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Wake Up To Politics - November 4, 2019

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Monday, November 4, 2019. 1 day until Election Day 2019. 91 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 365 days until Election Day 2020. Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com with any comments, questions, suggestions, or tips!

We are officially less than a year away until the 2020 election! I'll be here every step of the way, breaking down all of the many twists and turns. If you appreciate this newsletter, please consider supporting my work by donating or encouraging your friends and family to subscribe at wakeuptopolitics.com!

2020 polling roundup

Three new polls were released on Sunday that offered a look at the state of the Democratic primary, with less than 100 days to go until the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses. The surveys — which were from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, ABC News/Washington Post, and Fox News — painted a fairly consistent portrait of the national primary race: former Vice President Joe Biden remains at the top, trailed closely by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), with a steep drop-off to the next tier of contenders, which is led by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Here's a chart showing the comparative standings of the top candidates in each poll:

But how predictive are national primary polls at this state in presidential races? Not very, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of NBC/WSJ polls, which found that only once in a competitive primary since 2004 has the polling leader at this time gone on to win their party's nomination: Mitt Romney in 2012. Here are some graphs from WSJ underlying that point:

Finally, with less than one year to go until the 2020 general election, the New York Times Upshot/Siena College released a set of polls this morning showing President Trump's viability against Biden, Sanders, and Warren in the six closest states that he carried in 2016. The surveys found that Trump trails Biden by an average of two points in the battleground states, while he ties with Sanders and leads Warren by an average of two points. Here is a chart from NYT showing the results in each state among registered voters:

More 2020 news...

--- Warren continues to attract criticism for the $20.5 trillion Medicare for All plan she released on Friday, which called for large tax increases on businesses and wealthy Americans to support a government-run health insurance program. The Massachusetts Democrat told reporters on Saturday that the plan "doesn't raise taxes on anybody but billionaires," despite the fact that it includes a tax on investment gains that would impact others in the top 1% of households.

A spokesperson for Vice President Joe Biden was quick to jump on Warren's claim. "The American people have to be able to trust whoever our party nominates to take on Donald Trump to be straight with them about health care," Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Biden, said in a statement on Saturday. "Senator Warren said tonight that her single-payer plan won’t raise taxes on anyone but billionaires, but that’s simply not true." Bedingfield also pointed out that Warren's taxes on employers and financial transactions would affect more people than just billionaires. Warren responded by suggesting that Biden is "running in the wrong presidential primary."

Meanwhile, Warren's plan also received flak from the left, with Sanders calling his approach to funding Medicare for All "far more progressive" than hers. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Warren maintained that while she and Sanders "may have a different vision for how to pay for it," they "are headed in exactly the same direction" on health care.

--- Biden's once-solid lead in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state, has officially evaporated: according to the RealClearPolitics polling average in the state, he now trails not only Warren but Buttigieg as well. The entire Democratic field flocked to the Hawkeye State on Friday, offering their case to Iowans at the same dinner that boosted Barack Obama's caucus hopes 12 years before. Warren and Buttigieg offered opposing messages, with the former criticizing her rivals who "dream small and quit early" and the latter calling for a "culture of belonging" that includes "progressives, moderates, and Republicans of conscience who are ready for a change." In a recent interview with Showtime's "The Circus," Buttigieg asserted that the Democratic race is "getting to be a two-way" contest between him and Warren. He later walked back the comments.

--- The Democratic field, which remains the largest group of presidential contenders in history, was winnowed slightly on Friday as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) ended his campaign. O'Rourke, who was seen as a top-tier candidate when he entered the race amid much fanfare in March, was never able to re-ignite the fire of his 2018 Senate campaign (which ultimately failed) and connect with enough voters on the national stage. "My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee," he said in a message to supporters.

The Rundown

Impeachment: Testimony has been requested from four Trump Administration officials today, but none are expected to appear for their closed-door depositions. The officials are: John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis, the top lawyers on the National Security Council; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; and Brian McCormack, an Office of Management and Budget official who previously served as Energy Secretary Rick Perry's chief of staff.

This is expected to be the last week of private depositions in the impeachment inquiry, as Democrats prepare to begin holding public hearings laying out their case to the American people later this month. According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), transcripts of the private testimony could be released as early as this week. President Trump suggested in a tweet on Sunday that Schiff would "change the words that were said to suit the Dems purposes," although the transcripts are reviewed by the witnesses before their release.

Mueller memos: "During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pushed the idea that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee servers, Manafort’s deputy told investigators during the special counsel’s Russia probe. The unsubstantiated theory, advanced by President Donald Trump even after he took office, would later help trigger the impeachment inquiry now consuming the White House."

"Notes from an FBI interview were released Saturday after lawsuits by BuzzFeed News and CNN led to public access to hundreds of pages of documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The documents included summaries of interviews with other figures from the Mueller probe, including Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen." (Associated Press)

--- "President Donald Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation." (CNN)

Recommended read: "How Trump Reshaped the Presidency in Over 11,000 Tweets" (New York Times)

Today at the White House

--- At 11:45 a.m., President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. At 1:30 p.m., he welcomes the Washington Nationals, the 2019 World Series champions. The president will then travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to hold a "Keep America Great" rally at 7 p.m., ahead of the state's gubernatorial election on Tuesday. Trump will arrive back at the White House at 10:25 p.m.

--- Vice President Mike Pence travels to Gulfport, Mississippi, today. At 1 p.m., he delivers remarks at a rally for the slate of Republican candidates in Tuesday's elections in the state. Pence will arrive back in Washington, D.C., at 4:40 p.m.

Today in Congress

--- Neither chamber of Congress is in session today.

Today at the Supreme Court

--- At 9:30 a.m., the justices are expected to release orders from their Friday conference. The justices will also hear oral arguments in Barton v. Barr, an immigration case, and Kansas v. Glover, a case asking whether it is reasonable for law enforcement personnel to suspect that a vehicle is being driven by its registered owner.

Today on the trail

--- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg visits Iowa, touring an ethanol plant, hosting a meet and greet in Algona, and holding a town hall in Spencer.

--- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) holds a "Coffee and Toffee House Party" in Nashua, New Hamsphire.

--- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) holds a meet and greet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

--- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds a town hall at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

--- Spiritual author Marianne Williamson campaigns in New Hampshire, holding events in Concord, New London, Rindge, and Milford.

--- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang holds a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

*All times Eastern