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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump gives Bloomberg reporters the boot

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President Trump's reelection campaign announced Monday it will not credential Bloomberg News reporters after the news outlet said it would not investigate owner and presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg and his fellow Democratic competitors. At the same time, Bloomberg News' editor-in-chief John Micklethwait said that it does plan to "continue to investigate the Trump administration, as the government of the day."

"As President Trump's campaign, we are accustomed to unfair reporting practices, but most news organizations don't announce their biases so publicly," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. "Presented with this new policy from Bloomberg News, our campaign was forced to determine how to proceed." 

According to CBS News digital reporter Melissa Quinn, the Trump campaign said it would not credential Bloomberg News representatives at campaign rallies and events, and "will determine whether to engage with individual reporters or answer inquiries from Bloomberg News on a case-by-case basis." Parscale called Bloomberg News' presidential primary campaign coverage plan "troubling and wrong." The Trump campaign said its decision not to credential Bloomberg News reporters will remain in place until Bloomberg News reverses its decision not to investigate Bloomberg and his fellow 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.

Micklethwait defended the outlet's reporting and rejected the Trump campaign's accusation of bias. "We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign," he said.

The decision by the Trump campaign comes after Bloomberg officially joined the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates last month. Following the announcement, Micklethwait told Bloomberg News staff in a memo it wouldn't investigate Bloomberg, his family and his foundation, or the other Democratic  contenders. "We cannot treat Mike's Democratic competitors differently from him," Micklethwait said. But Bloomberg News said it would re-evaluate how it covers the former New York City mayor if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

CORY BOOKER

The Clark County Black Caucus announced Monday results of a vote among its membership of some 400 Nevadans: the caucus is backing Cory Booker ahead of the state's caucus, after some of the group's members met with Booker and a handful of other candidates courting their endorsement. Bernie Sanders, who earned their endorsement in 2016, is the group's "second alignment" pick if Booker fails to clear the viability threshold on caucus day. 

"The thing that really pushed Cory Booker over Sanders for us, I think, was really his position on reparations," Yvette Williams, chair of the nonpartisan caucus, told CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin, praising both candidate's platforms on healthcare, criminal justice, and marijuana legalization. 

PETE BUTTIGIEG

While visiting one of the poorest counties in South Carolina Monday afternoon, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked why he thinks he doesn't have support among African American voters. "It's so important to me to earn the support of black voters," said Buttigieg to a room of nearly three dozen voters. "The last poll that came out, I think there were two candidates who had double-digit support among black voters, all the rest of us were 5 percent or less but I don't think that's permanent." 

CBS News campaign reporters LaCrai Mitchell and Jack Turman report that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in South Carolina for the seventh time since launching his campaign, as a part of a 3-day swing through southern states to in part, confront a persistent problem for some Democratic presidential candidates this primary cycle: appealing to black voters. In an interview with CBS News Sunday evening, the millennial mayor said his campaign is "accelerating" its strategy on engagement with black voters, which he said is a "big part" of his southern swing this week. 

DEVAL PATRICK

The presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has made its first New Hampshire hire. Wyatt Ronan has been named the New Hampshire state director for the first-in-the-nation state, heading up state organizing and political strategy for Patrick's fledgling presidential bid. 

Most recently, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga says Ronan served as communications director for former Representative Beto O'Rourke's New Hampshire presidential campaign and worked as the communications director for Representative from New Hampshire, Chris Pappas. Patrick is slotted to return to the Granite State later this week for his fourth New Hampshire presidential campaign visit. 

TOM STEYER

Tom Steyer wrapped up his final day campaigning in Nevada on Monday, after a three-day swing that spanned a tour of Veterans Village in Las Vegas up through a meet and greet at a Mexican restaurant in Pahrump. During his visit, Steyer, who often cites his father's experience prosecuting "war criminals" at Nuremberg after World War II, was met with at times punchy audience members eager to draw comparisons between the Trump administration and Nazi Germany. 

Asked by CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin about the comparison, Steyer was quick to draw a distinction between the president and someone who "killed billions and billions of people in attempt to purify the race." Steyer added, "So let's be clear, he's not Hitler. I think the comparisons that people make to Hitler is his willingness to put himself above the law, to obstruct justice, and to be corrupt." 

LIFE AFTER 2020

STEVE BULLOCK

Montana Governor Steve Bullock ended his presidential bid Monday.  A relatively late entrant into the race, the campaign faced early setbacks and never fully gained steam. CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry says Bullock acknowledged his failure to stand out in a statement released by his campaign. "While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won't be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates," Bullock said. 

Though Bullock had spent most of his time campaigning in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, he was never able to gain steam, despite multiple visits and a string of high profile endorsements from local state and party leaders.  Throughout his time on the trail many have pleaded for the governor to run for senate instead, but the campaign said he won't be making the jump. Bullock campaign communications director Galia Slayen said, "While he plans to work hard to elect Democrats in the state and across the country in 2020, it will be in his capacity as a Governor and a senior voice in the Democratic Party — not as a candidate for U.S. Senate."

