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He's running: Bloomberg brings his bucks to 2020 race

Michael Bloomberg, seen Oct. 10, officially launched his

Michael Bloomberg, seen Oct. 10, officially launched his candidacy Sunday for the Democratic presidential primary. Credit: EPA / Martin Sylvest

He's running.

After weeks of signaling that he was gearing up for a presidential run, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it official Sunday, declaring his candidacy via a campaign website and narrated video.

“I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead,” Bloomberg said in a statement posted on his campaign website. “As a candidate, I’ll rally a broad and diverse coalition of Americans to win. And as president, I have the skills to fix what is broken in our great nation. And there is a lot broken.”

Despite his reported $50 billion net worth, Bloomberg enters the race with some handicaps — his late entry comes just three months before the start of the Iowa caucus and primary voting in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Bloomberg’s vow to self-finance his campaign also comes as the Democratic Party has placed a premium on small donors. Without individual campaign contributions, the former three-term mayor is unlikely to qualify for the Democratic National Committee debates.

Bloomberg’s team sees a path forward to victory — bypassing the early-voting states in favor of a campaign ad blitz in Super Tuesday states and beyond.

“We believe that voters are increasingly concerned that the field is not well positioned to defeat Donald Trump,” Bloomberg senior adviser Howard Wolfson said of the former mayor's entry into the race, despite announcing in the spring that he would not run.

See a recap by Newsday’s Laura Figueroa Hernandez and Dandan Zou here.

Bloomberg's ’burb support

Larry Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said conventional wisdom, which would suggest that Bloomberg has no chance, does not apply to current times.

“We are in strange times,” Levy told Newsday’s Zou. “Add a multibillion-dollar fortune he will freely spend and the fact that Bloomberg was popular with the suburban swing voters surrounding the city — more popular, in fact, than he was with the New Yorkers he governed — you have to take him seriously.”

Levy added: “People who decide national elections are moderate swing suburban voters. Of all the candidates in the race, Michael Bloomberg is likely the one to have instant appeal to those voters. The big problem he has is whether he will ever get a chance to make his case in the general election.”

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State and the Nassau County Democratic committees, called Bloomberg’s chances “slim to none.” Jacobs said he likes Bloomberg, but “I just don’t see how he brings anything new to the nomination race.”

Schiff moving ahead

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, citing “overwhelming evidence,” said the impeachment inquiry into Trump will proceed as he plans to prepare a report for the House Judiciary Committee, the panel tasked with deciding whether to pursue impeachment articles against the president.

Schiff (D-Calif.), making the Sunday show rounds, said that despite wanting to interview more witnesses and obtain new documents, Congress won't withstand "months and months and months" of stalling from the White House.

Schiff said his committee will continue to investigate even as he prepares a report to the Judiciary Committee. No public hearings on impeachment are scheduled the rest of this year, "but we don't foreclose the possibility of others," Schiff told host Chuck Todd on Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We view this as urgent, we have another election in which the president is threatening more foreign interference, but at the same time there are still other witnesses, other documents that we would like to obtain, but we are not willing to go the months and months and months of rope-a-dope in the courts which the administration would more than love for us to do," Schiff said.

Appearing on CNN’s "State of the Union," Schiff told host Jake Tapper that after two weeks of open hearings, "the evidence is already overwhelming.”

Newsday’s Scott Eidler has a roundup of the Sunday shows.

Trump's Twitter tear

As Schiff and other House Democrats defended the past two weeks of impeachment inquiry hearings, Trump posted a blitz of tweets arguing that public support is on his side, despite polls showing an increasing number of Americans in favor of the impeachment inquiry.

Without evidence, Trump claimed on Twitter: “Democrats going back to their Districts for Thanksgiving are getting absolutely hammered by their constituents over the phony Impeachment Scam. Republicans will have a great #2020 Election!”

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway also defended Trump during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” telling host Margaret Brennan: “We simply can't impeach and remove a democratically elected president from office because you didn't beat him ... in 2016.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), appearing on CNN, also took to the president’s defense, arguing that two transcripts of Trump’s calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have "no reference to a quid pro quo or a hold on aid."

During a July 25 call with Zelensky, Trump asked his counterpart for a “favor” to investigate debunked claims that Ukraine, not Russia, was involved in the 2016 hacking of Democratic emails, and to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Memories of an impeachment

As the House weighs filing articles of impeachment against Trump, Reps. Peter King and Gregory Meeks bring to the deliberations their own searing memories of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

King (R-Seaford) and Meeks (D-St. Albans) are the only Long Island congressmen still in office who served during the tense and emotional impeachment of Clinton.

Newsday’s Tom Brune spoke with both lawmakers about how their experience back then translates to the current impeachment inquiry.

Janison: China problems remain

As the U.S. continues to negotiate a trade deal with China against the backdrop of civil unrest in Hong Kong, it appears Trump is leaning toward siding with China's President Xi Jinping against the pro-democracy protesters.

"We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy … But I’d like to see them work it out. OK. We have to see and work it out," Trump told "Fox & Friends" on Friday during a nearly hourlong interview.

Newsday's Dan Janison digs further on Trump's meandering claims on the prospect of a new China trade deal.

What else is happening:

  • Who is running to replace Rep. Peter King? Newsday’s Rachelle Blidner has the latest roundup of Republican and Democratic candidates.
  • Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was forced out of his post by Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday, after Spencer bypassed Esper in an attempt to make a deal with the White House over the future status of a beleaguered Navy SEAL who Trump has publicly supported.
  • Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced trip to Iraq over the weekend, meeting with U.S. troops and Iraqi officials.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, appearing on Fox News, denied claims by an associate of Rudy Giuliani that Nunes met with a top Ukrainian official to collect political dirt on Biden.

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