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The Note: Bloomberg scrambles frozen Democratic race

A Democratic primary race that was frozen just got hot in a hurry.

November 8, 2019, 6:02 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

A Democratic primary race that was frozen by impeachment just got hot in a hurry.

Michael Bloomberg's surprise step toward running for president -- with a filing expected in Alabama on Friday -- has the potential to blow up a race marked by uncertainties around the leading candidates.

PHOTO: Michael Bloomberg speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, July 27, 2016.
Michael Bloomberg speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, July 27, 2016.
Ida Mae Astute/ABC, FILE

His rationale as a problem-solving centrist would seem aimed primarily at the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren progressive wing. Both of those campaigns responded with pointed reminders that the Democratic Party isn't particularly close to billionaires these days.

But Bloomberg's potential entry into the race, with the unlimited financial capabilities he could bring, might more immediately underscore concerns about former Vice President Joe Biden's path. It could also crowd out Mayor Pete Buttigieg and others who have been aiming for the middle for months on the trail.

"We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated -- but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned," Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson said in a statement.

Bloomberg has previously said he would only get in the race if he had a reasonable shot at winning. That makes this an unmistakable statement of concern about where the party is headed, far more than it guarantees a Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat a shot in the Democratic Party of 2020.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

At its core, it was a case about deception and moving money around behind the scenes, under false pretenses, for personal gain -- and no, it had nothing to do with the House impeachment inquiry or the White House's relationship with Ukraine.

A judge this week found that President Donald Trump associates illegally used a charitable foundation to inappropriately raise money to benefit his 2016 presidential campaign.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 4, 2019.
President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 4, 2019.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The New York Attorney General's Office won a legal decision asserting that the Trump Foundation did in fact hold a fundraiser advertised for military veterans during the 2016 campaign, but then turned around and used the money on the eve of the Iowa caucuses for his presidential campaign instead.

As a result of this case, the president's children were barred from serving on charitable boards without supervision after they too were accused of wrongdoing in their work with their father.

More, the president's former campaign adviser, Roger Stone, was also in front of a jury this week, as prosecutors presented evidence claiming he lied to congressional investigators about this relationship with people close to WikiLeaks.

The TIP with Sasha Pezenik

Billionaire Tom Steyer jumped into the 2020 race to drain the swamp, but Steyer's own brand as an anti-Trump Washington outsider now runs the risk of looking awfully swampy.

Twin scandals have rocked the Steyer campaign. First, his aide in South Carolina downloaded data that belonged to the Harris campaign. Now, his Iowa political director -- also the former state speaker of the House -- must contend with allegations that he privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing Steyer's bid for the White House.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential hopeful businessman Tom Steyer speaks to the press in the spin room after the fourth Democratic primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, Oct. 15, 2019.
Democratic presidential hopeful businessman Tom Steyer speaks to the press in the spin room after the fourth Democratic primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, Oct. 15, 2019.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images, FILE

Steyer's already faced sharp slings from his fellow 2020ers who have said he's buying his way into the presidential race. His campaign responded to the latest staffer misstep by saying they do not engage in such activity - and that they are not taking any disciplinary action -- at least not yet. And his Iowa director, also apologized for "any miscommunication."

But with impeachment proceedings now kicking into high gear, it's not a great moment for a quid pro quo look.


House Democrats have considered drafting as many as three articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, as they prepare to take their Ukraine impeachment inquiry public next week after a month of closed-door depositions, according to multiple sources familiar with the deliberations.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Political Director Rick Klein, who explains what effect former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's potential presidential run could have on the 2020 race. Then, ABC News' Trish Turner and John Santucci, explain why former national security adviser John Bolton may be willing to testify in the impeachment inquiry after all.


  • President Donald Trump launches the "Black Voices for Trump" coalition at 3 p.m. in Atlanta. He then attends a college football game at 3:30 p.m. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Saturday.
  • Vice President Mike Pence participates in a moon tree planting at his residence at 9 a.m. and then travels to Marietta, Georgia, for the rollout of the "Black Voices for Trump" coalition at 2:40 p.m.
  • Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mark Sandy are each scheduled for closed-door depositions with congressional investigators.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., attends the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Marianne Williamson attend the National Black Caucus of State Legislator's forum on environmental justice at 6 p.m. in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participates in town halls in Ankeny, Fort Dodge, Pocahontas and Orange City, Iowa, on Friday. She then attends the "Woodbury County Democrats Caucus Training" at 9:30 a.m. in Sioux City, Iowa on Saturday.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participates in town halls across Iowa with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Friday and Saturday. He then hosts town halls in Orange City and Charles City, Iowa on Sunday.
  • Andrew Yang holds a rally at 11 a.m. in Concord, New Hampshire. Later, he hosts a rally at 3:30 p.m. in Henniker, New Hampshire. He then participates in a town hall at 6:30 p.m. in Littleton, New Hampshire.
  • Warren participates in a town hall at noon in Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday. On Saturday, she attends the "A Great Education for Every Child" forum at 11:30 a.m. in Summerton, South Carolina, on Saturday. Later, she participates in a town hall at 4:15 p.m. in Goose Creek, South Carolina.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., participates in campaign events in Iowa throughout the weekend.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden attend campaign events in New Hampshire throughout the weekend.
  • Booker participates in campaign events across South Carolina and Iowa throughout the weekend.
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock travels to Los Angeles for meetings, fundraising events and national press.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a four-day bus tour across New Hampshire.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., attends campaign events in Nevada and Iowa throughout the weekend.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends the No Labels Problem Solver Convention at 1 p.m. in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Sunday. She later attends a town hall at 6 p.m. in Laconia, New Hampshire.
  • Steyer participates in a CNN town hall at 7 p.m. in Grinnell, Iowa, on Sunday.
  • Sunday on "This Week": Martha Raddatz goes on-on-one exclusively with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley. Plus, the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week’s politics ahead of next week’s first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.
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