STATE-BY-STATE

NORTH CAROLINA

A panel of judges ruled on Monday that the new congressional map that Republican state lawmakers drew can be used in elections next year. CBS News digital reporter Caroline Cournoyer says the judges ordered the Republican-controlled state legislature to draw new maps in October after deciding that it was "beyond a reasonable doubt that the 2016 congressional districts are extreme partisan gerrymanders" that make it easier for Republicans to win U.S. House races. 

The new map effectively gives the Republican Party eight of North Carolina's 13 congressional seats instead of the 10 it had before, according to The New York Times. Voters still challenged the latest version, but the three judges decided on Monday that there isn't enough time in the election cycle to consider detailed redistricting arguments. The ruling on the U.S. House district map comes months after the same judges struck down state House and Senate district maps due to similar concerns of political manipulation. 

When Republicans initially drew the maps, they made it clear they designed the maps to help their party. And they argued that doing so wasn't unlawful. The North Carolina primary is March 3, and candidate filing opened on Monday. The judges had suspended congressional filings while they reviewed the case, but the State Board of Elections can now start receiving filings from U.S. House hopefuls.

The case comes at a time when Republicans control the U.S. Senate but not the U.S. House and in a year when the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder to fight partisan gerrymandering. In June, the nation's highest court ruled that partisan gerrymandering is out of its jurisdiction. The decision was a blow to advocates of redistricting reform. Efforts to reform redistricting are also struggling in legislatures. At least a dozen states introduced legislation this year to create independent redistricting commissions, which would make the process less political because it leaves voting maps up to a bipartisan group that limits the role of elected officials. But the bills failed in every state legislature. 

However, if and when voters across the country weigh in on the issue in 2020, there could be a different outcome. Questions about creating an independent redistricting commission may appear on ballots in Arkansas, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia. And if independent redistricting commissions make it to the ballot in those states next year, there's a good chance they will pass. According to a bipartisan poll by the Campaign Legal Center, at least 60% of Democrats, Republicans and independents support turning redistricting over to an independent commission.

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE SENATE

CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe confirms that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is set to appoint Kelly Loeffler, a financial services executive and part owner of Atlanta's WNBA team, to succeed Republican SenatorJohnny Isakson, who is stepping down amid health troubles. A Republican official familiar with the plans confirmed the news. Kemp's office declined to comment. An official with the National Republican Senatorial Committee also declined to comment. 

Isakson, 74, announced in August that he would step down this month with more than two years to go in his term amid struggles with Parkinson's disease. He is set to give his formal goodbye address from the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday and an announcement from Kemp is expected later in the week. Loeffler has emerged as Kemp's choice amid public pressure on the governor to appoint Congressman Doug Collins, an ally of President Trump and top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee who is set to take a star turn at the start of the panel's hearings this week into the possible impeachment of the president. 

But in choosing Loeffler, Kemp is signaling concern that his party is struggling to maintain the support of women and that the business executive and political novice could help the party draw back support when she appears on the ballot in a special election next year and in 2022 for a full term. Next year, both of Georgia's Senate seats will be up for grabs as Loeffler faces a "jungle primary" open special election for her seat and Republican Senator David Perdue faces reelection for a second term. Democrats are still coalescing around potential candidates. 

Jon Ossoff, who raised more than $23 million for an unsuccessful 2017 bid for an open House seat in the state, is already running against Perdue as is Teresa Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus, Georgia. Former State Senator Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost a bid for governor against Kemp last year, has said she will not be a Senate candidate in 2020. Criticism of Kemp's decision came Monday afternoon from Sean Hannity, the radio and television host who is a close ally of the president. 

"Call @BrianKempGA now!" Hannity tweeted, using the governor's Twitter handle. "Why is he appointing Kelly Loeffler?" On his website, Hannity calls Loeffler a "centrist businesswoman" whose appointment "could seriously harm the White House's efforts to end the Democrats' ongoing Ukraine hearings and other pointless investigations." It's unclear how Loeffler could do that as a member of the Senate, when the Democratic-controlled House is leading the ongoing investigations into the president. 

IN THE HOUSE

Orange County Republican Duncan Hunter announced Monday that he would plead guilty to one charge of misusing campaign funds, ahead of his scheduled Tuesday court appearance. 

Hunter has previously fought against the charges, which were issued earlier this year, and his trial was previously scheduled for January 22, 2020. But in an interview with KUSI in San Diego, he admitted he "did not properly monitor or account for [his] campaign money" and he wanted to help his kids avoid a public trial. "I think it's important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids. It's hard enough being the kids of a public figure, I think it's time for them to live life outside the spotlight."

Federal prosecutors say Hunter spent nearly $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenditures, including affairs with numerous women. Hunter was previously planning to run for re-election, but indicated in his interview that it was time for someone else to take the reins. 

"My office is going to remain open, I've got a great staff, we're going to handle people's cases and we're going to pass it off to whoever takes this seat next. We'll make sure that's a seamless transition, last year I was the only Republican to be elected to Congress in Orange County and in San Diego. I think it's important to keep the seat a Republican seat," he said. CBS News broadcast associate Aaron Navarro says his 2018 Democratic opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar has filed for the seat, as well as seven other Republicans including former San Diego councilman Carl DeMaio and former Congressman of the neighboring 49th district, Darrell Issa.

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