committee Democrats want Attorney General William Barr to undergo questioning by the panel's lawyers when he appears to testify publicly this week about the Mueller report. The Justice Department said he has agreed to be questioned only by the committee members; otherwise he won't show up.

Meanwhile, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings pulled back from plans to initiate contempt proceedings against former White House security clearance chief Carl Kline, who failed to comply with a subpoena to show up last week. Cummings agreed to let a White House lawyer accompany Kline for the panel's probe into how the Trump White House granted clearances to personnel who had been flagged as risks.

Moore woke up?

When his past writings mocking women's involvement with men's sports surfaced last week, Trump's pick for a Federal Reserve seat, Stephen Moore, called them a "spoof" and said he had "a sense of humor."

On ABC's "This Week," Moore said he's decided "some of them weren't funny so I am apologetic, I'm embarrassed by some of those things I wrote." He added, "I do think we should get back to the issue of whether I'm qualified to be on the Federal Reserve Board, whether I have the, you know, economic expertise."

What else is happening:

  • The rabbi wounded in the synagogue shooting near San Diego Saturday said he received a 10- to 15-minute phone call from Trump. "I'm really grateful to our president for taking the time and share with us his comfort and consolation,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.
  • Reporting from three early-primary states, The Associated Press found some Democratic women worried that if the party nominates a woman in 2020, she'd stand less of a chance than a man of beating Trump. "I feel that America’s just not there yet,” said one.
  • In a shock to military families, the 2017 tax bill championed by Trump taxes survivor benefits paid to children of fallen service members at the same level as inheritances of stocks or bonds, costing them thousands of dollars more, CNN reported. House Republicans call it an "unintended consequence" and they favor a fix that would be retroactive.
  • Trump, a past skeptic of children's vaccinations, is now urging parents to get the measles vaccine for their kids. Reported cases of the disease are at a near 20-year high.
  • Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, long a strident critic of illegal immigration, has strong influence on Trump's policies, The Washington Post reports. Dobbs pushed for declaring a national emergency on the border and firing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, steps Trump eventually took.
  • Trump drew notice on social media for congratulating the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, Nick Bosa, who is white, and ignoring the No. 1 pick, Kyler Murray, who is black. It could just be that Bosa won Trump's affection because, as the president told a rally Saturday night, "He loves Trump, he loves MAGA."

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