Plus, Nevada unveils a new “caucus calculator” to help in reporting, and more.
Attorney General Barr rebukes “disruptive” tweets, Trump tweets retort
In a stark departure, normally staunch Trump defender Attorney General William Barr called out the president’s social media behavior, saying Twitter commentary about the Justice Department’s personnel, open cases, and pending cases make it “impossible” to do his job. Members of this White House administration typically wait until leaving before voicing any criticism, or risk being publicly and unceremoniously canned like Barr’s predecessor, Jeff Sessions. Barr has been asked to testify before the House Judiciary Committee concerning legal actions, which appear to be unduly influenced by Trump, so some speculate this outburst may have just been political cover. On Friday morning, Trump responded with a pointed tweet that while he hasn’t interfered in DOJ cases, as president he has “the legal right” to do so.
“Chaos” could ensue as Republicans plan to skew S.C. Democratic vote
South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary could see an extraordinary amount of interference as Republicans are being urged to cast ballots. The state, which is not holding a Republican primary this year, has open primaries, where registered voters can cast a ballot regardless of party affiliation. GOP activists are encouraging their base to take part in “Operation Chaos 2020” by voting overwhelmingly for Sen. Bernie Sanders. The goal is two-fold: to influence the outcome of the contest so Sanders faces Donald Trump in November and to force the state to hold closed primaries. The plan has not been officially endorsed by South Carolina’s Republican party.
Nevada touts new tool to replace Iowa’s failed voting app
Nevada’s Democratic leadership hopes a new “caucus calculator” vetted by Google, the Department of Homeland Security, and other cyber safety experts will help the state avoid the delays and frustrations that dogged Iowa caucus results. Nevada originally planned to use the same app used in Iowa, but dropped it following its failure there. Early voting begins Saturday in Nevada, but at a recent training summit several volunteers told CNN that they’d not had any hands-on training with the calculator.
Resolution to limit Trump’s war powers headed for veto, but that’s not the point
In a bipartisan vote Thursday, eight Republican senators joined Democrats to pass a resolution to limit the military actions the president can take against Iran without the support of Congress. The measure will likely breeze through the Democrat-led House, but the president is expected to veto it. There are not enough supporting votes in either the Senate or the House to override that veto. Still, Democrats don’t see it as an exercise in futility, instead hoping to appeal to the president’s political interests. Trump has “got an election that he’s focused on and he wants to win,” said Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. “He could well veto it and then adjust behavior.”