USA

Bolton jabs Trump but avoids Ukraine as book battle rages on

"I hope it's not suppressed," Bolton said, referring to the White House's review of his book.

Bolton said that he hoped what Trump has said to him in private will "become public someday" and when asked about Trump's tweets and remarks calling Bolton a liar, he replied, "the tweets out there -- I say things in the manuscript about what he said to me. I hope they become public someday," referring to his book, which is the subject of a fight with the White House.

The administration has argued much of the book can't be published due to the sensitivity of the content. "He (Trump) tweets, but I can't talk about it. How fair is that?" he said adding, "for now, I'm going to let it go."

Outside the Ukraine scandal, Bolton hit Trump on a number of foreign policy issues.

New charges for Lev Parnas?

Elsewhere, federal prosecutors are weighing new charges against associates of Rudy Giuliani in connection with a company that paid him $500,000, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Prosecutors with the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York are considering whether to charge Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and at least one of his business partners with misleading potential investors for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company that paid Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, these people say.

USA Today: Group of federal judges plan emergency meeting over Justice Department

A national association of federal judges will hold an emergency meeting for Tuesday to address rising concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials in controversial cases, USA Today reported Monday.

Philadelphia US District Judge Cynthia Rufe, leader of the independent Federal Judges Association, told the newspaper that "there are plenty of issues that we are concerned about."

"We'll talk all of this through," she said.

News of the meeting comes after more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials -- who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations -- took the rare and remarkable step of calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign.

The statement comes after, well, a busy week at the Justice Department. As a reminder:

So, will the statement do anything?

The short answer is probably not. Barr's Justice Department is no stranger to controversy and, so far, he has not given any indication that he is considering stepping down from his current role.

An even bigger sign that nothing will change: A White House official tells CNN's Jim Acosta that Trump still has confidence in Barr amid the heightened calls for his resignation.

Bloomberg's billions

As readers of this newsletter know, Michael Bloomberg is charting his own path.

The former New York City mayor is putting his focus and personal wealth toward a slate of states that will vote in the Super Tuesday contest in March -- a stunning deviation from the well-worn presidential campaign playbook that calls for stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But, to quote Lindsey Graham, "If you've got $60 billion, you can tell your own story."
As we previewed last week, our Q and A with CNN's campaign finance expert Fredreka Schouten about money in politics, is published.

Some more notable points from the interview:

Money also buys scrutiny

In addition to breathless advertising and an enormous campaign staff, money will also buy you scrutiny -- especially if you're rising in the polls.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the Democratic primary with 25%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 17%. But Bloomberg is at 15%, up considerably from 9% before the Iowa caucuses and 3% when he first entered the race in November.

The spike has prompted candidates to zero-in on Bloomberg in recent days with forceful critiques about his strategy.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: "I don't think you should be able to hide behind airwaves and huge ad buys. He has to come on these shows," she told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday. "And I also am an advocate for him coming on the debate stage. I know I'm not going to be able to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage, because I believe my argument for my candidacy is so much stronger."
Former Vice President Joe Biden: "There's a lot to talk about with Michael Bloomberg," he said during an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press." "You all are going to start focusing on him like you have on me -- which I'm not complaining -- like you have on me the last six months. You're going to focus on him. His position on issues relating to the African American community, from stop and frisk to the way he talked about Obama."

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "We will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Donald Trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for and enacted racist policies like stop and frisk which caused communities of color in his city to live in fear," he said during a Clark County, Nevada, dinner Saturday. "The simple truth is that Mayor Bloomberg with all his money will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to have the voter turnout we must have to defeat Donald Trump."

What are we doing here?

The American system of government has been challenged to deal with a singular President and a divided country that will decide whether he should get another four years in the White House.

Stay tuned to this newsletter as we keep watch over the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential campaign and other issues of critical interest.